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So how badly cooked are these inflation umbers?

Slew Foot

Lifer
Sep 22, 2005
12,387
94
86
From the article

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080514/economy.html


The lower inflation reflected a flat reading for energy, which helped offset a 0.9 percent jump in food costs as prices climbed for many basic items, from bread and milk to coffee and fresh fruits.

The unchanged reading for energy reflected a big 4.8 percent jump in natural gas prices, offset by a 2 percent decline in gasoline costs.

Since gasoline prices normally rise significantly in April, the 5.6 percent rise in prices for the month turned into a 2 percent drop after the government adjusted for normal seasonal changes.



I like how "seasonal variances" can take a 5.6 percent rise and a 4.8 percent rise and turn it into a flat reading.


 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,386
327
126
Why don't this write 0% in there with no explaination and be done with it. At least then everyone would know to ignore it.

Oh but I heard flat screen TVs are down 10% in price. Since I buy roughly 3-4 of those a month that should offset my increased food and gasoline costs. :p
 

Engineer

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
39,255
698
126
Originally posted by: Slew Foot
From the article

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080514/economy.html


The lower inflation reflected a flat reading for energy, which helped offset a 0.9 percent jump in food costs as prices climbed for many basic items, from bread and milk to coffee and fresh fruits.

The unchanged reading for energy reflected a big 4.8 percent jump in natural gas prices, offset by a 2 percent decline in gasoline costs.

Since gasoline prices normally rise significantly in April, the 5.6 percent rise in prices for the month turned into a 2 percent drop after the government adjusted for normal seasonal changes.



I like how "seasonal variances" can take a 5.6 percent rise and a 4.8 percent rise and turn it into a flat reading.
I saw that bullshit this morning and ranted with a few co-workers about it. REAL inflation, the kind that I actually pay at the store and at the pump, is running wild. Those numbers are pure bullshit.

Hell, it took a 5.6% rise and turned it into a 2% drop. I could only hope that gasoline would have really dropped by 2% but we all know it's a big ole lie.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
34,798
4,695
126
1 month readings are pretty meaningless. I know Tomatoes were on sale for $0.99 two months ago, then they went back to regular $3.49 price, and now they are on sale again for $1.29. So I guess we had a huge deflation in tomatoes this month, but in reality they are just up 29% from 2 months ago.
 

DealMonkey

Lifer
Nov 25, 2001
13,137
1
0
Meh. When they exclude food and energy prices in their core inflation readings, it sort of defeats the purpose IMHO.
 

HeXploiT

Diamond Member
Jun 11, 2004
4,358
0
71
Originally posted by: PingSpike
Why don't this write 0% in there with no explaination and be done with it. At least then everyone would know to ignore it.

Oh but I heard flat screen TVs are down 10% in price. Since I buy roughly 3-4 of those a month that should offset my increased food and gasoline costs. :p
I like your math. Would you like a job with the federal government?
 

Genx87

Lifer
Apr 8, 2002
41,086
493
126
Originally posted by: Slew Foot
From the article

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080514/economy.html


The lower inflation reflected a flat reading for energy, which helped offset a 0.9 percent jump in food costs as prices climbed for many basic items, from bread and milk to coffee and fresh fruits.

The unchanged reading for energy reflected a big 4.8 percent jump in natural gas prices, offset by a 2 percent decline in gasoline costs.

Since gasoline prices normally rise significantly in April, the 5.6 percent rise in prices for the month turned into a 2 percent drop after the government adjusted for normal seasonal changes.



I like how "seasonal variances" can take a 5.6 percent rise and a 4.8 percent rise and turn it into a flat reading.

Same way that a rise in a budget at a lower rate than people want is called a "Budget Cut".
It is all govt speak and typically goes against any real world logic.


 

ayabe

Diamond Member
Aug 10, 2005
7,451
0
0
Yeah tell that to the people in my company who "only" got a 3% raise this year, in clear language, they just got fucked, hard.
 

Slew Foot

Lifer
Sep 22, 2005
12,387
94
86
I suppose it beneficial to me in some way, since government salary raises are tied to inflation, this helps to keep that budget down. But its hard to make economic decisions when all the numbers the government hands you are false.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,880
4,211
126
The government tells you what numbers looks best. That's based on making the Parties look good.

Jobs are up!
Ok, up from what? Less people employed? Less unemployed than expected? What is the nature of these jobs? etc. No good answers

Average income up? What does that mean? Average my income with Bill Gates and I'm a billionaire. I'm not going to try spending the extra cash soon.

Unemployment? Another joke. You can't find a job after a period of time, then you simply don't exist.

Energy and food not accounted for in inflation. Utter BS.

The entire process of generating numbers is to give the politician wiggle room come election time. No one in office WANTS facts that cannot be spun.
 

Queasy

Moderator<br>Console Gaming
Aug 24, 2001
31,796
2
0
Originally posted by: Hayabusa Rider
Not trying to debate or disagree...just want to correct two things.

Unemployment? Another joke. You can't find a job after a period of time, then you simply don't exist.
They only stop counting you if you stop looking. As long as you are looking for a job, you are counted.

