When Economic Indicators Aren't Worth That Much

We are besieged by a blizzard of often contradictory economic data. Is there any escape? Probably not

Justin Fox

The month of January offered those who track the ups and downs of the U.S. economy 92 significant data releases and announcements to digest. That's according to a calendar compiled by the investment bank UBS. The number doesn't include corporate earnings, data from abroad or informal indicators like, say, cardboard prices (a favorite of Alan Greenspan's back in the day).

It was not always thus. "One reads with dismay of Presidents Hoover and then Roosevelt designing policies to combat the Great Depression of the 1930s on the basis of such sketchy data as stock price indices, freight car loadings, and incomplete...

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