(Editor’s note: As President Obama nears the end of his final term, PolitiFact will be rating the last of the more than 500 campaign promises he made during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns. For a full list of those promises and our ratings on the Obameter, please see http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter\.)
After a presidential election decided by Rust Belt voters’ Republican shift, it’s an opportune time to evaluate President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election promise to “create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016” and to “double American exports over the next five years.”
First, manufacturing jobs.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that between the time Obama made that promise, amid the 2012 campaign, and October 2016, the number of manufacturing jobs rose by 297,000. That’s well below 1 million.
And you can’t get to 1 million even if you use time frames that are generous to Obama.
If you start from the beginning of Obama’s term — which started in a severe economic downturn — the number of manufacturing jobs is actually down by about 303,000.
And if you start counting net gains in manufacturing jobs from their lowest point in early 2010, the gains are strongest, but it’s only an increase of 805,000 — still short of 1 million.
What about his pledge to double exports?
Barring miraculous growth over two months, Obama will fall short here as well.
In 2012, U.S. exports in goods and services amounted to $2.2 trillion. That rose slightly in 2013 and 2014 before falling back a bit to $2.3 trillion in 2015. The final data for 2016 isn’t in yet, but projecting based on the numbers through September, the total is on track to hit somewhere around, or slightly above, $2.2 trillion.
That’s far from doubling. It’s barely keeping pace with 2012 levels.
Looking instead at goods alone — not services — the totals actually faltered between 2012 and 2016.
Goods alone went from $1.6 trillion in 2012, 2013 and 2014 to $1.5 trillion in 2015 and possibly as low as $1.4 trillion in 2016. That’s a decrease over five years.
No matter how you slice it, this is a Promise Broken.
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For a full list of President Obama’s promises and our ratings, please see www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/