WASHINGTON — In President Donald Trump's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, he echoed comments throughout his presidency that the economy is doing very well under his leadership. Let's see how that and other topics he touched on measure up.
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A University of Central Florida economist told Spectrum News the unemployment rate in Florida is even lower than the already low national average of about 3.5 percent.
It is a job market believed to be the strongest in decades.
"There was momentum in Central Florida even prior to this administration. I think in the past three years though, Central Florida has lead the state in terms of job creation and continues to do so," said Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida's Institute for Economic Forecasting.
The U.S. is also in the longest period of continued economic growth in history, this is the 11th year, and Americans are starting to see faster rates of wage and salary growth.
"Very incredibly, the average unemployment rate under my administration is lower than any administration in the history of our country," Trump said.
The president has this one right. Data was collected starting in 1953 and president trump narrowly edges out presidents Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower with just more than a 4 percent unemployment rate average.
Current unemployment rates are lower than Americans have seen in 50 years and it is the lowest ever for black Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans.
Let's take a look at the topics in detail:
JOBS and ECONOMY
TRUMP: "In eight years under the last administration, over 300,000 working-age people dropped out of the workforce. In just three years of my administration, 3.5 million working-age people have joined the workforce."
THE FACTS: Trump is being misleading with numbers to tarnish his predecessor's record. It's not clear what he means by "working-age." But the total size of the U.S. labor force shows that the president is just wrong.
During the eight years of Barack Obama's presidency, the labor force rose by 5.06 million, according to the Labor Department. The improvement reflected a rebounding economy from the Great Recession and population growth.
As the unemployment rate has fallen, more people are finding it attractive to work and joining the labor force. This has enabled the labor force to climb by an impressive 4.86 million in just three years under Trump.
FACT CHECK: During #SOTU, President Trump said earnings by low-wage workers (bottom 10%) are rising faster than the top 10%. @PolitiFact says that's only half true -- looking at changes from year to year, earnings for the lowest 10% grew faster in only one year, 2018. #SOTU2020— Spectrum Bay News 9 (@BN9) February 5, 2020
TRUMP: "The USMCA will create nearly 100,000 new high-paying American auto jobs, and massively boost exports for our farmers, ranchers and factory workers."
THE FACTS: The president is exaggerating.
The U.S. International Trade Commission examined the deal with Canada and Mexico in an April report. The report estimated that the deal would add only 28,000 auto industry jobs six years after the deal is implemented. Separately, government officials are quoted in the report saying they believe the sector would add 76,000 jobs based on their methodology.
It's still not the 100,000 jobs claimed by Trump.
FACT CHECK: During his #SOTU speech, President Trump said drug overdose deaths have declined for the 1st time in nearly 30 years. @PolitiFact says that's mostly true according to @CDCgov figures, but figures from 2018 onward are also provisional, meaning they may be adjusted.— Spectrum Bay News 9 (@BN9) February 5, 2020
TRUMP: "For the first time in 51 years, the cost of prescription drugs actually went down."
THE FACTS: Prices for prescription drugs have edged down, but that is driven by declines for generics. Prices for brand-name medications are still going up, although more moderately.
Nonpartisan government experts at the Department of Health and Human Services reported last year that prices for pharmacy prescriptions went down by 1 percent in 2018, the first such price drop in 45 years.
The department said the last time retail prescription drug prices declined was in 1973, when they went down by 0.2 percent.
FACT CHECK: In his #SOTU speech, President Trump said, "We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions." According to @PolitiFact, this misrepresents his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which protects people with pre-existing conditions. #SOTU2020.— Spectrum Bay News 9 (@BN9) February 5, 2020
TRUMP: "We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions."
THE FACTS: That's a promise, not a guarantee.
The Trump administration is backing a lawsuit by conservative-led states that would overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, including its guarantees that people cannot be turned down or charged more for health insurance because of preexisting medical problems.
Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed they will protect people with preexisting conditions, but they have not specified how they would do that.
Estimates of how many people could potentially be affected if "Obamacare's" protections for preexisting conditions are eliminated range from about 54 million working-age adults, in a study last year from the Kaiser Family Foundation, to as many as 133 million people in a 2017 government study that also included children.
FACT CHECK: During his #SOTU speech, President Trump said drug overdose deaths have declined for the 1st time in nearly 30 years. @PolitiFact says that's mostly true according to @CDCgov figures, but figures from 2018 onward are also provisional, meaning they may be adjusted.— Spectrum News 13 (@MyNews13) February 5, 2020
TRUMP: "Before I came into office, if you showed up illegally on our southern border and were arrested, you were simply released and allowed into our country, never to be seen again. My administration has ended catch-and-release. If you come illegally, you will now be promptly removed."
THE FACTS: Not true. Under previous administrations, Mexicans were quickly returned back over the U.S.-Mexico border, while others were held in detention until they were deported. Some migrants from other countries were released into the interior of the United States to wait out their immigration cases.
And despite Trump's claims that all migrants are now "promptly" removed, there is a 1 million immigration court case backlog, which means many migrants wait up to three years before a court hearing before a judge who will determine whether someone is deported. And after a judge rules a migrant deported, travel papers must be obtained, which often leads to further delays.
The Associated Press and Spectrum News reporter Jason Lanning contributed to this story.