President Donald Trump announced Friday morning that he would hold a 10 a.m. news conference to tout May’s surprising jobless numbers out less than two hours earlier — the unemployment rate declining to 13.3 percent — not rising to near 20 percent that even one of his own economists had predicted.
“Really Big Jobs Report. Great going President Trump (kidding but true)!” he tweeted. “I will be doing a News Conference at 10:00 A.M. on the Jobs Numbers! White House.” He’ll speak in the White House Rose Garden.
In doing so, Trump broke a federal rule prohibiting the executive branch from commenting on the jobs report within an hour of its release, instead tweeting within minutes of its release, at 8:33 a.m. ET, in order to take credit.
April’s unemployment rate had hit 14.7 percent.
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett had warned that the unemployment rate could hit near 20 percent in May or June — a level not seen since the Great Depression
In May, 2.5 million jobs were added, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, appearing to add momentum to Trump’s strategy of reopening the economy — a key to his reelection hopes — after much of it was shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Congressional Democrats have been pushing an addition $3 trillion stimulus package and additional unemployment insurance, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said after the numbers came out that it was not a time to be “joyous,” saying on MSNBC that without more aid from Washington gains could quickly “evaporate.”