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CNN Fact Check: Romney, women and jobs

By Emily Smith, CNN
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Romney says women lost 580,000 jobs since 2009
  • There has been a net loss of jobs, but it's now less than what Romney says
  • The current figure is about 198,000, according to U.S. government figures

(CNN) -- In Tuesday's presidential debate, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney highlighted the number of women in the unemployment lines during President Barack Obama's term.

"In the last four years, women have lost 580,000 jobs. That's the net of what's happened in the last four years," Romney said.

The picture he painted is dire, but a bit dated.

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The facts:

The Romney statement would imply that between January 2009 (when Obama took office) and September 2012 (the most recent month for which we have statistics), that 580,000 women have lost their jobs.

According to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 66.1 million women on nonfarm payrolls in January 2009. In September 2012, that number was 65.8 million. That's a loss of roughly 300,000 jobs -- 283,000, to be precise.

So where does the 580,000 jobs lost claim come from? It could be 6 months old.

In March, 65.5 million women were employed -- a net loss of 583,000 jobs since January 2009. That would give Romney the magic number. But, since March, 300,000 jobs have been added to the economy, reducing the jobs lost number to 283,000.

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According to BLS household data (which looks at more than nonfarm payroll), 451,000 women became unemployed between January 2009 and September 2012. During this same time frame, 253,000 women became employed. That's a net loss of 198,000 jobs, far short of the 580,000 claim.

Conclusion: If Romney hadn't said, "That's the net of what's happened in the last four years," his statement might have been true. Had Romney made this claim back in March, it would have been true. However, the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics don't support the statement.

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