Trump tweets about jobs report ahead of release


About an hour before the Labor Department released its closely watched jobs number Friday, President Donald Trump was already talking up the results.

The night before, under long-standing tradition, the president and several senior administration officials - including the Treasury secretary and the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers - are briefed on the numbers, which they are not supposed to disclose until the report is made public at 8:30 a.m.

Trump's tweet may have signaled to investors that the numbers were good, and they turned out to be: nonfarm payrolls increased by 223,000, more than economists expected, while the unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low of 3.8%.

Trump's decision to seemingly pimp out the job numbers before they were officially released is controversial because it could result in traders taking advantage on positive data that is exclusive to the executive branch.

"President Trump was sent the jobs numbers in advance", said Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in Obama administration.

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.

In the span of time between when Trump posted his tweet and when the jobs report was released, US treasury yields shot up. The president's tweet appeared to be a tease of strong job numbers. He told ABC News that the Obama administration "absolutely interpreted [the Labor Department rule] as applying" to the president himself. They appear to have read Trump's tweet correctly.

"That tweet suggested this was going to be a strong number and the [10-year] yield jumped", Quincy Crosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, told The Post.

"He chose to tweet, his tweet basically said like everybody else we await the job numbers", Kudlow said. "The advance info is sacrosanct - not to be shared".

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Omair Sharif, a senior USA economist at Societe Generale, said the tweet creates a conundrum for traders ahead of future jobs reports.

"Why not?" Kudlow said.

Defying fears of a global trade war, US businesses have made it abundantly clear that they see no reason to stop hiring.

Trump's supporters revere this mold-breaking approach, but it has created an environment in which information that has always been closely held by the government is now fair game for Trump to reveal through a Twitter post or a casual remark. "But secondly, and fundamentally, its really important that government statistics are perceived as being nonpartisan, nonpolitical data".

President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he boards Air Force One to depart for a trip to Houston and Dallas, Texas, from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, May 31, 2018.

He has championed the data since becoming president, though, particularly when it reflects strength.

Trump has tried to tie the success of his presidency to the success of the economy.

Some economists remain concerned that the Trump administration's aggressive actions on trade could hamper growth. "It's not the first norm he's breached; I think I've lost count of how many norms he's ignored or violated".