Saturday, October 06, 2012

7.8% Unemployment Number Conspiracy?

"Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change number," Welch tweet on October 5, 2011 jobs report unemployment decline to 7.8%.

Jack Welch charges White House manipulated unemployment numbers  as he comments on the recent unemployment report.   I don't give much credence to what Jack Welch says nowadays.  Under Jack Welch, GE regularly managed its earnings to exceed the Wall Street estimates by $0.01.   So I guess Jack is experienced in this matter :-)   For reference, Mr. Welch was an ardent supporter of President Obama for the 2008 election.

Interestingly, on  September 7, 2012, Rick Santelli predicted the unemployment number would drop to 7.9% before the election .  He implied the reason would be political.

Some people speculate a different conspiracy: Democratic participants incorrectly responding to the survey about having a job.   I thought this one was a bit of a stretch until I read the lengths Democrats will go in The Marriage Problem That Comes Every Four Years in which a Democratic wife claims she  "does the right thing" by throwing away her Republican husband's absentee ballot instead of mailing it for him.

Heidi Solaris, Secretary of Labor, is insulted by the allegations and defended the "professionalism" and the quality of the economists at the BLS.   Of course, she also blamed the high unemployment on Congress not working with the White House.

For me, the explanation is probably in the underlying details.  The internal numbers indicate there was a significant increase in part time hiring for the upcoming holiday retail season.   So the unemployment number is likely correct but not sustainable  i.e. nothing worth celebrating.

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This is not financial or economic advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

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