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The jobs report, briefly

June 5, 2010

It's become poor form to take the jobs report at face value, and every financial blog out there is doing its best to reveal "the truth" about the misleading numbers. Most recently, the headline is that the 431,000 jobs which were added to non-farm payrolls included 411,000 temporary census-related jobs. Quick arithmetic reveals that this means only 20,000 jobs […]

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Keeping heads out of textbooks

November 2, 2009

Wall Street & Technology briefly discusses some survey results and concludes: "Wall Street's Quants Feel Misunderstood." There's the obligatory quote from Dr. Wilmott: "These numbers are alarming," said Dr. Wilmott. "They indicate that even with the events of the past year, financial institutions are still not taking the importance of financial education seriously, especially as it […]

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Random forecasts (with echoes!)

June 15, 2009

And speaking of forecasts, I'm reminded today of one of my favorite forecasting errors: the echo. This morning, the manufacturing survey missed the forecasted amount, and many pundits commented that it contributed heavily to the market's fall. Here is a plot of the manufacturing survey level as reported each month in red (prior to any […]

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On revisions, episode III

April 6, 2009

Or: Yet More Ways to Lie With Statistics. Last Thursday, the month-over-month percent change in factory orders for February was announced at 1.8%.  The expected number was 1.5%.  Sounds like good news, right?  Unfortunately, the January number was revised from -1.9% to -3.5% in the same release. The easiest way to make a month-over-month change […]

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