Guess Again

February 3, 2012
Posted by Jay Livingston

Prediction is hard, especially about the future, even the very near future. The New York Times that arrived early this morning reported the wisdom of the economic crowd.

A few hours later, the Times Website had this.

February 3, 2012

U.S. Jobless Rate Falls to 8.3 Percent, a 3-Year Low

The United States economy gained momentum in January, adding 243,000 jobs, the second straight month of better-than-expected gains.
The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 [emphasis added]

The reported number was 80% higher.  The experts were off by 108,000 jobs.

Speaking of predictions,  I asked my students yesterday to predict the score of the Superbowl.  The class mean had the Giants winning 28 to 24 or 25, though no individual guess had those two numbers.  The bookmakers have it the other way – Patriots by 3.  We were closer to agreement on the under-over, which is 54 in Las Vegas, 52-53 in University Hall 3008.

If the final score is close to the class prediction, I may revise Monday’s lesson plan to include Galton and the Wisdom of Crowds (an earlier post on that is here).

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