Economists Blow It… Again.

Estimates of the 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg for overall payrolls ranged from increases of 40,000 to 175,000. (See related commentary.)
– U.S. Payrolls Rise 18,000; Jobless Rate Hits 9.2% – Bloomberg

Economists have been consistently wrong on this economy and as a result they are left with little credibility. A first step would be admitting that past economic downturns tell us very little about what is happening today.

Next, my advice would be to get out of the classroom and spend some time hanging out in the produce department at a grocery store (not in their neighborhood where the price of arugula is the main focus), at the gas pump, in the warehouse loading dock of a local business, and talk with a small business accountant. Do that and the average economist will learn a great deal about the economy and not only give them to tools to better forecast but also knowledge that will be invaluable for recommending a better policy playbook.

I’m also getting tired of the phraseology (e.g. “soft patch”) that is being used to try and sell the notion of a recovery that few people outside Washington D.C. are actually feeling. The housing market stinks, the employment market stinks, gas prices are sky high, food inflation is severe, the stock market sucks, bonds suck, the dollar is historically weak… I’ve seen economic recoveries and this is no recovery.