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Friday, October 05, 2012

'The Outrageous Attack on BLS'

According to the BLS, the unemployment rate dropped from 8.1% to 7.8%. The response from some Republicans was that thenumber must have been manipulated to help Obama. Larry Mishel responds:

The outrageous attack on BLS: Apparently, Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric, is accusing the Bureau of Labor Statistics of manipulating the jobs report to help President Obama. Others seem to be adding their voices to this slanderous lie. It is simply outrageous to make such a claim and echoes the worrying general distrust of facts that seems to have swept segments of our nation. The BLS employment report draws on two surveys, one (the establishment survey) of 141,000 businesses and government agencies and the other (the household survey) of 60,000 households. The household survey is done by the Census Bureau on behalf of BLS. It’s important to note that large single-month divergences between the employment numbers in these two surveys (like the divergence in September) are just not that rare. EPI’s Elise Gould has a great paper on the differences between these two surveys.
BLS is a highly professional agency with dozens of people involved in the tabulation and analysis of these data. The idea that the data are manipulated is just completely implausible. Moreover, the data trends reported are clearly in line with previous monthly reports and other economic indicators (such as GDP)..., there’s nothing implausible about the reported data. ... All in all, there was nothing particularly strange about this month’s jobs reports—and certainly nothing to spur accusations of outright fraud.

See also:

Douglas Holtz-Eakin Stops Being an Economist, by Brad DeLong

And:

Jack Welch Should be Ashamed, by Jared Bernstein
Update: Paul Krugman:
Democrat Derangement Syndrome

Update: Here are my comments on the employment report:

Have we turned the corner on unemployment?

    Posted by on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 09:31 AM in Economics, Politics, Unemployment | Permalink  Comments (45)


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