Tag Archives: Rochester Business Journal

RJB.net Declares “Confidence Rises,” Ignores Wider Trends

The Rochester Business Journal online edition is currently declaring that the Sienna Research Institute study shows consumer confidence in the Rochester area is up. Sounds good. Unfortunately, the actual numbers are considerably less rosy. Confidence (which is actually three separate indexes, Current, Future and Overall) is only up about two percent from last quarter depending on the index that you look at. And while the current index is up even from the same time last year, the overall trend over the last four years has been down, down, down she goes. And the state average is less confident than even the national average.

But rather than waste time with silly reports that whitewash reality, perhaps the RBJ could better use its time actually digging into the numbers and reporting the facts.

If Consumer Confidence Falls in the Woods, Does it Make a Sound?

Just a bit of silliness for the end of a Friday: Velvet Spicer at the Rochester Business Journal reports that consumer confidence in Rochester is skyrocketing!!! Why it rose a whole point from last month:

Overall confidence in upstate—which includes current and future confidence—was 53.4 in November, compared with 49.5 in October and 67.7 a year ago.

You have to ask yourself: in a pool as small as respondents to a poll concerning Upstate, how small does a change need to be before it’s disregarded as statistical noise? In other words, is a one percent change in such a small pool of data a genuine change or just a reflection of the variations that are normal with an opinion poll?

Think about it: if they asked 800 people what they thought of the economy, one percent of respondents would only be eight people! How is this statistically significant in any way?

Help Me Win a Web Award!

The Rochester Business Journal is conducting it’s Best of the Web award nominations, and you can nominate your favourite Progressive Politics web page in Rochester (hint, hint) right here! I think we all know there’s very little chance of DFE actually winning this award, but what the heck? And wouldn’t that be a hoot if we got it?

Note that on question number 3, “what kind of website is this?” you’ll want to put down government/community, since that’s as close to a proper choice as they’ve got listed.


Weird Editorializing in the RBJ

Figure this one out:

In September and the first half of October 2005, would-be bankruptcy filers locally and across the country clogged bankruptcy clerks’ offices as they raced to file petitions in time to beat a midnight Oct. 17 deadline when the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act took effect. Long sought by the banking and credit card industries, the 2005 act put tighter restrictions on bankruptcy filers.
After it became law, filings here and across the country fell precipitously and only gradually climbed back to pre-reform levels.

Doesn’t seem to have all that much to do with the article at hand, which is simply reporting that there is a slight up-tick in bankruptcy filings in Rochester. And if I’m reading it correctly, doesn’t it basically sound like it’s trumpeting the success of the Backruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, while in the second half of the last sentence, conceding that the panic that law caused only temporarily effected any change? Kind of like saying “I slapped my kid a good one. And boy, it took him a long time to forget about it. But he did.”

Maybe Will Astor aught to leave the editorializing to the editorial page.

RBJ Snap Poll: Should the Devil “Tempt Men’s Souls?”

You gotta hand it to the Rochester Business Journal: when they spin, they spin like a top.

The RBJ’s latest snap poll asks whether the government should “distribute wealth,” a phrase which is loaded with meaning well beyond any objective curiosity.  Well, geeze!  How many people are going to say “no” to this question without even considering any specific connotation?

It should really go without saying that taxation is inherently a form of wealth distribution.  I don’t think those who said “no” to this question necessarily thought that they’d be saying “no” to a standing army, but they are.