Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How a Journalist Should Cover the Economy...

Check out Brad DeLong's January 11th post about his upcoming course - "How a Journalist Should Cover the Economy..." and follow his link to the readings. Here you will find a road map that gets you to a dozen different views about what the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) employment report means.

Of special note are the 6 pointers (duplicated below) to a set of trend graphs that add depth beyond the headline unemployment percentage and job total numbers.
Payroll Survey Employment Growth since 1994
Long-Term Unemployment Unemployment and Underemployment
The Employment-to-Population Ratio
Thirty Years of the Unemployment Rate
Three Years of the Unemployment Rate
Unemployment: The Importance of Seasonal Adjustment

If you want to understand what the latest numbers mean, and the direction we are heading, and how that compares to the past, Brad's quick tour will add a lot to your understanding.

The many different readings are also perspective widening. I liked the Tim Duys article the best. I thought it was the most balanced, dug the deepest, and included the best trend information in graphic form.

It was remarkable to note how many of the commentators provided their thoughts with nary a graph. One of these with zero charts was the Tim Kane article that to my mind was also the most slanted.

I'll have some more to say on the employment situation and how one might best comment on it in the next post.

No comments: