Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch says he stands by his tweet alleging the Bureau of Labor Statistics faked its numbers to lower the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. "Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers," Welch tweeted Friday morning, and he tells The Wall Street Journal's Kate Linebaugh, "I wasn’t kidding." But! Welch says he's just posing the possibility of a conspiracy. "I am doing nothing more than raising the question," he said.
There's only a month till election day, and that means it's time to get creative with our conspiracy theories. We've seen theories about skewed polls, secret kleenex/ debate cheat sheets, and now the jobs report all in the last week. Of course, Welch wasn't being that creative, as he was accused of accounting manipulations when he was CEO of GE.
"I'm insulted when I hear that, because we have a very professional civil service organization where you have top, top economists," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said on CNBC Friday. "These are our best trained and best skilled individuals working at the [Bureau of Labor Statistics]. It's really ludicrous to hear that kind of statement."
The drop in the unemployment rate from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent isn't unprecedented. We've seen 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent drops in the last two years, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein explains, and the number of part-time jobs gained in the household survey -- 579,000 -- could be seasonal hiring.