By Robert Schroeder, MarketWatch
President Donald Trump hailed a stronger-than-forecast jobs report on Thursday, saying the U.S. economy is “roaring back” even as the recovery comes under threat from a renewed surge in coronavirus cases.
Addressing reporters at the White House, Trump said the economy was coming back “extremely strong,” after the government reported the return of 4.8 million jobs in June and an unemployment rate falling for the second straight month to 11.1%.
The monthly jobs figure easily exceeded the 3.7 million forecast of economists by MarketWatch. Still, the survey was taken before the latest wave of coronavirus cases erupted, and economists are urging caution. The labor-market data was released Thursday instead of the usual Friday because the Fourth of July holiday is being observed tomorrow.
“While we currently still expect a positive print for July’s payroll figures, it will be much smaller in size,” said Andrew Grantham of CIBC Economics.
The jobs data came as Trump is lagging behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in national polls and surveys of battleground-state voters. Though Biden tops Trump in most polls, the president has led Biden on the question of who would be better for the economy.
U.S. stocks opened sharply higher after the June jobs report, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA) gaining more than 400 points. But the Dow ended the session 92 points higher as investors digested the monthly employment report amid rising numbers of new coronavirus cases in Florida and elsewhere.
In a shot at Biden, Trump claimed that “your stock market will drop down to nothing” if a president who wants to raise taxes is elected. The former vice president under President Barack Obama has pledged to reverse many of Trump’s tax cuts.
In a video statement, Biden said he was pleased that the unemployment rate had come down “a bit more.” But, Biden added, the U.S. is still in a “deep, deep job hole” over what he called Trump’s bungled response to the coronavirus.