The Associated Press and Reuters are probably two of the guiltiest parties in seemingly being shocked, shocked by continual bad economic news by their continual use of "unexpectedly" when reporting out on higher unemployment, lower GDP figures and rising home foreclosure rates.
It begs one to ask: "Have not these guys been paying attention?" and "Just what is it about porkaholic Keynesian gimmickry that would lead them to believe it is going to turn the economy around?"
So we must give credit where credit is due to the multi-colored fishwrap USA TODAY for their headline:
As expected, August auto sales crater
Comparison with last year skewed by cash for clunkers
We were so overcome with emotion upon seeing that headline and sub-headline we almost broke down in tears. Tears of joy, friends, tears of joy.
Car and truck sales dropped sharply in August from a year ago, the result of a massive hangover from last August's cash-for-clunkers federal rebate fiesta that made it the best car sales month of 2009.
Industrywide sales were down 21% from last August, to 997,468, the worst August total since 1983, according to Ward's AutoInfoBank. The month's seasonally adjusted annualized sales rate of 11.47 million, however, put it about on par with the sales rate through most of this year.
Toyota was one of the biggest losers, with sales cratering 34%. It had been one of the biggest beneficiaries of last year's stimulus program, with many consumers opting to use their $4,500 rebate on Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Sales of Corolla, one of its top cash-for-clunkers cars, fell by more than half.
Federal rebate fiesta? Somebody at USA TODAY is having too good of a time.
Sales will continue to putter along at an anemic pace for the foreseeable future, several auto executives said on conference calls to discuss August sales. There is little on the horizon to persuade customers to come back to showrooms, they say.
Emily Kolinski Morris, Ford senior U.S. economist, noted there's little to support optimism in economic data on consumer confidence, jobless claims and other indicators: The data show "lower momentum for auto sales the next three to six months."
Recession-battered consumers are saving more, she said, which will hurt sales in the near future.
Don Esmond, Toyota's senior vice president for sales, said the company is continuing its relatively generous incentives program through September to keep customers in showrooms. But Toyota senses customers are more interested these days in saving than buying a new car, he said.
"It's understandable why consumers keep putting off major purchases," he said.
But he doesn't think the government should bring back another major car-buying stimulus program. "I think the best thing for the industry is consistent growth brought from real demand, not stimulus brought into the marketplace," he said.
Unlike the broader main stream media, it would appear that auto execs and the writers at USA TODAY expected Cash for Clunkers to distort the market just as it has.
And perhaps when the rest of the media takes off its "O"-colored glasses, they'll realize that there is nothing unexpected happening to the economy whatsoever.