The U.S. Census Bureau said Tuesday that a source named in a
New York Post storyclaiming it had “faked” unemployment data hasn’t worked at the Bureau since 2011.
A Census spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that the Census Bureau employee quoted in the story, Julius Buckmon, has not worked there since August 2011. This was first reported by CNBC’s Steve Liesman.
The Post story never mentions this fact. A spokesman for the Post didn’t immediately return a request for comment as to why.
“We have no reason to believe this isn’t an isolated incident,” the Census spokesperson told Business Insider. “This was an employee who was wilfully disobeying Census procedures and disobeying the law.”
The spokesperson said that because of privacy laws, she couldn’t comment the reasons for a specific employee leaving the Bureau. But the spokesperson did say that when the Bureau discovers inappropriate activity, the matter is referred to the Department of Labour’s Inspector General. The field representative would be subject to disciplinary action if the IG finds any wrongdoing, including termination.
The story never provided a specific timeframe for Buckmon’s employment at the Census Bureau. But the article painted the picture, citing Buckmon and anonymous sources, that Census employees have manipulated data that has gone into the monthly unemployment report.
The report — titled “Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report” — claims that employees conducting the household survey (the one that determines the unemployment rate) were pressured by higher-ups to fudge surveys to fill in data gaps when they could not get adequate response rates.
Beyond Buckmon, the Post story cites an anonymous “knowledgeable source” who claimed that the data manipulation “escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.”
This source is also responsible for the allegation that a weird-looking jobs report in September 2012 — which conservatives at the time suggested could have been intentionally manipulated — was “faked” to produce a decline in the unemployment rate from 8.1% in August to 7.8% in September.
The Post story also cites confidential documents — but all of the issues cited from the documents are from 2010.
The Census spokesperson said that the Bureau has more than 7,000 field representatives like Buckmon, so it would be close to impossible for one employee to have a significant effect on the overall report.
Others, like Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal, also pointed out issues with the Post’s story, like the fact that the September jobs report was very much on trend with the declining unemployment rate.
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