On average, we’re still doomed

Could the financial “experts” and oracles of economic armageddon be wrong? The latest government data is out and apparently jobless claims have fallen “unexpectedly” in the past week:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of U.S. workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly fell 9,000 last week, the government said on Thursday, while the overall number of workers on the benefit rolls held at a four-year high.

First-time claims for state unemployment insurance benefits fell to a seasonally adjusted 365,000 last week from a revised 374,000 for the prior week, the Labor Department said. The filings were the lowest since mid-April, but remained at elevated levels, underscoring a sluggish jobs market.

Analysts had expected new claims to edge up to 375,000 from the originally reported 371,000 for the week ended May 10.

Prices for U.S. Treasury securities slipped after the surprise drop in jobless claims data hinted that the weak labor market may be stabilizing, while the dollar extended gains against the yen and euro.

Encouraging data, right? Ahh, but numbers are very malleable things, grasshopper. Good tidings can sometimes be an illusion. If the dire picture the “experts” have painted doesn’t fit the data… paint another one. Only mix the colors a little differently this time so that you now have an average.

The four-week average of new jobless claims, a more reliable guide to underlying labor trends because it irons out weekly volatility, rose to 372,250 last week from 367,250 in the previous week.

That’s more like it! All this good news was starting to scare me.

So what are the chances Reuters will cite this “more reliable guide” the next time we have an unexpected increase in jobless claims in the middle of a robust economy? About the chances they will finally start using the word terrorist to describe Islamic radicals who blow things and people to smithereens.

Story link here:

Jobless claims unexpectedly fall in latest week

2 Comments so far
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It’s like when they talk about inflation EXLCUDING FOOD AND GAS being mild. The cost of gas is what the price of everything else is predicated on. It may take more than a couple of news cycles for the fundamentals to kick in, but I’ll bet inflation will be above six percent by the end of summer.

This is how they do:


Comment by chunque

[…] course, last time an unexpected decline in jobless rates occurred the press was able to dismiss the good news by citing the 4-week moving average – a “more […]

Pingback by Darn those numbers « hopperbach

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