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Economic Reporting, Obama Fan-Boy Style September 13, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.

Just reading a Bloomberg article on today’s Initial unemployment Claims data release. Bloomberg rightly reports that today’s very low number of 292K initial claims doesn’t mean much because:

  • The week included Labor Day, and
  • Two states under-reported due to “computer network conversions”

So far so good. But in the very next sentence they say:

The pace of job cuts has waned since the end of last year, setting the stage for faster payroll and income growth that would help propel consumer spending.

“Stronger job growth may be on the horizon,” said Millan Mulraine, director of U.S. rates research at TD Securities in New York. “When we start seeing improvement in the labor market, I think that will provide another tailwind for confidence, and spending, going forward.”

Yup – data is meaningless and misleading, but somehow our inference should still be that the job market is improving. Because…Obama!!

I used to like the Initial Unemployment Claims data as a harbinger of future unemployment rates (there are probably 20 posts with plots of claims at this site), but with the massive ineligibility for unemployment benefits, the flight from the labor market, and the transition of many from unemployment benefits to disability benefits, I felt it lost its value. Just as the unemployment rate itself did.

Now, the only employment indicator that matters to me is full-time jobs divided by the civilian non-institutional population. And that metric still doesn’t look very good.


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