Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch isn’t about to admit he’s wrong to be skeptical about September’s unemployment numbers. But he will confess his punctuation needs work.
Last week, Welch wrote a tweet so controversial that it overshadowed all the U.S. jobs created in an entire month. The tweet, which implied the Labor Department's September jobs report had been manipulated to reflect a lower unemployment rate, read:
Now, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, entitled "Jack Welch: I Was Right About That Strange Jobs Report," Welch doubles down on his skepticism, calling the recent unemployment rate dropoff “implausible." What he will admit, however, is that the exact wording could have been clearer.
“If I could write that tweet again, I would have added a few question marks at the end,” Welch writes, so as to “make it clear I was raising a question.”
Punctuation or not, Welch has mostly stuck by his theory despite widespread criticism -- the numbers “don’t smell right,” he told Fox News on Tuesday. Where he has backtracked is on his criticism of the Obama administration. Now, he claims, he "never commented on the White House in any tweets I can recall.”
While many economists -- Paul Krugman, for example -- have criticized Welch, the former GE chief does have some believers, including notables like Newt Gingrich and Washington Examiner writer Conn Correll. So there's that.
GE's labor force fell by around 100,000 with Welsh at the helm, according to Fortune.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/jobs-report-conspiracy-theory-baseless_n_1942685.html">Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, tweeted</a> on Friday that President Obama's team must have cooked the September jobs numbers in order to help his reelection chances. But <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/jobs-report-conspiracy-theory-baseless_n_1942685.html">these claims are baseless</a>: The Bureau of Labor Statistics is an independent agency that conducts scientific random surveys.
Rush Limbaugh On Jobs Report
Long before <a href="https://twitter.com/jack_welch/status/254198154260525057">Jack Welch accused the Bureau of Labor Statistics</a> of cooking its books to help President Obama on Oct. 5, conservative talk show host <a href="http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2012/02/03/happy_days_are_here_again_in_obamaville_raw_jobs_numbers_tell_very_different_story">Rush Limbaugh claimed in February</a> that the Bureau of Labor Statistics' seasonal adjustment of the jobs numbers amounted to cooking the books to help President Obama. He said that "the raw number" from December to January meant "we lost two million jobs." But economists agree that seasonal adjustment is critical for month-to-month measurements, since there are seasonal factors that add noise to the data otherwise. (Hat tip: <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/economic-conspiracy-theories-2012-8?op=1">Business Insider</a>.)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/donald-trump-federal-reserve_n_1882256.html">Real estate mogul Donald Trump told CNBC</a> in September that the Federal Reserve is "creating phony numbers and they're doing it through stimulus." The Fed has bought securities in its three rounds of quantitative easing, which many economists argued has had a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/21/federal-reserves-bond-buy_n_881805.html"> real effect on the economy</a>.
Republican political strategist <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/media/2008/12/09/33404/rove-oreilly-economy/">Karl Rove and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said</a> in December 2008 that journalists exaggerated the economic crisis then so that anything under President Obama would be an improvement. But the economy really was in a deep recession at the time.
Erin Burnett ON Fed Stimulus
<a href="http://outfront.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/31/fed-chairman-ben-bernanke-defends-stimulus-that-cost-1-million-per-job/">CNN anchor Erin Burnett said</a> on her show "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Aug. 31 that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may embark on another round of quantitative easing, a type of monetary stimulus, in order to help Obama get reelected and keep his own job. But the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is independent and makes its monetary policy decisions based on how the economy is doing. Also, Bernanke is a registered Republican and was appointed by George W. Bush.
Rush Limbaugh On Financial Crisis
Conservative talk show host <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2008/12/22/34058/limbaugh-democrats-indy/">Rush Limbaugh claimed in December 2008</a> that President Obama helped cause the financial crisis so that he could gain power. (Hat tip: <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/economic-conspiracy-theories-2012-8?op=1">Business Insider</a>.)
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), who believes America should abolish the Federal Reserve and go back to the gold standard, <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/04/14/the-conspiracy-theorists-history-of-gold.aspx">said in 2010</a> that the New York Fed might not have any gold in its vaults, according to The Motley Fool. Actually, <a href="http://www.newyorkfed.org/education/addpub/goldvault.pdf">it does</a>.
Erin Burnett On Food And Gas Prices
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/08/erin-burnett-federal-reserve_n_1866971.html">CNN anchor Erin Burnett claimed</a> on her show "Erin Burnett OutFront" in September that the Federal Reserve's stimulus measures have caused food and gas prices to rise. But <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/08/erin-burnett-federal-reserve_n_1866971.html">there has been no correlation</a> between the two.