March 13, 2014

AP’s Boak Hypes Weak Feb. Retail Sales Growth as ‘Rebound’

February’s retail sales as reported may have been expectations of a 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted rise, but the 0.3 percent increase turned in was still far from impressive, especially after considering that the Census Bureau revised January’s result down to -0.6 percent from an originally reported -0.4 percent.

Naturally, that didn’t stop the Associated Press’s Josh Boak and his story’s headline writer from celebrating the news as a “rebound.” Even more absurdly, Boak claimed that “Last month’s rebound almost brought retail spending back to its December levels.” Excerpts follow the jump:


Initial Unemployment Claims (031314): 315,000 SA; NSA Claims 5% Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:47 am


Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended March 8, 2014 — 96.0
  • Week ended March 9, 2013 — 95.1

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended March 1, 2014 — 317,832 (revised slightly up from last week, making the seasonally adjusted figure 324,000 instead of 323,000)
  • Week ended March 9, 2013 — 317,526

For Bloomberg’s prediction to hold, raw claims will have to be 317K or lower (317K divided by 96.0 is 330K, rounded).

Let’s hope it does. It will be a disappointment if it doesn’t, because it will mean that weekly raw claims are rising.

We’ll find out here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link):


In the week ending March 8, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 315,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 324,000. The 4-week moving average was 330,500, a decrease of 6,250 from the previous week’s revised average of 336,750.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 302,218 in the week ending March 8, a decrease of 15,614 from the previous week. There were 317,526 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

This is a pretty good result.

That said, it’s useful to remind readers that almost five years after the recession officially ended, “covered employment” — those who would be eligible for benefits if laid off or let go involuntarily — is still only 130.938 million, almost 3 million below the 133.902 million peak seen at the end of 2008.

In most if not all other recoveries, that covered employment number came back to its previous peak years sooner. We’re still probably 18-24 months away from getting there this time around, which means it will have taken about seven years to return to the previous peak — before considering aduly populations gains.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (031314)

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

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here.

This continues a two-week catch-up effort, where I am mostly getting to items which may be a bit dated but which many readers might have missed. Other topics are also fair game.


Feb. 28 — This (“Cincinnati Police Arrest the Most Dangerous Criminals of Hamilton County”) is troubling, for visually obvious reasons:

A four month investigation by local and federal authorities has led to the arrest of some of the most dangerous criminals in Hamilton County, according to the Cincinnati Police Department.

It would apparently be racist of me to point out why it’s so troubling. And to be clear as to my perspective, it’s not really about race; it’s about culture.


Feb. 28 — Predictably irresponsible: “With elections looming and debt rising, Senate Democrats won’t put out fiscal 2015 budget”


Feb. 25, via Bob Livingston — “America has evolved into a lawless state. There has been a breakdown of law and order, but only a few can see it.” Or they don’t mind it.


Feb. 24, from Warner Todd Huston — “A REAL New Jersey Scandal Tied to Democrats Being Ignored by Media.” Of course, because it involves Democrats.


March 5, at — Another great moment in public education, from Alcoa City School District in Tennessee: “Audit: School employee used nearly $500,000 on iTunes, jewelry”


March 3 — Politio Magazine’s Pema Levy thinks that Heritage Foundation head Jim DeMint might be the “Most Hated Man in Washington.” If so, that would mean he’s doing his job pretty well.


Obamacare architect “Zeke the Bleak” Emanuel strikes again, telling us how our medical system will be degraded by President Obama’s “signature achievement”: “You Don’t Need a Doctor for Every Part of Your Health Care.”

If an HMO had proposed doing this 20 years ago, it would have been roundly criticized by the same people who think Obamacare is the greatest thing in the world.


Feb. 27 — I think that Candice Choi, the writer of this Associated Press item (“MCDONALD’S TO EXPAND ‘BUILD YOUR OWN BURGER’ TEST”; additional link here) completely missed what’s going on:

McDonald’s plans to expand a test this year that lets people order customized burgers.

the restaurant in Laguna Niguel offers tablets on which people can tap out the bun, patty, cheese and toppings they want on their burgers.

In other words, a typical McDonald’s may be able to get by with fewer cashiers, or without them entirely. The thought apparently didn’t occur to Ms. Choi.

Put that in your minimum wage pipe and smoke it.


Feb. 28, Mark Steyn: “Every Quote Ever Uttered By Anyone Exonerates Michael E Mann.” Mann is the creator of the bogus “global warming” hockey stick. Apparently, the only he can survive as a credible scientist is to try to sue and intimidate everyone into submission, which by default really means he’s not a credible scientist.

More Steyn vs. Mann background is here.


Feb. 26, at California Watchdog“Customers tell horror stories of solar company that gets $422M in tax dollars.”

Positivity: Pizza guy who delivered to Academy Awards collects $1,000 tip

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Hollywood: