The Economic Risks of Trump's Premature Tweeting

President Donald Trump

Evan Vucci Associated Press President Donald Trump

Eagle eye traders early on Friday sold their holdings of the USA 10-year note after President Donald Trump hinted in a 7:21 a.m. tweet that the May jobs report would be better than expected.

"Looking forward to seeing the employment numbers at 8:30 this morning", Trump tweeted.

Employers added a robust 233,000 jobs in May, up from 159,000 in April, the government said Friday, and helped drive the nation's unemployment rate to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent. Although he and other key administration officials had been briefed a day earlier on the report, protocol calls for even the president to wait for the report's official release from the Labor Department.

The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers is traditionally given the report the day before it is released, and it can often be shared with the president after that time.

Several hours after the report was officially released, Trump, speaking at a U.S. Coast Guard change-of-command ceremony, said the jobs data represented "yet one more historic milestone".

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves in the opposite direction of price, was at 2.885% at the time of Trump's tweet, The yield quickly moved up to 2.895% after the tweet, and climbed as high as 2.922 after the official release of the jobs report. But the president - and other administration officials - never tip their hand about what the numbers reveal.

Trump's tweet received harsh criticism from former members of the Obama administration.

President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to bring real life back to the American economy, and if May's jobs report is any indication of his work almost 18 months into office, Trump has certainly succeeded.


"This certainly was a no-no", Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to President George W. Bush, said in a tweet.

Trump's social-media post was met with tepid reaction in financial markets, where investors assess more than just the headline numbers. Globally, the US government is considered a gold standard in terms of the quality and reliability of the information it releases - not a reputation worth trashing for a tweet.

"He chose to tweet", Kudlow said, downplaying the matter.

During the 2016 campaign, when Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, both became eligible to receive classified briefings, some intelligence officials also expressed reservations about sharing sensitive information with Trump.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, says the government takes extreme measures to keep this information closely held to try and protect it from any sort of politicization or the appearance that it has been tampered with.

Second, there has been a strong effort to insulate this information from political leaders, as advance discussion of the data could make it seem politicized. Asked if he'll share it with Trump ahead of time again, Kudlow responded, "I have no idea".

The question is whether the president's comment "looking forward to" constitutes commenting on the data. That was higher than the growth of 188,000 positions that economists had expected.

President Trump pumps his fist to the crowd as he arrives at Ellington Field Joint Reserve Base in Houston, Texas on May 31, 2018.

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