Blatant Data Error At The Federal Reserve

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Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:14 | 187909 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Tyler if I wasn't unemployed, I'd send your some Ben bucks for your work. As it is, I'm sending along some .45 ammo for the coming revolution.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:42 | 187937 Shortbus Bully
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.45 acp is as good as gold round my parts.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:21 | 187916 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

They suck.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:21 | 187917 nopat
nopat's picture

BINGO BANGO!  Nice find!  To whom do we owe the hat-tip?

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 01:46 | 188101 DoChenRollingBearing
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One of the great pleasures of ZH for me is the wonderful reporting we get.

Looks like employees at the Fed have the same "good enough for government" work ethic as all the rest of them at .gov.

Sun, 01/10/2010 - 04:57 | 188983 VegasBD
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they arent government

Mon, 01/11/2010 - 01:48 | 189639 faustian bargain
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They have an ambiguous relationship with the government. You can hear Bernanke say under questioning in the congressional committee, that the Fed is an "agent" of the government.

Mon, 01/11/2010 - 10:30 | 189829 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

no they are not, they are Goldman Fraternity ex-employees and or consultants. Why would anyone be amised by this when Goldman and company trades against its own clients! Why is America any different. These guys are countryless and care about no country, least of all this one.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 16:39 | 188637 Coyote on Rocke...
Coyote on RocketSkates's picture

You are welcome.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:22 | 187920 QuantTrader
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sCommon Vlookup error.  Need to add the "false" parameter to get the exact match to include the year, not just the month.

The fed too busy these days to check their work on a late friday economic release

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 10:56 | 188318 nopat
nopat's picture

If I were to guess where the problem is, in a serendipetous twist of irony, it was probably the same intern that bungled the program trading reports back in May/June.  I doubt the formula was wrong (otherwise you would have seen the same problem all over the place), either the lazy bastard wasn't using it at all and opting to just copy-paste and got sloppy, or interrupted the calculation when it got hung up and eyeballed the results (a lot of IT depts use Friday as their scheduled virus-scan days, can wreak all kinds of havok on Excel). 

Not that I'm fishing for a job, but that's just fucking weak, especially on data that's going to be live and in the open. 

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:25 | 187921 bugs_
bugs_'s picture

Live by cut&paste, Die by cut&paste.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 01:42 | 188097 Cursive
Cursive's picture


Sat, 01/09/2010 - 09:06 | 188261 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Death by a thousand pastes?


Sat, 01/09/2010 - 16:40 | 188639 Coyote on Rocke...
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That is fucking hilarious.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 16:45 | 188644 MsCreant
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He should have ended it with a comma... but yeah, funny.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 20:00 | 188786 Coyote on Rocke...
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A sharp eye for cutting irony.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:25 | 187922 suldog
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They suck.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:29 | 187924 Anonymous
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Someone was a lil schloppy with the Ctrl-C & Ctrl-V!

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:30 | 187925 glenlloyd
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probably too much fret / fuss over how many banks Shiela might close tonight.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:37 | 187933 Mad Max
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Can fictitious numbers be wrong?

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 23:21 | 187983 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

max, your a madman !!

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 02:35 | 188127 MsCreant
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Best comment.

They can be wrong if they tell an unintended story. Like this one.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 10:00 | 188284 Gordon_Gekko
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Well said MsCreant.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 09:59 | 188283 Gordon_Gekko
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Sat, 01/09/2010 - 16:42 | 188643 Coyote on Rocke...
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That's an interesting philosphic question.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:38 | 187934 10044
10044's picture


Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:48 | 187943 Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

i lol'd

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:40 | 187935 SilverIsKing
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By looking at the spreadsheet capture(above) (I did not download the file from the Fed website), how does one arrive at $4 billion delta?  Wouldn't one need the actual data to determine by how much the inaccurate data varies from it.

Sun, 01/10/2010 - 01:16 | 188660 Coyote on Rocke...
Coyote on RocketSkates's picture

You are exactly right.  I am responsible for finding this mistake and reporting it to TD.  The $4 billion being thrown around is the approximate total in the subcategory reported for this month (Nov. 09).  But it is a repeat of the data in the Nov. 08 cell.   The last new data (not repeating the data of one year before) is May 09.  Thus, the last 'known' size of the subcategory was $3.73 billion; the current size is being reported, in an apparently eroneous fashion, as $4 billion; and we have no fucking idea what the real number is, until the Fed picks a new one. 

