January 6, 2014

ISM Non-Manufacturing: 53.0%, Down from 53.9% vs. Expected 54.8%; Orders Measures Are Both in Contraction

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 12:03 pm

From the Institute for Supply Management:

The NMI® registered 53 percent in December, 0.9 percentage point lower than November’s reading of 53.9 percent. This indicates continued growth at a slightly slower rate in the non-manufacturing sector. The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index decreased to 55.2 percent, which is 0.3 percentage point lower than the 55.5 percent reported in November, reflecting growth for the 53rd consecutive month, but at a slightly slower rate. The New Orders Index contracted after 52 consecutive months of growth for the first time since July 2009, when it registered 48 percent. The index decreased significantly by 7 percentage points to 49.4 percent, and the Employment Index increased 3.3 percentage points to 55.8 percent, indicating growth in employment for the 17th consecutive month and at a faster rate. The Prices Index increased 2.9 percentage points to 55.1 percent, indicating prices increased at a faster rate in December when compared to November. According to the NMI®, eight non-manufacturing industries reported growth in December. Despite the substantial decrease in the New Orders Index, respondents’ comments predominately reflect that business conditions are stable.”

Business Insider expected 54.8%.

This report elements affecting GDP were not strong.

The contraction in New Orders, though slight, is troubling, especially when combined with the further contraction in Backlog of Orders (from 49.0% to 46%.0%). But Production barely changed. Although we always have to remember that this ISM’s reports are sentiment surveys and not hard measurement tools, that situation clearly isn’t sustainable.

We’ll take the overall expansionary, but this report has big red flags in it for the early months of 2014.

I Wasn’t Even Looking For This (on Job Declines in Metro Cleveland) …

Filed under: Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:03 am

… but it found me, when I was looking to see when the next Metro Area Employment and Unemployment Report covering November comes out (that will be tomorrow).

It was in the “Retrospective Summary of September 2013 Metropolitan Area Employment and Unemployment” at the end of October’s report (link will be overridden by November’s report tomorrow), done because the Bureau of Labor Statistics skipped issuing a September report because of the 17% government shutdown (figures are seasonally adjusted):

The largest over-the-year decrease in employment (from Sept. 2012 to Sept. 2013) occurred in Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio (-7,200), followed by Poughkeepsie, Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y. (-3,300), and Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. (-3,200). The largest over-the-year percentage decreases in employment occurred in Decatur, Ill. (-4.7 percent), Manhattan, Kan. (-3.1 percent), and Ocean City, N.J. (-3.0 percent).

To be fair to our northeastern Buckeye State buds, I looked up the stats as presented and revised for October and November (which seems to have been posted prematurely):


The “good” news is that September’s year-over-year shortfall is now “only” 5,400.

The bad news is that the October and November year-over-year job declines increased to amounts even greater than what was originally reported for September, i.e., to 7,500 and 7,800, respectively.

The really bad news is that Metro Cleveland is still almost 66,000 jobs shy of its pre-recession peak of 1.079 million in April 2006, and has recovered less than 30% of the 92,500 jobs lost from that month to March 2010 (26,800 jobs gained since March 2010 divided by 92,500 is 29%).

I’ll leave it to readers to mutter their own Team Kasich economic malaise comments.


UPDATE: The seasonally adjusted 12-month decline per the Household Survey is just over 9,000 as of November. It was almost 12,000 back in April, narrowed from that point until September, and is headed the wrong way again.

The November 2013 v. 2012 not seasonally adjusted difference — more accurate because it’s supposed to reflect what’s actually there — was over 12,500.

UPDATE 2, Jan. 7: The Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed to the not seasonally adjusted Establishment Survey in reporting that November’s year-over-year Metro Cleveland employment drop was 8,100.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010614)

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 may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Vatican encourages renewed missionary zeal in Catholic schools

Filed under: Education,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Dec 26, 2013 / 08:02 am

A recently released Vatican document is calling for a fresh commitment to Catholic identity within what it calls an increasingly secularized educational system.

At a press conference held Dec. 19, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said, “the Catholic identity of the school is fundamental.”

Noting the many challenges facing Catholic schools, the Cardinal added, “today one of the greatest problems is when large organizations want to impose gender ideology.”

“Today, due to the advanced process of secularization, Catholic schools find themselves in a missionary situation, even in countries with an ancient Christian tradition,” reads the congregation’s “Educating To Intercultural Dialogue in Catholic Schools.”

“Catholic schools’ primary responsibility is one of witness. In the various situations created by different cultures, the Christian presence must be shown and made clear, that is, it must be visible, tangible and conscious,” the document continues.

“Catholic schools have in Jesus Christ the basis of their anthropological and pedagogical paradigm; they must practice the ‘grammar of dialogue,’ not as a technical expedient, but as a profound way of relating to others. Catholic schools must reflect on their own identity, because that which they can give is primarily that which they are.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.