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Inside the Numbers

8:01 AM, Sep 6, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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When the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the numbers, this morning, on August unemployment, the economics, finance, and political priesthoods will commence digging into the entrails to divine Truth.  There is much to be uncertain about in the future and perhaps these numbers will tell us something about whether the Fed will "taper" or not.  Whether the recent good first-time claims numbers are auguries of better times.  And whether the prospects for the long-time and chronically unemployed might be brightening.  And, who knows, maybe there will be something in the numbers that will point to the eventual winner of this season's Super Bowl.  (Manning and the Broncos looked formidable last night, against the reigning champs.)

One thing is certain, though.  Whatever the numbers say, the experts can be counted on to employ the same old cliches in describing them.

And sure enough.  In Brenda Cronin's Wall Street Journal preview of today's report, we learn that

“This is likely to be one of the most scrutinized reports ever,” said Douglas Handler, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight. “The devil’s going to be in the details.” 

Who would have guessed?

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