White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders apologized Tuesday for overstating African American employment numbers during a press conference.
In response to a question about President Donald Trump’s alleged use of a racial slur, Sanders told reporters that employment among African Americans had grown three times as much in the first 18 months of the president’s term as it it had during President Barack Obama’s eight years in office, citing the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA).
African American job growth during the Obama and Trump presidential terms differed little, former Treasury economist Ernie Tedeschi told The Washington Post: “The real bottom line is that the pace of jobs growth hasn’t changed dramatically between the two presidents.”
Employment did fall early in Obama’s first term, during the tail end of the Great Recession, but was growing again at the start of the second Obama term.
Later on Tuesday, the CEA tweeted minority job growth figures and apologized for miscommunicating to the press secretary. The CEA did not explain why its figures covered the 20 months starting with each president’s election in November, rather than the inauguration of each presidency the following January.
Economists warn that the U.S. President has limited impact on the wider economy, and that it can take a long time to understand what, if any, effect a given policy has had on the economy.
The Labor Department’s July non-farm jobs report revealed that unemployment in the United States was below 4%, and that African Americans remained the least employed group of adult workers, with an unemployment rate of 6.6%.