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Top economic chief admits Trump tweet on GDP growth was incorrect

Top economic chief admits Trump tweet on GDP growth was incorrect
President Trump speaks during an event at the White House last month. (Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images)

One of Donald Trump’s top economic advisors said the president erred in a tweet that asserted growth in U.S. gross domestic product was higher than the unemployment rate for the first time in over a century.

Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, acknowledged the claim was wrong after media organizations, including Bloomberg News, published historical data showing the benchmark had been passed many times since 1948.

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“I can tell you what is true,” Hassett said, when asked about the inconsistency at a White House briefing Monday. “It’s the highest in 10 years.”

Hassett said he suspected someone “added a 0” to the fact as it was “conveyed” to the president.

“The GDP Rate (4.2%) is higher than the Unemployment Rate (3.9%) for the first time in over 100 years!” Trump said Monday in a posting on Twitter.

In the 70 years since the Labor Department started publishing monthly jobless numbers, the growth rate has been higher than the unemployment level more than 20% of the time when compared with GDP, which is reported quarterly.

GDP growth exceeded the jobless rate as recently as the first quarter of 2006, when unemployment was about 4.7% and quarterly GDP growth was 5.4%, government data show.

The Trump administration has recently promoted false statistics on jobless rates and the stock market’s performance as it has touted Trump’s record on the economy.

Last month, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders asserted to reporters that Trump had tripled Obama’s eight-year job creation record for black workers in just 18 months, quoting numbers that were not even close to accurate.

On Sunday, Trump said in a tweet that “the Stock Market is up almost 50% since Election.”

That’s not the case for the S&P 500 Index, which has increased about 35% since Trump was elected on Nov. 8, 2016.

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