Or at least ill informed. They’re carrying AP reports on economic issues. Maybe this is an old thing, but I just noticed it because of the gem of an article on the unemployment report today.
The unemployment rate dipped in June to its lowest level in nearly four years as employers expanded payrolls modestly, a sign that the nation’s job market is plugging – not powering – ahead…
…The civilian unemployment rate dropped to 5 percent in June, down a notch from 5.1 percent in May and the lowest since September 2001. The jobless rate has drifted downward after hitting 6.3 percent in June 2003, its highest point during the economic recovery.
Okay, first of all, as I noted previously, we are well past recovery and into expansion and that’s even if you make the stretch and call the two nonconsecutive quarters of GDP decline in 2000/2001 a recession. On top of that, when I was studying the stuff, it seems like the “consensus” was that frictional unemployment was somewhere between 5 and 6 percent with most folks leaning towards 6 percent. So, an unemployment rate at the very bottom end of “normal” seems to me to indicate that the economy is, in fact, “powering” not “plugging” ahead. In fact, it sounds like it might be irrationally exuberant. Even that 6.3% in June of 2003 wasn’t exactly a bad unemployment rate at 3/10 of a percent above “normal” and by international comparison. When was the last time the rate dipped below 9% in that model of perfection, France? (It was before 1999, at least.)