Monday, June 13, 2011

Disingenuous Business Cycle Charts

Shame on The Wall Street Journal. Justin Lahart’s second page piece features three time series graphs comparing this recovery to earlier ones.

But it cherry picks the comparison set.

I am no great bellyacher about how weak this expansion has been: we don’t have a huge sample of expansions, and amongst the small sample we have, this one looks OK. Not great mind you, but passable.

Here’s the charts in question:

Note that they just happen to miss the recent recovery that might make this one look bad: the post-1982 one.

It’s pretty easy to say this recovery looks normal when you drop out the one that would make it look abnormally weak.

Read the whole thing. It’s in the June 13 issue on page A2, and is entitled “What It Would Take to Do a Double Dip”.