Langone Takes Welch’s Side: Jobs Numbers ‘Don’t Square’
CNBC.com Senior Writer
Government numbers showing the unemployment rate has fallen under 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years don't reflect actual business conditions, venture capitalist Ken Langone said on CNBC.
Joining a heated debate over the state of the U.S. jobs picture, the Home Depot founder and Geeknet CEO said the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report was probably inaccurate.
Langone defended former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, who caused a stir Friday morning when he charged on Twitter: "Unbelievable jobs numbers ... these Chicago guys will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers."
"I give Jack a lot of credit for being there and standing out. It makes it easier for me because he and I share the same point of view," Langone told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”"But I give him a lot of credit for saying publicly, 'Damn it, these numbers don't make sense.'"
The BLS said the unemployment ratedropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent, the first time the headline number has slipped below the 8 percent mark since Barack Obama took over as president in January 2009. (Watch: Can the US Jobs Data Be Trusted?)
That came even though the total net job creation was just 114,000. The drop in the unemployment rate defied economist expectations.
"These numbers don't square with what's going on with the economy," Langone said.
The BLS and the White House both vehemently rejected Welch's allegations, with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis telling CNBC she was "insulted" at the suggestion of data manipulation for political purposes. (Read More: Why Idea of ‘Cooked’ Jobs Report Is ‘Preposterous’: BLS)
Later in the Langone interview, real estate magnate Donald Trump also took up Welch's side, saying, "He's 100 percent correct. There wasn't an economist in the country who said it could possibly happen. By the way, after the election they'll do a big correction."
An outspoken critic of President Barack Obama, Langone said the economy is heading lower, not higher.
"The worst hasn't happened yet," he said. "The problem is we haven't yet begun to address the problems."
He specifically cited the Dodd-Frank banking reforms as a "nightmare (that) is already impeding economic growth in America."
As for the president, who was widely considered a loser in last Wednesday's debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Langone also predicted more troubles ahead. (Read More: Debate Sends Obama's Odds Falling, Romney's Rising.)
"He will not do well in the second and third debates," he said. "For four years, he's had the benefit of these devices that he reads from. You know, it's like a drug, it's hard to get away from."
Langone added: "He's got nothing else to talk about. He's had a horrible record for four years."