Learning to Read the Mainstream Economic Press

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CNN dutifully reports that "The government's monthly job report on Friday showed that the disastrous labor situation plaguing the nation's economy is moderating."

The facts: "The unemployment rate fell unexpectedly in January to 9.7%. And businesses shed 20,000 jobs for the month, far fewer than the 150,000 jobs that were lost in December."

So when CNN says the "unemployment rate fell unexpectedly," they mean "more people stopped looking for jobs than expected," obviously, because that's the only way you can lose jobs and still increase the percentage of the workforce that is employed.

And when CNN says that the situation is "moderating," they mean "still getting worse, but not getting worse as badly as before," obviously, because we're still losing jobs.

And when it says we lost far fewer jobs than in December, it also means we lost far more jobs than in November.

I hope that helps.

I'm actually not pessmistic about all this. I don't believe this is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression (I still remember the 70s and 80s); I see a lot of fundamentally good things in the economy (which Obama also says ... now, even though he dishonestly attacked McCain for saying so in the campaign); and so on.

The thing that makes me most pessimistic is not where we are, but what we are doing: sowing the seeds for future crises by manipulating the market and drastically increasing debt and deficit, instead of letting the market actually work.

I guess this would be a good time to post this awesome rap video about Keynes and Hayek.


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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on February 5, 2010 9:38 AM.

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