On Your World, Neil Cavuto and the New York Post's John Crudele repeatedly falsely suggested that the Census Bureau is hiring, firing, and rehiring workers to artificially boost national employment figures, despite the fact that they acknowledged not having evidence that this is true. In doing so, Cavuto and Crudele distorted both Census' hiring practices and how the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gathers jobs figures.
Cavuto, Crudele push falsehoods to suggest Census is artificially boosting employment
Crudele: "[P]eople are being hired and rehired and fired and rehired and fired and rehired four or five times. ... How all these jobs are counted, I'm sure nobody knows." From the June 7 edition of Fox News' Your World:
CAVUTO: Here is why we're all over this stuff every day. It is the stuff of our jobs numbers. It is making them look better than they are, and even allowing for double and triple counting that might, in fact, as the government insists, be small. Here's what is not: Temporary workers who are merely counting us are screwing up the jobs count for all of us.
CAVUTO: To the idea that, deliberately or not, that such workers who worked temporarily, then laid off, then come back and are back -- if that is within the same survey week that you're having for jobs, is it possible you could have a double count?
CRUDELE: It is possible. But here's what we do know. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't audit these jobs. They're reported to them by companies, by Census. So, a figure is brought in; Census says they hired 411,000 people, BLS -- Bureau of Labor Statistics -- takes them at their word. There's no checking. So you have to go to Census to figure out whether or not these jobs are being double counted.
And as you have found out, I've found out from readers of the Post that people are being hired and rehired and fired and rehired and fired and rehired four or five times. What's the purpose of that? Also, people who are being trained for jobs -- they go through two weeks of training and never actually work, and then somebody else gets that job. Or they're promised eight weeks of work and they only get two, and somebody else gets two, and the next person gets two. How all these jobs are counted, I'm sure nobody knows.
In fact, in a previous response to Crudele, Census has flatly denied repeatedly hiring, firing workers
Census director has called Crudele's previous claim that Census is repeatedly hiring and firing workers a “distortion of the U.S. Census Bureau's employment and reporting practices.” Census director Robert Groves has flatly denied the claim that Census is repeatedly hiring and firing workers; indeed, Groves previously responded to a May 25 New York Post column by Crudele, in which Crudele claimed that Census is hiring and firing workers in order to “report the creation of a new job to the Labor Department.” In a May 25 letter, Groves wrote that "[w]e do not hire, then fire, and then rehire anyone. Any employee who is fired is fired for cause." Groves also called Crudele's column a “distortion of the U.S. Census Bureau's employment and reporting practices.”
Groves explained that when temporary workers' “work is complete,” they go “into an inactive status” and “may be reactivated if there is more work,” but this “reactivation” is not counted as “a rehire.” In his letter, Groves went on to explain: “We train and hire temporary workers for various operations, most significantly Non-Response Follow-Up, to complete work assignments. When the work is complete, the temporary worker goes into an inactive status. They may be reactivated if there is more work to do, or for another subsequent operation. At no time do we count a reactivation from non-working status as a 'rehire.' ”
Crudele and Cavuto distort how BLS gathers jobs numbers
FactCheck: “Anyone who had been hired, fired and re-hired would still be reported just once.” Contrary to Crudele's and Cavuto's suggestions that Census jobs are being counted multiple times and are artificially boosting national employment figures, FactCheck.org wrote in a response to Crudele's May 25 column that even if Census was repeatedly hiring and firing workers, “it would not have any effect on jobs figures reported by the BLS” and that “Crudele misunderstands -- or at least, did not report accurately -- the way jobs figures are gathered.” From FactCheck:
[T]he jobs figures that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports each month are not based on any count of “new jobs” or new hires. Rather, the BLS gets payroll figures on how many persons are actually being paid at the time of its monthly survey. What reporters and economists commonly refer to as job growth or job losses reflect the net change from month to month, not any tally of those hired or fired (or retired or deceased, for that matter). Anyone who had been hired, fired and re-hired would still be reported just once, no matter how many times they may have been on or off the payroll before the reporting period.
Groves: Crudele's accusation about Census jobs reporting is “simply inaccurate.” In his May 25 letter, Groves called the accusation that Census is artificially boosting employment figures “simply inaccurate,” writing that "[i]t is simply not possible for the Census Bureau to engage in the manipulation of data to artificially inflate the employment report of the BLS in the manner alleged by" Crudele. Groves further explained:
The Census Bureau reports to the Department of Labor and on our public Web site the number of people paid for work during a given week. We do not report the number of jobs. The Census Bureau reports the total number of unduplicated temporary 2010 census workers that earned any pay during a specific weekly pay period. Temporary workers earning any pay during the week are counted only once. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures changes in employment levels -- not the actual level itself -- and looks only at the week that includes the 12th day of the month. It is simply not possible for the Census Bureau to engage in the manipulation of data to artificially inflate the employment report of the BLS in the manner alleged by this news column.