Fun With Numbers

Today there was an economic numbers dump lead by the weekly jobless claims. There is so much discrepancy that it confirms to many that numbers are being fudged. It’s hard not to doubt that particularly after the National Association of Realtors announced Tuesday that they might be off in their new home sales calculations by just a smidge – 20%!

Anyhow, jobless claims fell to 366,000. That’s the lowest since May 31, 2008. But – those added to extended claims went up 332,000; a very large number for one week.

The U.S. Empire Manufacturing clocked in at 9.53 vs. the expected 3.0. That means manufacturing activity is up in the Northeast. But – prices paid were up from 18.29 to 24.42 and prices received went down from 6.10 to 3.49. The number of employees was up, but – the employee work week was down.

The U.S. Current Account Balance for Q3 was -110.3. But – the previous month was revised from -118 to -124.7. You don’t need to know the specifics of the numbers to realize that this is a deficit.

PPI, a measure of inflation, also was up .3% from a – .3%. That indicates inflation is rising.

And total unemployment is up 874,670 to 7.4 million, up from 6.5 million.

How do these disparities come about? Some suggest that jobs are being contracted out to six month stints, which helps the numbers. Others say the government is propping everything up to ensure a decent Christmas.

With the government’s recent record of funny figures, a healthy dose of skepticism is in order.

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