Obama Faked Jobs Numbers!

On Monday, links to this story started showing up in my Facebook newsfeed. Well, links to stories about that story, all of them from right wing blogs, started showing up, all of them declaring that Obama had faked the jobs numbers for September, 2012, just before the election. A cursory glance at the original source story showed that this is almost certainly nonsense.

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.

Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.

And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.

“He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.

Okay, let’s check the score. A single report in Sept. 2012 was suspect because the Census Bureau, which does one half of the monthly jobs report (the Labor Department does the other), caught a single employee in a single city (Philadelphia, it says later in the story) fabricating data. It doesn’t say that he was faking it lower, only that he was faking it to make a quota (the standard is that 9 out of 10 households called for the survey need to respond). And then there’s this huge leap from that to “Obama ordered them to fake a report two years later to help him politically.”

There are 2200 people involved in compiling the household employment survey every month, reaching 60,000 households. Those 2200 people are career employees, not political appointees. A single one was apparently caught faking his data two years before this allegedly suspect report (and fired long before that report came out). This isn’t just a weak story, it’s a ridiculous one. There is no “there” there, which hasn’t stopped the right wing media from exploding with rage at a story without a shred of substance.

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  • http://www.diaxsrake.de Joerg

    Not even to mention that a decline in 0.3 percent points can hardly be called a decline on its own, I doubt it would be statistically significant. In the context of multiple years however, there definitely is a decline: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

    Can someone sport this alleged big decline in 2012? I can’t.

  • Al Dente

    Two years ago some guy was lazy and instead of making his allocated calls faked the data. And the point is what?

  • colnago80

    The story is in the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdock. About as reliable a source of information as Pravda and Isvestia were in the former Soviet Union.

  • http://thebronzeblog.wordpress.com/ Bronze Dog

    It sounds like a perverse combination of the Nirvana Fallacy and Argument from Ignorance. “The system isn’t 100% perfect, therefore it’s 100% corrupt and therefore we know its agenda!”

    Probably explains how some wingnuts rationalize the crazed crackdown on fraudulent voting. The ones who are consciously using it as a pretext to disenfranchise the less fortunate might also use it to soothe the tattered remnants of their conscience and quiet the dying voice of reason in their heads. Assuming they ever had those things to begin with, which is often quite a stretch.

  • jnorris

    IIRC, at that time the ADP National Employment Report showed an increase in national employment. The conspiracy even reached the highest levels of corporate America.

    http://www.adpemploymentreport.com/

    If Mr Crudele wishes to correct me, I’ll entertain any argument.

    I also heard from a source close to 1600 P*********** Avenue, that Pres Obama planted the fake employment numbers to throw Rep Issa off the Benghazi disaster.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    Well, if “a reliable source” who is not identified says something, that’s good enough for me. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to hit the “like” button on a Facebook post so that God will do me a favor in two minutes.

  • birgerjohansson

    (South Park): “They took our jobs!”

  • Wylann

    You know, I’ve been in the workforce about 30 years now. Early on, a lot of that was part time while I was paying my way through college. Since I graduated in ’96, I’ve been employed full time with only a couple of relatively short times resulting from layoffs.

    So what are the odds that during the 6 weeks, out of almost 30 years, that I would finally get a telephone survey from one of those agencies doing a survey? You suppose they have access to some of the records, or it really was just that random?