The Next Regular Commentary: is scheduled for Thursday, March 13th, covering February 2014 retail sales. Publication of the expanded Special Commentary on 2013 GAAP accounting for the U.S. government and the Second Installment on the hyperinflation report also are planned in the week ahead. Check here for updated schedules. For detail on pending economic releases, see the schedule. (LAST UPDATED March 7th.)
No. 607: February Employment and Unemployment, January Trade
March 7th, 2014
• Payroll Jobs Increased by 175,000, but the Number Employed Rose by 42,000; Neither February 2014 Statistic Was Meaningful
• Deliberate Misreporting Showed December Payrolls up by 84,000, Where 67,000 Was the Consistent Number
• February Unemployment: 6.7% (U.3), 12.6% (U.6), 23.2% (ShadowStats)
• January Trade Data Hint at Troubled First-Quarter GDP
• Year-to-Year M3 Growth Rose to 3.5% in February More ...
No. 604: GDP Revision, GAAP-Based Federal Accounting
February 28th, 2014
• Third-Quarter GDP Downside Revision Was Consistent with Same Reports Signaling a First-Quarter 2014 Contraction
• Renewed Economic Downturn Would Balloon the Budget Deficit
• 2013 GAAP-Financial Reporting for U.S. Government Published; Fiscal Conditions Remain a Disaster More ...
No. 603: January Durable Goods Orders and Home Sales
February 27th, 2014
• Durable Goods Orders in Downturn
• Statistically Indistinguishable from January 2013, January 2014 “5-1/2 Year High” in New-Home Sales Still Was 65% Below Pre-Recession Peak
• At 1-1/2 Year Low, Existing-Home Sales Fell Sharply— Month-to-Month and Year-to-Year—37% Below Pre-Recession High More ...
No. 602: January CPI, Real Retail Sales and Earnings
February 20th, 2014
• Strongest Signal for a Recession Since September 2007
• January Real Retail Sales Activity Plunged by 0.6% for the Month
• Unadjusted Monthly January 0.4% CPI Inflation Squashed to 0.1% by Seasonal Adjustments
• January Annual Inflation: 1.6% (CPI-U), 1.7% (CPI-W), 9.2% (ShadowStats) More ...
No. 600: January Industrial Production
February 14th, 2014
• Downside Restatement of Recent Economic Activity Continues
• January Production Drop Was More than Bad-Weather Effects
• First-Quarter 2014 GDP Contraction and Downside Revision to Third-Quarter GDP Growth Increasingly Are Likely More ...
No. 598: January Employment, Unemployment and Employment Benchmark Revision, M3
February 8th, 2014
• As With December, January’s Small Headline Jobs Gain Was Statistically Insignificant
• Annual Upside Bias in the Birth-Death Model Increased by 140,000, Despite Last Year’s 119,000 Overstatement of Jobs Growth
• Spurious Revisions Used to Spike Payroll Employment Levels
• Renewed Concurrent Seasonal Adjustments and New Population Controls Make Comparisons of Monthly Unemployment Detail Meaningless
• January Unemployment: 6.6% (U.3), 12.7% (U.6), 23.2% (ShadowStats)
• Year-to-Year M3 Growth Slowed to 3.0% in January More ...
Have you ever wondered why the CPI, GDP and employment numbers run counter to your personal and business experiences? The problem lies in biased and often-manipulated government reporting.
Primers on Government Economic Reports
What you've suspected but were afraid to ask. The story behind unemployment, the Federal Deficit, CPI, GDP.
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Services include customized forecasts and analyses of the general economy, presentations and consultations in-house for clients. Contact us to discuss your needs.
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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