The Labor Department said Friday that American employers added 130,000 jobs last month, falling short of projections and contrasting President Trump’s rosy claims about the economy.
Out of the jobs added in August, 25,000 were temporary hires of government workers for the 2020 census, meaning the economy’s permanent employment boost was just 96,000, the lowest number since May, according to a Labor Department report.
Most projections leading up to the report’s release pointed to the economy adding some 160,000 new jobs.
Trump had hyped up those expectations on Thursday, tweeting, “Really Good Jobs Numbers!”
The president never clarified the post, but some economists suggested he may have read too much into a speculative ADP report on private-sector hiring. Such reports typically differ sharply from official Labor Department data.
Hiring numbers aside, the August report offered some positive signs. The average hourly wage jumped 11 cents, boosting consumer spending power, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.7% for a third straight month, the lowest level in nearly 50 years.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, a frequent target of Trump’s Twitter ire, beat back concerns about a looming recession in light of those numbers, telling a forum on monetary policy in Zurich, Switzerland, that “the consumer is in good shape.”
“Our main expectation is not at all that there will be a recession,” Powell said.
“The Fed should lower rates,” Trump tweeted after the jobs report was released. “They were WAY too early to raise, and Way too late to cut — and big dose quantitative tightening didn’t exactly help either. Where did I find this guy Jerome? Oh well, you can’t win them all!”
Some economists say cutting interest rates could over-juice the economy and increase volatility. Moreover, the rates are already at near-historic lows.
The president also shoveled some blame on the “Fake News.”
“The Economy is great,” he tweeted. “The only thing adding to 'uncertainty’ is the Fake News!”