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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 06:35 PM ET, 10/05/2012

Unemployment conspiracy? It’d be complicated.

(Justin Sullivan - GETTY IMAGES)
Jack Welch today alleged quite a conspiracy: “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”

The charge is that political meddling could account for the drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent.

If the Obama brain trust really wanted to subvert the public trust, it’d be well-advised to choose a more cloistered area of public policy. Goosing the employment numbers, after all, would entail corrupting the work of between 2,000 and 2,500 people who work for the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a rather large pool of potential leakers.

Another check on such a conspiracy is the Internet. According to Tom Nardone, BLS’s associate commissioner for employment and unemployment statistics, the Census posts on its site each month an enormous file of the raw data that BLS uses in compiling its unemployment numbers. It’s the “public-release version of the microdata,” says Nardone. So for those who are interested in fact-checking the output, the files will be posted, says Nardone.

Of today’s outburst of skepticism regarding the numbers, Nardone says, “We’ve been accused of things before. People who deal with us on an ongoing basis know we’re not a political organization.”

By  |  06:35 PM ET, 10/05/2012

Tags:  jack welch, unemployment conspiracy, jack welch conspiracy, bureau of labor statistics conspiracy, tom nardone bureau of labor statistics

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