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Trump Wrongly Touts Economy Growth Milestone vs. Unemployment

Jeff Kearns, Terrence Dopp, Toluse Olorunnipa
U.S. President Donald Trump sits during a meeting with Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Kuwait's emir, not pictured, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018. Trump said during the meeting that Iran's future as a country is in doubt amid public discontent with the Islamic Republic.

President Donald Trump said growth in U.S. gross domestic product was higher than the unemployment rate for the first time in over a century, though it’s happened several times since 1948, according to historical data reviewed by Bloomberg News.

“The GDP Rate (4.2%) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) for the first time in over 100 years!” Trump said Monday in a posting on Twitter.

Closer examination of the figures reveals a different story.

In the 70 years since the Labor Department started publishing monthly jobless numbers, the growth rate has been higher than the unemployment level more than 20 percent of the time when compared with GDP, which is reported quarterly.

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GDP growth exceeded the jobless rate as recently as the first quarter of 2006, when unemployment was about 4.7 percent and quarterly GDP growth was 5.4 percent, government data show.

The White House has previously disseminated false statistics in an attempt to bolster Trump’s record on jobs and the economy.

Last month, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely claimed that Trump has created three times as many jobs for black workers as his predecessor Barack Obama did during his entire time in office.

Job Record

Sanders asserted at the Aug. 14 White House press briefing that Trump had tripled Obama’s eight-year job creation record in just 18 months, quoting numbers that are not even close to accurate.

“This president since he took office, in the year and a half that he’s been here has created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans,” Sanders told reporters. “That’s 700,000 African-Americans that are working now that weren’t working when this president took place. When President Obama left, after eight years in office, he had only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans.”

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The claim isn’t true, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Sanders backtracked hours later in a tweet. The U.S. economy added about 3 million jobs for black workers while Obama was in office, according to BLS data.

On Sunday, Trump said in a tweet that “the Stock Market is up almost 50% since Election.”

That’s not the case for the S&P 500 Index, which has increased more than 30 percent since Trump was elected on Nov. 8, 2016.

Before taking office, Trump regularly accused federal officials of falsifying economic data.

The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment on Monday.

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