Friday, November 04, 2005

Do They Even Read What They Write?

Take a look at these fantastic U.S. economic figures:

  • Retail sales rose .2% for the month ended September, 2005 (such sales were off 1.9% for the month ended September, 2004);
  • The GDP increased at a 3.8% gallop for the 3rd Quarter of 2005 (compared to an as nearly as impressive clip of 3.3% for the 3rd Quarter 2004);
  • Factory orders were up 2.5% for 3rd Quarter of 2005 (in contrast to a 2.5% decline in the 3rd Quarter of 2004);
  • 56,000 new jobs were added in October, 2005, dropping the unemployment rate to 5%, the level it was before Katrina and Rita ravaged the Gulf Coast (what is considered full employment by the way?);
  • Despite pressures caused by increasing oil costs, inflation dropped in October, 2005 from 2.1% to 2.0 %; and
  • Average hourly wages rose .5% in October, 2005, the biggest monthly increase in 2 years.

So, in light of these dazzling figures, MSNBC of course chose the obvious headline to extol the virtues of the U.S. economic juggernaut for its piece on the economy today. Yep, you guessed it... the headline for the report is: "Employment Grew Weakly in October."

Is there any wonder that consumer confidence is falling? By any measure the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders and yet the media repeatedly hypes its supposed failings. Keep in mind that the unemployment rate actually dropped last month. And it dropped despite the lingering impact of the worst natural disaster ever to afflict the United States.

Of course what do we find buried deep in the article? This little nugget:

While the employment figures were slightly disappointing, other data in the
report showed surprisingly strong wage gains for workers who do have jobs.

I can only imagine the euphoric headlines that would have been published had these same figures been released during the Clinton years..."The U.S. Economy: Unstoppable!" or "Mother Nature No Match For Clinton Economic Policies!"

Frankly, its amazing that Bush's anemic poll numbers are as strong as they are given the negative spin given by the media to even the most positive of economic reports.

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