Trump touts surprise job figures: ‘These numbers are incredible’
President Trump on Friday celebrated an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate, calling it “incredible” and crediting his administration for the gains.
Trump tweeted repeatedly about the federal jobs report minutes after it was released on Friday, flouting a federal rule stating federal workers should not comment on the jobs report until an hour after the figures have been released. Trump has previously broken with protocol in commenting on the monthly report.
“Really Big Jobs Report. Great going President Trump (kidding but true)!” Trump tweeted Friday morning just after 8:30 a.m., when the numbers were released. “THESE NUMBERS ARE INCREDIBLE! @MariaBartiromo.”
Trump later said he would be holding a news conference on the jobs numbers at the White House at 10 a.m.
The Labor Department released data showing that the U.S. added 2.5 million jobs during the month of May as businesses began to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The unemployment rate dropped to 13.3 percent from 14.7 percent in April, coming as a major surprise to economists. Trump’s own White House advisers had previously predicted the unemployment rate could exceed 20 percent during the month of May.
The economy is a key prong of the president’s reelection effort. Trump consistently touted the low unemployment rate before the pandemic hit, and has promised a “transition to greatness” as states loosen restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus.
Trump tweeted Friday that the new jobs report had Democrats “worried again,” suggesting that presumptive Democratic nominee former Vice President Joe Biden would “kill” the recovery.
Trump has been optimistic about the ability for the U.S. economy to quickly recover as the pandemic eases and his advisers have predicted that the third and fourth quarters will see the U.S. make significant progress in regaining jobs after the coronavirus caused businesses to shut down.
Some economists, however, have described the White House’s predictions as overly optimistic, saying that the U.S. will likely see swift job gains in the summer months but that it will be a long process — potentially years — for the U.S. to return to the level of employment pre-pandemic.
The good news comes at the end of a difficult week for Trump, who has been widely criticized for his handling of demonstrations and protests around the country over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died on Memorial Day after a former Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck while Floyd complained he couldn’t breathe.
A series of new polls have also showed Trump trailing Biden nationally and in key swing states.