Good News and Bad News (and Bad Data)

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Good News and Bad News (and Bad Data)


Good News and Bad News (and Bad Data)

Jun. 04, 2020

In normal times seasonal adjustment factors are applied to data to smooth out the normal waxing and waning of the labor market, retail sales and the like. After all, it would make little sense to get excited about consumer spending rising in December but then to become worried when spending declined in January. However, given the speed and the magnitude of the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and on economic data, we believe it makes little sense to make adjustments for traditional patterns when, in doing so, you may be distorting the data and limiting its value as an indicator of whether the economy is improving or faltering. 

The claims data show this clearly.