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Monday, July 09, 2012

READING TOO MUCH

"This is unprecedented, quite unexpected, and racist"
-Things the Obama administration might have said.

Unemployment vs Stimulus
There's a post on Obama Isn't Working (one of the Romney for president sites) that is too classic to not pass on. When the latest jobs report about June came out, it was bad news. Fewer jobs created than expected, unemployment no better, and so on. The White House spokesdrones said "don't read too much into those numbers."

Well that's pretty good general advise, you shouldn't read too much into anything. Its like saying doing something to excess is bad. Well, yes. That's what the word "excess" means. Too much.

We can read these job reports for exactly what they are: an indication that the present government is lousy, can't do its job, is failing, and we need a change. That's not an unreasonable reaction to the news, its not "reading too much."

But OIW took it a bit further, and listed all the previous times the administration has used this phrase. And it comes up almost as often as "unprecedented" and "unexpected:"
May 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

April 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

March 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”
Wow you really like...
February 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.”

January 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.”
Sorry didn't mean to interrupt...
December 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

November 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

October 2011: “The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. There is no better example than August’s jobs figure, which was initially reported at zero and in the latest revision increased to 104,000. This illustrates why the Administration always stresses it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”
...
September 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

August 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”
And on and on it goes, almost every single month from September 2009 to the present, for 30 months, using almost exactly the same phrase.

My guess is there's a lot of cut and paste going on here.

Again, its not like they don't have a point: don't read too much into this, and they're right: weekly or monthly numbers are "volatile;" that is, they move around quite a bit and aren't as useful as long-term numbers.

But what about over three years worth of data, is that too volatile to read much into? Because we have a pretty blatant, obvious pattern here of continuous high unemployment, far worse than predicted by the administration if the "stimulus" package had not been passed.

Yes, yes, we know. Blame Bush.

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