#BLS

Whose state of mind should be shredded? Fact checking Trump’s SOTU claims

Really? Nancy Pelosi defended her actions at the SOTU by saying she “shredded his state of mind!

We fact check Trump’s claims below beyond the unemployment figures we put forward yesterday.

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CLAIM: “In 8 years under the last administration, over 300,000 working-age people DROPPED OUT of the workforce. In just three years of my administration, 3.5 MILLION working-age people have JOINED the workforce.”

TRUE

During Obama’s two terms in office, the participation rate dropped from a high of 65.7% to 62.7% by the end. Since President Trump took office, the rate has grown from 62.8% to 63.2% which sums to c.3.7 million more people joining the workforce.

Source: BLS

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CLAIM: “The median household income is now at the highest rate ever.”

TRUE

The U.S. Census has been tracking median household income since 1984. In 2018, the last year recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau, household median income was at $63,179, the highest number recorded.

Source: Census Bureau

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CLAIM: In the Democratic response, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said that more than 275 bipartisan bills sit on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s desk.

TRUE

Source: Congress roll calls

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CLAIM: “Under my administration, seven million Americans have come off food stamps and 10 million people have been lifted off of welfare.”

TRUE

“Food stamps” aka U.S Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) data shows seven million less people than there were before President Trump took office. Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance saw a roughly 4.7 million person decrease.

Source: SNAP

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CLAIM: President Trump claimed that America has gained 12,000 new factories under his administration after losing 60,000 factories under the previous two administrations.

TRUE

The Bureau of Labor tracks manufacturing establishments every quarter. US had 398,837 factories at the start of Bush’s presidency in 2001 and 343,972 manufacturing establishments at the end of Obama’s presidency in 2017. That’s a drop of 54,865. The preliminary data for 2Q 2019, reveals 356,046 factories. +12,074 since 2017.

Source: BLS

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CLAIM: “Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world, by far.”

SLIGHTLY MISLEADING

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. has been the #1 producer of oil and natural gas in the world since 2013 before Trump took office.

Source: USEIA

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CLAIM: “Since my election, the net worth of the bottom half of wage earners has increased by 47 percent, three times faster than the increase for the top one percent.” 

TRUE

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis (FRED), the reports the net worth of the bottom half of the population was $1,070,183mn at the start of 2017. As of the third quarter of 2019, it was 1,668,034mn. That’s an increase of 55.86%, more than Trump quoted. The Top 1%, had $29,955,829mn. In 3Q 2019, it was $34,533,370mn, or 15.3%

Source: FRED Top 1% and Bottom 50%

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CLAIM: “I have raised contributions from the other NATO members by more than $400 billion, and the number of allies meeting their minimum obligations has more than doubled.” 

TRUE

NATO Europe and Canada are expected to raise defense spending by a cumulative $400 billion US dollars by 2024 to meet the 2 percent of GDP obligations – though those obligations were agreed to in 2014.

Source: NATO

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CLAIM: “Last year, our brave ICE officers arrested more than 120,000 criminal aliens charged with nearly 10,000 burglaries, 5,000 sexual assaults, 45,000 violent assaults and 2,000 murders.” 

TRUE

Source: ICE

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CLAIM: “As a result of our unprecedented efforts, illegal crossings are down 75 percent since May — dropping eight straight months in a row.”

TRUE

May, 2019 saw 144,116 apprehensions. Arrests have dropped every single month since that rime, reaching 40,620 in December, 2019. January data not released but apprehensions down 72%.

Source: CBP

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CLAIM: “In the last three years, ICE has arrested over 5,000 wicked human traffickers.” 

TRUE

ICE has made 5,387 human trafficking arrests.

Source: ICE

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CLAIM: “We have now completed over 100 miles and will have over 500 miles fully completed by early next year.”

MOSTLY TRUE

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the completion of the border wall’s 100th mile. 400-450 miles of wall would either be completed OR under construction by the end of 2020 — not 500.

Source: DHS

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CLAIM: “Since 2016, the violent crime rate in America has fallen nearly 5 percent after rising each of the two years before President Trump took office.”

TRUE

Violent crime fell 4.5% between 2016 to 2018. Preliminary 2019 numbers show a further decrease.

Source: FBI

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CLAIM: Trump claimed drug overdose deaths declined for the first time in nearly 30 years.

TRUE

2018 was the first time in nearly 20 years that the number of drug overdose deaths declined and only the second time in nearly the last 30 years.

Source: CDC

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CLAIM: “Three years ago, the barbarians of ISIS held over 20,000 square miles of territory in Iraq and Syria. Today, the ISIS territorial caliphate has been 100 percent destroyed.”

TRUE

In March 2019, U.S.-backed forces in Syria captured the Islamic State’s last physical territory. In 2016, the ISIS held about 37,530 sq miles in Iraq and Syria.

