August 21, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (082114): 289K SA, Raw Claims Below 250,000 For Second Week in Past Three

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:13 am


  • Bloomberg — “Data today will show initial claims for unemployment benefits declined last week.” Last week’s figure, pending possible adjustments today, was 311,000 seasonally adjusted claims.
  • Post-release updateBusiness Insider predicted 303K.

Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended August 16, 2014 — 83.4
  • Week ended August 17, 2013 — 83.3

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended August 9, 2014 — 268,637
  • Week ended August 17, 2013 — 281,164

For seasonally adjusted claims to match or decline from last week’s 311,000, raw claims will need to be 259,000 or lower (259K divided by .834 is 311K, rounded).

That seems about right. If raw claims are above last week’s figure, it will be cause for a bit of concern. If they beat last year’s same week, it will justify significant concern.

We’ll see what happens here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link), and it’s pretty strong —


In the week ending August 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 298,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 311,000 to 312,000. The 4-week moving average was 300,750, an increase of 4,750 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 295,750 to 296,000.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 248,759 in the week ending August 16, a decrease of 20,709 (or -7.7 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected a decrease of 9,357 (or -3.5 percent) from the previous week. There were 281,164 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

This is the second week in the past three where raw claims have come in below a quarter-million (pending possible adjustment to this week’s raw number).

There’s nothing troubling here. Whether this translates into a lower unemployment rate is another matter, but it’s obvious that layoffs and involuntary terminations have pulled back to roughly where you’d like to see them stay.

August 15, 2014

AP’s Coverage of July Deficit Again Ignores the Impact of the Largest Tax Increase in the Past Two Decades

The federal government reported a $94.6 blllion deficit in July, only marginally better than the $97.6 figure posted in July 2013.

As has become its habit, the Associated Press’s coverage of that result contained omissions, spin and half-truths about government tax collections, spending and the origins of the Obama administration’s first four years of consecutive trillion-dollar deficits. Particularly annoying is the wire service’s insistence on ignoring the large tax increase in two decades as a factor — in the interest, of course, of supporting the Obama administration’s call for more of the same. Veteran Martin Crutsinger was responsible for this month’s rendition. Excerpts follow the jump:


August 14, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (081414): 311K SA; Raw Claims Only 5% Below Same Week Last Year

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:26 am


Seasonal Adjustment Factors:

  • Week ended August 9, 2014 — 86.4
  • Week ended August 10, 2013 — 85.9

Raw Claims:

  • Week ended August 2, 2014 — 247,133
  • Week ended August 10, 2013 — 282,756

To achieve or beat the predictions, raw claims will need to be 255,000 or lower (255K divided by .864 is 295K, rounded).

If things are moving along swimmingly, that’s what we’ll get.

We’ll see here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link): Well, well, a little trouble in paradise —


In the week ending August 9, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 311,000, an increase of 21,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 289,000 to 290,000. The 4-week moving average was 295,750, an increase of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 293,500 to 293,750.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 268,837 in the week ending August 9, an increase of 20,960 (or 8.5 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 2,317 (or 0.9 percent) from the previous week. There were 282,756 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

That’s a bit of a surprise, but last week seemed artificially low, so maybe this week averaged out last week.

A lot was made of how supposedly wonderful the JOLTS report a day or two ago was in showing so many open jobs, which are at a 13-year high. The logical question would be, “Why aren’t they being filled?”

Today’s news puts a bit of a damper on that.

August 13, 2014

Retail Sales Flatlined in July; AP Deadpans That Americans With No Money ‘Are Hesitant to Spend’

This morning, the Census Bureau, in its advance report on retail sales, revealed that seasonally adjusted July sales were “virtually unchanged” from June. Expectations were for a 0.2 percent gain, supposedly with “solid upside” potential. Oops. June’s result stayed at its previously reported 0.2 percent increase.

Reuters did the “U-word” honors this time out: “U.S. retail sales unexpectedly stalled in July, pointing to some loss of momentum in the economy early in the third quarter.” Someone needs to tell the wire service’s Lucia Mutikani that no increase means no momentum. Over at the Associated Press, Josh Boak tried the deadpan approach.


