Donald Trump hasn’t been the biggest fan of job reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, possibly because he did not want to give credit to President Obama. But now that he’s a full month into his tenure, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump thinks they’re legit and no longer “phony.” Trump has routinely called labor statistics malarkey, including in 2015, when he said the 5.3 percent unemployment rate at that time wasn’t accurate:
“Such a phony number, the number isn’t reflective … 5.3 percent unemployment, that is the biggest joke there is in this country … The unemployment rate is probably 20 percent, but I will tell you, you have some great economists that will tell you it’s a 30, 32. And the highest I’ve heard so far is 42 percent.”
As recently as 2016, Trump called the reports a “hoax” and recently said (during his first address to Congress) that 94 million Americans are out of work, which is a bit deceptive because he included groups of people who aren’t looking for employment. However, Trump’s thrilled about the how the U.S. economy added a healthy 235,000 jobs in February, and he’s claiming credit.
During Friday’s press briefing, Spicer quoted Trump: “I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly: ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.'” Spicer and reporters laughed about the comment, but Trump was so proud that he retweeted a Drudge Report tweet of a Bloomberg report on jobs.
However, Fortune notes that in December 2012, Trump tweeted his displeasure about how the economy only added 244,000 jobs, which is 10,000 less than the number he’s excited about today:
So, it’s anyone’s guess if Trump goes back to old habits if the reports don’t suit him.