Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Numeracy again - "up to" 2 million

While on the subject of numeracy and statistical literacy, I notice that there's a Reuters news story today saying that:

"President Barack Obama's emergency spending measures last year saved up to 2 million U.S. jobs".

Saved "up to" 2 million jobs?

So they could have saved just 1 or 2 jobs, then. Or none.

This is, of course, not a comment about the Obama administration but about how figures and stats can be misused. I don't know if the quote was verbatim or if it was the reporter who phrased it as "up to".

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