September 6, 2013

Go Bananas

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:35 am

The stock market is pretty happy that the employment report stunk.

CNBC’s inimitable Rick Santelli reacted with characteristic clarity to the continued shrinkage in the labor force participation rate:

“To see the stock market rally on crappy data, to me, is just a horrible dynamic. What are we, a banana republic?”

Maybe not a banana republic (yet), but definitely a “gone bananas” stock market and investment climate.

AP’s Matt Lee Shows Some Spine in Asking Where White House’s Went

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee has been on the State Department beat for almost four years. At times, he has been one of a very few establishment press reporters who will challenge Obama administration officials when their assertions become too brazen to tolerate.

One of those times (HT Business Insider via Hot Air) occurred yesterday, when hapless State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki attempted to defend as “courageous” John Kerry’s statement that the administration’s non-mandatory request for a Congressional vote on U.S. military involvement in Syria:


August Employment Situation Summary (090613)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:20 am

Econ Catchup:

  • ISM Manufacturing — 55.7% in August, up slightly from 55.4% in July.
  • ISM Non Manufacturing – a strong 58.6% in August, up from 56.0% in July.
  • Car Sales — A very strong month, with all of the big six companies showing double-digit gains. Detroit’s Big 3 were in the low teens, while the three biggest Japanese companies were all well above 20%. Toyota outsold Ford.
  • ADP Private Sector Payrolls — 176,000 jobs added in August.


  • Bloomberg — Unemployment rate stays at 7.4%; 180,000 jobs added
  • Reuters — same

Not seasonally adjusted data: Readers here know that the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) data tells the real story and that seasonally adjusted figures sometimes don’t seem to adequately reflect the underlying reality.

Here are the NSA and SA number for June-August during the past 13 years:


For August to have been a good month, the economy needs to have added 400,000 total nonfarm jobs and 225,000 in the private sector. They both have to come in better than the past few years, simply because the economy during the past few years hasn’t impressed anyone without partisan blinders who has been paying attention.

Also lurking in the background is how the Gallup employment polls are showing the unemployment rate trending up.

Obviously, another major factor to watch will be the part-time vs. full-time breakout in the Household Survey.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (full HTML version): Once again, the number of jobs added is less than impressive (after prior-month writedowns), while the official unemployment rate comes down –

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 169,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in retail trade and health care but declined in information.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 11.3 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.3 percent, changed little in August. The jobless rate is down from 8.1 percent a year ago.

… In August, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.3 million.

The civilian labor force participation rate edged down to 63.2 percent in August.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 169,000 in August, about in line with the average monthly gain of 184,000 over the prior 12 months. In August, job growth occurred in retail trade and health care, while employment in information declined. Employment continued to trend up in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and wholesale trade.

… Employment in temporary help services changed little in August.

… Within leisure and hospitality, employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in August (+21,000). Over the year, food services and drinking places has added 354,000 jobs.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour in August to 34.5 hours.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for June was revised from +188,000 to +172,000, and the change for July was revised from +162,000 to +104,000. With these revisions, employment gains in June and July combined were 74,000 less than previously reported.

The raw job adds were 378,000 overal (vs. the needed 400,000 above) and 164,000 in the private sector (vs. 225,000 needed above).

So in August’s first estimate, there were 95,000 more people on employer payrolls (169,000 added less 74,000 in downward revisions) than there were in July, while the unemployment rate went down ONLY because the labor force shrunk by 312,000. Employment per the Household Survey fell by 115,000.

This is a bad news report indicating continued job-market malaise.


UPDATE 1: “Employment in temporary help services changed little in August”? It was up by 13,100, or about 8% of the total adds. UPATE 1A: Seasonally adjusted temp employment is up by 181,000 in the past year, which is 8.2% of the 2.206 million jobs added. The sector is only about 2% of overall employment.

UPDATE 2: The labor force participation rate carnage is across the board — For whites (seasonally adjusted), it dropped from 63.7% in July to 63.4% in August. For blacks, it went from 61.4% to 60.8%, with black men over 20 year going from 67.6% to 66.6%.

UPDATE 3: There was some relief on the full-time vs. part-time front, but not the kind you’d like to see. The Household Survey says that 118,000 full-time jobs were added, while 233,000 part-time jobs were lost, netting out to the over 115K loss noted earlier.

UPDATE 4: Though the average work week went up overall, it dropped from 31.5 hours to 31.4 in retail.

UPDATE 5: “Not it labor force” increased by over 500K to 90.47 million. This figure is just shy of 10 million higher than it was when Barack Obama became president in January 2009.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (090613)

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

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

If you are on the front page, click “more” to see today’s items (updated sporadically; items time-stamped 6:05 a.m., if any, were posted earlier and held).

Positivity: Brookline family adopts pet that saved the life of Cranberry man

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From various points in Pennsylvania:

Published: Saturday, August 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Updated: Saturday, August 31, 2013

A heart-wrenching call, but the right thing to do.

That’s how Chuck Weintraub described his decision to part with Chloe, a 1-year-old pit bull mix who in July saved his life by alerting neighbors when he collapsed in his Cranberry yard with heart complications.

“Anguish; we were in turmoil,” said Weintraub, 59, who fosters dogs for the Humane Society of Western Pennsylvania. “Then it hit us: It would be selfish of us to keep her because if we do, we can’t do what she saved my life for, which is to save other dogs.

“As much as we love her and as much as she did for me, I feel like I’m paying it forward by helping other dogs in her honor.”

Chloe — renamed Cloe by her new family — now lives in Brookline. She has a big yard to play in, two young children to watch over, a fellow canine named Hank to pal around with, and a protective human mother who watches over Cloe as if she were a third child.

“She’s our angel,” said Heather Rauenswinter, 29, as Cloe rubbed against her leg. “She’s part of our family now.”

The Tribune-Review first reported Cloe’s heroics in early July.

Weintraub fostered Cloe after her previous owner surrendered her in April, Humane Society officials said. Mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites, covered her body; she was timid from neglect and potential abuse, officials said.

In her foster home, the skittish dog learned to trust humans. But she remained painfully shy, never straying from Weintraub’s side.

On July 3, Weintraub collapsed while mowing his lawn. His two dogs, confined by collars that respond to an invisible electric fence, could not leave the yard.

Only Cloe could help. Despite her anxieties, she ran to a neighbor’s home and led them up the long driveway and into the yard, where Weintraub lay unconscious. They called paramedics, and Weintraub survived.

When the Rauenswinters heard about Cloe, “the hair on my arms stood up,” Heather Rauenswinter said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.