Don’t let Trump — or any president — take credit for strong jobs numbers

Hiring was strong and wage growth accelerated in President Trump’s first full month in office. But don’t give Trump credit, at least not yet.

The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. That topped economists’ expectations and marked the second consecutive month of strong hiring. The unemployment rate fell a tenth of a percentage point to 4.7 percent, reversing its January uptick. Average earnings rose six cents an hour and were up 2.8 percent from a year earlier.

Trump will probably point to the report as proof that his economic policies are working. (On Friday, he retweeted a Drudge Report tweet hailing the jobs number as “great again.”) That isn’t supported by the evidence. Hiring was essentially the same in February as it was in January, when President Obama was still in office, and represented a continuation of an existing pattern of steady job growth. The jump in wages was widely anticipated by economists following an unexpected slowdown in January, and the unemployment rate has been stuck in a narrow band just below 5 percent for most of the past year.