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It was September 2012. Unemployment had been over 8% since Obama had taken office. “I don’t know much,” my neighbor said to me, “But I know this: The unemployment rate next month will be 7.9%.”
In the event, the reported rate was a much-heralded 7.8%, undermining Romney’s message that the country needed a better steward of the economy, and giving Obama a boost going into the November election. Outside of the MSM echo-chamber, however, skeptics noted anomalies in the data. The anomalies suggested inaccuracy at best, malfeasance at worst. Even Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, tweeted, “Unbelievable jobs numbers…these Chicago guys will do anything…can’t debate so change numbers.” The skeptics were vindicated a year later when John Crudele of the New York Post uncovered that the Census Bureau had, in fact, faked the data.
To calculate the unemployment rate, it would be ideal to know the employment status of every person in the country: working, looking for work, retired, in school, etc. In a country of 300+ million people, that is impractical. Instead, the Census Bureau conducts a survey each month. As with all surveys, there is sampling error and the value is really valid only within some range of error. Even so, in 2012 — and perhaps long before and after — Census Bureau employees falsified some underlying survey data.
Crudele has stayed on the beat, and last week published a remarkable story on continuing malfeasance at the Bureau. Fortunately, a whistleblower has stepped forward and congress is investigating (emphasis added):
A field supervisor in the Census Bureau’s Denver region has informed her organization’s higher-ups, the head of the Commerce Department and congressional investigators that she believes economic data collected by her office is being falsified.
And this whistleblower — who asked that I not identify her — said her bosses in Denver ignored her warnings even after she provided details of wrongdoing by three different survey takers.
The three continued to collect data even after she reported them.
When I spoke with this whistleblower earlier this year as part of my investigation of Census, she told me that hundreds of interviews that go into the Labor Department’s unemployment rate and inflation surveys would miraculously be completed just hours before deadline.
The implication was that someone with the ability to fill in the blanks on incomplete surveys was doing just that.
The Denver whistleblower also provided to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform the names of other Census workers who can spill the beans about data fraud in other regions.
As we head into the 2014 midterms next month, the (reported) unemployment rate has continued to drop, from 6.1% in August to 5.9% in September. As Crudele describes:
In fact, about a third of the recent decline in the unemployment rate can be attributed to a decline in the so-called Labor Participation Rate, which is now at a 36-year low. Ninety-six million Americans no longer consider themselves in the labor force.
Some think there is a logical explanation for this: baby boomers who are leaving the workforce because they simply don’t want to work anymore. But the data doesn’t bear that out.
There were 230,000 more workers aged 50 or older in the Household Survey released Friday. So how did the workforce decline by 315,000 people, if aging baby boomers were increasingly looking for jobs?
It’s either a miracle or someone’s pulling our leg.
So to recap: a government agency is out of control, systematically lying to the American people to make the Democrats look good. On the plus side — and in contrast to other scandals — a whistleblower has stepped forward and congress is investigating.
But frankly, I’m pessimistic. With the MSM unwilling to give these stories the attention they deserve, I doubt any elected official — Democrat or Republican — will have sufficient will or incentive to do the required housecleaning.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.