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Limbaugh’s Oxycontin Math

| December 11, 2009

tom-falseRush Limbaugh claims the November drop in the unemployment rate is questionable because it was calculated “over two days of the Thanksgiving week.”

He’s wrong.

According to Politifacts, “experts say this data couldn’t have been skewed by Thanksgiving week, for two reasons.

First, the Current Population Survey interviews always refer to someone’s employment status during week that includes the 12th of the month. This November, that was the week of Monday, Nov. 9, to Friday, Nov. 13 — two weeks before Thanksgiving.

Second, the data from the Current Population Survey is “seasonally adjusted.” That means that before the numbers are released, officials adjust them to smooth out any fluctuations caused by the calendar. Even though the term “seasonally adjusted” makes it sound as if officials only adjust the numbers to reflect variations tied to winter, spring, summer and fall, the adjustments also take into account factors that could make a particular week an oddity.

The Labor Department and economists say that the seasonal adjustments are based on well-established trends and would take into account any quirks from the presence of a holiday during the data-collection week.

So Limbaugh is incorrect that the unemployment rate cited by Obama could have been skewed by what was happening during Thanksgiving week.

Read the full report at Politifacts.

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