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Times Three: That's How Much The BLS Upwardly Fudges Data During An Election Year

Tyler Durden's picture


That the BLS perpetually distorts and manipulates data is no secret and has been reported previously both here and elsewhere numerous times. That the BLS also has a habit of leaking critical market moving data to various entities is also well known. However, we had yet to see just what the BLS is capable of when it comes to fudging and outright slaughtering economic data in a presidential election year. The result is nothing short of a 3 sigma stunner.

John Lohman explains:

It has been well over a year and a half since Zero Hedge first exposed the Department of Labor’s incessant upward revisions to Initial Jobless Claims (here).  As this ridiculous bias continued, it was eventually called out by such  “non-fringe” media sources as CNBC (here).

One might think that, after 18 months of exposure, the almost-as-fast-as-a-blind-and-retarded-turtle statisticians at the BLS would “find” and correct the bias.  Alas, one would be wrong.  Not only does the bias continue, it’s getting worse.  Much worse.  As illustrated in the chart below, 2012 year-to-date revisions are running 3x the long-term average.

Indeed, the most recent revision was the fourth largest on record.  If one only read the headlines this year (at such blogs that specialize in architectural billings, deliveries by canoe, and what not), one would have the impression that Initial Claims have fallen nearly 25,000 this year.  The revised reality? Barely over 10,000.  And that’s a 10,000 improvement against a number that has been revised upward by 50,000.  So, yeah.

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Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:37 | 2308127 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Everything I learned about elections I learned from Big Al. He knew how to run elections.


["Big Bill" Thompson] ran again [for mayor of Chicago] in 1927 during city wide gang wars. Always a flamboyant campaigner, Thompson held a debate between himself and two live rats which he used to portray his opponents. Pledging to clean up Chicago and remove the crooks, Thompson instead turned his attention to the reformers, whom he considered the real criminals. According to Thompson, at this time the biggest enemy the United States had was King George V of the United Kingdom. Thompson promised his supporters that if they ever met, Thompson would punch the king in the nose.[1] 

Al Capone's support allowed Thompson to return to the mayor's office using such tactics as the "Pineapple Primary" which occurred (April 10, 1928), so-called because of the hand grenades thrown at polling places to disrupt voting. The St. Valentine's Day Massacre also took place while Thompson was mayor.


Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:41 | 2308137 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

The election analogy is a good one. At first I thought the >95% rate of upward revisions was a statistical fluke in a clearly biased system (ARCH, anyone?), but then I realized it is just like a Chicago election, except it is stood on its head ... You find just enough claims to make your case on announcement day, and then it does not really matter what shows up after the results are certified. Is that manipulation, or simply putting a happy face on things?

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:45 | 2308145 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Begs the question: Who is checking the checkers....

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:59 | 2308162 Dan The Man
Dan The Man's picture

Also, an assumption is being made that there is some truth to their numbers in the first place.  I assume complete falsehood and irrelevance.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 19:55 | 2308305 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

Gee, what makes you think that?

Do you have a window, or something?

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 22:58 | 2308738 DrunkHarryReid
DrunkHarryReid's picture

I wonder what pukey rebuttle Joe Weisenthal has to say about this. ZH readers ought to just start junking him on twitter like mad anytime he posts his pro-government propaganda.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:01 | 2308166 BlackholeDivestment
BlackholeDivestment's picture

''Who is checking the checkers...''

      ...where? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FIptCAkrcc

                           ...at the Chicago Bath House? LMAO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf0EiOdVYA4 

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 20:55 | 2308427 Michael
Michael's picture

The black community aren't going to get that black president thing out of their system till their unemployment rate goes up from 16% to about 25% or there abouts.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:37 | 2308132 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Actually, if they add the prisoners in the US correction system who press car plates and fold carton boxes, those numbers might be correct as the number of imprissoned us citizens rises year after year

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:37 | 2308135 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

We dun need no steenkin voters

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:41 | 2308140 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

You don't need to vote. It's a waiste of your time. Obama now thanks you for your vote.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 20:31 | 2308366 derek_vineyard
derek_vineyard's picture

I vote for an absurd write in candidate to satisfy myself.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:45 | 2308144 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

If that were the case, we wouldn't be suing all the border states who seek to have immigration laws upheld and suing all the states that want prospective voters to prove who they are (much less eligible to vote in the first place).

