Rep. Mike Pence (R – IN) | Stimulus Effect on Employment | HALF TRUE

From the 5/2/2010 transcript:

REP. PENCE:  Yeah.  The so-called stimulus bill that has taken us from 7.5 percent unemployment* to nearly 10 percent unemployment nationwide; worse in Michigan.

According the the US Govt. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in February 2009 when President Obama signed the stimulus bill into law was 8.1%. In March of 2010 the BLS has the unemployment number at 9.7%. Also according to the BLS, Michigan currently has an unemployment rate of 14.1%. Therefore while Rep. Pence is slightly incorrect on the numbers, this statement is true. However, Rep. Pence clearly uses these numbers to indicate that the “so-called stimulus bill” has made unemployment worse. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report we found via, the CBO estimated ( pg.8 ) that in the fourth quarter of 2009 the unemployment rate would have been 0.5 to 1.0% higher had the stimulus bill not been passed. Additionally in a recent USA Today survey of economists, they agreed that unemployment would have been (a median estimate of) .8% higher in December without the stimulus bill. Therefore it seems clear that the stimulus bill did not contribute to unemployment but instead reduced it. Because this makes Rep. Pence’s statement obviously misleading, we rate it HALF TRUE.

It’s also worth noting after Rep. Pence’s above comment and a few additional remarks about the Florida race, this was Mr. Gregory’s response:

MR. GREGORY:  All right.  I want to move on.

*In the transcript of the 5/2 show that Meet the Press provided, they incorrectly quote Rep. Pence as saying the “employment” rate was 7.5% – he said “unemployment.”

Special thanks to Jonah, Scott, and Brian for all helping with this fact-check.