Sunday, 24 June, 2018

The Economic Risks of Trump's Premature Tweeting

Trump appears to comment on jobs report before its official release Trump flouts federal rule with tweet touting job numbers | TheHill
Scott Davis | 04 June, 2018, 07:58

Roughly an hour before the May employment data was released Friday morning, President Donald Trump appeared to hint on Twitter that a strong jobs report was coming.

The president's tweet at 7:21 a.m. read, "Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning", previewing what turned out to be a report that exceeded economists' expectations.

Larry Kudlow, the president's top economic adviser, downplayed Trump's tweet.

Within seconds of Trump's post, the USA dollar strengthened and Treasury yields rose, as investors anticipated the strong report they thought Trump had foreshadowed. "There wasn't a reaction beyond the markets' reactions to other (Trump) tweets", he said. If I were still working in the White House, I would have received the numbers around 1 p.m. Most national reporters live in Washington or NY and don't know any factory workers and don't think about them.

"President Trump was sent the jobs numbers in advance", said Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in Obama administration.

"We're concerned that these actions are actually not conducive to helping our economy, they actually are destructive, and that is consistently held across the six countries that expressed their point of view to Secretary Mnuchin", Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau said at a news conference after the meeting ended in the Canadian mountain resort town of Whistler, British Columbia.

But manufacturing jobs under President Trump are growing, by a lot, after declining under Barack Obama.

Several hours after the report was officially released, Trump, speaking at a U.S. Coast Guard change-of-command ceremony, said the jobs data represented "yet one more historic milestone". Most jobs reports are released on the first Friday of each month.




"We've reached yet one more historic milestone with 3.8 percent unemployment, just announced", Trump said later Friday at a Coast Guard ceremony. "And if this tweet is conveying inside information about a particularly good jobs number you should never get them in advance from the Council of Economic Advisers again".

As a result, some "two-thirds of the drop in the unemployment rate in May was because workers found jobs, while about one-third of the drop was from people leaving the labor force", the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute noted.

"I don't think he gave anything away, incidentally". "He wants to be the source of all the good information, and anything that doesn't come from him, if it in any way shows a less-than-positive aspect of his administration, he decries as fake".

"Of course he knew", Kudlow said in an interview Friday.

But former Obama White House press secretary Jay Carney took it a step further, saying that the same would be true under both Bush administrations:Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary to President George W. Bush, seemed to concur.

However, under a longstanding Office of Management and Budget procedure, USA presidents are briefed about the report by the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers before the official release time.

Given that Trump didn't report exact numbers, it's probable that he didn't technically violate the rule in question, but he certainly came close to doing so, and it raises concerns about the future and what impact this breach of protocol will have in the future.

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