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2018 State of the Union Fact Check

Reporters from The New York Times checked the facts, falsehoods and statements in need of context from President Trump’s first State of the Union address. Watch a replay along with real time analysis here, and read an annotated transcript of the speech.


“Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.”The math is correct, but context matters.

The economy has added about 169,000 jobs a month since the 2016 election, but that is somewhat less than the 185,000 jobs per month that the economy added over the previous seven years.

— Binyamin Appelbaum


“African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.”True, but needs context.

It’s true that the black unemployment rate in December, 6.8 percent, was the lowest recorded, but that is also the culmination of a longer-term trend. Moreover, it’s an open question how much credit a president, especially in his first year, can take for the economy.

— Linda Qiu


“After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.”False.

Wages are, in fact, rising — but at a slower rate than they were at the end of President Obama’s second term.

— Jim Tankersley

health care

“We eliminated an especially cruel tax that fell mostly on Americans making less than $50,000 a year — forcing them to pay tremendous penalties simply because they couldn’t afford government-ordered health plans. We repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare — the individual mandate is now gone.’’True, but needs context.

In the newly passed tax law, Congress eliminated penalties for people who go without health insurance, starting in 2019. An estimated 4.5 percent of taxpayers paid the penalty in 2015, and nearly 60 percent of those who did earned less than $50,000 in 2015 — though the Kaiser Family Foundation found that a sizable amount of low-income Americans paying the penalty could find coverage for less.

People could, in many cases, obtain exemptions from the penalties that were indeed a major element of the Affordable Care Act. Other elements of the health care law remain intact.

— Robert Pear


“Apple has just announced its plans to invest a total of $350 billion in America, and hire another 20,000 workers.”This needs context.

The technology giant Apple did, indeed, say after the tax cut passed that it would “invest” $350 billion domestically over the next five years. But at least $275 billion of that was simply continuing the company’s past spending trends. The actual amount of new investment appears to be roughly $37 billion.

— Jim Tankersley

President Trump claimed to have eliminated more regulations within the past year than any previous administration. He also promised an embrace of "beautiful, clean coal."CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesPresident Trump laid out his plan for changes for family-based immigration to a smattering of boos and hisses.CreditCredit…Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

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