Posts filed under “Mathematics”

Job Recovery All Oil & Fracking ? Hardly

 

“All of the job growth from 2007 to today can easily be attributed to the shale oil fracking situation and the oil Renaissance. If you take Texas and North Dakota out of the data series for job employment, what you see is that we haven’t added any jobs in the United States other than those two regions.”

 

The comment above by famed bond investor Jeff Gundlach during a conference call last week set off a firestorm, repeating a trope that has been gaining traction in some quarters. The claim is that all the job creation in this economic recovery is related to the surge in oil and natural-gas fracking. This is demonstrably false.

There have been variations on this theme floating around for a few years. To get the basic claim to work, you need to accept two flawed analyses. The first is that all net job growth in the U.S. since 2007 is the result of the energy and related industries. The second is that, absent Texas, the rest of the country lost jobs.

The reports on which these claims are based are biased and full of analytical errors. Making matters worse, they both come from think tanks that specialize in slanted economic analysis. As the saying goes, torture the data long enough and it will confess to anything.

Let’s begin with a few facts: There are now 118.4 million U.S. workers in private-sector jobs. The economy lost a lot of jobs during the Great Recession, and it wasn’t until 2010 that we began adding to the nonfarm payroll numbers. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, more than 10 million jobs have been created since the end of 2010.

What about all of the oil and fracking jobs?

Continues here

 

Category: Bad Math, Data Analysis, Employment, Energy, Really, really bad calls

As goes early-January, so goes Nothing

Salil Mehta is a popular statistician and risk strategist, who has developed a unique method to teach quantitative techniques. He blogs at Statistical Ideas. ~~~ We’ve started the year with a sizable downward market pattern, which is making market participants think in ill-advised ways.  Eight of the first eleven trading days (S&P 500) were negative.  If…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Data Analysis, Markets

NFP, Inflation & Conspiracy Theories

    Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers — Jack Welch (@jack_welch) October 5, 2012     Today’s column is about stupidity. Perhaps that’s overstating it; to be more precise, it is about the conspiracy-theorist combination of bias, innumeracy and laziness, with a pinch of arrogance thrown in for…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Cognitive Foibles, Data Analysis, Economy, Really, really bad calls

About Those Black Friday Numbers . . .

Stories based on Black Friday consumer spending numbers are a holiday tradition. Bob talks with investor and Bloomberg View contributor Barry Ritholtz about the problems with stories based on those numbers.   NPR/WNYC: Source: On the Media

Category: Bad Math, Consumer Spending, Data Analysis, Really, really bad calls

Bad Maths

We live in an era of technological advancement. Whether it’s genomics, nanotechnology or software algorithms, the world is driven by mathematical solutions to complex problems. Yet at the same time, we are surrounded by what I like to call Bad Math. It seems as if the average person has little familiarity with the fundamental workings…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Really, really bad calls

Zombie Ideas? Blame the Billionaires…

  “We are in the business of making mistakes. The only difference between the winners and the losers is that the winners make small mistakes, while the losers make big mistakes.” -Ned Davis   I began my career in finance on a trading desk. You learn some things very early on in that sort of…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Philosophy, Politics, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Wherein I Correct Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman’s Math

I am a fan of Morgan Housel, columnist at the Motley Fool. His writings evince a strong understanding of behavioral issues, and he has a gift of sifting through the nonsense to get to what really matters. Only on rare occasions do I get to disagree with him. Today is one of those times. Housel has…Read More

Category: Bad Math, Psychology

Got Math? Odds Are, You Don’t Understand Probabilities

Last week, we discussed the problems with having poor reading comprehension and the impact that has on consuming news. This week, I want to look at the lack of math skills. America seems to becoming a dangerously innumerate society. Innumeracy is incompetence with numbers rather than words. This is a worrisome issue for the future…Read More

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Bad Math, Data Analysis, Really, really bad calls

Why the American economy grows faster under Democrats

Another classic correlation versus causation issue:

Autoplay video after the jump

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Category: Bad Math, Video

Inflation Was Much Higher Pre-Crisis than Post-Crisis

click for ginormous chart Source: FRED     This morning’s column on Inflation truthers led to some emailers insisting inflation numbers are much higher post crisis than pre. Sorry, but the data says that is simply not true. Play with the attached FRED XL spread sheets all you want, the data is hard to argue…Read More

Category: Data Analysis, Inflation, Mathematics