In the discussion thread: Damn GOOD Jobs Report: 'What's going on here? These are big jumps up!' [View all]
Response to bigtree (Reply #19)
Fri Oct 5, 2012, 01:30 PM
LongTomH (4,789 posts)
36. Ezra Klein has also answered the Right-Wingers claiming Obama is 'cooking the books!'
RW pundits have formed an organized rug-chewing-and-bedwetting team to scream that the jobs numbers aren't real; GE CEO Jack Welch seems to be team captain.
We’ve hit that moment in the election when people begin to lose their minds. Case in point, within minutes of the jobs report, Twitter filled with Republicans claiming the books were somehow cooked, the numbers aren’t real, etc.
Let’s take a deep breath. Jobs reports are about the economy, not about the election. Confusing the two leads to very bad analysis.
Here's the meat and potatoes of Ezra's argument:
Let’s get one thing out of the way: The data was not, as Jack Welch suggested in a now-infamous tweet, manipulated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is set up to ensure the White House has no ability to influence it. As labor economist Betsey Stevenson wrote, “anyone who thinks that political folks can manipulate the unemployment data are completely ignorant of how the BLS works and how the data are compiled.” Plus, if the White House somehow was manipulating the data, don’t you think they would have made the payroll number look a bit better than 114,000? No one would have batted an eye at 160,000.
The fact is that there’s not much that needs to be explained here. We’ve seen drops like this — and even drops bigger than this — before. Between July and August the unemployment rate dropped from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent — two-tenths of one percent. November-December of 2011 also saw a .2 percent drop. November-December of 2010 saw a .4 percent drop. This isn’t some incredible aberration. The fact that the unemployment rate broke under the psychologically important 8 percent line is making this number feel bigger to people than it really is.
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Ezra Klein has also answered the Right-Wingers claiming Obama is 'cooking the books!'
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