Oct 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) told Fox News on Wednesday that he would hold hearings into the September job numbers, buying into a widely-discredited conspiracy theory that President Obama faked last monthâs figure to improve his re-election chances.
After the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released an unexpectedly strong monthly jobs report last Friday â finding a dramatic drop in unemployment to 7.8 percent and revised the number of jobs added in July and August up from initial estimates, a group of conservatives led by former GE CEO Jack Welch â suggested that the numbers could have been fudged. Issa has now promised to look into the matter:
FOX HOST: We asked [Issa] â¦ whether or not he was concerned about Fridayâs jobs report and that big drop in the unemployment rate from 8.1% to 7.8%, which some economists have called fluky and as a result there have been questions about the Labor Departmentâs methodology in calculating the unemployment report. Now, Chairman Issa says he wants to have hearings on this, take a listen.
ISSA: The way it is being done with the constant revisions, significant revisions, tells us that it is not as exact science as it needs to be and thereâs got to be a better way to get those numbers or donât put them out if theyâre going to be wrong by as much as half a point.
FOX HOST: Now, Greta [van Susteren] asked him when he wants to have these hearingsâ¦and he said, that, âwe very much intend to work every day through November and December to get these kind of things done. Weâre hoping that this is a good nonpartisan time,â he said.
BLS has flatly dismissed the allegation. âThe data are not manipulated for political reasons. Iâve been involved in the process myself for almost three decades. Thereâs never been any political manipulation of the data, period,â Steve Haugen, an economist at the BLS, told CBSNews.com. BLS âdoes not at the moment have a single political appointee working in the entire agency,â he added.
An Issa spokesperson told the Huffington Post that the Chairman has not yet scheduled the hearing. âWhile Chairman Issa, in response to a question asked yesterday, did state that he believes there are legitimate questions about the Department of Laborâs method for calculating unemployment, the Oversight Committee has not announced or decided to hold hearings on the September unemployment reportâ¦. At no point did he say he has made plans to convene a hearing on this subject.â