- The Washington Times - Friday, February 3, 2017

The White House reveled Friday in the first jobs report of the new administration that showed the U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in January, saying President Trump had already taken steps to turn the economy around.

“Today’s report reflects the consumer confidence that the Trump presidency has inspired,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer, noting recent polls showing stronger consumer confidence.

Mr. Spicer said he would not parse how how much of the job gains were attributed to Mr. Trump and how much to former President Obama, since the report covered the transition month. But he said Mr. Trump’s effects on the economy began before he took office.

“President Trump campaigned on how to make America work again. Even before he took office, the markets knew he would deliver on that promise,” he said.

He also backed away from Mr. Trump’s criticism during the campaign that the way the Labor Department calculates employment levels underestimates the jobless rate.

The strong hiring surpassed expectations, while the jobless rate rose from 4.7 percent to 4.8 percent, as 76,000 more workers entered the workforce to look for jobs.

The Labor Department said employers in the retail, construction and financial sectors hired the most workers. The government also revised its estimate down for job creation in November and December, lowering the total number of jobs created in that period by 39,000.

Wage growth remains a concern. Average hourly earnings were up 3 cents to $26 in January, compared with December’s 6-cent increase. For the year ended Jan. 31, wages increased 2.5 percent.

“The president’s already taken significant steps to turn our economy around and he is looking forward to ensuring that every American who wants a job has the opportunity to find one,” Mr. Spicer said. “While the president’s definitely pleased that the job growth has far surpassed expectations and that the labor force participation is rising, he also recognizes that there is a lot more work to be done.”

He described the president’s jobs agenda as “big and bold.”

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