Tags: Hindery | US | data | China

Intermedia's Hindery: US Government Data Is Bunk

By John Morgan   |   Wednesday, 21 Aug 2013 08:19 AM

Leo Hindery, managing partner at private equity firm Intermedia Partners, says the contradiction between official U.S. government economic data and actual corporate results is not really a mystery because government data is garbage.

Hindery told Yahoo that inaccurate employment data is a federal tradition that dates back to 1947. That's when Congress first realized that true jobs data could be hazardous to officeholders' re-election prospects and decided "not to count everybody," he said.

"In an average year, about a third of unemployed people are not counted officially. In this crisis, we knew as early as 2006 that something systemic had really happened."

Editor’s Note:
Forbes Columnist: ‘Who the Hell Cleared This?’ (See Shocking Video)

Blatantly incorrect government data is the best way to explain the fact that official U.S. economic figures are looking better, but that Wal-Mart Stores, a bellwether consumer stock, cut back its 2013 forecast last week blaming consumer weakness, according to Hindery.

The official unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic. However, the real number is twice that high because of those who are "marginally attached" to the labor market and those who are working part-time out of necessity because they cannot find full-time jobs, Hindery told Yahoo.

The United States currently has a $400 billion annual trade deficit in manufactured goods, and too many workers are engaged in non-productive service jobs, Hindery said.

"In a room of 100 men and women, only eight of them make something, so the rest are serving each other. The only way that sustains economically is consumer credit bubbles," he explained.

At the Donald W. Reynolds Center for National Business Journalism, commentator Phillip Blanchard lamented the "surreal world of economic statistics" and lumped China, which is often criticized for cooking official numbers to meet political ends, and the United States together in an assessment of government data accuracy.

Blanchard cited a recent op-ed column in The Wall Street Journal by Chilton Capital Management economist Samuel Rines claiming that nearly every useful U.S. economic figure — from GDP growth to jobless and housing data — is incorrect when it is initially released.

"He's right," Blanchard said. "The U.S. government is constantly revising its statistics, and the media rarely give the new numbers anything close to the coverage the original figures get.

"Why shouldn't we be as skeptical of 'our' economic indicators as we should be of China's? We should be."

Editor’s Note: Forbes Columnist: ‘Who the Hell Cleared This?’ (See Shocking Video)

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