Trump latest tweet citing economic data is not even close

President Donald Trump’s latest tweet about the economy has a grain of truth to it. But it’s a really tiny grain.

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What’s true is that, as of the latest quarter, the growth rate of the U.S. economy was greater than the unemployment rate. That’s certainly good news.

But it wasn’t the first time this happened in 100 years, as Trump boldly claimed Monday without evidence.

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To believe the president’s claim, you would have to overlook the dozens of times this has happened since 1948, when the government began collecting the official data series tracking the gross domestic product and the unemployment rate.

In fact, the annual rate of real GDP growth, measured on a quarterly basis, has topped the jobless rate more than 60 times.

Not, as Trump claimed, only once in the last century.

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Stated another way, during the 70 years since the government has tracked growth and unemployment, the real GDP growth rate has been higher than the jobless rate more than 20 percent of the time.

At a briefing with reporters Monday, Kevin Hassett, chairman of Trump’s Council of Economic Advisors, conceded that Trump’s claim was not true.

“From the initial fact to what the president said … I don’t know the whole chain of command,” he said. “What is true it is that it’s the highest in 10 years. At some point somebody probably conveyed it to him adding a zero to that, and they shouldn’t have done that.”

The last time was in the first quarter of 2006, when unemployment was about 4.7 percent and quarterly GDP growth was 5.4 percent, government data show.

It’s not the first time the White House has touted economic statistics that aren’t accurate.

Last month, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely claimed that Trump has created three times as many jobs for black workers as his predecessor, President Barack Obama, did during his entire time in office.

“This president since he took office … in the year and a half that he’s been here has created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans,” Sanders told reporters Aug. 14. “After eight years of President Obama in office, he only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans. President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years.”

But according to the official count from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of the employment gains for black people since the Great Recession occurred during the Obama administration.

During the eight years Obama was in office, black employment rose by roughly 3.2 million, or more than four times the 700,000 jobs added so far since Trump took office.

Sanders subsequently admitted in a Twitter post that she had not spoken the truth, claiming her numbers “were correct, but the time frame for Pres Obama wasn’t.”

When it came to the president’s most recent economic data error, however, the White House did not immediately respond to request for comment Monday.

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