Economists were scratching their heads after President Trump tweeted about a “blowout” 303,000 jobs that the economy added in October, more than twice the 128,000 that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported early Friday.
“Wow, a blowout JOBS number just out, adjusted for revisions and the General Motors strike, 303,000,” Trump tweeted. “This is far greater than expectations. USA ROCKS!”
Chris Lu, the former deputy secretary of labor for President Barack Obama, tweeted that Trump had “reached a new low and is making up fake numbers.”
Even though Trump’s comments about the jobs numbers included caveats about revisions and the GM strike, economists were still puzzling over his math.
“What the president said today is not tethered to any empirical reality,” said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist of RSM.
For one thing, Trump’s number throws in the 95,000 in upward revisions of job gains in August and September. Economist Michael Feroli of JPMorgan Chase says he typically doesn’t consider prior months’ revisions as part of the latest monthly tally. But Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist of High Frequency Economics, says it’s not unreasonable to include the upgrade since it does add to total U.S. payrolls.
Keep in mind, however, that when Trump has touted past strong jobs reports, he hasn’t highlighted any downward revisions to previous months.
The GM strike, meanwhile, idled 46,000 workers, BLS has said. BLS said Friday that motor vehicles and parts manufacturing lost 42,000 workers in October, suggesting it would have added 4,000 if not for the strike.