Energy and food not accounted for in inflation. Utter BS.
There are typically two inflation numbers. One is called "Core inflation". This number excludes energy and food because they are considered to be volatile.

These two are included in the regular inflation number. The decline in gas prices looks fishy though because of the "adjustment for seasonal changes".

 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,880
4,211
126
Originally posted by: Queasy
Originally posted by: Hayabusa Rider
Not trying to debate or disagree...just want to correct two things.

Unemployment? Another joke. You can't find a job after a period of time, then you simply don't exist.
They only stop counting you if you stop looking. As long as you are looking for a job, you are counted.

Energy and food not accounted for in inflation. Utter BS.
There are typically two inflation numbers. One is called "Core inflation". This number excludes energy and food because they are considered to be volatile.

These two are included in the regular inflation number. The decline in gas prices looks fishy though because of the "adjustment for seasonal changes".
Good to know, but once someone uses their benefits up how does the govt keep track of who is doing what?
 

Queasy

Moderator<br>Console Gaming
Aug 24, 2001
31,796
2
0
Originally posted by: Hayabusa Rider
Good to know, but once someone uses their benefits up how does the govt keep track of who is doing what?
If someone uses their benefits up...then they've just used them up. That's a separate activity from whether or not that person is actively seeking employment or not.
 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,386
327
126
Originally posted by: Queasy
Originally posted by: Hayabusa Rider
Good to know, but once someone uses their benefits up how does the govt keep track of who is doing what?
If someone uses their benefits up...then they've just used them up. That's a separate activity from whether or not that person is actively seeking employment or not.
Yeah, but why would anyone bother spending the time to report to the government "Yep! Still don't have a job!" if they weren't going to get benefits out of it? I always see headlines "Unemployment claims dropped" Who is going to try and claim unemployment if they can't get it...are those people taken into account or do they just disappear from the calculations.
 

JS80

Lifer
Oct 24, 2005
26,297
4
81
As long as they are being calculated in a consistent matter it's Apples to Apples when you compare to past data so what is the problem?
 

Vic

Elite Member
Jun 12, 2001
47,850
8,171
126
If these numbers were a steak, they'd be so well-done that no amount of A-1 could save it.
 

Queasy

Moderator<br>Console Gaming
Aug 24, 2001
31,796
2
0
Originally posted by: PingSpike
Originally posted by: Queasy
Originally posted by: Hayabusa Rider
Good to know, but once someone uses their benefits up how does the govt keep track of who is doing what?
If someone uses their benefits up...then they've just used them up. That's a separate activity from whether or not that person is actively seeking employment or not.
Yeah, but why would anyone bother spending the time to report to the government "Yep! Still don't have a job!" if they weren't going to get benefits out of it? I always see headlines "Unemployment claims dropped" Who is going to try and claim unemployment if they can't get it...are those people taken into account or do they just disappear from the calculations.
How unemployment numbers are calculated.
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
22,606
900
126
Forget about the monthly adjustments. They are cooked far too much for the monthly data to be of much use. Plus, there isn't enough resolution (0.2% and people cheer, but 0.3% and they panic); we really need another digit in the press releases.

What we can use is the year over year increase. By comparing one year to the previous year, all the seasonal adjustments basically cancel out and food/energy changes are included. We still have some fundamental flaws, but at least the big issues brought up in this thread are eliminated.

April 2008 CPI: 214.823
April 2007 CPI: 206.686
Yearly increase: 3.94%

3.94% is bad, it is over the historical average of 3.3%. 3.94% is over the desired goal of ~2%-3%. And, we haven't been this high since the late 1980s. However, 3.94% isn't THAT bad. It isn't like the 14% rate we had from April 1979 to April 1980.
 

smack Down

Diamond Member
Sep 10, 2005
4,507
0
0
Originally posted by: dullard
Forget about the monthly adjustments. They are cooked far too much for the monthly data to be of much use. Plus, there isn't enough resolution (0.2% and people cheer, but 0.3% and they panic); we really need another digit in the press releases.

What we can use is the year over year increase. By comparing one year to the previous year, all the seasonal adjustments basically cancel out and food/energy changes are included. We still have some fundamental flaws, but at least the big issues brought up in this thread are eliminated.

April 2008 CPI: 214.823
April 2007 CPI: 206.686
Yearly increase: 3.94%

3.94% is bad, it is over the historical average of 3.3%. 3.94% is over the desired goal of ~2%-3%. And, we haven't been this high since the late 1980s. However, 3.94% isn't THAT bad. It isn't like the 14% rate we had from April 1979 to April 1980.
Don't worry old helocopter ben is trying for the 14%. Of course that was an honest 14%
 

RichardE

Banned
Dec 31, 2005
10,247
2
0
Its the same bullshit with "unemployment" where unemployment is steady, but look at how they measure it, complete bullshit.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,991
2
0
But But But But-------those $600 per person tax rebates will soon save the day. I get mine in July. How about you? I shall be temporarily be rich. Meanwhile I am saving my pennies nickels and dimes to afford gas.
 

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