On the surface the numbers seemed cooked. I hope somebody does an independent study on the real unemployment rate. And also under employment.
As is always true with this stuff you have to look at the numbers behind the numbers.
John Williams does just that. He calculates unemployment the way the government use to report it before they started really manipulating the numbers. His calculation is the blue line below.
Alternate Unemployment Charts
The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.
The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.
The Romney administration will certainly do a study along these lines. And it will involve not only the unemployment rate, but all the statistics that are measures of business activity -- corporate profits, orders and inventory, productivity, etc.
There are real reasons why these statistics are generated. They guide federal policy and play a role in all kinds of business decisions -- helping decision makers understand the business cycle and the true health of the economy.
It follows that there is a value in their accuracy.
I recall that, when the Bush II administration took office in 2001, they had to go back and re-state the economic data for the previous nine quarters! The Clinton administration had been over-stating the health of the economy for over two years, trying to mask a downturn that would have damaged the Democrats' electoral fortunes in the 2000 elections.
Gallup has been reporting an independent “poll” of unemployment rate twice monthly for nearly two years: http://www.gallup.com/tag/Unemployment.aspx
They reported http://www.gallup.com/poll/157871/unadjusted-unemployment-rate-september.aspx that the unemployment rate was down a couple tenths, and their adjusted rate from September-September was unchanged.