Nutty conspiracy theories about the jobs report
The Kansas City Star
I have to say that these monthly jobs reports are a mystery to me, as I suspect they are for many people. Particularly confusing is this ongoing revision of previous months’ numbers.
But it had never occurred to me, as indeed it has to former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, that the see-saw nature of the jobs reports are actually a political ploy to help Barack Obama retain the presidency.
“Unbelievable jobs numbers…these Chicago guys will do anything…can’t debate so change numbers,” Welch posted on his Twitter account today, after this month’s report showed an improved 7.8 percent unemployment rate.
A couple of months ago, The New York Times explained how the Bureau of Labor Statistics arrives at its monthly report.
You can read about the process here, but, in a nutshell, the Census Bureau surveys 60,000 representative households and sends data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau, meanwhile, surveys 500,000 businesses for jobs added or lost during the previous month. Experts then crunch the numbers and perform their statistical magic. That’s a lot of people to involve in a grand Chicago-style political conspiracy.
It’s fine and expected that politicians will spin the numbers as they see fit. But questioning the integrity of professional civil servants, many of whom have been doing this work for years, is getting into nutcase territory.