Repeating is not the same thing as reporting. Anecdotes about what your friends, colleagues, and people you've interviewed said is not the same thing as data and analysis.
The unemployment rate hit 8.1% in February, according to a Labor Department report out this morning. The numbers were not a surprise, and every sector lost jobs, though constuction has been hit the hardest. The only moderately surprising news is that average hourly earnings continue to rise, presumably reflecting a concentration of job losses among less skilled workers.
Why are you presuming instead of checking the numbers? Asking people? Is she a journalist or is she like Sigourney Weaver's character in Galaxy Quest, whose job it is to repeat whatever the computer says?
The New York Times story reports:
Some economists expect that the nation's businesses could cut another two million jobs and that unemployment could reach 9 to 10 percent by the time a recovery begins.
Some economists? I haven't talked to a single one who estimates unemployment peaking below 9%.
It would be helpful if you gave us names, so we could know who is giving you the information. For all we know it could be your cousin who used to work for the Unemployment Office.
Unemployment is a lagging indicator--it will keep falling after output has bottomed out. And output is not yet ready to bottom out, for all of our public officials slapping happy face stickers over all their official reports.
Numbers? Please? And names? Who is slapping on happy face stickers? Which reports?
The other day I was talking to another economics journalist at a lunch,...
Another anonymous anecdote.
...and in re: Ben Bernanke's stated public opinion, asked whether he'd met anyone who actually believed that growth would recover in the second half of the year.
"No," quoth he, then added "and neither does Bernanke."
What could that possibly mean? Bernanke doesn't believe things are getting better, but doesn't say so--why could that possibly be so? Can anyone figure out this conundrum? I know--let's ask Megan. She has an MBA from the University of Chicago and many contacts in the financial industries. She is paid by the Atlantic to explain the intricacies of the financial markets to people just like us. Well, Megan?
By which he claimed no special knowledge, but rather pointed out the obvious: the Chairman of the Federal Reserve is not going to start screaming "fire!" in a market that is already primed to stampede.
Oh. Well, it was very nice of you to share that with us.