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.)
Wow, a blowout JOBS number just out, adjusted for revisions and the General Motors strike, 303,000. This is far greater than expectations. USA ROCKS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019
Super 💪🏼 jobs numbers today. 128,000 new jobs in October, adding to the +6.7 MILLION jobs created since President Trump’s election.The economy is on 🔥🔥🔥!
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) November 1, 2019
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.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is one of the most respected statistical agencies in the world. Instead of relying on BLS data, the president is making up his own numbers. It's propaganda and yet another example of how he's diminishing career civil servants. https://t.co/YqyqLarwZI
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) November 1, 2019
Where is this 303,000 figure coming from? Am I missing something in the report? https://t.co/rpzwNdecYv
— Dustin P. Walsh (@dustinpwalsh) November 1, 2019
Data doesn’t lie…. https://t.co/UJABhqqW5k
— Joseph Brusuelas (@joebrusuelas) November 1, 2019
This isn't true. The number is 128,000. Are there days when you *don't* lie?
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) November 1, 2019
He's literally rewriting jobs numbers. The actual jobs numbers were 128,000. In case you were wondering how stupid he thinks his supporters are.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) November 1, 2019
oh is it Opposite Day already
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) November 1, 2019
Is our GDP at the 4, 5, or 6 percent Trump predicted? NO.Is it at the 3 percent he guaranteed? NO.Is it at the 2 percent he said was terrible under Obama? NO.U.S. GDP during the last quarter dropped to 1.9%.
— Facts Do Matter (@WilDonnelly) November 1, 2019
Here’s the rundown. The revisions cover August and September, so do not count as jobs added in October, and you can’t just remove the drag from Census jobs unless you remove the adding of those jobs from previous reports.https://t.co/DeAORYXcAv