after the most recent jobs report — which produced a much-smaller-than-expected decline in corporate payrolls, a huge 362,000 increase in the more entrepreneurial household survey (the best gain in five months), and a historically low 5 percent unemployment rate (4.95 percent, to be precise) … First-quarter GDP growth came in at 0.6 percent. It wasn’t the widely predicted decline, and economists expect that number to be revised up. GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was also up slightly, while the prior two quarters averaged over 4 percent growth. My pal Jimmy Pethokoukis quotes Stanford professor Robert Hall, who heads the recession-dating committee at the National Bureau of Economic Research: “It seems unlikely that we would ever declare a peak-date when real GDP continued to rise.”
Didn’t I predict:
I peaked over at the NRO’s The Corner to see if Lawrence Kudlow has once again flipped flopped and declared the household survey to be a more accurate reflection of the jobs market
Kudlow, however, does not have the integrity to note that the employment-population was only 62.7% after this “huge” increase or that the payroll survey figure has declined by 260,000 over the past four months. But to say that a 5% unemployment rate is “historically low” sort of cuts history off at last month. The unemployment rate was 4.8% in February and was less than 4% for much of 2000.
But for my money, this ambiguous writing really takes the cake:
GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was also up slightly, while the prior two quarters averaged over 4 percent growth.
Let’s be more precise – the annualized growth rates for 2008QI and 2007QIV were the same as for 2007QI: 0.6%. So having a couple of decent quarters hardly makes up for the sluggish growth for the other three. Especially given the fact that final sales demand fell last quarter.
Some have wondered if Kudlow is inflicted with massive stupidity or incredible mendacity. I submit he’s inflicted with both.