January 30, 2015

4Q14 GDP: An Annualized 2.6%, Badly Trailing Expectations of 3.0% to 3.6%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:15 am

Predictions for GDP growth during the fourth quarter are running from the New York Posts’s John Crudele’s annualized 3.2 percent to 3.6 percent at Seeking Alpha.

Recent data would make you think that today’s figure might trail the range just noted, but the past two quarters’ GDP figures averaging 4.8 annualized growth seem disconnected from the underlying reality, making predictions at this point a crapshoot.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

8:25 a.m.: Well, well … Bloomberg is carrying a 3 percent prediction. Business Insider also has the 3 percent prediction, which will, per them, be driven by an annualized 4 percent increase in consumption.

HERE IT IS (permanent full text link): Bloomberg’s late writedown to 3 percent turns out to have been a harbinger of a poorer result, and I guess the meme be that federal government “austerity” ruined everything —

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 percent.

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP growth in the fourth quarter primarily reflected an upturn in imports, a downturn in federal government spending, and decelerations in nonresidential fixed investment and in exports that were partly offset by an upturn in private inventory investment and an acceleration in PCE.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, decreased 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of 1.4 percent in the third. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 0.7 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6 percent.

Excuse me, but that 0.3% deflator is more than a little hard to take.

Here’s

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Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (013015)

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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January 29, 2015

NewsBusted (012715)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 1:36 pm

Here we go:

Topics:
– Obama Up in the Polls
– Military Disapproves of Obama
– Boy Lies about Heaven
– IRS Budget Cuts
– Dartmouth Cheating Scandal
– ISIS
– College Reading Levels
– Colorado Virus

Best Lines:

  • “Readers were disappointed to learn that a boy who once claimed to have died and visited heaven recanted his story. Meanwhile, the man who promised us heaven is still sticking with his story.”
  • “The quality of service at the IRS continues to deteriorate due to budget cuts. The IRS warns it may not even have the revenue necessary to adequately harass the Tea Party.”
  • “A third of Americans disapprove of how President Obama is handling ISIS. The other two-thirds didn’t know that he was handling ISIS.”
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Welcome to the New, Sickening Normal

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:21 pm

So they’ve had six years to recover from the recession and get the economy on track, and this is what we get:

RealGDP2015andFd

The bar-lowerers in Washington and in the press, who would never accept it coming from a non-leftist administration, are simply letting CBO’s published assumption that we’re doomed to annual GDP growth of barely above 2 percent as far as the eye can see slide by virtually without comment.

News Flash: Despite CBO’s predictions, the chances that household incomes will ever recover if growth really ends up being that tepid for that long are very low.

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Initial Unemployment Claims (012914); 265K SA, Lowest Since 2000; NSA Claims Down 22% From Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:37 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending January 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 265,000, a decrease of 43,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since April 15, 2000 when it was 259,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 307,000 to 308,000. The 4-week moving average was 298,500, a decrease of 8,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 306,500 to 306,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 280,237 in the week ending January 24, a decrease of 102,358 (or -26.8 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 57,297 (or -15.0 percent) from the previous week. There were 357,806 initial claims in the comparable week in 2014.

Of course, this result blew away expectations of 300,000.

The seasonal adjustment factor this year (105.6) was reasonably close to the one used during the comparable week last year (103.7).

The news is very good, and comes at a time, given other developments, when we could use some.

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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (012915)

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: Women Affected by Abortion Share Heartfelt Stories at March for Life

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

From Washington, via Kristine Marsh and Katie Yoder at NewsBusters (video at link; bolds and internal links are theirs):

January 28, 2015 | 3:02 PM EST

Every year the media ignore the thousands who gather on the National Mall to celebrate life – in 2015, an estimated 200,000 gathered and ABC and NBC refused to acknowledge the March for Life. While conservative and religious organizations covered the annual event, one story that is often untold is the personal. This year, MRC Culture’s Katie Yoder spoke with six women eager to share their stories of heartbreak and hope on the other side of abortion – the perspectives the media want to censor.

Mary Rathke, a pro-life speaker who was conceived through rape, had some strong words for the pro-life movement: “Even those in the pro-life movement think it’s OK to abort me. Because I hear all the time, ‘I’m pro-life, except in the case of rape.’ I’m really hearing, ‘I’m pro-life, except in the case of Mary Rathke.”

“Just because my father was a rapist doesn’t mean I don’t deserve life,” she said.

Another woman, Travon Clifton, was pro-choice, until she found out that she too was conceived through rape. “Up until that point I did not know … in High School, I was actually pro-choice. I used to write papers about that – a woman’s right to choose.”

But, “I realized that when I was supporting the exception, I was consenting to my own death.”

Others told of their experiences of being raped and choosing not to have an abortion. In light of the recent fallout over the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (which would have banned abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of reported rape), many women at the march wanted to assert that life was still worth defending, even amidst the trauma of rape.

Marisol Guzman was one who chose to have her baby despite going through the traumatic ordeal of being drugged and raped by a stranger. “Do I regret what happened? Yes. But was it also the greatest thing that happened to me? Yes.” …

Go here for the rest of the post.

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January 28, 2015

Bloomberg Celebrates Dec. Spike in New-Home Sales, Despite Record of Downward Revisions

If someone fools you once, shame on them. If they fool you with the same trick a second time, shame on you. If they “fool” you a third time — well, you must be in on it.

