Thursday, September 29, 2005

Lies, Damn Lies, and bunch of numbers

So I read an article that said jobless claims 'plunged' since last week, the biggest one-week drop since 1992.

That sounds good.

The same article said the four-week moving average of jobless claims rose for the seventh straight week, to its highest level since October 2003.

That sounds bad.

The next paragraph said the number of people filing second-week claims rose 144,000, the largest one-week increase since 2001.

That also sounds bad.

If I were a political speechwriter for one side I could say "we had the biggest drop in jobless claims in over a decade!" and if I worked for the other side I could say "jobless claims are at the highest level since 2001!" and at no time would I be lying.

So the next time a political hack throws a bunch of numbers your way, keep in mind he's probably not giving you the big picture.

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