Mark Thoma discusses concern over spin on economic data

Mark Thoma

With White House officials accused of sometimes using “alternative facts” when speaking to the press, economists are beginning to worry that this political bias could begin to affect government-produced economic data.

Economists, including UO economics professor Mark Thoma in a recent newspaper interview, single out Trump’s refusal to believe the 4.7 percent unemployment rate found by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December as particularly worrisome.

“The worst thing he could do — and I see this as a real danger — would be to politicize the agencies that produce government economic data, to put people in place that will skew the numbers in his favor,” Thoma says. “If it happens, the data will be useless and we’ll essentially be flying blind when it comes to the true state of the economy.”

For the full article, see “Economic experts fear that Trump’s ‘alternative facts’ will spread to the doctoring of government data” on the Daily Mail.

Thoma is perhaps best known for his column at the Fiscal Times and his blog “Economist’s View,” which Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman called “the best place by far to keep up with the latest in economic discourse.”