If the subcategory has fallen to $0, the $17.5 billion drop in spending would actually be a drop $21.5 billion.  Unlikely.

On the other hand, the subcategory may have grown by any reasonable number, meaning that the $17.5 DROP could be significantly smaller, by an open-ended amount.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:42 | 187936 Cursive
Cursive's picture

My thanks to the vigilant reader.  Man, Steve Liesman's head is going to explode on this one.  I'm sure he'll find some positive internals, though.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 17:06 | 188665 Coyote on Rocke...
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The vigilant reader bids you welcome.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:45 | 187940 anynonmous
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Ten minutes to Wapner

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:46 | 187942 deadhead
deadhead's picture

Echo the thanks to vigilant reader.

How does this impact the reported minus $17.5 billion number?  Anybody?

Thank you.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 01:52 | 188105 Cursive
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TD says the impact is no more than $4B, but which way?  I'm not familiar with the data series and not sober enough to study up.  If it were to lower the number to $13.5B, that would still be an extremely negative surprise.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 09:44 | 188271 deadhead
deadhead's picture

which way is the question.

agreed that 13.5, if it were the case, is still horrendous.

I'm sober as a judge and I sure can't figure it out.  I don't even understand the column headings!

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 20:46 | 188787 Coyote on Rocke...
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You're not supposed to be able to understand the column headings.  That's how they put the "fun" in the "funhouse"!

Sun, 01/10/2010 - 14:44 | 189227 deadhead
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Thanks for making the effort to report your findings to ZH Coyote.  Thanks as well for your comments above.  It will be fun to see how the Fed handles this, presumably next week.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 16:00 | 188599 Commander Cody
Commander Cody's picture

I think TD is pointing out that the 2009 data is the same as the 2008 data, therefore, it cannot be correct.  He ponders, as do I, what the true data is.  It probably doesn't matter anyway, since I do not believe anything our corrupt government says.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 17:42 | 188689 Coyote on Rocke...
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Commander Cody is correct.  

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We can't know the size or direction of the error until the Fed picks a new number, so that's not the point, and it doesn't matter anyway what gross consumer debt (ie spending) was back in November: it's old news and the deeper the drop was, the more bullish you should be come one day after the next earnings season.

I found this problem and tipped off Tyler, and the point is that the our employees at the Fed are sloppy and NEED to be auditied to provide Commander Cody with some reason to trust something with his money.  Currently, wisdom is in extreme skepticism. 

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 17:57 | 188704 Coyote on Rocke...
Coyote on RocketSkates's picture

Uhm...I didn't do that.

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:48 | 187944 fiasco
fiasco's picture

ok tyler, explain you self

if the very notion of the fed is corruption, then we don't need to dwell on acts of the fed

unless of course the fed is not in itself an act of corruption

explain you self 

because socrates tell me that examples of something is not the definition of that thing

hey, socrates, is this ok to submit

what, i don't understand you with that drumstick in you mouth

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 00:02 | 188031 Mad Max
Mad Max's picture

Ah, drunk posting.  I guess it IS Friday night after all.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 07:01 | 188246 Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Mad Max,

fiasco isn't drunk. This is how fiasco sounds all the time, like s/he is drunk.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 15:56 | 188597 Stink_Pickle
Stink_Pickle's picture

Sounds like Macke to me

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 20:08 | 188789 Goldtoothchimp09
Goldtoothchimp09's picture

ah, yes.  Macke riding the rails and trying hard to provide the voice of reason.  A Classic!

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 16:34 | 188631 Ripped Chunk
Ripped Chunk's picture

What happened to your accent fiascock?

Fri, 01/08/2010 - 22:53 | 187947 CheapKUNGFU
CheapKUNGFU's picture

pardon my ignorance here, but if the numbers were used twice in the calcs, wouldnt that make the release number of 17billion about nearly 5billion to high... and therefore a better reading than was earlier released?



Sat, 01/09/2010 - 01:55 | 188107 Cursive
Cursive's picture

The expectation was -$5B, so a reading of -12.5B or -13.5B would still be 2.5 times worse than expected, so, yeah, rally on for the bulltards.

Sat, 01/09/2010 - 18:34 | 188702 Coyote on Rocke...
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The numbers are not getting used twice in the same month's calculation.  The numbers add across the page in this format.  The same old numbers are being re-used in new calcs, from month to month.

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