Friday, February 5, 2010

RFD Warning: Magic Number Redux

The unemployment rate has fallen! Hurrah! President Obama's plan to re-employ American workers who are unemployed is working! Happy days are just ahead and there is dancing in the street. Or are they?

Maybe the unemployment rate is yet another set of magic numbers generated by government bureaucrats who are stuck on their slide rules and fuzzy math. John Lott has exposed how the employment data are generated: The Real Story Behind Our Unemployment Numbers Lott brings clarity to the method of madness on generating the rate headlines seen across American media. And using magic numbers isn't necessarily an evil perpetrated by the Obama administration, as every administration since Washington has trotted out magic numbers to reinforce their administration's programs.

Again surveys or polling is used to create numbers that are easily manipulated. Surely in this modern age of computers and internet communication a more accurate method could be devised than to base the employment magic number on two mixed up systems that few really understand.

The news also reports the stock market dropped partially because of the mixed employment news which makes one wonder if the investors who follow company practices closely understand better than the government what is really happening in our economy.

Magic numbers are all around us, influencing our decisions everyday. It behooves each of us to look beyond the media hyped numbers in the headlines to find out what they really mean and take appropriate action in response.

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