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September 02, 2004

No Cowbell on Friday?

Over at FreeRepublic, someone said that Jeff Greenfield reported the rumor -- just a rumor -- that Friday's August job figures would be bad. As in, bad for the country. Bad for Bush.

That could just be a planted rumor, designed to lower expectations. But now I'm worried.

One might even say I'm outraged, chagrined, sick to my stomach, "gob-smacked," appalled, horrified, and filled with "heart-ache" that I can't "quite dislodge from my consciousness."

A source tells me:

But seriously, I'm not sure if you knew this or not, but President Bush
will have the August employment data before he gives his speech tonight.
Common practice is for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to send a scrambled fax
to the Council of Economic Advisers on Thursday afternoon, ahead of the
Friday morning release. The CEA then of course gets it to the President,
SecTreas, and Fed Chairman ASAP, and so they are all in the know.

I don't have a story to point you to, unfortunately. This is something
that I have picked up from economics research I read as part of my job.

The questions:
1) Does Bush 'shade' his speech tonight depending on the jobs data?
2) Since this is common knowledge (that Bush will have the data ahead of time), how will the lefties spin it?

I wonder if some of the speakers (especially Dick Cheney) already knew the numbers when they spoke. I'm not sure how early this stuff gets circulated among the administration (I just wrote back to ask). If it only gets released the night before, then ignore what comes next.

I'm fearing that we've already seen "shading" that may indicate a stinker of a jobs report.

None of the speakers, to my knowledge, has mentioned Bush's recent job creation*; to the extent they mention the economy, they mention low interest rates, expanding manufacturing, and home ownership. The fact that they seem to be avoiding mentioning jobs at all tells me they don't want to emphasize that particular datum, which means they might be expecting bad news on that front tomorrow morning.

As my personal hero Dan Rather says:


* Someone may have mentioned it. I haven't watched gavel-to-gavel. If any of the featured, prime-time speakers mentioned it, they didn't do so very prominently, because I just have no recollection of it at all.

Unrelated Rumor Update: FreeRepublic is quite the rumor mill.

This is just a rumor, and we've heard this crap before, and there's no sourcing here whatsoever.

I think it's bullshit. I'm posting it, however, because I'm irresponsible and attention-craving.

Update: Questions Answered.


The CEA gets the fax late Thursday afternoon from the BLS (again, this is standard practice - I'm not sure if they might 'break' from that practice and give the admin an even earlier heads-up) so I doubt they have the actual numbers in front of them yet. It does take some work by the BLS to compile the data into usable statistics. However, some of the data this week, such as the ISM manufacturing survey, the Chicago PMI, and today's jobless claims numbers, have been a bit softer and point to possible disappointment for the August payroll numbers.

The Republicans may have used these stats as reason to shade away from job creation as a theme.

Larry Jones:

The White House receives the numbers on the Thursday evening before the Friday release. They're not floating around anywhere before that. Second, while Greenfield may end up being correct, he has no clue what he's talking about. There is absolutely no way for him to know what's going to happen tomorrow.

Answered, but not perfectly consistent. Morpheus thinks there's a chance that the numbers may have been circulated earlier, although that's not the practice, and Larry seems to rule that possibility out.

Either way, though, it seems like Jeff Greenfield doesn't know what he's talking about.

It's reassuring to have one's deeply-held beliefs ocassionally reassured like that.

Update: Larry clarifies: He said no way, he meant no way.

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posted by Ace at 02:37 PM

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