January 9, 2015

CNN’s Jim Clancy Melts Down on Twitter Over Paris Massacre’s Cause

CNN’s Jim Clancy has been with the network for 32 years. His network’s bio says that he “brings the experience of more than three decades covering the world to every newscast on CNN International.” He also apparently has a lot of pent-up feelings about the Middle East.

Those feelings boiled to the top over Twitter early Thursday. Clancy started it all by claiming that the cartoons published by journalists who were killed in the Charlie Hebdo massacre on Wednesday “NEVER mocked the Prophet. They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word. Pay attention.” It went downhill from there, both factually and professionally.


December 2014 Employment Situation Summary (010915); 252K SA Jobs Added, Unemployment Rate at 5.6% (‘The waiter, bartender, retail worker recovery continues’)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:12 am

(added beginning at at 8:15)

Econ Catch-up:

  • Dec. ISM Manufacturing — 55.5%, down from 58.7% in November; still solid expansion per the survey, with some questionable conversions from the raw data, per Zero Hedge.
  • Dec. ISM Non-manufacturing — 56.2%, down from 59.3% in November; still solid expansion.
  • Dec. ADP private sector payrolls — 241,000 jobs added.
  • Nov. Factory orders — down 0.7%, definitely showing disagreement with ISM’s survey respondents.
  • Nov. Construction spending — Down 0.3% (“unexpectedly,” of course).
  • 2014 car sales — Up 5.3% over 2013. GM, +5.3%; Ford, -0.6%; Chrysler, +16.1%; Toyota, +6.2%; Honda, +1.0%; Nissan, +11.1%.

(original pre-report post)


Not seasonally adjusted benchmarks:


Actual job losses overall need to be 50,000 or fewer, while we need to see 75,000 or more in actual gains in the private sector. Those results would probably lead to seasonally adjusted readings of about 300,000 in each instance, but that’s what the economy really should have been adding all along. The 210K-220K per month average results seen during the last year haven’t done enough to pull in people from the sidelines.

The report will be here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link) — Definitely strong on the seasonally adjusted side:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 252,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined to 5.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.6 percent in December, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 383,000 to 8.7 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women (5.0 percent) decreased by 0.2 percentage point in December, while the rates for adult men (5.3 percent), teenagers (16.8 percent), whites (4.8 percent), blacks (10.4 percent), and Hispanics (6.5 percent) showed little change. The jobless rate for Asians, at 4.2 percent (not seasonally adjusted), changed little from a year earlier.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 252,000 in December. In 2014, job growth averaged 246,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013. In December, employment increased in professional and business services, construction, food services and drinking places, health care, and manufacturing.

Employment in professional and business services rose by 52,000 in December. Monthly job gains in the industry averaged 61,000 in 2014. In December, employment increased in administrative and waste services (+35,000), computer systems design and related services (+9,000), and architectural and engineering services (+5,000). Employment in accounting and bookkeeping services declined (-14,000), offsetting an increase of the same amount in November.

… The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.6 hours in December. The manufacturing workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 41.0 hours, and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.6 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.9 hours.

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 5 cents to $24.57, following an increase of 6 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.7 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 6 cents to $20.68.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised from +243,000 to +261,000, and the change for November was revised from +321,000 to +353,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November were 50,000 higher than previously reported.

Raw Results vs. benchmarks:

  • Total Nonfarm — actual, 65,000 jobs lost; benchmark was 50,000 jobs lost. Result was pretty close to the benchmark, and the seasonally adjusted figure reasonably reasonably reflects the underlying raw number.
  • Private sector — actual, 55,000 jobs added; benchmark was 75,000 jobs gained. Again, the result was pretty close to the benchmark. Again, the seasonally adjusted figure (+240,000) reasonably reflects the underlying raw number.

More later after closer review.


UPDATE 1, 9:15 a.m.: Notes (figures are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated) —

  • The malaise-related readings are as bad as ever. The civilian labor force shrunk by 273,000. The labor force participation rate dropped 0.2% to 62.7% (Update: worst result since December 1977). “Not in labor force” set another record at 92.898 million. The Household Survey employment increase was only 111,000.
  • Full-time workers increased by 427,000; part-timers dropped by 269,000.
  • Temp agency employment increased by 14.7K (217K in the past 12 months; 1.239 million since the recession ended 5-1/2 years ago, an 19K/month average) to yet another record (2.99 million; 3.072 million raw).
  • Workers at food service and drinking places increased by 361K in 2014, and are up by 1.553 million since the overall employment trough in Feburary 2010.

UPDATE 2: Big catch at Zero Hedge — average hourly earnings dropped by 0.2 percent. That figure may be worse qualitatively than it appears, because it happened in spite of a change in the full-time/part-time mix (FT up 427K, PT down by 269K).

ZH’s summary is a great exit point for this post: “The waiter, bartender, retail worker recovery continues.”

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010915)

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

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

Positivity: In peace message, Pope takes aim at modern-day slavery

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 1, 2015 / 04:04 am

Denouncing modern slavery as a “scourge,” Pope Francis on New Year’s Day called for concrete action and the “globalization of fraternity” to combat slavery and human trafficking.

“Whenever sin corrupts the human heart and distances us from our Creator and our neighbors, the latter are no longer regarded as beings of equal dignity, as brothers or sisters sharing a common humanity, but rather as objects,” Pope Francis said in his Jan. 1 message for the 48th World Day of Peace.

He appealed to “all men and women of good will” and to “the highest levels of civil institutions” who witness “the scourge of contemporary slavery.” He urged them “not to become accomplices to this evil, not to turn away from the sufferings of our brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, who are deprived of their freedom and dignity.”

In a November report, the organization Walk Free said that 35.8 million people suffer in slavery, defined as the systematic deprivation of a person’s liberty, and abuse of their body for personal or commercial exploitation.

Modern slavery includes forced labor, debt bondage, trafficking in persons, organ trafficking, sexual exploitation for money, and forced marriage.

Pope Francis said that while slavery has been “formally abolished,” millions of people are “deprived of freedom and are forced to live in conditions akin to slavery.”

“I pray especially that, on the basis of our common calling to cooperate with God and all people of good will for the advancement of harmony and peace in the world, we may resist the temptation to act in a manner unworthy of our humanity,” he said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Business Week’s Neuger Decries ‘Anti-Immigrant Sentiment’ in Europe

At Business Week, reporter James G. Neuger was really upset on Thursday that concerned politicians were raising the issue of protecting the public against radical Islamists in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Of course, he couldn’t resist chalking it up to bigotry — against “immigrants — especially those with veils, turbans and non-white skin.” Excerpts follow the jump.