The Corner

New Trick to Inflate the Employment Numbers

Workers at polling places for yesterday’s primary and November’s general election are being required to file tax withholding forms, the first time ever that such requirement has been imposed. John Crudele of the New York Post wonders whether this change is aimed at inflating the nation’s employment numbers. 

Workers get paid only $100 for training and $200 each day for working the primary and general election. So it’s unlikely that the main purpose of this order is to collect the measly amount of taxes that would be owed — mostly by the low-income retirees who man the polling centers — on such a small amount of wages.

But if the election boards in all 50 states suddenly report an influx of additional government workers, the effect on the monthly employment numbers could be very, very significant.

As you know, the monthly employment report — in which the number of jobs created or lost by the US economy is revealed — is closely watched by the public and the financial community. And it’s often cited publicly by President Obama.

The next employment report before the election will come on Oct. 8.

Because this report is more complex than others it is being released on the second Friday of October, not the first Friday. And because of this it will be one week closer to the election.

There won’t be another employment report until days after the Nov. 2 election.

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