Were Friday’s Unemployment Numbers Manipulated?

Another day, and another not-so-small accusation of our government manipulating data. This time it came with Friday’s jobs report, as a sudden and massive dip in unemployment made September the best month for jobs growth in almost nine years. The unemployment figures dipped from 8.1% to 7.8%, prompting joy for most of the markets and likely most of the Obama campaign. The issue here, is that the report came just days after Obama suffered a crushing defeat (by most accounts) in the first Presidential debate with Mitt Romney [for more economic news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].

Some are accusing democratic die-hards of fixing numbers to make the economy look better and thereby helping Obama’s re-election cause, while others are outright accusing the President of the treason. Even the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, had to hop in on the action. “”Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers” he tweeted early Friday morning, as he seems to suggest that Obama had his hands in manipulating those figures downward. The tweet received almost 1,000 re-tweets and nearly 100 favorites in just a matter of hours.

We all know that there have certainly been a number of government flops or cover-ups in our day, so some feel that these figures are not so far fetched. After watching the LIBOR scandal unfold, many learned that it may have infected gold and silver markets with manipulation as well as some other assets. There is even a major controversy over unemployment figures themselves, as our country has been drastically under-reporting the number of those without jobs for decades. But to suggest that Obama actually manipulated the numbers himself is quite a bold claim [see also Four Commodities To Buy Before Roubini’s “Perfect Storm”].

“I don’t think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs. That would have same effect. Would love to see the partisan breakdown of the 873,000 Americans who say they got new jobs” Tweeted Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner, as he seems to think the conspiracy was concocted by nearly one million individual citizens. In actuality, the odds of Obama having tweaked these numbers is pretty unlikely. Rather than look at this massive drop, which is welcomed economic news, we should spend our efforts asking why unemployment is reported at 7.8% when in actuality it hovers somewhere in the 15% range. A bi-partisan issue that exists today and will still exist on January 20th of next year, no matter who is being sworn into office.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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