Trump hails 'unexpectedly good' jobs report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE on Friday touted an “unexpectedly good” June jobs report and claimed the gains would be record-breaking if the Federal Reserve did not raise interest rates throughout his term.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, the president said he was “very happy” about the monthly employment report released by the Labor Department earlier Friday, which showed a gain of 224,000 jobs in June.

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“We had great numbers this morning,” Trump said. “Those were really unexpectedly good, and our country continues to do really well — really, really well.”

The June employment report far exceeded expectations from private sector economists, who projected the U.S. to add roughly 160,000 jobs last month. The surprising overshoot may help ease fears of slowdown raised by a dismal May jobs report that fell well short of hopes.

The strength of the economy is critical to Trump’s bid for a second term, and the president has touted joblessness near record lows as he campaign for reelection.

Despite his elation with the strong jobs report, Trump claimed Friday that the economy would have transcended previous highs if the Fed yielded to his desire for lower rates.

“We're paying a lot of interest and it's unnecessary, but we don't have a Fed that knows what they're doing,” Trump argued Friday, piling on to his frequent complaints about the independent central bank.

Trump has criticized the Fed for raising interest seven times during his presidency in a bid to avoid rampant inflation, even as the rate of price increases remains far below the bank’s target.

The president argues that the Fed should lower interest rates to stimulate the economy and aid his trade battles while inflation remains low. 

“If we had a Fed that would lower rates, you would have a rocket ship,” Trump said. “When Obama, President Obama was here, he paid close to zero interest rates. I'm paying real interest, and yet our economy is much better than it's ever been.”

The Fed announced last month it may soon cut interest rates, due in part to the mounting costs and uncertainty triggered by Trump’s trade battles with China, Mexico and the European Union.

Analysts say the strong June jobs numbers may make the Fed less likely to offer stimulus. 

"With a stronger-than-expected reading on hiring, the plot thickens with respect to the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates at the end of this month," said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com

"The central bank may still attempt to mollify investors by putting a modest, so-called insurance cut in place. The array of headwinds associated with slowing global growth, trade disputes and tariffs haven’t gone away."