Jack Welch was one of the more decorated CEO’s in the business world as he ran GE for +20 years through to date their most prosperous period. He has had some checkered press since retiring I think but none more so than last week when he dared to question via twitter the legitimacy of the most recent unemployment data release from the US labour dept. If you remember last week I wrote how it was certainly difficult to take for granted that the unemployment rate in the US dropped nearly .5% in one month and it just happened to occur a few days after Obama had it handed to him at the first presidential electoral debate.
There is room to suggest that someone as decorated as Welch should not be making such comments in a public forum as he was attacked for being too pro Romney etc. All this coming from the country who proclaim to be the land of the free? He was right to question the data, all economic data is a collection of facts and figures and samples sets etc. Of course there is room for manipulation or error.
I think the reaction from the market has been telling a story of scepticism also around this number. If your unemployment figures dropped by .5% in a month well that should be greeted with champagne bottles popping etc, rather the opposite has happened. This week has since three days of straight declines. Jack Welch has since moved to the WSJ from Forbes due to some of the backlash this article is worth a read if anything to frame your thinking around big data points and question how they are constructed or arrived at.