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Economics & Research Blog

The Press and the Experts... Getting it Wrong... Again


By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: June 2, 2008

Today's ISM manufacturing report is being misreported by the press. Overall it was a positive report, much better than the recent gruesome ones. This is showing that we have bottomed more than it shows any problems ahead. Some problems reversed. The only real negative is that prices of materials were up... a lot. Stuff that was negative was only barely negative. All of the experts are pessimists, I guess! Supposedly I had the corner on that market.

  • ISM Overall Index +1
  • New Orders +3.2
  • Production +2.1
  • Employment +0.1
  • Supplier Deliveries -0.3
  • Inventories -0.1
  • Customers' Inventories +2
  • Prices +2.5
  • Backlog of Orders -5.5
  • Exports +2
  • Imports +1.5

This week is chock full of economic data ready to be spun by anyone who has a preconceived notion or agenda. I believe the productivity number will be better than the experts expect (you know things are bad when you give your opinion in relation to the expert expectations and not the real data) because companies have been cutting back on costs and their cash flow is up (it had to come from somewhere), the ISM non-manufacturing data will be better than expected, and unemployment will be a rather boring report with the usual lackluster payroll data but relatively good household data, but all in all, nothing to get worked up about... but someone will. I continue to suspect that we are at the bottom of the worst of the economic situation and we are ready to make a grand economic thrust sideways into below average growth and higher inflation working through the system for quite a while.


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



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