January 8, 2016

Baltimore Sun Editor Wants Searchable Database of Gun Owners — For the Children

Tricia Bishop, the deputy editorial page editor at Baltimore Sun, also writes a biweekly column. Bishop was impressed three years ago when the White Plains, New York-based Journal News published an interactive online map showing “the addresses (and names) of all pistol permit holders” in two Empire State counties.

Very few others were. Though the outrage over the paper’s move was (excuse the expression) fast and furious, the Journal News kept the database up for almost a month before removing it, and “somehow” allowed its raw data to be leaked. It hardly seems a coincidence that the paper laid off 26 employees, including the editor responsible for publishing the map, just eight months later. Bishop, apparently oblivious to the blowback and other consequences, wants to extend the idea to all gun owners nationwide.


December Employment Situation Summary (100816): +292K Jobs Added, Unemployment Stays at 5.0 Pct.; Malaise Indicators Finally Ease Slightly; Earnings Stats Decline

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

Extenuating circumsances kept me from doing a preview, though I did get a chance to do back-of-envelope benchmarks for not seasonally adjusted job additions of +50,000 and +150,000 respectively.

Let’s see how that worked out.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics (full HTML permanent link):

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 292,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in several industries, led by professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline.

Household Survey Data

The number of unemployed persons, at 7.9 million, was essentially unchanged in December, and the unemployment rate was 5.0 percent for the third month in a row. Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage point and 800,000, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks declined to 8.3 percent in December, while the rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women (4.4 percent), teenagers (16.1 percent), whites (4.5 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (6.3 percent) showed little or no change.

… The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.6 percent, was little changed in December and has shown little movement in recent months. In December, the employment-population ratio, at 59.5 percent, changed little.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 292,000 in December. Employment rose in several industries, including professional and business services, construction, health care, and food services and drinking places. Mining employment continued to decline. In 2015, payroll employment growth totaled 2.7 million, compared with 3.1 million in 2014.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 73,000 in December, with temporary help services accounting for 34,000 of the gain. In 2015, professional and business services added 605,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 704,000 in 2014.

Construction showed strong job growth for the third consecutive month, gaining 45,000 jobs in December. Job gains occurred among specialty trade contractors (+29,000) and in construction of buildings (+10,000). Over the year, construction added 263,000 jobs, compared with a gain of 338,000 jobs in 2014.

In December, health care employment rose by 39,000, with most of the increase occurring in ambulatory health care services (+23,000) and hospitals (+12,000). Job growth in health care averaged 40,000 per month in 2015, compared with 26,000 per month in 2014.

Food services and drinking places added 37,000 jobs in December. In 2015, the industry added 357,000 jobs.

Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 23,000 in December, with a gain of 15,000 in couriers and messengers.

Within the information industry, motion pictures and sound recording added 15,000 jobs in December, offsetting a decline of 13,000 in the prior month.

Employment in mining continued to decline in December (-8,000). After adding 41,000 jobs
in 2014, mining lost 129,000 jobs in 2015, with most of the loss in support activities
for mining.

Manufacturing employment changed little in December, though its nondurable goods component added 14,000 jobs. In 2015, manufacturing employment was little changed (+30,000), following strong growth in 2014 (+215,000).

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in December. The manufacturing workweek edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.6 hours, and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours.

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $25.24, changed little (-1 cent), following an increase of 5 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $21.22, changed little (+2 cents).

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised from +298,000 to +307,000, and the change for November was revised from +211,000 to +252,000. With these revisions, employment gains in October and November combined were 50,000 higher than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 284,000 per month.

Overall, it looks quite strong, with 342,000 jobs added, counting prior-month revisions.

Let’s see how the not seasonally adjusted situation worked out:
- Total nonfarm: +11K vs. benchmark of +50K.
- Private sector: +102K vs. benchmark of +150K.

In both cases, they got reasonably close, and were similar to last year, which seasonally adjusted to +329K for total nonfarm.


Last year’s seasonal adjustments look a bit generous. December 2015′s look okay.

More in a bit.

UPDATE (figures are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise indicated):

  • The Household Survey showed life for the first time in quite a while: 467K people joined the labor force, 485K found jobs, and Not in Labor force dropped by 277K. The participation rate indicators ticked up by 0.1 percent each. This needs to happen, and at this level, for another 18 months or so.
  • The black unemployment rate finally came down, significantly, from 9.4 percent to 8.3 percent, but a factor in that decline is that the participation rate, at 61.5 percent, was lower than November’s 61.6 percent.
  • The volatile figure for full-time employment jumped by 504,000, while part-timers increased by 27,000. Let’s see how that holds up in January, though, when companies (not seasonally adjusted) let go as close to 3 million people.
  • As to establishment survey jobs added, it was more of the usual in terms of shaky job quality. The economy added 34,000 temps, something the BLS at least mentioned (for once) in its text report. “Food service and drinking places” added 357,000 jobs in 2015 out of 2.65 million. That’s 13.4 percent of all jobs added for a sector which at the beginning of 2015 accounted for 7.8 percent of establishment survey employment.
  • The previous point probably explains why earnings declined, both in terms of average weekly pay and average hourly pay. Zero Hedge says it’s the first such decline since 2014. Although it’s only one month, that’s certainly not the wage pickup Mark Zandi at Moody’s predicted in the ADP conference call.

Overall, this is a fairly strong report with an asterisk for wages, and some suspense as to what’s we’ll see in the report on in January with all of the post-Christmas season layoffs, especially their mix of full-time and part-time employment.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010816)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 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.

Postivity: Pope — Humanity seeks God, and the Magi show us where to find him

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Vatican City:

Jan 6, 2016 / 04:29 am

In a restless age when humanity fails to find the answer to its continuous searching, the Magi who go out looking for Christ only to find him in a humble stable in Bethlehem are a key example of where to turn, Pope Francis said.

“Like the Magi, countless people, in our own day, have a restless heart which continues to seek without finding sure answers,” the Pope said in his Jan. 6 homily for the Feast of the Epiphany. “They too are looking for a star to show them the path to Bethlehem.”

However, out of the many stars in the sky, the Magi “followed a new and different star, which for them shone all the more brightly.”

After gazing at and reading the stars for centuries, the Magi had finally found the light they were looking for, Francis said, noting that the star “changed them. It made them leave their daily concerns behind and set out immediately on a journey.”

“They listened to a voice deep within, which led them to follow that light. The star guided them, until they found the King of the Jews in a humble dwelling in Bethlehem.”

He said that the Magi, often referred to as the “Three Wise Men” or the “Three Kings” who brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, are “a living witness” to the fact that seeds of the truth can be found everywhere.

These Magi represent every man and woman throughout the world who are welcomed into God’s house, the Pope said, noting that before Jesus, “all divisions of race, language and culture disappear: in that Child, all humanity discovers its unity.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.