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Plosser ‘Can’t Imagine’ Employment Figures Were Faked

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Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, said he “can’t imagine” that the September unemployment report was manipulated for political gain by the Obama administration.

“I can’t imagine that’s the case,” Plosser told reporters after a speech today in Avondale, Pennsylvania. “The statisticians and the people that work on this stuff have a lot of integrity.”

Plosser commented on suggestions by Jack Welch, the former chief executive officer of General Electric Co., that an Oct. 5 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing an unexpected decline in the jobless rate had been altered.

The report showed the jobless rate fell in September to 7.8 percent, the lowest level since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, from 8.1 percent in August. The rate was forecast to rise to 8.2 percent, according to the median estimate.

Welch, 76, in a Twitter message immediately after the report, suggested the numbers were phony. “Unbelievable jobs numbers. . . these Chicago guys will do anything. . . can’t debate so change numbers,” he wrote. Obama administration officials denounced Welch’s claims as baseless.

Welch revisited his criticism later in a column in the Wall Street Journal.

“The coming election is too important to be decided on a number,” Welch wrote. “Especially when that number seems so wrong.”

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net