February 5, 2012

The Unemployment Numbers

The unemployment report for January was better than expected and the stock market went up sharply.

A number of conservative pundits claimed that the data does not reflect that discouraged people dropped out of the work force and/or stopped looking for work.

After going through various less-than-pellucid Bureau of Labor Statistics Web pages, I am skeptical about the claimed refutations: see here, and I stand by this:
If over the weekend Wall Street decides that something fishy is going on with the numbers, look for the market to give back its gains, and maybe then some, on Monday.
This guy seems to have his head screwed on right, as does Andy McCarthy. In contrast, the usually sober Legal Insurrection has gone off the deep end. (Instapundit links to a different reason for skepticism. Certainly, one can legitimately caution against reading too much into a single report.)

Among serious professionals, the post at Zero Hedge that triggered the brouhaha would be career-destroying if, as seems likely, it is an over-reactive gross error.

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