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Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council director and top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, on Friday said the White House was “excited” with the latest jobs report, which showed that the US economy unexpectedly lost 33,000 jobs during September.
“We at the White House are very excited about the numbers,” Cohn said during an interview with Bloomberg TV. “You’re right, there is some noise in the number because of the hurricane, and as you said you discount that noise out.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the report earlier Friday, saying much of the softness in the jobs number was due to the impact of the hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which slammed into the Gulf Coast in September.
Cohn said that rather than the headline jobs drop, the Trump administration was positive about other, more promising, statistics in the report.
“You’re looking through the numbers and you’re looking at the wage growth and you’re looking at the unemployment number – which is the real good news here,” Cohn said.
Average hourly earnings grew 2.9% year-over-year in the month, tied for the highest rate since the recession but still lower than the prerecession average. The unemployment rate also dropped to 4.2%, its lowest since February 2001. These numbers may have also been affected by the hurricanes. The acting BLS commissioner, William J. Wiatrowski, said in a statement that the higher wage number “reflects both ongoing labor market trends and possible effects of the hurricanes.”
A White House representative echoed Cohn’s comments, attributing the weak headline number to the hurricanes in a statement to Business Insider.
“Today’s report shows the devastating impact of this unprecedented hurricane season,” the person said. “While many displaced could not work, the economy remains strong, the stock market has hit new highs, and the unemployment rate fell. To grow our economy, we must enact tax cuts and reforms to make America more competitive.”
Cohn said that to continue these positive trends in the labor market it was necessary for the government to pass Trump’s massive tax package.
Watch Cohn’s comments below (they begin at the 30-minute mark):
COMING UP: White House advisor Gary Cohn comments on the September jobs report https://t.co/VjzVb2TmAk
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) October 6, 2017