Paul Krugman Says, Without Evidence, That Great May Jobs Numbers Might Be Cooked

Paul-Krugman

Paul Krugman said Friday, without evidence, that is was possible the much better than expected jobs numbers might be wrong or cooked.

After an enormous backlash from fellow economists and market-watchers, Krugman partially back off the unsubstantiated claims and said he “starting to believe that the modest job gains may well have been real.”

The claim that the gains were modest is extraordinary in light of the fact that May saw the largest ever monthly gain in jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 2.5 million jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent, upending expectations for around 9 million jobs lost and an unemployment rate of close to 20 percent.

While some forecasters expected the economy to begin adding jobs this summer, few saw a comeback of this scale in May.

Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times and one of the nation’s most prominent economists, immediately raised unfounded doubts about the BLS figures. Other Trump critics also joined in. They did not offer any evidence to substantiate their claims. As CNBC’s Eamon Javers said, this amounts to a claim that the BLS numbers were “cooked.”

Prominent economists and others responded by pointing out that this was entirely unwarranted.

Jason Furman, an economist and professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government who chaired Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said there was no chance the numbers were cooked.

Former BLS COmmissioner, Erica Groshen also said there were no signs the numbers had been politically manipulated.

 

CNBC’s Eamon Javers said on air that “high profile commenters, sort of a BLS truther crowd” had expressed skepticism but “there is no evidence there is anything wrong with this number here.”

On Twitter, Javers pointed out that the Trump critics were engaging in tactics they formerly deplored when Trump himself or critics of Obama used them.

Chris Arnade, author of the book Dignitywas driven to despair over the baseless claim by Krugman.

Krugman later backed off of the claim and apologized after the pushback.

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