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Why the unemployment number really is bogus

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 11th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In an op ed in the Wall Street Journal, Jack Welch, explained just why he finds the Obama unemployment numbers to be wrong. And of course, he's right. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Jack Welch made headlines earlier this week when he tweeted,  "Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers." 

Welch's implication that the Obama administration somehow "cooked the books" was unappreciated by the Obama campaign which proudly declared the 7.8 percent figure to the public as a sign of progress. And a significant one at that too - no president has ever been reelected with unemployment over 8 percent. 

So the Obama camp certainly has motive, but motive doesn't mean they would go so far as to deliberately manipulate the data to show improvement. Turns out, they don't even have to. 

We all know there are three kinds of lies in the world. Lies, damn lies, and statistics, as the saying goes. But why are these statistics so questionable?

The Labor Department will be the first to admit that there is considerable subjectivity in their reports. In fact, there's so much subjectivity that it is standard practice to change the numbers in the months that follow, as new, more concrete data is fed into the statistics. It is wiser to regard the report as a preliminary estimate, rather than a hard finding. 

The methods of gathering the number include attempting to contact some 60,000 people, most by phone, and some by visit, to ask if they are working. The definition of who is and isn't working is fairly broad, so as Welch explained in his op ed, a woman who is babysitting for a week to earn bus fare is counted as working. 

Welch says he believes the economy is improving, however he notes that the growth is very slow. The economy isn't roaring back as it did during the Reagan years. Of course, if you listen to the Obama camp, they're proud of the 7.8 figure and are trumpeting it at every opportunity as a sign that Obama's policies are finally paying off. 

Interesting, because that 7.8 percent payoff in any other year would be considered a source of shame for most presidents. 

So what are people to do? 

Nothing suggests Welch. "The coming election is too important to be decided on a number," he wrote. "Especially when that number seems so wrong." 


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