[FoRK] Behind the jobs debacle...

jbone at place.org jbone at place.org
Mon Mar 15 14:42:20 PST 2004

JR, in yet another example of



> It is patently obvious that most of the talking heads either 1.) spin
> the employment statistics to look a certain way for purely political
> reasons, or 2.) are too innumerate or illiterate to actually read the
> Department of Labor statistics.  And everyone else parrots it like the
> gospel truth.

It's patently obvious that the debacle in question is the actual 
numbers relative to the previously forecast numbers, which look a 
certain way because, well, of the magnitude of the numbers.

As for talking heads, political agendas, innumeracy and illiteracy, I 
quote from


"There has been a major shift since the February employment report was 
released," said Lynn Reaser, chief economist for Banc of America 
Capital Management. "Prior to that point there seemed to be a view that 
the job market would improve very soon, and since that release there 
has been a growing skepticism that job growth will pick up within the 
next few months."

I think it's safe to say that Reaser probably is neither innumerate nor 
illiterate.  As for talking head, well, perhaps.  As for agenda, I fail 
to see how the interests of a major executive and economist at one of 
the world's leading banks is served professionally or personally by 
spinning propaganda yarns that don't coincide with reality.  Too much 
rep on the line in circles where cool appraisal of objective reality is 
required.  OTOH, say Krugman, okay, it's easy to see an agenda there.  
But somebody like Reaser...

Actually, though, I do agree with you.  This is indeed a story of 
innumeracy, illiteracy, and political agenda.  Unf., it's the story of 
all of the above in service of the administration's propaganda war and 
in its ineffective attempts to counter-spin the actual state of the 
economy.  They wanted to paint a rosy picture of strong job growth and 
so they did so and hoped for the best, with as little substance and 
science behind the forecast as the supposed abortion-breast cancer 
linkage that this administration has also spun in another spin-arena.


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