Hiring is headed up. Hiring is headed down.
So which is it? A while back I heard two different news reports on the radio about 20 minutes apart. Both news directors referenced the announcement by ADP, our nation’s largest payroll processing firm, that 118,000 jobs were added to payrolls during the month in the survey. While both news directors cited the impact bad weather and storms, both presented the same 118,000 figure.
One announced that “Hiring is heading up” while the other said just minutes later that “Hiring is heading down.”
Since I’m assuming that an employment trend cannot actually go up and down at the same time (and if it can … well, it wouldn’t be my first mistake in print), the take-away I’ve drawn from these contradictory news reports is that ADP must have released its hiring numbers without providing a simple summary statement which placed their calculations in context.
ADP probably assumed that news directors could read over its report and be able to make accurate interpretations on their own.
I’d love poke fun at ADP – except that I know that I’ve made the exact same blunder. In far too many pieces that I’ve written for my own school district, I’ve often left the “here’s what this is all means” final paragraph dangling. Readers would figure it out. Who couldn’t? After all, doesn’t every reader in the community think like I do?
One of my former superintendents (and a great boss, btw) always insisted upon a well-clarified “frame” for every critical message. Good advice. I should heed it more. Sometimes I guess I’m too busy trying to be clever when I should be concentrating on being clear. Readers (or listeners) should not be left wondering, “So which is it?”
Am I right? If not. Which is it?