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Fact-check: Stefanik wrongly says US recently saw 'worst jobs report in over 20 years'
By Holmes Lybrand, CNN
Updated 2:27 PM ET, Fri May 14, 2021
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Rep. Stefanik speaks out after being elected to GOP leadership 04:39
Washington (CNN)In accepting her new position to replace Liz Cheney as conference chair of the Republican party, Rep. Elise Stefanik went after President Joe Biden and what she called his "far-left radical socialist policies."
Stefanik argued that because of Biden, the US is in an economic crisis and has just experienced the worst jobs report in two decades.
"We see the worst jobs report in over 20 years," Stefanik said in reference to the April jobs report released last Friday. "Unemployment is up, small businesses are struggling to hire workers." The New York congresswoman suggested that Biden's extension of unemployment benefits bears some responsibility for the alleged crisis.
Facts First: It is simply untrue that the April jobs report is the worst in two decades. Just over one year ago, the US economy experienced its largest one-month decline in job numbers in recorded history. The most recent jobs report did fall significantly below forecasts but is in no way the "worst jobs report in over 20 years," or even the past year.
In April 2020, the US economy lost 20.5 million jobs, following a loss of 870,000 jobs in March of that year. This was far and away the most significant decrease since the US began tracking the number in 1939.
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Since then, when the unemployment rate hit 14.7%, the US has added jobs back to the economy with the exception of December 2020, when the economy lost 140,000 jobs.
April's job report showed the US added 266,000 jobs while forecasts from economists had predicted something closer to a million jobs added that month. Oxford Economics, an economic forecasting firm, called the miss in forecast predictions for April "one of the largest on record," and was the biggest miss in expectations since Refinitiv, a financial data provider, started recording that data in 1999.
Republicans have used this significant forecast miss to criticize Biden and his policies. Stefanik, however, did not say this was the worst report relative to economist expectations, she just said it was the worst. Stefanik's office did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
The unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in April, up from 6% a month earlier, as more people returned to the labor force to look for work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said last Friday. The US economy is still down 8.2 million jobs compared to pre-pandemic employment levels.
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