August 7, 2015

Associated Politifact, Part Deux: ‘Fact-Checking’ Bush’s Goal of 4 Percent Annual Growth

In his desire to help his employer outdo Politifact as the last place to go for accurate fact-checking, the Associated Press’s Josh Lederman “fact-checked” Jeb Bush’s belief that the U.S. economy can grow annually at an average rate of 4 percent.

As seen earlier today, when the AP reporter “fact-checked” assertions that really are facts, specifically Bush’s claim that during his two terms as Florida’s governor the state added 1.3 million payroll jobs (actually, it was 1.5 million according to the federal government’s more comprehensive Household Survey), he brought up irrelevant points that did nothing to change the absolute truth of what Bush said. But in reviewing Bush’s 4 percent potential growth assertion, Lederman wasn’t even evaluating a fact; he was instead “fact checking” a goal — one which has frequently been met in the past — and acted as if its future achievement is virtually impossible.


Associated Politifact: AP’s Lederman Thinks Jeb Bush Is Responsible for Jobs Lost Under Charlie Crist

The Associated Press seems determined to become even worse at “fact-checking” politicians’ statements than Politifact, the current cellar-dwellar in that regard. At the rate things are going, the wire service, in addition to richly earning its nickname “the Administration’s Press” since January 2009, appears to be in line for yet another: “Associated Politifact.”

In his “fact check” following last night’s Republican debates, the AP’s Josh Lederman outrageously argued that Jeb Bush’s indisputably true statement about job creation while he was Florida’s governor needed to be qualified because of what happened during the next three years under successor Charlie Crist.


July Employment Situation Summary (080715): 215K Jobs Added, 5.3 Percent Unemployment Rate; Malaise Indicators Unchanged

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:01 am

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (permanent full report):

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 215,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in retail trade, health care, professional and technical services, and financial activities.

Household Survey Data

In July, both the unemployment rate (5.3 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (8.3 million) were unchanged. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.9 percentage point and 1.4 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers declined to 16.2 percent in July. The rates for adult men (4.8 percent), adult women (4.9 percent), whites (4.6 percent), blacks (9.1 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (6.8 percent) showed little or no change.

Among the unemployed, the number of new entrants decreased by 107,000 in July. New entrants are unemployed persons who never previously worked.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in July, compared with an average monthly gain of 246,000 over the prior 12 months. In July, job gains occurred in retail trade, health care, professional and technical services, and financial activities.

Employment in retail trade increased by 36,000 in July and has risen by 322,000 over the year. In July, motor vehicle and parts dealers added 13,000 jobs, and employment continued to trend up in general merchandise stores (+6,000).

Health care added 28,000 jobs in July and has added 436,000 jobs over the year. In July, employment rose in hospitals (+16,000).

Professional and technical services added 27,000 jobs in July, with gains in computer systems design and related services (+9,000) and architectural and engineering services (+6,000). Over the past 12 months, professional and technical services has added 301,000 jobs. Management of companies and enterprises added 14,000 jobs over the month.

Employment in financial activities rose by 17,000 in July and has risen by 156,000 over the past 12 months. Insurance carriers and related activities accounted for more than half of the gain in July (+10,000) and over the year (+85,000).

In July, manufacturing employment edged up (+15,000). Employment in nondurable goods rose by 23,000 over the month, including gains in food manufacturing (+9,000) and in plastics and rubber products (+6,000).

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in July (+29,000) and has increased by 376,000 over the year.

Employment in transportation and warehousing also continued to trend up in July (+14,000) and has risen by 146,000 over the year. Employment in couriers and messengers rose by 3,000 over the month.

,,, The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +254,000 to +260,000, and the change for June was revised from +223,000 to +231,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 14,000 higher than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 235,000 per month.

Since BLS didn’t mention participation levels or workforce changes at all, I’ll guess they didn’t do too well. Let’s see … yep:

  • The civilian population increased by 213K, but the workforce only increased by 69K.
  • Both The participation rate (62.6 percent) and employment-population ratio (59.2 percent) stayed the same.
  • Household Survey employment only increased by 101,000 during the month, and is only up 45,000 in the past two months.
  • Not in labor force is at 93.77 million.

Other notes (seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated):

  • Revensing last month’s figures in the opposite direction, full-time employment increased by 536K, while part-timers fell by 442K (the raw changed were +874K full-time and -798K part-time).
  • For what I think is the first time in years, temp employment dropped by 8,900 (the raw change was -32.6K).
  • The seasonally adjusted Food service and drinking places category went up by 29.3K; the raw change was a decrease of 14.3K.

Not seasonally adjusted Establishment Survey results: Didn’t have time to benchmark these this morning, so let’s look at the results —


July is a quirky month because there are usually big reductions in the government sector.

The overall raw result of -1.045 million is the best this century, and one could argue that the seasonally adjusted figure resulting from that could easily have been 30,000 or so higher.

That said, the private sector conversion looks more reasonable, at least in the context of the past two years. However, based on the conversions done in 2010-2012, one could argue that the converted number should have come in higher.

In the terms of the Establishment Survey, I think today’s results were really a bit better than the seasonally converted figures would indicate.

Overall, though, especially considering the mostly miserable Household Survey results, today’s news was more of the same slow-motion malaise we’ve seen for way too long.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080715)

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: This 100-year-old priest still has a very important task — fighting Satan

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Madrid, Spain:

ug 5, 2015 / 02:01 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- On August 1, the oldest priest in the Diocese of Malaga, Spain turned 100 years old. After a century of life, Father Francisco Acevedo says he still has important work to do.

“St. Peter says: ‘Be sober and keep watch, because the devil as a roaring lion walks about, seeking whom he may devour,” said Fr. Acevedo in an interview published by the Bishop of Malaga.

“I still have to resist the devil, but it’s not easy. The devil does not want there to be holy priests, and it’s dangerous to not take this seriously,” he said when asked about his ongoing task.

Now living in residence at St. Patrick’s parish, the priest says he has led a normal life and does not have any “tricks” to such a long life.

Having spent most of the last century as a priest, Fr. Acevedo offered some advice to seminarians and young priests: “Seek God alone.”

He also stressed the importance of prayer, saying that it “is everything” to him and is “a permanent guard.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.