December 11, 2017

CNN: Never Mind About That Jeff Sessions Russian Contact Disclosure Issue

In May, the establishment press went into overdrive after learning that Attorney General Jeff Sessions didn’t disclose two 2016 contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on his disclosure forms applying for security clearance. On Monday, based on “a newly released document,” the network reported that Sessions was accurately told that the disclosures weren’t required, because those meetings were connected with his Senate duties. In other words, seven months later, the network finally said: “Oops. Never mind.”


Santelli Channels Blumer? Brings Up Not Seasonally Adjusted Jobs Numbers

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:30 am

Obviously, I’m kidding with the title, but it’s gratifying (and long overdue) to finally see somebody mention that the topline “jobs number,” which the press doesn’t even describe as “seasonally adjusted” (example here), is a result of smoothing out actual data on jobs added or lost to factor in “seasonality.”

CNBC’s Rick Santelli, in the first 90 seconds of the video seen below, is the first person I’ve seen in almost 13 years of blogging who has thought it worthwhile to talk about the raw data — something which should be obvious but is almost universally ignored.

As Santelli stated, and as yours truly has noted repeatedly, looking at the raw data is important. As I also observed on Friday, in November’s case, it was, in Santelli’s words, “even more impressive than the seasonally adjusted data”:

Santelli mentioned three strong not seasonally adjusted (i.e., actual) numbers (all three can be verified here by comparing the figures in the Not Seasonally Adjusted section of the table for October and November):

  • +532,000 total nonfarm jobs
  • +420,000 private-sector jobs
  • +451,000 retail jobs

On Friday, I noted that the raw total nonfarm figure was the highest number since 2005, and that the private-sector figure was the highest since 1945 (obviously not adjusted for population), and that the underlying strength of those figures was about 100,000 jobs stronger than the seasonally adjusted figures (228K and 221K, respectively) would indicate.

The retail figure Santelli cited means that most of the 117K improvement over last year’s actual private sector was in that segment alone (92K).

That may be reason to curb the enthusiasm if one thinks that the retail jobs being added will almost all disappear as usual after the Christmas shopping season ends. On the other hand, a stronger economy may finally be filtering down to the retail sector and leading to job growth there in 2018 — or at the very least slowing down the bleeding.

We’ll see.

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (121117)

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: National Anthem at 2017 Army-Navy Game

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am