Q:  Romney has often claimed that President Obama promised that once the stimulus package was enacted, the unemployment rate would drop and stay below 8%.  Is this claim true?

A:  There are really two issues here.  The first is that Obama never promised this. As this fact checker article points out, Romney’s own website acknowledges that this 8% figure comes from a projection prepared by Obama’s staff and issued on January 9, 2009, before Obama had taken the oath of office.  It was not an official government assessment or even an analysis of an actual plan that had passed Congress, let alone a promise.  Romney’s claims here are simply false.

The second issue is that even the 8% figure contained in the staff report was couched with a lot of uncertainty.  Recall that, before Obama took office, most economists could only speculate on how far the economy would fall and how many jobs would be lost before any new policy measures could take effect. The report referenced above certainly acknowledges the uncertainties in their assumptions about an economy that was in freefall at the time. 


The US was losing about 800,000 jobs a month when Obama took office.  As the jobs chart above shows, things started to turn around soon after he took office and now the economy is creating jobs at a better than expected rate month after month. Both the CBO and most economists acknowledge that the stimulus, like the auto bailout, created and saved many jobs.  How many is the subject of another FAQ.