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Death, taxes, and unexpected bad economic news

Long ago Benjamin Franklin said, "...but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes." It would appear we can now add one more thing to that list of certainties--that bad economic indicators under the Obama administration will be treated as unexpected.

Jobless claims numbers are out and not surprisingly they are are up again. Here's how the Daniel Wagner of the AP breaks it down. First the headline:

Jobless claims rise unexpectedly
So to Wagner, the rise is unexpected. Apparently wanting to make my job of mocking the messaging easy, the tagline reads:
Initial jobless claims unexpectedly jump, showing labor market's problems continue
There's that word again. Here we learn that this unexpected rise is bad news. I'm glad we got that settled.

I keep reading the article to find a good section to quote. There really isn't any. The situation is fairly straightforward. Jobless claims right after the holidays rose as there is traditionally a backlog in reporting from Christmas/New Years. Last week the backlog was basically cleared, so number were artificially high. This week we are back to normal as numbers rise again.

The increase followed a drop of 41,000 in the previous week which had raised hopes that the labor market could be improving. There have been 8.4 million jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007.

Thursday's news deflated analysts' hopes that new claims would continue to decline. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected new claims to fall modestly.

Still, the four-week average for claims dipped 1,500 to 467,500, near the lows that were reached at the end of last year. The average is considered a more stable indicator because it smooths out the week-to-week volatility.

Claims at the beginning of this year had been affected by a holiday backlog. The easing of the backlog had elevated the numbers for the previous three weeks.

When something returns to its previous state after some administrative hiccups have been cleared, that should not be unexpected. Who are these economists being interviewed by Reuters? And can someone help me handle the fact that the AP is using Reuters as a source? And together they seemed to have a biased view that supports Obama's desired messaging?

I find such a bias by the mainstream media ... unexpected.


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Comments (12)

They love plugging that Dec... (Below threshold)

They love plugging that Dec 07 date as the start of the recession. People who read that think about how they're feeling now and walk away with the impression everything went to the depths of hell in the last quarter of 07 even though it was less than -.20% and even though there was positive growth for the two quarters following. The first quarter of 08 was meager at less than 1%, but the second quarter was just under 3%. I think they'd like you to forget that though. It makes it easier to heap more blame on Bush.

The Obama White House is co... (Below threshold)

The Obama White House is cooking the books, folks.

Simple as that. I lost my faith in joblessness numbers a long time ago. We have unexpected good news just before an important political event - an election, Christmas, or some other press release -- and we have unexpected bad news just afterward. The White House is taking numbers out of both the numerator and the denominator to Dress the Window.

The only numbers you can trust are the long term numbers. And the trend for real unemployment is still up.

I see they are also blaming... (Below threshold)

I see they are also blaming snowstorms for some of the job losses. I don't think if Bush was still president the media would be making that excuse - they would blame the job losses (which would then be expected) on some kind of Republican inaction or this shadowy concept of excess deregulation of the financial markets we keep hearing about from Obama that somehow tanked the market all by itself (even though the Democrats never talk about the housing bubble which was caused in large part by liberals intervening in this area with disastrous results) or something like that.

What would really be unexpected would be an increase in the number of almost now non-existent stories about the homeless. The lamestream media only trots those stories out when a Republican is president...

I love the cognitive disson... (Below threshold)

I love the cognitive dissonance within the subhead.
Initial jobless claims unexpectedly jump, showing labor market's problems continue

In terms of high school physics, continue is velocity - constant speed and direction, whereas change is acceleration - a change in either speed or direction. A body undergoes acceleration - change - when some force acts upon it; and without that force, it's velocity remains constant, e.g. it continues.

It is analogous to someone exclaiming "Wow, that ball unexpectedly continues to roll down hill!"

They (AP) really are graspi... (Below threshold)

They (AP) really are grasping.

The so-called "news" report includes this:

"Some experts say the snowstorms may have cost the economy as many as 100,000 jobs in February."

Never thought of blaming the weather.
They're getting more creative every day.

Steve,Your economi... (Below threshold)


Your economic analysis and predidictions are so right on. Like the easy win that all of you on the left predicted for Coakley in Massachussetts -- how'd your wife like that one? Care to predict the Murtha race this time?

Oh, right, "anti-incumbency". Sure, if all the incumbents are thrown out, we'll take 59 Republican Senators and a overwhelming majority in the House. You're a joke. Your wife, however is a true patriot.

"I find such mindless bias ... (Below threshold)

"I find such mindless bias among the right wing blogs "typical"."

So why don't you just save us your bullshit and go someplace else?

> The increase followed a d... (Below threshold)

> The increase followed a drop of 41,000
> in the previous week which had raised
> hopes that the labor market could be
> improving.

... raised hopes of people desperate to believe huge deficits and massive bailouts will help an economy that the labor market ...

Fixed that for you and Wagner.

obambi and sheriff joes rec... (Below threshold)

obambi and sheriff joes record: WAPO: "Before passage of the stimulus bill, the Obama administration had predicted that unemployment would peak at 8 percent before beginning to abate this fall." (2009)



Talk about "mindless"!!

Hey Steve, how come your man-god was so very wrong about unemployment?

How come your man-god hasn't added any new jobs to the private sector? Even Evan Bayh had to admit that! (He can afford to be honest since he's not running for reelection as a dem, unlike all those other lying idiots in your party Steve)

Hey Steve, why doesn't sheriff joe even know it's the 21st century? Whats wrong with that moron????

And then there is more infl... (Below threshold)

And then there is more inflation news. From MarketWatch:

Core prices of finished goods -- which exclude food and energy goods -- rose 0.3% in January, led by higher prices for light trucks, airplanes and other capital goods. Drug prices jumped 1.3%.

The 1.4% increase in the producer price index was higher than the 0.9% gain expected by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The core rate of 0.3% was also higher than the 0.1% gain expected.

The increases in the PPI and the core PPI were the largest since November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

The PPI increased 0.4% in December and 1.5% in November. The core PPI was unchanged in December and rose 0.5% in November.

The producer price index is up 4.6% in the past year, the largest year-over-year gain since the financial crisis began in late 2008. The core PPI is up 1% in the past year.

Just what we need: stagflation - high unemployment and high inflation at the same time. As Glenn Reynolds has repeatedly said, the idea that President Obama's one term may be a repeat of President Carter's single term may be the best case scenario.

Fudge it and make Me feel b... (Below threshold)

Fudge it and make Me feel better if only for a night?

"I find such mindless bias ... (Below threshold)

"I find such mindless bias among the right wing blogs "typical"."

So why don't you just save us your bullshit and go someplace else?

8. Posted by GarandFan | February 18, 2010 12:06 PM

Fan, we have to keep steve here for the fun of it. I miss little jp2 trying to sound smart, but now we have tina s. steve is a real loon, just don't click on his links. I would miss chuckling at him. He's not smart enough to really get under your skin.






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