December 7, 2012

Not News: Food Stamp Participation Jumped by Over 600,000 in September; Last Pre-Election Number Revised Up

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest report on food stamp program participation through September today. I received the email alerting me to the release at 5:17 p.m., so it seems reasonable to believe that USDA and the Barack Obama administration wanted the new data to get as little attention as possible (as will be seen later, it’s getting none). If so, they have two probable reasons for wishing to minimize its impact.

The first and more obvious of the two is that the food stamp rolls increased by over 607,000 in September to 47.71 million, yet another all-time record. That’s awful enough, but here’s the real kicker: the participation figure for July, the last month of data available before Election Day, was revised up by over 150,000, changing that month’s reported increase from 11,600 to just under 166,000. As will be seen after the jump, no other month’s data was revised except August, where the changes were infinitesimal.


Second Pass: Year Eight’s Annual ‘Christmas’ and ‘Holiday’ Searches

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 9:05 pm

For those who are relatively new and need background, go here to the first post on search done on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2010.

Here goes the second round of searches at Google News for Year 8 on “shopping”:

As with Round 1 back on November 20, that’s an extraordinarily low percentage for the “Christmas” component.

Now on to the second round of “layoff”-related searches:

  • Christmas layoffs (not in quotes, also excluding the word “challenger” to ensure that items relating to the mass layoffs report issued by Challenger & Christmas were excluded) — 24,100 (26.6%)
  • Holiday layoffs (not in quotes) — 28,400 (31.3%)
  • Holidays layoffs (not in quotes) — 38,100 (42.1%)

The sheer quantity of layoff stories this year is still about 100 times (not kidding) greater than that seen at the same time last year. As I mentioned on November 20, it’s possible that Google News has loosened its rules for news site inclusion. So the concern remains, as I stated then: “Even considering those factors, the bigger story may be that there are more layoffs now than there were a year ago, despite what the weekly claims numbers are saying, and despite the press crowing about an improved economy.”

Once again, the press is far more likely to use “Christmas” in connection with layoffs (roughly 3.6 times as likely in the most recent set — 26.6% vs. 7.4%), an obviously negative thing, than it is to use “Christmas” in connection with shopping and commerce, a generally positive or neutral thing.

NewsBusted (120712)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 9:50 am

Here we go:

– Christmas Greeting
– Nancy Pelosi
– President Obama
– National Debt
– Jay Carney
– Ambassador Susan Rice
– French Socialists
– British Tax Rates
– San Antonio Spurs
– Michigan Governor
– Detroit
– Zurich Prostitution

Best Line: “the majority of Americans still prefer the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’ as a holiday greeting. However, this year, liberals prefer the phrase ‘Happy Re-inauguration.”

The November Employment Situation Report (120712); 146K SA Job Adds; Unemployment Rate Down to 7.7% Due to Lower Participation

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:33 am

I’m looking for an upside “surprise” today from the consensus predictions which I believe are artificially low. They range from 85,000 at Business Insider to 93K at Reuters, 85K at Bloomberg, and 50-100K at the Associated Press.

The unemployment rate is supposedly going to hold steady at 7.9 percent. I think that’s going to tick up by one or two tenths of a point.

A look at the raw numbers explains why I believe that today should have an upside surprise — and if it doesn’t, things are really bad. I will put them up shortly. Here they are:


To classify the situation as really good, we need to see 450,000 raw job adds overall with 350,000 in the private sector. I doubt that will happen.

If the raw numbers don’t show at least 300,000 jobs added overall with 200,000 in the private sector — both of which would be expected to convert to about 150K after seasonal adjustment, leading to my upside “surprise” prediction — things are really bad, and Sandy won’t suffice as a excuse.

The report will be here at 8:30 a.m.

UPDATE: Well, I was right about November’s job additions being an upside “surprise,” and wrong on the rate. But the reason for the low rate is not good at all —

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 146,000 in November, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in November. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.0 million, changed little.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (7.0 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent), whites (6.8 percent), and Hispanics (10.0 percent) showed little or no change in November. The unemployment rate for blacks (13.2 percent) declined over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

The civilian labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 63.6 percent in November, offsetting an increase of the same amount in October. Total employment was about unchanged in November, following a combined increase of 1.3 million over the prior 2 months. The employment-population ratio, at 58.7 percent, changed little in November.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 146,000 in November. Since the beginning of this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, about the same as the average monthly job gain of 153,000 in 2011. In November, employment rose in retail trade, professional and business services, and health care.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +148,000 to +132,000, and the change for October was revised from +171,000 to +138,000.

(Note added at 10 a.m.) Including prior-month revisions, only 97,000 more Americans (146K today less September’s and October’s respective 16K and 33K downward revisions) were estimated to be working in November than were a month ago.

(Return to original post) I’ll look at the raw numbers shortly. …

OK, here are the revised raw and seasonally adjusted numbers:


Team Obama seems to have gotten a bad break in the seasonal adjustements, as you could make a case that it should have shown at least 40K more jobs both overall and in the private sector. No sympathy here, though, given that the seasonally adjusted pre-election number of 171K came down to a very mediocre 138K.

UPDATE 2: The private sector has added a pathetic 130,000 jobs per month during the past nine months.

UPDATE 3: As seen at Zero Hedge (officially here, with “Not in Labor Force” rising from 88.341 million to 88.883 million), 542,000 adults left the workforce.

UPDATE 4: It’s a little early to call it a trend, but the seasonally adjusted number of multiple jobholders has shot up by 400,000 in the past five months, with almost 200,000 of that increase occurring in November. Maybe that’s a reaction to ObamaCare’s 30-hour work week constraint.

UPDATE 5: Here’s another indicator of job market devolution — The actual number of people employed by temporary help services (2.657 million, not seasonally adjusted) is essentially the same as it was during the last half of 2007 — except that five years ago, the average unemployment rate during the final half of the year was 4.7 percent instead of the current (understated because of lower participation) 7.7 percent.

UPDATE 6: Pethokoukis — “November Jobs Report: Another nasty, ‘new normal’ month for U.S. workers.”

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (120712)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Remember Pearl Harbor

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

Simply stated at the Utica, NY Observer-Dispatch:

Seventy-one years ago today — Dec. 7, 1941 — a sneak attack by Japan laid waste to the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. More than 2,400 people — most of them military personnel — were killed.

For nearly four long years, America was center stage in World War II.

Veterans of that war gather annually to remember Pearl Harbor, but with each passing year they are fewer and fewer in number.

Our nation, despite the blemishes, endures today because of what they did — on the battlefield and on the home front. The sacrifices were enormous.

And for that reason, we must never forget it.

Remember Pearl Harbor.