Mick Mulvaney spoke with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday and said that he has long thought the previous administration framed data to make the unemployment rate “look smaller than it actually was.”
Mulvaney said on “State of the Union:
“What you should really look at is the number of jobs created. We’ve thought for a long time, I did, that the Obama administration was manipulating the numbers, in terms of the number of people in the workforce, to make the unemployment rate — that percentage rate — look smaller than it actually was.”
Trump repeatedly railed on the unemployment rate during Obama’s time in office as a “hoax.”
Trump once claimed that he had “heard” the rate could be as high as 42% — even though at the time it was about 5%.
Economists debate the best way to calculate statistics. But there is no evidence that the Bureau of Labor Statistics fudges its unemployment data.
The BLS is the Department of Labor agency responsible for compiling a vast store of government data about jobs that is used by businesses, economists and investors to judge the health of the U.S. economy.
“During the four years I served as commissioner, the administration didn’t try to manipulate the numbers at all,” said Erica Groshen, who served as BLS commissioner from January 2013 to January 2017.
The agency has used the same method for calculating the unemployment rate since 1940.
The monthly report is based on two surveys. One queries American households to produce the unemployment rate, and the other surveys businesses about the number of jobs added or lost each month.
The BLS also publishes “alternative” measures of employment each month, which include many different metrics for the public and politicians to review.