Trump celebrates '303,000' jobs number and it has economy watchers baffled

The U.S. economy defied expectations by creating 128,000 new jobs in October. Furthermore, official numbers for the prior two months were revised upward by 95,000 jobs. But a tweet from President Donald Trump celebrating 303,000 jobs has economy-watchers confounded.

The better-than-expected jobs report beat forecasts for an 85,000 figure. October’s results were partly impacted by General Motors’ strike that temporarily removed 46,000 workers from the books; the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the strike reduced motor vehicle jobs by 42,000.

Under certain scenarios — which include upward several adjustments — it’s possible the jobs data would have topped 200,000, a brisk number considering the slowing economy. Yet shortly after the data’s release, Trump lauded the “blowout” number on Twitter, but suggested the true jobs figure would have been 303,000:

That seemingly arbitrary figure confused many folks including several reporters as well as a former Deputy Secretary of Labor.

The number was later broken down by the president’s Council of Economic Advisors, which told a Washington Post reporter and Yahoo Finance that a series of adjustments added 175,000 jobs to the October number.

Still, it was unclear how the CEA arrived at an upward revision of 60,000 for GM’s work stoppage. The White House and the Labor Department did not immediately respond to Yahoo Finance’s request for comment.

Nevertheless, major benchmarks surged at the opening bell on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 (^GSPC) jumping to a new record, while the Dow (^DJI) and Nasdaq (^IXIC) also rose.

The resilient labor market tamed expectations for a deep economic retrenchment, and bolstered the case for the Federal Reserve taking a more neutral stance on another rate cut. The central bank meted out a 25 basis point cut on Wednesday.

“The upshot is that the three-month average gain is now 175,000, which is easily enough to outpace population growth,” said Michael Pearce, senior US economist at Capital Economics. “That is in stark contrast with much of the recent survey evidence, which had pointed to a sharp slowdown in employment growth.”

Javier David is an editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow Javier on Twitter: @TeflonGeek


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