Donald Trump at coronavirus press briefing

Trump Administration Asks States To Keep Quiet About Unemployment Claim Figures

The Trump administration sent an email out to state labor departments Wednesday asking them to delay releasing the real numbers for unemployment, suggesting they provide only “generalities” such as “very high” until the federal Labor Department releases the real numbers next Thursday.

According to an email obtained by the New York Times, this request is meant to avoid further destabilizing the stock market, which has been having a hard time as the economy shuts down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“States should not provide numeric values to the public,” wrote Office of Employment Insurance administrator Gay Gilbert in the email. The Times notes that there was “no indication” that Gilbert was “urged by political appointees to make the request.”

Unemployment numbers, whenever they’re released, are sure to be high as businesses close their doors across the country and more state governments mandate non-essential establishments must shut down to slow the spread of the virus.

Washington State officials already reported a 150 percent increase in unemployment claims last week, and this week’s numbers are projected to be higher. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary of Labor and Industry Robert O’Brien said that the state has seen over 180,000 claims flood into the department in just a few days.

With these numbers already released, keeping the latest real numbers quiet for an extra week probably isn’t going to have much of a positive impact on the markets. At the same time, the public is not happy to hear about this request, especially after they learned that they were kept in the dark about the coronavirus threat while some Senators were selling off their stocks following a private briefing.