April 24, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (042414): 329K SA; Good Friday-Influenced Raw Claims Down 6.6% From Previous Week (UPDATE: A Strong March Durable Goods Report)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:43 am


  • Bloomberg — “Initial jobless claims probably increased, a Labor Department report may show.” Thanks for nothing, guys.
  • Business Insider — 313,000 seasonally adjusted claims, up from 304,000 last week.

Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended April 19, 2014 — 90.6
  • Week ended April 20, 2013 — 95.2

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended April 12, 2014 — 317,701 (before likely revision)
  • Week ended April 20, 2013 — 326,264

For Business Insider’s prediction to hold, raw claims will need to be 284,000 or lower (284K divided by .906 is 313K, rounded).

That raw claims figure would be  about 11 percent below last week’s raw claims before revision. While that may seem unrealistic, the wild card is that last week contained Good Friday, when  many state offices, including unemployment offices, were closed. It also could be that some data submissions are late, in which case the Department of Labor normally estimates what they would have been.

If Good Friday has no impact, seasonally adjusted claims could easily come in as high as 351K (the result of replicating last week’s raw claims with this week’s seasonal adjustment factor) or even higher. If it has a great deal of impact, Business Insider’s prediction might hold.

We’ll see here (PDF) at 8:30 a.m.



In the week ending April 19, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 329,000, an increase of 24,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 304,000 to 305,000. The 4-week moving average was 316,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 312,000


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 297,870 in the week ending April 19, a decrease of 20,923 (or -6.6 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 42,668 (or -13.4 percent) from the previous week. There were 326,264 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

So the result came in somewhat below the midpoint for best and worst-case scenarios.

It’s hard to evaluate this given the unknown effect of Good Friday. The relatively small size of the dip compared to what the seasonal factor would have predicted certainly isn’t a reason for overconfidence from the “things are getting better” crowd, but it’s hard to go much further than that.


UPDATE: In other econ news, durable goods went up a seasonally adjusted 2.6 percent in March. Though the result was heavily influenced by a very good month for aircraft, the rest of the categories were still pretty strong.

The ‘We Do What We Want, Bleep You’ Administration



This column went up at PJ Media Monday evening Pacific Time and was teased here at BizzyBlog Tuesday morning.


In the late-1970s, after a Rolling Stone review skewered his band’s latest album, Paul Kantner of the rock band Jefferson Starship fired off a nastygram the magazine printed which read (profanity removed): “We do what we want. Bleeeeeep you.”

Although even then it was becoming obvious that a more generic version of Kantner’s attitude was systematically permeating the culture at an alarming rate, who could have guessed that 30 years later, his reaction would become the operating theme of a U.S. presidential administration?

No one can argue that even before his 2008 electoral victory, Barack Obama and his cadre of collectivists were bent on “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Obama said so himself. We now know that it was far more than a clever rhetorical flourish.

What remains unappreciated by far too many, particularly Republicans and conservatives in Washington who years ago should have recognized the need to more proactively and more aggressively resist, is that Obama, his White House and his regulatory leviathan intend to impose that transformation by any means necessary: constitutional or unconstitutional, legal or illegal, civil or hostile — and now, as seen last week in Nevada, nonviolent or violent. There are no rules, only constant tests of limits.

No aspect of this administration’s performance exemplifies its “bleep you” approach more than Obamacare.

Even in 2008, Team Obama instinctively knew that the American people would never accept the kind of state-dictated healthcare regime it wished to impose. Thus, the collection of guarantees they knew would not and could not be honored were born: “If you like your healthcare plan, doctor, medical provider, and prescription drug regimen, you can keep them, period.” False, false, false, and false — and delivered unilaterally with deductibles and out-of-pocket costs which would cause many workers in the public sector and at large private firms to begin planning their exit strategies. Too bad, so sad, suckers.

The administration took two important lessons away from the ferocious opposition which nearly derailed Obamacare’s passage in March 2010.

The first was that it would have to modify the law gradually and implement it invisibly. Thus, we have seen, as of earlier this month, 40 changes, almost all calibrated to minimize electoral damage while slowly strengthening the greedy hand’s grip on the nation’s medical delivery system. Collectively, these changes have fundamentally altered and even directly contradicted the law Congress passed, to the point where it is fundamentally deceiving to call today’s resulting contraption “The Affordable Care Act.” It’s Obamacare, meaning that it’s whatever Obama, the White House, the now-departed Kathleen Sebelius and her nominated successor Sylvia Burwell want it to be.

