President Trump proclaimed Thursday that he has created “more than 1 million private sector jobs.”
That’s not true.
Official government data from the Labor Department show only 493,000 private sector jobs have been added since January, when Trump took office. Trump is trying to take credit for double that amount.
Trump was talking up his jobs record as he withdrew from the Paris climate agreement — a deal he described as a jobs-killer. Here’s the president’s exact quote on jobs:
“Before we discuss the Paris Accord, I’d like to begin with an update on our tremendous, absolutely tremendous economic progress since Election Day on November 8th. The economy has started to come back and very, very rapidly. We’ve added $ 3.3 trillion in stock market value to our economy and more than a million private sector jobs.”
Notice that Trump specifically said “private sector jobs,” a term that excludes government jobs at the local, state or federal level. CNNMoney’s Trump Jobs Tracker gives the president credit for 522,000 jobs so far. That’s because we’re counting both private and public jobs.
So where in the world does Trump get his 1 million figure?
Gary Cohn, Trump’s top economic adviser, says the statistic comes from the ADP employment report. In other words, the the White House is ignoring its own government report.
“I’m standing by that if you add up the ADP numbers, you would get to the number the president put in his speech today,” Cohn told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
The latest ADP report came out Thursday — the day of Trump’s speech — and it only measures private sector jobs. It shows 1.2 million private sector jobs added since the start of the year. But there are two big catches.
First, the only way to get to Trump’s figure is to include jobs added in January. Trump was only president for 11 days in January. It’s unusual to give a new president credit for that month.
Second, ADP is just an estimate. It’s not the real data.
ADP is a company that prints (or direct deposits) paychecks for about 24 million Americans. A few days before the official Labor Department jobs data comes out, ADP puts out an estimate of how many jobs were added or lost based on what ADP is seeing in the hiring and firing patterns of companies that it works with.
For years economists and Wall Street investors have kept an eye on the ADP data, but they don’t consider it the official jobs data. The ADP report is often widely different from the government data. That’s because there are over 153 million Americans working today and ADP only gets a good look at the paychecks and employment of 24 million of them.
The latest government report on American jobs comes out Friday morning. It will show how many jobs the economy added in May.
Trump gets an early look at the report, but it’s highly unlikely that it shows half a million more jobs. The U.S. economy has been adding around 180,000 jobs a month for the past year.