Moore falsely claims Obama predicted "strong job growth" following unemployment rate reduction

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Fox News' On the Record, discussing an increase in the number of people filing for unemployment in the week ending December 12, Wall Street Journal senior economics writer Stephen Moore falsely claimed that, following the Department of Labor's December 4 report that the unemployment rate had dropped the previous month, "a lot of people, including the president, said, you know, we passed the hump, now we're going to see strong job growth over the next few months, and that just really hasn't happened." In fact, in remarks following the Department of Labor's December 4 report, Obama said that while "the trendline right now is good," "there are going to be some months where the reports are a little better, some months where the reports are worse."

Moore puts words in Obama's mouth, falsely claims he predicted immediate "strong job growth"

From the December 17 edition of Fox News' On the Record:

VAN SUSTEREN: In the week ending December 12, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose. About 480,000 people filed jobless claims, up 7,000 from the week before. Most analysts believed that number to fall, but what happened? That was what they expected. How bad is this? Joining us live is Steve Moore, senior economic writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page. Steve, 7,000 increase, those are bad numbers. Why did everyone think we were going to go in the other direction?

[...]

MOORE: So on this jobs numbers, it is really disappointing. We had some positive job numbers just a couple of weeks ago when the monthly unemployment numbers came out and we saw a reduction in the unemployment rate to 10 percent. And a lot of people, including the president, said, you know, we passed the hump, now we're going to see strong job growth over the next few months, and that just really hasn't happened. Now this is just one week's worth of data, but 7,000 lost jobs means we're losing jobs, we're not gaining them.

Obama said in months ahead, some jobs reports will be "a little better," some "worse"

Obama actually explicitly stated that "[w]e've still got a long way to go," said "[t]here may be gyrations in the months ahead." During a December 4 speech, Obama stated that the Labor Department's report that morning that unemployment had dropped from 10.2 percent in October to 10 percent in November was "good news," but added that "[w]e've still got a long way to go." He further stated, "Now, the journey from here will not be without setbacks or struggles. There may be gyrations in the months ahead, there are going to be some months where the reports are a little better, some months where the reports are worse, but the trendline right now is good." From Obama's speech:

Today, the Labor Department released its monthly employment survey and reported that the nation lost 11,000 jobs in November -- which was about 115,000 fewer than was forecast -- and is about close to zero, from the perspective of our overall economy. (Applause.) The unemployment rate ticked down, instead of up. (Applause.) The report also found that we lost about 160,000 fewer jobs over the last two months than we had previously thought. So overall this is the best jobs report that we've seen since 2007. (Applause.)

And this is good news, just in time for the season of hope. I've got to admit, my chief economist, Christy Romer, she got about four hugs when she handed us the report. But I do want to keep this in perspective. We've still got a long way to go. I consider one job lost one job too many. (Applause.) And as I said yesterday at a jobs conference in Washington, good trends don't pay the rent. We've got to actually grow jobs and get America back to work as quickly as we can.

Now, the journey from here will not be without setbacks or struggles. There may be gyrations in the months ahead, there are going to be some months where the reports are a little better, some months where the reports are worse, but the trendline right now is good. The direction is clear. When you think about how this year began, even before I was sworn in, and we were losing 700,000 jobs a month -- a month -- today's report is a welcome sign that there are better days ahead. In fact, we were losing more than 700,000 jobs a month, and that's roughly -- that's roughly half the size of Philadelphia -- each month. Our financial system was on the verge of collapse. Economists were warning of a second Great Depression. You remember.

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