Trump's Teasing Jobs Report Tweet Raises Questions

Trump flouts federal rule with tweet touting job numbers

US President Donald Trump broke with long-standing protocol and said in a statement on Friday that he was looking forward to seeing the monthly jobs report, more than one hour before the Bureau of Labor Statistics officially released the data.

The Department of Labor reported at 8:30 a.m. that unemployment in the US had dropped to its lowest level since 1969 as the economy added a higher-than-expected 223,000 jobs in May.

The information is protected so carefully that the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers receives it only the afternoon or evening before its release.

The economic data released by the Federal Government, which includes not just the monthly jobs reports but also reports on consumer spending, orders for "durable goods", quarterly estimates of Gross National Product and other pieces of information are often considered to be especially significant to traders on Wall Street.

The 1985 rule that bars White House officials from releasing details of jobs reports ahead of time was written by the Reagan administration. In August 2017, he tweeted, "Excellent job numbers just released" 15 minutes after a similarly upbeat report.

Trump's tweet received harsh criticism from former members of the Obama administration.

Even before the numbers were released Friday, economists said they were stunned at the prospect that Trump was giving hints about the report's content, which fast-acting traders in financial markets could seize on to place bets on an optimism-fueled market surge.

Chris Lu, the former deputy Labor secretary during the Obama administration, explained the outrage.

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Given the president's penchant for self-promotion, many assumed this meant a strong report was coming because Trump is one of a few federal officials who sees the report on Thursday before it's released to the public. After Trump's tweet, the two-year Treasury yield climbed one basis point, while the dollar stayed flat.

"No president has fought the war on poverty better than Donald J. Trump", Mr. Navarro said on Fox's "Sunday Morning Futures". "I don't think he gave anything away" in the tweet, Kudlow said in a separate interview with CNBC. "The advance info is sacrosanct - not to be shared".

Trump's supporters revere this mold-breaking approach, but it has created an environment in which information that has always been closely held by the government is now fair game for Trump to reveal through a Twitter post or a casual remark.

Second, there has been a strong effort to insulate this information from political leaders, as advance discussion of the data could make it seem politicized.

"President Trump's policies are having a tremendous positive impact on the lives of Americans of all classes and backgrounds". "It's not the first norm he's breached; I think I've lost count of how many norms he's ignored or violated".

Trump's tweet could set a "bad precedent" for future job-related announcements from the federal government, said Gary Kaltbaum, president of Kaltbaum Capital Management. That was higher than the growth of 188,000 positions that economists had expected.

But the same rule also says they employees shouldn't comment publicly on the data until at least an hour after release - a regulation Trump has routinely flouted on social media.

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