The Labor Department today announced that 439,000 workers filed for initial jobless claims last week, a large jump from the previous week. The increase is largely attributable to Hurricane Sandy. As the Associated Press explained, “applications increased by 78,000 because a large number of applications were filed in states damaged by the storm. People can claim unemployment benefits if their workplaces close and they don’t get paid.” Economists expect the storm to distort economic data for at least a few more weeks.
However, Fox News and other conservatives have a different explanation: More cooking of the books by the Obama administration. When the unemployment rate dropped in September, conservatives alleged a conspiracy on the part of the Labor Department to aid Obama’s re-election. Fox News, along with Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), were once again alleging a conspiracy after the latest numbers were released today:
– FOX NEWS’ ERIC BOLLING: “The Department of Labor is getting sketchier and sketchier with each one of these numbers.”
— FOX NEWS’ GRETCHEN CARLSON: “A lot of people are going to be raising some eyebrows pretty high today that, after the election, we go up to this whopping number of 439,000.”
— GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI): “Well, real concerns about the numbers. Certainly, some will question the timing.“
However, Fox’s television anchors evidently did not coordinate coverage with the network’s own website, which posted the AP’s take on the number: