Fact Check: Biden Claims More People Working Today Than Before The Pandemic

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 26: U.S. President Joe Biden campaigns with Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe at Virginia Highlands Park on October 26, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. The Virginia gubernatorial election, pitting McAuliffe against Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin, is November 2. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

CLAIM: “Not only that, more people are working today than just before the pandemic started,” President Joe Biden said at campaign event with Terry Mcauliffe in Virginia last.

VERDICT: False.

This one is not even close. Many people lost their jobs when the pandemic struck and still have not found work. No matter how you count it, there are fewer people working than just before the pandemic.

In February 2020, just before the pandemic took hold and lockdowns were issued, there were 158,732,000 people employed in America, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s broadest measure of employment. In September, there were 153,680,000 people employed. That’s a decline of just over five million.

 

Another measure of employment, called nonfarm payrolls, also shows the decline. This measure excludes proprietors, private household employees, unpaid volunteers, farm employees, and the unincorporated self-employed. Prior to the pandemic, there were 152,523,000 people on nonfarm payrolls. Today, there are 147,553,000 on nonfarm payrolls. That is a gap of just under 5 million.

So what about the private sector? Employment on private payrolls stood at 129,393,689 in February 2020. 123,853,888. That’s a gap of around 5.5 million.

 

Biding was speaking in Virginia and praising the work of its embattled governor, Terry McAuliffe. So is employment up in Virginia? Nope. Prepandemic nonfarm payrolls had 4,091,000 workers. The latest data show just 3,929,000 workers.

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