April 4, 2013

AP’s Rugaber: ‘Gone Are the Fears That the Economy Could Fall Into Another Recession’

Well, we can stop worrying about the economy now. Write it down. Chris Rugaber at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, tells readers today that the business cycle has been repealed. That’s right. As of now, “Gone are the fears that the economy could fall into another recession.”

Even giving him the benefit of the doubt that he only meant to refer to the short- or intermediate-term, it takes a mountain of chutzpah to make such a declaration after a quarter during the which the economy grew at an annualized 0.4%, i.e., an actual 0.1%. It’s doubly hard to take because the press, led by the Associated Press, feared that a recession was around the corner virtually every month or quarter from the time I began blogging in early 2005 until mid-2008, when the National Bureau of Economic Research defied the normal person’s definition of recession (i.e., two consecutive quarters of contraction) and decided that a recession began in December 2007, seven months before it really did.

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Politico Has a Fever Over Possible Hillary Clinton 2016 Presidential Run

As of about 4:30 p.m., a search at the Politico on “Hillary Clinton” (in quotes) returned about 20 results — for April alone. While a few of the results are teases for longer items, that’s out-of-control coverage of someone who officially left government weeks ago.

The reasons for the obsession, of course, are to try to convince Mrs. Clinton to run for president in 2016 and to clear the field of other Democrats who might think that a strong presidential resume does not consist of 25 years of playing the good wife for a political and behavioral scoundrel, eight years as senator from a state in which she never live until the year she first ran for election, and four years as Secretary of State which ended in “What difference does it make?” after four Americans died in Benghazi on her watch. The lastest Politico offering from Maggie Haberman indicates that we can expect the website’s obsession to continue indefinitely, because they think, or want us to think, that “average Americans” are just as obsessed:

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Initial Unemployment Claims (040413); 385K SA, Way Above Expectations; Year-Over-Year NSA Claims Virtually Unchanged

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:00 am

Predictions:

  • Bloomberg: 353,000 (also predicting 195,000 jobs added in tomorrow’s employment report)
  • Reuters:  no prediction as of very early morning (“Investors will keep a close eye on U.S. weekly jobless claims, due at 1230 GMT on Thursday, for further insight on Friday’s all-important monthly U.S. jobs data.” UPDATE: After the report’s release, Reuters says expectations were 350,000.

Seasonal adjustment factors:
- Week ended March 30, 2013 — 81.6
- Week ended March 31, 2012 — 85.8

This is a big enough difference to matter. Last year’s raw claims were 315,714, leading to a seasonally adjusted result (after revisions of seasonal factors announced last week) of 368,000 (315,714 divided by .858).

Even if this year’s raw claims come in at 303,000, which would be 4% lower than a year ago (last week’s year-over-year differential was only 2.4%) and also about 4% lower than last week’s 315,657, the seasonally adjusted result will be 371,000 (303,000 divided by .816), well above the Bloomberg-reported prediction. Raw claims of 327,000 would push the seasonally adjusted result over 400,000.

Though the presence of Good Friday may affect how many raw claims roll in, I hope I’m wrong, but I think there’s a pretty strong chance of an “unexpectedly” unpleasant “surprise” today.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS: Told ya (permanent link) —

In the week ending March 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 385,000, an increase of 28,000 from the previous week’s unrevised figure of 357,000. The 4-week moving average was 354,250, an increase of 11,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 343,000.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 314,016 in the week ending March 30, a decrease of 1,596 from the previous week. There were 315,714 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

For the first time in quite a while and maybe the fifth time in two years, the previous week wasn’t revised. If last year’s seasonal adjustment factor had been used on this year’s raw number, seasonally adjusted claims would have come in at 366,000 (314,016 divided by .858, rounded). But given that last week contained Good Friday, we should have expected fewer raw claims and didn’t get them.

It’s really not very satisfying to be right on this, because any child should have been able to do the analysis above and raise the same warning as I did before the release. I don’t understand why these “experts” either can’t or won’t do the same thing.

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UPDATE: Zero Hedge — “excluding the Sandy aberrations, this was the biggest two week surge in claims since April 2011.”

Spring slump III (or is it IV?) appears to be arriving on schedule.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (040413)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:10 am

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

Presented with (almost) no comment, cleaning out some oldies which never got their own post:

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March 15 — “In a blow against government secrecy, a federal judge ruled Friday that the tens of thousands of “national security letters” the FBI sends each year demanding customer records from phone companies, banks and others, are unconstitutional because they forbid recipients from revealing that the letters exist.”

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March 13“Obama: Keystone XL pipeline not major jobs creator”:

“He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians.”

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March 5 at the Hill“Report: US oil-and-gas production up despite drop on federal lands.” The full related report (large PDF) is here.

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March 20 “Oh, but the economy is getting better, really” report“FED PROJECTS HIGH US UNEMPLOYMENT INTO 2015″

Positivity: Colorado miracle spurs German nun’s beatification

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Colorado Springs, Colorado:

Apr 3, 2013 / 04:03 am (CNA).- The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration are thrilled at the approved beatification of their German founder, Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, after a Vatican-recognized miracle in Colorado.

“We are enthusiastically surprised,” Sister Clarice Gentrup, the congregation’s vicar general, told CNA April 2.

“After all these years, we’re coming closer and closer to beatification and canonization, possibly.”

Pope Francis approved the 19th century nun’s beatification on March 27. The ceremony will be celebrated at the Catholic cathedral in Paderborn, Germany on Nov. 10 and her hometown of Olpe will host an event on Nov. 11.

The miracle attributed to Mother Maria Theresia involves the healing of a Colorado Springs boy named Luke Burgie. In September 1998, at the age of four, he began suffering chronic diarrhea. Many doctors and specialists could not cure him.

“Nobody could really diagnose what the cause of it was,” Sr. Gentrup said. “They tried to heal him, but nothing helped. He was losing weight, and a little four-year-old doesn’t have a lot of weight to lose.”

Luke’s older sister Jill met some Sisters of St. Francis when they visited her parish elementary school, where she was a student. Her family invited two sisters to supper at their home, where they learned about Luke’s illness. The sisters began a novena to Mother Maria Theresia for Luke in late January 1999.

Luke was suddenly cured on Feb. 22, 1999, without scientific explanation.

His mother said that he “just got up from the couch and began playing like a normal happy kid,” the Sisters of St. Francis reported on their website. At the time, Luke simply said “Jesus healed me.”

Sr. Gentrup, who lives in Colorado Springs, said the boy is doing well fourteen years later.

“He was a healthy strong, wrestler in high school. He rides his bicycle and runs marathons,” Sr. Gentrup said. “He’s a normal, healthy teenager.”

She and her other Sisters of St. Francis are glad to see recognition of their foundress.

“Right now we’re very grateful she will be beatified. She was such a wonderful woman and such an inspiration to so many, many, many sisters.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.