How the Trump and Democratic Views Stack Up Against U.S. Jobs Reality

Both sides make valid points, but context is key
From
Source: Bloomberg

The U.S. government's September employment report shows a steady job market: companies adding positions, people joining the labor force. Donald Trump's campaign begs to differ – and says Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are to blame.

In a statement following Friday's data, David Malpass, senior adviser to the Republican presidential nominee, said the report "confirmed what people feel – that the Clinton-Obama economy is failing them."  Trump's message that globalization, trade deals and immigration are to blame helped catapult him to victory in the Republican primary, though the general election has proved tougher. We looked at some of Malpass's assessments of the labor market and the views of Democratic officials and compared them with the facts.

Unemployment, participation

Trump view: "The participation rate stands at only 62.9 percent, near a historic low. The overall unemployment rate is stuck at 9.7 percent. That means that millions of Americans are being left out of the recovery."

DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile: 
 "At the end of the last Republican administration, our economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month and millions of Americans were losing their homes and savings. But under the Obama administration, our economy has rebounded, the unemployment rate is at 5 percent, and U.S. businesses have created more than 15 million new jobs over the last 78 months."

The reality: A little of both viewpoints. The participation rate actually rose to a six-month high of 62.9 percent, but remains close to the lowest level since the 1970s. While the broader unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent in September, it's way down from a 17.1 percent peak in October 2009, in the immediate aftermath of the recession. The economy has indeed recovered under Obama, though growth has been slower than before the downturn.

Manufacturing jobs

Trump view: "We see many jobs in services, and too few better-paying jobs making the goods Americans use and can export to the rest of world. We actually lost 13,000 manufacturing jobs in September."

DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile: "Donald Trump would only undo our hard-won progress. He said he thinks wages are too high, he rooted for the 2008 housing crisis because he believed he could profit from it, and for years he has outsourced the manufacture of many Trump products."

The reality: After plunging by 1.4 million in 2009, the number of manufacturing jobs rose in each of the past six years. They're down slightly so far in 2016. Factory jobs as a share of all U.S. positions have been sliding for decades and now account for less than 10 percent of jobs.

 

 


Wage gains

Trump view: "After seven hard years of the Clinton-Obama administration their policies still can't produce better-paying jobs and upward mobility."

White House blog: "Since the beginning of the current business cycle in December 2007, real wages have grown at a rate of 0.9 percent a year, faster than in any other cycle since 1973."

The reality: Wages increased 0.2 percent in September from the previous month, bringing growth from the previous year to 2.6 percent from 2.4 percent. While a sustained acceleration has been elusive in this recovery, workers' pay is starting to tick up. The Federal Reserve is still looking for faster gains that approach the pre-recession pace, though Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer noted on Friday that the 2.6 percent increase was "closer to 3 than it is to 2" percent.

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