Thursday, September 02, 2010

Is This Supposed To Be Good Economic News?

The headline looks good. Jobless Claims in U.S. Decreased to 472,000 Last Week - Bloomberg But when you look at the details, not so much.

First, 472,000 people out of work in one week is a huge number, all by itself. Of course most people don't look at the weekly numbers - they're too volatile.
The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, decreased to 485,500 last week from 488,000, today’s report showed.
That is a change of approximately one half of one percent. Granted, it is in the right direction, but it is very small.

And the first issue of the numbers - that 472,000 figure - are not always the last word.
The Labor Department revised the prior week’s figure up to 478,000.
Sometimes states are slow to report. (Hey, what do you expect from government bureaucracy?)

So go ahead and celebrate the good news. I'm sure a lot of folks on the Left are doing just that. Me, I like to look a little deeper than just the headlines.

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