STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump hints at strong jobs report ahead of its release

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

Posted: Jun 1, 2018 4:22 PM
Updated: Jun 1, 2018 4:22 PM

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

"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning," he tweeted at 7:21 a.m. ET.

The May jobs report was in fact a good one for a president who likes to brag about the strong jobs market. Unemployment fell to 3.8%, which matched the lowest rate in nearly a half century. Employers added 223,000 jobs in the month, more than more economists were forecasting.

But investors weren't waiting for the official report. Stock futures, bond yields and the value of the dollar all jumped higher immediately after his tweet.

And that might be why the tweet was a problem.

The Labor Department works hard to keep the market-moving numbers a secret ahead of their 8:30 a.m. ET release. Reporters who get access to the data ahead of time are in a "lock-up," without the ability to communicate with the outside world.

And there is a federal rule dictating that federal employees who know the jobs numbers ahead of time must keep them secret.

"All employees of the executive branch who receive prerelease distribution of information and data estimates...are responsible for assuring that there is no release prior to the official release time," says the rule, which has been in effect since at least 1985.

The question is whether the president's comment "looking forward to" constitutes commenting on the data. The tweet certainly suggested that a good number was coming.

"This certainly was a no-no," tweeted Ari Fleisher, who was press secretary for President George W. Bush. "The advance info is sacrosanct - not to be shared."

The rule further specifies that federal employees other than Labor Department staff charged with issuing the report cannot publicly comment on the data for the first hour after the release time, let alone ahead of the report.

Related: Unemployment rate matches lowest point in a half a century

The rule also specifies that the president should get the prereleased data as soon as it is available.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the president's National Economic Council, confirmed in an interview Friday on CNBC that he had told Trump on Thursday what would be in the jobs report, but that he didn't think the tweet violated the rule because it did not include any numbers or details.

"You can read into that 10 different things," Kudlow said. "I don't think he gave anything away incidentally."

There have been controversies in the past when federal officials have made more innocuous comments about the general state of the labor market in the hours ahead of the report, without referring to the jobs report itself, said William Rodgers, who served as the chief economist of the Labor Department.

"Perception is reality," said Rodgers, now a professor at Rutgers University. "Any public official should know that and practice discretion."

Ironically, candidate Donald Trump used to regularly dismiss the accuracy of the numbers in the jobs report his administration is now eager to brag about. He called the unemployment rates that at the time were about 5% a "joke" or a "hoax." But once he took office he was happy to attest to their accuracy.

"He said to quote him very clearly: 'They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now," said Sean Spicer, his first press secretary, soon after Trump took office.

-- CNNMoney's Matt Egan contributed to this report.

West Lafayette
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 71°
Kokomo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 68°
Rensselaer
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 64°
Fowler
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 64°
Williamsport
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Crawfordsville
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 67°
Frankfort
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 71°
Delphi
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Monticello
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 70°
Logansport
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 70°
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48201

Reported Deaths: 2693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11624683
Lake5146242
Elkhart328546
Allen2762129
St. Joseph194366
Cass16389
Hamilton1552101
Hendricks1403100
Johnson1278118
Porter72837
Tippecanoe7158
Madison65864
Clark65144
Bartholomew58544
Howard57557
LaPorte57326
Kosciusko5464
Vanderburgh5226
Marshall4924
Noble47828
Jackson4703
LaGrange4708
Hancock44835
Boone44243
Delaware44250
Shelby42525
Floyd37944
Morgan32931
Grant29426
Monroe29428
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Dubois2736
Henry26315
White26310
Decatur25032
Lawrence24425
Dearborn23623
Vigo2348
Warrick21429
Harrison21322
Unassigned193193
Greene18832
Miami1822
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1607
Daviess14317
Wayne1386
Orange13623
Steuben1292
Perry1279
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1167
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Huntington812
Gibson802
Randolph794
Jefferson722
Wells721
Fulton701
Jay680
Washington671
Knox640
Pulaski641
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Benton480
Owen471
Sullivan441
Brown391
Posey390
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Tipton321
Fountain312
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events