October 10, 2012
Former General Electric (NYSE: GE ) CEO Jack Welch followed up his controversial tweet from last Friday with more than a thousand words on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal today. In response to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) pegging September unemployment at 7.8%, Welch's Friday tweet read: "Unbelievable jobs numbers...these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers." The post provoked an uproar that apparently led to Welch's cutting ties with Fortune and Thomson Reuters, which carried reports that were critical of his comments.
In today's WSJ piece, titled "Jack Welch: I Was Right About That Strange Jobs Report," Welch tries to set the record straight, saying he should have "added a few question marks at the end [of the tweet] ...to make it clear I was raising a question." But he did not back down from his major thesis, which is that the BLS methodology for calculating unemployment is flawed and unreliable.
Welch asserts that the economy would have to be "growing at a breakneck speed," in order "for unemployment to drop to 7.8% from 8.3% over the course of two months." He concluded the op-ed with this: "The coming election is too important to be decided on a number. Especially when that number seems so wrong."
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