Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch — who ignited a media firestorm Friday by suggesting that the U.S. monthly jobs numbers were cooked — defends himself and his theory in a new Wall Street Journal op-ed, published online Tuesday night. Here’s the opening, via the WSJ:
“Imagine a country where challenging the ruling authorities—questioning, say, a piece of data released by central headquarters—would result in mobs of administration sympathizers claiming you should feel “embarrassed” and labelling you a fool, or worse.
Soviet Russia perhaps? Communist China? Nope, that would be the United States right now, when a person (like me, for instance) suggests that a certain government datum (like the September unemployment rate of 7.8%) doesn’t make sense.
Unfortunately for those who would like me to pipe down, the 7.8% unemployment figure released by the Bureau of labour Statistics (BLS) last week is downright implausible. And that’s why I made a stink about it.”
Welch goes on to double down on his theory that the BLS numbers are imprecise and biased. Basically, he argues that because few economists predicted September unemployment would drop below 8 per cent, the official data must be cooked.
Notably, the op-ed does not blame the “implausible” jobs report on the Obama administration, a marked departure from Friday, when he suggested that “these Chicago guys” had manipulated the monthly report to escape Obama’s bad post-debate news cycle.
The op-ed comes just hours after Fortune announced that Welch had decided to stop contributing to the magazine, and published an email from Welch in which he explains that “in terms of traction” the Wall Street Journal would be a “better platform” for his ideas.
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