September 5, 2006

August’s Employment Numbers and the Missing 4 Million Jobs

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:10 pm

I described the August employment news as prettygood, not great” on Friday.

Larry Kudlow was more upbeat, and has a point:

The August jobs report should put to rest any fears that the economy is burning out. Following upwardly revised increases for June (134,000) and July (121,000), companies added 128,000 nonfarm payrolls last month. Meanwhile, the all-important but rarely mentioned household survey of people working gained by 250,000, sending the unemployment rate back to 4.7 percent from the July reading of 4.8 percent.

The cult of the bear, fussing about a housing-related recession, has once more been proven wrong.

I’ll be covering the housing situation tomorrow after digesting the latest report from and reaction to the government’s housing market report earlier today. As to employment, August showed once again that, with rare exception, there has been a fundamental disconnect between the number of new jobs reported in the Establishment Survey (phone calls to businesses) compared to the Household Survey (calls to households). It’s a difference that has been building since the economy began righting itself after enduring and adjusting to the trauma of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Specifically, as shown below, the the Establishment Survey shows 4,892,000 net new jobs created since January of 2002, while Household Survey shows 8,881,000 net new jobs:

EstabVhousehold0806

According to the more comprehensive Household Survey (the survey that happens to be the basis for the reported unemployment rate), almost 4,000,000 more people have been added to the employment rolls than the Establish Survey shows (The household survey is more comprehensive because the establishment survey excludes farm employment). Another observation is that the Establishment Survey is only picking up 55% of the job growth being detected in the Household Survey.

Yet the employment changes that get reported each month by the business press come from the less comprephensive and much more volatile Establishment Survey (more volatile because in the 1990s, the Establishment Survey consistently showed more net new jobs than the Household Survey).

Why is this? Why wouldn’t the primary basis for jobs reporting from the government and the press be the same as the one used to report the unemployment rate? At a minimum, why aren’t BOTH numbers reported instead of ignoring the Household Survey’s new jobs number? Does the press think we can’t handle the idea that two different measurement methods would yield two different results?

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Romenesko Should Explain This, Because I Can’t — UPDATE

Jim Romenesko has been the subject of two previous posts (here and here) about a distasteful and, to many (including a Vietnam vet who e-mailed me), offensive cartoon he linked to at the San Francisco Chronicle a few weeks ago that used the coffins of dead American soldiers as a backdrop:

Reuters Header
CasketAndCat

Mr. Romenesko was discussed in a free Wall Street Journal piece on bloggers last week (HT Nasty, Brutish & Short, among others; the link may require a subscription at some future date). The work habits described were, to say the least, interesting:

Some bloggers thrive on the manic pace. Getaways for Jim Romenesko, host of the popular media blog bearing his name, consist of a Friday afternoon drive every month or so from his home in the Chicago suburbs to visit friends in Milwaukee. The 85-mile trip should last around 90 minutes. For Mr. Romenesko, it takes nearly four hours — because he stops at eight different Starbucks on the way to update his site.

The longest Mr. Romenesko has refrained from posting on his site, which gets about 70,000 hits a day, was for one week three years ago on the insistence of site owner, the Poynter Institute. He hasn’t taken a vacation in seven years. “The column’s called Romenesko,” he says. “I just feel it should be Romenesko” who writes it.

Eight updates in four hours? Let’s be “conservative,” and assume that Jimbo updates about 20 times in an 8-hour day when he’s not encumbered by the distraction of having to drive. That would mean he has had over 500 chances (over 25 days x 20 per day) to update the Left Rail Archive since it was last updated on August 9. The Vietnam vet whose e-mail to Romenesko objecting to the cartoon was never posted would especially like to know (I would suggest that he deserves to know) if Romenesko removed his link to the questionable cartoon. We will not know until Jimbo updates that Left Rail Archive.

But he STILL hasn’t updated. Why?

UPDATE, Oct. 9 — Sometime after mid-September, an update occurred. When it did, the archive of the week of August 7-11 was missing ALL of August 9 and 10. Can I make sense of this? No.

In a Year of Dumb Business PR and Advertising Moves, This Is the Dumbest So Far

This is one of those times I wish I was a beer drinker — because if I was, my refusal to patronize the Miller Brewing Company would mean something.

Unfortunately for Miller, thanks the the company’s sponsorship (Chicago Tribune link requires registration; HT Michelle Malkin) of an illegal-alien political march shown to have been approved at the headquarters level, a lot of beer-drinking, taxpaying citizens decided to refuse to drink Miller’s products.

Thanks to the company’s cowardly attempt, with the help of a sympathetic Milwaukee paper to pretend that it didn’t have anything more than a very casual association with the event (a pretense not supported by the facts in the Tribune article; Michelle notes in a separate post that the Trib has not issued any corrections), I don’t expect those abstaining from Miller to change their minds any time soon.

Now, it’s time to REALLY get Miller out of their comfort zone and ask this “Drink Responsibly” question: “Are you attempting to capitalize on the fact that Hispanics have been shown to be heavier drinkers than whites, and often not exactly ‘responsible’?”

