“These much better than expected results suggest that the U.S. economy may be more resilient than many investors and analysts feared,” wrote John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist, at Oppenheimer Asset Management.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, evidently unable to stand the good economic news, Twitted suggestions of fact-free conspiracy theories involving President Trump and the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports James Freeman in the WSJ.
Well, the BLS reports a GAIN in jobs and a FALL in unemployment, which almost nobody saw coming. Maybe it’s true, and the BLS is definitely doing its best, but you do have to wonder what’s going on.
This being the Trump era, you can’t completely discount the possibility that they’ve gotten to the BLS, but it’s much more likely that the models used to produce these numbers — they aren’t really raw data — have gone haywire in a time of pandemic…
Jason Furman, chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, responded to Krugman’s Twitter rants about the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning:
You can 100% discount the possibility that Trump got to the BLS. Not 98% discount, not 99.9% discount, but 100% discount.
BLS has 2,400 career staff of enormous integrity and one political appointee with no scope to change this number.
Modest Job Gains?
After Cornell’s Eric Groshen concurred with Jason Furman, Mr. Krugman fully retreated, saying, “As I look at the data, I’m starting to believe that the modest job gains may well have been real.”
“Such figures are often revised upward or downward over time,” Mr. Freeman correctly notes.
But based on currently available data, the job gains are indeed real—and they’re spectacular.