Could The Jobs Numbers Be 'Cooked'?

September jobs report

After months of tepid jobs reports, the Labor Department reported Friday that nation's unemployment fell to a level not seen since before President Obama took office in January 2009, 7.8 percent.

That was good news for job hunters and workers -- and of course, President Obama. So immediately the conspiracy theories started flying, with none other than Jack Welch, esteemed former chairman and CEO of General Electric Co., claiming that the Obama administration "cooked" the numbers in advance of November's election to aid in his reelection. Shortly after the jobs report was released Friday, Welch tweeted:

Welch was referring to Obama's debate performance Wednesday against Republican nominee Mitt Romney, which some critics called weak.

Welch, who made his career by developing successful ways to motivate employees, might want to give career civil servants at the Labor Department a little more credit than to suggest they tampered with government data. Further, as The Washington Post notes, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is set up to ensure the White House has no ability to influence it.

Wlech was slammed by critics on Twitter, and #jackwelch became a trending term. As financial blogger Felix Salmon of Reuters wrote on Twitter in response to Welch:

Mitt Romney was also critical of the report, despite the good news it contained. "This is not what a real recovery looks like," he said in a statement.

So what's behind the sudden drop? It wasn't that employers started hiring masses of workers in September -- the nation added just 114,000 jobs last month. Rather, it was upward revisions to the two previous months' job-creation numbers that are being credited for the drop in joblessness.

Unlike last month's drop in the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent, which initially credited the decline to workers giving up looking for work, September's data showed no such trend. In other words, the rate dropped because more people -- 873,000 -- reported finding jobs and weren't counted as leaving the workforce.

Other good news:

  • The number of discouraged workers -- those who have given up looking for work because they don't believe there any jobs available for them -- fell to 802,000, a decline of 235,000 from a year ago.
  • The tally of workers out of work for fewer than five weeks declined by 302,000 during the month to 2.5 million, suggesting that newly unemployed people are having an easier time in finding new jobs.
  • The overall unemployment rate among veterans fell to 6.7 percent last month from 8.1 percent a year ago. The percentage of female veterans, however, rose to 13.2 percent from 9.7 percent in September 2011.
  • Health care continues to be a job-creation engine. The sector added 44,000 jobs last month, including 8,000 new jobs at hospitals. During the past year, health-care employment has risen by nearly 300,000 jobs.


More: Recession's Effect on Lifespans Of Older Workers Who Lose Their Jobs

Despite the relatively strong report, there are still signs that many unemployed people will continue to face headwinds in trying a job:

  • Employers added only 114,000 jobs last month, barely enough to keep up with population growth, and not enough to help drive down the unemployment rate.
  • The manufacturing sector, which had been a bright spot for job creation until August, lost 16,000 jobs in September, including a loss of 3,400 jobs at vehicle and auto-parts plants, suggesting that manufacturers aren't hiring as they once were.
  • Though the number of workers unemployed for 27 weeks or more dropped, there are still 4.84 million long-term jobless -- and the longer they remain unemployed, the harder it will be for them to find work.

To be sure, there was lots of good news in the September jobs report, but still plenty of reason to remain cautious. "It's an OK report," Bill Kosteas, economist at Cleveland State University, told the Marketplace Morning Report radio program. "We'll have to look to see the revisions to [September's data] next month, since we've been getting some pretty sizable revisions."


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bkbrhb3

Of course the numbers are cooked. They don't include people like me who lost their jobs and used up their unemployment because we are now off the rolls. They don't include underemployed people. It is total fiction. No different that the inflation numbers that don't include food, gasoline, utilities and medical expenses. It is totally in the hands of number crunchers whose job it is to make the government look good.

April 08 2013 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JOHNNY 65

Romney is the 2012 Flim Flam Man. Real Change is money in his pocket not ours. If he is such a caring person for America why hasn't he created 12 Million Jobs for America before this election? Smoke Screen Again.

November 04 2012 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Good day Maurice

The GOP.wants to make the Obama administration look bad in all spects,they lie,flip flop over the true,this is not helping the republicans win the White house,like Biden said move over,Obama is next president.

October 17 2012 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
avdvmd

Amazing report almost one million jobs

wtheck are they ??? Maybe China cause everyone I know

is still unemployed ''''give me a break almost 1,000,000

sorry no way,,,,can't win debates? get desparate and lie

October 06 2012 at 2:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dolphln79swim

Jack Welch is right. Anyone with functioning brain cells could have, and did, predict this over a year ago. Get your nose out of Obama's ass, Huffy.

October 05 2012 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pocahontas1450

Lockheed Martin, huge jet builder, was "directed" not to layoff anybody until after the elections. How many other big companies were directed?? Who do you think directed Lockheed and will pay for Lockheed's lost money? Come on sheeple, wake up!!

October 05 2012 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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