Saturday, June 03, 2006

The "what have you done for me lately" crowd 

I find the exercise of discussing each jot and jiggle of economic indicators rather tedious, and probably why I prefer academics to working in the business community as a forecaster. While I do forecast, it's rather nice that I don't have much local information to work with for the St. Cloud economy, it's not released with much fanfare, and not many people read it with any interest. I can take three or even six months between reports, digest and look for longer trends. Working to produce a weekly or monthly forecast just gives you too many opportunities to be fooled by the last zig-zag. (And there are always those people who will check your record and note your failures more than your successes.)

So while newspapers caterwaul (is that a word?) about yesterday's employment report, and the usual dismal scientists get dismal, perhaps the pictures that actually appear on the report itself would provide you a little perspective. Now, what exactly is the problem again? Oh yes, each individual number has to be judged against a yardstick. 75,000 ain't 200,000, so we're doomed! Doomed! I tell you!

Spare me. Or at least, give me three months of under 100,000 before going Cassandra. Kash isn't there yet, but he's toeing the line.

Now, Barry's graph is interesting and worth explaining: Why has each successive expansion generated fewer jobs than the previous one since 1975? But that's far, far different a discussion than the doom and gloomers.