September 29, 2011

BLS Preliminary Comprehensive Jobs Adjustment: +192K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:51 pm

Here’s another piece of “it beats the alternative” news to add to today’s reported drop in unemployment claims and the return to an annualized 1.3% for second-quarter GDP.

Ending a record of four straight years of declines, three of them very large, today’s “Current Employment Statistics Preliminary Benchmark Announcement” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 192,000 more Americans were working in March 2011 than originally thought.

This will NOT be hard-wired into the BLS’s numbers until further work is done and figures are updated all the way to December 2011; that official update will occur in February 2012. The final number will be different, but past differences would predict that the number will almost definitely stay positive by 100,000 or more.

As noted earlier, it beats the final results of the four previous years, as seen here.

2Q11 GDP Revised Up to an Annualized +1.3% from +1.0%; Still No Full Recovery

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:48 am

The full government report on gross domestic product (GDP) is here. The revision takes us back to the original estimate released in July.

The economy still isn’t back to where it was three years ago in the second quarter of 2008, which means that the infamous Investor’s Daily chart comparing the current not-yet recovery to previous achieved recoveries still holds (current figure is at Table 3 in today’s report):

GDPnowVsRecessionBeginning2Q11inSept11

The third quarter of 2008 marked the first full quarter impacted by the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy aka the Fear-Based Economy. The related recession the three named parties and their political party primarily caused ran through the second quarter of 2009.

In the eight quarters since, the economy still hasn’t returned to its pre-recession size, whether you peg its beginning as following 2008′s second quarter (as normally defined) or 2007′s final quarter (as the National Bureau of Economic Research subjectively and in my view erroneously does). As seen above, every other post-World War II recovery  required three or fewer quarters for the economy to get back to its pre-downturn level.

The POR economy is a living testimonial to Keynesianism’s collapse.

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UPDATE: To get back to where we were at the end of the second quarter of 2008 by the end of the third quarter of 2011, third-quarter growth will have to come in at an annualized +0.3%. To get to the 4Q07 level, it will have to be 0.4%. You would think that third-quarter growth will be at least that high unless something “unexpectedly” bad occurs — and we all know how rare that is. (/sarc)

Unemployment Claims: Some Relief at Last? (391K SA, 325K NSA)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:09 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending September 24, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 391,000, a decrease of 37,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 428,000. The 4-week moving average was 417,000, a decrease of 5,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 422,250.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 324,940 in the week ending September 24, a decrease of 28,880 from the previous week. There were 372,551 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.

As usual, the previous week was adjusted upward, this time by 5,000. Given that the average upward adjustment in the past 29 weeks has been just over 4,000 and has never been more than 8,000, it seems certain that the current week will stay below 399,000 for first time since early April:

UnempClaimsAprilto092411

Zero Hedge’s take: “(this is) a two standard deviation improvement which seems extremely unlikely given the macro/micro backdrop.” According to Bloomberg, “(A DOL) official said the data probably reflected a “slight mistiming” in the seasonal factors used to modify the figures.”

Though I understand the perspectives, I’ll hold my fire and hope that this is the beginning of something better, especially since the NSA number — even assuming a typical upward revision next week — is the lowest since May 2008.

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UPDATE: Business Insider’s email had a prediction of 420K. Finally, there’s something “unexpectedly” in a favorable direction.

Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092911)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 8:03 am

Rules are here.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Two Bad Presidential Election Ideas Require Rejection’) Is Up

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:59 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Saturday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

The ideas I believe should be rejected are the “National Popular Vote” (NPV) and the practice of assigning electoral votes based on the popular vote in congressional districts instead of doing so in each state on a winner-take-all basis (which I call “CEV,” or “congressional electoral voting”).

The former is subversive and definitely unconstitutional, and the latter has significant unforeseen dangers.

Oh, Now Perdue Was Being ‘Sarcastic’ When She Was ‘Joking’

And of course NOW the Associated Press (unbylined, of course) decides to finally make it a national story:

NC gov: Just joking about suspending elections

Democratic North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue says she was being sarcastic when she suggested this week that congressional elections be suspended for two years to try to solve Washington gridlock.

North Carolina Republicans and those seeking to unseat her next year have criticized her comment.

Perdue spokeswoman Chris Mackey said Perdue was using hyperbole when she made the suggestion Tuesday. She said it would give members of Congress more breathing room to make decisions instead of worrying about another term in office. She was responding to an audience question.

And of course AP won’t relay the full quote.

Keep diggin’, babe. The hole only gets deeper.

Previous related posts are here and here.

Positivity: Stuart firefighter saved, quick reaction by co-workers

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:59 am

From Martin County, Florida (video at link):

A Palm Beach County firefighter and EMT is a lucky man today, after his co-workers saved his life. Brian Nethers is still in the hospital at Martin Memorial, but he realizes he is fortunate just to be alive.

“I can walk, talk, I can do things. I have no deficit at all,” said Nethers.

Nethers has just finished saving the life of a father who had a heart attack during a hockey game. He was cleaning up the ambulance when his co-workers noticed something wrong.

“One of my medics got in my face and said, ‘you don’t look so good. Are you alright?,” described Nethers.

The left side of his face was drooping and his left arm was getting weaker.

“Literally threw him on the stretcher, kept telling us no, no I’m fine. Luckily we were five-feet from the emergency room door,” said John Honeycutt, Stuart Fire Rescue.

“I was in denial. I’m going, I couldn’t have a stroke at the age of 51,” said Nethers.

But Nethers was having a massive stroke. Later doctors found four blood clots in his brain. But because he was rushed into the emergency room so quickly, a couple days later he’s nearly back to normal.

“Key to it is recognition and time, once that clock starts ticking, time is brain,” said Jane LaCombe, Martin Memorial.

Since Nethers was treated within three hours of his first symptoms, a drug known as TPA was given, dissolving fully the blood clots that started the stroke.

Despite fighting his friends at first and denying he was sick, Nethers now says he owes them a big thank you.

Nethers is only 51-years-old and in perfect health before his stroke. But experts say strokes can strike at any age. That’s why knowing the symptoms is critical.

Remember the acronym F.A.S.T. (Face, Arm, Speech, Time)

Go here for the rest of the story.