White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer may have Tweeted too soon about the new monthly jobs report on Friday.
In President Donald J. Trump’s first full month of office, the U.S. economy added 235,000 new jobs, surpassing economists’ estimates of 200,000, according to the BLS report released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
“Not a bad way to start day 50 of this Administration,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted at 8:57 a.m. ET.
As the New York Times pointed out, he may have violated a little-known federal rule from 1985 that prohibits White House officials from commenting on such reports for at least one hour.
“All employees of the Executive Branch who receive pre release distribution of information and data estimates as authorized above are responsible for assuring that there is no release prior to the official release time. Except for members of the staff of the agency issuing the principal economic indicator who have been designated by the agency head to provide technical explanations of the data, employees of the Executive Branch shall not comment publicly on the data until at least one hour after the official release time,” the rule states (emphasis ours).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment report is one of the most important economic data releases of each month that Wall Street follows.
Jason Furman, the former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, tweeted that it’s “not the biggest issue.”
Not the biggest issue, but failure to follow a simple black-and-white rule does not speak well of respect for rule of law more generally.
— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) March 10, 2017
Spicer wasn’t the only Executive Branch employee to comment. Vice President Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus Tweeted shortly after 9 a.m. ET.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) March 10, 2017
— Reince Priebus (@Reince45) March 10, 2017
Minutes after the report, Trump retweeted a Drudge Report tweet that declared “GREAT AGAIN +235,000,” a reference to his “Make America Great Again” mantra.
Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.