February 27, 2014

As Economic Data Weakens, AP’s ‘All Is Well’ Reports Play the ‘Weather’ Card, Furiously Search For Silver Linings

The news in two government reports on the economy today was not good. One showed that initial unemployment claims last week rose to a seasonally adjusted 348,000; raw (not seasonally adjusted) claims were virtually identical to last year’s comparable week. To avoid the dreaded U-word (“unexpectedly”), a pair of Bloomberg News reporters described the result as “exceeding all forecasts.” In the other report, durable goods orders in January fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.0 percent, while December’s steep decline of 4.3 percent was revised down even further to -5.3 percent.

In separate reports at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak did their best to excuse away the results and to find something positive to say. As readers will see, they had to dig pretty deep, and their efforts were unconvincing.

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Initial Unemployment Claims (022714): 348K SA; No Year-Over-Year Change in Raw Claims

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:30 am

Predictions:Bloomberg — “Data due today may show jobless claims fell last week by 1,000.” That would mean to 335,000 seasonally adjusted claims from last week’s 336,000 (before revisions which have already been posted and took the number down to 334,000).

Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended Feb. 22, 2014 — 89.2 (yep, the same as last year)
  • Week ended Feb. 23, 2013 — 89.2

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended Feb. 15, 2014 — 321,414 (a reduction from last week’s 323,151)
  • Week ended Feb. 23, 2013 — 310,389

For Bloomberg’s 335K prediction to come true, raw claims will have to be 299K or below (299K divided by .892 is 335K, rounded). That seems aggressive but doable.

We’ll see here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link): Looks like it wasn’t doable —

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending February 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 348,000, an increase of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 334,000. The 4-week moving average was 338,250, unchanged from the previous week’s revised average.

UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 310,816 in the week ending February 22, a decrease of 10,598 from the previous week. There were 310,389 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

So there’s essentially no change in raw claims or seasonally adjusted claims from a year ago. Does anyone remember how great the first quarter of last year was? Neither do I.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (022714)

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: Denver hospice dedicated to upholding Church teaching

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

From Denver:

Feb 20, 2014 / 04:10 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A palliative care organization in the Denver archdiocese is committed to providing end-of-life care to patients that fully accords with the teaching of the Church, according to the group’s president.

“We have a focus on the Catholic faith. We’ll care for anybody, just like Jesus Christ would, but we have a focus on … following the teachings of the Church,” Kevin Lundy, president of Divine Mercy Supportive Care, told CNA Feb. 15.

While acknowledging that “all hospice agencies are made up of wonderful, loving, caring people,” he explained that what distinguishes Divine Mercy Supportive Care is “our focus is on providing those sacramental services … the spiritual end-of-life preparation.”

“We believe in caring for people in a manner consistent with the teachings of the Church.”

Divine Mercy provides charitable, educational, and medical services, offering compassionate care while affirming the dignity and sanctity of human life.

More than 100 supporters attended a Feb. 15 fundraiser for the organization, including Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver and religious sisters from both the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Religious Sisters of Mercy.

The evening began with a Mass said by Fr. Charles Polifka, which was followed by presentations on the importance of having a Catholic hospice available, for spiritual, pastoral and medical reasons.

Archbishop Aquila discussed his own experience with his mother dying in hospice, commenting on the importance of helping “those people who truly desire to have a Christian death, to have a death that is focused on faith.”

The archbishop added that “when I heard about the mission and work of Divine Mercy, and because of my own experience, I very much support the work that they are doing, the ministry they want to do.”

Go here for the rest of the story.