President Donald Trump claimed credit Tuesday for the creation of more than 600,000 jobs since he entered office, a figure tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — off his administration’s true job creation totals.
“At the top of our agenda is the creation of great high-paying jobs for American workers, and we’ve made a lot of progress,” Trump told CEOs on Tuesday morning during a strategic and policy discussion inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building’s State Department Library.
“You see what’s going on. You see the numbers,” Trump continued. “We’ve created over 600,000 jobs already in a very short period of time, and it’s gonna really start catching on now because some of the things that we’ve done are big league, and they are catching on. Already, we’ve created more than almost 600,000 jobs.”
It’s unclear where Trump’s figure came from. The president has in the past spouted information that is inaccurate and at times demonstrably false.
The White House did not immediately respond for comment.
According to Labor Department data, the U.S. economy added a combined 317,000 jobs in February and March, the first full months Trump’s presidency. About 98,000 of those jobs were added last month.
Most economists would reject the assertion that Trump had much to do with shaping job growth during his first two months. But even if he claimed full credit for January’s 216,000 jobs as well, despite only being president for less than two weeks that month, his administration’s job creation total would be 533,000, still well short of his 600,000 figure.
Asked how many jobs from the January report Trump would attribute to his administration compared to his predecessor’s, White House press secretary Sean Spicer in February lamented that “unfortunately, we don’t have that kind of a breakdown.”
“Clearly there is a desire for companies to want to come be part of this Trump agenda and build and manufacture, create jobs, bring jobs back,” Spicer told reporters at the Feb. 3 press briefing. “But I’m not at liberty to start parsing the [Bureau of Labor Statistics] and other reports as far as where that comes down.”
Trump, however, apparently had no problem doing so. “And we’re gonna put many millions of people back to work,” he pledged Tuesday.
Tim Noah contributed to this report.