What’s Behind Those Pre-Election “Rosy Scenario” Unemployment Reports?

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Joint Economic Committee are continuing their investigations. And New York Post columnist John Crudele has given them more evidence indicating “economic data, including the unemployment rate, could have been manipulated right before the last presidential election,” which was two months before President Obama won re-election.


By Jay O’Callaghan l October 8, 2014

The last U.S. Labor Department unemployment rate report before a major election once again recently reported a big drop just below a significant milestone.  The rate which is based on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey dropped from 6.1% in August to 5.9% in September in just one month.  It is the first time the unemployment rate has fallen below 6% in more than six years.

As New York Post columnist John Crudele reported something very similar happened in the last major election.  “In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington. The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated. And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.”

Crudele’s very serious charge triggered a major investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Joint Economic Committee.  In a hearing last month, the committees reported that while it could “not show a link between the data falsification that occurred in the Philadelphia Regional Office and the national unemployment rate. The documents and testimony did show, however, that the Current Population Survey is vulnerable to data falsification and that the Census Bureau needs to make common sense reforms to protect the integrity of survey data.”

Crudele is sticking by his story. In his October 3rd column he revealed, “I’ve been investigating the manipulation of the jobless rate for the last year — not by Labor but by people at the Census Bureau who compile the data that go into this statistic. There’s already been an investigation by the Census Bureau’s Inspector General (IG), the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. To prevent fraud, the IG recommended significant changes in the way data for the unemployment rate are collected. And the Oversight/Joint Economic Committee report confirmed that surveys of jobless people were being fabricated at the Census Bureau’s Philadelphia office.”

He adds that the scandal may be expanding as “another Census supervisor — this one from the Denver region — has come forward and told Congress, as well as Commerce, that data were being falsified in that part of the country. The House Oversight Committee, which was given that information within the last week, is controlled by Republicans. So, does the issue of falsified data suddenly have its big day before the election?”

The committees are continuing their investigations. And Crudele has given them more evidence indicating “economic data, including the unemployment rate, could have been manipulated right before the last presidential election.” He reports that the Bureau “lost 123 laptops at its Philadelphia office where the data fabrication had already occurred… among the missing laptops were 11 belonging to supervisors — laptops on which economic statistics could easily be altered.”

According to Crudele, this was two months before President Obama won re-election. “The laptops also contained enormous quantities of personal data, including interviews about spending habits, crime and health as well as information from other polls that Census conducts for government agencies and private industry.”

He points out that the day before he turned over this document, two Democratic congressmen on the House Oversight Committee — Stephen Lynch (MA) and William Lacy Clay (MO) — decided at a hearing…that it would be better to attack me and The Post for reporting on the Census data falsification and its possible ramifications than actually collect evidence, come to the hearing prepared and ask the witness from Census probing questions about the missing laptops. Hours before the hearing, the Oversight Committee had issued a 96-page report that confirmed one case of falsification in Philly.”

Crudele adds that “this is not a partisan attack on Democrats. As I have mentioned, I have never been registered with either party and I voted for President Obama in 2008.”


Jay O’Callaghan has worked extensively with issues involving the U.S. Census Bureau including serving as a professional staff member for the House Government Reform Census Subcommittee, as a senior legislative analyst for the Florida House of Representatives Redistricting Committee and for two U.S. House members. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis.