08.07.2012 0

Lies, damned lies and statistics—Obama version

As originally published at TheHill.com.

By Rick Manning — The monthly release of the nation’s unemployment data never ceases to amaze and, in some perverse way, amuse. Here are just a couple of examples that just make you scratch your head.

The unemployment rate for all workers went up to 8.3 percent in the month, but the rate for every ethnic group that is broken down by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics either went down or remained stable.

That’s right — whites were stable at 7.4 percent unemployment, Hispanic unemployment dropped by .7 percent, African-American unemployment dropped .3 percent and Asian-American unemployment went down .1 percent.

So, if every ethnic group remained stable or had their unemployment rate drop, it must be presumed that the unemployment rate of Martians went through the roof for the month of July.

When you add the numbers up, you discover that due to rounding, the unemployment rate amongst whites, the largest group by far, only appears to remain stable. In June, the rate was actually 7.358, and in July it was 7.427, meaning that the rate actually is more than .069% higher, but when rounded to the first decimal point appears to be the same.

Here’s another one: the BLS reported in the same employment situation report that the economy created 163,000 jobs in July from their establishment survey, but there were 195,000 fewer people employed from their household survey.

President Obama was saved from a really embarrassing unemployment rate increase by the 348,000 people who fled the workforce in the month and hence were not counted as unemployed or even a part of the overall workforce population.

The website ZeroHedge explains the 163,000 job gains through an excellent analysis of the BLS’ aggressive seasonal adjustment, where the agency made the largest seasonal addition for a July NFP print in the past decade. The addition by BLS of 377,000 jobs for seasonal purposes is the saving grace of the report, and may explain how they could have a 358,000 disparity between the number of people employed and the number of jobs “created.”

Mark Twain attributed the famous phrase, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics,” to former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. While Disraeli may or may not have been the originator of this phrase, it is clear that it should be adopted as the new motto of the Obama Labor Department. After Obama rudely booted Winston Churchill’s bust out of the Oval Office, it’s the least he can do.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the communications director for Americans for Limited Government and formerly served as the Public Affairs Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Labor.

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