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Officials reject charges that Obama campaign manipulated unemployment rate

Oct. 06, 2012 @ 09:12 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — When conspiracists suggested Friday that the Obama administration had engineered a sharp drop in unemployment to aid President Barack Obama’s re-election, the response was swift.

Career government officials, economists and even some Mitt Romney supporters issued a collective sigh.

The staffers who compute the U.S. unemployment rate work in an agency of the Labor Department. Officials who have overseen the work say it’s prepared under tight security with no White House input or supervision.

“To think that these numbers could be manipulated. ... It’s impossible to do it and get away with it,” said Keith Hall, a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that calculates the unemployment rate.

“These numbers are very trustworthy,” said Hall, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and whose four-year term ended in January.

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