WASHINGTON -- Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch rewrote economic history during a Saturday appearance on Fox News, criticizing President Barack Obama for "the 2009 recession," while offering a new metric by which unemployment would be 11 percent.
"The real unemployment rate, if you take the last 10 years prior to the 2009 recession, a 10-year average of what's called the participation rate -- how many people are working temporarily, full-time, and wanting to work -- if you take that number, and you take the 10-year average, and you run it now with this workforce, you would have an unemployment rate close to 11 percent," Welch said.
There is, in fact, no specific "2009 recession." According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the official committee that measures and studies economic cycles, the U.S. economy entered a recession in December 2007, which ended in June 2009. Recessions are categorized as periods in which gross domestic product -- a measure of economic output -- declines. The effects of this decline can reverberate in the labor market for years after growth resumes. By referring to "the 2009 recession," however, Welch creates a timeline in which Obama is the only president presiding over economic hardship.
Welch's reference to a "10-year average" is also curious. Ten years ago, it was 2002. George W. Bush was in his second year as president of the United States.
The official unemployment rate is currently 7.9 percent.
Welch's comments came during an interview with Fox's Neil Cavuto, in which Welch claimed that if Mitt Romney were elected president, economic growth would be roughly double what it will be if Obama is reelected. Welch based the claim on his view that heavier fracking and more aggressive coal mining will exist under Romney, generating additional economic output.
Welch garnered notoriety in October for making the baseless assertion that Obama's "Chicago guys" were fabricating falsely positive jobs data. The August and September jobs numbers Welch referenced were eventually revised upward, showing stronger growth than previously believed. This revision process is routine.