STATISTICS: Figures Can Lie

For 17 years, the Federal Reserve Board's index has been the authoritative barometer of U.S. industrial production. In peacetime, many a U.S. businessman eagerly scanned the index's monthly rise—or fall—shifted his financial position accordingly. Many a financial house bases its carefully computed private index on that of FRB. Last week, FRB admitted, with tremendous dignity, that for two years its index has been inaccurate.

FRB had a simple explanation. Skyrocketing war production knocked peacetime measuring sticks into the statistical ashcan. Example: the chemical industry. In peacetime, chemical production weighs little in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!