After the president talked up national job gains, a Central Texas member of Congress suggested things haven’t been rosy.
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, whose district stretches nearly to Fort Worth, said in a Jan. 12, 2016, response to the State of the Union address: "It’s been seven years since President Barack Obama took office. In that time, the United States has accumulated the largest national debt in its history, the fewest number of adults are working since Jimmy Carter’s presidency and the executive branch has expanded its power immensely – the president has chosen which laws to enforce and created new ones without Congress’ approval."
The national debt, in raw dollars, is at a record high, and Obama has issued provocative executive orders though, PolitiFact found in 2014, fewer orders than most recent predecessors.
A reader asked us if Williams was correct about the country having fewer working adults than when Carter was president from 1977 into January 1981. Just given population growth, could that be?
We asked Williams’ spokesman Vince Zito how Williams reached his conclusion and didn’t hear back.
In 2012, PolitiFact explored similar territory, finding Mostly False a claim that the American "workforce" was smaller than when Carter was president. The word "workforce" refers to the absolute number of people employed or seeking work; that tally was way up by 2012 compared with Carter’s era due to population growth and, through the 1990s, the expansion of working women.
So, did the number of working adults subsequently plunge to Carter-era levels?
No, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose figures indicate that in 1980, around 100 million people were in the civilian workforce. In 2015, bureau figures show, nearly 150 million Americans were in the workforce -- up about 50 percent from Carter’s last year as president.
By phone to our inquiry, economist Stephen Rose of the Urban Institute, a former deputy in the Department of Labor, told us Williams’ claim isn’t supported. "Not close," Rose said.
A chart in the 2015 Economic Report of the President shows 99.3 million people comprised the civilian workforce in 1980 and 146.3 million were in the workforce in 2014.
Another bureau chart indicates 149.7 million people in the workforce in December 2015 and also that the workforce increased nearly every year from 1980 through 2015 -- with the exceptions of 1982, 1991, 2002 and 2008 through 2010, a period encompassing the end of George W. Bush’s terms and the first two years of Obama’s tenure.
i wonder do they tell these outright bald faced lies because so far no one checks anytime soon or at all leaving it out there and subject to whoever wants to embellish on it?? i do believe this is why so many on both sides are ignorant to what Pres. has actually done for them and instead repeat or believe the doom and gloom of republican attacks the info is out there anyone reading this you have the tool at your disposal to find out. if you hear republican attacks fact check them then pass it on each one teach one.