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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Robert Samuelson Gets One Right

Robert Samuelson Gets One Right

Sunday, 10 July 2011 10:10

Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson got one right today when he criticized Mark Zandi for his "good news" in the June jobs report. Zandi apparently highlighted the fact that the rise in joblessness reported for June was entirely attributable to an increase in the number of people who reported quitting their jobs voluntarily.

Samuelson correctly pointed out that this number is erratic, although his concern about the fact that this increase only appeared in the seasonally adjusted data is silly. It is common for this number to jump up or down by 0.2-0.4 percentage points month to month. Unless there is a pronounced movement over several months, these monthly fluctuations are best ignored. Zandi should know this and Samuelson is right to call him on it. 

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.