statistics

You always finish everything you start, right?

Right.

I. love. this. post.  Yet another take on how the lamestream media, this time in the form of the Administration's Press, spins news and statistics:

Once again, a reporter from the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, has told a major fib about the situation in the new-home construction industry, thereby vastly exaggerating its degree of improvement — claiming a 60% surge during the past nearly 3-1/2 years when it has been 15% at most.
 

Today’s figures from the Census Bureau on housing starts weren’t terrible, but they surely weren’t cause for major optimism — except at the AP, where Martin Crutsinger cited “steady progress in the housing recovery” and committed the same serious mistake other AP writers have made (examples herehere, and here), namely pretending that the term “housing starts” has the same meaning as “home construction.”...

...Over a year ago, someone who is now a former AP reporter tried to claim in a conversation that treating “home construction” as identical to “housing starts” is okay because the average reader, listener, or viewer doesn’t really understand what “housing starts” are. Give me a flippin’ break. Equating the terms is misleading and deceptive. How much more obvious can it be?...

That says it all, doesn't it?  The media believe that lying is OK because people are stupid.

Wonderful.

Absolutely read the whole thing.
 

Hey, Abbott!...

...'splain to us how unemployment figures "work."

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 9%.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.
COSTELLO: You just said 9%.
ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that's 16%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 9%...
COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.
COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. 
You have to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!
ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.
COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work, can't be counted with those who look for work. 
It wouldn't be fair.
COSTELLO: To who?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work.
Those who are out of work stopped looking.
They gave up.  And, if you give up, you are no longer 
in the ranks of the unemployed.
COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls, that would count as 
less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how you get to 9%.  Otherwise it would be 16%. 
You don't want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?
COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you.  
That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, 
and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an economist.
COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!
h/t Ralph
 

If you don't laugh, you'll cry:

Smoke and mirrors

From Heritage:

There’s no good way to spin the news that came out of today’s monthly U.S. jobs report. The economy generated only 18,000 total new jobs, the unemployment rate increased to 9.2 percent, and the number of unemployed Americans has gone up by 445,000. In other words, the recovery appears to have slowed markedly. President Barack Obama’s stimulus-infused “recovery” refuses to ignite, unsurprisingly to all but him.

And to make matters worse, May’s paltry job growth numbers were revised even farther downward, from the initial estimate of 54,000 to 25,000...

Hmmmm.  So how much confidence do we have in the 18K figure? How big is the fudge factor in gubmint stats anyway?

Today's story reminded me of a a video from Chris Martenson I came across some time ago, and while I certainly don't agree with all his opinions on other matters, he makes a compelling case that for GDP and inflation anyway, we would do well to at least wonder about those official-sounding and decptively-precise statistics:

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