Monday, March 23, 2009

When Statscan Starts Spinning know that its gonna be bad:

...[retail] sales are up in nine provinces. Woo hoo, the recession is over!

But if we take a reality check, and look not at December 2008 to January 2009 numbers, but January 2009 over January 2008, the result is brutal. I looked through the tables and we find that retail sales are down almost 6% over a year ago. Some of the sub-categories are much worse, such as auto sales, which are down 18%. That is deep recession territory.


All that the Daily tells us, in this context, is that December was really awful, and January was somewhat of an improvement relative to December. But ignoring the year-over-year trend is scandalous and irresponsible, and I for one would like to know who made that call over at Statscan. It just seems way too convenient that this analysis is in step with the federal government’s upbeat message track.

I've heard a few rumours that CMHC has considered soft-soaping their housing starts numbers, the argument being that you (as a data collection agency) don't want to do anything contribute to the overall negativity. Nevertheless, these analyses are supposed to be the solid ground against which all else econometric is measured. Start mucking around with them for (broadly) political reasons and you undermine trust in everything else you read.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Look out, there might be some good news out there!
lets get an election over before we see good news in an improvement in our financial situation.
Any improvement is good news and should be seen that way.
Nobody is saying that we are out of the woods, just that once in a while, good news in good.