White House: It was appropriate for Trump to tweet about jobs because 'he didn't put the numbers out'

  • About an hour before the 8:30 a.m. ET jobs number release, President Donald Trump said he was "looking forward" to the employment numbers.
  • The U.S. economy created 223,000 jobs in May, coming in above the 188,000 payroll growth estimate from economists.

The White House believes President Donald Trump's comment on social media about one hour before the blowout jobs number Friday was proper.

Trump sounded an optimistic tone ahead of Friday's pivotal nonfarm payrolls release from the government.

On Thursday Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that the president was briefed on the jobs number Thursday night and said Trump's Friday morning tweet was appropriate because, "He didn't put the numbers out."

The U.S. economy created 223,000 jobs in May, coming in above the 188,000 payroll growth estimate from economists.

About an hour before the 8:30 a.m. ET release, the president said he was "looking forward" to the employment numbers. S&P 500 futures barely budged in the time between his tweet and the announcement.

The president may get to see the numbers the night before they are sent out to the public, though the report is embargoed and is kept under tight wraps as it frequently moves the financial markets.

President Donald Trump
Getty Images
President Donald Trump

"If it was anyone but the president, you would have just gotten yourself a nice appointment with the FBI or the SEC," Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" before the number was released.

Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow gave further detail on what happened. Kudlow shared he called the president on Air Force One Thursday evening and told him the job numbers.

"I don't think he gave anything away incidentally. And I think this is all according to routine, law and custom," Kudlow said on CNBC Friday.

Later with reporters he defended the president's tweet, saying the actual numbers were not revealed to the public. Kudlow said he would not commit to giving Trump the jobs numbers ahead of time next month saying "it's a judgment call."

He also pushed back on the focus over the tweet, saying the media should cover the strong economy instead.

Stock futures were slightly higher near Friday's opening bell than before the report. The Dow Jones Industrial average was up more than 180 points in late morning trading in New York on Friday.

Investors on social media reacted to the unusual comment by the president.

CNBC has reached out the Labor Department for comment.

—CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed to this report.