Trump again says economic data is fake news

Trump again says economic data is fake news

Donald Trump has attacked the government’s official economic data this summer, calling it “fake” or “fake news.” He likes to say that the “real” number of employment statistics or the inflation rate would be much more favorable to him, and would look worse to President Joe Biden.

It’s a return to form for the former president who shouted down the unemployment rate “total fiction” during his 2016 campaign before turning around and promoting that same data once he took office.

This time, Yahoo Finance found at least six recent instances where Trump dismissed inflation and jobs data. In one example, during a speech in Arizona in July, Trump mischaracterized an already record 9.1% inflation reading. “Biden created the worst inflation in 47 years,” he said. “We’re at 9.1%, but the real number is much, much higher than that.” Besides offering no evidence for his claim, the 9.1% figure is the highest increase in 40 years, not 47.

Former President Donald Trump during a rally in Arizona in July. (REUTERS/Rebecca Noble)

“It’s not based on reality or an accurate understanding of the experiences of Americans. It’s just based on a political narrative,” Aaron Sojourner, a former senior labor economist at the Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. the White House under Presidents Obama and Trump.

He added, referring to Trump: “He just makes things up.”

Groundless dismissals of Trump’s economic data appear to be a feature of a third run for the presidency that he could announce as early as this year. Also, his campaign will likely feature an all-out attack on the FBI after searching his house for a possible violation of the Espionage Act. Trump is also likely to focus on his business practices and plans to fire thousands of government employees who are traditionally insulated from politics.

Multiple requests to representatives of the former president to back up his claims went unanswered.

“Now I accept these numbers very proudly”

Cast doubt on official statistics highlighted in Trump’s 2016 campaign The then-candidate said the official jobs report was false or bogus at least 19 timesaccording to a Washington Post tally.

The story continues

Trump then echoed a trend among figures on the right who were quick to question any good economic news under then-President Obama’s watch. The late former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, for example, once claimed “those guys from Chicago” changed the numbers to improve their political standing.

But for Trump, his tone suddenly changed once in office.

during a round table with manufacturers in 2017he said of the unemployment rate, then at 4.3%, that “for a long time they didn’t matter, but now I take those numbers very proudly.”

Then-press secretary Sean Spicer also surprised reporters that year when he told them had spoken to Trump about the jobs data “and said to quote him very clearly: ‘They may have been fake in the past, but now it’s very real.'”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Sean Spicer holds a news conference at the White House in July 2017. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

Both the unemployment rate and the consumer price index, the most widely cited measure of inflation, are compiled by the Office of Labor Statistics. There is no evidence that the group, a division of the US Department of Labor, has changed its methods of gathering and disseminating information between presidential administrations.

“They are very professional, very scientific [and] they do their job every month completely above,” says Sojourner, who is currently a labor economist at the WE Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. “We can argue about the interpretation of what they mean to some extent, but they follow very reliable procedures to be accurate. labor market statistics”.

“It’s fake news”

For Trump, in what may continue until the 2024 election, the numbers are false again.

In the a manifestation in May, Trump said of the 3.6% unemployment rate: “That’s not true, that’s not right — it’s fake news.” He followed it with a post on Truth Socialhis social media platform, adding that “[m]millions of people who are unemployed but not looking for work make that number FALSE, like so much else in our failed country.” He again repeated a version of the statement at a rally in Illinois later that month.

Trump seems to be referring to the civilian workforce level, which stood at 164.6 million Americans in February 2020, just before the COVID pandemic hit. Contrary to Trump’s claims, the metric has returned to a similar level in recent months under President Biden, drawing from labor losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Overall, the most recent employment report found that total non-farm employment has fully recovered to its pre-pandemic level. As of February 2020, the survey found the labor force to be 152.504 million Americans. In July 2022, this number was 152.536 million.

In more recent appearances this summer, Trump has focused on inflation. At a speech in Arizona on July 22flatly said that inflation was much higher than the 9.1% year-on-year rate reported in June.

A few days later, during a speech in Washington, DC on July 26he hedged a bit, saying “a lot of people think it’s a lot higher than that.”

This month, during a speech in Dallashe said of the inflation rate: “I think it’s a lot higher than that, by the way.”

More recently, inflation moderated in July’s figures, with falling gas prices leading to a lower than expected Year-on-year increase of 8.5% in the consumer price index. Month-on-month inflation was flat with increases in things like food offset by lower fuel prices.

If inflation continues to cool, it is very likely that Trump will increase the frequency of his statements that the data is cooked. But don’t expect economists like Sojourner to take the claims seriously.

“I do not think so [Trump’s] false claims deserve good faith interpretation,” he says.

Ben Werschkul is a Washington correspondent for Yahoo Finance.

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About the Author: Chaz Cutler

My name is Chasity. I love to follow the stock market and financial news!