Trump Breaks Protocol, Sends Market Signal on Jobs Report Before Data Released
04 June, 2018, 07:57 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
Trump was foreshadowing a glowing unemployment report that showed the jobless rate dipped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent.
Trump tweeted Friday morning that he was "looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning", one hour and nine minutes before the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the highly anticipated data.
The director of the White House National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, briefed Trump on the data on Thursday.
"Don't blame Trump", Mr Kudlow said on "Fox News Sunday".
But the tweet was followed by a swift reaction from markets and a strengthening of the dollar, sparking criticism of the president's handling of sensitive information.
"If he was sending a message that it was a good number, when there is not a good number, we will now know it because he won't tweet", said Kaltbaum.
Many on Wall Street questioned the appropriateness of the president tweeting market-moving news. They appear to have read Trump's tweet correctly. This is one reason why you generally won't see an official statement from the White House or the Administration publicly commenting on any economic report until after the markets have opened in New York City at 9:30 am.
Jason Furman, the head of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Barack Obama, tweeted that if Trump's tweet conveys inside info then he should never get the jobs report briefing again.
He said that Canada, for example, "just kicks us on lumber and puts people out of work in Maine". He told ABC News that the Obama administration "absolutely interpreted [the Labor Department rule] as applying" to the president himself. And Lawrence Summers, who served as treasury secretary for President Bill Clinton, tweeted if during the Clinton or Obama administrations information had been similarly conveyed "it would have been a major scandal - with all sorts of investigations following on".
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.
"I don't think he gave anything away, incidentally".
A positive jobs report does not necessarily mean the stock market will go up, as investors could see it as a signal that the Federal Reserve will move more aggressively to raise interest rates in an effort to keep the economy from overheating.
On Wall Street, where the 8:30 a.m. release on Jobs Friday is a major event for the markets each month, traders disagreed on whether the tweet actually moved prices, which fluctuate constantly and make it hard to determine if any single event pushed them in one direction or another. The information is protected so carefully that the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers receives it only the afternoon or evening before its release.
As a result, some "two-thirds of the drop in the unemployment rate in May was because workers found jobs, while about one-third of the drop was from people leaving the labor force", the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute noted.
On Friday, Furman criticized Trump via Twitter about even hinting at the jobs report before the official release time.
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