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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Wasserman Schultz Manufactures Jobs Figure

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wrongly claimed that the U.S. has begun to add “millions of jobs in manufacturing.” About 800,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost during President Obama’s time in office, reaching a low of about 11.5 million in December 2009. Since then, about 303,000 manufacturing jobs have been created — not “millions.” At the current pace, the country will not return to the pre-Obama manufacturing job level until August 2016.

Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee, made her statement Nov. 13 on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Wasserman Schultz, Nov. 13: Well, what I concede is that we do have a long way to go, but we absolutely have begun to turn things around, and we have made steady, but not quick enough progress. I mean, before President Obama took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month, David. And now we’ve had 20 straight months of growth in the private sector. We’ve added 2.8 million jobs in the private sector alone, begun to add, you know, millions of jobs in pri — in manufacturing. We’re starting to focus on making things in America again.

The Florida congresswoman is correct that when the president took office, job losses were exceptionally high. Job losses continued through February 2010, and since that time, nearly 2.8 million jobs have been created in the private sector (during that time only about 2.3 million jobs have been created overall due to job losses in the public sector).

But Wasserman Schultz is wrong about gains in manufacturing. Since Obama took office, there has been a net loss of 800,000 manufacturing jobs, hitting a low of about 11.5 million in December 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the past 22 months, since that low point, about 303,000 manufacturing jobs have been created for a monthly average of 13,772.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics












At the current pace of recovery (measuring from the low point to today), the U.S. would not produce 1 million manufacturing jobs until January 2016, and jobs in that industry would not return to pre-Obama levels until August 2016. It would take until 2022 to add at least 2 million jobs — the minimum required for “millions” to be accurate.

We contacted the DNC about this claim, and spokesman Brad Woodhouse said that Wasserman Schultz “simply misspoke.”

Woodhouse, Nov. 16: She simply misspoke on the manufacturing side where she usually says hundreds of thousands — her point though is no less relevant — as you’ll see below — manufacturing has played an important role in the 20 consecutive months of private sector job growth we have experienced …

Listening to the video, it is clear that Wasserman Schultz briefly stumbles over her words, but she recovers to clearly state that millions of manufacturing jobs have been created. And that is not true. She would have been correct to say that hundreds of thousands have been created since the low point in manufacturing employment was reached in December 2009.

— Scott Blackburn