The most common error in business journalism
by Chris Roush
I read a lot of business journalism every day. It’s my job, and I love my job.
So I can say with some degree of expertise that the error in the headline on Jack Shafer‘s column about the brouhaha over the Bureau of Labor Statistics is one that I see a LOT.
Maybe not every day. But every other day? Yes.
A drop in the unemployment rate from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent is not a drop of 0.3 percent. It is a drop of 0.3 percentage points, which is how Shafer refers to the change in his column. Percent-wise, it is a 3.7 percent drop.
Too many business journalists don’t know the difference between a percentage point change and a percent change.
For shame, Reuters headline writer.