Friday, April 24, 2009

My God But the Press is Stupid

From the Census Bureau:

New orders for manufactured durable goods in March decreased $1.3 billion or 0.8 percent to $161.2 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This was the seventh decrease in the last eight months and followed a 2.1 percent February increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.6 percent. Excluding defense, new orders also decreased 0.6 percent.

I should call this journalistic malpractice 101. Here's how Bloomberg reported this:

Orders for U.S.-made durable goods fell less than forecast in March, adding to signs the economic slump is easing.

The 0.8 percent decrease reported by the Commerce Department today in Washington compares with an anticipated 1.5 percent drop, according to the median of 68 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The news was tempered by revisions to February figures that showed a 2.1 percent gain in orders, smaller than the government previously reported.

Economists project any economic recovery in the second half of the year may be muted as government measures to revive growth will take time to gain traction. General Motors Corp. is planning on idling 13 plants for multiple weeks from May through July, and other companies may keep cutting spending and slash jobs until demand here and abroad shows sustained gains.

Let's look at the chart:

Does anyone see a trend? I know it's hard, especially with that really long DOWNWARD SLOPING TREND LINE but just try and make a guess about what's going on. Of course, the report also said "This was the seventh decrease in 8 months" which would also indicate maybe there's a downward trend in place.

Of course, the fact that new orders are down 27% for the year to date relative to last year to date might also indicate there's a problem.

But no -- we beat economist's expectations. So the sun is shining.