As soon as ex-General Electric CEO Jack Welch fired off a tweet questioning today’s just released “unbelievable jobs numbers,” the media went into a frenzy talking about how “conservatives” were launching conspiracy theories. Well, that’s handy for the media and the Obama campaign, but it’s not just “conservatives” who are confused by a full 0.3% drop in unemployment when only 114k jobs were created.
CNBC is as confused as the rest of us:
Job growth remained tame in September, with the economy creating just 114,000 net new positions though the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent, the first time it has been below 8 percent in 43 months.
The report presented a slew of contradictory data points, with the total employment level soaring despite the low net number.
The falling jobless rate had been a function as much of the continued shrinking in the labor force as it was an increase in new positions.
On the air, CNBC seemed equally perplexed by the biggest one-time drop in the unemployment rate in 29 years!
ABC News’ Chris Cuomo is also skeptical of the numbers:
— Chris Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) October 5, 2012
That “not fixed” tag smells a little like sarcasm to me.
Adding to the mystery is the fact that the U-6, the longtime underemployment and unemployment number, remained fixed at a dismal 14.7%.
What this .03% drop means (per Ed Morrissey) is that the number of unemployed people dropped by 456,000 when only 114k jobs were created–well below the monthly average, and below population growth. Where did 342k people go to lower the number so dramatically just 31 days before a presidential election? Did they retire, leave the planet, die of old age in the unemployment office?
Moreover, just 30 days before the election, 342K people dropped off the unemployment rolls and lowered the unemployment rate to below 8%–a benchmark number vitally important to President Obama who promised his stimulus would ensure we wouldn’t hit 8%.
Finally, this is the second hinky looking report/revision from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in as many months. Just days ago, 400,000 jobs were “discovered“–almost the exact number Obama needed to have a record of creating more jobs on his watch than were lost.
The Obama-friendly media is rolling out some very convenient talking points, with NPR crowing in its half-hourly news bulletin: “The unemlpoyment rate is now back where it was in when President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.” Except it isn’t, exactly.
No one’s crying “conspiracy” here, but any journalist worth a damn always remains skeptical and looks to connect the dots of counter-intuitive good news released just weeks away from a major election.
ADDED: MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, no right-winger, is also questioning the jobs report.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC