Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Sunday, October 24, 2004

More Statistical Chicanery...

Note - from June 24th 2009, this blog has migrated from Blogger to a self-hosted version. Click here to go straight there.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics (I know they spell it "Labor" but I can't bring myself to do that) is run by the ultimate "yes-man" (who happens to be a woman) in the person of Elaine Chao.
I have fulminated against Chao many times in the past as a partisan hack who would say or do anything - including deliberately massaging statistics - if it would make her boss look like less of an economic Vandal.
But looking at the latest CPI numbers, I am amazed at the gall of the massaging. It's all very well to use hedonics, to drop the unemployed off the labour force survey, to spin and twist statistics until they're meaningless... like I said, she's a hack.
But to claim - as the CPI figures do - that energy costs have fallen in each of the last three months... well that is just showing the world that you think that nobody reads the interstices of the report. It is basically saying "we're just going to pick a number for the CPI, and you can all go f%#k yourselves".
I also noted from my reading elsewhere, that sector-specific job layoff reports (like the Challenger, Gray and Christmas layoff report) are up about 60% for the quarter - meaning that new jobless claims should be rising like a Saturn rocket. And yet the BLS' version has fallen - by 7% in the most recent week.
There will come a day when someone rears up on their hind legs and demands that statistics in the UNited States be taken out of the purview of departments headed by political partisans, and put into the hands of an independent agency headed by a person who appointent has nothing to do with the "Administration" of the day.
It will either be financial markets, after they wake up to find that their TIPS have been underpriced for ages (and after bonds fall off a cliff, which I expect to happen in due course)... or it will be the pensioners who get shafted by the fake CPI which is used to index their pensions.