Judging PMI Unfairly

Recently, I've been a bit vocal about my concerns of the volume of people getting the  Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification.  I often ask if quality is being sacrificed in order to certify more people.  Don't get me wrong, if being a PMP means you are a "quality" project manager, I think the more the merrier.  But, what if more PMPs means the Project Management Institute (PMI) doesn't have the necessary people to conduct proper audits?  I decided this question warranted a telephone call to PMI.  Though they would not give specific numbers, they stated

The number of audits have remained consistent over the last few years

Ah-ha!  Just the incriminating statement I was expecting, to support my theory!  Clearly the increased rate of people getting certified would mean a lower percentage were being audited.  Since numbers don't lie, I went back as far as I could and compiled the monthly PMP certification rate.  September 2006 was the earliest (easily accessible) date I could find.

Once I charted all of the data to date (June 2010), I was left scratching my head.  With the exception of June and July of 2009, the rate has been relatively consistent.

Average certifications per month (2006-2010): 4,401

Average certifications per month (2010): 4,350

Highest certification rate (June 2009): 13,920

Lowest certification rate (July 2009): 689

In reality, the average number of people getting the PMP certification is down in 2010.

Have I judged PMI unfairly?  Is the quality of the certification the same as it ever was?