Reuters unexpectedly use that word–again.

In some unfortunate news, new home sales hit a record low. How does Reuters react to the news? Once again, they are taken by surprise.

Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly fell to a record low in January, while mortgage demand for purchases hit a 13-year low last week, fanning fears of renewed housing market weakness.

Enough is enough. Reuters and AP financial writers should just remove that word from their vocabulary. This repeated mock-surprise that the economy has yet to magically recover is embarrassing.

What is even more amusing is that this first paragraph has already been edited once since first being published and the unexpected part remains. Here’s the quote as first captured at Hot Air.

Sales of newly built single-family homes unexpectedly fell to a record low in January, according to government data on Wednesday that hinted at potential trouble for the fragile housing market recovery.

At least we have gone from “hinted of potential trouble” to “fanning fears”. Hot Air also adds the following analysis–click the link above to read the Hot Air text complete with embedded links to references.

Potential trouble? Really? Today’s figure is the worst since they started keeping records in 1963. As Daily Finance’s Joseph Lazarro notes:

[H]istorically, increases in home sales are strongly correlated with greater demand and an economic expansion — and decreases are linked to the opposite. However, government statisticians also caution that the new home sales figures contain a margin of error and are subject to revisions. Further, economists note that it typically takes three to five months to detect a trend, so investors should not read too much into data from one month.

Unfortunately, new home sales also dropped “unexpectedly” in December. That followed November, when new homes plunged “unexpectedly” to the lowest level since April. Indeed, new home sales have been trending downward steadily since August.

Six months of downward trends and yet month after month the drop is unexpected by the media. I wonder if they were as shocked by this news? (And does anyone else love the sweet, sweet irony of the NYT reporting on layoffs of another media outlet?)

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