Thursday, July 30, 2009

Unemployment Up,
Durable Good Orders Down,
Profits Down, But ...
Home Prices Up So ... ?

Yes, one bit of good news — good news especially for huge property owners — and that is sufficient for economists, politicians, journalists and pundits to start hailing the "trough". The economy has bottomed out.

One month, one statistic, and the sunlit uplands are hailed:
By contrast, here is some of the news that evidently can be ignored when asking how the economy is doing:
  • 584,000 Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week. This was instantly dismissed as a seasonal anomaly; nevermind that, even if anomalous, it proves that unemployment is still climbing rapidly. The total number of people collecting benefits decreased — probably because people are reaching the end of the alloted time for collecting.
  • There remains near-universal agreement that unemployment will exceed 10% nationally.
  • Durable goods orders are down. Unless you exclude automobiles and aircraft, in which case they're up. When data element x or y upsets the picture you are trying to paint, come up with an ad hoc reason to exclude that data.
  • Sony posts a loss of $390.5 million
  • Profits down 66% for quarter at Exxon Mobil
  • Volkswagen 6-month profit down 81%

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