Fact check: Net job gain less than half of number claimed by Branstad

Erin Jordan
Published: January 14 2014 | 4:18 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:06 am in Fact Check,
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Introduction

Job creation is a popular phrase in politics. We're checking Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad's claim that more than 130,000 jobs have been created in Iowa since he took office.

Source of claim

Gov. Terry Branstad

Gov. Terry Branstad ran for governor in 2010 with a promise to add 200,000 jobs within five years. Three years in, Branstad's 2014 Condition of the State address included a claim that "over 130,000 new jobs have been created in the state."

Branstad's spokesman Jimmy Centers said the data used for this claim came from Iowa Workforce Development, which reports 133,500 new jobs from January 2011 through November 2013. This number, gross jobs created, isn't used by economists because it doesn't take into account jobs eliminated during the same time period.

This would be like saying Iowa's population grew by 38,000 in 2012 because that's how many babies were born. But meanwhile 28,000 Iowans died that year.

Iowa saw a net job growth of 54,000 between January 2011 and November 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Net growth subtracts the number of lost jobs from the number of new jobs.

Conclusion

While Branstad's statement that "over 130,000 new jobs have been created" may be technically accurate when referring to gross jobs created, it's misleading. Net job growth numbers are a better reflection of the job market. We score his claim as mostly false.

Data can be seen at http://www.iowaworkforce.org/lmi/laborforce/index.html — click on seasonally adjusted non-farm employment.


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