President Trump touted economic gains on Friday, as the labor market exceeded expectations by adding 209,000 new jobs in July—providing a jolt of positive news for an administration trying to move past the Russia controversy that’s dogged them on a daily basis.
The unemployment rate also dipped from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent, and average hourly earnings increased by 9 cents.
The president took to Twitter Friday, just moments after the Labor Department numbers were released.
“Excellent Jobs Numbers just released—and I have only just begun. Many job stifling regulations continue to fall. Movement back to USA!” he wrote.
Mixed signals remain. Days earlier, payroll leader ADP released its July report showing 178,000 jobs added in July, below economists’ predicted growth of 185,000.
But the government figures reflect strong hiring in restaurants and hotels, as well as education and health care.
The solid job market is also reflected in recent corporate moves. Trump has highlighted announcements by Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn and carmakers Toyota and Mazda to open plants in the U.S.
“Toyota & Mazda to build a new $1.6B plant here in the U.S.A. and create 4K new American jobs. A great investment in American manufacturing!” Trump tweeted early Friday. “…and don’t forget that Foxconn will be spending up to 10 billion dollars on top of the line plant/plants in Wisconsin.”
Moments later, he added: “Consumer confidence is at a 16 year high…and for good reason. Much more regulation “busting” to come. Working hard on tax cuts & reform!”
The Trump administration is meanwhile grappling with daily revelations with regard to the Russia probe. Just Thursday, reports said Special Counsel Robert Mueller had impaneled a grand jury, suggesting his team has ramped up the intensity of the investigation.
But the White House will likely use their economic wins to underscore the administration's focus on jobs.
“The Russia story is a total fabrication. It is just an excuse for the greatest loss in the history of American politics. That’s all it is,” Trump said at a campaign-style rally Thursday night in West Virginia. “I just hope the final determination is a truly honest one which is what the millions of people who gave us our big win in November deserve, and what all Americans who want a better future deserve.”
But despite July's job numbers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Americans still aren’t seeing the “strong wages and good-paying jobs they deserve.”
“Instead of creating jobs or raising workers’ wages, the Republican Congress spent seven months doing everything it could to raise Americans’ health costs to hand tax breaks to the richest,” Pelosi said in a statement Friday. “Now, after squandering months on a cruel and dangerous agenda, Republicans have closed down Congress for five weeks with no jobs bill, no infrastructure bill, no budget, and no plan to avert a catastrophic default.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.