White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said Friday’s shockingly weak jobs report is “very fluky,” and he would advise not paying “any attention to it.”
“I think you have timing issues with respect to the government shutdown, winter seasonal issues,” the director of the National Economic Council told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “I think it’s very fluky. I wouldn’t pay any attention to it to be honest with you.”
Despite the jobs number, Kudlow said he expects the U.S. economy is still on track for growth of 3 percent or more. “This is all going to be revised up,” he concluded, pointing to overall gains in employment for women and blue collar workers.
Kudlow appeared on CNBC after the Labor Department’s employment report Friday morning showed U.S. job growth came to a near halt in February. Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 20,000. That was well below the 180,000 added jobs that economists had expected.
Economists have been quick to point to the fact that the government data has been inconsistent since the 35-day government shutdown and the resulting impact on the workforce.
U.S. stock futures immediately fell on the jobs report, with Dow futures falling more than 200 points and extending over to an equally weak open on Wall Street.
The latest government employment data came amid growing concerns about a possible global economic slowdown and whether it could be spilling over into the U.S. economy, which advanced 2.9 percent for the calendar year 2018, and 3.1 percent when measured from fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018.
President Donald Trump commented on the report via Twitter.
In the same interview Friday, Kudlow said Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping could meet regarding their trade dispute later this month or early next month.
–CNBC’s Patti Domm contributed to this report.