Black unemployment hits lowest point since 1972, overall rate drops again

Posted June 04, 2018

President Donald Trump was briefed Thursday night about the monthly employment report issued Friday morning in Washington and signaled in advance that the numbers were going to be favorable, breaking with past practice of presidents who avoided disclosure of market-sensitive information.

"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning", he tweeted at 7:21 a.m. ET.

The unemployment rate in the USA has fallen to its lowest in half a century, additionally shrinking the gap between black unemployment and white unemployment, the Labor Department reported Friday. The president and other senior members of his administration are privy to the numbers a day before their release, but a Bureau of Economic Analysis rule bars executive-branch employees from commenting until an hour after the numbers are officially made public.

Jason Furman, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration, said he anxious the decision would introduce instability into markets and appear to politicize statistics.

The jobs data come out once a month, and often can lead to massive buying or selling trends on Wall Street depending on how the information is received.

Earlier on Friday, Labor Department data showed job growth accelerated in May and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent, pointing to rapidly tightening labor market conditions that also showed wages rising solidly. Bloomberg News data also showed that the value of the US dollar moved sharply higher after the Twitter post compared with previous trades the mornings jobs data are released.

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By 8:30 a.m., when Labor, indeed, revealed stronger than expected jobs growth in May - 233,000 jobs created compared to estimates of 190,000 - the yield on the 10-year had spiked to 2.9186.

President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to bring real life back to the American economy, and if May's jobs report is any indication of his work almost 18 months into office, Trump has certainly succeeded.

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

Jason Furman, who served as CEA chairman during the Obama administration, said that if President Obama had done this, "I would go in and tell him how serious it was and that he was jeopardizing his access to the data".

Spicer later apologized and said while he understood the goal of the rule, his tweet didn't impact markets because the data had already been released.

Kudlow said on CNBC. "The advance info is sacrosanct - not to be shared".

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Trump, like all presidents, got briefed on the jobs figures Thursday evening.

According to analysts, the figures increased the likelihood of a June interest rate hike by the USA central bank, the Federal Reserve.

Tony Fratto, a Treasury Department official who worked in George W. Bush's administration, said that while not illegal, Trump's tease could be deemed inappropriate because "you want market participants to get their data from their government in predictable, official ways, not haphazard ones".

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, says the government takes extreme measures to keep this information closely held to try and protect it from any sort of politicization or the appearance that it has been tampered with.

The president in August 2017 touted the July report on Twitter roughly 15 minutes after the data had been publicized. "I don't he gave anything away incidentally".

"President Trump's policies are having a tremendous positive impact on the lives of Americans of all classes and backgrounds".

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