I sort of remember a quote from somewhere that included the phrase, “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics.” Just like you should only believe things on the Web from trusted sources, be careful of statistics. Especially as repored in the general press. They leave too much out in their pursuit of a number.

On the other hand, you get an item from the Associated Press in today’s Dayton Daily News that says U.S. productivity dropped 0.9% in the second quarter. I guess (since I’m not told in the article) that that’s an aggregate number for all businesses in the United States. We have all been taught that increasing productivity is the driver of prosperity.

So, this is bad news, right? Well, no. Some analysts believe that since we’ve had a stretch of increasing productivity, this number signals that employers can’t wrench another ounce of producitivity from us. So, to increase output, businesses will have to begin hiring. That’s good news–especially for all my friends and relatives searching for work.

Reminds me of a remark the pseudonomous Wall St. analyst “Adam Smith” said in a book I’ve long since forgotten the title of when referring to the common wisdom of “a wave of selling hit Wall St. today.” His comeback–“for every seller there’s a buyer.” Hmm. Is the cup half full? Half empty? I’m thirsty.

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