Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Were the Job Numbers Fudged?

New York Post reporter John Crudelle strongly implies that they were--in Barack Obama's favor.

In today's (Election Day's) column, The curious case of the lucky jobs numbers, Crudelle writes:

I’ll leave the conspiracy theories to Jack Welch, former head of General Electric, who thinks the labor numbers are being rigged. I will just present the facts.
Let me start with last Friday’s numbers — the crucial employment roundup for October and the last major economic figure due before today’s vote.
Labor announced that 171,000 new jobs were created in October, a figure that was better than the “experts” expected and good enough for the president to tout in his last campaign stops.
But if you looked closely enough — and knew what you were looking at — you’d see a problem with that 171,000 figure.
The better-than-expected growth was mostly caused by a dramatic change in the seasonal adjustments used on the numbers. Without that change, growth in October would have only been around 100,000.

And that’s a figure the president would not have been bragging about.

Labor swore to me that nobody could have tinkered with the seasonal adjustments.
The second instance of good luck on jobs came in the September employment figures, which were released Oct. 5.
As I mentioned back then, the unemployment rate fell an astounding 0.3 percentage points to 7.8 percent largely because of an inexplicable jump in the number of young people who allegedly got jobs.
When the Census Bureau conducted that September survey for Labor, it discovered that 368,000 people between the ages of 20 and 24 had suddenly found work that month. Labor boxed a footnote in its report about the unusual occurrence but couldn't — or didn't — explain it.
The third instance was noticed by — I think — Reuters. In the week of Oct. 6, the initial claims for unemployment insurance (which is watched closely by the financial markets) suddenly dropped by 10 percent.
If you took the figure seriously, it looked like a sudden, last-minute improvement in the job market that would certainly help Obama. But then word started filtering out that the improvement was the result of one unnamed state that didn't file its weekly paperwork on time.
California — a state that supports the president wholeheartedly — was rumored to be the lax filer. So I’m wondering: Does someone in DC deserve a kick in the teeth?
I would say, yes--President Barack Obama (metaphorically speaking, of course), though not because of the fudging of the jobs numbers.
Crudelle says he voted for Obama in 2008, but is voting for Romney today because he has promised to get rid of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose inflationary, 0% interest rate monetary policies have, as Crudelle puts it, redistributed wealth "in a direction even Obama wouldn't approve — from the poor and middle class to the rich."
That's another good reason to vote for Mitt Romney.

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