Thursday, February 9, 2012

Unemployment and the Media: The Lies Continue

"U./S. Jobless Claims Drop 15,000, to 358,00"

Yes, the above is the LIE that passes for a headline (and story) in today's media: a media totally uninterested in actual informatioin in favor of the HYPE and LIES that now represent their stock ain trade.

Here is a more CORRECT headline and story: ""Labor Department Revises Previous Week's New Unemployment Calims to 373,000 from 357,0000--Continuing Trendless Meandering of This Number." And the LEAD pararph could begin: "Last week's intitial estimate of new unemoployment claims proved to be too optimistic, as the actual number of 373,000 was right in line with previuos weeks, shwoing that the weekly number of new unempllyment claims has pretty much stalled. We will have to see whehter this week's initial llestimate of 358,0000 will hold lup. That is a drop of 9,000 from the initial estimate last week. That is not a significant drop, and not really out of line with recent numbers (assuming today's number is revised to 360,000 or above). However, it the number could continue a more steady decline, instead of bouncing around an average of about 375,000, it might indicate an improving labor market. This number is seasonally adjusted. The non-seasonally adjusted number for the previous week was (media has not bothered to report this information0), which compares wiht a number of (again no media report) for last year."

No. Again, this is not a matter of opinion. The media headline is a LIE. On an apples-to-apples basis, the number did NOT drop 15,000. It dropped 9,000. Further, the 6,000 upward revison of last week's initially reported number shows the LIE in the way the media reports this weekl;y number as an exact number. It is a LIE that there is a present "improving" TREND. As this blog has shown, over the past few ONTHS this weeklyu number has STALLED (at a time when weather alone could explain the SLIGHT "improvement" from the same time last year). The statement that the number of new unemployment claims last wek was 358,000 is a LIE--an outright lie. That is this week's ESTIMATE, based on a FALLIBE "seasonal adjustment", and to be REVISED next week. That revision AVERAGES about 4,000 UPWARD, and was 6,000 UPWARD this week (from the initial report for last week).

Notice how the constant UPWARD revision ALWAYS makes this week's HEADLINE look "better" than it actually should be. The media is ALWAYS comparfing this week's initially reported number with last week's rEVISED numer. That is a LIE. Further, it is a LIE that mainly works just one way, since the REVISED number from last week is almost always HIGHER than the UNREVISED number initially reported, and this week's number is almost always LOWER than the REVISED number to be reported next week.

The media should be ashamed, except the truly contempticble, incompetent people have no shame.

Oh, is the initial estimate of new unemployment claims "reported" (estimated) this morning BAD news? Of course not. It is hardly great news, and it does NOT show an 'improving trend". It is,m in fact, pretty much in line with the weekly numbers that have been reported for more than two months--well within the expected marging of error. However, the numbers for the past few months, while not shwoing a real "improving trend", do tend to show a labor market that is NOT GETTING WORSE. In that sense, today's initial estimate is "good" news. Over the next few weeks, NO numbers reported could really show a deteriorating trend. Sure, I would expect the number (estimate) reported next week to go UP toward the recent average of 375,0000 or so. But even if it jumped toward 400,000 (posssible), it would not MEAN much. (other than to expose the media LIES once again). However, if the number were to DROP below 350,000, and STAY there a few weeks in a row, it would at least be a "sign" of an "improving" labor market. Todya's number does NOT represent such a "sign". It jsut sets it up so that we would have to see WEEKS of truly BAD numbers before we could be sure that the labor market is "deteriorating" (more likely, that the present numbers are a SEASONAL ILLUSIOIN, based on "seasonal adjustments" that are not reflecting the real, present seasonal pattern of the U.S. economy). This eweky numberf (estimate) of new unemployment claims began to DETERIORATE, from pretty close to this level, in late February of last year. The quesitn is whether history will repeat, or whether our labor market really is (slowly) "improving". We will see.

P.S. No proofreading or spell checking (bad eyesight).

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