Warning: Jobless rate may be rigged
By John Crudele
December 7, 2013 | 5:03am
The most curious thing of all about the November jobs report released on Friday was the huge drop in the unemployment rate — and the fact that the Labor Department chose not to disclose that the data going into that figure are under investigation for falsification.
On Nov. 19, I broke the news in my column that the Census Bureau, which collects data that goes into the jobless rate on behalf of Labor, had caught one of its enumerators fabricating interviews in 2010.
The culprit said back then (and to me during an interview) that he was told to do so by Census supervisors who were in the position to instruct others to make similar fabrications.
In fact, a source who I haven’t named but who is familiar with the Census data accumulation process has told me that falsifications have been occurring on a regular basis.
The Census Department surveys that went into the November jobless rate actually took place during the week that included Nov. 5 instead of the normal Nov. 12 week.
The Labor Department did put in a note about the survey week change in its November report.
But it should also have included another line that said: “The data for the unemployment rate may have been compromised. Lots of people are looking into the matter right now. We’ll get back to you on whether you should believe these numbers or not.”
Why didn’t the Labor Department include a note like that? A source who knows the department well says the concept of data being falsified is so unprecedented that the bureaucrats just don’t know how to react.
They had better figure it out soon. That drop in the unemployment rate might be the straw that sends the Fed into tightening mode.