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.
The Trump administration is asking states to delay releasing unemployment-claim numbers, a sign of concern over further roiling markets https://t.co/34MIcVT5Ub— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 20, 2020
“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.
So now Donny is asking the whole country to lie to the world right along with him?
— Brian Cooley (@BrianWCooley) March 20, 2020
@realDonaldTrump Telling people to hide bad statistics is not how you make people feel confident. Though it may be fraud.
— Sam Price (@SamPrice54) March 20, 2020
He n his family had high times golfing,Aspens,killing animals running up a tab! big rallies all over on OUR dime,Slashing NatSec protections willynilly. Blaming anything bad on Obama, The Media, The Dems … now look. The Bug you saw coming is shredding OUR lives. NoMoreLies FU
— Robert Wisdom (@RobertRayWisdom) March 20, 2020
— Ron Waxman 🏳️🌈 (@RonWaxman) March 20, 2020
This is the same mentality that said testing is bad because it increases the number of reported cases and makes people afraid.
— Austan Goolsbee (@Austan_Goolsbee) March 20, 2020