Friday, November 04, 2011

I am tired of this game...

That is, the breathless monthly elephant-groping over the unemployment numbers. Here's Politico, via email alert:
The unemployment rate fell to 9 percent in October from 9.1 percent in September, but the country added a disappointing 80,000 jobs, well below expectations that as many as 100,000 jobs would be created last month, according to data released by the Labor Department on Friday.

"Well below"? Twenty percent is well within the range of the typical revision of prior month's numbers. September's number, for example, was revised up today from 103,000 to to 158,000 -- almost triple the "disappointment" triggered by the margin below consensus for this month, while August was revised up from 0 to 57,000. Those upward revisions exceed the alleged job growth this month.

There's plenty of intelligent deep diving, of course.  Those who follow these numbers closely understand their ambiguities and uncertainties, and the cumulative nature of the light they shed.  But the headline snapshots, the insta-hardening of snap perceptions, are not helpful.

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