August 8, 2016

This Chart, and Variants of It, Show How Bad Things Are (Update: 2Q16 Productivity Negative For Third Straight Quarter)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:34 pm

So max Hillary for President 2015 contributor Mark Zandi thinks the economy is impressively “resilient” and the job market is “incredible.”

The chart below tracks five-year percentage growth record in real quarterly seasonally adjusted GDP per seasonally adjusted person employed per the government’s Household Survey (seasonally adjusted quarterly average), going all the way back to 1953, the first five-year period for which both sets of figures are available.

The chart makes a mockery of Zandi’s claim (click here or on the graphic to see a full-sized version of it in a separate tab or window):


What we see at the far right, at 2.15 percent, is the worst non-recessionary five-year run of growth in real GDP per employee on record. Recessions affected the lower figures seen in the graph during the late-1970s and early-1980s.

Let’s also note the more recent changes for different lengths of time, all of which indicate that this disturbing trend has gotten much worse in recent quarters and years:

  • A positive 7.25 percent in the past 28 quarters (+0.25 percent per quarter, +1.0 percent per year)
  • A positive 2.22 percent in the past 22 quarters (+0.1 percent per quarter, +0.4 percent per year).
  • A positive 0.2 percent in the past 10 quarters (+0.02 percent per quarter, +0.08 percent per year).
  • A minus 0.67 percent in the past 3 quarters (-0.22 percent per quarter, -0.9 percent if annualized).

By contrast:

  • From 1983-1989 (28 quarters), GDP per employed person grew 14.7 percent (2.0 percent per year, compounded).
  • From 1984-2000 (28 quarters), GDP per employed person grew 15.9 percent (2.2 percent per year, compounded).
  • From mid-2002 until the end of 2007  (22 quarters), GDP per employed person grew 8.4 percent (1.5 percent per year, compounded).

This economy is currently treading water like no non-recessionary economy ever has.

Getting to electoral politics and economic policy, “free traders” who are really “managed traders” claim that trade agreements will delegate lower-value tasks to foreign economies while we keep the higher-end, higher-value tasks.

That, for a wide variety of reasons, plainly is not what is happening.


UPDATE, August 9: This chart signifies what the Wall Street Journal calls “the diminished opportunities that most Americans experience in their own lives.” Unfortunately, the “free trade” the Journal advocates — which is really “crony-driven, game-playing managed trade” — has been a significant contributor to those “diminished opportunities.”

UPDATE 2, August 9:Unexpectedly” — “Productivity declines for third straight quarter.”

In light of the above chart, how could this have been unexpected? But it was:

Productivity, a sore spot for the U.S. economy over the past few years, has now declined in three straight quarters, according to new data released Tuesday.

Productivity in the second quarter unexpectedly fell 0.5%, well below expectations.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.3% gain in productivity in the second quarter.

Yahoo’s Economic Calendar carried expectations of +0.5 percent.

Also see this follow-up post for more on the awful productivity news — “Kiss Those ‘Wages Are Rising’ Claims Goodbye: BLS Productivity Report Says Real Hourly Comp Has Declined For Two Straight Quarters”

Toronto Reporter and Baby’s Mother: Press Made Up ‘Trump Kicked Baby Out of Rally’ Story

When the Washington Post’s notoriously inconsistent fact checker Glenn Kessler feels he has to defend Donald Trump against a false claim, you know it must be a whopper. That was the case with the meme which arose last week that Trump, in words found at the New York Daily News, “booted a fussy baby from a rally Tuesday because the tot was wailing over the businessman’s speech.”

However, instead of giving several media outlets and the Hillary Clinton campaign the formal Four-Pinocchio “whopper” evaluation, Kessler merely gave Trump a “Geppetto checkmark” for telling the truth, and gave those who reported it and Team Hillary an unwarranted pass: “We can see why some reporters ran with this tale, based only on the videotape.”


WashPost Lets Jonathan Capehart Invent ‘Vast’ Anti-LGBT ‘Conspiracy’

It would appear that being a Washington Post columnist means never having to say you’re sorry — even if you are a member of the paper’s editorial board.

Beginning on July 7, the Post’s Jonathan Capehart set out to advance the agenda of a group called Freedom for All Americans (FFAA), an outfit which believes it has proven that there is, in Capehart’s words, “a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ out to deny” lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans “their humanity and dignity.” In a follow-up column, Capehart commmitted a pathetic error which the paper has failed to appropriately correct.


Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (080816)

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: Couple Refuses To Sit Near Police At Restaurant, Officers Pick Up Their Tab

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Homestead, Pennsylvania (video at link; HT Daryn Kagan):

July 12, 2016 8:43 PM

It is a difficult time for the country as nerves between some in the community and police are frayed, but recently, four local officers handled an uncomfortable situation without any confrontation.

It was Friday night at the Eat ‘n Park in Homestead.

Four police officers were sitting down at a table for dinner. Employees say the officers are regulars at the restaurant.

The officers had placed their order and were waiting.

“I heard talk, and I looked over, and there was a couple coming into the restaurant, and they made it clear, they didn’t want to sit near us, and they were quite adamant,” said Homestead Police Sgt. John Kaschauer.

“They looked over and said, ‘We don’t want to sit here,’” said Louann Davis, a waitress. “You could tell they were looking at the police, and they moved them to another section.”

Under other circumstance, the couple moving to the other side of the restaurant would be the end of it. But with all that has happened in our country over the last week, the officers saw this as an opportunity.

While comfortable with their local residents, these officers are feeling the recent tensions on the street.

“I do feel it from people who might be on a traffic stop or passing through the area, little things they say,” said Sgt. Kaschauer.

But they didn’t expect it in a restaurant, so they decided to pick up the couple’s check.

“Showing that, just because you don’t like somebody doesn’t mean you can’t be kind to them,” Sgt. Kaschauer said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.