July 2, 2009

IBD: ‘Stop The Madness That’s Killing Jobs’

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:19 pm

They almost nail it (bold is mine):

Why is this job decline happening? The private sector — the real engine of economic and job growth — won’t hire because it’s scared of what it sees coming out of Washington.

On the horizon, as far as the eye can see, are higher taxes, uncontrolled spending and layers upon layers of new regulations.

Who would hire new workers faced with that?

But if you look more closely, you’ll understand see that the private sector has been scared for a full year of what Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Harry Reid promised to do once in power, what they have done in 5-1/2 short months, and what they are moving swiftly to do now that they are in power. Their 12-month-plus POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, now the POR Recession As Normal People Define It, has exacted a terrible price, yet they refuse to let up.

Given that June 2009 represents the worst June on record, this is probably the point where it’s fair to ask if these people really want a recovery. Even more important, if you still believe that they do, ask yourself “what they would they be doing any differently if they didn’t?”

The Employment Report: AP Misses Noting Worst June Since Before WWII

At the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web today, Jim Taranto noted that it took the Associated Press’s Jeannine Aversa until the 15th paragraph of her expanded dispatch on today’s Employment Situation Report to find something mildly positive to write.

Aversa, who has been one of the wire service’s chief silver lining make-up artists during the Obama presidency’s disastrous economic stewardship offered up this contention:

Even with higher pace of job cuts in June, the report indicates that the worst of the layoffs have passed.

The charts from Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Labor Statistics that follow show that the evidence for her claim is scant to non-existent.

First, let’s look at the most recent seasonally adjusted and not seasonally adjusted job growth/loss figures:


The red box on the left in the NOT seasonally adjusted data shows that the situation got decidedly worse in June. From February through May, the differences in year-over-year monthly job gains and losses on the ground before seasonal adjustment narrowed in by about 60% from -680,000 to -264,000. But June’s -371,000 difference went the wrong way, causing the seasonally adjusted number (the result of smoothing results to account for seasonal variations) to move sharply upward.

How this “indicates that the worst of the layoffs have passed,” as Aversa claims, is beyond me.

How bad was June? On the ground (not seasonally adjusted), the monthly job loss of 110,000 is the worst June performance listed in 71 years of monthly data BLS has available on the web (1939-2009). Though it is subject to revisions in the next two months, it doesn’t seem likely that it will change by much in a positive direction when those revisions arrive.

Here, for the record, is the full collection of monthly changes since 1939 (it appears that monthly recordkeeping might not have begun until February 1939):


Again, how this “indicates that the worst of the layoffs have passed,” as Aversa claims, is beyond me.

One of these days, someone at AP will dig into the data and produce a report on the monthly employment situation worthy of what is supposed to be “The Essential Global News Network.” One of these days ….

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Stimulus Judgment Day 2: The June Employment Situation Report (070209)

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:10 am

UPDATE, 10:30 p.m. — The graph at Michael’s Comments/Innocent Bystanders has been updated:



(original post)

I’m going to be in a place that may or may not have ‘Net access when today’s Employment Situation report (link won’t be current until 8:30 a.m.) comes out. If it doesn’t, notes and comments will have to wait until early afternoon.

Here are advance barometers:

  • Yesterday, ADP’s private-sector report said that 473,000 jobs were lost on a seasonally adjusted basis in June.
  • Reuters is carrying an estimate of -355,000 for seasonally adjusted jobs lost, and the unemployment rate increasing to 9.6% from last month’s 9.4%, with bizarre accompanying commentary — “The U.S. Labor Department’s report due on Thursday is expected to depict an economy still wallowing in recession but confirm that the pace of job loss has slowed.” Uh, -355,000 in June would be worse than May’s -345,000 (before it gets revised today).
  • The AP’s Jeannine Aversa has estimates of -363,000 and 9.6%, as does Alexandra Twin at CNNMoney.
  • Biz Weak is at -360,000 and 9.6%.

The news: -467,000 (ouch) and 9.5% (hmmm). This is the opposite of last month, when the jobs number was less negative than expectations and the unemployment rate was worse.

Positivity: Robots helping to save lives

Filed under: Health Care,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Michigan:

July 1, 2009

Sergio Macias credits a robot with helping to save his life.

Arriving at work in October 2007, he felt pressure on his chest, followed by blurry vision, dry heaves and tingling in his face, arm and feet.

Then “it felt like someone hit me in the back of the head with a bat,” he recalled. A coworker took him to St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia.

Staff checked his symptoms. But the diagnosis that he had a stroke came with the help of a robot that hooked up Macias, 46, of Livonia to a stroke team at St. Joseph Mercy/Oakland hospital in Pontiac.

Part of a project to improve stroke diagnosis and treatment started by St. Joseph Mercy in 2006, the Michigan Stroke Network uses robots and other telemedical tools to see and talk to patients.

Usually, smaller and rural hospitals that do not have specialists on site around the clock report symptoms verbally to stroke specialists at nearby hospitals. The robotic systems improve on that, by letting doctors see and talk to patients as if they were at their bedside.

“A subjective verbal report is useful, but it’s not as good as seeing the patients,” said Dr. Omar Qahwash, a St. Joseph neurosurgeon. Robots “tease out” more useful information, he said, such as which patients have the type of stroke caused by a blockage that benefits from a clot-busting drug, and which ones have strokes causing bleeding in the brain, a problem treated with surgery.

Since St. Joseph started the network, 490 patients have been evaluated with robots in the Michigan program. The system hooks up specialists at St. Joseph with patients at 31 Michigan hospitals, some as far as 220 miles away. Hospitals in Michigan’s program lease the robots for $36,000 a year, rather than buying them for $250,000.

Outside of Michigan, more than 50 medical centers use robots for the diagnosis of stroke and related problems, according to a spokeswoman for Intouch Health, a Santa Barbara, Calif., company that specializes in telemedicine.

Jack Weiner, CEO and president of St. Joseph Mercy, said the system has helped hospitals in the stroke network see 75% of patients within three hours, as previous guidelines recommended, compared with 3% of patients seen that soon nationwide.

“We know it is saving money in outlying communities” because fewer patients need to be transported by air ambulances for care, Weiner added. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.