Friday, April 16, 2010

Baby Ducks

I tried to make this point yesterday at Innocent Bystanders, but I don’t think it came through very well. And I don’t think it’s been pointed out anywhere in the media, so it’s really worth making the point well. So, sans plus ado, here’s the point:

For the past 5 1/2 months, the initial unemployment claims data have not really changed. Here’s what I mean:

The data are oscillating about a slowly increasing value, indicating that, if anything, unemployment claims are increasing. That means that for the past 5 1/2 months, every time the administration has told us that the unemployment situation is slowly recovering, and that the data show “the right trend,” they have been absolutely mistaken.

The media has been doing their typical baby duck analysis: every day is a brand new day, every unemployment claims report is the first one they’ve ever seen. So we get headlines like, “job situation improving” when the number of claims drops, and “unexpected increase” when the number rises.