Of the numerous exaggerations and falsehoods Trump and administration officials have made during his young term, numbers relating to jobs are perhaps the most consistent.
Trump has claimed to have saved jobs since the beginning of his term, but in May the New York Times reported he could claim credit for almost none. In perhaps his biggest boast, he claimed to have saved jobs at four companies that ended up laying off workers and shipping jobs overseas as planned. In May, EPA head Scott Pruitt said the administration had added 50,000 coal jobs; in reality, there were only 51,000 coal jobs in the entire U.S.
Continuing the tradition, on Saturday the Republican National Committee tweeted that the administration had added 1 million jobs in Trump's first six months as president, claiming "UNPRECEDENTED ECONOMIC GROWTH UNDER @POTUS!"
In a new column, Aaron Blake of the Washington Post points out that "unprecedented" means "never happened before," and that is incorrect — as recently as the month before Trump took office.
In fact, under Trump, job growth has fallen. President Obama saw more jobs added in his last six months (1.08 million) than Trump has seen in his first six months (1.07 million). Obama saw more jobs created than Trump's first six months in six 6-month periods since 2013.
"Indeed, no matter how you slice it and what months you choose, there isn't even one six-month period after mid-2013 during which Obama didn't see at least 1 million jobs created," writes Blake. "One million jobs in six months is not unprecedented — it has become the norm since the recovery from the Great Recession really kicked in."
Ultimately, Blake writes, adding 1 million jobs in six months is not only not unprecedented — it is the precedent of precedents. Three of Trump's six immediate predecessors had higher job growth in their first six months than Trump did. And Jimmy Carter saw 2.14 million jobs created in his first six months: Twice as many as Trump.