The first Hispanic U.S. Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis, said she is "insulted" by "ludicrous" accusations that the Bureau of Labor Statistics tampered with, or fixed, September's jobs numbers for political gain.
In a CNBC appearance on Friday, Solis responded when she was asked about the accusations.
CNBC: A lot of people do not believe the 7.8 number. They believe that somehow BLS fixed this to coincide with the election cycle. What is Labor's response?
Solis: You know, I'm insulted when I hear that because we have a very professional, civil service organization where you have top, top economists that work at the BLS. They've been doing these calculations. These are -- these are our best trained and best-skilled individuals working in the BLS, and it's really ludicrous to hear that kind of statement.
The national unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent--a 44-month low and the lowest level since President Barack Obama first took office, according to the BLS September report. The number of unemployed Americans is now 12.1 million, the fewest since January 2009.
The unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 9.9 percent in September, also the lowest jobless rate in nearly four years, and the lowest level since Obama took office.
Online skepticism and conspiracy theories seemingly began over the jobs numbers after former GE CEO Jack Welch tweeted that the numbers were "unbelievable."
Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers— Jack Welch (@jack_welch) October 5, 2012
Other skeptics weighed in also, including the former Congressional Budget Office director Doug Holtz-Eakin, who pointed out the huge disconnect between the modest number of new jobs reported and the significant decrease in the unemployment rate. The number of unemployed dropped by 456,000, but only 114,000 jobs were added.
"This must be an anomaly," Holtz-Eakin said to Fox News in a snap analysis of the numbers. "It is out of line with any of the other data."
At a campaign stop in Fairfax, Va. on Friday, Obama -- whose campaign suffered a setback Wednesday because of what was seen as his poor performance in the first presidential debate -- did not waste time in touting the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"Today’s news...is a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now," Obama told the cheering crowd. "We made too much progress to turn to the policies that caused the crisis in the first place."
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney responded to the September report at a campaign rally in Abingdon, Virginia on Friday.
"There were fewer new jobs created this month than last month," Romney said. "The reason [the unemployment rate] has come down is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work."
A Romney campaign statement also addressed the jobs report.
"This is not what a real recovery looks like," the Romney campaign statement said. "If not for all the people who have simply dropped out of the labor force, the real unemployment rate would be closer to 11 percent."