The unemployment rate plunged to 7.8 percent in September, its lowest level since Barack Obama took office in 2009. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics made big revisions to data from previous months, showing huge increases in the number of jobs being created over the last three months. Total employment from the "household survey" also showed an increase of 873,000 jobs last month, the biggest one-month jump since June of 1983.
Not only has the unemployment rate gone down, but the report also undercut one of the key criticisms of previous drops in the number—that it was because the "participation rate" went down. That rate has actually gone back up, which means unemployment is down because people are actually getting work, not because they've stopped looking. Public sector jobs also went up, as did the average number of hours worked per week.
This report looks so good for President Obama that conspiracy theorists are already alleging that the fix is in. And not just random anonymous cranks, but supposedly serious business people, like former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers— Jack Welch (@jack_welch) October 5, 2012
No, there's nothing at all curious about the last jobs report diving to 7.8% unemployment before the election.— Keith Urbahn (@keithurbahn) October 5, 2012
Total data manipulation. Such a farce— zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 5, 2012
Rick Santelli of CNBC, noting that the rate has dropped below the magical number of 8 percent, said, "You can let America decide how they got there." When one side is convinced that something smells rotten, you know it's good news for the other guy.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.