Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Than Expected - Less Than Expected

Why is it that these "analyst" that the drive-by media relies on for so many of their stories, and for so much of their reporting are consistently wrong?  Today it was reported that jobless claims again rose "slightly more" than analysts had "expected."

I have looked back through numerous reports on unemployment figure between 2002 and 2010.  I was unable to find a single example of numbers that "analysts expected."  Each and every time there seems to be a huge surprise - usually these analysts significantly underestimate the number of people filing for unemployment.  Along with each "surprise" there is usually an associated excuse:  winter storms, summer heatwave, holidays, rain, locust, you get the idea.  If each and every release of unemployment data is associated with an excuse for why the analysts were so wrong, you would think these analysts would just factor in some type of event that skews the data, since it happens every time according to the media.

Its just another example of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.  You would think that the drive-bys would get some new "analysts" or just give up on trying to guess when it comes to unemployment.

Keep these observations in mind when you see unemployment figures reported in the future and look for these elements:

If the news is bad for the Obama Administration:

1.  The data will be a surprise to analysts

2.  There will be some excuse used to justify the spike such as snow, heat, whatever.

3.  The figures will be increases even more a few weeks or months later with little public reporting.

4.  The figures will be presented as a outlier and we will be reassured there is an overall recovery in progress.

If the news is good for the Obama Administration:

1.  The data will still be a surprise to analysts.

2.  We are reminded that we are actively recovering.

3.  Obama Administration policies lead to the decrease in unemployment.

4.  Unemployment figures will be revised upward weeks or months later - again with little reporting.

Another thing I have noticed - especially since Obama took office - is that unemployment figures are consistently being revised upwards months or weeks after being reported in the national news.  These revisions are often buried on the back page of the newspaper if they even receive coverage at all.  Seems to me like a pretty sneaky way of making the economy not seem so bad.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently revised unemployment statistics for the entire year of 2009.  Turns out that there was actually another 617,000 jobs lost that were not initially reported.  That equals about 51,000 jobs each month that went unreported.

I almost forgot - about 410,000 first time unemployment claims were filed this past week, up about 25,000 from the previous week.  Included in the CNN story is the usual Obama Administration justification:  ". . . data [has] been distorted recently by severe winter snow storms, the numbers have been trending lower since August. The weekly figure is near its lowest levels since July 2008."  Oh good, so we can  just forget about these 400,000 new jobless and continue cheering for the "recovery."


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