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About That 0.397994999 Service Worker: Why Does ADP Goalseek Their "Data"?

Tyler Durden's picture


A funny thing was found when scouring through the provided ADP excel source data (excel link here) which is used to backfill into the jobs data: nothing less than proof that ADP is goalseeking their final payrolls number.

Exhibit A:

As can be seen in screenshot of the ADP excel sheet, cell J157, which is supposed to represent the 160K service workers added in January, is in reality 159.561397994999, or somehow ADP, which is supposed to be able to poll specific workers with granularity to the individual worker level, saw the added "benefit" of 159,561 round number workers, and an additional .397994999 worker. This amounts to about one arm and half a leg.

The same can be seen in the next door neighbor cell, which indicates that 15,832 "round number" goods workers were added, and then added an additional 0.756476997 worker, or roughly two legs and one arm.

What does this mean? Simple - instead of actually using definitive numbers, ADP is goalseeking the final result based on a predetermined final outcome it wants to hit, and then varies for the growth rate or the monthly addition variable.

Our question is: why does ADP do this if it has any hopes of being credible (when we already know is merely mimics the NFP data with a one month lag), and in order to salvage some credibility, when will ADP finally start providing not seasonally adjusted data like the BLS' Nonfarm payrolls report?


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Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:29 | 4403689 monopoly
monopoly's picture

What an amazing site we have here all. The "truth". 

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:31 | 4403701 TideFighter
TideFighter's picture

Mini-me just got a job.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:39 | 4403746 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



I suppose he gets a real 40 four/week job cause he's short or something.


When the hell do I get my exception?

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:52 | 4403810 Steve in Greensboro
Steve in Greensboro's picture

"Now this quarter of a man he got fired,

the next damn day he got hired.

The only thing wrong with this plan

is he only makes a quarter cause he's quarter of man"

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:55 | 4403826 IBelieveInMagic
IBelieveInMagic's picture

Being charitably inclined, I am wondering if this indicative of part time workers?

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:58 | 4403839 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

So it's down to this, I guess.  Quibbling over the number 4 digits past the decimal.  I have more serious concerns about the 3 digits in front of the decimal.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:06 | 4404150 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture

IMHO the point here is that rather than counting how many beans go into the chili by counting them dry before the chili is even made, they are making inferences on the bean count by assessing the flavor balance of sour cream to sweetness, or some other highly obtuse, remotely tangential, fakahkda (sp.), theoretical, fuzzy math-addled bullshit statement of quarter-truths that will keep their paychecks rolling in and rolling out.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:35 | 4404268 John Law Lives
John Law Lives's picture

That is a fine analogy re. how Washington, D.C. bureaucrats operate.  However, many of us in Texas believe real chili doesn't have beans.  ;->


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 20:16 | 4406161 Spigot
Spigot's picture

Actually, what you have just outlined is EXACTLY how it's done in DC. The top dog tells his subordinates "get me this number". The subordinates each then go to their sub-subordinates and say "get me this number"...all the way down to the guy counting paperclips and rubber bands and red swingline staplers in the supply closet.

And people used to say the Kremlin was a mystery machine...ha!

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:05 | 4404154 redpill
redpill's picture

Does anyone really pay attention to ADP anymore?

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:42 | 4403771 Occident Mortal
Occident Mortal's picture

An organisation that can measure the labour market to the nearest 1/billionth of a worker?


Wow. What a time to be alive.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:51 | 4403801 Lewshine
Lewshine's picture

WOW, Ben fixed that gold spike in a hurry - These people are truly the scum of the earth.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:57 | 4403823 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Ben's out the door. Yellen is your new master.


And hopefully the doorknob reamed him a new a$$hole on the way out.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:48 | 4403785 USA USA
USA USA's picture

Answer to question:


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:33 | 4403704 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:42 | 4403755 derek_vineyard
derek_vineyard's picture

if anything is presented to me on a spreadsheet, i do not look at it. a spreadsheet is the sign of a simple mind.  math is a concept and easy to communicate.   if you can't communicate the math easily, you don't understand it.

