US & Canada

Trump welcomes government jobs report he once derided

Trump held a National Economic Council 'listening session' with the CEOs on Thursday Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trump held a National Economic Council 'listening session' with the CEOs on Thursday

US President Donald Trump has hailed the federal government's latest positive job figures, which he once denounced as "phony" and a "joke".

The US economy added 235,000 new jobs in February, Mr Trump's first full month in office.

He retweeted a news report with the caption: "GREAT AGAIN".

During a campaign speech last August, Mr Trump called the Department of Labor numbers one of the "biggest hoaxes in American modern politics".

Challenged about this contradiction at Friday's daily news briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Mr Trump believes, "they may have been phony in the past but it's very real now."

The latest figures brought down the US unemployment rate from 4.8% to 4.7%, the report found.

Much of the growth is being attributed by analysts to an unusually clement few weeks, allowing construction projects and hiring to continue uninterrupted.

Last month was the warmest February on record.

Two years ago in a press conference, Mr Trump attacked the official unemployment rate, calling it "such a phony number" and "the biggest joke".

He asserted that some "great economists" estimate the real US jobless rate is as high as 32% or 42%.

PolitiFact, a fact-checking website, rated this claim as "pants on fire" false.

Mr Trump's US treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said during his confirmation hearing that "the unemployment rate is not real".

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Media captionJonny Dymond's take on this week's news in Donald Trump's first 100 days in office.

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