The Fact Checker: 1 Pinocchio, Economy

President Obama’s Google Plus ‘hangout’ claims about engineering demand


(Saul Loeb - AFP/Getty Images)

"There's a huge demand around this country for engineers. . . . Where you’re seeing a lot of specialized demand is in engineering that’s related to the high-tech industries.”

-- President Obama, during a Google Plus video conference, Jan. 30

 

Obama’s comments came in response to a question from Fort Worth resident Jennifer Wedel, who asked why the government has extended and continues to issue H-1B visas when people such as her engineer husband, Darin Wedel, can’t find work.

The president said that not all engineering fields have equal demand at the moment but that “what the industry tells me is that they don’t have enough highly skilled engineers” for work in the high-tech domain.

Obama seemed perplexed after Jennifer mentioned that her husband was a semiconductor engineer. He asked her to forward his resume and said he was interested in “finding out exactly what’s happening there.” We decided to look into the matter as well. 

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Romney vs. Obama on job creation


(BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS)

“And I'm very happy in my former life; we helped create over 100,000 new jobs. By the way, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president’s created in the entire country. So if the president wants to talk about jobs, and I hope he does, we’ll be comparing my record with his record and he comes up very, very short.”

— Mitt Romney, Jan. 3, 2012

 

It’s a new year, and we already have new claims about job creation. The Romney campaign was sufficiently proud of this quote, made on “Fox and Friends,” that it blast-e-mailed it to reporters.

 As we have mentioned before, the notion that a president – or particularly a governor – can magically create jobs with a set of policies is a bit of a stretch. Broadly speaking, presidential policies can certainly have an impact, but even a president is at the mercy of  the business cycle. Obama became president in the midst of the worst recession in memory, so obviously that is going to be a drag on his “job-creation record.”

  

The Facts

 The Romney campaign provided a link to Bureau of Labor Statistics data showing that during Romney’s four-year term as Massachusetts governor, the number of jobs went up 61,000. By contrast, the number of jobs under Obama has dropped by 1.86 million.  

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