The Bureau of Labor Statistics last week announced that its economists had found an extra 400,000 jobs in past surveys, a revision that had some real symbolic value: It appears to mean that there are more jobs in the American economy now than there were in January of 2009, the month President Barack Obama was sworn in.
A new ad from the Republican SuperPAC American Crossroads ignores this figure: There are now, the ad says, “fewer jobs than when he started.”
A spokesman for American Crossroads, Jonathan Collegio, didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry about the figure.
But it’s not entirely indefensible. While observers, like the financial news service Bloomberg, now estimate that the economy is up 125,000 jobs since January of 2009, BLS has not made those numbers official.
“We’re going to ignore the revision” for the purpose of official figures, BLS Spokesman Gary Steinberg told BuzzFeed. “The revision will at some point add to this number that we’re going to give you but it’s preliminary at this point — the revision is not seasonally adjusted.”
It’s worth noting that while the magic number of whether jobs have been created or lost in the Obama years has real symbolic value, it’s also economically meaningless. What’s more, it depends on an arbitrary starting point: Obama was inaugurated on January 20 of 2009; if you begin counting on February 1, he’s already in net positive territory.