Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Monday, May 10, 2004


Unemployment data


Many are focusing on the Iraq-prison "scandal," and I wonder why there is no discussion of how bad the economy is. With the increase in media news outlets, one might expect that there would be an increase in the diversity of the topics discussed. For instance, CNN might focus on the prison scandal while MSNBC would focus on how bad the economy is, while Fox might talk about how Congress can't seem to stop spending, and CNBC might focus on the outsourcing issue. Instead, we see "topic" agglomeration in which only one topic is "hot" at a given moment and all stations focus on this single topic. Often the same "experts" show up on different channels on the same day discussing the same things.

The Iraq prison scandal is the "news" du semaine and so perhaps rather dry discussion about the economy is naturally going to be pushed to the background. Which network would voluntarily talk about the economy when juicy pictures are available for discussion? I think I understand the nature of the media as an industry, but that doesn't mean I have to like it (or watch it).

For those who care, things are looking better than they did this time last year.









These graphs provide reason for optimism but depict net job gains (losses) and do not address a question in many people's minds - what about job losses? Things are looking pretty good here as well:




I understand the ethos of "if it bleeds, it leads" but seeing as how much energy and time was devoted to explaining how bad the economy was early in this calendar year, it would seem somewhat appropriate to revisit the issue when the predictions of doom and gloom have been proven incorrect.

Oh, well...too much to ask, I suppose.

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