Trump hints at strong jobs report ahead of its release
04 June, 2018, 07:57 | Author: Lora Ball
On Friday morning, amid the drama over the U.S. President Donald Trump's tweet, which appeared to be a clear signal to the markets about the jobs report, more than an hour before it was officially released, the markets began responding.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced at 8.30am that the USA had added 223,000 new jobs in May as the unemployment rate slid t0 3.8%, its lowest level since April 2000 and one of the lowest levels since after the second world war.
"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning", he said on Twitter, prompting outcry from many former officials.
On Thursday night, Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump's economic adviser, briefed Trump about the jobs data while they were travelling together aboard Air Force One.
Kudlow defended the president's tweet across a series of subsequent media appearances Friday morning, arguing Trump didn't give anything away and that his remarks were open to interpretation.
If one can draw a postive inference from the fact that the President tweeted a "heads-up" an hour in advance of the jobs report, what conclusion will traders reach if he fails to do so in the future, and what impact will that have on markets? Treasury yields rose after the tweet and ahead of the jobs report. "There wasn't a reaction beyond the markets' reactions to other (Trump) tweets", he 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. "Unlikely that there will be a reprimand or any kind of official reaction; the issue will fade within a day or two, but next month's report will get more attention than usual".
"You should have gotten the employment numbers from the Council of Economic Advisers yesterday". Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary to President George W. Bush, said of Trumps post: "This certainly was a no-no". The economy added 223,000 jobs in May, even more than economists predicted.
Trump often wants to know the information as soon as possible, a person familiar with the briefings said, and receives the information on Thursday evenings, as he did this week when he was briefed by Kudlow.
That comment was made, however, shortly after lunch, hours before the White House would have received the jobs data.
"I apologize if we're a little excited and we're so glad to see so many fellow Americans back at work", he said. And it came at the height of the financial crisis, when companies were laying off workers and the stock market was sliding almost every day.
"President Trump was sent the jobs numbers in advance", said Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in Obama administration.
"Make no mistake about it, it was good news on the labor market front, and his tweet did move the market", said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG, a Tokyo-based global bank with offices in NY.
"He has been on a campaign to undermine public trust in information that doesn't come from him", Naftali said.
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