A little over a year into his presidency, it has become increasingly clear that President Donald Trump loves tweeting, feuding with celebrities of color, and taking responsibility for things that he has had no measurable impact on.
But on Sunday, Trump managed to do all three things at once, tweeting to rapper Jay-Z that “because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!”
Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, Black Unemployment has just been reported to be at the LOWEST RATE EVER RECORDED!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2018
During an interview with CNN’s Van Jones, which aired Saturday, Jay-Z made several critical comments about Trump, calling the president “misinformed” and characterizing his description of countries like Haiti as “shithole” countries as “really hurtful.” Jones asked Jay-Z whether the state of the economy — including the low rate of black unemployment — made Trump’s comments and actions irrelevant, to which Jay-Z replied that “it’s not about money at the end of the day.”
“Money doesn’t equate to happiness,” Jay-Z said. “It doesn’t. That’s missing the whole point.”
Sunday’s tweet about Jay Z is not the first time that Trump has tried to take credit for the low levels of unemployment among black Americans. In early January, after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its numbers for December 2017, Trump took to Twitter to claim responsibility for the drop.
The African American unemployment rate fell to 6.8%, the lowest rate in 45 years. I am so happy about this News! And, in the Washington Post (of all places), headline states, “Trumps first year jobs numbers were very, very good.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2018
A few days later, Trump again tweeted about the low unemployment, taking an opportunity to criticize Democrats as well.
African American unemployment is the lowest ever recorded in our country. The Hispanic unemployment rate dropped a full point in the last year and is close to the lowest in recorded history. Dems did nothing for you but get your vote! #NeverForget @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 8, 2018
While black unemployment has reached the lowest rate since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began breaking unemployment rate down by race in the 1970s, Trump is incorrect to claim that the number is a result of his policies. Unemployment for black Americans has fallen steadily for the past several years, and the decline does not appear to have measurably picked up pace since Trump took office, suggesting that recent declines are a result of policies that pre-date the Trump administration.
And despite the historically low levels of black unemployment, the numbers still aren’t great — black unemployment is still 2 percentage points higher than the general population, and almost twice as high as white unemployment.