No, since liberals tend to abort too many of their potential offspring or spend too much time in a drugged stupor to find the energy to make it to the polls, they need to find all the stinking voters they can dig up.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 22:17 | 2308651 Bobbyrib
Bobbyrib's picture

Yes, the liberals are the only ones who want the cheap labor..er illegal immigrants. /sarcasm.



Mon, 04/02/2012 - 01:11 | 2308909 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Nah, the Republicans are torn on this ... They pander to illegals in the hopes they will pick up the sympathy vote from other Hispanics. As to cheap labor, yeah, the demand for that is pretty much common across the spectrum.

If you stop to think about it, it was the desire for cheap, imported labor that brought down Rome.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 20:05 | 2308326 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

come on.  stop.  there are only 3.1 million prisoners.  which is GOOD.  i don't want them on the streets

with us.  infact - i think there should be more.



Mon, 04/02/2012 - 01:52 | 2308950 lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

Seneca (Cicero?)

The more laws a country has the more it is corrupt.


Mon, 04/02/2012 - 17:47 | 2310961 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

sarcassm guys, sorry.  most people i speak to think this is a positive indicator.


Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:36 | 2308134 ArkansasAngie
ArkansasAngie's picture

Neither a Republican nor Democrat be.

Too bad animal spirits are made of the same thing as propaganda ... horse manure.

Washington and Wall Street are two sides of the same currpt coin.

I surely am tired of being lied to.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:01 | 2308168 mumbo_jumbo
mumbo_jumbo's picture


there is only one party in washington, the property party.  and they don't give 2 shits about you or i or anyone else on this blog.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:33 | 2308213 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

Don't be so cynical ... there are still two parties with two competing ideologies, kind of like there are still Coke and Pepsi.  

Yeah, OK, so my Coke (cola that is) shot out my nose as I was typing that, but if we ran our political party market shares through a Herfindahl-Hirschman Index calculator, we would get an index on the order of >4600, which is indicative of a highly concentrated industry.  You would have to be running a one-party state like 20th Century PRI Mexico to do better.

Try it for yourself 




Sun, 04/01/2012 - 20:04 | 2308324 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

macdonalds is better than burger king.  ford is better than chevy.  i've seen 'adults' fight over this stuff.  oh - i forgot. jets suck, giants rule.

thank god we have CHOICE in this country.


Mon, 04/02/2012 - 01:48 | 2308948 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

You forgot "IBM compatible platforms are better than MacIntosh"...

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:41 | 2308141 Bill D. Cat
Bill D. Cat's picture

Fools . Being jobless or unemployed are not the same thing .

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:44 | 2308143 Dollar Bill Hiccup
Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

The King does not need to be elected ...

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:50 | 2308148 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

But it post well in the "free" press that he gets 99% of all votes and is loved by all who will survive the purge.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:45 | 2308146 shinola
shinola's picture

Ya know, sometimes I wish I'd taken the blue pill.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 19:56 | 2308307 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

Cream of Wheat does get old after a while....

Mon, 04/02/2012 - 01:12 | 2308911 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture


Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:53 | 2308153 navy62802
navy62802's picture

In the Orwellian nightmare that we live everyday in the US, the truth is fringe. This isn't surprising to anyone who pays attention to these sorts of things.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:53 | 2308154 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

(WSJ) "Nearly US$5 billion in market value was wiped out from Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. on Friday as investors dumped the property titan's shares following the arrests of its chairmen on suspicion of corruption, in the most high-profile bribery scandal to rock this international financial center.

The arrests of Thomas and Raymond Kwok on Thursday have put into question the reputation of a company long known for its dependable management, sending its blue-chip stock tumbling 13% Friday in its worst daily performance since September 2001. Several brokerages downgraded or suspended ratings for the stock, with Moody's revising its outlook ..."


Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:06 | 2308179 El Gordo
El Gordo's picture

Moody's revises its outlook??? Does that mean for better (with the crooks in jail) or worse, assuming the damage has already been done.  Can anyone explain what purpose ratings agencies, at least a presently sturctured, serve?

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:54 | 2308155 swissaustrian
swissaustrian's picture

Does anyone have charts for 2000, 04, 08?

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 19:56 | 2308309 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

I'm pretty sure they've been memory-holed.

Mon, 04/02/2012 - 02:14 | 2308971 Hansel
Hansel's picture

I'm LMFAO at this chart.  50,0000!?  Is that a lot?  Does the extra zero make it more important?  Reminds me of Ali G trying to sell the ice cream glove.


