August 1, 2007

July ISM Manufacturing Report Comes in at 53.8%

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 10:27 am

The Institute for Supply Management’s reported 53.8% trailed expectations of 55.5% (link requires free registration).

That’s down from 56 last month, still in expansion mode (any reading above 50 indicates expansion), and slightly higher than the Bush 43 budget-responsibility average of 54.4 noted last month.

After a late-2006 and early-2007 hiccup, that’s six months in a row of expansion, and 48 out of the past 50. Also noted last month:

Only two other periods in the 60 years of the ISM Manufacturing Index have a (better) track record — August 1975 through July 1979 (48 straight months) and April 1961 through December 1966 (68 of 69 months, including a streak of 51). The Reagan-Bush years had a run of 42 expansions out of 43 months from October 1985 through April 1989, which included a streak of 33. A full history of the index is here.

Given relatively high gas prices, the soft homebuilding and home improvement industries, and the ongoing struggles at US-based automakers, it’s impressive that the index continues to stay positive. May it continue.

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UPDATE, August 2: So here’s how the Associated Press played it, in an unbylined report

While the U.S. manufacturing sector grew for the sixth consecutive month in July, expansion was the slowest since March, a survey said Wednesday, indicating that the economy is plodding along at a tepid pace.

Earth to AP — Manufacturing is only 14% of “the economy.” AP would be advised to chill on its premature e-celebration until the other 86% gets reported on Friday in ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Report.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (080107)

In addition to the 57 reasons to vote against the Ohio Learn & Earn last year (the list was the brainchild of Jill at Write Like She Talks; Jill’s first “Reason” posting is here; the original BizzyBlog entry relating to Jill’s effort is here; links to all 57 reasons are at the end of this post), it turns out there was a Reason 58 — employees mistreated on a large scale. Best para at BlogginRyan (HT WLST via NixGuy; bold is mine):

People, working for a campaign that was supposed to espouse “progressive” values, managed to not get paid. I went down to Columbus for one weekend to sift through all of the files from the office and compare them against records at headquarters. Slowly people managed to get paid, but some sores still laid open. After three weeks of one petitioner – who had quit – not being paid, after every angry phone call received and pleading phone call made to correct the error, after every “the check is in the mail” response I got on this woman’s behalf, I took $300 of my own money and paid her for the hours she had worked in the pay cycle. An employee, who I will only ID as Steve, had similar issues. Entire days were missing out of his payroll when there was documented proof of his working. On my last day Steve told me not to worry about them and that he was hiring a lawyer. On multiple occasions, AC was forced to call the police and have them resolve issues with angry employees. These people were angry.

Surely these incidents weren’t secrets. Why wasn’t this making news when it happened?

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NixGuy noted on Monday that Ohio’s handling of the DataGate theft has made the state a laughingstock in the tech community. They’d be doubling over if they were aware of how poorly the post-theft communications to those affected were handled.

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Newt Gingrich calls Detroit a “disaster.” Uh, like it’s not?

It’s been downhill since the riots 40 years ago (yes, I know that things were far from perfect before then). But the real disaster began in the aftermath of the riots, when the city allowed itself to be co-opted as a “symbol” of the black-power movement (a link to the excerpt is here; warning — N-word usage abounds), and its practitioners to intimidate the non-rock-throwers:

I’ve just seen the battlefield; you did a thorough job.

There was a town called Motown; now it ain’t no town. They used to call it Detroit, now they call it Destroyed. I hear ain’t nothing left, but Motown sound. And if they don’t come around, you gon’ burn them down.

You didn’t have to be a genius, black or white, to see long-term trouble ahead. People fled. Detroit’s current population of 871,000 is down almost 50% from its 1.67 million in 1960.

The Motor City is Exhibit A showing that people can, do, and will vote with their feet to get away from high crime, terrible schools, and high taxes.

Maybe if black leaders in the city would have had the nerve to hang the “disaster” tag on Detroit sooner, city leaders and others would have done more, and would be doing more now, to fix those three real problems.

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Meanwhile, in the mostly prosperous rest of the country, here’s a ho-hum hiring headline (requires subscription):

The number of employees working in the securities industry has surpassed its previous peak, reached at the height of the dot-com era.

U.S. securities firms added 10,000 staff in June, pushing the number of jobs in the industry to 848,300, higher than the previous record of 840,900 in March 2001.

Imagine how much better it might be if Sarbanes Oxley hadn’t shifted much of the initial public offering business overseas.

Carnival Barking (080107)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 8:37 am

The 76th Carnival of Ohio Politics, compiled by Scott of Pho’s Akron pages, is here.

Cannibalizing (with credit given) for future BizzyBlog posts will ensue shortly. :–>

Positivity: 4 Oromocto teens rescue man from burning building

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:28 am

From Canada’s New Brunswick:

Last Updated: Monday, July 30, 2007 | 2:32 PM AT

Four young Oromocto, N.B., men are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a 60-year-old man from a house fire early Monday morning.

Nick Lanigan, Ryan Atwin, Evan Green and Mike Cruze are from the Oromocto First Nation.

RCMP Cpl. Gilles Blinn says the boys aged 15 to 17 were driving down Broad Street in the town outside Fredericton at 2:30 a.m. when they noticed an apartment on fire at 101 Lanark St.

“The apartment was a basement apartment that was engulfed in flames,” he said Monday. “The young males kicked the door down and hauled the occupant to safety.”

“Me and my friend Evan just walked up to the window, and then we saw these crutches moving and stuff and we were, like, ‘is anybody in there?’” said Nick Lanigan.

“We were yelling at the top of our lungs, and we heard ‘Help, help me,’ so then this other buddy that with us, Michael, he kicked the door down and [the victim] was just laying right there, burning.”

Go here for the rest of the story.