BLS Economist Explains Why 'Cooked Jobs Report' Charge Is 'Preposterous'

Jobs Report, Cooked Numbers

It's 32 days before election day, and an embattled president receives news that could only bring him joy. For the first time since Barack Obama's first month in office, the national unemployment rate has dropped below 8 percent, to a September tally of 7.8 percent.

"Well, isn't that convenient?" in effect howled many in the blogosphere, with a charge that the jobs report had been "cooked."

The chorus of jobs-report skeptics was led by no less an American luminary than Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, who tweeted, "these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers."

Given the rush to question the legitimacy of the jobs report, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis felt it necessary to respond to the critics, and appeared on CNBC to say, "I'm insulted when I hear that, because we have a very professional civil service... have the highest regard for our professionals that do the calculations at the [Bureau of Labor Statistics]. They are trained economists."

AOL Jobs spoke today to one of those economists at the BLS, John Mullins, about the process behind putting together the reports.

More: 7 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Up To $40 An Hour

Q. How are jobs reports compiled?

A. The data is drawn is from the current population survey and the current employment statistical survey. The first is a survey of households. The second, which I work on, is of business establishments, agencies. And data from both appears in the employment situation report each month, which is where we see the unemployment rate.

Q. What do you ask them?

A. For the current employment survey, we get information on payroll, employment size, hours on the job and total earnings. So it's a sample of stats from businesses that pay unemployment insurance. We ask a subset of that universe to participate.

Q. How is the data delivered?

A. The businesses submit the data in a variety of methods, either electronically or over the phone.

Q. So there is human involvement?

A. Yes. And then the data is assessed by a computer program that identifies peculiarities, which we review for accuracy.

Q. Is there any chance for the data to be doctored?

A. No. And we are not political appointees. In my program, there are 15 economists. I have been here for 15 years, some of my colleagues have been here for longer. We don't really talk politics at work, at least not any more than in any other workplace. I would say I wouldn't even really know which way my colleagues lean politically.

Q. Are there any measures taken to make sure the numbers aren't doctored?

A. The data are reviewed by supervisory staff to make sure the analysis is based on sound statistical data. Any one person doesn't have influence great enough to change the numbers significantly. And over the course of the year, it's cross-checked with state unemployment data, which would reveal any inaccuracies. Our methodology is known to prominent statistical organizations and it is transparent and consistent with standard statistical practices.

The process is open and transparent, and all the information is on our website. Anyone who understands the process and statistics knows how preposterous the charge of doctoring is. And I will add that we're all professionals, and we take pride in this not being political.

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September Jobs Report Shows 7.8% Unemployment Rate





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islandtelecom

Repukes. Sooooo pissed off at anything that might be remotely positive. Can't wait to get back to Repug policies and losing nearly a million jobs a month (where Bush left us).
http://johnsvor.blogspot.com/search?q=better+off
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3036
Pseudo-patriotic, anti-American racists, create the Great Recession, obstruct the recovery, http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/06/08/1098434/-Eric-Cantor-Paul-Ryan-Kevin-McCarthy-Plot-To-Sabotage-US-Economy-with-Frank-Luntz
http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2009/02/15/191761/the_new_filibuster/ http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/02/12/84487/senate-republicans-filibuster.html
Obstruct & Attack Obama From day one.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35eRxxZ-Ar0&feature=relmfu
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/06/21/504120/republicans-jobs-hostage-keystone/
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/01/18/six-reasons-keystone-xl-was-bad-deal-all-along/
http://pleasecutthecrap.typepad.com/main/2010/10/want-proof-that-the-republican-party-is-against-the-people.html#tp
http://johnsvor.blogspot.com/2010/10/31-bills-republicans-have-blocked-in.html
http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/21/opinion/zelizer-congress-polarization/index.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hoip3VF3zGk
http://www.whenarethejobs.com/
http://republicanjobcreation.com/
http://sideshow.me.uk/annex/defeattherightin3minutes.htm
...they dismiss any good news and cheerfully celebrate any bad news. Losers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=X7q5F2u1I_Q&NR=1

November 01 2012 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kentschwendiman

forget the wierd formulas for unemployment and just report the number getting food stamps

October 10 2012 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kentschwendiman

forget the wierd formulas for unemployment and just report the number getting foof stamps

October 10 2012 at 9:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

Bureau of lying statistics. Controlled by Obama, like the Huffington Post.

October 09 2012 at 3:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
franksroom

So he thinks the government "cooked the books". The real question is why do people like him get to ruin major corpoations. He is a big reason why capitalism is a failed economic system.

October 06 2012 at 9:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jeff hale

just a rich, angry, old white guy! they are really upset that robotney campaign is doomed.

October 06 2012 at 6:05 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Comments 1202

I agree with Mr Welch... I almost fell out of my chair laughing when Hilda went out and tried to defend the manipulation of their "survey" and said that the people compiling the information were dedicated and "highly professional civil servants"... is that the same thing as overpaid career bureaucrats? There are 3 reasons they are employed by the federal government :

1. The don't have the ability to get a job in the private sector
2. They are far left and maliable by whoever is funding the cabinet department
3. They get paid by the taxpayers 4 times more than the work they do justifies and 8 times more than they are worth.

As Will Rogers said, there are several types of liars fibbers, liars, politicians and statistitions... the labor department under obama add another to the list... liberal appointee bureaucrat statistitions.

October 06 2012 at 5:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
songbirdgray

THEY JUST USED A DIFFERENT SURVEY THAT MAKES IT LOOK BETTER THAN IT REALLY IS, I WISH WE HAD JOBS FOR EVERY ONE, BUT PART TIME JOBS FOR PEOPLE WITH STELLAR ABILITIES ARE NOT THE RECOVERY WE ARE LOOKING FOR. WENEED SOMONE , WHO CAN TAKE COMMAND OF THE SITUATION IN A BUSINESS LIKE MANNER , BUT OF COURSE IF YOUR AGENDA IS TO DESTROY THE ECONOMY I GUESS OBAMA SEES THIS AS PROMISING./

October 06 2012 at 4:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
com2pc

What else would YOU expect the LIBERAL MEDIA to Report 32 days before the election????
Of course its The report is false and " COOKED" !

October 06 2012 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
johnnysplatz420

its funny how obama n liberal hippies complain sooo much about bush tax cuts yet obama extended them? hmm..

October 06 2012 at 2:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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