During his campaign, President Trump didn’t hold back on his feelings about government-issued jobs numbers. At different times, he called the official unemployment rate published by the Department of Labor “one of the biggest hoaxes in American politics,” “the biggest joke there is” and “such a phony number.”
So it was anyone’s guess as to how Trump might respond to the first numbers issued during his administration. As it turned out, the president and his aides found something to like.
On Friday, the Labor Department announced that companies added 227,000 jobs in January — exceeding the expectations of economists — and that the unemployment rate was virtually unchanged at 4.8 percent.
The survey was taken during the final weeks of the Obama administration, but that didn’t stop the new president from claiming some credit.
Trump cited the figure at a morning meeting with business leaders, saying it reflected a “great spirit in the country right now.”
“So we’re very happy about that,” Trump said. “I think that it’s gonna continue big league. We’re bringing back jobs, we’re bringing down your taxes, we’re getting rid of your regulations. I think it’s gonna be some really very exciting times ahead.”
At an afternoon briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer more explicitly credited the new administration for the final Obama-era jobs numbers.
“Speaking of good numbers, let's turn to the jobs report,” Spicer told reporters. “The economy added more than 227,000 new jobs, significantly more than the 175,000 that had been expected. Today's report reflects the consumer confidence that the Trump presidency has inspired.
“President Trump campaigned on how to make America work again,” Spicer added. “Even before he took office, the markets knew he would deliver on that promise.”