July 27, 2015

Press Mostly Fails to Report Union Exemptions in Some Minimum-Wage Laws

I guess the slogan of labor has changed from “Look for the union label” to “Look for the union waiver.”

The Los Angeles Times published a long front-page story early this morning on an issue some people thought disappeared after its initial exposure two months ago. The issue is whether union workers should be exempt from minimum wage laws, especially the sky-high minimums being enacted in some U.S. cities. To those who have been unaware of the issue up until now and are thinking that all of this must be a joke — it’s not. It’s just that the press, which not coincidentally has a higher percentage of union members than the private sector as a whole, has barely noted it.

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AP’s Ken Sweet Plays Stall-Ball, Waits Four Paragraphs to Disclose Size of Historic Chinese Stock Dive

Based on how they handled it today, it’s pretty obvious that the Associated Press’s Ken Sweet and his wire service’s headline writers want the lowest possible number of users of their reporting — consumers and subscribing print and broadcast outlets — to know about the mainland Chinese stock market’s historically deep 8.5 percent Monday dive.

It took four paragraphs for Sweet to get to the specifics. What preceded it was clearly intended to create an “It’s No Big Deal, so you can move on to something else” impression.

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June’s Advance Durable Goods: +3.4 Percent, 2nd Quarter Net Decline of 0.5%; Year-Over-Year June Raw Shipments Up 3.2 Percent

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:29 am

Durable goods orders is the final significant hard data element to be reported before Thursday’s report on Gross Domestic Product. The GDP report will include a multi-year revision in addition to second-quarter results,

Orders are expected to increase significantly due to an apparently known pickup in aircraft orders, but there is a wide variance in predictions. According to Yahoo’s economic calnendar, Briefing.com is predicting +5.5, while the “market” is going with +3.0 percent. That calendar also indicates that the previous month’s initial figures have been revised down to -2.2 percent from -1.8 percent.

Core duarable orders are expected to come in at +0.5 percent by Briefing.com and the “market.”

It will also be worth seeing how badly this year’s shipment, especially core shipments, continue to lag last yeear’s, which seems likely.

We’ll see here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS:

New Orders

New orders for manufactured durable goods in June increased $7.7 billion or 3.4 percent to $235.3 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 2.1 percent May decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.8 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.8 percent.

… Shipments

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in June, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $0.3 billion or 0.1 percent to $239.4 billion. This followed a 0.3 percent May decrease.

… Inventories

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in June, up twenty-four of the last twenty-five months, increased $1.6 billion or 0.4 percent to $402.3 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 0.2 percent May decrease.

Considering revised changes of -1.7 percent and -2.1 percent in April and May, respectively, the net seasonally adjusted decrease during the quarter was -0.5 percent (.983 x .979 x 1.034).

There is good news on shipments. Raw shipments of $260.7 billion in June came in 3.2 percent ahead of the $252.6 billion seen in June 2014, a big improvement over May’s 0.3 percent year-over-year increase. Continued increases of this size will justify the unadjusted inventory buildup of 3.7 percent, but reversions back to what we saw in May won’t.

It would be even nicer if the rest of manufacturing and the wholesale sector were showing sales increase. They’re not — which lead inevitably to the mystery of how GDP can be higher at all than last year at this time when so many key elements of it are lower.

Speaking of GDP, Yahoo’s calendar currently shows an unusually large variance between the Briefing.com prediction on an annualized 1.3 percent increase and the “market” prediction of 2.6 percent. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Fed’s model is predicting +2.4 percent as of July 17, and Moody’s currently has +3.0 percent.

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UPDATE: Zero Hedge claims that today’s report shows that a recession in imminent, but is basing it on a claimed “month over month 3.1% unadjusted decline I haven’t been able to verify.

My take is that today’s report isn’t all that bad, but is far from what we need to be seeing.

UPDATE 2, 11:35 A.M.: AP’s coverage of durable goods predicts 2.5 percent annualized second quarter GDP growth.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (072715)

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: Young Girl Reunited with Woman Who Saved Her Life at Redlands Water Park

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Crestline, California:

Thursday, July 16, 2015 07:37PM

A 12-year-old girl was reunited with a woman who saved her life at a Redlands water park.

On July 7, Lyndsey Pellegrini was at Splash Kingdom floating in the lazy river when she suffered a seizure. Lyndsey has epilepsy and the sun shining through a chain link fence had caused her to convulse.

Luckily, Becky Jefferies was there to help. The first grade teacher from Pinion Hills pulled Lyndsey out of the water.

“She went down and it seemed like she stayed down a long time,” Jefferies said. “I saw her do a roll and then she curled up in the fetal position. I just grabbed her head and tried to pull her up.”

But Lyndsey and her mother, Sheri Snyder, were unable to locate Jefferies to thank her for her quick actions.

Not long after the story aired on ABC7, Jefferies daughter saw the segment and realized her mother was Lyndsey’s rescuer. She called Eyewitness News to reunite the two. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

AP’s Obsessed Weissert Whines About Perry’s ‘Pricy’ and ‘High-Powered’ Legal Team

2016 GOP presidential candidate and former Texas Governor Rick Perry is fighting a legal battle against an out-of-control Lone Star State county. That county’s prosecutor has sued Perry, claiming that a) he committed an illegal act of “coercion” by threatening to veto legislation funding a “public integrity” office headed by Travis County’s Rosemary Lehmberg, who was convicted of drunk driving in 2013 but refused to resign; and b) that he committed another illegal act by carrying out his veto promise. In effect, the county wants to criminalize Perry’s exercise of his then-gubernatorial duties.

A Texas Court threw out the “coercion” contention on Friday. The Associated Press’s Will Weissert, who has demonstrated consistent hostility towards Perry in recent years while somehow retaining employment as an allegedly objective journalist, was quite displeased. He whined about Team Perry’s lawyers doing all they can to defend him — twice — while making sure readers know that the politician he so despises is not catching on very well as a candidate for the GOP nomination.

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