After yesterday Zero Hedge first reported the reason for the surprising plunge in the past week's initial claims, which as the BLS explained was due to "a state" (whose identity despite all tabloid speculation to the contrary is still unknown) not reporting "some" figures, assorted blogs picked up on what has since been confirmed to be an incorrect report by Business Insider's Henry Blodget claiming that "Well, we're glad to say that we've finally gotten to the bottom of what happened" and that the state in question is none other than California (supposedly as opposed to Illinois to shut up those wacky conspiracy theorists). Turns out the site known best for its slideshow presentations (which will soon double down as advertisements) may have once again fibbed just a little, following an official demand by none other than California state Employment Development Department direct, Pam Harris, that BI retract its article. To wit: "Reports that California failed to fully report data to the U.S. Department of Labor, as required, are incorrect and irresponsible... It’s unfortunate this ‘reporter’ and others who repeated the article’s erroneous statements chose to speculate rather than report, failing to confirm this information with EDD." Sure enough, the 'reporter' in question replied, and it appears that Business Insider is better informed than California when it comes to matters such as these, and has refused to retract.
SACRAMENTO – California Employment Development Department Director Pam Harris today issued the following statement in response to an un-sourced and unsubstantiated media report from Business Insider that erroneously asserts the state failed to fully and properly report unemployment insurance weekly claims data – also known as the jobless claims report – to the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Reports that California failed to fully report data to the U.S. Department of Labor, as required, are incorrect and irresponsible. The California Employment Development Department, which administers the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in the state, has reported all UI claims data and submitted the data on time.
The original article also erroneously claims that there is a backlog of UI claims in California. California continues to file UI claims on a timely basis. Data on UI claim activity is required to be reported to the Labor Department every week and California has fully complied with the weekly reporting deadlines.
It’s unfortunate this ‘reporter’ and others who repeated the article’s erroneous statements chose to speculate rather than report, failing to confirm this information with EDD. We demand an immediate retraction and encourage writers to verify these ‘stories’ before publishing them.”
Cue Business Insider's response:
In response to our story, California's Employment Development Director issued a statement saying the state "has reported all UI claims data and submitted the date on time." A spokesperson for the department also offered an alternative explanation for the drop in California's unemployment claims: "Our weather has been unusually warm which has had some typical seasonal patterns in employment delayed."
The California spokesperson also demanded a "retraction" of what the Labor Department told us. We accurately reported what the Labor Department told us, so we stand by our story. In a follow-up exchange, we asked the spokesperson how California could be sure it had submitted all of its claims on time. The spokesperson did not respond to the question. She simply reiterated that the Labor Department analyst we spoke to was "wrong."
Leave it up to "reporters" to determine what data is right and wrong, even after being chastised by those who actually do know and are not pressured by Series ZZ investors for page views.
Ironically this brings up two amusing side effects. One is that the state which actually is exposed as being responsible for this misreporting will be seen as politically in bed with the administration. Which would then beg the question: why? Is said state so desperate for a Federal bail out that it would do anything to perpetuate the current administration, even if it means being responsible for misreported critical economic data. And heaven forbid the state is found to be Illinois...
Or, worse, the BLS did get California claims data, and simply chose to ignore it, which in turn will make allegations that the BLS is purposefully manipulating jobs data which it claims it does not have yet turns out it has, even louder, and most likely result with precisely what Darrell Issa is contemplating: a hearing on the accuracy and validity of economic data in a pre-election context, which if nothing else, will confirm that the US economic reporting apparatus is just as broken as that of other banana republics of which everyone enjoys making fun day in and day out, such as China, yet which are merely doing just what the US has been doing for years.
Because remember: grand conspiracies never exist. Libor-gate (as a very recent example) aside of course.