Friday, July 22, 2005

Economic Spin

It is usually tough to find 2 objectionable stories in one day in the business section, but besides the state employee boondogle below, the N&O also does all it can, again, to put a damper on the true state of the economy.

As we have noted before, we have an economy experiencing consistent growth above 3.5% with unemployment near record lows, retail sales strong, inflation tame and the S+P at a 4 year high. Yesterday jobless claims fell by 34,000, the largest decrease in 2 years, and the Index of Leading Economic Indicators rose just less than 1%. Now both of those numbers are volatile, but combined with the earlier data it would not be a stretch to say the economy is strong. It might even be worthwhile for the paper to mention the Bush tax cuts and see if there has been any causal impact.

But instead we get this neutral headline: 2 signals of economic growth. And we get this tepid analysis: Both measures suggest that the U.S. economy is continuing to grow. But many analysts think the expansion has begun slowing from last year's torrid pace in response to Federal Reserve increases in U.S. interest rates.

Well, 'many analysts' can believe whatever they want, but the economy has slowed, so it doesn't matter what they think. If you want to paint a morose economic picture, you can always reference some previous point (last year we had a quarter with 7+% growth) and say the economy is not growing as strongly, but it really doesn't mean much.

This paper led the charge during the election cycle in printing the Dem. talking points about how many jobs had been lost under Bush, so you would expect they would have the decency to fully report this remarkable economic and job growth we have been experiencing.