By Tom Quiner

The Obama Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8%. This number is psychologically more soothing than anything at 8 or above.

Republicans cried foul. They said the books had to be cooked.

Former GE CEO, Jack Welch made a big stink about it, too:

“Unfortunately for those who would like me to pipe down, the 7.8% unemployment figure released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last week is downright implausible. And that’s why I made a stink about it.”

Democrats were indignant. They would never fudge the numbers for political expediency. Or would they? Here’s what we learned today: California’s new unemployment claims were not included in the data. For the record, California is the biggest state in the union with high unemployment.

MarketWatch said the unlikely drop was a statistical fluke:

“The number of U.S. workers who filed new applications for unemployment benefits dropped sharply, by 30,000, last week to 339,000, the lowest level in more than four years, the Labor Department reported Thursday in what may have been the result of a statistical fluke. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected initial claims in the week of Oct. 6 to rise 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000. Last week’s number was revised up by 2,000 to 369,000.”

So why did the numbers defy expectations? Because California didn’t get their numbers in. Stephen Stanley of Pierpont Securities explained:

“Apparently, the state in question (and it pretty much has to be California to account for anything close to 30,000) forgot to include that stockpile of unprocessed claims in their tally for this week (which is the first week of a new calendar quarter). Since the seasonal factors expected an unadjusted surge of almost 20% in the period to account for the quarterly filing pattern, failure to adhere to that pattern in the raw data (unadjusted claims were only up 8.6%) creates a big drop seasonally adjusted.”

I’m sure it was just an oversight. How dare anyone claim that the most liberal state in the union with the most liberal governor and most liberal legislature would fudge the numbers to help elect the most liberal president in the history of America. How dare those dastardly conservatives!

Here’s the next step: watch the media. Will they ‘fess up and report California’s omission from the data?

3 Comments

  1. markstevenq on October 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    US government statistics have massive implications to a lot of things that drive our daily lives. They have political and financial implications every day. Global markets react ahead of statical releases and following the release. I do have faith in the fact that there are checks in place to avoid improper influence. I also think the people that compile these statistics are career employees who are in tune to the severe legal implications that would come with cooking the books on any given stat. Its not hard to imagine though that the statistics would have inaccuracies.

  2. producealvin on October 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Did hear about this until your blog. They did not name the state that did not submit their numbers but they are speculating that it was California. Interesting considering who their governor and congressional representatives are. Looks like the only news that will pick this up are foreign.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2216203/U-S-weekly-unemployment-claims-drop-4-5-year-low–left-OUT-California.html

  3. markstevenq on October 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    US government statistics have massive implications to a lot of things that drive our daily lives. They have political and financial implications every day. Global markets react ahead of statical releases and following the release. I do have faith in the fact that there are checks in place to avoid improper influence. I think the people that compile these statistics are career employees who are in tune to the severe legal implications that would come with cooking the books on any given stat. Its not hard to imagine though that the statistics are less than accurate.

Leave a Comment