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October 11, 2012

About Those Awesome!!11! Jobless Claims Numbers

Here's a roundup of the morning's headlines on the jobless claim figures released by BLS today.

CNN: Jobless claims fall to four-year low

CBS: Jobless claims fall to lowest level since '08

Reuters: Jobless claims fall to lowest in four and a half years

Bloomberg: Jobless Claims in U.S. Fall to Four-Year Low

Chicago Tribune: New jobless claims plunge to 4 1/2-year low

And on, and on. Break out the bubbly and the top hats and tails; happy days are here again.

Oh, wait! Those rightwing nutjobs at Faux News noticed something in the details of the report that makes the gold in them thar hills look a little more like iron pyrite.

STRANGE: Jobless Claims Sank to 339,000 in Latest Week, Though Data Didn't Include One Large State

Well now. A large drop when comparing apples and oranges is pretty meaningless, isn't it? So where were all those other guys in noting that the data is bad and the real change from prior ... oh, right.

I'd bet everything I own and then some that those headlines would've been markedly different if, say, a Republican was in the White House.

And anybody notice a missing word up there? What the hell happened to "unexpectedly"? This was so huge a change from the expectations of a 2,000 claim drop that you'd think they'd be blaring this in all the headl ... what? that doesn't help the President? ... oh, right.

Now, I'm not saying that BLS is cooking the books. But is there a reason to release this incomplete data without putting a gigantic asterisk by it to help the meticulously objective lapdog media not leap to the wrong conclusion about it?

Well, I can think of one. And only one.

But don't fret, the correction to those ever-so-helpful headlines will appear on page A26.

Score another victory for Jack Welch.

The Obama campaign and its supporters, including bigwigs like David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs, along with several cable TV anchors, would like you to believe that BLS data are handled like the gold in Fort Knox, with gun-carrying guards watching their every move, and highly trained, white-gloved super-agents counting and recounting hourly.


Bottom line: To suggest that the input to the BLS data-collection system is precise and bias-free is—well, let's just say, overstated.

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posted by Andy at 12:30 PM

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