Jack Welch’s Irresponsible Tweet on Unemployment

by Categorized: Economy, Jobs, Politics Date:

It’s the tweet that launched 1,000 right-wing conspiracy claims, as if we didn’t already have more than we could use.

Soon after the U.S. Department of Labor reported the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September, from 8.1 percent, Jack Welch, the iconic former GE chief, tweeted the untweetable: “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.”

Welch isn’t the first person to doubt the honesty of government figures and he won’t be the last. But the monthly jobs and unemployment report is the sacred cow of official data, guarded so closely that reporters must give up their devices and remain in a locked room before the 8:30 a.m. release time on the first Friday of every month.

Welch, in his desperation to remain in the news — and yes, I’m helping him here — attacked one of the bedrocks of industrial economies: our trust in objective, official information.  Many conservative commentators followed, as Welch’s prestige gave cover to the idiotic notion.

It is irresponsible on many levels, starting with the obvious fact that if the Obama administration was cooking the books, it would not have let out month after month of lousy numbers. And, as Lawrence Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute said, as he called thhe charges “slanderous lies,” a book-cooking Bureau of Labor Statistics would have at least doubled the lukewarm total of 114,000 jobs created in September.

Welch, who has bought his name onto business schools around the country, including Sacred Heart University here in Connecticut, ran a shop at Fairfield-based General Electric for 20 years until 2001 that raised accounting suspicions, and still does  years later,  because it beat Wall Street expectations almost without fail, reportedly by moving money to and from the GE Capital unit.

Adding to the irony of Welch’s charge is that just last week, the Labor Department revised its job-creation totals upward for the year ending in March, 2012, by 386,000. And the last three months of totals have also been revised upward — not the sign of an administration that’s cheating.

On one point, I agree with Welch completely. His tweet immediately before the jobs bombshell said, “Valentine had to go ..He didn’t have the performance or the values( behaviors).”

Let Welch stick to baseball, philanthropy and management consulting. He and the rest of the anti-government crowd, most of whom feed more than their share at the public trough, should shut their pie holes when it comes to government data until they produce some evidence.


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41 thoughts on “Jack Welch’s Irresponsible Tweet on Unemployment

    1. Tom

      The real question is “Whats happening in your neighborhood or family?” I would estimate 20% un or under employed, many friends kids cant find good jobs so back to school be thankful that kids acan be kids til they are 26 YO!

    2. R Lee

      You are so correct.Jack Welch is one of the smartest guys on Wall St. and the numbers don’t ad up and the ones that do are all govt. employees.
      It is a FAKE!!!!!!!!!
      Now he can run around screaming the sky is NOT falling.

    3. Mike Robinson

      The recession has ended. We are in a recovery. It is no surprise that unemployment goes down a bit. You watch – unemployment will continue down for the next few years no matter who is president. It is simply an economic cycle. Politicians can influence it a bit but it is largely beyond their control. I’m not picking a side here.

  1. Billy

    The 7.8% number is meaingless in evaluating the level of unemployment – the real number is closer to 12%. To report this fictitious number is no worse than accusing them of manipulating the number.

  2. DB

    Truer words were never spoken:
    “He and the rest of the anti-government crowd, most of whom feed more than their share at the public trough, should shut their pie holes when it comes to government data until they produce some evidence.”

    1. SenoritaBonita

      I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe
      that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.
      John Stuart Mill

      1. old capitalist

        If you are a Conservative when you are twenty, then you have no heart. If you are a liberal when you are thirty, then you have no brain.
        Winston Churchill

  3. Dan Haar Post author

    Obviously ‘anything’ does not include refuting 36 lies by his opponent at a debate.

    1. old capitalist

      Unlike Sweden the USA did not become the greatest country that ever existed on the planet by granting tenure to under-performing
      G.E. happened to do very well under his leadership.

  4. RB

    Jack Welch is the guy responsible for outsourcing tons of good American jobs, over seas and making big bucks on it, while taking big deductions and tax credits. Remind you of anyone running for the Presidency! Enough said.

