Former Labor Dept. official: Friday’s jobs numbers won’t swing election

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Betsi Fores The Daily Caller News Foundation
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The much-anticipated October unemployment rate will be released Friday ahead of the election, but one former Labor Department official believes it will do little to sway voters.

“[Friday’s jobs report] will reinforce a lot of feelings and beliefs that people have, which is that jobs, especially full time jobs, are not being created at the level that they should be,” former Labor Department chief of staff Paul Conway told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Conway, who now serves as president of Generation Opportunity, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization that focuses on millennial voters, explained that last months jobs reported show that approx 877,000 jobs were created, but 550,000 of them were only part-time jobs.

Of the 114,000 full-time jobs, 10,000 of them came from the government.

“On Friday, when people look at that number … whether it goes up or down,” Conway said, “I think basically the narrative is set, that the economy is not growing. Regardless of where the movement is with the number, I think people have pretty well made up their mind.

Not all people agree with this sentiment, however. Former Bureau of Labor Statistics head Keith Hall believes that the jobs report could have an impact.

“If the report isn’t strong, it will keep voter focus on the poor performance of the economy,” Hall told the Hill. “If the report is strong, it will reinforce the perception of some that last month’s report showed an improving labor market.”

Conway emphasized the impact unemployment has had on the younger workers, ages 18-29.

“For young Americans, that [unemployment] number is over 10 percent and they know that’s just not acceptable,” Conway said. “They know that that’s not an acceptable threshold in order to start to get back into the work force and start realizing their dreams and their careers.”

The Labor Department has been under intense scrutiny this election cycle as many prominent figures have commented that the numbers being released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics seem unrealistic and more favorable to the current administration.

Earlier this week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that they could potentially delay the release of the October unemployment rate, drawing further suspicions. They did announce later, however, that the report would be released on time on Friday.

“Because of the way the Labor Department has managed their communications,” Conway elaborated, “they are under intense scrutiny to get it right and to make certain that they are very transparent about how they present the number, especially when you consider the communications and unclear communications about the numbers over the last several months.”

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