Mittwoch, August 10, 2011

Rather Unusual Honesty...

Goodness. I never, ever expected this kind of honesty from a government statistical office. Maybe there *is* hope after all.

Today's release of the Monthly Wholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories report shows that the sales of merchant wholesalers was up 0.6% from the revised May number.

Not so bad, I thought.

Then I saw the +-0.7% after that number, in brackets. And an asterisk for the footnote.

The footnote says, and I quote directly:

The 90 percent confidence interval includes zero. The Census Bureau does not have sufficient statistical evidence to conclude that the actual change is different from zero.

Goodness. Such direct honesty is severely refreshing in this day and age. I've always liked working with the Census folks. Now I know why. Rarely does one meet such honesty on the front page of a statistical document. Seriously: what they are saying is that after the rather extensive revisions, the actual values of the month-on-month changes are difficult to nail down. The year-over-year numbers, on the other hand, are not marked with that asterisk, indicating that while there may be a variance (which is documented), the values actually mean something.

Kudos to the U.S. Census Bureau. May you remain well funded...

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