February 1, 2017

I’d Like to Do More With This Later …

… but for now I’m just going to post it (HT to a frequent emailer and tipster):


I’m told we’re supposed to not jump to conclusions and assume malice when mere stupidity and/or ignorance might explain things. But the fact of the matter is that the Yahoo News item as shown makes it look like Paul Ryan used the F-word, and he didn’t. A disgruntled reporter or observer did. But those who don’t read the article or view the video, the title of which also makes it look like Ryan was the F-Bomber, will almost certainly believe that Ryan did.

I’m really supposed to assume ignorance and/or stupidity caused this? Then how is that these items almost invariably cast the Republican or conservative involved in a bad light?

January 2017 ISM Manufacturing: 56.0 Percent, Up From a Revised 54.5 Percent in December

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 4:11 pm

From the Institute for Supply Management (bolds and paragraph breaks added by me):

… The January PMI® registered 56 percent, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 54.5 percent. The New Orders Index registered 60.4 percent, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 60.3 percent. The Production Index registered 61.4 percent, 2 percentage points higher than the seasonally adjusted December reading of 59.4 percent.

The Employment Index registered 56.1 percent, an increase of 3.3 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 52.8 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 48.5 percent, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the December reading of 47 percent.

The Prices Index registered 69 percent in January, an increase of 3.5 percentage points from the December reading of 65.5 percent, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 11th consecutive month. The PMI®, New Orders, and Production Indexes all registered their highest levels since November of 2014, and comments from the panel are generally positive regarding demand levels and business conditions.”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 12 reported growth in January in the following order: Plastics & Rubber Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Paper Products; Chemical Products; Transportation Equipment; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Machinery; Petroleum & Coal Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.

The five industries reporting contraction in January are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Wood Products; Furniture & Related Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Printing & Related Support Activities.

The other GDP driver besides New Orders and Production, both disclosed above, is Backlog of Orders, and it came in at 49.5 percent, a slight contraction only barely smaller than last month’s 49.0 percent value indicated.

I don’t think we should get overly impressed with the topline percentages if five industries out of 18 are shrinking and one is flat.

That said, it beats the alternative. Given the likely positive-selection bias in the survey, I would suggest that manufacturing is expanding, but at maybe four points above the breakeven 50-point level, and not six.

Troll Level: Presidential, World Class

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:10 am

Link (HT Instapundit):

Trump Files With FEC For 2020 Election Bid, Outmaneuvers Nonprofit Organizations.

A document from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) indicates that Donald Trump took steps last week to outmaneuver nonprofit organizations, leaving them unable to officially campaign against him over the next few years of his Presidency.

Filed on January 20th, 2017, the letter states that, while not an official announcement for reelection, Donald Trump has filed an FEC Form 2 in order to “ensure compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act.” This is an unprecedented, although legal, move for the President to make. Barack Obama did not file for his 2012 re-election bid until April 2011. Having filed (even if not formally announcing a bid) as a candidate, Trump would be able to coordinate with PACs and other similar organizations.

More importantly, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations would no longer be able to engage in “political speech” which could theoretically affect the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election without running the risk of losing their nonprofit status.

Virtually everything the leftist nonprofits do is about affecting elections, so spare me the hypocritical howls of outrage.

January 2017 ADP Private-Sector Payrolls (Plus Conference Call Notes): 246K Private-Sector Jobs Added

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:20 am

Predictions: Yahoo’s Economic Calendar: 165,000 to 180,000 jobs. That’s up from last month’s 153,000.

Even though the first directly Trump administration-related number won’t come out until next month (the reference point for today’s result is roughly January 12), this is the point at which we must recall Mark Zandi’s benchmark stated in last month’s conference call, namely that (my words) “future job growth can’t possibly exceed 1.25 million per year without more immigration.”

Or, in Zandi’s words, as roughly transcribed by me during the call:

Once the economy gets to full employment, the amount of jobs that can be created by definition will be dictated by increase in available labor supply. That number is about 1.25 million people per year at most, translating to 100K per month, but we can’t expect any better than that for the next four years (about 5 million). We’re NOT going to create more than that, and it CANNOT change unless MORE immigrants come into the country. The labor supply is FIXED, and job growth CANNOT improve without more immigration.

