PriceStats - The Beginning Of The End For BLS Data Manipulation?

Tyler Durden's picture

Had enough of neverending BLS inflation data manipulation? You may be in luck. Hot on the heels of the MIT Billion Prices Project (which we were delighted to see recently came back on line), there now is... PriceStats, potentially the most revolutionary concept to come to the fielf of econometrics, and thus fiscal and monetary policy in ages.

From the launch press release:

The BPP is proud to announce the launch of PriceStats, a start-up based in Cambridge MA with the mission of becoming a leading source of daily inflation statistics around the world.

PriceStats will allow the BPP to focus on research and continue
innovating in the field of real-time price statistics. Our research team
will have access to a greater amount of data than ever before, which
will be collected, processed, and shared by PriceStats for use in our
research initiatives and experimental indices. In addition, this
arrangement will allow the BPP to continue publishing the daily US
inflation and World inflation indices on a monthly basis.

PriceStats has partnered with State Street Global Markets
to update daily inflation series in more than 40 countries through
their client research portal, IR3. If you would like more information on
how to access these series, please contact the PriceStats team at

PriceStats is a young company and the team is growing fast. If you
are interested in technology and economics, and would like to join the
team, please email

We hope at least a year passes before the Federal Reserve decides to LBO PriceStats. Alternatively, the involvement of State Street while admirable, gives one pause to wonder if there will not be a sudden short stock recall causing a massive inflationary surge once the custodian company flexes its short squeeze muscles, so eloquently demonstrated back in March 2009 when the glimmers of the "profit and earnings ratio" rally was in desperate nee of a Citi group short squeeze.

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dlmaniac's picture

Developing private stats to reveal the true state of CPI / JOB #s / Bank's M2M balance (or anything embarrassing uncle Sam) will someday be declared as an act of terrorism.

tmosley's picture

Someday--probably Tuesday. Wednesday if we're lucky.

Thomas's picture

I knew in my bones that the free market would eventually fill the void left by flawed government stats. It is starting to happen. John Williams will go down in history as a pioneer.

chumbawamba's picture

John Williams is lucky he's so relatively obscure or else he'd be Matt Simmonsed.

I am Chumbawamba.

anynonmous's picture

The problem is that the BLS data manipulation feeds the MSM.


I was driving this morning and heard this commentary by Dave Ross of CBS News - it is beyond comprehension how in a one minute comment he was able to spin the jobs numbers, bin laden etc into an everything is right with the world piece of pure and unadulterated propaganda.


What is sad is that a large number of people buy into this crap.



Husk-Erzulie's picture

I haven't felt so double plus good for a looong time, how bout you Jill?

Sick shit, painful, thanks(?) for sharing.

Oh, since the msm is spewing al Q talk non stop and stirring up the herd again it's fun to drop Obama bin Lyin into a conversation.  The sheep just keep motoring on with their fox/msnbc talking points and never even notice.  Try it, it's a hoot. :-p

JW n FL's picture

Does the combination of inflation and high corporate taxes explain the

increase in bank leverage in the 20th century? Inflation automatically

increases bank debt, while high corporate taxes hinder capital accumulation.

Capital ratios therefore drop, until leverage-induced returns are

sufficient to uphold them at constant levels. This theory was confronted

with Swedish bank data 1870–2001. Bank capital ratios

dropped when inflation and corporate tax rates were high, during WWI

and in 1940–1980. The theory can explain the sinking bank capital

ratios during these periods, but also their relative stability since the

early 1980s. High corporate taxes and inflation were estimated to

account for half of the drop in Swedish bank capital ratios since WWII.


Proponents of economic value added (EVA) argue that changes in the metric accurately measure

changes in the performance of a firm or business unit through time and therefore can represent a reliable

measure of managerial effectiveness. However, inflation distorts EVA through the operating profit,

the cost of capital, and the capital base and these distortions have the potential to result in inefficient

investment and compensation outcomes. Using an inflation-corrected EVA metric, I measure the

sensitivity of EVA to the level of, and changes in, inflation for a large sample of US stocks and find

evidence of significant inflation induced distortions.

VyseLegendaire's picture

That sounded like a propaganda staged radio show for 1984, or something akin to it.  I really can't imagine that anyone listens to this or takes it seriously.  Goddamn.

JW n FL's picture

both of these are from the 2005 era! when anything but profit was un-american! including taxes! carry forward tax credit for inflation pass thru costs, unseen!

