May 4, 2007

The April Employment Report (050407)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:40 am

- ADP’s Employment Report — +64,000 in the private sector
- From Reuters’ interviews of economists — +100,000

Actuals: (BLS Link)
- Unemployment — 4.5%, up 0.1%
- Jobs added in April — +88,000
- Revisions to previous months — March, -3,000 (180,000 to 177,000); February, -23,000 (from 113,000 to 90,000)

Quick Take: — As noted earlier this morning, the relatively tepid opening number for April (which will be subject to two revisions, most of which have been upward in the past 12-plus months) isn’t enough to put a damper on the long string of good reports that have come out during this past week.

The Economy Fires Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:15 am

The report on the Employment Situation will come out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics later this morning. Based on ADP’s 64,000 new-jobs figure Wednesday, and the predictions by analysts’ interviewed by Reuters that the BLS will report that an unimpressive 100,000 jobs were added in April, (though this economy has figured out a way to fool the “experts” time and again, and subsequent revisions to prior months have almost invariably been upward).

But so much of the economic news has been good this week that it almost doesn’t matter if this one comes in tepid.

Tuesday’s ISM Manufacturing report, with its reading of 54.7, blew away the “manufacturing is in a rut” meme (or in the New York Times’ case, the “manufacturing is in a recession” meme).

Thursday’s ISM report on the rest of the economy was similarly strong. Its reading came in at 56, way up from 52.4 in March, and beating the pants off Reuters’ expectation of 53 (other sources, like this one, had expectations of 54). That’s 49 straight months of expansion (meaning readings above 50) for the Non-Manufacturing data. Even CNN, whose headline was “Service Sector Soars,” couldn’t ignore the obvious.

The beat has continued in other areas this week. Again from Reuters:

Another report, from the Labor Department, showed U.S. business productivity rose at an unexpectedly strong annualized rate of 1.7 percent in the first three months of 2007 and labor costs increased far less than forecast. The data dampened concerns the tight labor market would prove inflationary.

….. A separate report showed the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell unexpectedly, by 21,000 in the latest week, to the lowest level since January.

….. Unit labor costs grew by an annualized 0.6 percent in the first three months of the year, well below the 4 percent rise analysts were expecting. It was the smallest advance in labor costs since a decline of 2.5 percent in the second quarter of 2006.

Oh, and the markets continue to blast through $3 gas, the Washington deadlock over Iraq, the spreading tyranny in Venezuela, and a number of other negatives in the news, and have headed into uncharted territory in the case of the Dow, and 6-year highs for the other indices.

If it weren’t for the self-inflicted doldrums in the housing and auto sectors, the economy would be growing at a torrid pace.

From the ‘Oh, But We Support the Troops’ (Yeah, Right) Department

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:10 am

Back in March, Brian at One Oar in the Water referenced this article from about mine-resistant trucks that started out as follows:

A new combat truck with a V-shaped bottom designed to withstand blasts from roadside bombs is performing with such success in Iraq that the U.S. military is pressing a Wisconsin company and others to churn out hundreds more in the coming months.
About 200 prototypes of the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles have been deployed in Iraq since 2004, said Capt. Jeff Landis, spokesman for the Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. No Marine has died while in one of the trucks, Landis said.

“This is the best vehicle available for safety and survivability,” he said. “The MRAP vehicle supplies troops with the greatest protection we’ve had.

Now, Brian notes, it appears that these vehicles, long overdue for deployment in Iraq, are going to be delayed yet again thanks to Congressional gamesmanship. It was a concern of the White House a month ago (about 1/3 of the way through the page):

Last Week, The Defense Department Notified Congress That In Order To Meet The Force Protection Needs Of The Marine Corps And The Army, It Is Borrowing Funds From Other Important Marine And Army Procurement Programs. This borrowing means using funding intended for medium tactical vehicle replacement, Humvees and Humvee equipment, the tactical communications modernization program, and upgrades for other vehicles.

