Wednesday, June 20, 2018
News Roundup

PolitiFact: Michael Moore said U.S. lost millions of jobs per month under Bush

The statement

Says during George W. Bush's administration "we were losing millions of jobs per month," while under Barack Obama we have had "three years of gaining hundreds of thousands of jobs per month."

Michael Moore, Friday in a post on Twitter

The ruling

On the day of the final release of jobs numbers before the presidential election, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore tweeted a comparison of how the job market has fared under President Barack Obama and how it fared under his predecessor, President George W. Bush.

"Under Bush we were LOSING MILLIONS of jobs per month; under Obama we have 3 yrs of gaining hundreds of thousands of jobs per mo," Moore tweeted to his 1.2 million followers.

Were Moore's figures correct? No — in fact, Moore conceded that himself when he sent a corrected tweet about five hours later. Let's look at the numbers.

We turned to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government's official collector of employment numbers. Since Moore didn't specify what types of jobs he was referring to, we took the most basic measure — private sector jobs combined with government jobs, not counting farm jobs or the military.

During Bush's final year — the year with the heaviest job losses during his tenure — the monthly net change in jobs bottomed out in the fourth quarter. Between October 2008 and November 2008, the economy shed 803,000 jobs. Between November 2008 and December 2008, the economy lost 661,000 jobs. And between December 2008 and January 2009, the economy lost 818,000 — the highest number of Bush's tenure.

That's a huge number, but it's not "MILLIONS."

The job picture did eventually improve under Obama, but Moore exaggerates when he says the economy has been gaining hundreds of thousands of jobs per month for the past three years under Obama.

During 2010, the job market expanded by an average of 85,000 per month. In 2011, the average rose to 153,000 per month. And in 2012, the average rose again, to 157,000 per month.

Those numbers are a whole lot better than what the nation experienced in 2008, but these increases don't qualify as "hundreds of thousands," which we would define as at least 200,000.

After Moore's original tweet was posted, and after we contacted his office, he sent a tweet correcting the record: "Thx for tweets on job loss — worst month w/Bush was 800K+ jobs lost, most months since '10 have had 100K+ jobs gained."

We applaud his correction, but we still rate his initial tweet False.

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

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