September 26, 2013

AP’s Rugaber Claims ‘Job Market May Be Strengthening’; Doesn’t Mention Dominance of Part-Timers and Temps

I guess the Associated Press’s business and economics reporters feel they’ve done their jobs if they mention the relative donominance of new workforce entries by temps and part-timers once, while denigrating the obvious validity of the latter — and pretend it never has to be mentioned again.

That’s how the AP’s Christopher Rugaber can produce a writeup, as he did today, telling readers that “The job market is sending signs that it may be strengthening,” which contains no reference to part-timers or temps, obviously because that would disrupt the “improvement” meme. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

(more…)

Buckeye Institute: Cincincinnati’s Pension Liability is $2.5 Billion, or $8,400 Per Resident

Filed under: Economy,Soc. Sec. & Retirement,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:43 pm

“Somebody” was saying that this was unsustainble as recently as June and way back in 2005.

So now it’s a crisis.

The Buckeye Institute (HT to an email from Chris Littleton) has the details:

Cincinnati’s current public employee retirement plan, the Cincinnati Retirement System (CRS), is a traditional “defined benefit” (DB) pension plan that is far less fiscally sound than commonly understood. By some accounting standards, CRS is optimistically underfunded by $862 million. But a more accurate measure, the “fair market valuation” preferred by most economists, reveals unfunded liabilities of over $2.5 billion and a funding ratio of only 35%. As a result of this shortfall, pension costs for the City are extremely high. Total pension costs for 2014 are projected to equal 58% of total employee payroll, with the City bearing a cost equal to almost 49% of payroll. By comparison, the median total state or local government pension contribution is equal to 13% of employee payroll.

That $2.5 billion is roughly $8,400 for each of Cincinnati’s 296,000 residents.

Chris’s email points out to a related November ballot issue:

A Yes vote on Issue 4 this November, the charter amendment to fix Cincinnati’s pension problem, is extremely popular with voters and absolutely vital to Cincinnati’s future. Win-win from every direction!

This is going to require more research, because attempts at finding information about the issue on the web were futile.

Stay tuned.

Move Over, Late-1970s Bengals: Obama Admin May Get Whipped by the Little Sisters of the Poor

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:29 am

A late-1970s cartoon by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jim Borgman — this was when the Enquirer was a real newspaper and not something which looks like it was thrown together at Staples Copy Center, and came out a few years after coaching legend Paul Brown retired to the front office — featured a hapless coach of the Cincinnati Bengals football team (I think it was Homer Rice) explaining how hard his team fought in a failed effort to defeat … the Little Sisters of the Poor.

In real life, via Joel Gehrke at the Washington Examiner, it would appear that the sisters have a fair chance of whipping the Obama administration, HHS, and Obamacare:

Little Sisters of the Poor sue over Obamacare fines, contraception requirement

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finalized a contraception mandate that ignores the fact groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor are religious organizations, according to a lawsuit filed to protect them against fines for refusing to comply with an Obamacare mandate.

“We cannot violate our vows by participating in the government’s program to provide access to abortion-inducing drugs,” Sister Loraine Marie said of a class-action lawsuit filed against the mandate on behalf of multiple religious organizations that provide health benefits.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the plaintiffs, filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado.

The choice of jurisdiction is critical: The Colorado district court falls under the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, and thus is governed by that court’s precedent in most cases.

A 10th Circuit panel ruled earlier this year that the owners of Hobby Lobby did not have to comply with the HHS mandate (that lawsuit was also filed by the Becket Fund). President Obama’s attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to overturn the 10th Circuit’s ruling.

Hit ‘em again, hit ‘em again, harder, sisters.

2Q13 GDP, Third Reading (092613): Stays at an Annualized 2.5%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:31 am

Bloomberg thinks today’s reading will be an annualized 2.6%, up from last month’s revised take of 2.5% and the initial reading of 1.7% in July. I’m thinking it drops a bit because of month-ago revisions to second-quarter new home sales. We’ll see.

