Data can often be used selectively to imply something which is not true. It is what Donald Trump would no doubt include as fake news, and certainly politicians are the grand masters of presenting information in a misleading way.
We were struck one of the recent tweets from Trump, where he proudly claimed :
“Unemployment is down to 4.1%, lowest in 17 years. 1.5 million new jobs created since I took office. Highest stock Market ever, up $5.4 trill”
It is a strong claim, and the implication is that it is his policies which have driven the change. However looking at the full results in context, the data shows that the fall in unemployment is just part of a long term trend, which began in 2010.
And the increase in the stock market – yes, it also is part of a long term trend from 2010.
The real conclusion is that the Trump administration shows no signs of having any immediate effect (good or bad) on the state of the US economy, as measured by unemployment or the stock market.
In market research, we work with data all the time and have an obligation to report information fairly and accurately. It is a good reminder to us all to think about the context of the data, and not to report selectively.