This important, because:

A. The business press will whine if Trump cam’t keep job growth going at the same pace as during the Obama era, despite the fact that one of its go-to-Keynesians says that there’s an upper limit on job growth.

B. If others are right about the huge untapped supply of discouraged and dropout labor, particularly the “Millions of Missing Men,” it’s possible that Trump’s emphasis on regulatory restraint and other business-friendly measures might draw these people back into the workforce, and that monthly job growth could exceed that seen during the Obama era.

So get ready for a bit of a wild ride, starting next month.

ADP’s January report topline number will be at its home page at 8:15 a.m.

HERE IT IS — The magic number is +246,000. The conference call setup has had a hiccup, because yours truly and others have called in, and the operators are saying that no conference call is on their schedule. The company’s press release shows that the call was scheduled for 8:30 today at the same number as usual. They’re trying to organize the call now. If it happens by 9:15, I’ll be listening in. (Zheesh)

As to the report:

Private-sector employment increased by 246,000 from December to January, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

From the press release:

“The U.S. labor market is hitting on all cylinders and we saw small and midsized businesses perform exceptionally well,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Further analysis shows that services gains have rebounded from their tepid December pace, adding 201,000 jobs. The goods producers added 46,000 jobs, which is the strongest job growth that sector has seen in the last two years.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics said, “2017 got off to a strong start in the job market. Job growth is solid across most industries and company sizes. Even the energy sector is adding to payrolls again.”

Prior months:
- December — was 153K, now 151K.
- November — originally 216K, revised in December to 215K, now 226K.

Grain of salt comment: January is in reality a month when there is always an over 2 million-person net reduction in the number of people working.


8:48 a.m.: Conference call begins.

MARK ZANDI: Good report. Haven’t seen a number this large for a while.

Juiced a bit by good weather, helping construction and the like.

May be seasonal adjustment issues, in that retailers didn’t hire as many people for Xmas and therefore didn’t let as many people go.

Underlying job growth is still really 175K, which is great and well above what’s need to absorbe the increased workers (75K-100K per month needed for that).

Same-worker wage growth is, per ADP data, about 4 percent.

Number of open jobs is at record highs across the board in most industries, meaning the labor market is getting tight, and businesses won’t find workers, and it will slow job growth.

Really expects job growth to be 100K in not too many months because the workers to hire just aren’t out there.

Econ has a lot of momentum coming into 2017.

QUESTIONS: (From me) BLS raw figure lower than usual number of job losses? Zandi thinks so.

(Michael Combs) Weather and retail hiring, and Trump govt. freeze on hiring — retailers aren’t hiring much and expect continued weakness. Consumers are spending differently now. Also a lot of churn in retail. Hiring freeze might mean 5-10K per month, but not a game-changer in terms of growth.

(Me) GDP looks weaker, not stronger — Zandi continues to insist that Job growth is a better measure of the economy’s momentum than GDP. Also, domestic final sales GDI has actually accelerated. So it feels like conditions are improving, which is consistent with improvements being seen in other countries like Japan and parts of Europe. Rate of growth is accelerating. Claims that Fed Reserve studies are showing inadequacies in GDP measurement.

At Last (We Hope) a Strong Supreme Court Nominee, and Perhaps Evidence of the ‘Trump Conversion Effect’

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:53 am

After over a decade and the installation of Barack Obama’s two singularly underqualified hacks, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick appears to be the real deal, and to have a genuinely outstanding legal mind.

From the morning editorial in the Wall Street Journal:

Trump’s Good Justice
Neil Gorsuch is an originalist judge in the Scalia mold.

No one can replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, but President Trump has made an excellent attempt by nominating appellate Judge Neil Gorsuch as the ninth Justice. The polarized politics of the Court guarantees a confirmation fight, but based on his record the 49-year-old judge is a distinguished choice who will adhere to the original meaning of the Constitution.

