December 3, 2016

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120316)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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.


Positivity: Father Stanley Rother: The first US-born martyr

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Oklahoma City:

Dec 2, 2016 / 11:39 am

Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother, a priest of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City who served in Guatemala, making him the first martyr to have been born in the United States.

“Servant of God Fr. Stanley Rother has been approved for beatification!” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City announced on Facebook Dec. 2. “He is the first US born martyr and priest to receive this official recognition from the Vatican! And of course the first from Oklahoma!”

Pope Francis had met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Dec. 1, approving decrees for several causes of canonization.

Together with that of Fr. Rother, the Pope recognized the martyrdoms of Fr. Vicete Queralt Llloret and 20 companions, killed in the Spanish Civil War, and Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis of Kaišiadorys, a Lithuanian killed by the Soviets in 1962. Also acknowledged were a miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Giovanni Schiavo and the heroic virtue of eight Servants of God.

Fr. Rother was from the unassuming town of Okarche, Okla., where the parish, school and farm were the pillars of community life. He went to the same school his whole life and lived with his family until he left for seminary.

Surrounded by good priests and a vibrant parish life, Stanley felt God calling him to the priesthood from a young age. But despite a strong calling, Stanley would struggle in the seminary, failing several classes and even out of one seminary before graduating from Mount St. Mary’s seminary in Maryland.

Hearing of Stanely’s struggles, Sister Clarissa Tenbrick, his 5th grade teacher, wrote him to offer encouragement, reminding him that the patron of all priests, St. John Vianney, also struggled in seminary.


December 2, 2016

November 2016 Employment Situation Summary (120216); 178K Jobs Added (Seasonal Conversions Understate Strength by ~100K); Unemployment Rate at 4.6 Pct.

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:29 am


I have the not seasonally adjusted tables, but haven’t had time to create the graphic. I’ll go over how that data came in after the report’s release here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (full version with tables): a gut-reax, pending a closer look, is that the malaise indicators must have gotten a lot worse —

The unemployment rate declined to 4.6 percent in November, and total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 178,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.

Household Survey Data

In November, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.3 percentage point to 4.6 percent, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 387,000 to 7.4 million. Both measures had shown little movement, on net, from August 2015 through October 2016.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men declined to 4.3 percent in November. The rates for adult women (4.2 percent), teenagers (15.2 percent), Whites (4.2 percent), Blacks (8.1 percent), Asians (3.0 percent), and Hispanics (5.7 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs edged down by 194,000 to 3.6 million in November. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.9 million and accounted for 24.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 198,000.

The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, changed little in November, and the employment-population ratio held at 59.7 percent. These measures have shown little movement in recent months.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 178,000 in November. Thus far in 2016, employment growth has averaged 180,000 per month, compared with an average monthly increase of 229,000 in 2015. In November, employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 63,000 in November and has risen by 571,000 over the year. Over the month, accounting and bookkeeping services added 18,000 jobs. Employment continued to trend up in administrative and support services (+36,000), computer systems design and related services (+5,000), and management and technical consulting services (+4,000).

Health care employment rose by 28,000 in November. Within the industry, employment growth occurred in ambulatory health care services (+22,000). Over the past 12 months, health care has added 407,000 jobs.

Employment in construction continued on its recent upward trend in November (+19,000), with a gain in residential specialty trade contractors (+15,000). Over the past 3 months, construction has added 59,000 jobs, largely in residential construction.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in November. In manufacturing, the workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.6 hours, while overtime was unchanged at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.6 hours.

In November, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 3 cents to $25.89, following an 11-cent increase in October. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged up by 2 cents to $21.73 in November.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised up from +191,000 to +208,000, and the change for October was revised down from +161,000 to +142,000. With these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 2,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 176,000 per month.

More in a bit.

