Biden takes credit for low unemployment rate, but figures show rates are lowest in GOP-led states

 March 4, 2023

President Joe Biden has taken to frequently citing and taking credit for the low national unemployment rate, which is an average derived from the combined unemployment rates for the individual states, but that claim from the president is misleading at best and leaves out some rather important context.

A recent review of government labor figures for 2022 showed that the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates were all governed by Republicans, while the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates were all governed by Democrats, according to CNS News.

In other words, it is Republican-led states with Republican policies -- and not Democrat-led states with Democratic policies -- that are driving down the national average unemployment rate that Biden likes to brag about and misleadingly take credit for.

Unemployment lowest in red states, highest in blue states

This revelation about the truth behind the national unemployment rate came via a March 1 news release from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics that broke down the employment status of working-age civilians by region, division, and state, and compared the numbers for 2021 and 2022.

CNS News took the figures provided by the BLS and compiled them into a chart that ranked all 50 states from the lowest to the highest in terms of the average unemployment rate for 2022 and also included who the governor was and what party they were affiliated with for that year.

As noted, the top 10 states with the lowest average unemployment rate were led by Republican governors, while the 10 states at the bottom of the list with the highest average unemployment had Democratic governors.

All of the states ranked

The 10 states with the lowest average unemployment rates for 2022 were South Dakota (2.1 percent, Gov. Kristi Noem-R), North Dakota (2.1, Gov. Doug Burgum-R), Nebraska (2.3, Gov. Pete Ricketts-R), Utah (2.3, Gov. Spencer Cox-R), Missouri (2.5, Gov. Mike Parsons-R), New Hampshire (2.5, Gov. Chris Sununu-R), Alabama (2.6, Gov. Kay Ivey-R), Montana (2.6, Gov. Greg Gianforte-R), Vermont (2.6, Gov. Phil Scott-R), and Idaho (2.7, Gov. Brad Little-R).

As for the 10 states with the highest average unemployment rates for 2022, that included Nevada (5.4 percent, Gov. Steve Sisolak-D), Illinois (4.6, Gov. J.B. Pritzker-D), Delaware (4.5, Gov. John Carney-D), Pennsylvania (4.4, Gov. Tom Wolf-D), New York (4.3, Gov. Kathy Hochul-D), Washington (4.2, Gov. Jay Inslee-D), Oregon (4.2, Gov. Kate Brown-D), Michigan (4.2, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer-D), Connecticut (4.2, Gov. Ned Lamont-D), and California (4.2, Gov. Gavin Newsom-D).

In fact, the highest-ranked Democrat-led state on the list is Kansas, under Gov. Laura Kelly, at number 12 with a 2.7 percent average unemployment rate, while the lowest-ranked Republican-led state was Ohio, under Gov. Mike DeWine, at number 40 with a 4 percent average unemployment rate.

Biden's dubious claim of credit

As pointed out earlier, President Biden likes to take credit for the low national average unemployment rate, such as during a speech on the economy that he delivered in early February after the better-than-expected January jobs report was released and showed that the national average unemployment rate had fallen to 3.4 percent, according to Yahoo News.

"Put simply, I would argue that the Biden economic plan is working," the president said, and added that the "critics and cynics" who doubt him are "wrong."

The article noted that several other Democrats were quick to amplify and echo Biden's claim and insinuate that Democratic economic policies were responsible for what is purported to be the lowest unemployment rate ever in more than 50 years.

However, such claims are, at best, misleading and, at worst, "patently dishonest," according to a fact-check by the Independent Women's Forum of similar claims made in November last year by President Biden, particularly in comparison to his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

Biden's "lowest rate in 50 years" claim at that time, 3.5 percent, neglected to mention that it was tied with the lowest rate under Trump right before the start of the pandemic, and Biden further leaves out the critical context of the massive spike in unemployment in 2020 due to pandemic-related government-ordered business closures, and how much of the reduction in the unemployment rate under Biden -- in addition to being largely driven by Republican-led states -- was mostly due to those prior shuttered jobs being resumed and weren't new jobs created under Biden's policies.

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