Trump takes victory lap on jobs as millions remain unemployed

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Trump said the economy is coming back 'bigger and better than we ever thought possible.'

Donald Trump on Thursday took a victory lap on the economy after the monthly jobs report released earlier in the morning showed 4.8 million of the jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic returned in June.

"It's all coming back. It's coming back faster, bigger and better than we ever thought possible," Trump said in a speech from the White House briefing room Thursday morning. "These are the numbers. These are not numbers made up by me. These are numbers."

However, the unemployment rate remains at 11.1% — higher than it was at the peak of the Great Recession in 2008 — with 17.8 million Americans still out of work.

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And economists say a deeper dive into the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there is danger ahead for the economic recovery, and that Trump might be celebrating too soon.

"Of course we want to celebrate the good news that millions of workers are being recalled," Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at the University of Michigan, tweeted. "But as we look ahead, the question is what sort of economy we'll be left with when the mechanics of re-opening no longer boost monthly job gains."

Economists pointed to a grim number in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' report, which said, "The number of permanent job losers continued to rise, increasing by 588,000 to 2.9 million in June."

Those economists also pointed to the fact that the coronavirus is surging in states across the country, forcing governors to begin announcing more shutdowns to try and slow the spread.

"You cannot interpret this jobs report without thinking about the virus situation on June 12, the reference week of the survey. Cases were coming down, people were beginning to feel optimistic. That's not where we are now, we now face new closures and increasing fear," Betsey Stevenson, the former chief economist at the Department of Labor, tweeted.

But Trump ignored the warning signs, as he once again downplayed the virus.

"We have some areas where we're putting out flames from the fires, and that's working out well," Trump said — mischaracterizing the massive surge in cases, which set a single-day record increase on Wednesday when nearly 50,000 tests came back positive. That dwarfs the number of positive tests back in April, which looked like the peak of the virus.

Trump went on to say the latest job numbers will be good for his own reelection.

"You're going to have a fantastic third quarter, it will be a third quarter the likes of which nobody has ever seen before in my opinion," Trump said. "And the good thing is the numbers will be coming out just prior to the election so people will be able to see those numbers."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.