(i do look a charts and spreadsheets for trends/coorelations as a tool)

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:59 | 4403838 What is The Hedge
What is The Hedge's picture

So, derek, if someone gives you a report, you don't ask for the underlying numbers? You don't ask the question, how did you get to this final number? Not wanting to examine the underlying figures is a sign of a lazy mind.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 15:54 | 4405041 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

I use a spreadsheet to compute/keep track of income taxes.  They do have their uses.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:42 | 4403762 Temporalist
Temporalist's picture

Amerikka has always been at war with Canadianada

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 20:19 | 4406166 Spigot
Spigot's picture

... that would be "Spreadshit cell" ... I know it seems like a small difference, but it makes all the difference in the world.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:32 | 4403708 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



It's not goal-seeking; it's drunk monkeys shooting at a paper target...


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:43 | 4403770 KnightTakesKing
KnightTakesKing's picture

More like a chimp with an AK-47.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:29 | 4403961 kralizec
kralizec's picture

Release the monkey's!!!

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:45 | 4403775 BandGap
BandGap's picture

I seek goals, too. What's wrong with that? These people probably got big bonuses for their highly prized math skills.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:47 | 4403779 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Can I get an Amen!  One of my favorite pasttimes.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:23 | 4403942 The Dunce
The Dunce's picture

All the numbers are a bunch of bullshit.  Enough said.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:30 | 4403964 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

So much of our society is just lies. If Truth rests in your heart, count yourself among the blessed few.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:30 | 4403692 l.kimbot
l.kimbot's picture


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:30 | 4403693 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Maybe they are counting midgets.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:33 | 4403715 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

That is the SEC's job.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:59 | 4403842 SpeakerFTD
SpeakerFTD's picture

Only if he typed an extra "o".

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:32 | 4403716 Rip van Wrinkle
Rip van Wrinkle's picture

Cut the 'hate speech'! Vertically challenged is the term I believe.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:38 | 4403749 pods
pods's picture

I was always partial to dwarf.  As in dwarfism, the proper way to describe a midget.

Or maybe it was because in AD&D and fantasy gaming, dwarves tended to be fascinated with mining, gems and precious metals.



Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:42 | 4403772 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

They are breeding a dwarf,

But they aren't done yet.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:59 | 4403837 BandGap
BandGap's picture

She had gray-green skin, a doll with a pin

I told her she was all right, but I couldn't come in.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:00 | 4403843 jon dough
jon dough's picture

UR, BG...


FZ = +1

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:54 | 4403788 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I was always partial towards the dark elves myself. We started playing way back when they came out with the first modules in th seventies. We kept that game going for a good twenty years. Then off and on for several more years before it finally petered out.Every once in a while I'll get a phone call from one of the group wanting to get together and play.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:04 | 4403849 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture


(OK, I played, too way back when.  But 20 years you kept a game going??  Holy cow!  Usually we had people quit the instant their favorite character got killed.)

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:05 | 4403869 pods
pods's picture

<fumbles around for the DM guide>

Guilty as well.  And the funny thing was, none of us committed suicide or sacrificed a virgin.


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:06 | 4403880 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Yet, pods.  YET.

We still have our eye on you.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:04 | 4403876 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Hey I resemble that remark.

And yes we went to plenty of Star Trek conventions too ;->

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:09 | 4404167 ParkAveFlasher
ParkAveFlasher's picture


(19th level Monk with Quivering Palm + 23rd level Paladin in Full Plate, 18/100)

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:48 | 4404299 DontGive
DontGive's picture

I second that!


<While secretly thinking of all the days down the drain spent on Evercrack>

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:41 | 4403754 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

Hey, we are talking of people who play "dwarf-tossing" during lunch breaks, so it is more than appropriate to mention the corresponding speech. Fuck "political correctness" - that is just meant to let the words of truth vanish forever - and the thoughts with 'em!

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:42 | 4403763 superflex
superflex's picture

Yeah, and you cant call the handicapped handicapped unless you are a handicapped parking sign.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:33 | 4403723 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Nice... :-)

Meanwhile it is clear that we are playing in the theater of the AB-surd.

I had a thought that warmed the cockles of my heart, thought fellow ZHers would appreciate it:

Looking back at the moment global de-coupling actually occured will be a really intense feeling, so much energy invested into it, all exploding at that moment. And it will be a moment, a shot fired across some bow.


