Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hiding The Good Econ News

The economy continues to grow. WSJ reports (subscribers only) that nonfarm payroll (i.e., jobs) increased by 128,000 last month, bring the number of new jobs the economy has added in the last three months to 383,000. Unemployment dropped from 4.8% in July to 4.7% in August, and average hourly earnings increased two cents.

Will that be the focus of most coverage? I'm not sure, because the stats were a bit lower than Wall Street expected. So here's the same news, recast against previously published expectations:
  • Job growth fell 1.5% short of expectations (i.e., Wall Street projected 130,000 jobs)
  • Unemployment levels did not fall below Wall Street's expectations
  • The "Bush economy" continues to just grow at the low end, with wage increases in the last month falling 33% short of Wall Streets expectations. (i.e., Wall Street thought the average wage would go up three cents instead of two)
Let's do a little Nexis searching (hence no links, sorry) to see if I'm right. Well, I didn't see quite that level of tricksterism, but the media were hardly rushing to publish positive econ news for the Bushies.

But overall, job growth is still seen as sluggish by some economists ....
AP: [Let's not get too cheery here ...]

The latest snapshot, released by the Labor Department Friday, was a bit brighter than expected and should ease any fears that the expansion that began in late 2001 is in danger of fizzling out.

Still, there are obvious weak spots. Construction spending plunged in July by the largest margin in nearly five years, the Commerce Department reported, another sign of the cooldown in the once sizzling housing market.

ChiTrib [Covering prior to publication of the numbers]:
"Regarding the monthly figure for the growth of nonfarm payrolls ... economic pundits for years have stated ... that the U.S. economy needs to create 150,000 to 200,000 jobs a month to sustain expansion." (Even if a Dem is president?)
As Michael Medved said yesterday, if you want to read good economic news, all you have to do is elect a Democrat president. Then the media will find good news to report, no matter how bleak things get.

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