NPR : News

Labor Secretary Says Talk Of Fudged Jobless Numbers Is Insulting

The news that the nation's jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August immediately led some of President Obama's critics to charge the the books had been cooked to help his reelection campaign.

"Unbelievable jobs numbers," tweeted former General Electric CEO Jack Welch. "These Chicago guys [the Obama campaign] will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers."

On CNBC, Tea Party favorite Rick Santelli declared that "I told you they'd get it under 8 percent — they did!"

Conservative commentator Monica Crowley tweeted about an "October surprise: 43 consecutive months of above 8% unemployment, & 1 month before election, the rate miraculously drops to 7.8%. Ahem."

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis has had a chance to respond to such talk: "I'm insulted when I hear that, because we have a very professional civil service," she said on CNBC. "I have the highest regard for our professionals that do the calculations at the (Bureau of Labor Statistics). They are trained economists."

At another point she called the charges "ludicrous."

Our colleagues at Planet Money have previously reported about the lengths BLS goes to in an effort to keep its work secret and away from outside influence.

This isn't the last jobs report before the Nov. 6 election. October's figures are due on Nov. 2. Watch for more fireworks then.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei Restricted To 20-Day U.K. Visa

Ai says he was denied a six-month visa because U.K. officials said he didn't list a criminal conviction in his application. Ai was imprisoned in China, but he notes he was never charged with a crime.
NPR

Humans Aren't The Only Ones To Go Ape Over Diets: Chimps Detox, Too

A group of Ugandan chimps has found a great way to boost their mineral intake and neutralize bitter compounds in their diet: by eating clay.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - July 31, 2015

Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

NPR

Debris Found In The Indian Ocean May Be From Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

Investigators believe a piece of debris found on the French island of RĂ©union in the Indian Ocean could be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.