Truth, Falsity, and Jobless Numbers
Given the difficulty of estimating economic data it is common practice for government agencies to announce a preliminary number subject to later revision. Under the law of averages, estimates should balance out between being higher or lower than later revisions. Amazingly, though, the Obama Department of Labor’s preliminary estimates of new jobless claims have been lower than later revisions in 56 of the last 57 weeks.
"We feel it is better to err on the side of optimism,” she said. “The preliminary estimate is widely reported. The subsequent revisions are rarely noticed. By adding a bit of sheen to the preliminary estimate we feel we are helping to boost morale. We believe that good morale is an important building block for positive change.”“Making the economy look better will make people feel better,” Solis went on. “If people feel better they are more likely to support the policies of the Administration, which we feel is crucial if we are to be given the opportunity to continue on the path laid out by the President for another four years."
P.S. A commenter points out that the "quote" from the labor secretary actually originated as part of a longer piece, obviously intended as satire.
Pretty good satire, too.