Jack Welch’s Gaffe
October 13, 2012
“‘If I could write that tweet again, I would have added a few question marks at the end‘ in order to ‘make it clear I was raising a question,’ he wrote. Still, he added, the dip in unemployment is ‘downright implausible.’” – Bloomberg, reporting on Jack Welch’s now infamous tweet about the employment report.
Welch’s original Twitter quote was: “Unbelievable jobs numbers. . . these Chicago guys will do anything. . . can’t debate so change numbers.”
Since his gaffe, Welch has been on the receiving end of ongoing criticism. Rightfully so, in our view. Anyone remotely familiar with the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its methods knows how impossible it would be to cook these numbers.
Furthermore, those engaged in the massive task of preparing employment statistics are true professionals and do their work without political partiality. Each of those 2000 folks may personally have a view on Obama or Romney, but it doesn’t color the monthly employment numbers.
The most disappointing thing about the Jack Welch affair is his continuing belligerent stance. He introduced the “question mark” addition in an interview with Anderson Cooper of CNN. I saw it and watched Welch dig himself into an even deeper hole. He repeated it in a CNN interview with Ali Velshi the next day.
Oh, Jack, why not just admit you made a mistake?
Our friend and regular fishing partner John Silvia has an excellent piece on the Welch gaffe and the BLS activity. John is quite skilled in this statistical arena. He has given us permission to link to Wells Fargo’s website so readers can view the details. See the “Unemployment Rate Debate”.
We thank John and hope readers find his words helpful. John, in return you will get one of my special Chernobyl Ants in Jackson Hole or in Maine.
BTW, dear readers, if you know Jack Welch, please send him the link.
David R. Kotok, Chairman and Chief Investment Officer, Cumberland Advisors