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

HERE IT IS (full HTML):

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013 (that is, from the first quarter to the second quarter), according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 1.1 percent.

A detailed look reveals little change from the last revision pretty much across the board. Government purchases went from subtracting 0.18 points to subtracting 0.07, which means the private sector’s overall contribution dropped.

Overall, I think there’s a little padding in the overall growth number, but it’s going to stay where it is until the middle of next year.

Initial Unemployment Claims (092613)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:22 am

Predictions:

Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended Sept. 21, 2013 — 83.1
  • Week ended Sept. 22, 2012 — 82.7

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended Sept. 14, 2013 — 271,747 (before revision, which appears to be to 272,918 per DOL’s perhaps prematurely updated history)
  • Week ended Sept. 22, 2012 — 303,685

For claims to be a seasonally adjusted 325K or lower, raw claims will need to be 270K or lower (270K divided by .831 is 325K, rounded). That seems on the unlikely side, but … The report has literally been self-admitted garbage for the past two weeks thanks to computer snafus in California and one other state, so an attempt at a prediction is in my view a waste of time.

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

UPDATE: The number is 305,000. I’ll look at it after I look over GDP.

DOL’s report (permanent link):

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending September 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 305,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 310,000. The 4-week moving average was 308,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 315,000.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 253,668 in the week ending September 21, a decrease of 19,250 from the previous week. There were 303,685 initial claims in the comparable week in 2012.

The Associated Press is reporting DOL’s assertion that the backlogs have been cleared. If the numbers stand up in revisions, raw claims are as low as they’ve been since September 2007. I’m skeptical. It’s a product of my first name.

Zero Hedge notes that “Continuing claims ticked up by the most in 2 months.”

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (092613)

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

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

9:20 a.m.: From Greenville, SC“Greenville Wal-Mart Shooter Picked Victims By Race.” From the article: “The (court) documents didn’t specify why Faust wanted to shoot white people.” Uh, we already know why.

Positivity: Architects eager to begin Crystal Cathedral’s renovation

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:05 am

From Orange, California:

Sep 26, 2013 / 04:16 am

The leading architects in the massive undertaking of renovating the ‘Crystal Cathedral’ into Christ Cathedral for the Diocese of Orange, Calif., have expressed their excitement about the daunting project.

On Sept. 18, Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Orange announced that Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios had been selected to collaborate on the transformation of the landmark building and its 34-acre campus.

The Diocese of Orange purchased the 3,000-seat Crystal Cathedral in February of 2012 from the Protestant church which founded it. The purchase was made after Crystal Cathedral had filed for bankruptcy in October 2010 when some of its creditors sued for payment.

“That the Catholic Church would take on a project like this, that they would be able to move to a site with this much promise in it, both in terms of the breadth of the site itself and the possibility of a campus of multiple buildings and multiple activities…is exciting,” Scott Johnson, design partner at Johnson Fain, told CNA Sept. 17.

“And, that they would take on as the site of their cathedral, and in particular, the former Crystal Cathedral, which is quite an important landmark building…(the diocese) had great regard and respect for what it means in the cultural community, and they were very thoughtful about it, as they were about the other buildings.”

Johnson Fain will focus on re-vamping the interior of the cathedral to make it suitable for Catholic worship, while Rios Clementi Hale Studios will oversee the integration of the rest of the campus, including its six other buildings, into a unified whole.

“The site has three really important pieces of architecture,” Mark Rios, principal of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, explained to CNA. The campus buildings “really were never collectively designed,” he added: “one building was added in sequence after another, and the parking lots were modified to receive a new building, but the exterior spaces here can be really fantastic.”

Rios will be focused on master planning, examining how the buildings “all sort of tie together and support each other.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Additional PJ Media ‘Wedding Tax’ Column Linkers

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 1:21 am

The PJ Media column getting so much attention, for which yours truly is intensely grateful, is here.

Some additional linkers include the following: