John
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Shadow Government Statistics
Analysis Behind and Beyond Government Economic Reporting
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Latest Commentaries Subscription required Subscription

The Next Regular Commentary: is scheduled for Wednesday, April 16th, covering housing starts and industrial production and a summary of major March 2014 economic reporting.  For detail on pending economic releases, see the schedule. (LAST UPDATED April 15th)

No. 620: March CPI, Real Retail Sales and Earnings Subscription required April 15th, 2014
• First-Quarter 2014 Real Retail Sales Contracted at Annualized Pace of 1.6% • Unadjusted March CPI-U Inflation of 0.6% Was Squashed to 0.2%, Hit Hard by Seasonal Adjustments for Third Month • March Annual Inflation: 1.5% (CPI-U), 1.4% (CPI-W), 9.2% (ShadowStats) • Real Average Hourly Earnings Dropped 0.3% in March, But Average Weekly Earnings Rose by 0.6%  More ...
No. 619: March Retail Sales, Consumer Liquidity Subscription required April 14th, 2014
• First-Quarter Retail Sales Contracted Net of Likely Inflation • Shifting and Unreported Seasonal Factor Changes Boosted Headline Numbers in Advance of the Annual Benchmark Revision • Consumer Liquidity Remains Structurally Impaired More ...
No. 618: March Producer Price Index Subscription required April 11th, 2014
• March PPI Jumps Unexpectedly in Its Unstable Restructuring • Updated PayrollEmployment Trend and Concurrent Seasonal Adjustments More ...
No. 617: SPECIAL REPORT: 2014 ShadowStats Hyperinflation Report — Second Installment Subscription required April 8th, 2014
• Economic Reality versus Illusion: No Recovery, Just Plunge, Stagnation and Renewed Plunge • Re-Intensifying Downturn Already Underway • Confluence of Negative Surprises, Including New Business and Systemic Woes, Should Hit U.S. Dollar and Spike Inflation • Hyperinflation to Intensify Unfolding Depression • Gold as a Store-of-Wealth and Safe-Haven Remains Primary Hedge for Maintaining Purchasing Power of Wealth and Assets More ...
No. 616: March Employment and Unemployment Subscription required April 4th, 2014
• March Payroll Jobs Increase of 192,000 Was Bloated Heavily by Concealed and Constantly-Shifting Seasonal Adjustments • Payroll and Unemployment Numbers Remain of Horrendous Quality, Generally Not Comparable With Earlier Reporting • March Unemployment: 6.7% (U.3), 12.7% (U.6), 23.2% (ShadowStats) • Year-to-Year M3 Growth Rose to 3.7% in March More ...
No. 615: February Trade Deficit and Construction Spending Subscription required April 3rd, 2014
• Trade-Deficit Deterioration Should Hit First-Quarter GDP Growth Hard • Real Merchandise Trade Deficit on Track for Worst Quarterly Showing Since Fourth-Quarter 2012 • February Construction Spending Showed Ongoing Stagnation More ...
No. 614: SPECIAL COMMENTARY (Revised No. 587 of January 7, 2014) Subscription required April 2nd, 2014
• Extremely Difficult Circumstances in the Year Ahead: Confluence of Economic and Systemic Crises Should Intensify • With Global Confidence in Dollar Rattled by Uncontrollable Fiscal and Monetary Excesses, U.S. Government and the Federal Reserve Have Limited Options to Address Panics • Heavy Selling of U.S. Dollar Remains Likely Proximal Trigger for Inflation Pick-Up • Developing Hyperinflation Would Push Ongoing Recession into Deep Depression • Physical Gold Remains Primary Hedge for Preserving Wealth and Asset More ...
No. 613: Industrial Production Benchmark Revision Subscription required March 28th, 2014
• Incomplete and Inadequate, Minimal Revisions to Industrial Production Left Negative Economic Outlook Intact • Aggregate Net Upside Revision of 0.3% to Series Was in Context of Some Activity Being Shifted from Early-2012 into Late-2012, 2013 • Usual New Information for 2012 Was “Unavailable” More ...
No. 612: GDP Revision, February Durable Goods Orders, New-Home Sales Subscription required March 27th, 2014
• Fourth-Quarter GDP Revision Was Little More than Statistical Noise; First-Quarter GDP Contraction Remains Likely • Real Durable Goods Orders on Track for 9.0% Annualized First-Quarter Contraction • New Deflated and “Corrected” Durable Goods Series Confirm No Recovery • New Homes Sales Down Year-to-Year for Second Month, Pattern Not Seen Since Series Trough in 2011  More ...
No. 611: February Median Household Income, Existing-Home Sales Subscription required March 20th, 2014
• It’s the Lack of Liquidity, Not the Weather • Median Household Income Continued Its Low-Level Stagnation • For Second Consecutive Quarter, Existing-Home Sales Are Plummeting at Nearly a 25% Annualized Pace More ...
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John Williams'
"Shadow Government Statistics"

johnwilliams@shadowstats.com
Tel: (415) 512-7701

American Business Analytics & Research LLC
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Some Biographical & Additional Background Information

Walter J. "John" Williams was born in 1949. He received an A.B. in Economics, cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 1971, and was awarded a M.B.A. from Dartmouth's Amos Tuck School of Business Administration in 1972, where he was named an Edward Tuck Scholar. During his career as a consulting economist, John has worked with individuals as well as Fortune 500 companies.

Although I am known formally as Walter J. Williams, my friends call me “John.” For 30 years, I have been a private consulting economist and, out of necessity, had to become a specialist in government economic reporting.

One of my early clients was a large manufacturer of commercial airplanes, who had developed an econometric model for predicting revenue passenger miles. The level of revenue passenger miles was their primary sales forecasting tool, and the model was heavily dependent on the GNP (now GDP) as reported by the Department of Commerce.  Suddenly, their model stopped working, and they asked me if I could fix it. I realized the GNP numbers were faulty, corrected them for my client (official reporting was similarly revised a couple of years later) and the model worked again, at least for a while, until GNP methodological changes eventually made the underlying data worthless.

That began a lengthy process of exploring the history and nature of economic reporting and in interviewing key people involved in the process from the early days of government reporting through the present. For a number of years I conducted surveys among business economists as to the quality of government statistics (the vast majority thought it was pretty bad), and my results led to front page stories in 1989 in the New York Times and Investors Daily (now Investors Business Daily), considerable coverage in the broadcast media and a joint meeting with representatives of all the government's statistical agencies.  

Nonetheless, the quality of government reporting has deteriorated sharply in the last couple of decades. Reporting problems have included methodological changes to economic reporting that have pushed headline economic and inflation results out of the realm of real-world or common experience.

Over the decades, well in excess of 1,000 presentations have been given on the economic outlook, or on approaches to analyzing economic data, to clients—large and small—including talks with members of the business, banking, government, press, academic, brokerage and investment communities. I also have provided testimony before Congress (details here).

An old friend—the late-Doug Gillespie—asked me some years back to write a series of articles on the quality of government statistics.  The response to those writings (the Primer Series available at the top-center of this page) was so strong that we started ShadowStats.com (Shadow Government Statistics) in 2004.  The newsletter is published as part of my economic consulting services. — John Williams

 


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