Trump campaign still bragging about 'lowest' unemployment rate in years

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Donald Trump's reelection team has apparently not noticed the nearly 17 million newly unemployed Americans.

Almost 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March as the COVID-19 epidemic has ground much of the nation's economy to a halt. But as of Tuesday, Donald Trump's reelection campaign is still claiming that he has "jump-started America's economy into record growth" and millions of new jobs.

In a section of the "Promises Kept" microsite, Trump's campaign touts his successes on "Economy and Jobs."

"President Trump is unleashing economic growth and jobs. Since his election, the Trump administration’s pro-growth policies have generated 6 million new jobs, the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point in 50 years, and wages have grown at more than 3% for 10 months in a row," it boasts. "There are more than a million more job openings than unemployed persons in the U.S."

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The most recent news update in the section was posted in late January, five days after Trump said he was not concerned about the coronavirus because "we have it totally under control."

Three months later, Trump's self-proclaimed "greatest economy in history" is now very much a thing of the past.

With 6.6 million people filing for unemployment last week alone, more than 10% of Americans have lost their jobs in the last three weeks amid the pandemic. In total, 16.8 million people have filed unemployment claims over that time.

Last week, Moody's Analytics estimated that 29% of the economy has been frozen due to the virus. JPMorgan recently predicted that unemployment will soon hit 20% with 25 million total job losses, while economists with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimated 47 million total jobs may be lost, bringing 32.1% unemployment.

Even before most of the recent layoffs took place, the Bureau of Labor Statistics put the unemployment rate at 4.4% for March — higher than during the Clinton years and certainly not a 50-year low.

At that point, Trump had presided over an increase in employment of about 6,159,000 jobs. According to FactCheck.org, "all those gains are certain to be wiped out in the next monthly employment report due to be published May 8."

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry about when it planned to update the website.

But as recently as a few weeks ago, Trump and his administration were still claiming that the coronavirus would actually be good for the U.S. economy.

"The fact is it does give businesses yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business on Jan. 30. "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America. Some to the U.S., probably some to Mexico as well."

And on March 6, Trump predicted the lack of international flights due to coronavirus would be a boon for domestic tourism.

"You know, a lot of people are staying here and they're going to be doing their business here, they're going to be traveling here. And they'll be going to resorts here. We have a great place," he said. "So foreign people come, but we're going to have Americans staying home instead of going and spending their money in other countries and maybe that's one of the reasons the job numbers are so good."

The travel industry has since ground to a virtual halt, like much of the rest of the economy.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.