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:52 | 4403812 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

Dats raciss

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:29 | 4403695 DavrosoftheDaleks
DavrosoftheDaleks's picture

Question, which is most real:

Santa Claus

Easter Bunny

ADP Jobs Number

China's GDP

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:53 | 4403820 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

Something keeps crapping on my porch floor so I'm going it Easter Bunny.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:31 | 4403711 takeaction
takeaction's picture

This thing is going to crash and burn so hard...I can just feel the fed panic.  Gold and Silver shoot up, they smack it down.  The Stock Market starts to collapse and they "Buy".  This is a shit storm that they can not continue to fake for long.  Look at all of the numbers.  It is incredible.  

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:38 | 4403750 madbraz
madbraz's picture

The ramp-uptre this morning at 8:45 and incredible reversal in the long-bond (up over 4 basis points on nothing, from oversold to overbought in less than 10 minutes) is a sight to behold.  All hail the manipulator-in-chief.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:34 | 4403724 Rukeysers Ghost
Rukeysers Ghost's picture

This is just proof positive that racism still exist and the 3/5ths law is alive and well.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:35 | 4403727 alfred b.
alfred b.'s picture


      ....a nudged number!?!?!?    omg, how can this have happened in this age of honesty & reliability!!!


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:02 | 4403848 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Well, Ohomo did say that this would be the most transparent administration in history.

And,'s become quite transparent that this administration is the most corrupt and evil administration in history.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 16:00 | 4405069 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

So, you work in the Whitehouse, then? :>D

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:34 | 4403729 youngman
youngman's picture

Yeah but the hard part is setting the have to know what you are doing to pick a number out of the air....

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:35 | 4403734 Save_America1st
Save_America1st's picture

Maybe the -12,000 manufacturing jobs lost were the seasonal jobs of Santa's Elves who are now off the payroll but livin' large on EBT lobster and Fanta Grape

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:41 | 4403759 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Back off, Save.  Fanta can be had for some 59 cents/3 litre mega-bottle (with the Bloomberg-endorsed extra-wide cap for family-sized pouring).  One can clear out an aisle of Grape and Orange, grab some T-bones, and still have plenty left on the SNAP card for a carton of Newports.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:28 | 4404236 mccvilb
mccvilb's picture

Anyone else notice 2-Liter cola was suddenly A-merry-canized and Obamasized into two quart bottles over the weekend? A mere 10.7 % shrinkage. Okay, deflation. I get it now. And with 8.50/lb hamburger hitting supermarket shelves it leads one to wonder wth's in that mystery meat they're serving up down at the corner McD's?

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:59 | 4403836 TheReplacement
TheReplacement's picture

I want some grape drink baby.  Mmm.  It's purple.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:39 | 4403737 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

maybe he has just strange working hours?






it's possible right?

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:38 | 4403740 Truther
Truther's picture

These fuckers better start run like their asses are on fire. If these numbers were rounded up on this report by an "arm and a leg", what happened to all the previous reports? Is it asses and dicks that were rounded up?

Fuck'em all. This is bull shit.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:36 | 4403741 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Give 'em a break, Tyler; they don't teach =round(x,0) at the University of Phoenix.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:36 | 4404003 PT
PT's picture

... and the people that do know how to do "=round(x,0)" are all unemployed.  Can't hire people if they're too smart - they might start thinking.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:49 | 4404049 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You mean stuff like this:

=IF(VLOOKUP('Payroll-Data'!$O$2,'Work Hours'!$B$4:$U$65,6),VLOOKUP('Payroll-Data'!$O$2,'Work Hours'!$B$4:$U$65,6),"")

or like this


or manybe this


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 13:06 | 4404327 Major Major Major
Major Major Major's picture

If you have not saved your workbook lately, please remember to hit Alt + F + X + N

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:38 | 4403751 SMC
SMC's picture

Always Doing Poorly,
Attempting Desired Points,
Appeasing Dictator-President,
Adjusting Davos Playpen.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:39 | 4403753 Zero Sledge
Zero Sledge's picture





Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:43 | 4403756 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

BFD, they don't format their cells to have a fixed number of significant figures and no doubt they perform a statistical sampling...

This is supposed to be a big AHA moment???

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:47 | 4403782 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



You also think it's irrelevant when the fuzzy math that "proves" your hocus-pocus global warming is exposed, right?

