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Conspiracy
Despite federal offices in Washington being closed today and possibly Tuesday on account of Hurricane Sandy, the Department of Labor plans to issue its monthly jobs report as scheduled Friday, according to a statement:
"The employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are working hard to ensure the timely release of employment data on Friday, November 2," the statement said. "It is our intention that Friday will be business as usual regarding the October Employment Situation Report."
The Wall Street Journal earlier Monday cited a BLS spokesperson as saying the bureau might delay issuing the report Friday. Cue the conspiratorialist brigade. Something along the lines of: Obama didn't have enough time to cook the books! The thrashing Sandy is giving the East Coast would pale in comparison with the thrashing they would try to deliver to the administration.

The consensus of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg is that the BLS will report around 125,000 new jobs were created in October. A report by the payroll data company, Automatic Data Processing, is due out on Thursday. Unlike the BLS, the ADP only covers job creation in the private sector. Consensus estimates the ADP numbers will come in at 155,000. The two reports are rarely in sync with each other. In five of the past six months, ADP has reported considerably higher job numbers of new jobs in the private sector than has the BLS, a total difference of 368,000 jobs.

The Romney-Ryan campaign would, of course, love to see the worst possible BLS report, something well below the consensus. Republicans have, as we know all too well, followed Rush Limbaugh's January 2009 bidding in trying to ensure that President Obama fails in his job. At every step along the way, they have sought to undermine efforts to get the economy rolling again. They aren't disappointed when the BLS job numbers are disappointing—as they often have been—they are joyful.

But, if there is anything that would make them happier than a soft job report, it would be no job report at all, giving them a whole three days to hammer the administration over something beyond its control. It could make former General Electric CEO Jack Welch's infamous tweet about the bureau cooking the books look tame.

Former Bush administration official Tony Fratto probably could not care less about any damage such a hammering would cause Obama. But he has long defended the BLS against charges from charges of political interference. Zeke Miller quotes him:

"As you know I have been a loud, public defender of the Bureau," he told BuzzFeed. "They are professionals, non-political, and the very best in the world at what they do. But my recommendation to them—as someone who wants to protect their credibility—please report the data as you see it. It would be a reputational disaster if BLS delayed under these circumstances. Move heaven and earth to report the data on time. Hurricane Katrina numbers were able to be reported and explained. Find a way to report these numbers, too."
Good advice even though the heavens are quite active right now moving the earth to make that difficult.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 10:49 AM PDT.

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