Tuesday, June 24

Final number on 1st quarter economic performance due tomorrow: And *unexpectedly*...!

Hey, remember how great the first quarter economic performance was?

No?  Well, that's understandable, since it was estimated to be a shocking 0.1% growth rate.  Nearly flat.

Ah, but wait!  The initial number is always revised--and almost always makes a Democratic president look much, much better.  So a couple of weeks ago it was revised.  So *surely* you heard about that, right?

No?  Well, that too is understandable, since it went DOWN.  To a *negative* one percent.  That is, the economy actually shrank!  Needless to say, this totally unexpected, shocking development got almost zero air-play and print exposure except in conservative publications on a few wacko-fringe blogs on the internet.

Now tomorrow comes the third and final calculation for the first quarter.  But since we've already had the big downward revision, surely it will be a slight upward tweak, right?

Ah, not so fast, citizen.  While it's still Tuesday evening as I write this, the consensus among economists seems to be that, again in a totally unexpected development, the figure will once more be revised... downward.

But surely not by more than a tiny bit, right?

Uh, the consensus figure is that the final number is expected to be revised downward by...another full percentage point??!! 

If true, that would mean the initial report overestimated the economy's performance by two percentage points.  That's a huge error.  I can't recall forecasters ever missing by this much before.

Now for how you can tell the media are all-in on supporting Obozo and the Dems, here's the lede of the Associated Press's pre-release spin.  It's titled "Why a grim U.S. economic picture is brightening."  See if you can spot the rosy glow:
(AP) -- When the government updates its estimate Wednesday of how the U.S. economy fared last quarter, the number is pretty sure to be ugly. Horrible even.  [Okay, that's not rosy, but keep reading.]

The economy likely shrank at an annual rate of nearly 2 percent in the January-March quarter, economists estimate. That would be its bleakest performance since early 2009 in the depths of the Great Recession.
So why aren't economists, businesses or investors likely to panic?
Because most agree that the economy last quarter was depressed by temporary factors - particularly the blast of Arctic chill and snow that shuttered factories, disrupted shipping and kept Americans away from shopping malls and auto dealerships.

Since then the picture has brightened. Solid hiring, growth in manufacturing and surging auto sales have lifted the economy at a steady if still-unspectacular pace. That said, sluggish pay growth and a stumbling housing rebound have restrained the expansion. But the economy's recovery continues.

"We had a very bad first quarter, but the first quarter is history," says Craig Alexander, chief economist at TD Bank. "It doesn't tell you where the economy is going, which is in a direction of more strength."
Ah, that's great:  It's going "in a direction of more strength."  That's SO reassuring!  Of course that's also what they said at the end of 2013 about prospects for the first quarter of this year.  And at the end of Q3 of 2013 about the 4th quarter.  And...well, you get the picture.

If you're over 30 or so, have you EVER heard the media pre-spin bad economic news as if it were good when a Republican was president?

Ace has a theory that the final figure will actually be revised just to -1.4%.  He thinks the minus-two-percent guess is because economists have been listening to disinformation from Obama-friendly sources who want to push the estimates down, so that when the official number comes in at -1.4% instead of, say -2%, they can say "Hey, that wasn't that bad at all! Why, just look--We actually gained almost half a point of growth overnight!!!! That's pretty awesome, isn't it?!"
  
That wouldn't surprise me a bit.

FLASH UPDATE:  Wednesday morning the final figure was released.  And the consensus figure of negative two percent was wrong.  Quite a bit wrong.  And Ace's theory was also wrong.  Because the final, official figure for first quarter GDP is...negative 2.9%.?!

That means the Commerce Department's first official estimate overestimated the economy's performance by a staggering THREE PERCENT?!

But of course none of this has anything to do with Emperor Barack, or Obamacare.  Or Democrat policies.  Or consumers worried about government lawlessness.  Or uncontrolled floods of illegal aliens.  Or IRS intimidation.  Or concerns about...well, practically everything.

Make sure you understand that, citizen.  It is NOT their fault.  None of it.  It was all the fault of that record-cold winter we had.

The one caused by (you know what's coming, right?) global warming.

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