    1. old capitalist

      Not enough…unless you happen to be still employed by Westinghouse.
      You must agree with the current president who thinks getting rid of the deduction for corporate jets will increase manufacturing jobs in America.
      Tell that to all the workers who were hired (if you can find any)when Connecticut passed the luxury tax on yachts.

  5. Rob

    Remember when the courant was a respectable publication? I do and this hipster’s belief that this wasn’t a political motive to show employment improvement 2 days after a pathetic debate just shows what’s happened to this publication. Jack actually understands that you can skew this number in any direction and this country is just hurting itself by trying to reelect this econimcally clueless individual

  6. Dan Haar Post author

    There’s definitely a motive, but no means. Think of the risk compared with the reward. At least 50 people would have to know about it. Makes zero sense, considering the job total was actually a disappointment.

    1. Mike

      Considering the jobless benefits that have expired and the start of the holiday season, reduction of percentage is somewhat justified. 114,000 jobs created in Sept does not, alone, reduce jobless rate THAT much, the details of the report need to be published, without the details, you get suspicion of liberal manipulation.

    2. FT


      Regarding the presidents idea of reducing the deficit by removing the tax deduction for corporate jets.

      Refresh my memory, what were the results of the luxury tax on yachts passed by our dingbat legislators?

      You think maybe he thinks he will get more
      revenue to give a FAIR SHARE (Karl’s favorite words) of food stamps to all those employees who will be laid off when business dries up?

      It is truly depressing to see the economic ignoraqnce of this president and the pain he is cluelessly fostering on American workers.

  7. Clintons Problem

    Wild Willy Bill Clinton is the guy who started the OUTsourcing of jobs–can you spell NAFTA?? All this garbage about Welch and Romney sending jobs overseas–it was mandated by Clinton and company.
    Obama loves to say GW Bush made the recession–WRONG!! Bill Clinton by de regulating the Banking industry caused it. In stead of loaning money they all became investment houses with Bundling Mortgages in Hedge funds. Then Barnake and Poulson got involved and Put some money in a couple of banks and neglected the ones who needed it-the house of cards came tumbling down. Thanks Bill you made all this possible.

  8. Tim

    Common Dan Haar…..Tell us who you really want to win the election. 36 lies? What else do you want to fabricate.

  9. JM

    I don’t know that I would use irresponsible…If you look at U-6 of the unemployment report, it’s 14.7%

    The real reason the unemployment has been dropping is that an amazing number of people have left the work force, for whatever reason. If you want actual facts and details, read Mish Shedlock’s blog post:


  10. Dr. Aki Bola, Esq.

    So how did the household survey numbers jump from job losses for every month previous this year, to almost 1 million new jobs this month? It’s not enough to say there is something fishy here. It is blatantly fraudulent. Sadly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just became political. Yet another government orifice that needs to be flushed.

  11. Dan Haar

    Let me get this straight: Absent any evidence of wrongdoing, you’d like to see a purge in the BLS? I don’t think this is the first month of the year with an increase in people working in the household survey. Need to check that.

    1. Dr. Aki Bola, Esq.

      The administration and you appear to be the last holdouts defending this bunk. I would post links to all the skeptics, but you have google too, it’s not hard.

      1. Mike Robinson

        The NY Times does NOT agree with your conspiracy theory in an editorial published yesterday. I guess they are one of the last holdouts too:


        The recession has ended. We are in a recovery. It is no surprise that unemployment goes down a bit. You watch – unemployment will continue down for the next few years no matter who is president. It is simply an economic cycle. Politicians can influence it a bit but it is largely beyond their control. I’m not picking a side here.

  12. Bob Falkevitz

    I can’t believe the bias i this reporter’s article. Doesn’t anyone report the just the facts anymore. This is truely the Age of Misinformation.

  13. JM

    One other thought – how come when the unemployment rate jumped in CT a couple of weeks ago, Malloy and several CT economists said there was no way this was possible(it left my head scratching too)…but now we have Jack Welch, who I assume he is a Republican, questioning whether the fall in the national unemployment rate is possible, and we get the Right Wing Conspiracy…hypocrisy anyone?

  14. Ann Theresa

    An article I read yesterday said the 10,000 federal jobs were created last month and 45,000 the month before. That sounds fishy to me.

