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During the July 25, 2010 segment of ABC's This Week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner defended President Barack Obama's economic track record. He specifically brought up the successes that the administration has had in boosting activity in the private sector.
"But right now, the best thing the government can do...is help create the conditions for the private sector to start to invest in hiring again. Now, we've seen six months of positive job growth by the private sector. That's pretty good."
We don't have the expertise to evaluate what constitutes "pretty good" job growth, but we can check the claim that the growth has been positive for the last six months.
We visited the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of our favorite federal number crunchers. On July 2, 2010, the bureau released its monthly Current Employment Statistics Highlights report. On page five, the report contains statistics on seasonally adjusted private sector employment going back to January 2000. Geithner specifically referenced the last six months of the current year, so that's where we focused our attention.
In December 2009, the private sector shed 83,000 jobs. That was significantly smaller than the average drop for the year, since the private-sector employment losses averaged 388,000 per month during 2009, according to the report. And so we come to 2010. How have we fared for the past six months? Here's a quick monthly summary of jobs added:
Data for the month of July --which wasn't over when Geithner spoke -- won't be released until August, so that's the most up-to-date data available. The report notes that data for the two most recent months are preliminary. But unless there's an unusually big after-the fact correction for either month, it's pretty clear that Geithner was correct. We've seen positive job growth in the private sector from January to June. We rate this True.
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