How busy have ‘these Chicago guys’ been?

Chrysler assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill.
Chrysler assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill.
Getty Images

There’s quite a bit of economic news out this morning, and all of it’s encouraging.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 51.7 from 51.5 in September, topping economists’ expectations for a slight decline to 51.2, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

A reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector. It was the second month in a row the sector has grown after contracting through the summer.

Also this morning, the Conference Board reported that consumer confidence jumped in October to its highest level in nearly five years; Chrysler reported its best sales in nearly five years; and initial unemployment claims continued to improve.

This comes a week after improved GDP figures, and two weeks after improved housing data.

I’m curious how many on the right look askance at all of this. Remember, when unemployment dropped last month, far too many conservatives assumed the figures had been manipulated as part of a grand conspiracy involving the Obama administration. Jack Welch, for example, said “these Chicago guys” had provided the public with bogus information, on purpose, for political purposes.

A month later, does the right believe “these Chicago guys” have also managed to manipulate manufacturing figures, consumer confidence, auto sales, housing data, and the GDP? Or do they think the economy is, in reality, improving?

How busy have 'these Chicago guys' been?