Fact check: Trump spent week lying about jobs, trade, Ivanka, and more
Trump said a lot of things that aren’t remotely true in the past week.
Donald Trump in various venues misrepresented his record in office. Here’s a look at some recent rhetoric by Trump, his legal team and Democrats:
TRUMP, on his daughter Ivanka: “And now created over 15 million jobs for the people of our country. … It was going to be 500,000. ‘Daddy, I think we can do 500,000.’ Within about a week, she broke that and now she’s up to 15 million jobs. It’s fantastic.” — White House meeting Friday.
THE FACTS: It’s not remotely true. Less than half that many jobs have been added to the entire workforce during Trump’s presidency and his daughter is not responsible for them.
The president is referring to a White House initiative led by Ivanka Trump that has garnered nonbinding commitments from companies to provide 14 million or so training opportunities in the years ahead. Training for a job is not working at a job for money.
There’s no telling how many workers were already going to be trained, absent the initiative. In many cases, the pledge simply confers a presidential seal of approval on what some companies are doing anyway. By having companies sign the pledge, the administration is relying on the private sector to take on more of the financial burden of training workers.
TRUMP: “We’re going to get a lot more car companies moving in. We have a lot more companies moving in. … Jobs are coming back, and they’re coming back fast, and they’re coming right here to Michigan. They are coming rapidly. You see what’s going on.” — remarks in Michigan on Thursday.
THE FACTS: Automobile manufacturing jobs have not come back fast to Michigan under Trump. They have declined slightly since he took office, according to the Labor Department.
Between Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 and the end of last year, auto manufacturing jobs in Michigan declined by 100, to 42,200. Auto-parts jobs grew by 1,300, or just under 1%, to 133,200. No boom has been experienced.
As for his prediction that many more such jobs are coming, that’s difficult to tell.
The three big automakers have altogether announced plans to add over 10,000 jobs in Michigan in coming years. But they’ve also cut or plan to cut thousands of other jobs in the state.
ECONOMY and TRADE
TRUMP: “The USMCA is the largest, fairest, most balanced and modern trade agreement ever achieved.” — signing ceremony Wednesday for the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
THE FACTS: It’s not the largest trade deal ever made. It covers the same three countries as before. In contrast, the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations concluded in 1994 created the World Trade Organization and was signed by 123 countries. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found the following year that the WTO’s initial membership accounted for more than 90% of global economic output.
TRUMP: The USMCA “will make our blue-collar boom — which is beyond anybody’s expectation — even bigger, stronger, and more extraordinary.” — signing ceremony Wednesday.
THE FACTS: There isn’t a boom for blue-collar workers, and few economists expect the trade pact to add much.
Such workers haven’t done substantially better than everyone else, and some of their gains under Trump have faded in the past year as his trade war hurt manufacturing. The mining and logging industry, for example, which includes oil and gas workers, lost 21,000 jobs last year. Manufacturers have added just 9,000 jobs in the past six months, while the economy as a whole gained more than 1.1 million jobs during that period.
The U.S. economy is still heavily oriented toward services. While factory jobs have grown, other jobs have grown faster, so manufacturing has slightly shrunk as a proportion of the work force since Trump took office.
The independent U.S. International Trade Commission estimated last year that the trade pact would create 49,700 jobs in manufacturing and mining over six years, a fraction of 1% of the existing 13.5 million U.S. jobs in factories and mines.
TRUMP: “More Americans are working today than have ever worked in the history of our country. We’re up to almost 160 million people working. We’ve never even come close to a number like that.” — signing ceremony Wednesday.
THE FACTS: Yes, but that’s driven by population growth. A more relevant measure is the proportion of Americans with jobs, and that is still below record highs.
According to Labor Department data, 61% of people in the United States 16 years and older were working in December. That’s below the all-time high of 64.7% in April 2000.
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