Fact Check: US Economy Supposedly Added 15M Jobs During Biden Administration. Here's What the Data Says

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Eros Hoagland Getty Images
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The U.S. economy added 15 million jobs between the time U.S. President Joe Biden took office and February 2024.


Rating: Mixture
Rating: Mixture

What's True:

As the U.S. economy kept on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it gained 14.9 million jobs in total. However ...


What's False:

About 9 million of those jobs were lost during the pandemic, so the net jobs gain from pre-pandemic levels was 5.5 million.


In March 2024, U.S. Department of Commerce, the White House and Vice President Kamala Harris all announced that under the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, the U.S. economy had added nearly 15 million jobs, with a unemployment rate below 4% since February 2022, the "longest stretch in more than 50 years." This is what the White House's Facebook post said:

Nearly 15 million new jobs in just three years.

Unemployment under 4% for the longest stretch in over 50 years.

Record 16 million new business applications.

Wages keep going up and inflation keeps falling.

President Biden is growing the economy from the middle out and bottom up.

Harris' post on X (former Twitter) on March 20, 2024, (archived) read: "Nearly 15 million jobs created since President @JoeBiden and I took office."

Harris post: Job growth under Joe Biden
Harris post: Job growth under Joe Biden

(@KamalaHarris / X)

It is true that in January 2021, when Biden took office, 142.9 million people were employed, and that number rose to 157.8 million for the month of February 2024, according to preliminary figures from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose figures are revised regularly. This represents an increase of 14.9 million jobs. This number, however, is a bit misleading.

Pre-Pandemic Employment Levels

In February 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the U.S., 152.3 million people were employed. Two months later, that number had dropped by 21.9 million, to 130.4 million. By the time former President Donald Trump left office, more than half of those jobs had been recovered.

It took 17 more months, until June 2022, for the U.S. economy to recover the remaining 9 million jobs lost during the pandemic. From that perspective, the actual net gain during the Biden administration was 5.5 million jobs as of February 2024, not 14.9 million. This is based on our calculations using numbers from the BLS.

Signs of a Strong Economy

The data shows that the U.S. economy has been strong overall under Biden, however. For instance, the government reported that 275,000 jobs had been added to the economy in February 2024 compared to the previous month, a number that surpassed the 200,000 that had been estimated, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, while the unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 3.9%, it had remained under 4% for two full years, something that hadn't happened since 1967.

Further, the economy grew 3.1% in 2023, a year that 85% of economists in a survey expected would end in a recession. Given these numbers, many at the time of this writing were taking the view that it may take longer than forecast for growth to slow down.


'Analysis-Steady Fed Outlook Boosts Stock Market's Hopes for Coveted "Soft Landing"'. Yahoo Finance, 21 Mar. 2024, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/analysis-steady-fed-outlook-boosts-060244874.html.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Data. https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001. Accessed 21 Mar. 2024.

'By the Numbers: U.S. Economy Adds Over 275,000 Jobs in February Exceeding Expectations'. U.S. Department of Commerce, 8 Mar. 2024, https://www.commerce.gov/news/blog/2024/03/numbers-us-economy-adds-over-275000-jobs-february-exceeding-expectations.

Goodkind, From CNN's Alicia Wallace, Elisabeth Buchwald, Bryan Mena and Nicole. 'Live Updates: Another Shockingly Good Jobs Report Shows America's Economy Is Booming'. CNN, 2 Feb. 2024, https://www.cnn.com/business/live-news/jobs-report-january-02-02-24/index.html.

Guida, Victoria. 'US Growth Shatters Expectations, Boosting Biden's Economic Pitch'. Politico, 25 Jan. 2024, https://www.politico.com/news/2024/01/25/biden-administration-economic-growth-inflation-decrease-00137777.

'How Were So Many Economists So Wrong About the Recession?' Bloomberg.Com, 26 Dec. 2023. www.bloomberg.com, https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2023-12-26/what-recession-how-so-many-economists-got-it-so-wrong.

US Adds 275,000 Jobs in Feb., Unemployment Rate at 3.9%. 8 Mar. 2024. www.bloomberg.com, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2024-03-08/us-adds-275-000-jobs-in-feb-unemployment-rate-at-3-9-video.