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Obama Likely to See Jobs Data Before Convention Speech

U.S. President Barack Obama applauds while arriving on stage during day two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sept. 5, 2012. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
U.S. President Barack Obama applauds while arriving on stage during day two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, North Carolina on Sept. 5, 2012. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama probably will receive August’s unemployment report before he delivers his acceptance speech tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, said Austan Goolsbee, a former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

“The numbers usually come in the afternoon, so he probably will” see them before the address, Goolsbee said. “He would have to use a secure phone,”

On the afternoon before the Friday release of the monthly jobs figures at 8:30 a.m. Washington time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics sends an encrypted message with the raw figures to the Council of Economic Advisers. The council chairman along with agency economists draft a one-to-two-page memo to explain the data to the president. Copies of the memo also go to the director of the National Economic Council and the vice president.

Obama probably won’t betray a good or bad jobs report with his body language, said Goolsbee, who once received an Oval Office fist bump from the president after sharing upbeat economic data. Goolsbee headed the Council of Economic Advisers from September 2010 to June 2011.

“My experience is that the president is extremely good at not tipping his hand about what’s in the numbers,” he said yesterday. “So anybody who’s going to be looking at his speech trying to figure out what’s in them, I would say probably going to be disappointed.”

Amy Brundage, a White House spokeswoman, and Jennifer Kaplan, Labor Department spokeswoman, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July from 8.2 percent in June even as employers added 163,000 jobs.

To contact the reporters on this story: Hans Nichols in Charlotte at hnichols2@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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