来源：上外培训网 发布时间：2015-08-14 作者：
The month of January offered those who track the ups and downs of the U.S. economy 92 significant data releases and announcements to digest. That's according to a calendar compiled by the investment bank UBS. The number doesn't include corporate earnings, data from abroad or informal indicators like, say, cardboard prices (a favorite of Alan Greenspan's back in the day).It was not always thus. "One reads with dismay of Presidents Hoover and then Roosevelt designing policies to combat the Great Depression of the 1930s on the basis of such sketchy data as stock price indices, freight car loadings, and incomplete indices of industrial production," writes the University of North Carolina's Richard Froyen in his macroeconomics textbook.
But that was then. The Depression inspired the creation of new measures like gross domestic product. (It was gross national product back in those days, but the basic idea is the same.) Wartime planning needs and advances in statistical techniques led to another big round of data improvements in the 1940s. And in recent decades, private firms and associations aiming to serve the investment community have added lots of reports and indexes of their own. Taken as a whole, this profusion of data surely has increased our understanding of the economy and its ebb and flow. It doesn't seem to have made us any better at predicting the future, though; perhaps that would be too much to ask. But what is troubling at a time like this, with the economy on everyone's mind, is how misleading many economic indicators can be about the present.
第二段开头用时间状语进行了对比： that was then… in recent decades…but what is troubling at a time like this…到这里，文章的铺垫部分才最终结束，主题清楚的展开：本文论述的是how misleading many economic indicators can be about the PRESENT.即经济指标对经济现状有多大的误导作用?在这里，作者明确指出，指标的确有误导性。
Consider GDP.In October, the Commerce Department announced — to rejoicing in the media, on Wall Street and in the White House — that the economy had grown at a 3.5% annual pace in the third quarter. By late December, GDP had been revised downward to a less impressive 2.2%, and revisions to come could ratchet it down even more (or revise it back up). The first fourth-quarter GDP stimate comes out Jan. 29. Some are saying it could top 5%. If it does, should we really believe it?
Or take jobs. In early December, the Labor Department's monthly report surprised on the upside — and brought lots of upbeat headlines — with employers reporting only 11,000 jobs lost and the unemployment rate dropping from 10.2% to 10%. A month later, the surprise was in the other direction — unemployment had held steady, but employers reported 85,000 fewer jobs. Suddenly the headlines were downbeat, and pundits were pontificating about the political implications of a stalled labor market. Chances are, the disparity between the two reports was mostly statistical noise. Those who read great meaning into either were deceiving themselves. It is a classic case of information overload making it hard to see the trends and patterns that matter. In other words, we might be better off paying less (or at least less frequent) attention to data.
以上两段中，举了两个很详细的例子：GDP 与就业问题。分别除了两个题目，都属于例子功能题。其中一题问：关于GDP的不同数据说明什么?从上文的misleading 一词可以看出，应该说明的是数据经常是not convincing 或not reliable.