This point, from the Washington Post’s Fact-Checker column, seems rather important:
Obama: “The more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.”
The president is cherry-picking a number that puts the improvement in the economy in the best possible light. The low point in jobs was reached in February 2010, and there has indeed been a gain of about 8 million jobs since then, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But the data also show that since the start of his presidency, about 3.2 million jobs have been created — and the number of jobs in the economy still is about 1.2 million lower than when the recession began in December 2007.
You can argue that the employment number of December 2007 was artificially inflated by the housing bubble. And the unemployment rate is down because of a steep drop in the labor-force participation rate, driven partially by the retirement of the Baby Boomers. But it’s still a pretty “meh” economy at best.
This is how Obama can be bragging about an economic recovery one moment . . .
The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world — the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years. Our deficits — cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.
. . . and lamenting the state of the economy the next:
Average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.