That’s my take on Bloomberg News’s virtually euphoric reaction to yesterday’s new-home sales release from the Census Bureau. The wire service’s Shobhana Chandra celebrated how seasonally adjusted December sales were at “the highest level in more than six years.” The problem is that the bureau reported the same development two other times in 2014, only to see each improvement disappear in subsequent revisions. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

(more…)

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Recovery ‘Blame It on the Rest of the World’ Watch: Durable Goods Orders Plunge, Again

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:25 pm

From Bloomberg News via the Chicago Tribune yesterday:

Orders for capital goods drop for fourth straight month

Orders for business equipment unexpectedly fell in December for a fourth month, signaling a global growth slowdown is weighing on American companies.

Bookings for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft dropped 0.6 percent for a second month, data from the Commerce Department showed Tuesday in Washington. Demand for all durable goods — items meant to last at least three years — declined 3.4 percent, the worst performance since August.

Slackening demand from Europe and some emerging markets is probably weighing on orders, making companies less willing to invest in new equipment. At the same time, brightening American consumer attitudes are leading to gains in purchases of big-ticket items such as automobiles and appliances that can ripple through the economy and underpin manufacturing.

“It’s a broad-range weakness,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, who is the second-best forecaster of capital goods orders for the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It likely reflects some of the weakness in some other parts of the world.”

Also (not reported at Bloomberg, but noted at the Associated Press), November was revised down to a 2.1 percent drop from the previously reported. 0.9 percent. That’s a compounded 5.4 percent drop (.979 x .966) in two months.

But of course, none of this has to do with weakness here in the U.S. It’s the rest of the world that’s dragging us down. (/sarc).

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Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (012815)

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: Why She Marched — A Mom’s Story of Raising Her Daughter With Down Syndrome

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington (video at link):

January 23, 2015

For Eileen and Sadie Haupt, this year’s March for Life, centered around the theme “Every Life is a Gift,” held special meaning.

During her pregnancy with Sadie, her second daughter, doctors asked Eileen if she wanted to undergo prenatal testing to see if her child had any health issues. Just as she had done with her first child, Eileen, who was then 39, opted out.

But when Eileen held Sadie in her arms for the first time after giving birth, she noticed something slightly different about her child when looking into her eyes. Sadie’s eyes were puffy, and in her head, Eileen told herself that her newborn had Down Syndrome.

“It’s not to say that it wasn’t emotional—it was emotional at times. But we just adapted pretty well, I think,” Eileen told The Daily Signal.

When Sadie was an infant, Eileen stumbled upon a statistic that said 90 percent of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted.

That moved her to action.

She and another mother of a child with Down Syndrome, Leticia Velasquez, started the group Keeping Infants with Down Syndrome in 2008 to raise awareness about the abortion rate of babies with the disorder. They come to Washington, D.C., every year to participate in the March for Life.

“We really felt there needed to be a presence in the march for families who have children with special needs, and in our case Down Syndrome,” Eileen said.

And this year was no different.

More than 15 parents and their children traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to March with KIDS and the hundreds of thousands of other attendees.

Though they, too, came from across the country, the families bonded with one another over their experiences with Down Syndrome. At the March, blue and yellow balloons traveled with the group as a symbol of their efforts to raise awareness about the disorder. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

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January 27, 2015

Al Gore, Felipe Calderon Want to Spend $90 Trillion to Save the Earth

Ever since the publication “Earth in the Balance” in 1992, we’ve seen the press minimize the public’s exposure to the more outrageous ideas and quotes emanating from former Vice President Al Gore.

Concerning that original book, Gore’s statement that “The internal combustion engine is the greatest enemy of mankind” and his contention that it could and be eliminated in 25 years are hardly known by anyone besides his fevered supporters and attentive opponents. Apparently wishing to rush his timetable for taking everyone out of their cars, Gore, in an idea barely noticed even in the business press, proposed spending $90 trillion — that’s right, trillion — for such an enterprise. After the jump, readers will see how he wants to do it.
(more…)

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Virtually Unreported: Unionized Percentage of Workforce Is at an Over 100-Year Low

On Friday, Melissa Quinn at the Daily Signal, after the release of the government’s “Union Members — 2014″ report, uniquely observed that the unionized percentage of the public- and private sector nonagricultural wage and salary U.S. workforce had reached “its lowest rate in 100 years.” From what I can tell in web and news searches, despite the fact that virtually any 100-year record is ordinarily considered newsworthy, no major establishment press outlet has reported what Quinn found.

The report from Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statisics claims that 1983 is “the first year for which comparable union data are available.” Perhaps, but there is data available going back much further, and it has been used occasionally in previous media reports. That data also indicates that private-sector union membership is at its lowest point since the turn of the century — from the 19th to the 20th century, that is.

(more…)

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Congratulations, Karl Rove: You Deserve This

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:16 pm

Rove, on Election Night 2012, followed by Fox News’s Megyn Kelly going down to the networks’ “decision desk” folks to confirm their “Obama won Ohio” call:

Comedienne Kathleen Madigan, as she ridicules Don Lemon’s “Bizzardmobile” in blizzard-free New York City, with an apt comparison (tweet links here and here; HT Twitchy):

MadiganRoveSnowTweets012714

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Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (012715)

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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