Trump: Monthly jobs reports 'do matter'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE acknowledged on Wednesday that the government's monthly jobs reports are legitimate — a departure from his campaign trail claims that the assessments are fraudulent.

"When we got those great reports, I kept saying, 'you know, those numbers, whether it's 4.2, 4.3 [percent], I said, for a long time, they don't matter," the president said during at a "Made in America Week" roundtable discussion. "But now I accept those numbers very proudly. I say they do matter."

As a presidential candidate, Trump frequently claimed that the monthly jobs numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics were completely inaccurate, fake and fabricated.

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But his tone on the matter began to change shortly after he took office in January. In March, after a sizable gain in employment in February, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president was pleased with the new numbers.

“I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly: 'They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now,' " Spicer said.

Trump also took issue in the past with the unemployment rate, arguing that it was much higher than reported under former President Obama. 

"The unemployment rate is probably 20 percent, but I will tell you, you have some great economists that will tell you it's at 30, 32,” he said in September 2015. “And the highest I've heard so far is 42 percent."