Thursday, August 23, 2012

That Word Again 

Fox Business Online is running a story with a Reuters byline headlined, "Weekly Jobless Claims Unexpectedly Rise".


Sooner or later, it seems to me, the left-leaning media are going to figure out that constantly using that word (as they do) casts grave doubts on the competency of the BLS or whoever "expects" something different. I mean, how many times can you say "I was blindsided" before people start thinking you have no clue?

I believe we now are in the vicinity of 60 consecutive weeks in which the previous week's jobless claim number was adjusted upward. That kind of trend indicates a bias in the system somewhere. If the estimation algorithm were unbiased, some weeks would be adjusted up and some down, in about equal numbers. Also, the upward adjustment always seems to be (based on my faulty memory) somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 new claims. That consistency also suggests a bias in the system.

I'm sure those analysts in the BLS are well-paid (recent stories give lie to the old assumption that government jobs don't pay as well as private sector jobs do). What are we getting for our hard-earned tax dollars?

Mind you, I'm not accusing the BLS of consciously cooking the books. What I am saying is that they are using bad technique and ought to devote some serious effort toward getting it right.

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