For most policymakers, deflation is the stuff of nightmares — scarier even than bank failures and stock market collapses. As the economy stumbled, deflation became Lords Voldemort and Sauron rolled into one.
from Rolfe Winkler:
In a phone conversation yesterday, John Williams at Shadow Government Statistics warned me not to read too much good news from the better-than-expected jobs figure. The government's seasonal adjustments aren't, well, adjusting properly. They're still keying off "typical" fluctuations in employment. But of course today's economic climate is anything but typical. Yesterday the official unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a percent to 9.4%, but according to Williams it should have ticked up a tenth of a percent to 9.6%.
Economists seem willing to celebrate even the most tepid economic release these days. The National Association of Homebuilders’ Housing Market Index nudged up slightly to 17 in July, up from 15. Most economists had expected 16, so this is what passes for good news.