UPDATE: Here we go (figures are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated —

  • As would be expected, the civilian labor force shrunk (by 226K, 421K in the past two months), dropping the participation rate to 62.7 percent. Not in Labor Force went above 95 million, and is up by 871K in just the past two months.
  • Total employed per the Household Survey increased by 160K, but the bounceback needed to be greater because October showed a loss of 43K.
  • Full-time employment increased by only 9K (down 99K in the past three months), while part-time employment increased by 118K (up by 628K in the past three months).
  • Manufacturing employment declined by 4K, but October’s decline was revised to be smaller. This month’s total manufacturing employment figure of 12.260 million is 2K higher than last month’s figure, reducing total manufacturing losses during the Obama administration to 301K from 303K as of yesterday.
  • Retail employment dropped by 8.3K (17.2K in past two months), contradicting Mark Zandi’s Wednesday speculation that employers spent November locking in Christmas season hires. Clothing and specialty stores were down 17.6K.
  • Temporary help service employment increased another 14.3K to an all-time record 2.975 million. The raw, not seasonally adjusted figure of 3.098 million is also an all-time record.
  • The hourly pay decline was cold water in the face of people who continue to insist that wages are finally going up satisfactorily. They’re not.

Not seasonally adjusted data: This month’s seasonal conversions understate the strength of the underlying data by at least 100,000 jobs (this is why looking at the raw numbers is so important, and why everyone should do so, even though almost no one else does) —


The actual adds to total nonfarm payrolls in November were greater than each of the past two years, yet the seasonally adjusted figure is 128K lower than the average of the past two years. The difference isn’t as extreme if you go back to 2012 and 2013, but more recent years (supposedly) should carry greater weight in the seasonal conversion.

On the private-sector side, a raw increase that was 13K lower than the average of the past two years got seasonally converted to 145K lower than the average of the past two years.

But to be clear, given the slack in the labor force as reflected in the low participation metrics (as opposed to the official unemployment rate, which has gotten very hard to take seriously), the economy should be adding at least 350,000 jobs a month, so even adjusting the seasonally adjusted figures by 100,000 to about 280K for total nonfarm and 260K for the private sector isn’t sufficient improvement in the circumstances.


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120216)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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.

December 1, 2016

Hardly Known: Carrier Plant’s Workforce Is About 50 Pct. African-American, With ‘Substantial’ Number of Women

A friend told me he couldn’t wait to see the videos of crowds of cheering Carrier workers when Donald Trump arrived at the company’s plant in Indianapolis to celebrate management’s decision to keep a substantial portion of its production there instead of moving it to Mexico.

If there such are photos or videos out there, I haven’t seen them. There may be a reason for that apparent absence or lack of prominence beyond the press’s long-recognized desire to keep the public from seeing large, positive crowds at Trump appearances. The real concern here appears to be widespread recognition of the fact that the President-Elect, half of whose followers Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton outrageously described as “a basket of deplorables … racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it,” just worked to save the jobs of a workforce that is half African-American.



Press Lets Earnest Claim 805,000 Manufacturing Jobs Gained Under Obama; 303,000 Jobs Have Been Lost

At Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Obama administration Press Secretary Josh Earnest, in a fit of completely unsupported arrogance, claimed that 805,000 jobs have been created “while President Obama was in office,” and that “President Obama has set a high standard” in that regard.

The lazy stenographers posing as journalists present at the briefing, along with other reporters covering Carrier Corp.’s decision not to move its Indianapolis manufacturing jobs to Mexico, have failed to recognize what anyone whose job it has been to follow the economy during the Obama administration should know, namely that the economy, through October 2016, has fewer manufacturing jobs now than it did when President Obama took office in January 2009.



Initial Unemployment Claims: 268K SA; Raw Claims (250K) 5 Pct. Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:50 am

From the Department of Labor:

In the week ending November 26, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 268,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 251,000. The 4-week moving average was 251,500, an increase of 500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 251,000.

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 250,377 in the week ending November 26, a decrease of 37,417 (or -13.0 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 53,286 (or -18.5 percent) from the previous week. There were 262,628 initial claims in the comparable week in 2015.