    1. snafubar

      Let the Obozo spin begin. These numbers are as phony as Obozo’s birth certificate or the theory that QE3 will fix the economy.

      Obozo is going down in flames. He’s an empty suit, all flash no substance. Without his teleprompter he is nothing but a Pinocchio doll on Xanex. (President Xanex – words from the NY Times after the debate)

      OBOT queue: begin biting nails and gnashing teeth. Look for high cliffs and bridges to jump off of.

      Even the WTIC Connecticut poll indicates that 99% of people in Connecticut thinks Obozo cooked the books with regard to the latest labor numbers.

      The fake phony fraud usurper is toast.

  15. william111

    Jack, thanks so much, I was a rich man when you ran GE.
    This clown in there now and a friend of obama is sending billions of our money to china,
    God Bless jack and America

    1. Bedford

      Dan, let’s assume the BLS numbers are correct, which is a big assumption given the recent revisions to past reporting. When one looks at the internals the numbers are woeful:
      – 2 of 3 jobs created 582k of the nearly 873k new BLS Household Survey jobs settled for part time jobs.
      – If you look at the U6 Unemployment number it was unchanged at 14.7%, because that number includes involuntary part-time workers and those who have given up looking.
      – To Welch’s point since U6 was first tracked in 1994, the ratio between U6 and U3 was 1.88 to 1, is the highest on record.
      – The huge discrepancy between the mediocre payroll number +114 jobs and the Household +873k jobs for Sept – again to Welch’s point.
      – The denominator (Lowest Labor Force Participation rate in 30 years) also in a perverse fashion this year has helped decrease the U3 Unemployment rate to 7.8%.
      – Dan, you need to research before you Blog.

  16. John Steel

    Though I detest Neutron Jack I have to agree with him in this case. The numbers show a measly 112K jobs created, yet the unemployment rate drops .3%? The implication is that nearly a million people dropped out of the job market – at a time when the trend has been for folks to start looking again. The reality is that the real unemployment rate is well above 10%.

  17. William Donovan

    Jack Welch is a 76 year old senile old man. The only number that should be attached to him is Zero. The amount GE pays in income tax. But, they take billions of our tax dollars in government contracts.

    1. Edward J Everett

      Revenue increased five-fold and income tenfold while Mr. Welch headed GE. The company’s market cap soared by 30 times. A $100 invested in GE when Mr. Welch became CEO of the company in April 1981 would have been worth $5,112 when he left.
      Jeff Immelt has been CEO since Mr. Welch retired in 2001. The reason GE pays no income taxes is Mr. Immelt’s close ties to Democratic legislators and President Obama himself. So close to the President that he is head of Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. A little to cozy for my taste.

      1. Mike Robinson

        As you know GE was roughly half industrial half banking. Jack used to use the banking side to smooth out the earnings reports. Pretty easy to move money around, unlike hard goods. This was one secret of Welch’s success. Figuring out in the 80’s that he could layoff as many people as required to meet the numbers was another breakthrough now copied by every US corporation. When banking crashed in 2008 GE missed their numbers for the first time in decades. GE stock tanked from $40 down to less than $10 and even touched $6 once. Suddenly the banking asset was a huge liability. GE got hit with a 2×4 and woke up. Same as all the banks. Began to back away from banking a bit. Banks recovered and GE is back on the way to recovery at $23. I bet the crash would have still happened even if Jack were CEO. You know he must have picked up the phone when his personal pile of GE stock went in the toilet. He looks like a cranky old guy with a croaky voice. I think he’s wrong and the numbers were not cooked. Probably just a short-term blip. We are in a recovery so you would expect unemployment to continue downward. We can quibble about how much down but the trend is clear. Jack knows this.

      2. Mike Robinson

        You know those GE numbers for Jack Welch’s tenure are also a bit cooked. He left GE in 2001 at the absolute one-time peak for the stock at around $60. Coinciding with the peak of the internet boom and crash. And, interesting, most of those gains happened under Bill Clinton! After falling below $10 the stock is back to $23 about 1/3 of the Jack Welch peak. The fall came after Jack’s watch but he was very lucky to get out at the peak.

  18. Pingback: Jack Welch’s Latest Logical Gaffe | Dan Haar

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