Truth About Jobs

Truth About Jobs

By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: October 7, 2012

If anyone had doubts about the madness that has spread through a large part of the American political spectrum, the reaction to Friday’s better-than expected report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics should have settled the issue. For the immediate response of many on the right — and we’re not just talking fringe figures — was to cry conspiracy.

 

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Leading the charge of what were quickly dubbed the “B.L.S. truthers” was none other than Jack Welch, the former chairman of General Electric, who posted an assertion on Twitter that the books had been cooked to help President Obama’s re-election campaign. His claim was quickly picked up by right-wing pundits and media personalities. 

It was nonsense, of course. Job numbers are prepared by professional civil servants, at an agency that currently has no political appointees. But then maybe Mr. Welch — under whose leadership G.E. reported remarkably smooth earnings growth, with none of the short-term fluctuations you might have expected (fluctuations that reappeared under his successor) — doesn’t know how hard it would be to cook the jobs data.

Furthermore, the methods the bureau uses are public — and anyone familiar with the data understands that they are “noisy,” that especially good (or bad) months will be reported now and then as a simple consequence of statistical randomness. And that in turn means that you shouldn’t put much weight on any one month’s report. Continue reading “Truth About Jobs”

Jobless rate drops to 7.8 percent; economy adds 114,000 jobs

 

By Vicki Needham – 10/05/12 10:28 AM ET

The unemployment rate dipped below 8 percent in September, to 7.8 percent, shaking up estimations of the presidential race and providing welcome news for President Obama just a month before Election Day.

The economy added only 114,00 jobs, yet the unemployment rate still dropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8.

Total employment rose by 873,000 in September, a significant jump that could help explain the drop in the unemployment rate.

The report revised figures up in July and August, and it showed more people are now entering the workforce. This is also the first report to be released since the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced it had undercounted employment for the previous year by 386,000. Continue reading “Jobless rate drops to 7.8 percent; economy adds 114,000 jobs”