Conspiracy Theories About the Jobs Report Don't Ring True

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Can we talk about unemployment in the U.S.? And can we talk about conspiracy theories?

I thought you'd say "yes." I can almost hear you saying, "Hell yeah, bring it on!"

So, let's have at it.

Let me say my piece, and then you can chime in.

I'll start by saying I don't think there's any conspiracy to manipulate the unemployment numbers.

You know, the numbers that came out on Friday and freaked everybody out.

Somehow, right before the election and right after President Obama fell flat on his face, after Mitt Romney knocked the champ (don't get mad, he's not my champ, he's the champ because he's the incumbent) down almost for a ten-count, the bloodied champ bounds off the canvas and stands on the ropes proclaiming victory over economic malaise because the unemployment rate fell below 8%.

Well, what's freaky about the unemployment number, the U3 number, the most widely watched and reported measure of unemployment in the country, maybe even the world, is that it fell from 8.1% in August to 7.8% the September.

What's got folks in an uproar (folks that aren't so folksy when it comes to the champ) is that it looks pretty conspiratorial that unemployment hasn't been below 8% in 43 months, not since Obama got into office. And all of a sudden it drops in August to 8.1% from July's 8.3%, and far more freakily, drops to 7.8% (that's below 8% for you non-math types) in September from 8.1% in August.

But before I give you my thoughts on why I don't think there's a conspiracy…

Okay, let's stop right there. The truth is I DO believe in conspiracies.

I believe that John Kennedy was assassinated in a coup'd'état in Dallas. Who did it and why? Figure it out, the facts are all there.

I believe that the Federal Reserve System is a front for the power, and of course, moneyed elites who run America for the benefit of its Club Fed members. The facts are all there.

Do I believe in other conspiracy theories? You bet I do. I just don't believe in all of them, especially the ones that can't be proved. Theories are fine, but give me some facts.

But I digress.

Does it smell like a conspiracy, some manipulation of the unemployment numbers that look so much better and may now aide Obama's reelection campaign?

You bet it does.

But wait…

The U3 number is calculated by means of two surveys. There's the survey of businesses (sometimes called the "establishment"), and there's the "household" survey of… duh, households.

The business survey for September wasn't so hot. Manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs, which came on top of a loss of 22,000 manufacturing jobs in August. But there were some net gains in the service sector, notably in healthcare and education. And government (they're a service outfit, right?) gained 10,000 jobs; sadly that's the third monthly gain in a row for the govies.

The big gains came in the household survey. Are you ready conspiracy theorists? Some 873,000 jobs were filled in September in the household arena, which includes the self-employed and household workers.

What's strange and almost conspiratorial is that in 2012 the average monthly gain in employment has been 146,000 (the average monthly gain in 2011 was 153,000). But September's gain was 114,000.

So where did the 873,000 new household jobs (of which 582,000 were part-time jobs) come from, or go, if the net gain was 114,000 for September? And, how fortunate was it that July and August's numbers were adjusted upwards by another 86,000 jobs filled?

How did the unemployment rate drop from 8.1% to 7.8% about a month before the election?

The answers are in the wacky way the Bureau of Labor Statistics (a division of the Labor Department) calculates the numbers. Here's a quick guide on how they come up with the Monthly Situation Report.

If you read what's there you'll see that the surveys are prone to all kinds of statistical and empirical vagaries.

Anyway, the U6 number didn't move at all. That's the number that counts part-time workers looking for full-time work as unemployed. And it's still way too high.

No one seemed to say that that number was manipulated because it didn't go down.

The reason I don't believe the better than expected U3 number was the result of a conspiracy is because the BLS's surveys are questionable to begin with and are pretty much always subsequently adjusted, sometimes by huge amounts.

The civil servants over at the BLS are long-time employees, so it's not as if they come into office with each new administration and work for them.

Besides, if the BLS was to be manipulated it might be by its Commissioner, the one that the President appoints. And the commissioner now…well, there isn't one. Obama hasn't nominated one. The post is vacant.

