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A Good Jobs Report Does Not Mean A Rigged Jobs Report

The jobs report released this morning was shockingly good — which immediately made some people question whether it was too good to be true. The most high-profile skeptic was left-leaning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who wondered on Twitter whether the Trump administration had “gotten to” the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which produces the jobs report. ( He apologized a few hours later .) But while it’s hardly the first time conspiracy theories about the report have circulated, it would be a big mistake to assume that the White House had a hand in making the statistics look rosier than they really are.

The same was true when Republicans questioned whether the Obama administration had cooked the numbers. Donald Trump himself said the unemployment rate was “phony” when he was campaigning for president, and that the real number was much higher. And in fall 2012, former General Motors CEO Jack Welch caused a stir when he suggested that the Obama administration had fudged the jobs report for political benefit.

Those conspiracy theories don’t engage with the facts, though. The BLS is insulated on many levels from political interference. And if there were some kind of meddling, economists […]

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