02 August 2013

Tweety, Part the First

Sometimes the canary in the coal mine isn't a complicated regression model, but just one black swan event. This is difficult to model, much less predict. The sustainability of the "recovery" depends on the moolah available to the middle; data has generally been lukewarm. In fact, as reported here, this wasn't predicted at all.
But an analysis by the Leichtman Research Group in May found that the country's biggest television providers collectively lost about 80,000 subscribers in the 12-month period that ended in March, the first time that the researchers had ever counted an industrywide subscriber loss (rather than typical share-shifting between companies). The earnings reports this quarter are being scrutinized for further evidence of declines.

This isn't Lehman Bros. slipping beneath the Hudson, but it points to a fracturing, further, of the middle. Today's employment numbers, superficially, look OK: more jobs, lower unemployment rate. But... hourly earnings are down, hours are down, participation is down, employment (overall) is down. Percentages are sneaky; a percent can improve with either (or both) the numerator or denominator changing.

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