The last four weeks, seasonally adjusted, have come in at 254K, 235K, 251K and 268K. Let’s hope that the rises of the past two weeks stop there. As long as claims stay below 300,000, there isn’t much cause for concern.


Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120116)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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.


Positivity: Six kids, two moms and a brand new family

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Benbrook, Texas (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

10:45 PM. CST November 20, 2016

Tracy and Sherrie Smith have done most everything together. So the 30-something sisters who share a Benbrook house together, and had dreams of becoming moms, decided why not do that together too.

On National Adoption Day November 18th, they did just that – six times.

Their house southwest of Fort Worth is a lot noisier than is used to be. Aaron, 6, is the oldest, Bayla his sister the kindergartener, Emma and Olivia are four-year-old twins, Franco is three and Jake 17-months.

“Mommy, have two mommy,” Franco said during a family meal of pizza, broccoli, and grapes.

“Yes. You do have two mommies,” Tracy Smith answered.

“I’m blessed with a lot of really good siblings but Sherrie is my best friend,” said Tracy. “We do everything together.”

“You just lucked out with me,” joked Sherrie. “OK we both lucked out.”

“OK it was mutual. I’ll take it,” Tracy laughed.

“We’re kind of like, if we enjoy hanging out with each other so much, why not just roll with it, you know,” Sherrie said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 30, 2016

ESPN Loses Almost 1.2 Million Subscribers in Two Months

One bad month of subscriber losses might have been considered a fluke, but two bad months in a row has to be setting off alarms at ESPN and parent company Disney.

The once seemingly invincible sports juggernaut, which has exponentially increased its political posturing in the past several years, lost 621,000 subscribers a month ago, and shed another 555,000 during November (i.e., heading into December), according to Nielsen’s December 2016 Cable Coverage Estimates (“monthly” reports are apparently issued on the closest Monday to the first of the month on four-week, four-week, five-week rotation).



Newsweek Writer: Trashed ‘Hillary Wins’ Items ‘Similar’ to Nixon’s Draft Apollo Failure Speech

On Tuesday, Zach Schonfeld, a senior writer for Newsweek, decided to mine what is “now a massive, unprecedented content graveyard of articles celebrating or analyzing Hillary Clinton’s would-be historic victory,” presenting “a small sampling … of what the internet would have looked like on November 9 if Clinton beat Trump, as so many pundits forecast.”

It’s mildly entertaining, but it comes with heavy and offensive dose of smug self-importance.



November ADP Employment Report: 216K Private-Sector Jobs Added; Prior Months Revised Down over 30K (See Joined-Late Conference Call Notes)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:36 am

From ADP:

Private-sector employment increased by 216,000 from October to November, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From the press release:

“For the month of November 2016 we saw very strong job growth that has almost doubled in gains over October 2016,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and head of the ADP Research Institute. “This growth was seen in primarily consumer-driven industries like retail and, leisure and hospitality – across all company sizes. Overall, consumers are feeling confident and are driving the strong performance we currently see in the job market.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Businesses hired aggressively in November and there is little evidence that the uncertainty surrounding the presidential election dampened hiring. In addition, because of the tightening labor market, retailers may be accelerating seasonal hiring to secure an adequate workforce to meet holiday demand, although total expected seasonal hiring may be no higher than last year’s.

Prior-month revisions:

  • October — from 147K to 119K
  • September — from 202K to 196K (originally 154K)


MARK ZANDI (again, joining late):

… All in all, hard to argue with the result. About as good as it gets. Long time in coming, quite an achievement.


ME (prior month revisions) — Answer: ADP’s process of expanding to further industry coverage caused a re-look at the ADP model and its aggregation. Larger downward revision than before and have to watch future. Hesitant to draw conclusions from downward revision, because not sure it’s real. Something they’re watching. Will address next month. BLS revisions have been modest in up direction.

BLS next month will do comprehensive benchmark revisions which are expected to be small. Bottom line: Not a big deal yet.

