Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch created a firestorm on Friday when he tweeted that the drop in the unemployment rate from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent was bogus. He was far from the only one that was skeptical of the stats newly released by the U.S. Labor Department.
That being said, it wouldn’t be the first time that federal government bureaucrats made mistakes in their numbers crunching; the fact that we are 30 days from a president election is, of course, a factor too. The Obama administration has denied cooking the numbers to make the president look better.
Welch and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews debate the issue on Hardball (see video below). Welch conceded that he had no evidence of a conspiracy by the Bureau of Labor Statistics but that numbers don’t make sense in relation to other other economic trends and are based on “a series of wild assumptions.” Welch refused to back down from anything he said in his tweet (see below)
Separately, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former chief of the Congressional Budget Office called the numbers “implausible” according to the Weekly Standard.
To some degree, all this rhetoric about government statistics begs the question, because the unofficial unemployment picture if far worse. As the New York Post‘s John Crudele explains:
“But the broader underemployment rate — which includes those who can only find part-time work — is still 14.7 percent.”
“And when you include people who have completely given up looking for work and therefore aren’t counted, the number of underemployed and unemployed is 22.5 percent.”
This is the tweet that started it all:
Unbelievable jobs numbers..these
Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers
— Jack Welch
(@jack_welch) October 5, 2012
Watch Chris Matthews debate Jack Welch about the new unemployment numbers:
Congressman Allen West also isn’t buying the Labor Department’s unemployment rate data, either:
DO you think the slight drop in the unemployment rate claimed by the Labor Department is politically motivated?