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:54 | 4403822 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Just becuase you cannot understand it doesn't make it wrong...

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:04 | 4403875 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

I wish someone would turn on the Gobal Warming button cause I'm freezing my ass off up here in the Northeast.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:14 | 4403910 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You clearly don't remember the winters back in the 70's and 80's, do you?

Here is the daily differences from long term averages:

Colder than normal out in the NW and Plains but the Arctic and Alaska definately have a fever... NE USA looks pretty normal to me...

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:42 | 4404027 mijev
mijev's picture

Im sure you're very clever. Just not intelligent. Im sure you also believe in god becuase you seem to ignore science at will. no problem, the world needs religious people so that the rest of us can feel superior as fuck. Religion, whether it be in the form of a bible, quran, or agw is a great way to keep suckers under the thumb. 

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:46 | 4404057 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


Sun, 02/09/2014 - 23:43 | 4404285 Boxed Merlot
Boxed Merlot's picture

Just not intelligent. Im sure you also believe in god becuase you seem to ignore science at will…



It’s a shame most persons of faith believe their faith precedes regeneration, because it allows persons like yourself to rightfully feel superior.  Historical and traditional Christianity recognizes regeneration must precede faith otherwise we make God a liar.  True faith is based on reason and intellect combined with the knock down realization of the existence of and by our common Creator.  Until then, it’s all show.




Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:13 | 4403898 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture



Yeah, I'm sure you can teach me about statistics.  We've had that discussion before - perhaps the pummeling I delivered to you was so severe that you cannot even recall it.  Perhaps if you could learn to spell first...

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 13:23 | 4403931 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Please do elaborate on the statistics lesson you gave me, I am all ears...

edit:  <crickets>.....

edit2 : Still waiting, what's the matter? Cat got your tongue? 

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:48 | 4403786 css1971
css1971's picture

Fun and profit with extrapolation.

This is when we discover that rather than actually going out and doing any leg work, they just phone round a couple of local businesses and then extrapolate to the moon. Systemic error be damned.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:56 | 4403832 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Even if they asked 10% of businesses, that would be a lot of legwork...

And yes, one never discusses systematic errors in economic data for very good reasons....

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:16 | 4403908 adr
adr's picture

Or how about we just forget about reporting on employment numbers completely. The only thing it is good for is insider fucks frontrunning the market to make more unearned income.

The number is completely made up and serves no purpose. 

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:50 | 4403803 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

Agree. I looked at the sheet and there is no way to determine what they are doing from that alone.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:03 | 4403856 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

You should not be performing statistical sampling when you have a population because you already know the true value. 

Statistical sampling is for making an estimate of a true value. They are using actual payroll data.

From the site:

"The ADP National Employment Report provides a monthly snapshot of U.S. nonfarm private sector employment based on actual transactional payroll data. - See more at:"

I do not know how they construct their "snapshot" but if it was based on sampling, then they should be listing some kind of confidence interval, standard deviation, etc.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:04 | 4403872 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

? Classification by industry and size class based on the North American Industrial 

Classification system (NAICS) 

? Creation of matched pairs for employment during the pay period including the 12th of 

the month 

? Seasonal adjustment 

? Removal of outliers 

? Adjustments are made to match the industry and size distribution to the Quarterly 

Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) industry and size data reported each 


? Regressions are run to predict the current month’s BLS number by industry 

? These are then aggregated to derive the growth in total nonfarm private employment 

? Industry, size and total growth rate estimates are then converted into differences. 

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:13 | 4403883 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

The regression could produce the decimal points.

Edit: Or the distribution adjustments. Or the seasonal adjustments.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:43 | 4403761 Smegley Wanxalot
Smegley Wanxalot's picture




Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:34 | 4403995 Woodhippie
Woodhippie's picture

Great post Smegs ....

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:45 | 4403780 gwar5
gwar5's picture

ADP is so busted.

But doesn't matter anymore coz won't be reported. If the book burner MSM can burn the books on Benghazi, IRS, and the NSA, they can burn all the data, too.


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:47 | 4403784 orangedrinkandchips
orangedrinkandchips's picture



Goebbels would be soooooo proud (he's propaganda minister of the 3rd riech fyi)

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:49 | 4403798 CheapBastard
CheapBastard's picture

I hate Goalseeking. Goalseeking makes my brain hurt.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:53 | 4403807 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture


We call that padding.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:53 | 4403817 Blano
Blano's picture

Help me out here folks.

