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Trump’s tweet teasing jobs report raises questions
03 June 2018, 08:38 | Bernice Figueroa
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"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning", he tweeted. He had never issued such a tweet before.
Meanwhile, the data showed the US unemployment rate at an 18-year low.
The Department of Labor reported at 8:30 a.m. that unemployment in the US had dropped to its lowest level since 1969 as the economy added a higher-than-expected 223,000 jobs in May.
The Trump administration is examining ways USA industries could hire more immigrant workers on a temporary basis, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Friday, as data showed the United States unemployment rate at an 18-year low.
President Donald Trump may have given gold and interest-rate traders a clear heads-up on the solid May jobs report, judging from market moves after his early tweet. "Before Twitter, the fixed-income desks across Wall Street often used snap press conferences in the Rose Garden on NFP Fridays as a sign of whether or not the jobs number would beat estimates". Friday's tweet, however, was the first time he's ever spoken about the job's report before it was released. A select number of administration officials receive the data the day before, but officials are prohibited from tipping their hand about what the numbers reveal.
"It is not a trade war, it is a discussion", Kudlow told CNBC News. "You can read into that 10 different things if you want to read into it". "That's just what I did last evening", Kudlow said.
But it led to an outcry from Democrats and Republicans, particularly veterans of past White House teams, who said the restrictions in place are meant to both prevent the politicization of these reports and leaks of market-moving information.
"This certainly was a no-no", Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to President George W. Bush, said in a tweet.
But the report highlighted once again that many Americans remain on the sidelines despite the tightening labor market.
There's a reason presidents and policy makers carefully avoid saying a single word about important economic numbers before they're officially released.
Speaking to reporters ahead of his departure for Texas on Thursday, Trump spoke glowingly about the "best unemployment we've had in many, many decades", though it's unclear if he was just speaking generally about the state of the economy or was speaking specifically to the content of the May report.
On Wall Street, where the 8:30 a.m. release on Jobs Friday is a major event for the markets each month, traders disagreed on whether the tweet actually moved prices, which fluctuate constantly and make it hard to determine if any single event pushed them in one direction or another.
Larry Summers, the Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and director of the National Economic Council under Obama, said a similar statement under those Democratic presidents "would have been a major scandal - with all sorts of investigations following on".
Jason Furman, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration, said he anxious the decision would introduce instability into markets and appear to politicize statistics.
Second, there has been a strong effort to insulate this information from political leaders, as advance discussion of the data could make it seem politicised.
Mickey Levy, chief economist at Berenberg Capital Markets in NY, said in a phone interview that "the best thing to do is to wait and see the number and size things up".
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