U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis fired back Friday afternoon at a tweet by former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who suggested conspiratorial elements were behind today's Bureau of Labor Statistics showing a drop in the unemployment rate.
Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers
— Jack Welch (@jack_welch) October 5, 2012
"I'm insulted when I hear that, because we have a very professional civil service organization," Solis reportedly told CNBC. "These are our best trained and most skilled individuals. It's really ludicrous to hear that kind of statement."
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate had dropped to 7.8 percent, a 44-month low, drawing calls of a "conspiracy" from conservative operatives and Republican lawmakers.
Welch's comments were echoed throughout the day by others who accused Democrats of "lying" and "manipulating" data.
"I don't think BLS cooked numbers," tweeted Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner. "I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs. That would have same effect."
Friday morning, according to the Huffington Post, Republican Rep. Allen West of Florida wrote on Facebook that he agreed with Welch that "Chicago-style politics" generated the labor statistics.
"Somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the Presidential election," West wrote. "This is Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book 'Rules for Radicals'—a must read for all who want to know how the left strategize ... Trust the Obama administration? Sure, and the spontaneous reaction to a video caused the death of our Ambassador......and pigs fly."
But former BLS commissioner Keith Hall, now a senior scholar at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, told McClatchy, “People shouldn’t think at all there is any bias in the numbers. This data is collected and examined by each state. . . . Hundreds of people at BLS help collect this data and compile it. If you wanted to try to mess with these numbers, you are talking a very difficult thing. It almost certainly would . . . be next to impossible.”
Since 1915 @bls_gov has provided credible employment data for our nation. BLS civil servants are professionals & I stand by their work!
— Hilda L. Solis (@HildaSolisDOL) October 5, 2012