July 7, 2015

How Convenient: AP’s Rugaber Changes Post-Jobs Report Assessment of Employment Market From ‘Nearing Full Health’ to ‘Mixed’

This post will document wnat transpired at the Associated Press on Thursday before and just after the release of the government’s employment report. It should be a humiliating lesson to its business and economics writers. One would hope that they might learn to concentrate solely on discerning and accurately reporting the relevant facts, and to leave the analysis to others. (I know; fat chance.)

As will be seen after the jump, several hours before that jobs report, the AP’s Christopher Rugaber was all ready to pronounce the job market as “nearing full health,” basing his bizarre assessment largely on “a surge in people looking for work” (reports referenced at this post have been saved at my host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine throughout this post):

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The Ohio Legislature Had Better Stop This …

Filed under: Consumer Outrage,Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:00 pm

… or it will spread like wildfire:

University of Akron’s juniors and seniors will pay 12 percent more despite tuition freeze

The University of Akron is boosting the annual cost of most juniors and seniors by 12 percent despite a state-imposed ban on tuition increases at public universities.

UA officials on Monday described the $50-per-credit-hour charge on 300- and 400-level courses as a new fee rather than a tuition increase, but at least one student accused the school of trying to circumvent the rules.

“From where I sit, my tuition has risen 12 percent,” UA senior Jeff Schackleton told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “This seems a little underhanded.”

The charge is tied to the number of credit hours. It’s a tuition increase on a largely captive audience, especially at this point (maybe seven weeks before classes begin), on all upperclass persons.

I don’t want to hear another word from any U of Akron officials or faculty criticizing anyone else’s business practices or ethics.

Also, there’s this:

The university also increased its facilities fee from $18.55 to $28.50 a credit hour to retire the debt incurred from new buildings, including InfoCision Stadium. The fee, capped at 12 credit hours, is assessed to students attending classes on the main campus in Akron.

The schoool also added a $75 per semester fee for students in its Honors College.

The total cost of attending Akron for juniors and seniors looks like it went up more like 14 percent if you include the facilities fee.

I also don’t want to hear another word from any of these people about individual or corporate greed. Make no mistake; part of the calculus here is that “well, they can just borrow more money, so it won’t hurt ‘em a bit.” Until later.

If the Legislature doesn’t act, it will show that there’s no control mechanism present to prevent such greed at Ohio public-sector universities. Others will follow Akron’s “lead.”

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Government’s May Trade Deficit Report Confirms Economic Malaise

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:14 pm

The thing that sticks out in today’s report on U.S. International Trade is that both exports and imports are down year-over-significantly.

As seen in Exhibit 12 at the report (not seasonally adjusted data), exports are down by about 5 percent, while imports are down by about 4 percent. The year-to-date trade imbalance through May is less than 1 percent below the first five months of last year.

The fact that both imports and exports are lower is, unfortunately, not a reflection of producing and consuming more goods and services at home. It’s a reflection, as seen in so many places I’ve identified in the past several months, that we are producing and consuming less across the board.

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070715)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

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Positivity: Red Skelton’s ‘Pledge of Allegiance’

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:00 am

Classic:

Transcript (idea HT to Warner Todd Huston):

“I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester,” said Mr. Laswell, “and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. May I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?”

“I” — me, an individual, a committee of one.

“Pledge” — dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

“Allegiance” — my love and my devotion.

“To the flag” — our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there’s respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody’s job!
“Of the United” — that means that we have all come together.

“States of America” — individual communities that have united into 48 great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose; all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that’s love for country.

“And to the republic” — a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

“For which it stands, one nation” — one nation, meaning “so blessed by
God.”

“Indivisible” — incapable of being divided.

“With liberty” — which is freedom — the right of power to live one’s own
life without threats, fear or some sort of retaliation.

“And justice” — the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.

“For all” — which means, boys and girls, it’s as much your country as it is mine.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance… “UNDER GOD”

Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer and that would be eliminated from schools too? God Bless America!

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NewsBusted (070715)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 12:52 am

Here we go:

Topics:
– Independence Day
– President Obama
– Dukes of Hazzard
– Fidel Castro
– Bernie Sanders
– Malia Obama Birthday
– Greek Financial Crisis
– Rapper DMX

Best Lines:

  • “Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls. Wouldn’t it be amazing if this country elected two socialist presidents in a row?”
  • “A belated happy birthday to Malia Obama, who turned 17 last weekend. Sadly, Malia boycotted her own party when she learned that her mother had planned the menu.”
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July 6, 2015

Bloomberg Reporter Bases ‘Factories Making a Comeback’ Story on a Survey, Ignoring Horrible Contrary Data

As I was looking for news coverage of Thursday’s horrid factory orders report from the Census Bureau late last week, I came across an incredibly optimistic Blomberg News report by Victoria Stilwell.

The headline of her story on July 1, the day before that factory orders release, read: “Factories Making a Comeback as U.S. Domestic Demand Picks Up.” My reaction: On what planet? It turns out that Stilwell based her assessment on largely on a survey, namely the June Manufacturing Index published by the Institute for Supply Management earlier that day.

