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Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Economic "data"

I love articles like this:
Thirty-one percent of U.S. companies intend to increase staffing levels in the third quarter this year, on par with last quarter, according to a survey of 16,000 employers prepared for release today.

The report marks the 10th straight quarter that more than 20 percent of the companies surveyed said they plan to add staff. The expected staffing level increase was 30 percent for the second quarter of this year.
Now, since there have been ten straight quarters of "plans," wouldn't it be nice if the article contained information about how many of those companies actually carried through with those plans? You'd think, but you won't find any such information in the article. It's always about what they "plan" to do, kind of like those "planned" troop reductions in Iraq.

On top of missing information, we have some rather poor math. We're told that "Six percent of companies surveyed expect to reduce employment in the third quarter," and that "the trend shows the economy continues to be healthy." Really? If the 31 percent of companies planning to increase staffing levels each plan to add one worker, while the six percent planning reductions will be laying off a thousand each, that wouldn't exactly indicate a "healthy" economy. So are there any numbers for the total numbers being planned to be added or laid off? Not in the article, anyway.

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