Why Do So Many Voters Consider the Economy as a Top Issue?

An increasing percentage of voters consider the economy to be a top issue in 2024 versus 2020. Is Jeff Bezos correct about statistics versus anecdotes?

Former hedge fund analyst Jeff Bezos1Mr. Bezos joined hedge fund D.E. Shaw in 1990.(he’s the guy who also founded that online eCommerce bookstore, Amazon dot com) said the following:

“The thing I have noticed is that when the anecdotes and the data disagree, the anecdotes are usually right. There is something wrong with the way that you are measuring it…”

Jeff Bezos

Russian philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand said something similar, and we paraphrase from memory:

“When in doubt, check your assumptions…because they are likely wrong.”

Ayn Rand (paraphrased)

Accordingly, when a nontrivial percentage of young, early-career people and even more “seasoned” people in their prime working age signal that the economy for quality employment opportunities is less than desirable, then the statistics used to measure quality employment opportunities are probably flawed, perhaps grossly so.

A chart, compliments of Zero Hedge via Bloomberg, of percentage of voters by age who list the economy as a top issue, 2020 versus 2024.
Chart compliments of Zero Hedge (via Bloomberg)

This is just one of many reasons why we evaluate data presented by alternative vendors such as ShadowStats (by economist John Williams)2As of summer 2023, the Good Economist stopped sharing his unemployment graphs publicly. It seems that any updated charts being referenced with attribution are exceedingly difficult to find on the Internet. That’s peculiar, actually. in addition to assessing mainstream data provided by the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

We also use a lot of scuttlebutt. Doing so helps explain why so many of our clients gain a massive competitive advantage by leveraging our opinion about opportunities and risks across various industry sectors.

Lastly, when in doubt, we also remind ourselves of this quote, even though we are not sure to whom it is attributed:

“It’s the economy, stupid!”

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