May 17, 2016

Another Example of the AP’s ‘Good News Promoted, Bad News Buried’ Economy Coverage

In mid-April, as I noted in a NewsBusters post, the Associated Press, apparently desperate to find any kind of good economic news that might offset the impact of an awful national industrial production report from the Federal Reserve, cited a positive manufacturing survey from just one state to claim that “goods production in the U.S. could be stabilizing.”

Lo and behold, yesterday that same one-state survey, the Empire State Manufacturing Index, showed that manufacturing in New York went into the tank in May, dropping into serious contraction after just two months of expansion. The wire service produced a terse four-paragraph report on the news, and appears to taken measures keep the bad news away from much of the nation.

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Still Waiting for That Comeback in Pay Everyone Seems to Assume Has Been Happening

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:00 am

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

All employees

Real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.1 percent from March to April

Real average hourly earnings increased 1.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, from April 2015 to April 2016. This increase in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek resulted in a 1.3-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.

Production and nonsupervisory employees

Real average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 0.2 percent from March to April

From April 2015 to April 2016, real average hourly earnings increased 1.5 percent, seasonally adjusted. The increase in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek resulted in a 1.6-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.

These are unimpressive and somewhat disturbing numbers.

Hillary max contributor Mark Zandi likes to tout data he claims to have from ADP record showing people who are staying in the same job getting 4.8 percent average increases. That’s fine, but the data above suggest that people who are losing their jobs are taking pay cuts in their next jobs.

April 2016 New Residential Construction: Overall, Lower Than April 2015, With Single-Family Starts and Permits

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:47 am

From the Census Bureau — the boomlet we saw in April of last year didn’t happen this time around, and the homebuiling industry is now running behind last year:

BUILDING PERMITS

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,116,000. This is 3.6 percent (±1.3%) above the revised March rate of 1,077,000, but is 5.3 percent (±1.3%) below the April 2015 estimate of 1,178,000.

Single-family authorizations in April were at a rate of 736,000; this is 1.5 percent (±0.8%) above the revised March figure of 725,000. Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 348,000 in April.

HOUSING STARTS

Privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,172,000. This is 6.6 percent (±10.2%)* above the revised March estimate of 1,099,000, but is 1.7 percent (±10.1%)* below the April 2015 rate of 1,192,000.

Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 778,000; this is 3.3 percent (±12.1%)* above the revised March figure of 753,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 373,000.

HOUSING COMPLETIONS

Privately-owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 933,000. This is 11.0 percent (±12.3%)* below the revised March estimate of 1,048,000 and is 7.4 percent (±10.6%)* below the April 2015 rate of 1,008,000.

On the plus side, annualized permits and starts for single-family homes in April were ahead of April 2015 by about 8 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

May and June of last year had significantly more permits than in April 2015, so we’ll probably see year-over-year declines there for the next few months. May and June 2015 Overall starts in the rest of the spring and fall of last year fluctuated a lot, but leveled off on average.

Seven years after the recession’s end, housing is still not providing the economic push typically seen far earlier in other U.S. recoveries since WWII.

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (051716)

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: Pro-soccer player turned priest reunites with fans in Chile

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Santiago, Chile:

May 17, 2016 / 06:04 am

With a Mass celebrated in the chapel where he used to pray, former soccer star Chase Hilgenbrinck was reunited recently with the faithful, friends and fans – not as a soccer star, but as a priest.

An American, Chase Hilgenbrinck was a successful pro soccer player who spent four seasons in Chile before returning to the U.S. He played for the New England Revolution before experiencing a call to the priesthood and leaving behind his soccer career to enter seminary.

In 2014, he was ordained a priest in the diocese of Peoria, Illinois, where he currently serves.

After being away from Chile for nine years, Father Chase returned to the city of Chillán in the southern part of the country, where he played on first division teams for three years.

He thanked the more than 600 faithful who attended the Eucharist he celebrated on May 7 in Santa Ana chapel, “especially the Chillán community that supported me before and who feel part of my soccer experience, and also now that I am a priest.”

After the Mass, Father Chase spoke with the community and fans of Ñublense, the Chillán team where the former left back had been key to achieving first division in 2006.

“Everything I learned in sports – such as the sacrifice of training hard, solidarity, working as a team – are things I also have to do in the Christian life. What I experienced in soccer helped me a lot to have all the virtues to lead a good Christian life,” Father Chase told the daily Crónica Chillán after Mass was over.

“When we make a commitment to something important in life everything is going to change. When you get married, life changes. The change isn’t bad, it’s something natural; if we’re not committed, life has no joy or sacrifice to it,” he said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.