Pence brags of jobs he and Trump 'created' as unemployment remains at 10%

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Analysts say those 'new' jobs are mostly from people returning to jobs they lost during the lockdown.

Mike Pence claimed on Wednesday that he and Donald Trump had created more jobs during the coronavirus pandemic than the previous administration created during its entire tenure. In reality, some of the businesses that temporarily closed during the pandemic have reopened, bringing back some of the jobs that lost during the historic unemployment that is still decimating the U.S. economy.

On Fox News, Pence bragged that he and Trump had "made this country stronger, more prosperous in our first three years" and that Trump "has seen us through the worst pandemic in a hundred years."

"We've already created more jobs in the last three months than Joe Biden and Barack Obama created in their eight years in office. I'm excited to tell the story," Pence said.

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He did not cite any figures to back up his claim, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated last week that payroll employment increased by about 9.3 million between May and July.

The Trump administration has been roundly panned for its poor handling of the public health crisis and its economic aftermath. Trump ignored medical advice and pushed to prematurely open the economy, leading to massive spikes in coronavirus cases.

The jobs Pence now claims to have "created" are largely a function of closed businesses reopening.

"For the most part, these aren't new jobs. Nearly all of the people returning to work were on temporary layoffs," wrote investment analyst John Persinos on Monday. "After three consecutive months of falling unemployment, we still find ourselves at levels of joblessness that resemble the nadir of the Great Recession."

Millions of Americans have become unemployed, temporarily or permanently, since the start of the crisis. For 20 consecutive weeks, new jobless claims topped 1 million; last week that number dropped to a still-high 963,000. Nearly 15.5 million Americans are collecting continuing unemployment compared to less than 4 million in March.

According to a New York Times analysis of labor data, less than half of the 22 million jobs lost in the first two months of the pandemic have been regained. Overall, Trump and Pence have lost millions of jobs since January 2017.

The jobless rate as of July was 10.2%. Under President Obama and Vice President Biden, it declined from 7.9% when they took office to 4.7% when they left.

Between April and June of this year, the U.S. GDP declined by about a third — the worst drop on record.

More than 5 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, and at least 163,000 have died.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.