White House officials trumpet jobs growth
© Getty Images

The White House moved quickly Friday to take credit for a positive jobs report, saying the growth was fueled by President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE's ambitious economic agenda.

The U.S. economy added a robust 235,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent, continuing a streak of 77 straight months of jobs growth in the country.

Trump retweeted a story about the jobs report, while White House press secretary Sean Spicer commented: “Not a bad way to start day 50 of this administration.”

Trump’s National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, said the White House’s economic plan clearly boosted job growth in the administration's first full month. He called the 235,000 new jobs “a perfect number” and said it's “right exactly where it needed to be.”

“Our jobs plan and our jobs creation — and bringing jobs back to America — is going exactly the way we’d like it to go,” Cohn said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“When I was on a month ago, we talked about bringing jobs back. I think this number reaffirms everything we’re trying to do," he said.

While Cohn acknowledged that much of the February number was due to a warm winter, he gave the White House’s early pledges credit for better-than-expected labor market growth.

“I’m not going to deny that, but on the other hand, when you look at what we’ve been doing here at the White House and all the CEOs that we’ve brought in, whether it be Exxon or Sprint or Intel, they’ve promised an enormous amount of jobs and job creation in the United States,” he said.

"So when you look at what’s ahead of us and what’s built in the system, we have a huge backlog of hiring that we already know about than in the normal run rate of the economy.”

Democrats had a sharply different view of who should be getting credit for the uptick in hiring.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez, a Labor secretary under former President Obama, took issue with the new administration trumpeting the numbers he says are born from eight years of his last boss's policies. 

“Donald Trump, he’s going to claim credit for these jobs numbers today, and I find that to be rather humorous,” Perez said on MSNBC.

“The Washington Wizards, I’m a Wizards fan, they have one of the best records in the NBA since Jan. 20, and Donald Trump has about as much to do with that as he has to do with these 235,000 jobs report, which is a good report,” Perez said.

Job gains have averaged 209,000 over the past three months.  

The labor market has maintained a steady pace of growth since October 2010 after a long string of job losses during the final year of the George W. Bush administration that were worsened by the financial crisis.

“As a result of [Obama's] courageous efforts in passing the stimulus bill and what we saw as a result of that is now 84 months in a row of private-sector jobs growth, the unemployment rate was 10 percent eight years ago now we’re at 4.7 percent," Perez said.

Trump supporters are calling the jobs growth part of a "Trump rally" spurred by a pro-business agenda that includes promises to overhaul the tax code, dramatically reduce regulations and repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

That proposed agenda has sent the stock market soaring to new heights and bolstered business confidence.

Still, Austan Goolsbee, who served as chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, warned that, despite the latest stock market run, warned investors could be “in for a bumpy ride” if the president’s sweeping plans get bogged down in Congress.

Since the jobs recovery kicked into full gear in 2010, February has typically been a strong month for job creation.

There were 238,000 jobs created that month in 2015 and 237,000 a year ago.

Trump has said that he “inherited” an economic and foreign policy mess from Obama and promised to unleash robust job creation in the United States, partly by renegotiating trade deals.