President Donald Trump took the time to trumpet Friday’s jobs report numbers on Twitter.
Trump called the addition of 209,000 workers in July “Excellent Jobs Numbers” and said the job gains were only beginning, claiming deregulation undertaken by his administration will help boost the labour market.
The thing is, the job gains seen since Trump’s inauguration are similar to the trend that began years ago. The jobs report numbers that came in over the first seven months of Trump’s presidency don’t paint a picture of any so-called “Trump bump.”
As Michael Feroli, chief economist at JPMorgan, put it, the July report was another example of “boring stability” not dynamic growth.
The average monthly job gain over the first seven months of 2017 was 184,000. This is lower than the 196,000 average between January and July of 2016 and the second-lowest average for the first seven months of the year since 2012.
Additionally, wage growth remains roughly in line with where it’s been stuck for the past few years. Friday’s 2.5% year-over-year growth in average hourly earnings is the 17th straight month wages have risen between 2.4% and 2.9%. These wage growth numbers remain below the 3.0% or more growth that was the norm before the recession.
There hasn’t even been much change in the industries Trump touted during the campaign. Trump promised to bring back manufacturing jobs, but job growth in that sector is in line with the post-recession average. Another of Trump’s favourite industries, coal mining, has added just 100 jobs in the first seven months of the year. Overall, job gains are still concentrated in service industries like healthcare and hospitality as they have been for most of this decade.
Now, there has been steady improvement in the job market. There are still people coming into the workforce from outside of it, and the solid but not spectacular numbers are to be expected from an economic recovery that is eight years old.
But Trump said he inherited a “mess” from former President Barack Obama and promised to boost the economy from its slow but steady post-recession growth. So far that isn’t the case.
This isn’t to say that a bigger economic boom can’t happen — for instance, a large infrastructure investment package could be a boost to earnings growth or overall job gains. But so far everything is still grinding along much the same as it was before Trump’s election.