I despise fake numbers as much as anyone else, but isn't the ADP number a sample, just like govvie's number?  And if it's a sample, wouldn't this be expected?  Or do they claim to count real people?

Admittedly I don't have time right now to give it much thought, but some enlightenment would be nice.  Thanks.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:57 | 4403834 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Yes... that is exactly the point...

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:10 | 4403887 adr
adr's picture

The problem is the media claims it is a real number and people say things like, "The economy added 175k jobs in January", which is a total lie. A representative sample is supposed to be close to the real number. If it isn't then there is sonething wrong with the sample.

The economy never adds jobs in January because seasonal people are laid off. The job losses are always in the millions. To make the claim that jobs were added is a blatant lie. So instead of telling people the truth thwy seasonally adjust the data so fewer job losses means jobs were created.

If I just made my own report and said that 152k jobs were added in January I would have the same credibility as ADP and the BLS.

There is no getting around the fact that fewer people are working than this time last year. You didn't add jobs if the total number of people employed is less.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:58 | 4403841 Bryan
Bryan's picture

Simple answer.  Because they don't get paid well unless they meet their leaders' expectations.  Follow the money to find the pot of goal.  ;-)

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:01 | 4403844 adr
adr's picture

I know an old veteran at Walmart that has no legs that works as a greeter. I've seen a few one armed cashiers.

It is amazing that these people are working instead of sitting at home collecting a disability check. Oh I forgot, they probably couldn't get disability because they have an actual disability.

I asked the guy with no legs if he wants to beat the non-disabled people that park in the handicap spots senseless. He said don't tempt me. I told him I could go let the air out of thier tires. He said he'd swear he didn't see anything.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:01 | 4403853 Its Only Rock N Roll
Its Only Rock N Roll's picture

ADP = All Data Phony

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:50 | 4403889 Cthonic
Cthonic's picture


Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:13 | 4403903 lordylord
lordylord's picture

The only numbers Americans care about are the odds for next years Superbowl.  Sad.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:17 | 4403919 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

The goalseek is pretty easy to spot -- "Fed Tapers" -- "Tapering is BAD" -- must get lower number to slow down taper...

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:30 | 4403965 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

It's too bad because in theory the ADP numbers could be very helpful, sort of "straight from the horse's mouth" kind of data. But then there is that whole Federal Reserve thing, you know, the bridge between the State and the Corporate world. Also known as fascism.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:41 | 4404029 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Is that the bridge those bankers are suiciding* from?

*(suiciding 1. Verb. The word one uses when they do not know if a person killed themselves or they were murdered and it was set up to look like suicide.)

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 11:32 | 4403983 buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

nine decimal places. lulz

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:48 | 4404298 Eastwood
Eastwood's picture

If a company takes multiple surveys they can derive a fraction using an average across those surveys. Though it's fair to doubt ADP's committment to accuracy, or any of these reports, you still have to understand how surveys are taken and why a fraction may show up.

'<<< go ahead, click down.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 13:42 | 4404412 Dewey Cheatum Howe
Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Some more background on this since wikipedia actually does a good job of explaining it in layman terms.

In computing, goal seeking is the ability to calculate backward to obtain an input that would result in a given output. This can also be called what-if analysis or back-solving. It can either be attempted through trial and improvement or more logical means. Basic goal seeking functionality is built into most modern spreadsheet packages such as Microsoft Excel.

According to O'Brien and Marakas,[1] optimization analysis is a more complex extension of goal-seeking analysis. Instead of setting a specific target value for a variable, the goal is to find the optimum value for one or more target variables, given certain constraints. Then one or more other variables are changed repeatedly, subject to the specified constraints, until you discover the best values for the target variables.


When reading these numbers on these rigged reports keep the idea of optimization analysis aka what is important to national policy and what variables in the report are most likely to be a target variable in mind when trying to decipher the magic tricks they use to rig the numbers.

Wed, 02/05/2014 - 17:24 | 4405526 jefferson32
jefferson32's picture

Has anyone looked at the xls? All the figures in there are to the 10th+ decimal (including the percentage numbers).

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