Death, taxes, and unexpected bad economic news

Long ago Benjamin Franklin said, “…but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” It would appear we can now add one more thing to that list of certainties–that bad economic indicators under the Obama administration will be treated as unexpected.

Jobless claims numbers are out and not surprisingly they are are up again. Here’s how the Daniel Wagner of the AP breaks it down. First the headline:

Jobless claims rise unexpectedly

So to Wagner, the rise is unexpected. Apparently wanting to make my job of mocking the messaging easy, the tagline reads:

Initial jobless claims unexpectedly jump, showing labor market’s problems continue

There’s that word again. Here we learn that this unexpected rise is bad news. I’m glad we got that settled.

I keep reading the article to find a good section to quote. There really isn’t any. The situation is fairly straightforward. Jobless claims right after the holidays rose as there is traditionally a backlog in reporting from Christmas/New Years. Last week the backlog was basically cleared, so number were artificially high. This week we are back to normal as numbers rise again.

The increase followed a drop of 41,000 in the previous week which had raised hopes that the labor market could be improving. There have been 8.4 million jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007.

Thursday’s news deflated analysts’ hopes that new claims would continue to decline. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected new claims to fall modestly.

Still, the four-week average for claims dipped 1,500 to 467,500, near the lows that were reached at the end of last year. The average is considered a more stable indicator because it smooths out the week-to-week volatility.

Claims at the beginning of this year had been affected by a holiday backlog. The easing of the backlog had elevated the numbers for the previous three weeks.When something returns to its previous state after some administrative hiccups have been cleared, that should not be unexpected. Who are these economists being interviewed by Reuters? And can someone help me handle the fact that the AP is using Reuters as a source? And together they seemed to have a biased view that supports Obama’s desired messaging?

I find such a bias by the mainstream media … unexpected.

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