Trump tweet on jobs report may have breached a 1985 federal directive

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

President Donald Trump broke with protocol by tweeting about the all-important USA employment report more than an hour before release time Friday, hinting the figures would be positive.

At 8.30 am, the Bureau of Labour Statistics released the official report for the month of May, which showed that there were 223,000 net new jobs in the month and that the jobless rate declined again to 3.8 percent, its lowest level since April 2000.

President Donald Trump will likely take credit for the new numbers released Friday.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, told CNBC the tweet was acceptable because the president "didn't put the numbers out".

"He chose to tweet, his tweet basically said like everybody else we await the job numbers", Kudlow said.

Trump was briefed Thursday night about the monthly employment report issued Friday morning in Washington and signaled in advance that the numbers were going to be favorable, breaking with past practice of presidents who avoided disclosure of market-sensitive information. After Trump's tweet, the two-year Treasury yield climbed one basis point, while the dollar stayed flat.

Spicer said at the time that his understanding of the rule was that it was created to avoid affecting the stock market and noted that he was only tweeting the headline numbers that news organizations around the world already had reported. "There wasn't a reaction beyond the markets' reactions to other (Trump) tweets", he said.

Omair Sharif, a senior USA economist at Societe Generale, said the tweet creates a conundrum for traders ahead of future jobs reports.

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow admitted that numerous looming global trade disputes could jeopardize the robust US labor market.

But investors weren't waiting for the official report. On Thursday, Costco said it would raise starting wages for USA employees by $1, to a minimum of $14 an hour. This movement can be attributed to President Barack Obama's administration.

President Donald Trump may have given gold and interest-rate traders a clear heads-up on the solid May jobs report, judging from market moves after his early tweet.

"It's possible, absolutely. I don't think it has right now", Mr. Kudlow said on "Fox News Sunday".

Jason Furman tweeted "You should have gotten the employment numbers from the Council of Economic Advisers yesterday". "I tracked him down on Air Force One".

Tony Fratto, a former Treasury and White House official in the George W. Bush administration, objected on Twitter to the assertion by former Obama administration economic official Austan Goolsbee that Trump had divulged classified information.

The Republican National Committee pushed back against criticism of Trump's Friday Twitter post by pointing to a comment Obama made on February 5, 2009, the day before jobs data was released. The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers receives the report the day before its publication and is allowed to share it with the president, but neither are supposed to comment on it until its official release.

Meanwhile, Kudlow said trade frictions between the United States and Canada are a "family quarrel", brushing aside concerns expressed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as an overreaction.

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