In March, I posted my first rant against economists’ lack of predictive skills when it comes to unemployment numbers.
I stand corrected and eating crow.
I singled out two economists who down-played the February numbers (5.5%) as being a possible “fluke.”
Merrill Lynch chief economist Bruce Steinberg said this at the time:
“In our opinion, faulty seasonal adjustment in the last two months is responsible for the decline [in the unemployment rate].” Mr. Steinberg said he expects the unemployment rate will continue to rise through the middle of the year, possibly to as high as 6%.
Well, as much as I hate to say it, Mr. Steinberg was correct as the April numbers are out this morning and the unemployment rate is, er, 6%. I guess I should have checked out Mr. Steinberg’s resume before picking on him, as his career includes a stint as a magazine associate editor.
So, I guess that’s the end of this “Economist Walking” feature.