AP FACT CHECK: Trump's vast pool of idle labor is a mirage

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, center, and President Donald Trump listen to Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., speak during a meeting with lawmakers about trade policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers about trade policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers about trade policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — As he envisions a manufacturing revival, President Donald Trump is telling lawmakers the U.S. has a vast, idle labor pool itching to go to work. That's a mirage.

His remarks Tuesday at a meeting with members of Congress about trade:

TRUMP: "I do have to say that we do have a pool of 100 million people, of which some of them — many of them — want to work; they want to have a job. A lot of them do better not working, frankly, under the laws. And people don't like to talk about it. But you're competing against government. And they have great potential. They sort of want to work, but they're making less if they work than if they stay home and do other things. So we have to address that situation. That's a big problem. But we have a pool of 100 million people, a lot of whom want to work. "

THE FACTS: "Some of them" is true. But that's not true for most.

Out of Trump's pool of 100 million (actually 95.7 million, according to the government), only about 5.2 million say they want to be working. The vast majority is made up of students aged 16 and over, the elderly and people who want to stay home to raise their children. That information comes from the same government survey used to calculate the unemployment rate.

The economy is already considered to be close to full employment, meaning it's harder to find workers to fill new jobs — harder still if Trump succeeds in curbing immigration.

Few economists blame social programs for keeping people at home and out of work, as Trump appeared to do. Instead, recent economic research suggests opioid addiction is a key reason many Americans can't get or keep jobs. And past episodes of widespread imprisonment are also a factor: Having a criminal conviction makes it hard for people to find work once they are out of jail.

Trump reasons that trade penalties he's considering against other countries would spur domestic manufacturing if imports become too expensive. But Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and other lawmakers told him to tread carefully on trade sanctions because the tight U.S. labor market has existing manufacturers struggling to fill jobs.

___

Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck

___

Associated Press writer Cal Woodward contributed to this report.

Must Read

Sept. 11 memorial motorcycle ride ending on a...

Aug 10, 2016

Leaders of a massive, annual motorcycle procession to the three Sept. 11 crash sites say this...

US: 45,000 Islamic State fighters taken off...

Aug 10, 2016

A top U.S. commander says that the military campaigns against the Islamic State group in Iraq and...

Air Force struggles with fighter pilot shortage...

Aug 10, 2016

Air Force officials say they have a shortage of 700 fighter pilots, even as the U.S. battles in...

Christie denies lying, but more info likely in...

Aug 11, 2016

The revelation that a former staffer of Gov. Chris Christie texted that she believed Christie lied...

Experts say white supremacists see Trump as 'last...

Aug 11, 2016

Legal and civil rights experts say Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign is...

Sign up now!

About Us

In The Headline sought to bring professionalism back into journalism, bringing you only the most exclusive and the most impactive news from all over the globe.

Contact us: sales[at]intheheadline.com