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Trump, Clinton trade attacks on weak August jobs report

Donald Trump
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
Donald Trump

August turned out to be a quiet month for hiring, but a weak jobs report Friday prompted a loud exchange from the Trump and Clinton campaigns.

"The August jobs report shows the stagnant Clinton-Obama economy fails to deliver the jobs Americans desperately need," according to a statement from David Malpass, an economist who served in the Reagan and first Bush administrations and is now a campaign adviser to Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton's campaign shot back with a warning that Trump's economic policies would produce even weaker job numbers if he were elected.

"Experts on both sides of the aisle agree that Trump's reckless policies would throw us back into recession and cost us millions of jobs," said Jacob Leibenluft, a Clinton policy adviser.

The statement also touted the Obama administration's record of job growth since the Great Recession. The jobless rate has fallen to half the peak level seen in late 2010, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

But there was little to tout in the government's widely watched employment report. It said that nonfarm payrolls rose by just 151,000 last month, with the unemployment holding steady at 4.9 percent. Wage growth slowed.

The payroll numbers fell short of economists' expectations, who were looking for a gain of 180,000.

To be sure, August has often produced disappointing job numbers; in 10 of the last 13 years, the month has come up short of on market expectations.

In the Trump campaign's statement, Malpass cited a gain of just 126,000 new jobs in the private sector, which excludes the 25,000 new government jobs added in August.

The Trump campaign also singled out the drop in manufacturing jobs, blaming trade policies that the campaign said has led to "the offshoring of good-paying American jobs and the replacement of American workers at home with lower-paid foreign labor."

"The lack of good-paying jobs is a direct result of the Clinton globalist policies that have sent US jobs and industries overseas," the statement said.

In response, the Clinton campaign sought to highlight the issue of income inequality.

"In stark contrast to Donald Trump, Secretary Clinton has put forward an agenda to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top," the statement said.