DaveyJones's picture

 simmonize the critic, simonize the facts

RockyRacoon's picture
Confirmation bias as a feature, not a bug: The facts don't really matter

This morning we got a pretty good establishment survey that recorded 268,000 private sector jobs and 244,000 jobs overall. Those are pretty good numbers. 244,000 was the most in five years. The market rallied strongly on the back of this apparently bullish report. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate rose to 9.0%, which is disconcerting. Having looked at the data, I wrote:

Note the items highlighted on the household survey. Labor participation is NOT increasing. Rather, there is a divergence between the household and establishment surveys. The household survey data are weak. The establishment data are much better. The increase in unemployment rate is being driven by new entrants to labour market according to household survey. Although not highlighted, note that the number of people counted as unemployed because of re-entry into the labour market has not increased. You can see this near the end of the graphic above the highlighted line for new entrants. This factoid tells me the labour market is still relatively weak because those who have dropped out of the labour force are not re-entering en masse yet. [emphasis added]

If you are of a bullish mindset, you ignore the household survey and run with the establishment survey. And that's exactly what has happened. Thais doesn't mean that the establishment survey is right and the household survey is wrong. It's just that the prevailing wisdom is that the jobs picture is improving so confirmation bias tells us to ignore the household survey data.

On the politics front, there is even a philosophy of hypocrisy for why elites don't practice what they preach. It rhymes with the confirmation-bias-as-a-feature theory. I wrote about this last month saying:

Let's call it the hypocrisy of arrogance. As Newt Gingrich said to his wife when caught cheating, ""It doesn't matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There's no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn't matter what I live."...Humans prefer cockiness to expertise. They would rather someone be consistent and wrong than inconsistent but right.

My takeaway for the economics profession is that in the face of cognitive dissonance, you should expect economists to ignore negative data that disproves their pet theories. You should expect them to continue to argue using data they selectively cherry-pick using confirmation bias because the reason we reason is to win arguments. The facts don't really matter. That is certainly what happens in politics. So I expect no different in economics.


TerraHertz's picture

I knew in my bones that the free market would eventually fill the void left by flawed government stats.


I knew in my bones that the free market would eventually fill the void left by flawed government.

Fixed. I wish.

Michael's picture

What if we started a social networking movement to get everyone unemployed to apply for unemployment compensation on-line in the same week whether they qualify for it or not?

How would that affect the unemployment numbers?

We could pick the week of July 4th for people to apply. That should be enough time to get the word out.

We could call it; "Unemployed BLS Bomb".

Michael's picture


Every government loophole law and scam can be charted in the same manner based on this model;

New Coupled Climate Model Results

NoCarbonTax has spared no expense, time and supercomputer power to bring you a completely new Coupled Climate Change model:

Michael's picture


If drug control laws are left up to the States to decide, maybe 1 or 2 states will become just like Amsterdam, the happiest place to live in the world with the lowest crime rates. Maybe those states would become #2 and # 3 of the happiest places in the world to live, right here in our own country, after Amsterdam. People wouldn't even have to move out of the country to find the happiest place to live out their lives, they can move to one of those states that are just like Amsterdam.


Best Line of the Night: "I need the government to take care of me: I don't want to use heroin, so I need these laws!" /sarcasm


Ron Paul on legalizing drugs and gay marriage - SC Republican debate 5/5/2011 


Ident 7777 economy's picture

Ron Paul Ron Paul Ron Paul ...


Herman Cain    Herman Cain   Herman Cain


JW n FL's picture

so this dumb republican wants to take shit away from poor people to pass on tax savings?


tell him "Back of the Bus"!

TerraHertz's picture

What if we started a social networking movement to get everyone unemployed to apply for unemployment compensation on-line in the same week whether they qualify for it or not?

What if we started a social networking movement to go to Washington and make everyone there unemployed, whether they like it or not?

July 4th would be an excellent date.

Jim Cramer's picture

That's pushing it. It will be Monday or breaking news over the weekend. We killed Osama's second in command. He was running an outfit in the states. We can't share the details but were able to dump his body in a volcano to keep "those people" from making a shrine.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

A volcano would make an excellent shrine... when it flares up it's time to sacrifice and have a pig roast.

old naughty's picture

so sheeples become pigs?

Russell vs SPX, new-skinned BPP vs BLS...

nothing to see here, move along...

