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Are These Jobs Numbers “Beautiful” or Fake News?

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Jobs numbers came out Friday better than expected.

According to the Labor Department, the US economy added 313,000 jobs last month, the most since October 2015. Economists had anticipated a gain of about 200,000. Wage growth was less stellar, ticking up just 0.1%. Analysts projected a 0.2% increase after a pretty significant jump of 0.3% in January spooked markets with inflation fears.

In his latest podcast, Peter Schiff said if he was a conspiratorial person – and he’s not – he would say, “Wait a minute, this looks too good to be true.”

This is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to a jobs report, because remember, last time we had a jobs report, even though the jobs number itself was weaker than expected, the markets were spooked by the bigger jump in wages. In fact, a lot of people thought that 2.9% year-over-year growth in wages … that was really the catalyst for the big selloff we had.”

In this jobs report, a lot of people were looking more at the wage number than the headline “jobs created” number because they were afraid it could jump again, indicating inflation is coming. That could mean a quicker pace of interest rate hikes. Some analysts were beginning to talk about four hikes in 2018 instead of three. With wage growth once again returning to tepid in the latest Department of Labor report, that fear eased and stocks climbed on Friday.

Pres. Trump referred to the jobs numbers as “beautiful.” We had record low numbers in African-American unemployment. The overall unemployment rate remains at multi-year lows.

Of course, on the campaign trail, the president sang a different tune whenever jobs numbers came out.

These statistics are beautiful. That is his new word to describe the government employment statistics. Well, he had different words to describe those identical statistics when he was a candidate, and beautiful wasn’t among them. The words that he used as a candidate when describing the government jobs numbers were phony, fake, fraud, a joke, fiction, a hoax – those were the adjectives he used when he was a candidate. Now he says that the numbers are beautiful. Well, which is it? Either the numbers were good under Obama and he was lying to get elected, and now he’s telling the truth. Or, he was telling the truth about Obama and he’s lying now, right? Because it can’t be both.”

Peter admitted that this jobs report was pretty solid. The labor participation rate increased. The number of manufacturing jobs increased. A lot of the jobs were full-time, not just low-paying, part-time jobs.

Normally, I find ways of poking holes in the jobs numbers, but this one was a solid report, as far as relative to expectations – across the board gains in employment, people added to the labor force. Of course, we had these one-off numbers under Obama. There are plenty of job reports that came out under Obama that were aberrations, that were kind of like all of a sudden we got a really strong report and people would get very excited about that. I think this is another one of those things. It’s an outlier. It is a very strong report, but I don’t think it is the beginning of some new trend where we’re going to continue to repeat these numbers.”

But again, Peter said this was just what the doctor ordered.

We’ve got a lot of jobs being created, so people can pretend the recovery is going on, but how convenient the average hourly earnings growth was anemic so now people are a little less worried about the Fed taking the punchbowl away.”

In this podcast, Peter also talked about the latest economic data and how Trump’s tariffs will affect American workers.

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Photo by Innovative Impact Media via Flickr

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