Last Friday’s unemployment report for September was not only surprising but also controversial. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 114,000 new jobs were created in September – no big surprise there. But to everyone’s surprise, the BLS reported that the unemployment rate plunged to 7.8% in one month. That was a shocker, especially given that we’re less than a month from the election!
Even more shocking, the BLS reported that, according to its household survey, total employment rose by 873,000 in September, much of which was due to an increase in part-time work. That was the largest one-month increase in 29 years! So on the one hand, the BLS said 114,000 new jobs were created in September; and on the other hand said that total employment increased by a whopping 873,000.
What gives? At the very least, this smells fishy, especially coming only one month before the election! Did the BLS fudge the data to give Obama a boost? Most say no. However, no one is pointing fingers at the Census Bureau that provides key data on household unemployment to the BLS. Maybe they should. I'll explain it all as we go along today.
Finally, I have a few thoughts on the Obama/Romney debate last week that I think you'll find interesting.