If you aren’t confused yet about what the economy is doing, you haven’t been paying close enough attention to recent news reports.
Take, for example, last Friday’s employment report in which the Labor Department announced the nation’s unemployment rate in December was “unchanged at 7.8 percent” from November’s level. That’s easy enough to understand — until you look back at the November report when “the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent.”
How, you might be asking, can December be unchanged at 7.8 percent when November was 7.7 percent? Didn’t the jobless rate go up 0.1 percent from one month to the next?
Well, here’s the way the Labor Department explained it: “Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year.”
Got it? Well, of course you don’t. ...