The federal government released official jobs figures for October on Friday ― and President Donald Trump more than doubled them in a subsequent boast on Twitter.
Experts were scratching their heads over the president’s creative calculations, and Trump was quickly blasted online for his “fuzzy math” and “Trump University economics.” One economist said the cooked-up figures were “not tethered to any empirical reality.”
The Trump administration’s own Labor Department reported that a higher-than-expected 128,000 jobs were added to the U.S. in October, even as the nation’s jobless rate edged up to 3.6%.
But the numbers weren’t good enough for Trump. So he tweeted that the nation added a “blowout” 303,000 jobs. (Daughter Ivanka Trump stuck with the official 128,000 figure in her own tweet.)
The White House later explained its inflated math. It arbitrarily pumped up the numbers with 60,000 jobs that officials claimed were lost directly or indirectly to the General Motors strike. Then, for good measure, it added in jobs adjustments from previous months (though did not subtract any downward adjustments from earlier months). It also added in 20,000 temporarily hired Census workers who are no longer working.
“The statement makes little sense and is not tethered to any empirical reality,” Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist at international accounting conglomerate RSM, told Politico.
“The financial media should prepare for a lot more gas-lighting on the employment data next year when the Census Bureau is going to hire greater than 500,000 to conduct the decennial census,” Brusuelas warned. “Economists, like me, will always interpret the topline change in employment excluding the census, but given what I observed today, I do not expect that out of the White House.”
Trump got some major blowback on Twitter, including from Chris Lu, a deputy secretary of labor under former President Barack Obama.