Problem Is's picture

Osama Bin Dead-a-decade

        Obummer Bin Lyin'

Yen Cross's picture

I thought Squid Osama took the Sushi route? Am I wrong? (Undersea Volcanos)

cossack55's picture

Seal Team 6 had their meeting with the Teleprompter today, so they are now free to perform another mission against terror/truth.  I'm sure all of these PriceStats cats are armed.

JR's picture

The last try already is panned as a B movie… The US Is Editing ‘The Killing of Osama’ Film


“The first U.S. edited version of ‘The Killing Of Osama’ made it look like one Seal found Osama and his wife in their third floor bedroom, the surprised and unarmed Osama used her as a shield so the Seal shot her first and then him. It did not seem to occur to them that this made the Seal both a coward – or a terrified incompetent – and a war criminal. By the second day they had edited this scene to have the wife rushing at the Seal, presumably scaring him witless, so he shot her and then shot the unarmed old Osama who was either sitting around or standing around doing nothing but, presumably, looking dumb. This still left the Seal a coward and war criminal, so on the third day they started editing it to have Osama sitting next to a pistolo and an AK-47 which he apparently was too witless, too scared, or too incompetent to use to defend his wife and himself. This still left the Seal a coward and a war criminal, so they started whispering the Seal thought Osama was wearing a suicide vest, in spite of that being a bit bulky and uncomfortable under his nighty...

“But it will still get panned by the film critics once they start remembering that Osama was a great warrior leader in Afghanistan fighting the whole vast Red Army…” – Jack D. Douglas

Dr. Porkchop's picture

This violates the first rule of Bernankenomics..


NOTW777's picture

yeah I dont think chairsatan would like the "meaningful," timely or accurate parts

bid the soldiers shoot's picture

What's the second rule?


Shell Game's picture

The masses say it's easier to swallow bad stats if they know everyone suffers together - and turn on the boob-tube together.

gorillaonyourback's picture

yeah i just sent an email saying...................with the you takin over for the bureau of lies and shams (BLS) you gonna be steping on their toes.  But maybe knowing they (BLS) have know credibility they will start using up your credibility.  I give you 3 to 4 months till,,,,,, wellll you have no credibility too

Doña K's picture

We used to have the simplest and most elegant mechanism for inflation of basket stuff. When the politicians started screwing with it introducing Harvard pseudo-economic equations everything went to hell.

You can just do something similar at home and you will not be too far off.

Common sense is sometimes more powerful than a quadratic equation.

glenlloyd's picture

maybe not an act of terrorism but definitely a national security issue, at least from the perspective of those perpetually trying to deceive.

sun tzu's picture

They said Libya was a national security issue and you know what happened next.

doggings's picture

They said Libya was a national security issue and you know what happened next.

Are you mad? It IS a national security issue, if that goddamn Gadaffi had got his way and started their MENA gold backed currency as they want to, God knows what would have happened to the US over the next few years :)

that crackpot has got to go and get a Central Bank in there quickly



Urban Redneck's picture

It's a control issue for the central bank's ability to continue funding congress's and the president's ever growing shopping list and credit card bill- it can't be allowed to survive.  This is the other reason companies offshore.

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture


Please add the BS part to BLS, so that the official name is complete and reads:


thank you!

Jack Mehoff's picture

The BLS could have come -100K and equities would still be up. 

Global Hunter's picture

I think Obama should claim that these guys are backed by Al Qaeda and make them the next public enemy number 1.  I'm off to google search "LBO"

Blotsky's picture

He'll call it racist and sick Holder on em.

Quinvarius's picture

No fraud can withstand the information age.

bid the soldiers shoot's picture

Present fraud excluded.

You see, the present fraud was grandfathered in.

Strike Back's picture

Present fraud included.  Your presence at this site confirms.  Stop quitting.

bid the soldiers shoot's picture

Geez, I only meant if fraud and dishonesty have been part of every market since the Eden Apple Exchange, how could anyone with a kindergarten diploma think that this time it was going to be different?

And what's the game any way? Buying stocks and commodities from people who don't know that what they're selling is going to be worth more and selling the same to people who don't know it's going to be worth less.

Yup, the Greater Fool Theory. How long ago was that expression coined? Cause our markets were corrupt before then.

Either play the game according to 'the-predators-that-be' rules or drive for Meals on Wheels a couple of days a week.