The United States Labor Department released its September unemployment figures. Even though many economists expected the eight percent figure to rise, government data suggested otherwise. The final numbers showed the unemployment rate dropped by 0.3 percent from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent, which is the first time in four years the figure is below the eight percent threshold.
Although some see this as a big boost for President Barack Obama and his re-election endeavors, others, especially those in the business world, such as former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, believe the president’s administration fudged the numbers and skewed the results.
Speaking on Fox News on Monday, Donald Trump, the real estate mogul, dismissed the latest report and charged that the figures were modified through a lot of “monkey business.” He also concurred with Welch’s Tweet, in which he accused “these Chicago guys” of changing the numbers – the former GE CEO later clarified that he should have added a question mark at the end.
“I don’t believe the number and neither do any of the other people that have intelligence. Because that number came out of nowhere,” stated Trump, who has flirted with a run for president for a number of years. “I think that they did a lot of monkey business. I’m telling you, in a month and a half from now, they will do a readjustment like has been happening for the last year and a half. They will do a readjustment and the number will be 8.2 or more.”
Trump later explained that the president has hesitated laying off “certain workers in certain categories” until following the November election. “I mean, that’s monkeying with the numbers.”
The reality television star also talked about of the president’s foreign policy and described it as “a joke.”
Indeed, there will be one last jobs report the Friday before voters head to the polls, which could make or break President Obama’s re-election efforts.
The White House has been all over the allegations. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis called the assertions that the unemployment report was fabricated “ludicrous” and noted that she has “the highest regard for our professionals who do the calculations.”
Meanwhile, Josh Earnest, deputy White House press secretary, was also dismissive of the claims by labelling it as “utter nonsense.”
“Any serious person who has any familiarity with how these numbers are tabulated understands that these are career employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics that are responsible for compiling and analyzing these numbers and they do that on their own.”
Fudging the Numbers?
It has been known since the administration of President Lyndon Baines Johnson that Washington officials can revise unemployment data by either inserting or deleting certain equations, workers and numbers to match their policies and give the citizenry false information.
For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a person who has stopped looking for work for more than one year is not tabulated in the final numbers. Furthermore, individuals who work part-time but are still seeking full-time employment are also not calculated in the published jobs report.
Americans who even give up looking for work are not placed in the unemployment numbers.
John Williams of ShadowStats.com argues that once you factor in methodology used in the Great Depression then the numbers change dramatically. In an interview with Reuters, Williams explained that if you start to tally the numbers the way the federal government did throughout the 1930s then the unemployment rate in 2009 would have been at 16.5 percent.
According to the website, the unemployment rate stands near the 25 percent mark.