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Reading Past the Employment Headline: Someone's Got to Do It

Sometimes you actually have to read past the first paragraph to find out what's going on, and looking at the tables of statistical reports with the real data leads to conclusions that are quite different than the headlines. Dr. Joe does the statistical equivalent of going into the kitchen to see how clean it is before believing a restaurant's reviews. You may have heard that there were elections last week, and that they might have been important. Keep it all in perspective, and don't get ahead of things. There's political chaos ahead that may only increase the uncertainty.

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: November 8, 2010


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Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink.com's Economics and Research Center.

What do you think? Please send feedback to Dr. Joe by emailing him at drjoe@whattheythink.com.

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By Thad McIlroy on Nov 11, 2010


You're firing on all cylinders here. Bravo!

1. "I was quite amazed at the stark difference between the headlines and the actual data."
2. "the [real] unemployment rate [is] 9.8%!"
3. "there is a distinct bias on the part of journalists that the payroll survey data is better than the household survey" and it's clearly a mistake on their part.
4. "Until GDP grows faster than productivity, employment will not improve."
5. "This does not mean that businesses don't want to expand; it means that they see no upside in expanding."
6. September saw a decline in disposable personal income of -0.3%.
7. "manufacturing and non-manufacturing reports were...in some aspects, very good [yet also] a reminder that the indicators do not cover the full economy."
8. "Be vigilant, not cautious, and work to restructure your business with an eye toward 2015 and 2020."

Anyone who claims they didn't hear the news need only be reminded they weren't checking the right source(s). Thanks, as always. I can't tweet stories behind paywalls -- yet this should be VERY widely read.


By Eric Vessels on Nov 14, 2010

Hi Thad,

You can tweet this free link:



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