Furthermore, the BLS shares all its data with private sector economists, analysts and academics. Is there anyone out there saying the numbers don't add up?

For all the Obama haters that are calling the numbers a conspiracy, I say, come on, where are the facts, where is the proof?

It's all so much political dynamite being exploded in a contentious race. But, I don't believe that this time there's a conspiracy.

And my last point is this…If I was going to orchestrate this kind of conspiracy I'd have done it several quarters ago. That way no one would look at new numbers as out of left field, and at unemployment falling below 8% right before the election and point a finger and say, "Ah-ha! Got ya!"

What do you think?

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Shah Gilani is the Event Trading Specialist for Money Map Press. He provides specific trading recommendations in Capital Wave Forecast, where he predicts gigantic "waves" of money forming and shows you how to play them for the biggest gains. In Short-Side Fortunes, Shah shows the "little guy" how to make massive size gains – sometimes in a single day – by flipping large asset classes like stocks, bonds, commodities, ETFs and more. He also writes our most talked-about publication, Wall Street Insights & Indictments, where he reveals how Wall Street's high-stakes game is really played.

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  1. fred stork | October 10, 2012

    I read somewhere last summer, that due to population increase in US, 200,000 jobs need to be created monthly just to keep employment level same. Can anyone confirm or refute that number?

  2. fred stork | October 10, 2012

    OK, I checked Nationmaster.com, and the US population increase is .96% per year, so it comes to ~ 243,000 a month. So far so good, but how many are employable? i.e. not retired, sick or disabled?

  3. robert | October 10, 2012

    If you want to find a conspiracy, take a look at what is happening, for no fundamental reason,
    to the stock market this week ; and who might benefit from that.

  4. john | October 11, 2012

    Shah, you agree that it's "strange and almost conspiratorial" that the numbers came out this way, and that it is fortunate for obama.

    So what would have to happen for you to start to suspect that it was rigged? At what point is the number so out of whack with all the rest that it has to be rigged? How about the biggest change in 29 years?

    Come on, 873,000 new household jobs? Look around with your own eyes, do you see anything like that in your area?

    Neither does anyone else.

  5. JERRY | October 12, 2012

    There is allways the doom and gloom attitude in the news. Why are the shopping malls always busy, new cars getting bought etc., the housing supply seems to be dwindling and home prices moving up? Things do seem to be getting better, or at least people are more confident in the economy, and conficence is a big part of it.

    One problem that I see is that computers and robots are making business and government more efficient; needing fewer people to do the work. More online shopping (e.g. Walmart) may also mean fewer employees needed. Unemployment will not recover as fast as we would hope, and people will probably need to be retrained to get the jobs that are opening.

  6. Larry | October 14, 2012

    How about the fact that California was late in turning in their numbers which was a first? Bet bottom dollar the numbers are modified again after the election not in his favor!
    Who controls this state?
    Since 13% of our GDP is California wonder what percentage this has on the job numbers!!!

  7. george pappa | October 15, 2012

    With ten thousand people retiring a day, and workers in their primes moving up the ladder, I can see a little improvement in jobs. Hopefully, the postions they left are being filled in. In the old days, when the president of the company retired, everybody moved up to new jobs. Back in 2008, 2009and part of 2010, jobs were not replaced due to the reduction in the economy. Due to the unnessesary high cost of oil, our economy will drag and spudder for another ten or fifteen years, however, the big companies will get bigger.

  8. Felix | October 15, 2012

    I don't want to right a volume here, BUT I read two articles on the 'rigged' unemployment figure.
    One said it was 15% and the other article, more recent said it is 22%. Reading of all the screw~ups
    this gov has been involved in, including the reported 46.6 MILLION soles receiving food stamps each
    month with our obumer not stopping our silly wars that is sucking out our borrowed treas money, giving job bids for hiways and bridges to china's labor force and a video I saw of the ceo of GMchina
    now making 70% of their cars in CHINA. WHEN you view the Movie/DVD of the Movie 2016, you can
    see the whole system is shot to H…! Absolutely SICKENING for any true American to watch !
    For your interest start reading NewMax.com and TownHall.com

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