A Feb. 3 Newsmax article by Amy Woods uncritically repeats Rush Limbaugh's claim that newly released numbers showing that the U.S. unemployment rate dropped in January are "corrupt" because “The number of jobs not available to be filled exploded by an unprecedented, record number of 1.2 million."
But Limbaugh misread the numbers. As Media Matters points out, the Bureau of Labor Statistics adjusted its methodology in January to incorporate demographic data gathered in the 2010 census, causing that statistical anomaly. As Time further explains:
The demographic adjustments had no effect on the unemployment rate, says Mary Bowler, the resident expert in these matters at the BLS. And when it comes to labor force estimates, the steep jump in the number of those not seeking work came entirely from the census adjustment, which added 1.25 million people to that group. If you take out the census adjustment, the labor force numbers stayed essentially the same, as reflected by the labor force participation rate of 63.7%. In other words, the spike in the number of people no longer looking for work is entirely the result of some people at the Labor Department adding numbers to their spread sheets rather than an actual observed shift anywhere in the real economy.
Woods ignores this explanation of the facts proving Limbaugh wrong.