Today's Economic Rorschach Test
Good news today! The economy was stronger than we thought in the first quarter:
In accordance with usual practice, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is announcing the preliminary estimate of the upcoming annual benchmark revision to the establishment survey employment series....The preliminary estimate of the benchmark revision indicates an upward adjustment to March 2012 Total nonfarm employment of 386,000 (0.3 percent).
Also: bad news today! The economy was weaker than we thought in the second quarter:
The Commerce Department said Thursday that the United States economy grew at an annual pace of just 1.3 percent in the second quarter of the year, showing that the recovery came close to stalling in the spring. The revision was down from the 1.7 percent rate the government reported in August.
We can now all go about our usual practice of citing whichever statistic either (a) proves we were right all along, or (b) is best for our favored presidential candidate. Alternatively, we can shrug our shoulders and (c) accept that economic data is messy, and not draw any major conclusions from any of this. I don't expect this to be a popular option.