Chris Rugaber, Associated Press (Hurricane Matthew impact snapback in Nov.) — Answer: Didn’t see any of that, probably small. Caution: ADP is based on people on payroll, and BLS is based on people who actually worked. So ADP doesn’t pick up weather impacts to the extent BLS does.

Rugaber (is job mix problematic, causing people aren’t “feeling it”?) — Answer: Quality of job creation is good. Was skewed to low-pay 7-8 years ago. Past 3-4 years, broad-based across pay scales.

Election was a reflection of taking so long to get back to near-full employment. Only in past year has wage growth picked up. Second element is specific pockets of weakness, e.g., energy, manufacturing, etc. Many people can’t move and are sort of stuck where they are. Regional voting patterns reflect that.

As market tightens further, pay will increase, people will be in better position to respond and will feel better about things.

Rugaber (regulation, deregulation, how to evaluate how that works, measuring success) — Answer: Hard to disentangle from other things going on. Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, energy/environment. Obamacare — hard to see how repeal would lead to growth (seriously??!! — Ed.). Dodd-Frank has slowed credit growth (except student loans and cars, which have exploded … — Ed.), and repeal/dereg could improve growth. But would it lead to jobs? Not clear. Regulatory changes can cause friction, winners/losers, winners don’t respond as quickly as losers, so it takes time. He acknowledges that Obamacare and Dodd-Frank affected econ growth, affecting productivity (where have you been, dude? This is after months/years of saying either it’s wrong, or it’s something we’ll have to live with. — Ed.). Changing regs will require an adjustment period. But, many things which could be done to make life better for business.


Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (113016)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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.


Positivity: Grieving Indiana farmer gets help from fellow farmers, harvest over 100 acres in one day

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Connersville, Indiana (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

POSTED 12:53 PM, NOVEMBER 21, 2016

An Indiana farming community came together to help a man coping with the death of his granddaughter.

Steve Wollyung was preparing to harvest the last 112 acres of his farm on November 5 when an unthinkable tragedy occurred.

His 4-year-old granddaughter Ayla was playing in a grain wagon when she became trapped in the wagon. First responders removed Ayla from the grain wagon, and she was airlifted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she later died from her injuries.

Tara Henry, a longtime friend of the Wollyung family, heard about the farming accident the next day. She called up Steve’s wife Carmen and asked if they were done harvesting, and Carmen told her they still had over 100 acres to finish and they weren’t sure how they were going to get it all done.

Henry called a few farmers who were done harvesting and asked if they would be willing to help. Word spread quickly and pretty soon more than 60 people from several counties contacted Henry about donating their time and equipment to help the Wollyung family.

The army of farmers with their combines, semis, and grain carts gathered at Consolidated Grain on Saturday, November 12. Henry gave everyone their marching orders, they said a prayer, and they were out in the fields by 10 a.m.

Friends and neighbors who couldn’t help in the fields donated sandwiches, soup, snacks, and drinks.

Steve told FOX59 he was totally shocked. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw everyone show up to help. All of the support and the number of people wanting to help is just overwhelming,” Steve said. “It was emotional to see everyone. Whatever we needed, they brought.”

Working together, they finished harvesting 18,463 bushels by about 5 p.m. Steve said it would have taken him about a week to do the work all on his own.

“There were lots of tears, and it felt so good to help them. They are a wonderful family. And with all the turmoil in the world right now, it felt so good to witness this. Unfortunately, I wish the help didn’t have to come because of this tragedy, but it just shows how much everyone values Steve, and how close this community is. We all know Steve would drop everything to help us, and this shows everyone else doing the same for him,” Henry said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.


Two Things I Don’t Know

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:18 am

- First, how much of this Pizzagate thing is for real.

- Second, if this Pizzagate thing is not and never has been real, what the alternative explanation could possibly be for the late Andrew Breitbart tweeting the following (along with other tweets) almost six years ago: