Jack Welch stands by tweet on TV

At 8:35 a.m. Friday, Welch tweeted “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers”.

Welch was suggesting that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) cooked the unemployment numbers to aid Oabam after a poor performance against Republican Mitt Romney in Wednesday's presidential debate. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis called Welch’s accusation “ludicrous,” but he stuck to his guns during his appearance on Fox News’ “Your World” with fill-in host Eric Bolling. 

“I have no idea where this number came from,” Welch said, referring to the BLS dropping the unemployment rate by 0.3 percent to 7.8 percent. “You look at it, we added 600,000 jobs in the government sector in August and September, and that’s the largest number we’ve had since these studies [have been] done over a two-month period.

“In September, the household employment, which we normally don’t use, added 780,000 jobs. That’s the highest since 1983. I’ve been reviewing businesses all week, some dozen businesses. No one is stronger than they were in the third quarter, than they were in the second quarter.

“We’ve been told,” Welch continued, “forever, that you needed 150 to 200,000 to stay even, to hold flat.  Well in the last two months, we’ve gone from [8.3 percent] to [8.1 percent] by changing the participation rate assumption. Now we’re going from [8.1] to [7.8] by changing the household numbers assumptions.

“Look, I don’t know what the right number is, but I’ll tell you these numbers don’t smell right when you think about where the economy is right now.”

When asked by Bolling to explain what happened, Welch said that he doesn’t know. But he suggested that perhaps “we got the wrong measuremet … maybe we shouldn’t have been having 150,000 to hold even as a benchmark … every economist this morning predicted roughly 90 to 120,000 and 8.2 unemployment.

Welch went on to criticize the Department of Labor, saying it was a department of “ideologues,” but declined to label the BLS as such.

Later, in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, Welch continued to criticize the BLS numbers.

“These numbers are all a series of assumptions, tons of assumptions. And it just seems somewhat coincidental that the month before the election, the numbers go one-tenth of a point below where they were when [Obama took office]. Although I don’t see anything in the economy that says these surges are true.” 

When pressed by Matthews to provide evidence that “these Chicago guys got to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” Welch responded that he had no evidence but had “raised the question.” Matthews then asked Welch if he had spoken with any economists or anyone in the national income accounting world prior to his Tweet.

“I know that these numbers are gathered by a series of wild assumptions,” Welch answered. “Maybe they weren’t right at 8.5, maybe they weren’t right at 8.4, but it seems coincidental one month before the election they would end up at 7.8.

“The president today is on the stump. The president, all he’s talked about 7.8; he didn’t mention the 600,000 jobs added in the government sector.” 

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When asked by Matthews if he wanted to take back his Tweet, Welch responded that he didn’t.

“I don’t want to take back one word in that Tweet,” Welch.