, the former CEO of General Electric
, quickly came out with a tweet, voicing his suspicion. On his Twitter account he accused the Obama administration of manipulating U.S. employment data for political advantage.
"Unbelievable jobs numbers…these Chicago guys will do anything…can't debate so change numbers," Welch, 76, and a Republican, said.
Other GOP members also blasted the numbers.
"In regards to today's Jobs report-I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here," Florida Rep. Allen West wrote
(To be fair, not all GOP members felt something underhanded was going on. As former Bush White House aide Tony Fratto
put it, " BLS
is not manipulating data. Evidence of such would be a scandal of enormous proportions & loss of credibility.")
That is pretty much the sentiment among economists.
"I would be very skeptical of any claims the job statistics are manipulated," Gary Burtless
, an economist at the Brookings Institution, in Washington, D.C., told ABC News. "If they were, the administration's record so far in 2012 would undoubtedly look a lot brighter
." Indeed, as Ezra Klein points out in the Washington Post
, the drop is a mere three-tenths of one percent, from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent-not exactly a reason to crack open the Veuve Clicquot.
What's more, Burless said it's uncharacteristic of the Obama administration to lie about something like this. "Richard Nixon was notorious for distrusting the BLS, and he probably managed to frighten some long-time BLS employees," said Burtless. "But I have not heard any persuasive reports of statistical manipulation in the BLS, even during the Nixon administration. So it would be astounding if President Obama has been more successful along those lines than Nixon managed to be."