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Worldcrunch

U.S. Jobs Report: Unemployment Down, Conspiracy Theories Fly

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, WASHINGTON POST, CNN, SALON (USA)

Worldcrunch

The U.S. unemployment rate fell below 8% for the first time in nearly four years, according to the September jobs report released on Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The unemployment rate decreased to 7.8% in September, while total non-farm employment rose by 114,000. Employment increased mostly in the health care (+17,000 jobs), transportation (+9,000) and warehousing (+4,000) sectors. Total employment rose by 873,000. 

The manufacturing sector lost 16,000 jobs.

Average hourly earnings for all private nonfarm employees rose by 7 cents to $23.58.

The last time the unemployment rate was this low, reports CNN, was in January 2009, when President Obama was inaugurated. Ever since the beginning of the crisis, this monthly report has been the most intensely scrutinized economic indicator. 

This is a good jobs report in a still weak economy, according to the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein. Good, but not great. 

But hard numbers didn't convince all. Within minutes of the report’s publication, Twitter filled with conspiracy theorists claiming the books were cooked. They even included former General Electric chief Jack Welch.

Fox Business analyst Stuart Varney said, “There is widespread mistrust of this report and these numbers, because there are clear contradictions,” reports Salon. "How convenient that the rate drops below 8 percent for the first time in 43 months five weeks before an election!" added Varney.

Labor economist Betsey Stevenson wrote, “anyone who thinks that political folks can manipulate the unemployment data are completely ignorant of how the BLS works and how the date are compiled.” Plus, adds Klein, if the White House was manipulating the numbers, wouldn’t they make them higher than 114,000.

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