With Tweet about jobs numbers, Trump breaks yet another taboo

Randal Sanchez
June 4, 2018

Across the country, businesses have reported shortages of qualified workers for a variety of trades, including truck drivers, sales personnel, carpenters and tech workers, the U.S. Federal Reserve said in a report on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced at 8.30am that the U.S. had added 223,000 new jobs in May as the unemployment rate slid t0 3.8%, its lowest level since April 2000 and one of the lowest levels since after the second world war.

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.

Top Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNBC he thought the criticism was much ado about nothing and he doubted that the vaguely worded tweet coming out just an hour ahead of the official announcement could have had much effect. "I don't he gave anything away incidentally". "And I think [Trump's tweet] is according to routine, as I say, law and custom".

Its report stated that factory jobs have grown by 259,000 in the past year, with most of the growth in long-lasting goods.

Back in 2002, when Trump was still just a businessman, the Securities and Exchange Commission forced his casino company to sign a cease and desist agreement after an investigation showed it had used "fraudulent" reporting tactics and doctored accounting in its public earnings statements.

However, a 1985 Office of Management and Budget policy directive published in the Federal Register during the administration of President Ronald Reagan outlined an updated procedure to ensure that the jobs report and other significant federal economic indicators would not be released prematurely.

Trump and his administration have run afoul of the rule before, but only after the data was released.

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Does the OMB restriction apply to the president?

As the nation's chief executive, the president has the right to disseminate information as he sees fit, said Frenkel, who added: "He did not break or violate any securities laws and acted entirely within his discretion".

Still, Jason Furman, a Harvard Kennedy School professor who served on former president Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers as its chairman, called Trump out. Is yours on the list? The monthly report is one of the most market sensitive pieces of economic information released by the government and is carefully guarded ahead of its release.

Given that Trump didn't report exact numbers, it's probable that he didn't technically violate the rule in question, but he certainly came close to doing so, and it raises concerns about the future and what impact this breach of protocol will have in the future.

At least one close observer of US financial markets viewed Trump's tweet as unusual.

"The idea that our soldiers who have fought and died together in the mountains of Afghanistan and stood shoulder to shoulder, somehow this is insulting to them", he said in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press".

Viewing the tweet as unusual, Hunsader retweeted it. Trump has made the roaring stock market a centerpiece of his administration and re-election campaign, though Wall Street has faced recent uncertainty due to the administration's saber-rattling over tariffs.

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