August 8, 2014

It Begins: The First Reason Why 2Q14 GDP’s Will Likely Be Revised Down

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:22 am

From Zero Hedge (link is in original):

Against expectations of a further rise in inventory build of 0.7%, wholesale inventories rose only 0.3% in June (the same pace as in May) missing by the most since February 2013With GDP now basically an exercise in inventory expansion and contraction (Q2 inventory estimate amounte to 40% of GDP), this ‘miss’ offers little hope for the initial Q2 rebound to hold its exuberance. In addition, wholesale sales also missed (up only 0.2% against expectations of a 0.7% rise) with growth slowing for the 3rd month in a row.

The government’s wholesale inventories report is here.

The true (i.e., unadjusted, raw, actual) change in June inventories was -1.1%.

That initial 4.0% annualized figure for 2Q14 just got tenuous.

Updating the Reagan v. Obama Economic Rout

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:59 am

Comparing economic legacies.


The column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.


The Hill reported last week that President Obama wants to “pivot to his economic legacy.”

Specifically, “the White House hopes to ride the wave of an economic recovery to improve Obama’s approval numbers over the final two years of his presidency, setting up a possible Democratic successor at the White House.” If The Hill’s Amie Parnes and Peter Schroeder had submitted their writeup to The Onion, they would have gladly run it.

Unfortunately for the President, one good quarter — assuming it even survives subsequent revisions, and especially following a quarter of contraction which was originally reported as positive before the heavy-duty erasers came out — does not a positive legacy make. Nor will another two years of the 2.4 percent economic growth seen during the past four quarters, again before revisions to the most current quarter.

By the three key measures of economic, job and income growth, Barack Obama’s economy, also known to yours truly as the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy to identify the three parties most responsible for the both the depth of the Great Recession and the historically awful “recovery” which has followed it, has been historically horrid.

Obama’s economic policy, with the help of a pliant Federal Reserve, has been built on the notion that massive deficit spending and easy money would bring the economy roaring back and “stimulate” job growth. The former strategy was tried during the 1930s. It only succeeded in lengthening the Great Depression, as the nation’s unemployment rate never fell below 12 percent. The fact that Team Obama insisted on making the same mistakes, while at the same time unleashing the federal government’s regulatory apparatus to harass the economy’s productive participants, is enough to make reasonable people question whether this president and his administration have ever truly wanted to see a genuine recovery occur.

On the other hand, five years of strong, solid and uninterrupted economic performance following a serious recession is how you create a positive economic legacy. Ronald Reagan’s post-recession economy — an economy which faced arguably greater challenges when he took office, particularly double-digit inflation and a prime interest rate of 20 percent — did just that.

Reagan’s economic policy, conducted in the face of necessarily painful anti-inflationary Federal Reserve monetary policy, was premised on supply-side tax cuts and regulatory restraint. A third element, getting federal spending under control, didn’t occur because (surprise) Democrats reneged on promises to cut spending made during budget negotiations. Today, Obama’s crew anticipates annual budget deficits which will never fall below $450 billion and will balloon back to $1 trillion within a decade.

First, let’s compare post-recession economic growth, as seen in increases in real (inflation-adjusted) Gross Domestic Product:


Five years after the early-1980s recession ended, the U.S. economy was almost 26 percent larger. The Obama economy, in the worst five-year recovery since World War II by miles, hasn’t achieved even half of that.

The difference is, well, graphic:


Now, let’s look at job growth.

As seen below, even before considering the fact that the U.S. had 32 percent fewer people working at the end of the 1980s recession than it did in mid-2009, the Reagan economy added almost 6 million more jobs in its first five post-recession years than the Obama economy:


Team Obama has taken to bragging about private-sector job growth. But even there, before adjusting for workforce size, the Reagan economy beat out Obama’s by almost 3.9 million jobs.

