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Joe Biden says 3.5 million jobs lost during last six months of Bush administration

The statement

Says in the last six months of the Bush administration, the United States lost 3.5 million jobs, including 760,000 jobs during January 2009 alone.

Vice President Joe Biden, in a speech in New Hampshire

The ruling

Vice President Joe Biden spent a lot of time in New Hampshire during the 2008 election, both as a candidate himself and as President Barack Obama's running mate. So when he returned to the Granite State earlier this month, he looked back to 2008 and the economic turmoil that year.

Speaking May 22 to a crowd at Keene State College, Biden referred to the start of the national recession in the fall of 2008 and to the failing economy he and Obama inherited when they came into office.

"In the last six months of the Bush administration, we lost 3.5 million jobs," Biden told the crowd. "As a matter of fact, on that magnificent day … when we were sworn in, before I lowered my hand that day after taking the oath, … we'd already lost over 760,000 jobs that month."

Claims and blames like this have become a rallying cry of sorts for Obama's re-election campaign. But are they true? PolitiFact decided to take a look.

The source of the numbers wasn't hard to find. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks employment numbers from month to month dating back to 1939.

The data from the last six months of the Bush administration support Biden's claim. A search of the job figures from July 2008 through January 2009 shows that the country lost 3.47 million jobs during that time, falling from 137 million in July 2008 to 133.6 million in January 2009, according to the bureau's monthly count.

Now as for January 2009, when Obama and Biden took office, the country had already lost 818,000 jobs from the prior month, falling from 134.4 million in December 2008 to 133.6 million in January. But if you prorate those figures to the Jan. 20 inauguration date referenced by Biden, the economy would have lost about 527,000 jobs, roughly two-thirds of the month's total. That number falls below Biden's claim of 760,000 jobs lost by the time he took office.

To recap: Federal labor statistics support Biden's claim that the country lost 3.5 million jobs in the last six months of the Bush administration, but they show he overstated the losses reported by inauguration day, Jan. 20, 2009. We rate this claim Mostly True.

This ruling has been edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

Joe Biden says 3.5 million jobs lost during last six months of Bush administration 06/01/12 [Last modified: Friday, June 1, 2012 10:07pm]
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