For those more interested in what's actually going on than in simply cheerleading their own fantasy scenarios, David Rosenberg of Gluskin-Sheff has a handy and concise list of some of the most mis-represented stats currently being used to cheerlead (and claim admin credit for) a "recovery" that at best looks to be somewhat slow and anemic at this point. A sample:
The ISM index came out before the payroll numbers did and injected a big round of enthusiasm into the pro-cyclical camp. The index did shoot up in March, to 59.6 from 56.5, and while many of the components were up, the prime reason for the increase was the eight-point surge in the inventory component, to 55.3. Moreover, the orders-to-inventories ratio slid to a level suggesting that we could be in for a big pullback in the next few months. Meanwhile, very little attention has been made to the construction spending data, which sagged 1.3% MoM in February with broad-based declines across sectors — and January’s 0.6% drop was revised to -1.4% (the fourth slippage in a row).
Go read the whole thing at the link. It's a good quick-and-dirty capsule check on why the institutional investors are not nearly as sanguine about the current condition of the national economy as the administration mouthpieces and partisan cheerleaders are.
UPDATE: Some related thoughts on the unemployment figures.