Blogs > Liberty and Power > Fear d'Jour

Nov 4, 2006 9:28 am

Fear d'Jour

August 28 headline in the New York Times:

Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity

Yesterday's headline in the Boston Globe:

Pay outpaces productivity; inflation feared

Then there's today's headine in the Washington Post:

Jobless Rate Is Lowest Since '01

As Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek points out here, this month's fear that wages are outpacing productivity (and threatening inflation) apparently offsets August's fear that producitvity was outpacing wages. Funny, isn't it?

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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Sheldon Richman - 11/5/2006

Agreed. That's why we should not let statistics take our eye on the ball: ridding the economic system of all state privilege. We get bogged down in numbers to our peril because of the implied acceptance of the legitimacy of the reigning system.

Robert Higgs - 11/4/2006

In addition, bear in mind--as hardly anybody ever does--that when the government's statistical measures are routinely revised in a month or a quarter or a year, the short-term changes that occasioned the original media panic will be seen in many cases to have had no reality at all--if indeed such data ever have much connection to economic reality.

Alternative hypothesis 1: producing this statistical crap is a jobs program for employees of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve System, Commerce Department, etc.

Alternative hypothesis 2: producing these scare stories is a jobs program for reporters and other workers at the newspapers and the television networks.

Alternative hypothesis 3: taking such reports seriously is a jobs program for people who have nothing important or interesting to do.