Posts Tagged ‘cookin’ the books’

Cookin’ the books update: They (shamelessly) did it again …

June 22, 2012

OK, here’s this week’s unemployment claims headline:

“Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 387,000.

The prior week’s figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000.”

Said differentlt: Unemployment claims (387,000) increased by 1,000 over last week’s reported number (386,000) … but last week’s reported number (386,000) was revised up by 3,000  to 389,000 … so, this week’s number is not an increase of 1,000, it’s a decrease of 2,000.

C’mon man.

My bet: this week’s number 387,000 will be revised upward next week.

That’s a safe bet, since the BLS has under-reported initial unemployment claims for 66 out of the last 67 weeks.

Here’s the recap for the past 7 weeks:

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Bottom line: a consistent bias – maybe statistical, maybe political – that provides Obama with jobs’ headlines more favorable than reality

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Either the BLS has the worst statisticians on the face of the earth, or they’ve become political hacks.

You decide …

Here’s a shocker for you ….

June 15, 2012

Yesterday, the BLS reported that it’s revising last week’s estimate of new  unemployment claims up by 3,000 … or about 1%

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We’ve been pointing out this glaring statistical bias for weeks.

Finally, some other media sources have finally jumped on the bandwagon and researched the issue historically.

Turns out that  the weekly jobless claims number has now been revised up 20 weeks in a row and 65 out of the last 66 weeks.

Hmmm.

Why is it important?

Because it means the Feds are consistently under-reporting weekly unemployment claims’ changes … making things look rosier than they really are.

 

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May be an innocent error but, geez, wouldn’t you think the statisticians would have caught on to the bias by now?

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Update: Cookin’ the books …

June 11, 2012

Yeah, I’ve been harping on this but it has my attention and I’m dismayed that the mass media hasn’t picked up on it …

Last Thursday’s BLS release on Unemployment Claims did it again … revised upward the prior week’s estimate.

Let’s look at the numbers for the past couple of weeks:

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In each of the past 5 weeks — maybe longer, I just started tracking then — the so-called “Advance” estimate of weekly unemployment claims eventually got revised upward … by a fairly consistent 1%.

There’s a name for a consistent unidirectional error in forecasts.

It’s called SYSTEMATIC STATISTICAL BIAS.

So, you gotta wonder: why haven’t the crack statisticians at the BLS noticed the bias and started correcting for it?

Either they’re incompetent, or they’re as biased as they’re data.

Why does it matter?

Because the “headline numbers” each week are calculated by subtracting the advance number — which is consistently understated — from the prior week’s final number — which is consistently raised up.

In other words, there is a consistent bias to report bigger drops in unemployment claims than are real … and in 2 of the past 4 weeks, to report drops in weekly unemployment gains when there were actually increases.

Hmmm.

No wonder the President thinks the private economy is doing fine.

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