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The White House took a victory lap on the jobs report, but it doesn’t really belong to Trump

The White House said the new jobs added to the US economy in January were because of President Donald J. Trump.

“The economy added 227,000 jobs, significantly more than the 175,000 that had been expected,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said to reporters during a briefing on Friday afternoon. “Today’s report reflects the consumer confidence that the Trump presidency has inspired.”

Spicer continued: “According to a recent Gallup poll, economic confidence is at a new high and ADP showed strong private sector hiring. President Trump campaigned on how to make America work again. Even before he took office, the markets knew he would deliver on that promise.”

The problem, however, is that Trump can’t exactly take total credit for the January jobs report. Trump, who said his focus is to create and bring back American jobs, took office on January 20th. The jobs figures, however, were based on household and establishment surveys conducted while Obama was still in office.

“For both surveys, the data for a given month relate to a particular week or pay period. In the household survey, the reference period is generally the calendar week that contains the 12th day of the month. In the establishment survey, the reference period is the pay period including the 12th, which may or may not correspond directly to the calendar week,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics site says.

Trump’s jobs tally starts now

According to the White House’s website, Trump’s “policies will unleash economic growth, create 25 million new jobs, and help Make America Great Again.”

Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman reported earlier that the economy under Obama added 11.5 million jobs, an average of 120,000 per month. During Obama’s eight years, wages fell and new jobs created after the recession didn’t pay as well.

In the first jobs report since Trump’s inauguration, nonfarm payrolls grew by 227,000 jobs in January, as Spicer noted, surpassing economists’ expectations. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.8%.

Average hourly earnings also disappointed after climbing only 0.1% compared to the prior month and 2.5% compared to January of last year. Economists had been looking for a 2.8% rise over last year.

So while Trump can’t be blamed for disappointing data or take credit for a good report, next month is all his!


Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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