Bachmann’s SOTU response left out a few statistics

I love statistics. So when I heard the Tea Party response to President Obama’s State of the Union address — given by Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) — something seemed amiss. Specifically, the unemployment numbers — they didn’t seem to be telling the whole story.

She compares unemployment numbers in 2001, 2008, and 2009, all in October  and all using numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). October 2001 had a 5.3 percent unemployment rate, October 2008 had a 6.6 percent unemployment rate, and October 2009 had a spike of 10.1 percent.

Bachmann uses them to illustrate the poor state of the economy, wanting to dump the burden entirely on Obama and the until-recently Democrat-controlled Congress. But these statistics leave out some other important ones — like unemployment being on the rise since April 2008 and being 7.8 percent when Obama took office in January 2009.

Bachmann wasn’t lying about the numbers she used, those were all legit — but unsurprisingly, she used the statistics to paint a picture with specific colors, leaving out the ones that might stain her message, such as the fact that unemployment was on the rise throughout most of the last year of Bush’s presidency and was nearly 8 percent when he left office. Can we find a way to blame that on Obama?

Anyway, I figured I’d include some other BLS numbers to provide better context.

 

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One Response to “Bachmann’s SOTU response left out a few statistics”

  1. Captain Dreamboat Says:

    The “official” unemployment numbers are bunk, bordering on propaganda.

    there’s a useful breakdown of the Jan 7th BLS stats here:

    http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2011/01/january-23-2011-only-47-of-working-age.html

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