I’ve been convinced that the books were being cooked on unemployment for quite some time now. The bizarre spectacle of the sudden decrease in unemployment by three tenths of a percent with only 114,000 jobs added has made a lot of people notice the weirdness. Ed Morrisey goes for the statistical approach in looking at it:
Keep an eye on the U-6 measure of unemployment and underemployment, as Chris Cuomo insisted on Twitter this morning. That’s not budging from the 14%-15% range in which it has been for the last three-plus years.
It doesn’t really explain the magic numbers though. This morning on NPR – before the numbers got released – they were explaining how the numbers wouldn’t mean anything. That people were already set in their opinions and it wouldn’t change anything regardless of what the number turned out to be. By the afternoon drive, the story had changed. NPR was gushing about the wonderful news and shaking their heads at those who thought the numbers were screwed up. I’m sure there wasn’t a dry seat in the studio.
But my wife and I stopped at a little get-together for one of her coworkers who had just retired. A guy at the table I didn’t know just mentioned – out of the blue – about the suspicious fall in the unemployment rate just 30 days from the election. I never met this guy before.
People are paying attention. And the story the media is spinning isn’t working.