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Donald Trump Can’t Take Credit for Eight Years of Declining Black Unemployment

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 7: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump returns to the White House following a weekend trip with Republican leadership and members of his cabinet at Camp David, on January 7, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)
Is what it is. Pool/Getty Images

Donald Trump has often been described as a man who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. This is mostly because he boasts endlessly about a fortune he built even though he inherited millions from his successful father. But it’s also a pretty good description of how Trump talks about the economy.

Take his recent comments about joblessness among African-Americans. Over the weekend, Trump celebrated the fact that the official unemployment rate among blacks had fallen to 6.8 percent, a record low. “I am so happy about this News!” he tweeted. Trump then picked up the theme again this morning, apparently after watching a fawning Fox & Friends segment that declared “African Americans and Hispanics are officially doing better with [Trump] than under President Obama.”

There are a few funny things about this. First, Trump and his favorite morning show have built a remarkably efficient echo chamber. The president tweets a talking point. Fox runs a segment affirming it. Then Trump tweets about it some more. It’s an ouroboros of inanity.

It’s also amusing to see Trump crowing about the official unemployment rate, after spending his entire presidential campaign calling it a “fiction.”

But the bigger issue here is that, much like virtually every other improvement in the labor market over the past year, the employment gains blacks and Hispanics have seen are mostly just a continuation of steady trends that well predate Trump. Joblessness among minorities has been on the decline for the better part of eight years. That’s in part because a black president spent the first years of his terms trying to save a mortally injured economy. Now Trump seems to think black voters will forget all of that work.

Unemployment among blacks and Hispanics

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