This morning the government reported that the unemployment rate for September dropped to 7.8% from 8.1% the prior month (and 8.3% the month before that). This is the lowest figure since March 2009. Hard to believe the government would report such a favorable number a month before the election, right? Hmmmmm.
As reported by the household survey, the number of unemployed persons was 12.1 million, down 456,000 from September. That’s a big decrease. Total employment rose by more than population growth. It was also reported that 114,000 new jobs were added in the month, basically in line with market expectations. And 86,000 jobs were added to the July and August totals by revisions, which suggests that the September number will be revised higher in subsequent months.
Just about any way you look at it, this was a positive number and cannot but help the chances that President Obama will be re-elected. It will also provide further headwind to a stock market already in rally mode. I’m not suggesting that the numbers are fraudulent, but I do believe, as I wrote in my last column, that government statistics cannot be trusted without deeper scrutiny and that they can be manipulated to serve those presenting them. So make of this report what you will.