Friday, February 05, 2016

The nice thing about having a Democrat in the White House is that there is never any bad news...

//With the BLS’s release of Q4 productivity figures, we get to check the BLS’s estimates just in time for today’s increasingly irrelevant payroll report. That much has become thoroughly apparent especially since the middle of last year as the Establishment Survey and unemployment rate only diverge with the overall breadth of economic indications. With GDP no longer corroborative, the labor reports have been in a world all their own. Far too many economists still rely upon them as their sole window for economic interpretation and these productivity numbers show further why they should not.

You have to understand what productivity means as both an economic concept and the statistic as it is constructed and presented. No economy will grow with low or even zero productivity; it’s plain common sense. Yet, the BLS’s numbers say that productivity growth has been zero or near it for five years. It has puzzled economists only because they take the calculations at face value. The fact that productivity is and remains so confusing already suggests that further investigation on all those accounts within the figure is warranted, and even demanded.

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