Column: Interpreting economic data overwhelming, confusing

Jim talks more than anybody else. Our Wednesday breakfasts aren’t dominated by him, but he does have more to say than any of the other nine at the table.

Last week, he put down his coffee, looked squarely at me and said, “No one in his right mind can make sense out of economic data.”

I didn’t bite. “What do you have in mind?” I asked.

“Unemployment rates,” Jim replied as a challenge.

“Nothing to them,” Andy shot in. “They go down, fewer people looking for jobs. They go up, and there are more people in the job market.”

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