I didn’t buy into the idea last week that the Labor Department “cooked the books” on the September jobs report. If you were going to go to the trouble of fixing the numbers, wouldn’t you come up with good numbers for both parts of the report? The household survey, upon which the unemployment numbers is based, is historically very volatile. Its suggestion of 800k new jobs in the month is obviously an outlier. Even if you accept the number at face value, an oddly precise 2/3rds of these jobs were part-time. You don’t build a recovery on part-time jobs.
But, today, I admit, I’m starting to wonder. This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that initial claims for unemployment benefits, i.e. jobless claims, fell a staggering 30k to 339k for the week. It’s the lowest level of claims since January 2008! Analysts had expected the number to remain essentially unchanged at around 370k, where it’s been pretty much for more than a year.
The media, of course, swooned at the news. NPR bellowed the report through my car speakers this morning and I swear I could hear high-fiving in the background of their studio. You would think we’d posted double-digit growth in GDP for the way the media greeted the news. The long-stalled economic recovery had appeared on the horizon at preciously the moment Obama needed it to.
Except, um, it turns out that number wasn’t right. They forgot to include CALIFORNIA, the most populous and economically depressed state in the country. A source at the Labor Department brushed aside the omission by saying that, sometimes, if a state office is under-manned they don’t complete all the jobless claims in time to report them to BLS.
In other words, the dog ate their homework.
Breitbart has the full article