The GOP tweeted this:

...During Obama/Biden Admin, the Keystone State LOST 51,000 jobs.

Under the leadership of [Trump], the Keystone State has ADDED 5,000 manufacturing jobs & its unemployment rate just hit a record low!

Were 51,000 Pennsylvania jobs lost under the Obama administration? Were 5,000 manufacturing jobs created in Pennsylvania under the Trump administration? Is the unemployment rate at a record low? Who made this estimate?

  • 17
    Lost 51,000 - gained 5,000 - record low unemployment - I'd say at least one of these things is probably false
    – user2276
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 6:39
  • 9
    @HorusKol: I thought so too at first, but all these facts MIGHT be true because the unemployment rate considers more than just manufacturing jobs.
    – James
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 12:07

1 Answer 1



But only when counting manufacturing jobs, according to this data set of manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The GOP is providing figures for the date ranges of January 2017 - March 2019 (currently preliminary) for Trump, and January 2009 - January 2017 for Obama. The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 3.9%, which is the lowest unemployment rate for the state since 1976 according to Pennsylvania's Department of Labor & Industry.

There's a couple of different ways to interpret the first part of the claim.

First there's a bunch of graphs here. Focusing on the 'employment' graph, at the beginning of Obama's term Pennsylvania's employment was just a hair over 6 million. By 01/17, it was hovering around 6.1 million, indicating roughly a 100,000 increase in the number of employed individuals under Obama.

But that's counting employed people, not available jobs, which is what the GOP could be referring to. On Page 10 of this PDF from Pennsylvania's DLI Center for Workforce Information & Analysis, another chart shows the number of seasonally adjusted total nonfarm jobs between December 2007 and December 2017. Reading this graph, at Dec-08 it shows approximately 5,700,000 nonfarm jobs, and looking over to Dec-16 the line there is crossing the 5,900,000 threshold.

But maybe the GOP is just being terse on twitter, and they're only counting manufacturing jobs. From the DLI source, Manufacturing jobs in fact did decrease in PA between December 2007 and December 2017 by -92,700 jobs, so at least now we're in the ballpark, and I think it's safe to say this is what the GOP is specifically referring to.

Referring to this data set from Bureau of Labor Statistics, it shows that from January 2017 there were 561,200 manufacturing jobs, and in March 2019 (marked preliminary) there were reportedly 566,200 manufacturing jobs, or a 5,000 job increase during this time.

Using the same table to cross-check the results for Obama, in January 2009 there were 612,200 manufacturing jobs, and in January 2017 there were 561,200, a decrease of 51,000 manufacturing jobs.

Is this a record low unemployment rate?

This is how it is being reported by the state government:

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to a record low 3.9 percent in March – the lowest rate since 1976. The national rate was unchanged from February at 3.8 percent. The Pennsylvania unemployment rate declined by one-half of a percentage point from March 2018.

The estimated number of Pennsylvania residents working or looking for work, known as the civilian labor force, was up 5,000 over the month. The number of employed Pennsylvanians rose by 10,000 to a record high of 6,219,000. The number of unemployed residents was down 6,000 from February to its lowest level since it was matched in August 2000.

And from a local CBS affiliate:

The Pennsylvania unemployment rates dropped to the lowest point since 1976, said state officials in a newly released jobs report.

The Department of Labor and Industry released on Friday that the commonwealth’s unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point to a record low of 3.9% in March.

This claim is based on a report prepared by Pennsylvania's Department of Labor & Industry, but I could not find the actual report published there. Given the specific assertions made by the PA State government about a report prepared by the PA State government, I'm assuming them to be accurate unless a link to the actual report can be found.

  • 13
    "Yes But only when counting manufacturing jobs" So, then, no. Commented May 3, 2019 at 0:35
  • 13
    The claim as written is false. That one can insert words into it to make it false does mean it's "terse", it means it's false. If I say "Barack Obama eats babies", that's false. It's not merely "terse" if he eats baby carrots. This isn't a matter of "grammar", it's a matter of lying. Commented May 3, 2019 at 14:41
  • 2
    Your example is nowhere near comparable, because there is no sense that your statement has ever been true. You can't just focus on the first sentence and ignore the rest of the message, because that's not how language works. It's definitely not clear that the second part qualifies the first, and could be intentionally unclear in an effort to mislead, but the statement is true: 51,000 jobs in a specific category of jobs did disappear under Obama. If you continue to disagree, feel free to do so in your own answer. Commented May 3, 2019 at 16:19
  • 5
    The tweet says "During Obama/Biden Admin, the Keystone State LOST 51,000 jobs." There is literally a period at the end. You keep bringing up the existence of a following sentence, you you adamantly refuse to provide any explanation for how it is relevant, and are rudely referring to my not accepting your position, which you refuse to explain, as "ignoring" that sentence. Commented May 3, 2019 at 16:32
  • 3
    @Accumulation Because I refuse to take your position I am rude? I am taking the message as a whole. You have an issue with my answer, that's fine. I disagree with your interpretation, now your choices are to provide your own answer, or just disengage and move on. Commented May 3, 2019 at 16:40

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