Caroline Baum in Bloomberg View on the meaning of jobs numbers News that the economy had added only 120,000 jobs in March yielded speculation that the recovery was stalling. But Baum reminds us that every month the BLS report notes that there's a "confidence interval" of plus or minus 100,000 in their figures. "Translation: From a statistical point of view, an increase of 120,000, 220,000 or 20,000 is pretty much the same. But oh what a difference it makes in our world of snapshot analysis!" Baum writes. The monthly reports are subject to "noise," or variations in weather, holiday dates, and other random factors that affect employment cycles. We should listen to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner when he admits the March numbers are undesirable, but not terribly meaningful, and signs continue to point to a solid recovery. "He's right. Take a step back, take a deep breath and look at the big picture."
Margaret Talbot in The New Yorker on the women's vote Talbot argues that the "war on women" has been exaggerated by the Democrats, but also too quickly dismissed by Republicans. "There has always been a tension in catering to the women's vote, and, indeed, in feminism: part of what women want, understandably, is to be treated like anybody else ... they also want, just as understandably, an acknowledgement that they are sometimes treated differently and unfairly ...The trouble with Romney’s gambit was not that he tried to change the subject, but how he did it." Romney focused on the jobs lost under Obama by women, but he ignores the fact that many women vote Democrat not because of social issues, but because they've always sympathized with big government types on the economic ones. "Romney can tell women voters that he shares their concerns about the economy, but caring is not the same as agreeing on what to do about it," she writes.