Friday’s jobs report just gave President Donald Trump and Republicans a little extra ammunition heading into the home stretch of the midterm election season.
The report was strong across the board. The addition of 250,000 jobs in October, well above economists expectations of 200,000 jobs added, also came with the strongest wage growth since April 2009 with average hourly earnings increasing at a 3.1% pace year-over-year.
Republicans pointed to the strong wage and job growth numbers as proof that the party’s tax cuts and economic policies had helped grow the economy.
“While Democrats again this week pledged to raise taxes on hardworking Americans and take more money away from Main Street businesses, Republicans know our workers deserve a pro-growth economy like the one we’re seeing that truly works for them,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and an author of the tax law.
The jobs report is a helpful data point for Republicans given that the GOP tax law, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or TCJA, does not poll well. Most Americans believe the benefits of the law are disproportionately tilted toward wealthier Americans and corporations, but the jobs number could give Republicans a stronger case that more benefits have made their way to all Americans.
Rep. Karen Handel, who is running for reelection in Georgia’s 6th district, gave an example of the party’s possible pitch.
“My opponent called the tax cuts a ‘scam,'” Handel tweeted. “She wants to repeal them and raise your taxes. Yet month after month, the economic news gets better. Today’s jobs report far exceeded projections!”
Handel’s seat, which she won in a closely followed special election in 2017, is rated lean Republican by the Cook Political Report.
The GOP is expected to cheer strong numbers. But even Jason Furman, the former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, admitted that some of the growth was likely attributable to the tax cuts.
“The 213,000 jobs per month in 2018 (to date) is a marked upshift from the 182,000 last year,” Furman tweeted. “The combination of tax cuts and spending increases have probably added about 50K jobs per month this year. Fiscal stimulus does work, at least temporarily.”
While the pick up is significant from 2017, the long-term trend of job growth remains relatively stable:
And as Furman noted, it’s unclear if the stimulus produce a long-term trend of job growth. Most economists on Wall Street and elsewhere believe that the tax cuts will add to economic growth and job gains in the short-term but expect the effects to fade eventually.
But the short-term boost may be enough to give Republicans a tailwind heading into the midterms.
As Trump tweeted a little more than an hour after Friday’s release: “Wow! The U.S. added 250,000 Jobs in October – and this was despite the hurricanes. Unemployment at 3.7%. Wages UP! These are incredible numbers. Keep it going, Vote Republican!”