Source: The Wilson Center

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Judging by her actions, should we believe “there is no such thing as eternal animosity.”

She sure has a strange way of showing it.

The only truth Pelosi spoke was that she “didn’t need lessons in dignity from the president.” She has that base well and truly covered.

The only truth in Pelosi was her denial.

Does Trump have a right to brag about unemployment?

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The Trump vs Obama camps are lighting up over who was responsible for the drop unemployment rates. Looking at the long term decline one could argue that Obama was a key part of the decline and the incremental drops in the rate are Trumps. Here are the raw figures.

In Jan 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Obama had 115.818m people full time employed. In December of 2012 that number was 115.791m. (-270,000). There were 8.046m and 7.943m part time jobs over the same period. Minus 103,000. At the end of his 8 years, there were 124.3m FT jobs and 5.554m PT jobs. All told his FT workforce went up 8.48mn and PT fell 2.492m. So gross employment increased 5.98m.

Trump started at 124.3mn FT and as of May 2018 there are 128.657m FT jobs and 4.948m PT jobs. So he’s increased FT 4.347m and cost PT 606k. Net increase of 3.741mn jobs. So even if you ran the narrative that Obama’s second term was enough to put the “Great Recession to bed”, Trump has achieved 63% of Obama’s employment legacy in only 30% of his first term as president.

The number of people working two or more jobs surged to over 8mn (a record) under BHO as did food stamps (doubled to c.48m before coming down to 43m by his term end). SNAP stands at 40m now. 3mn fewer.

30 million people claim disability and welfare in the US. The Social Security Administration (SSA) highlighted that back pain and musculoskeletal problems are 33.8% of claims for disabled workers, followed by mental illness at 19.2% in 2013. This compares to 8.3% and 9.6% respectively in 1961. Half of claims in the 1960s came from heart attack/stroke and ‘other’ categories which made up only 17% of the 2013 figure.

Yet the truth is that if Americans wanted more of Obama’s successful policies, Hillary was Obama 2.0. No change in policies. Sensible to keep if they wanted the status quo. Ironic that 19 out of 25 states that voted for Trump had poverty levels exceeding the national average. Which means that had the “marry the state” policies of the Obama admin resonated with the poor it would have been a coronation for Hillary. This is a perfect example as to why a hollowed out middle America want to live the American dream rather than queue up for more welfare. God Bless America?

 

Multiple Job Holders in the US hits a record in Feb-18

Multiple.png

Since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has been keeping score, Americans with more than one job soared in Feb 2018 to the highest level seen in that month for a quarter century. March 2017 was also a record for that month in 24 years. One would expect when the economy is in the groove that people do not need to hold down multiple jobs to get by. On a percentage of the total labour force basis, multiple job holders in Feb 2018 have exceeded the level set in 2007 ahead of the GFC, or 5%.

However since the shake out of GFC, people holding down multiple jobs has continued to rise every year for the last 9. The previous record was only 5 years. Trends in disability payments and food stamps shows eerily similar trends since 2002.

SNAP (food stamp) recipients numbered as follows (working disability recipients in brackets, with cost outlays per annum)

1994: 27.47 million ( 6.381mn, cost $2.621bn)

1997: 22.58 million (6.998mn, cost $3.253bn)

2002: 19.10 million (8.109mn, cost $4.621bn)

2007: 26.32 million (9.858mn, cost $7.127bn)

2013: 47.67 million (12.156mn, cost $10.25bn)

2017: 42.20 million (Dec 2016 fig, 11.832mn, cost $10.316bn)

The Social Security Administration (SSA) highlights that back pain and musculoskeletal problems are 32.3% of disability claims, followed by mental illness at 26.3% (up from 19.2% in 2011) in 2016. This compares to 8.3% and 9.6% respectively in 1961. Half of claims in the 1960s came from heart attack/stroke and ‘other’ categories which made up only 17% of the 2016 figure.

Disabled beneficiaries aged 18–64 in current-payment status accounted for 4.7% of the population aged 18–64 in the United States. The states with the highest rates of disabled beneficiaries – 7%+ -were Alabama (SNAP benefits 17% of population), Arkansas (13%), Kentucky (15%), Maine (14%), Mississippi (18%), and West Virginia (19%). All above the national SNAP average of 13% and only Maine that voted Democrat in the 2016 election. Coincidence?

Could it be that more Americans are sick of living off more and more handouts? Seems plausible that Trump’s delivery to the White House was driven by these immutable trends – they want change to a system which they know can’t sustainably deliver forever like this. That is why tax breaks resonate. Why tariffs strike a chord. None-the-less maybe the uptick in multiple jobs is highlighting that things aren’t moving quickly enough.