Hispanics – particularly Hispanic men – tend to have high levels of alcohol-related problems. Several studies by other researchers at the Alcohol Research Group demonstrate a disturbing pattern. For example, those who reported frequent heavy drinking during the previous year (defined as drinking once a week or more often, and having five or more drinks at one sitting at least once a week): white males (12%) and females (2%) versus Hispanic males (18%) and females (3%). Those who reported three or more alcohol-related problems during the previous year (from a list of 29 social and dependence experiences): white males (11%) and females (4%) versus Hispanic males (16%) and females (5%). The mean number of drinks required to feel drunk: whites reported 6.3 while Hispanics reported 7.9. Comparable findings exist at some state levels.

How “responsible” is it to target heavy drinkers, especially when they have a proportionately higher incidence of DUI arrests and accidents (here’s more recent evidence; here’s even more) than whites?

The company might consider what happened to the last industry that was (even if somewhat unfairly, IMO) accused of irresponsible marketing.

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UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more on the company’s pitiful reax. Debbie Schlussel tells us that Anheuser Busch gives scholarships to illegal aliens.

Follow-up on NKU Right to Life Display Destruction

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

From Life News — No one went to jail, it appears that no one has a criminal record, and a few of the vandals who say they are “sorry” clearly still don’t get it:

Three pro-abortion students who took part in vandalizing a pro-life display set up by a campus group to memorialize those babies who have died from abortions have apologized. The Northern Kentucky University students wrote letters to the editor in the student newspaper expressing their views.

Though they say they are sorry for vandalizing the display, at least two of the students wrote that they still believe the cross memorial was inappropriate.

“Regarding the events of this past spring, I am regretful and sorry for any discomforting emotions my actions may have aroused,” NKU student Michelle Lynn Cruey wrote, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “To the group who built the display, I do admire you for your convictions and apologize for taking down what you worked so hard to construct.”

Yet Cruey disclaimed her apology with a warning to the campus pro-life group Northern Right to Life saying they shouldn’t use “religious views” to promote “turning our backs” on women.

Six students joined Sally Jacobsen, a British literature professor in destroying the display. They trashed the crosses and ripped up a sign that accompanied them and their actions were caught on film by a reporter from the student newspaper.

The pro-abortion students were sentenced to perform community service in exchange for dropping charges against them. They were required to pay a $100 fine and issue the letters of apology.

It seems that a Michelle Lynn Cruey with a little power would do everthing she could to keep “religious views” out of the public square.

Professor Jacobsen, in my opinion, got off way too easy:

The court required Jacobsen to complete a mediation and she agreed to pay Northern Right to Life for the costs of the display. Jacobsen also made a $1,000 donation to the Madonna House, a Northern Kentucky crisis pregnancy shelter.

Jacobsen encouraged the students, members of one of her classes, to destroy the display and eventually led them in doing so. She later encouraged the students involved to avoid talking to the police and obtaining attorneys.

Jacobsen was suspended by Northern Kentucky University for the remainder of the school year and her classes given to other professors to complete. She has since retired and moved to Portland, Oregon.

Jacobsen will be right at home there.

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Previous Posts:

June 14 — NKU Abortion Vandalism Update: (Almost) Skating Away
April 20 — Prolife Display-Trashing Prof’s “Repentance” Appears to Be a Sham
April 18 — Very Good, But Not Good Enough
April 14 — University Intolerance Watch: Abortion Display Destroyed

Applying the Economic “Standards” of the New York Times to ….. The News York Times

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:12 am

Jerry Bowyer does it at TCS Daily (HT Porkopolis via e-mail).

The Times doesn’t come out looking too good.

Ho-Hum Hiring Headline (090506)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 8:07 am

From the Phoenix Business Journal:

USAA is responding to the Valley’s rapid growth by ramping up business with plans to hire 400 employees by the end of the year.

The financial services company also expects to add another 500 to 1,000 positions in 2007, USAA officials told The Business Journal in an exclusive interview last week.

The San Antonio-based company will hire more than 220 service and claims positions, along with dozens of employees to fill its banking, insurance, investment and financial-planning businesses.

Iraq Econ Report

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:02 am

Dumb Looks Still Free has the details. Surprise — The country isn’t falling apart; it’s going in the opposite direction.

My favorite stat: The unemployment rate in Iraq is at 11%, way down from a year ago. That’s basically the same as Germany, whose 10.6% unemployment rate is the lowest in 2 years, and within striking distance of France’s 8.9% (which they’re treating like the Second Coming).

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UPDATE: A Jacksonian at DLSF has the latest on the Iraq situation relating to power, water, highways, and much, much, much, much (holy moly, what great work) more.

“Rules Are For You, Not for Us” Post of the Day

Filed under: Business Moves,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:57 am

From the Madison, Wisconsin Isthmus Daily Page (HT Powerline) — a Labor Day weekend invdestigative report riddled with irony:

National Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee hires firm that pays subminimum wages to push for a higher minimum wage

A group that raises money for Democratic Congressional candidates uses a canvassing company that pays some workers submimium wage, in apparent violation of Wisconsin state law, to talk about the need to raise the federal minimum wage, Isthmus newspaper has learned. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), based in Washington, D.C., has hired Grassroots Campaigns, a Boston-based for-profit company with operations in 18 U.S. cities, to conduct canvassing on its behalf. The DCCC’s “New Direction for American” agenda, which provides the talkiing points canvassers are taught to use to solicit contributions, includes a call to “Raise the minimum wage.”

