Thursday, September 02, 2004

Economics 101

It appears that in the Democratic mind, Economy = Employment. For the record, economy is defined as “The system or range of economic activity in a country, region, or community.” Employment is but one indicator of the overall economy, and it is a lagging indicator at that. This means that the employment rate is one of the things that will lend insight to where the economy was 3 – 12 months in the past.

When this is applied to the unemployment figures provided by the Bureau of Labor statistics it means that the start point of the current administration is not the 3.9% unemployment rate reported in Dec. 2000, but rather somewhere between the 4.3% rate in Mar 01 and the 5.7% rate in Dec 01. (This is also a pretty clear indicator of which direction the economy was headed before president Bush took office.) Given that the current unemployment rate is 5.5% and has been declining for the past 15 reported months, it is indicative that the economy has been improving for the past 18 months. Coincidentally, the 5.5% rate is the same average unemployment rate from 1995-96 under the Clinton administration which has been universally touted by the Democratic party, as the best in American history.

Someone will have to explain to me where Sen. Kerry is getting 3 million…I mean 2.5 million…I mean 2 million…I mean 1.8 million lost jobs figure that is recited every time he attempts to describe the economy over the past 4 years. I don’t mean this facetiously. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the employment level in Jan 2001 at 137.8 million and 139.6 million in July 2004. This is a 1.8 million increase in jobs but it is footnoted that “Data affected by changes in population controls in January 2000, January 2003 and January 2004.” Without knowing what those changes are, it’s impossible to use this data with any accuracy. What is the source of the lost jobs count?

So much for the Unemployment debate.

As for the other 37 indicators, leading, lagging, and coincidental that are used to describe the entire economy, the Conference Board interprets them as:

The leading index fell in July, the second consecutive decline, and the weakness in the last two months was widespread. Although it is too soon to conclude that these declines end the upward trend in the leading index underway since March 2003, this weakness has slowed the growth rate of the leading index into the range of 1.0 to 2.0 percent (annual rate).

The coincident index increased in July following no change in June, and growth continues to be widespread. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 3.0 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2004, down from a 5.0 percent average rate over the preceding four quarters.

The average growth rate of the leading index since 1959 has been about 1.5 percent (annual rate) versus a 3.5 percent average growth rate of real GDP. The slower growth of the leading index so far this year is consistent with a moderate rate of real GDP growth in the near term.

Note that the leading indicators show only a drop in the rate of increase. It does not show a decline and does not conclude an end to the upward trend over the past 18 months.

If a growing economy over the past 18 months of this administration following a tech bubble burst and terrorist induced / assisted recession can somehow be construed as a bad thing, someone will have to explain it to me, neither my economics degree or MBA program covered that.

Since the facts don’t bear out the doom and gloom of the economy that the Kerry campaign spews forth at every opportunity, is this not a blatant attempt to create unfounded fear and translate that fear into votes? Is this not the same thing that the Kerry campaign accuses the Bush administration of doing with terrorism?

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