The Labor Department released the latest monthly figures which show an unemployment rate of 7.8%. As expected, Barack Obama and his team are spinning in full force that this is a sign of economic "recovery." But to a number of people, including former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, something is a little "strange."
First the Obama sound bite: The unemployment rate dropped from 8.1% to 7.8%. One can explain the decrease in any number of ways, but what's puzzling is just how the labor data seem conflicting in some parts and just plain wrong in others.
Here's a report from Fox News:
President Obama's team touted the numbers as a sign the economy is improving. Mitt Romney, along with several economists, expressed deep skepticism about the report.
The data even elicited a conspiracy theory from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who tweeted: "Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers."
The Labor Department reported that the rate dipped in September from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. It was a glimmer of good news for Obama, who's trying to recover from a disappointing debate performance and whose central argument is that the economy is moving in the right direction.
In a speech this morning, Obama said, "It's a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now." Come too far? Is he serious? This is the worst recovery ever.
But skeptics pointed out that not only is 7.8 percent unemployment hardly a "real recovery," but the report reflected an uptick in part-time jobs and the number of self-employed. Further, they stressed that there appeared to be a huge disconnect between the modest number of new jobs reported and the significant decrease in the unemployment rate.
The Labor Department, based on a broad survey of employers, said 114,000 jobs were added in September. But the unemployment rate itself is based on a separate "household survey," which showed a whopping 873,000 new jobs in September.
"This must be an anomaly," former Congressional Budget Office director Doug Holtz-Eakin said in a snap analysis of the numbers. "It is out of line with any of the other data.."
Holtz-Eakin noted the household survey is smaller, suggesting it is not as reliable. He called estimate of 873,000 new jobs "implausible." He said the report was otherwise "solid," but reflected "the economy is merely moving sideways."
Mitt Romney pointed out the obvious which will probably be glossed over by the media: "This is not what a real recovery looks like. We created fewer jobs in September than in August, and fewer jobs in August than in July."
So is Jack Welch right? Are these Chicago-style Labor numbers?