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June ISM Non-Manufacturing: 56.0 Percent, Up From 55.7 Percent in May

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:29 pm

From the Institute for Supply Management (bolds are mine; paragraph breaks added by me):

Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in June for the 65th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

… The NMI® registered 56 percent in June, 0.3 percentage point higher than the May reading of 55.7 percent. This represents continued growth in the non-manufacturing sector at a slightly faster rate.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 61.5 percent, which is 2 percentage points higher than the May reading of 59.5 percent, reflecting growth for the 71st consecutive month at a faster rate. The New Orders Index registered 58.3 percent, 0.4 percentage point higher than the reading of 57.9 percent registered in May.

The Employment Index decreased 2.6 percentage points to 52.7 percent from the May reading of 55.3 percent and indicates growth for the 16th consecutive month. The Prices Index decreased 2.9 percentage points from the May reading of 55.9 percent to 53 percent, indicating prices increased in June for the fourth consecutive month.

According to the NMI®, 15 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in June. The majority of respondents’ comments are positive about business conditions and the economy.

Unless there’s a problem in seasonal adjustments, which it isn’t raising, I can’t get excited about the small “miss” from expectations of 56.4 percent Zero Hedge has cited. 56.0 percent is a healthy expansionary reading.

The far bigger question is whether that reading reflects what’s really going on in the economy or will be going on in the economy in the near future, which is supposed to be the whole point of the exercise.

On that, given how the group’s Manufacturing Index has been continually flashing expansion while reported factory output, orders and sales have been sharply declining, it’s hard to have any confidence in ISM Non-Manufacturing Assessment.

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AP Fails to Give National Treatment to Couple’s $135K Fine For Refusing to Make an Illegal Same-Sex ‘Wedding Cake

Regardless of one’s stance on these issues, it should be obvious that if the legalization of same-sex “marriage” is a national story, the determination by the radical left and its government “civil rights” enforcers to brutally punish those who won’t support it because it violates the religious beliefs of the “offenders” should also be.

The former dominated the news last week. But the Associated Press failed to give national treatment to the arguably most outrageous instance of the latter, the $135,000 fine levied against Aaron and Melissa Klein and their now-shuttered Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery in Oregon, for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex “wedding.” The New York Times, perhaps not wishing to kill the positive buzz over the Supreme Court’s ruling last week, has not published a story at all — even though it did cover an administrative judge’s late-April finding that the couple violated Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws.

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AP Admits Obamacare Is a Likely Factor in ‘Increasing Part-Time Employment’

Though the Associated Press is now basically admitting it, we all knew it. Obamacare’s 30-hours-per-week definition of a “full-time employee” for employer health insurance coverage purposes has been responsible for one of the fundamentally negative changes in the American workforce — a noticeable move away from full-time to part-time employment.

In a report with a current Saturday morning time stamp at the AP’s national web site which originally went up on Friday, the wire service’s Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak covered the “new normal” in the job market. This writeup will receive yours truly’s fuller attention later. But for now, I must note that the pair’s report largely abandoned the AP’s and the establishment press’s years of near denial (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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Pretty Good Synopsis of the Past 13 Years in the Economy

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:30 am

Watch:

My biggest quibble is that it doesn’t lay enough blame for the mess we’re in on the $6-plus trillion in budget deficits and the $7.5 trillion increase in the national debt which have occurred since January 20, 2009, and which can be laid primarily at the feet of Barack Obama and his administration.

Oh yeah, I’ve saved the video.

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Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (070615)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

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Positivity: Jenny Oaks Baker and Condi Rice Play ‘Amazing Grace’

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

For the benefit of the Wounded Warriors Project — Watch (HT Twitchy):

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July 5, 2015

Factory Orders Dive Again; AP’s Crutsinger, As Usual, Hides Full Extent of Decline

All the attention given to the decidedly mixed employment report the government issued early Thursday morning and the ongoing debt drama in Greece overshadowed a very disappointing release on factory orders which arrived from the Census Bureau 90 minutes later.

In a cursory eight-paragraph report at the Associated Press, Martin Crutsinger relayed the basic bad news, but studiously avoided citing the kinds of statistics which might have gotten noticed on the cluttered news day. These items include but are certainly not limited to the fact that seasonally adjusted orders have declined in eight of the past ten months, that reported monthly shipments have been coming in below levels seen two years ago, and that reported monthly orders are trailing levels seen three years ago.

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Tapper Zaps Whiny Libs on Twitter: ‘Can’t Help It If Entire Democratic Field Is White’

Jake Tapper had a less than perfect outing Sunday on his “State of the Union” show as characterized Hillary Clinton’s past voting and public positions. As Tim Graham at NewsBusters reported, he called her record “fairly moderate,” and then had to backtrack. That noted, Tapper arguably won the day on Twitter, deliciously humiliating a couple of semi-prominent and uniquely annoying hard-leftists who thought they had free rein to whine over an alleged lack of “diversity” in the five major networks’ Sunday show guests.

As seen at Twitchy, one, who I will call Tweedledee, tweeted: “Featured guests on big 5 Sunday shows today (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CNN): 11 men, one woman.” The other, Tweedledum, as if on cue, chimed in about an hour later: “the problem is these shows set the agenda and guest lists are way imbalanced on race, gender.” Tapper was not amused.

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