DNC Chair Falsely Claims Unemployment Has Not Increased Under Obama

By Matt Cover | December 12, 2011 | 12:22pm EST

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) chairs the Democratic National Committee. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) falsely claimed that unemployment has not gone up under President Barack Obama. In fact, the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in January 2009 when he was inaugurated and has remained above 8 percent every month of Obama’s presidency since February 2009, when it hit 8.1 percent.

Wasserman Schultz, appearing on the Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends program Monday, said that it was “simply not true” that unemployment had gone up during Obama’s presidency.

Fox and Friends host Gretchen Carlson stated, “Unemployment has gone up precipitously since he [Obama] took office.”

“That is simply not true,” Wasserman Schultz said. “In fact, unemployment has now dropped below 9 percent; it’s continuing to drop; he’s been focused on trying to create – ”

Carlson pressed Wasserman Schultz, noting that unemployment was still higher than 8 percent, the level President Obama argued it would stay below when his $787-billion economic stimulus spending package passed in February 2009.

Wasserman Schultz said that that “narrative” would not work, again claiming that unemployment had not gone up under Obama.

“That narrative doesn’t work for you any more though,” she said. “I hear that narrative a lot. You just said that the unemployment rate has been going up since he took office and it hasn’t.”

The unemployment rate – currently at 8.6 percent – has remained above Obama’s promised target of 8 percent for his entire presidency. It stood at 7.6 percent in January 2009, when Obama took office on Jan. 20.  It was 8.1 percent in February 2009.

Contrary to Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s claims, the unemployment rate rose for the first 10 months of Obama’s presidency, peaking at 10.2 percent before remaining in the high 9 percent range for the majority of 2010. The unemployment rate did decline in November – after hovering around 9 percent for most of the fall – but that was due to a large number of workers giving up on their search for a job, not because the economy was creating a significant amount of new jobs.

In fact, most of the reductions in the unemployment rate have been due to factors other than job creation, including the hiring of temporary Census workers in 2010, discouraged workers leaving the workforce, and seasonal hiring.

When asked by Carlson whether unemployment was higher now than when Obama took office, Wasserman Schultz said, “What’s happened since Obama took office – unemployment is nearing right around where it was when President Obama took office and it’s dropping. You just said it’s been increasing and that’s not true.”

The unemployment rate by month since January 2009, according to the U.S. ureau of Labor Statistics, is presented below.

Unemployment Rate in the United States:


January, 7.6%

February, 8.1%

March, 8.5%

April, 8.9%

May, 9.4%

June, 9.5%

July, 9.4%

August, 9.7%

September, 9.8%

October, 10.2%

November, 10%

December, 10%


January, 9.7%

February, 9.7%

March, 9.7%

April, 9.9%

May, 9.7%

June, 9.5%

July, 9.5%

August, 9.6%

September, 9.6%

October, 9.6%

November, 9.8%

December, 9.4%


January, 9.0%

February, 8.9%

March, 8.8%

April, 9.0%

May, 9.1%

June, 9.2%

July, 9.1%

August, 9.1%

September, 9.1%

October, 9.0%

November, 8.6%

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