This Reprogramming Of Funds Is Only Necessary Because Congress Has Failed To Act In A Timely Manner On The President’s Emergency Funding Request. This underscores the need to get the President a bill he can sign that provides what the troops and military commanders need.

As “the surge” ramps up, that concern surely hasn’t gone away.

So which soldiers who could have been riding into danger in vehicles with the best IED defenses available, instead will be needlessly vulnerable, and indeed may die in the name of pleasing the nutroots?

Congressional diddling has consequences. The least the Left can do is drop the “we support the troops” riff.

Oh, and of course you won’t read about this negligence in any Old Media coverage.

Ho Hum Hiring Headline (050407)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:05 am

The economy is doing so well that even late-to-the-party Ohio is getting in on the act:

Drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Gov. Ted Strickland tonight confirmed plans for 500 additional jobs here and for a $400 million investment to produce a new long-acting drug to treat Type 2 diabetes.

The project is an expansion of San Diego-based Amylin’s $150 million investment announced in 2005 to hire 150 to produce the new long-acting release exenatide, now in clinical trials, and expected to be ready for commercial release in 2008.

Positivity: Baby’s Recovery Called ‘a Miracle

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Sherman, IL — “Her survival baffles doctors, who gave her virtually no chance”:

Published Sunday, April 29, 2007

SHERMAN – What is it about Ella Maintz, a fair-haired, blue-eyed baby girl just shy of her one-month birthday?
How did someone who was so tiny, so sick, and so close to death three weeks ago fight her way back to being a healthy infant with no sign that she ever had a zero-to-1 percent chance of living?

Was there a higher power watching over her? Was she born with a unique inner strength? Maybe it was a simple matter of biology.

Whatever the reason, baffled doctors and medical professionals here and in St. Louis have proclaimed her recovery nothing short of “a miracle.”

“When they were telling us about the zero to 1 percent chance, we accepted that she wasn’t going to be going home with us and it was just really hard,” said Ella’s father, Bill Maintz. “It was weird … when we finally accepted that, that’s when she started getting well.”

There was nothing out of the ordinary about Ella’s birth April 4 at Memorial Medical Center. She was five days early, but it was nothing that worried Bill or her mother, Kelley. The baby was about six pounds and looked fine.

The first sign that something could be wrong came minutes later when everyone realized Ella’s body temperature was a little cold.

“When she was born, I got to hold her right after they pulled her out and held her down so Kell could kiss her,” Bill Maintz recalled. “She said she was a little cold so they wanted to hold her under some heat. And then it all took off from there.”

Ella was taken to the special care nursery, and Kelley, a registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. John’s Hospital, was left by herself in her hospital room. After four hours of waiting, she got in a wheelchair and went to see for herself what was happening. Nurses had Ella under a “hood” – basically a plastic bubble over her head, and they predicted she would be fine in the morning, Bill recalled. Mom and Dad could hold her then, nurses told Bill, 33, and Kelley, 32.

The couple went back to the room to get some sleep, but Ella’s condition quickly worsened. Bill and Kelley were given the bad news about 3 a.m. April 5: The baby’s lungs were collapsed and she had hypertension and low blood oxygen. She needed to be flown by helicopter to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center in St. Louis, but doctors did not expect her to live through the flight.

“Everyone kept saying, ‘This is the sickest baby we’ve ever seen,’” Bill Maintz said.

A respiratory therapist on the flight hand-pumped 150 breaths per minute into Ella’s lungs. Once at the hospital, she was put on a machine called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. Usually considered a last resort for the most critically ill children, the machine did the work for Ella’s heart and lungs until they were strong enough to work on their own.

Miracle No. 1: Within a few days, Ella’s condition stabilized. Within a week she gained some weight, could breathe without the machine and was breastfeeding.

“For a child who was unlikely to survive, she’s perfectly normal now,” said Ella’s neonatologist, Dr. Greg Mantych. “As sick as she was, to not only survive, but to be doing very well now, is pretty remarkable.”