Judge Gorsuch is a leading light on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he was appointed in 2006 by George W. Bush. He is well known in legal circles for his sharp prose, as well as for his arguments for religious liberty and his skepticism toward judicial doctrines that give too much power to the administrative state. He is also noted for a Scalia-like approach to criminal law that takes a dim view of vague statutes that can entrap the innocent.

… When the Tenth Circuit heard Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, a case that eventually went to the Supreme Court, Judge Gorsuch wrote a powerful concurrence supporting religious freedom and the right of a company to opt out of ObamaCare’s contraception mandate based on conscience. While the religious convictions at issue may be contestable or unpopular, Judge Gorsuch wrote, “no one disputes that they are sincerely held religious beliefs.”

… This defense of a core First Amendment right is especially important today when so many progressives want to subjugate religious practice to the will of the state.

Judge Gorsuch has also shown skepticism toward the judicial doctrine known as “ Chevron deference” that encourages the courts to defer to an administrative agency’s rule-making.

That’s good, because administrative agencies are entitled to no such presumptive deference. If anything, they deserve presumptive skepticism, because, thanks to bureaucratic mission creep and their effectively unlimited access to funds, their objectives are at least as much about expanding their power (and levels of employment) as accomplishing their missions as originally conceived by Congress.

A trio of writers at The Daily Signal is also pleased: “Gorsuch has a record that demonstrates his fidelity to the Constitution and a proper understanding of the role of courts.”

Astute leftists certainly won’t recognize this, but the Gorsuch nomination may be yet more evidence of what I’ll call the “Trump Conversion Effect.”

Briefly stated, TCE posits that Trump was a dedicated problem-solver but not a particularly conservative guy when he began his presidential run. But has moved into more of a sensibly conservative direction because he has seen how the left and the establishment media (but I repeat myself) reacted to his candidacy, to the people who supported him, to his transition, and to his early presidential moves. The illegal immigrant amnesty-inspired wing of the NeverTrumpers also gets an assist here.

Trump reportedly had 21 candidates on his Supreme Court short list, and theoretically could have kept his campaign promise to pick a Scalia-like conservative by picking any of them. He appears to have picked one of the closest such persons. If the “Trump Conversion Effect” is a factor, all I can say, barring suprises I don’t expect, is, “Thanks, lefties.”

Cue Etta James’s “At Last”:

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (020117)

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: This Spanish prison ministry is helping rehabilitate inmates

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Madrid, Spain:

Jan 21, 2017 / 06:08 am

The prison ministry founded by a Spanish Jesuit in the 1960s has had such fruits as a group of inmates donating their own money to help the needy at Christmas, according to the head of the foundation.

At Christmas of 2015, a group of prisoners in the Estremera prison in Madrid did their own food drive to buy non-perishable food with their own money from the prison store, Lola Navarro, president of the Father Garralda-Horizontes Abiertos Foundation, told CNA.

“All the prisoners who participated agreed to deliver the more than 220 pounds of food to the Fr. Garralda Foundation to help those they were thinking of, because they knew that there are people who needed it more than they did.”

Helping prisoners rebuild their lives, overcome addictions, and re-enter the workforce is a challenge that the Father Garralda-Horizontes Abiertos Foundation has been working toward for 40 years.

Navarro said Fr. Jaime Garralda began to work with prisoners and now serves, through his foundation, more than 200 people in prison, halfway homes for parolees, and with workshops on re-entering the workforce.

“Fr. Jaime Garralda, S.J., lived for 16 years in in a shanty town during the ’60s. Many women there wanted to visit their husbands or children who were in prison. Fr. Garralda and some volunteers began to accompany them and began a social action work in the prisons, also addressing all those realities related to the prisons,” Navarro explained.

“We also have the figure of the ‘volunteer resident’, or prisoners who are at the end of their sentence who help others in the prison achieve their goals so they can set out on an itinerary so their stay in the prison is as bearable as possible.”

She pointed out how this is “beautiful, because that person sees that you have helped them and now they’re the ones who get involved with the other prisoners to give back what was given to them, and the horizons that were opened up for them.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.