During the election campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly denounced the official unemployment rate of five per cent as false.
“The five per cent figure is one of the biggest hoaxes in American modern politics,” he said in a speech in the summer of 2016.
But that was then Mr Trump was a candidate. On Friday, Mr Trump the president said he was “very happy” with official figures that put the unemployment rate at 4.8 per cent and revealed that 227,000 jobs had been added last month.
“We’re very happy with that,” Mr Trump said of the figures. “We’re going to create more jobs. I think we’re going to have some really exciting times ahead.”
January’s job gain was the best since September, and it exceeded last year’s average monthly gain of 187,000, according to the Labour Department.
Mr Trump had repeatedly mocked the official unemployment and suggested it may be even be as high as 40 per cent.
“Don’t believe these phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5 per cent unemployment,” Mr. Trump said in his victory speech after the New Hampshire primary a year ago.
“The number’s probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 per cent.”
Many economists called Mr Trump out over his claims during the campaign. Politifact headlined one report - Donald Trump repeats Pants on Fire claim that unemployment rate could be 42 per cent.
“The Bureau of Labour Statistics, a federal agency, uses surveys and statistical sampling to calculate how many Americans do or don’t work,” it said.
“To calculate the unemployment rate, the agency divides the number of people who are out of work (counting only those who have recently looked for work) by the sum of the job-seeking and job-holding population.”
It added: “While economists say that there are other, more expansive calculations of unemployment or under-employment, none of the official ones are currently higher than 9.9 per cent, and the highest credible number we could calculate was 15.6 percent. That’s far, far lower than 42 per cent — or even 28 per cent. We rate the claim Pants on Fire.”
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