There’s a lot more gory detail at the link.

Porkopolis describes this as setting “a new standard on the meaning of hypocrisy.”

Imagine how un-invisible this story would be if a conservative group got caught doing the same thing.

Mortgage Rate Article Has Interesting Economist Comment

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 7:52 am

Maybe you’ll write this off as cheerleading because the person quoted is from Freddie Mac, but I would suggest that the man is on to something (link requires free registration; no-registration link here):

U.S. mortgage rates slide slightly

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Mortgage rates nudged lower this week, the sixth straight decline that has pulled loan rates back to their early-April levels. according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey released Thursday.

The downward drift continues to reflect the cooling of the housing market and consumer confidence, “thus giving financial markets reason to believe that economic growth will moderate and inflation will remain in check,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac chief economist.

“By some indicators, personal incomes are growing faster than the cost of housing. Combined with the still historically low mortgage rates, this will help to support the housing industry as it levels off from the record highs of the last few years,” he said.

August Car Sales: Essentially Same Old, Same Old

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 7:47 am

From USA Today:

Toyota (TM) said Friday that August vehicle sales rose 17% from a year earlier and General Motors’ (GM) sales increased 3.9% as the companies said buyers looked to more fuel-efficient offerings. But Ford (F) sales dropped 11.6% and DaimlerChrysler’s (DCX) fell 3.2%.

Still, Ford outsold Toyota last month. The Japanese automaker had outsold Ford in the USA in July for the first month ever.

Double-digit drops in Dearborn are unsustainable, but Ford insists on doing things that seem deliberately designed to alienate their core customers.

UPDATE: In an e-mail sent out Tuesday morning (content isn’t posted to the web yet), the American Family Assocation’s Don Wildmon says that the organization’s Boycott Ford project is responsible for Ford’s falloff, and notes that “Homosexuals give Ford no public support despite falling sales due to (the) AFA boycott.” I’ve said before that I believe Wildmon’s boycott is misguided (and given the content of this post, which Wildmon surely is aware of, more than a little hypocritical), but if you’re Bill Ford you can’t just ignore it.

Positivity: Woman Credits Couric for Saving Her Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:02 am

As her CBS debut looms, and regardless of how her career change to evening-news anchor turns out, let’s make sure that Ms. Couric is recognized, remembered, and receives credit for this and similar stories:

Woman credits early cancer screening, Couric with saving life

There are only five Voices chapters in the state of Texas, and Huntsville is home to one.

Vicki Barrilleaux, a stage 3 cancer survivor, started the chapter to promote colon cancer awareness and screening.

While colon cancer isn’t as high profile as breast cancer, it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. One of the cause’s major supporters is Katie Couric, who lost her husband to the disease.

Barrilleaux listened to Couric speak out about cancer awareness for years, never knowing one day she would feel as if she owed the star her life.

“Everything I knew prior to my diagnosis was what I had heard from her because of her husband,” Barrilleaux said. “I was lucky, I did have some symptoms. Usually, the number one symptom of colon cancer is no symptoms, but I did have some bleeding.

“I was more aware because I had listened to her,” she said. “It can be embarrassing, and I don’t know if it’s something I would have talked to my doctor about if I hadn’t had that concern.”

Barrilleaux was only 47 when she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. Typically, doctors don’t recommend screening for the disease until age 50.

“When I was diagnosed I found out it is a preventable cancer. You should eat a healthy diet, low in fat, but when I looked at the risk factor list, I realized there was not one thing on that list I could relate to. My main goal now is education and awareness.”

One of the reasons Barrilleaux decided to come out of her comfort zone and talk about the disease was the stigma attached.

“We don’t talk about it enough,” she said. “At first, I thought I’ll tell my story one time and then I won’t ever do this again. I thought if one person hears it and gets screened, then I’ve done what I needed to do.

“Two years after my diagnosis, my sister was diagnosed _ she died within 75 days,” she added, her voice choking with emotion. “I tried to get her to get screened, but I guess that’s why I don’t just tell my story now, I tell ours because she can’t. She tells me she should have been screened. I tried to tell her and I wonder sometimes if two years would have made a difference.”

Each year, cancer awareness takes a new step. With each passing day, more people are diagnosed and more people die. Barrilleaux wants to make sure people get screened, at the very least.

….. If someone saved you from being hit by a car or drowning, you’d want to thank them, and since she became a colon cancer survivor, Barrilleaux has longed to thank the person she feels saved her _ Katie Couric.

“I met Katie on July 11, 2006. It was just the most amazing thing,” she squealed. “I have gone to New York three times since 2002 and stood outside the Today show with a sign saying I was a colon cancer survivor, just in an attempt to be able to meet her. I really feel like she saved my life.”

Read the whole thing.