Tag Archives: Fuzzy Numbers

  • Blog
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    The Fuzzy Numbers Behind Initial Job Claims

    Goverment statistics delude us once again
    by Chris Martenson

    Thursday, September 29, 2016, 3:45 PM

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    “Fuzzy Numbers” is one of the most popular video chapters within The Crash Course. It explains many of the ways that government statisticians routinely distort economic truth, making things seem rosier than they are.

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  • Blog
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    Fuzzy Numbers – Crash Course Chapter 18

    How we're deluding ourselves with bad data
    by Adam Taggart

    Saturday, October 18, 2014, 1:58 AM

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    What if it turned out that our individual, corporate and government decision-making was based on misleading, if not provably false, data?

    As we detail in this latest chapter of the Crash Course series, that's exactly the case today with the key indicators (inflation, GDP, employment, deficits, etc) our central planners are using to guide the future of the global economy.

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  • Blog

    What Data Can We Trust?

    by charleshughsmith

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 5:33 AM

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    Modern investing offers the promise that investors who “do their homework” and use data more intelligently than the herd can gain a valuable edge. But what if the underlying data available to the investing public is fundamentally flawed? 

    The federal government agencies that issue headline data and the mainstream media that reprints the data without skeptical analysis would have us believe that these indicators — the unemployment rate and the consumer price index (CPI), for example — accurately reflect economic realities.

    The other indicator that is implicitly or explicitly assumed to reflect the economy’s health is, of course, the stock market, generally represented by the S&P 500 index.

    That the government indicators and the stock market are both suspect is now a given.

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  • Blog

    Unemployment Report Distortions

    by Chris Martenson

    Friday, August 7, 2009, 12:49 PM

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    The release of the July unemployment report was filled with a wide array of distortions and inexplicable results (especially from the Birth-Death model), which have undoubtedly resulted in a better-than-warranted reported gain. In this post we’ll explore these oddities in some detail.

    The news:

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  • Blog

    GDP Report is Just Plain Wrong

    by Chris Martenson

    Friday, July 31, 2009, 3:39 PM

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    This blog post is an example of the daily writing I do for enrolled members in the In Session forum area.  I wanted to get this one out to everyone because it deserves to be widely read and discussed.  If you are interested in reading and discussing news in real-time, I invite you to consider enrolling.


    GDP:  More fuzzy numbers

    The GDP report was released this morning and it was a compendium of incomprehensible and illogical numbers and, worse, it is just plain wrong.

    Of course, since so much rides on an accurate assessment of our true economic state of affairs, it behooves us to make sense of it as best we can, understanding that the GDP report is less than perfect and riddled with difficult-to-rationalize statistical manipulations and quirky additions.

    For example, the imputed value of "owner occupied housing" is a non-cash ‘addition’ to GDP meant to capture the value that people derive from their houses, due to the fact that they own them and do not pay rent to themselves in order to live there.  If this does not make sense to you, that means you are normal.

    So we gamely march off into the most current GDP report, which came out this morning (Friday, July 31, 2009), mostly to expose just how wrong it is.

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  • Blog

    May Employment Report Not Believable

    by Chris Martenson

    Friday, June 5, 2009, 12:51 PM

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    Well, I thought that I had seen some fantastic data manipulation in the past, but today’s release of the May employment report by the BLS was a real keeper.  It is one for the books (the forensic accounting books, specifically).

    Here’s the news:

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Job losses slowed dramatically in May, according to the latest government reading on the battered labor market, even as the unemployment rate rose to a 26-year high.

    Employers cut 345,000 jobs from their payrolls in the month, down from the revised 504,000-job decline in April.

    What spectacular news!  Stock futures vaulted, gold killed, the dollar rebounded – all in all a very favorable set of market outcomes that are certainly welcome in the marbled halls of DC and on Wall Street.

    The problem is that this huge surprise to the upside is completely out of line with other sources of data and depends (once again) on an incredibly suspect boost from the Birth-Death Model.  Let’s start there.

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  • Blog

    Pending Home Sales – Spin Cycle Set on “High”

    by Chris Martenson

    Monday, May 4, 2009, 8:37 PM

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    Once again we have been treated to a form of news spin that borders on propaganda.

    This time the information comes from the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, a group which long ago fell out of my favor for their tendency to churn out poor quality sampled “data” that was invariably out of step with reality by being overly positive.  Errors happen, but when they are always in one direction, they cease to be random errors.

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  • Blog

    Fuzzy Numbers: Extent of the Deception Revealed in Barron’s

    by Chris Martenson

    Sunday, March 29, 2009, 11:59 AM

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    Alan Abelson has a tremendous article in the recent issue of Barron’s where he recounts some of the massive statistical revisionism that accompanied a broad swath of government data released this past week.

    In this two part dance, the government first employs some highly dubious statistical tricks, in this case “seasonal adjustments” and then the press runs off with the information often slathering a layer of spin and hype on top of the obviously dodgy data. I wrote about this in my 3 posts last week on existing and new home sales and durables.

    Here’s the relevant part from that article (all emphasis mine) – I especially love the opening paragraph:

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  • Blog

    More Fuzzy Numbers – Durables

    by Chris Martenson

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 7:10 PM

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    Okay, this is really just desperate and sad. No I am not referring to my fixation on parsing government numbers, although I suppose I could be, but instead to government statistical wizardry and the press’ unquestioning rhetorical support for these tortured numbers.

    First up, here’s the verbiage:

    Durable goods jump 3.4

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) — New orders for long-lasting manufactured goods unexpectedly rebounded in February, rising for the first time in seven months, according to a government report on Wednesday that could bring some cheer to an economy mired in recession.

    Here’s the NY Times’ opening take on the situation:

    In a glimmer of surprisingly upbeat economic data, manufacturing orders for goods like metals, machines and military equipment rose last month for the first time after six months of declines, the government reported on Wednesday.

    That’s quite amazing. Durables “unexpectedly rebounded,” bringing the cheer of “a glimmer of surprisingly upbeat economic data” to an economy mired in recession.

    Well, it turns out that there’s another little game that is frequently played with these numbers and it’s called “the downward revision.” The game is played like this: In a prior month, in this case January, a slightly “better than expected number” is posted, causing the stock market to react with glee (at least temporarily).

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  • Blog

    More Fuzzy Reporting: New Home Sales Misrepresented

    by Chris Martenson

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 4:47 PM

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    If you read my recent blog post on existing home sales, you may experience déjà vu reading this one. My point in exposing the ways in which “news” is spun to the positive, instead of realistically, is to help you see the ways in which we are still being systematically misled. I consider this to be important to reveal because while problems are still being identified, realism is more important than optimism.

    Would you tell an overweight man with chest pains that “it’s probably heartburn and that most people are just fine after experiencing chest pains” or would you advise them to obtain a careful examination of their condition?

    Here, we are going to give the patient a close examination.

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