Obamateurism of the Day

That Google+ “hangout” at the beginning of the week produced its share of goofy moments on employment.  First, Barack Obama seemed totally nonplussed by the fact that a semiconductor engineer couldn’t find work — even though jobs had fallen off in that industry by 5.25% over the last three years.  Next comes this moment, in which Obama makes the kind of mistake we all do in transposing figures when trying to make an explanation.  That wouldn’t qualify as an OOTD, except that, er, both figures are wrong:

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We are starting to see some signs that the economy is picking up.  We’ve created 22 million jobs over the last — er, three million jobs over the last 22 months.

We haven’t created 22 million jobs in the last three months, obviously … but we also haven’t created 3 million net jobs over the last 22 months.  Twenty-two months ago, employment was at 129,438,000, according to the BLS, and in December (the last month for which we have data until about 8:30 am today), the number stood at 131,900,000.  The difference between the two is 2.462 million, not 3 million, and it won’t be unless we created 538,000 net jobs in January … which seems unlikely.

But why 22 months?  Obama began his term in January 2009, and the recession ended in June 2009.   What’s so special about March 2010?  Well, not so surprisingly, that’s almost the nadir of employment during Obama’s presidency, which actually took place in February 2010, two years ago this month. Even if he’d picked the right month, it would still only have been 2.654 million, not 3 million.

Calculating from the end of the recession, the net job creation from those 31 months is only 1.407 million, a wan 45,390 net jobs a month, far below the pace needed to keep up with population growth.   Calculating for the entirety of his presidency, we’re actually in the hole 937,000 jobs.  Obama tried to cherry-pick the worst month in order to claim the most credit he could possible for job growth, and managed to get both the month and the math wrong anyway.

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That’s Obamanomics for you, and that’s an Obamateurism, all right.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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