May 5, 2016

As Airport LInes Lengthen, Press Reflexively Moans About TSA ‘Budget Cuts’

Almost any time a government agency or program fails to perform, those involved complain that they don’t have enough money to properly do their jobs. Unless the matter involves national defense, the press gullibly swallows their contentions.

The Transportation Safety Administration is the latest case in point. Lines at airport checkpoints are already getting noticeably longer, and we haven’t yet hit the summer travel season, with “all signs” predicting that “queues will far surpass those of years past.” Items at, among other places, the New York Times (“tight budgets”), Bloomberg News (“budgetary limits”), and WABC News in Newark (“budget cuts”) are all trying to help the agency get its hands on more taxpayer money. A Tuesday editorial at Investor’s Business Daily — as usual, reporting facts beat reporters somehow never get around to reporting — tells us that more money hasn’t solved the problem before, and that there’s a better answer (links are in original; bolds are mine):

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Initial Unemployment Claims: 274K SA; Raw Claims (243K) UP 3 Percent of Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:57 am

From the Department of Labor:

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED DATA

In the week ending April 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 274,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 257,000. The 4-week moving average was 258,000, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 256,000.

There were no special factors impacting this week’s initial claims. This marks 61 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1973.

… UNADJUSTED DATA

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 243,365 in the week ending April 30, a decrease of 1,675 (or -0.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 16,970 (or -6.9 percent) from the previous week. There were 236,421 initial claims in the comparable week in 2015.

The seasonal adjustment factors were virtually identical this week and for the ssame week last year (88.7 and 88.4).

Raw claims coming in ahead of the previous year is a rarity, though to be clear, after so many weeks under 300K seasonally adjusted, we may be at a virtual claims trough with minor fluctuations above and below comparable year-ago weeks.

But today’s rise, in tandem with ADP’s weak private-sector jobs number yesterday, may mean that the job market and employment might be heading in the wrong direction.

Expectations for tomorrow’s jobs report, according to Yahoo’s Economic Calendar, are for a 207-215K in crease in payroll jobs and for the unemployment rate to stay at 5.0 percent. Yesterday, max Hillary Clinton for President contributor Mark Zandi of Moody’s predicted on the ADP conference call that it will be more like 170,000 or so.

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (050516)

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.

Positivity: Ecuador earthquake survivor is rescued from the rubble two weeks after disaster

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

UPDATE, MAY 13, 2016: Sadly, this story now appears to be untrue — “Ecuadorean news media say relatives, neighbors and a nurse are denying reports that a 72-year-old man had been buried in his quake-damaged house for two weeks before being rescued.”

From Jaramijo, Ecuador:

15:28, 1 May 2016

Rescuers find Manuel Vasquez, 72, in the wreckage of a collapsed building

A LUCKY-to-be-alive pensioner has been pulled from the rubble of a building devastated by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which rocked Ecuador TWO WEEKS ago.

The man was rescued after being found almost a fortnight after the powerful quake struck and killed nearly 650 people in the country.

He was located after a visiting search team from Venezuela heard him “making sounds in a partially collapsed house” in the coastal province of Manabi.

The man, named as Manuel Vasquez, was suffering from kidney failure and dehydration and had lost three of his toes.

The 72-year-old was taken to hospital in the town of Jaramijo where he is recovering.

Vasquez was discovered on Friday while the Venezuelans were doing routine building inspections.

Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas called the seismic event “the strongest quake we have faced in decades.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.