Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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PolitiFact: Boehner 'cherry-picking' in estimate of workforce increase

According to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), President Barack Obama has added 200,000 new federal jobs since taking office two years ago. But according to a fact-checking website, figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics don't bear out Boehner’s calculation.

PolitiFact.com deemed Boehner’s Feb.15 comment “false” after checking into the number of new federal jobs.

“We turned, as we always do, to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the official statistician for the United States labor force,” PolitiFact, a project of the St. Petersburg Times, stated.

PolitiFact found that the overall rise in federal employees between January 2009 and January 2011 was 58,000, according to BLS. It also found that over that same two-year period, the number of federal employees – not counting U.S. Postal Service workers – was 140,800.

“Both of those numbers are lower than the 200,000 figure Boehner cited,” PolitiFact continued. 

PolitiFact said Boehner’s office explained that the speaker had factored in temporary jobs required to carry out the 2010 census in tallying the total number of new federal jobs.

“In previous fact checks, we have rejected the idea of adding temporary Census workers to federal jobs totals,” PolitiFact stated. “While the statements we rated previously aren’t structured in exactly the same way as Boehner’s, we think the general principle remains valid – that when you’re counting the rise of fall in the number of federal workers over a long period of time, it’s cherry-picking to count the creation of temporary jobs but not their elimination.”

Boehner also caused waves with his recent comments on cutting federal jobs in order to reduce the deficit.

“And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it,” he said Feb. 15. “We’re broke. It’s time for us to get serious about how we’re spending the nation’s money.”

 

 

 


 

Posted by Alyah Khan on Feb 17, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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