Fact Check: Joe Biden's Claim America is Adding Jobs at 'Record Pace'

The Biden Administration's economic policies have come under intense scrutiny following the release of the latest employment data, which significantly undershot the job growth expectations for November. President Joe Biden fired back at the critics.

The Claim

Biden claimed that the U.S. is adding jobs at "record pace," with 6 million more employed since January.

"America continues to add jobs at a record pace and nearly 6 million new jobs have been created since I was sworn in on January 20. Our economy is moving in the right direction, but we have more to do," the President tweeted.

But the slower-than-expected pick-up in November, with 210,000 new jobs added, has drawn some criticism, with Eric Trump, the son of former president Donald Trump, calling it "the worst jobs number we've seen in a long time" in an interview with Fox News.

The Facts

Though the two claims seem diametrically opposed, they are simply reflecting two sides of the same coin. Assessing the current state of the labor market, however, requires more nuance.

The U.S. economy added just 210,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the lowest since December 2020, and significantly below market expectations of 550,000.

The figures for the year so far, however, remain very strong. Unemployment across the country also fell by 0.4 percent in November; at 4.2 percent, the current level is closing in on the 60-year lows seen between 2018 and 2020.

Jobs added in November put the total for 2021 so far at nearly 6.11 million new jobs, supporting the second part of Biden's claim. Even discounting the yet unknown December figures, this marks the single biggest year-on-year increase in U.S. history, and the biggest proportional increase (roughly 3.93 percent year-on-year as of October) since 1964.

For comparison, the highest annual employment growth of the Trump presidency was recorded in 2016 (+1.68 percent), while in his final year the COVID pandemic-induced hit on the jobs market resulted in a 5.86 percent drop.

But assessing whether the labor market is actually expanding at "record pace" is a little trickier. While it is true that both the total figure for the year and the average monthly gains (555,000, according to BLS data) are at historical highs, the November increase is the most modest so far this year.

To claim it is the "worst number in a long time," as Eric Trump had done, would be an exaggeration, with job growth dipping by 306,000 as recently as December 2020. But the latest figure is nevertheless low enough to put a dent into Biden's "record pace" claims.

In his response to a Newsweek comment request, White House deputy press secretary Chris Meagher said Biden was "talking about the number of jobs since he was sworn in," but did not address the narrower point about the November data signaling a slowdown.

The Ruling

Fact Check - Half True

Half True.

Biden is correct in stating that the U.S. economy has added 6 million jobs (in fact, 6.11 million and counting) since January 2021. His claim of "record pace" growth in employment is however more problematic: even though the annual figures are indeed record-breaking, last month's numbers reflect a slowdown in the current labor market. We therefore rate his claim as half-true.


Biden speaking on December 6, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the Build Back Better legislation at the White House on December 6. Biden has insisted under his leadership the economy is on the right track and job growth is seeing a “record pace.” Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Update 12/8/21 4:05 AM ET: This article was updated with comments from the White House press office.