February 7, 2013

Departing LaHood Moans That ‘America Is One Big Pothole’; Wasn’t the Stimulus Supposed to Solve That?

A Wednesday report by Keith Laing at the Hill failed to point out a quite obvious contradiction during departing Transportation Secretary LaHood’s appearance on NPR’s Diane Rehm show.

From all appearances, based on the video available at her site, Rehm, once LaHood launched into a predictable rant about how our transportation infrastructure is in serious disrepair, didn’t ask — and should have asked — why the hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the stimulus plan accompanied by those ubiquitous Recovery Act promotional signs seen at road construction projects didn’t stabilize things two or three years ago. Excerpts from Laing’s lackluster effort follow the jump (bolds are mine):

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Initial Unemployment Claims (020713); 366K SA; Year–Over-Year NSA Claims Down Less Than 4%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:17 am

Also, productivity news is not good.

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Predictions are as follows:

  • Bloomberg projects a seasonally adjusted 360,000, down from last week’s 368K before likely prior-week revisions.
  • Reuters also has 360K, along with a prediction that a productivity report coming out today will show a decline.
  • The Associated Press, which typically forgets that it carried predictions once economic reports are released, also has 360K.

This year’s adjustment factor of 105.6 is lower than last year’s 108.2, so actual claims are going to have to come in below last year’s for year-over-year seasonally adjusted claims to fall.

UPDATE, 8:40 a.m.: My email says claims fell to 366K from 371K, but I don’t see DOL’s release yet.

UPDATE 2, 8:45 a.m.: Here it is

EASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending February 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 366,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 371,000. The 4-week moving average was 350,500, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 352,750.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 386,176 in the week ending February 2, an increase of 16,696 from the previous week. There were 401,365 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

The year-over-year claims difference of less than 4% is not impressive — and the habit of weekly upward revisions to previous week’s numbers appears to have resumed after taking a hiatus of a couple of weeks.

UPDATE 3: Here’s the first paragraph of the productivity report (full HTML with tables) —

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased at a 2.0 percent annual rate during the fourth quarter of 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The decrease in productivity reflects increases of 0.1 percent in output and 2.2 percent in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012, productivity increased 0.6 percent as output and hours worked rose 2.4 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Annual average productivity increased 1.0 percent from 2011 to 2012.

This is not the kind of productivity situation we saw from 2009 through 2011. It looks like businesses have squeezed all they can out of their existing employees. It may also be that newbie part-timers aren’t as productive as full-timers.

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Chris Christie: The GOP’s Next Crummy Presidential Nominee?’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:21 am

It’s here.

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

My subheadline:

The only open question: How badly would the Garden State Grandstander under-perform Mitt Romney?

Readers will see at the column that I am so over this guy.

We Can’t Afford It, But Amnesty May Pass Anyway

Yet another extension of Cloward-Piven.

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This column first appeared under a different title at FrontPageMag.com earlier this morning.

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Almost six years ago, the last time the Washington establishment tried and failed to shove “comprehensive immigration reform” down the nation’s collective throat, the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. In some quarters that’s considered “full employment.”

Now we have a much higher unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, 48 previous months during which the rate has been 7.8 percent or higher, and indications of job-market pain we haven’t seen since the Great Depression. Despite all of this, immigration “reform,” more properly characterized as “de facto amnesty for illegal aliens,” appears at this point to be on track towards passage.

Far more even than the recent termination of his “jobs council,” which met only four times in two years and accomplished nothing, President Barack Obama’s grim determination to push through “reform” in such persistently dire circumstances makes a mockery of his assertions that he cares about economic progress, and that “the most important thing we can do is to make sure that we are creating jobs in this country.”
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Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (020713)

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

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Peruvian cardinal calls for action to protect life

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Lima, Peru:

Feb 5, 2013 / 12:03 pm

A Peruvian cardinal is asking the faithful to participate in the March for Life in Lima on March 23 to show their unwavering support for the dignity of all human life.

“The time has come to demonstrate with action and on the streets,” said Cardinal Juan Luis Ciprian of Lima.

The lives of the unborn are “in danger from very powerful forces that have a lot of money,” he warned.

Those pushing for abortion have lost their way, since they are working “to campaign for the elimination of unprotected lives,” he continued. …

Go here for the rest of the story.