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Trump economic adviser: There was a 'very, very positive vibe' at the White House after the jobs report

Ben Werschkul
·Senior Producer and Writer

Kevin Hassett, President Donald Trump's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, painted a portrait of a buoyed White House in the wake of the better-than-expected jobs numbers on Friday.

“I think there was a very, very positive vibe all around,” he said in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

The U.S. economy added 304,000 non-farm payrolls in the first month of 2019, ahead of consensus expectations of 165,000. It was welcome news after a bruising government shutdown and the charging of former Trump adviser Roger Stone with lying about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails.

Speaking to Alexis Christoforous and Rick Newman on "The First Trade,” Hassett brushed aside concerns about inflation. He pointing to the PCE price index to suggest inflation pressures were low and said the economic data "suggests to me that we've got a supply side growth boom going on, and in that kind of a setting, then I think that there's a lot more wiggle room with inflation."

Wage growth was another area of optimism from the chairman. He suggested that year-over-year wage growth could continue to rise from its current level of 3.2% to as high as 4%.

“We think we are going to get the double dip of the impact of low unemployment and the impact of the higher capital spending; and we are absolutely are bullish that wage growth is gonna go up from here," he said. In its latest policy statement Wednesday, the Fed also characterized labor market conditions as “strong.”

The comments from Hassett came as Trump tweeted that “We have, by far, the strongest economy in the world!” Hassett noted that when they went over the jobs numbers, “I got, for the first time since I've been here, a knuckle bump from the president.”

One major area still to be resolved is the China trade negotiations. Negotiators were in Washington this week ahead of meetings between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The detente on tariffs between the two countries is set to expire on March 2. Hassett noted that "the president, as he always does, has his eyes on his long-run objective; and his long-run objective is fixing a broken relationship and if that happens that's a massive positive for the U.S. economy."

One last topic covered in the wide-ranging interview was a possible Fed reserve appointment of Herman Cain. "I know Herman, I like him," he said, adding that years ago "he called me up to talk about the 9-9-9 plan and I was really impressed by how much he understood tax theory."

Ben Werschkul is the Washington, DC producer for Yahoo Finance.

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