Fact check: Biden’s comments on inflation, gas, unemployment

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President Joe Biden speaks at Onondaga Community College on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(NewsNation) — President Joe Biden and Democrats are increasingly honing in on inflation, since it’s one of the top concerns for voters.

In an exclusive NewsNation interview and during an appearance in Syracuse, Biden made claims about the economy, unemployment and energy. NewsNation’s Tom Dempsey followed up on those statements Friday to check their accuracy.

Economy and inflation

Claim: Incomes outpaced inflation last quarter.

Finding: True. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, disposable personal incomes increased by 6% in Q3 this year and saw a similar increase the quarter before. During the same time, inflation went up just under 5%, down from 8.5% the previous quarter.

Claim: The economy grew at a 2.6% rate last quarter.

Finding: True. Real GDP can be a good source to measure economic growth. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, that went up 2.6% in the third quarter this year. The increase could be attributed to bumps in exports and consumer spending, while being partly offset by a decrease in housing investment. 

Unemployment and wages

Claim: The U.S. lost 180,000 manufacturing jobs under Trump and Biden added 700,000 —the fastest rate in 40 years.

Finding: Somewhat true. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country lost 182,000 manufacturing jobs under Trump. It’s important to note that many of those got lost during the pandemic when the economy shut down. Under Biden, the country did add slightly under 700,000 manufacturing jobs, including over a quarter million this year alone. 

Claim: Unemployment is almost half of what it was from when Biden was inaugurated.

Finding: True. Unemployment was 6.4% when Biden took office last year. Now, it’s at 3.5% — the lowest mark in 50 years. Under Trump, unemployment hit 3.5% three different times.

Energy and gas

Claim: Gas prices are falling because of action Biden has taken.

Finding: Somewhat false. Gas prices are primarily driven by supply and demand. The releases from the strategic oil reserve help, but demand has also gone down at the same time. The president can point to the releases he has ordered, but bigger factors also come into play. 

Claim: Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare and would shut down the government to do so.

Finding: Mostly false. Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Ron Johnson have brought up cutting entitlement programs, but party leadership has in no way committed to these ideas yet. Sen. Mitch McConnell has even come out against Scott’s plan, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said he could be willing to shut down the government during debt ceiling negotiations, but he will not commit to cutting entitlement programs. 

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