As to the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, as I asserted in December, “nobody’s this stupid and incompetent.” Events in the subsequent four months have only confirmed that assessment. What has become clear in the interim is the botched execution’s immediate purpose: to make quantifiable accountability impossible (longer-term, it’s about foisting single-payer on a resistant populace). Thus, we’re forced to accept the absurd, made-up metric of 7.5 million Americans “enrolled.” But we can’t determine how many of those who signed up have actually paid their first premium (which buys them 90 days of coverage, even if they stiff the system after cutting just one check), or how many of them are newly insured. Now the Census Bureau tells us that, gosh, we really want to, but we won’t have reliable or consistent year-over-year comparisons of health insurance coverage until after this fall’s House and Senate elections. How obviously convenient.

Meanwhile, insurers are relying on government-estimated subsidy payments because HealthCare.gov’s back end has not been built. In some states, doctors and other providers are treating many who they can only hope are covered. Hospitals providing “specialty treatment” which have been arbitrarily shoved out of Obamacare plan networks are providing untold amounts of unsustainable free care to child and adult patients.

The second lesson the administration learned was that it must do everything it can to make opponents’ lives miserable. This is where the Internal Revenue Service comes in. The agency’s selective targeting of Tea Party, Republican, and certain conservative groups — some of it “coinciding” with visits from other regulatory and law enforcement agencies — was once thought to be solely about neutralizing their effectiveness during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. We now know that it was about a lot more than that, specifically “to make an example of at least one group” by subjecting their leaders to criminal prosecution. Given the laundry list of otherwise unaffiliated federal agencies involved in the targeting effort, as PJ Media’s Bryan Preston wrote on Wednesday:

… it takes an entity above all of those agencies to coordinate their actions. That entity can only be the White House.

Other “bleep you” examples abound, far too many to completely chronicle here. Just s few of them have included: Hillary Clinton’s “What difference does it make?” reaction to the avoidable deaths of American ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others in Benghazi on her watch; Attorney General Eric Holder statement that he he has a “vast amount” of discretion in deciding which laws his Justice Department will and won’t enforce; illegal-immigrant amnesty-light executive orders; and last but far from least, the stimulus-driven, state legislature-avoiding implementation of the Common Core curriculum.

The government’s “bleep you” brazenness was on full display in Nevada last week. But this time, hundreds of resisters essentially shouted “Bleep you back” to the wannabe tyrants at the Bureau of Land Management, which is on a single-minded mission to drive Cliven Bundy from his ranch — if not financially, then physically. The resistance was successful only because the Constitution has guaranteed citizens’ right to bear arms.

As I asked Saturday evening: “Does anyone still believe that the Constitution’s Second Amendment isn’t as much about citizens defending themselves against an out-of-control government as it is about the natural-law right of self-defense?”

Washington’s go-along Republican and conservative culture should take a lesson from Nevada. They don’t need guns. All they need is the will to defund any and all federal agencies which have overstepped their bounds.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (042414)

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: Conjoined Twins Doing Great After Separation Surgery, Almost Became Abortion Victims

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

From Dallas, via Life News (link is in original):

4/16/14 11:53 AM

Emmett and Owen Ezell were born in August in Dallas, Texas but they were very much unlike most sets of twins. They were are identical twins[1] joined in utero — a rare phenomenon that happens in as many as 1 in 200,000 births.

About half of such twins are stillborn, but Owen and Emmett survived not only the birthing process — their mother rejected abortion.

“I’m just so happy that they’re here and they’re alive and thriving. It’s the best feeling in the world,” Jenni Ezell said after the surgery during a news conference at Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas, where she was joined by husband Dave and a doctor.

Owen and Emmett Ezell were separated at the hospital after being born joined from just below the breast bone to just below the belly button on July 15. The babies shared a liver and intestines and had an about 3 inch by 5 inch area on their lower stomach that wasn’t covered by skin or muscles.

Now, the little tots are doing well eight months after the surgery …

Go here for the rest of the story.