Sun, 04/01/2012 - 17:55 | 2308156 PaperBear
PaperBear's picture

And will the general public be three times more mad than they are now when they come to realise they're being lied to ?

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:12 | 2308193 vegas
vegas's picture

No, the Amerikan public is too fucking stupid to do anything except buy lottery tickets and then watch American Idol reruns. As long as you don't take away cable TV, bowling on Tuesday nights, and internet porn, they don't give a shit about anything.



Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:36 | 2308220 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

People still bowl?  

Man, that is sooooo flyover country!

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 19:58 | 2308313 UP Forester
UP Forester's picture

Half of the four bowling alleys up my way have closed.  The bars are doing fairly well, though.

Mon, 04/02/2012 - 02:49 | 2308990 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

@vegas,  I take great exception to your words.  I am an American public and as you can see (read) I am hear on this worthy site.   I must add that I'm only here to view the occasional naked avitar pics which accompany some of the comments.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:01 | 2308169 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Upward fudging pretty much sounds like what we're getting from .Gov, .Fed, and Wall Street. 

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:16 | 2308170 sitenine
sitenine's picture

Tyler, interesting, but,

Since when does 3x = 3 sigma?

[edit] Show me some more historical data with all the previous presidential year outliers, and then we'll have something statistical to talk about.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:09 | 2308187 Westcoastliberal
Westcoastliberal's picture

The GOP and DEMS have merged into an entity hereafter to be known as "THEM".

So now when you go to the polls, consider if you want to vote for "US" or "THEM".

To vote for "US" simply write in the name "Ron Paul".

Thanks for your support!

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:15 | 2308194 Yardfarmer
Yardfarmer's picture


The incredible and transparent manipulation of statistics by BLS government drones to skew and positively spin the unprecedented collapse in employment in the US is second only to the fabrication and mass marketing of the freeze dried and computer generated brand Obama by David Axelrod's advertising and mass marketing agency, AKP&D Message and Media in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Unfortunately, social and economic policy are prepackaged just like any other commodity and sold to a brainwashed and pharmacologically challenged American populace whose capacity for overt manipulation is in growing and inverse proportion to any capacity for critical discernment. 


Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:32 | 2308215 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Lawlessness breeds lawlessness which leads to revolution at all levels of society. The ones at the top ensure that they will be removed by their actions. We may even be lucky enough to watch the shoot out at the top from the comfort of our homes. Each week we get a little closer.

I think the military will steal all the money from the Rockefellers, Rotheschildes and so on and throw them into prisons for financial terrorism. That scenario makes a lot of sense. Moreso than taking a chance at destroying the planet.

I bet the military will bring down the old elite families. It makes sense to get rid of the competition first.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:55 | 2308236 TradingJoe
TradingJoe's picture

Be careful what you wish for!!! Lots of people are wondering weather marshal law would yield Americans would shoot Americans to enforce it, I think they would!!!

A true revolution would curb this "uncertainty" somewhat, or not?!

Elites killed the hand(s) that fed them, that is a fact, sleepy Americans waking up, another!

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:51 | 2308234 ekm
ekm's picture

I can explain in detail the process, since in a controlled economy, the process does not change at all from one country to another. It's the sam in China, USA, Canada, Germany etc.

- John, Jack and Joanne comes to work at 9am and start calling people ( or Lee, Bo and Yong in China - or Hans, Gunther and Angela in Deutschland). This is called Survey.

- At 11am they switch the monitor to the porn site flavor of the moment.

- After lunch they come back to work at 3pm and they call again.

- Repeat this every day and results are provided to the committee.

- Committee gets together at 6pm for dinner with strong wine. Very discreet hookers are called in.

- After 10pm they call the White House for instructions (or the Politburo in China or Angela Merkel in Deutschland).

- Next day USA has gained 400,000 jobs, China has 53 PMI, Canada has 100,000 new jobs, Germany consumer confidence is thru the roof.

- Repeat for next cycle.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:57 | 2308238 TradingJoe
TradingJoe's picture

Absolutely RIGHT ON!!!

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 18:56 | 2308237 Eric L. Prentis
Eric L. Prentis's picture

The BLS is a political entity.

Sun, 04/01/2012 - 19:00 | 2308243 Blue Dingo
Blue Dingo's picture

Obama lied, jobs died!

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