Facts Matter: Trump touts manufacturing boom, but factory jobs down 740,000

  • Manufacturing activity has not returned to pre-pandemic levels yet.

    Manufacturing activity has not returned to pre-pandemic levels yet. Rob Golden, Fairbanks Energy Services, 2020

Updated 8/22/2020 7:12 PM

President Donald Trump, during a news conference earlier this month, claimed parts of the economy are doing very well.

"The manufacturing sector is booming and the production index is at the highest reading since October of '18, which was an extraordinary period of time," the president said.


But U.S. factories have been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic and the recovery has not yet begun, according to The Associated Press.

"There is no boom," the AP said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 740,000 fewer manufacturing jobs than before the start of the pandemic, despite some job growth over recent months. In June, 357,000 jobs were added in the manufacturing sector followed by an increase of 26,000 in July.

There were 257,000 more factory jobs on the day Trump took office than there are now, the AP said.

The president was citing an Institute for Supply Management report on factory production showing growth in July at the greatest increase since 2018, the AP said. But output is more than 11% below pre-pandemic levels, and the same report said those businesses are cutting jobs.

Harris was sworn in with hand on Bible

Sen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday accepted the nomination for vice president, joining presidential candidate Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket.

A recent post claiming, "Harris refused to be sworn in using the Bible" was shared on Facebook nearly 10,000 times.

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Although the original post didn't specify which swearing-in ceremony it referred to, Harris, who identifies as a Baptist, rested her left hand on a Bible as she took the oath before joining the Senate on Jan. 3, 2017, according to USA Today.

As then-Vice President Biden officiated at the swearing in, Harris handed a family Bible, which she described as "well-worn," to her husband, Doug Emhoff, to hold.

Harris grew up in a multifaith family, splitting time between a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple. She currently attends services at the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco.

Pence 'can't wait' for VP debate

Vice President Mike Pence, running for reelection alongside Trump, is set to debate his challenger, Kamala Harris, Oct. 8 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

But a meme circulating on social media, shared more than 800 times, falsely claims he plans to skip the debate, <URL destination="https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/aug/19/facebook-posts/no-mike-pence-hasnt-refused-debate-kamala-harris/">according to PolitiFact.


</URL>The vice president has recently stated that he is looking forward to meeting with Harris on the debate stage.

During a rally in Arizona, Pence offered congratulations to Harris following her nomination, and then said, "I'll see you in Salt Lake City."

Days later, he again addressed the issue during an interview on Fox News.

"I think she is a skilled debater," he said, "But I can't wait to get to Salt Lake and be on the stage with her."

'Cages' built during Obama administration

Former first lady Michelle Obama, in a speech kicking off the Democratic National Convention, chided Trump for policies that separate immigrant families and put children in "cages."

"(Americans) watch in horror as children are torn from their families and thrown into cages," Obama said.

However, the cages remark is "misleading and a matter that Democrats have persistently distorted," according to The Associated Press.

The chain-link fence enclosures she referred to as "cages" were built and used during her husband's administration to temporarily house migrants, separated by gender and age.

Photos of children held in the enclosures, tweeted and later deleted by activists against Trump's policies, were actually taken by AP photographers in 2014.

Group was trespassing on bridge, official says

Earlier this month, bridges over the Chicago River were raised at night in an effort to prevent looting downtown.

A video posted on social media, showing six people sitting on the raised Franklin-Orleans Bridge was met with concern.

"Chicago officials raised the bridge not knowing a group was still crossing," read the caption accompanying the video posted on Twitter, which racked up 3.6 million views.

But city officials said the group was not trapped, it was trespassing, <URL destination="https://blockclubchicago.org/2020/08/18/did-the-city-raise-a-downtown-bridge-with-people-on-it-no-officials-say-after-viral-video-surfaces/?fbclid=IwAR0qzwAZv6PaqqD_p-1nsjaS4mTvm4KkLvOmrFahoMNUhv2YTj_YSgQTyvc">according to Block Club Chicago.

</URL>"We are aware of the widely circulated video depicting individuals on raised bridges in the downtown area," a Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman said. The agency will "hold all individuals participating in this extremely reckless and potentially deadly behavior accountable for trespassing."

The person who posted the video had previously posted videos of himself climbing up a raised bridge by holding on to the hand rails, Block Club said.

Chicago police are investigating.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

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