President Trump convinced the Bureau of Labor Statistics to lie about jobs and unemployment rate in May. This is according to the latest liberal conspiracy theory aimed at the White House.
But economists and a former BLS commissioner say the idea that Trump rigged the report to create the illusion of strong economic recovery is absurd, to say the least.
The controversy started last week when the unemployment report blew away estimates. Expectations by most economists were for a loss of another 2 million or so jobs. They also expected an unemployment rate pushing 20%.
Instead, the country gained 2.5 million jobs, the largest monthly jobs increase ever, and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%, down from 14.7% in April.
But if you ask Howard Dean, who failed spectacularly in his bid for the White House in 2004, it’s all just more Trump lies.
Dean tweeted “Turns out the joke is on the news media. The Trump folks fudged the figures and the real unemployment number was 17-19% unemployment not 13%. They did the same in May. Next time you all will hold off publishing to get an independent analysis. You should ALWAYS assume Trump lies.”
Even Paul Krugman, a former Nobel Prize winner weighed in with accusations, which he later retracted.
“This being the Trump era, you can’t completely discount the possibility that they’ve gotten to the BLS, but it’s much more likely that the models used to produce these numbers — they aren’t really raw data — have gone haywire in a time of pandemic.” Krugman tweeted.
Fortunately, those with actual knowledge of the situation quickly spoke up.
Michael Farren, a research fellow at George Mason University, is one of those who did. He said “No economist worth his salt thinks the numbers have been fudged.”
Jason Furman a professor at Harvard, who served as one of President Obama’s economic advisors, also chimed in. He tweeted, “You can 100% discount the possibility that Trump got to the BLS. Not 98% discount, not 99.9% discount, but 100% discount. BLS has 2,400 career staff of enormous integrity and one political appointee with no scope to change this number.”
And Erica Groshen, the former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2013 to 2017 spoke up and said, “As former BLS Commissioner, I see no red flags. And, knowing the processes used and integrity of BLS staff, I think it very unlikely. Commissioners see no number before it’s final. If I hear anything different, I’ll trumpet it loudly.”
According to the BLS, the reason for the surge in jobs was an error with the way certain workers are classified. It also has absolutely nothing to do with the President attempting to manipulate the numbers.
Almost 5 million workers who were temporary layoffs were instead given the “absent from work” labe. This category is typically only used for things like workers on vacation.
This error likely reduced the unemployment rate by about 3 points. Therefore, the reported number of 13.3% should have been closer to 16.3%.
And as much as the liberals would love to paint this “accident” on the Trump administration, it had also happened under the Obama administration.
Back in September 2012, just as the country was fully emerging from the Great Recession, the jobs report numbers raised eyebrows.
At that time, Jack Welch, the late CEO of General Electric, tweeted “Unbelievable jobs numbers … these Chicago guys will do anything … can’t debate so change numbers.”
- Rising Markets, Growing Despair: How Two Worlds Coexist
- Yardeni: Jobs Report Validates Stock Market Recovery, Credits PPP
- 2.5 Million Jobs Added In May, Most Since 1939