In an apples-to-apples comparison showing employment growth in percentage terms, it’s an utterly embarrassing rout:


As seen in the graph, one important element in the Obama economy’s lackluster employment growth was its failure to stop job losses until eight months after the recession ended. That’s exactly what the President’s and the Democrat-dominated Congress’s stimulus plan said it would prevent. They also said it would bring the unemployment rate down to 5.3 percent by the end of the his first term. It utterly failed on both counts.

Beyond that, the Obama economy, five years into its “recovery,” has unprecedentedly failed to bring full-time employment to its pre-recession peak, standing at 3.4 million jobs short as of July. Millions who want to work full-time are stuck in part-time positions. Millions of others are discouraged and on the sidelines. (And we’re supposed to believe that Obamacare has absolutely nothing to do with any of this.) Reagan’s economy took only 12 months after that era’s recession ended to restore full-time employment to its prerecession peak. By the end of 1987, over 10 million more Americans were working full-time.

Finally, let’s look at household income growth — I’m sorry, I meant income growth during the Reagan era and income declines during Obama’s reign:


Median household income increased by over 9 percent during the five years after the early 1980s recession ended. In the first three years after the most recent recession’s official end, it has declined by over 4 percent. Monthly median household income estimates compiled by Sentier Research indicate that there has been a very slight rise since then.

Even with the expected heavy dose of help from the establishment press, a Democratic Party presidential nominee try to run on Obama’s supposedly tremendous economic “legacy” of weak economic growth, chronic underemployment, and middle class-damaging income declines will likely be making a grave mistake. That’s because, as the Associated Press had to admit last week, despite the press’ current best efforts, the American people “don’t feel it.” Two years of marginal improvement, which is the best anyone can realistically hope for, won’t meaningfully change that.

August 7, 2014

Initial Unemployment Claims (080714): 289K SA (8-1/2 Year Low); Raw Claims Below 250K

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:09 am


Seasonal adjustment factors:

  • Week ended August 2, 2014 — 85.6
  • Week ended August 3, 2013 — 86.1

Raw claims:

  • Week ended July 26, 2014 — 257,210
  • Week ended August 3, 2013 — 288,861

To meet or beat Bloomberg’s lower prediction, raw claims will need to be 260,000 or lower (260K divided by .856 is 304K, rounded).

We’ll see what happens here at 8:30.

HERE IT IS (permanent link):


In the week ending August 2, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 289,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 302,000 to 303,000. The 4-week moving average was 293,500, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since February 25, 2006 when it was 290,750. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 297,250 to 297,500.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 247,133 in the week ending August 2, a decrease of 10,492 (or -4.1 percent) from the previous week. The seasonal factors had expected an increase of 1,514 (or 0.6 percent) from the previous week. There were 288,861 initial claims in the comparable week in 2013.

Those are undeniably strong results, perhaps influenced by the auto industry’s move away from long summer shutdowns which the seasonal factors aren’t picking up, but undeniably strong nonetheless.

So we’re left to wonder how we can have 6.2 percent unemployment (and millions on the sidelines) with a quarter-million unemployment claims per week, compared to a much lower 4.8 percent unemployment rate the last time seasonally adjusted claims were so low in 2006.

The guess here is tha much of it has to do the more part-time and temporary nature of the workforce.

The FT/PT breakdown in the U.S. labor force in February 2006 was 118.7 million/24.7 million, with 2.63 million temporary employees.

The FT/PT breakdown in July 2014 was 118.5 million/28.1 million, with 2.88 million temps. That’s 200K fewer FT, 3.4 million more PT, and 250K more temps than 8-1/2 years earlier.

People who collect unemployment benefits are overwhelmingly full-timers who aren’t temps.

Thus, the number of people who would be motivated to file for and collect unemployment benefits if laid off or terminated is probably smaller than it was in 2006. The theory here is that people who work a part-time job with low pay may be eligible for benefits, but if they’re let go, they’re more apt to quickly find other part-time work and not to bother filing an unemployment claim. Some may also determine that their calculated benefit isn’t worth the paperwork hassle, especially if they already have another part-time job — a far from unusual circumstance these days.

In other words, though the claims numbers are pleasantly low, they’re not automatically cause for “Eureka! We’ve arrived” celebrations.

August 6, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Updating the Reagan v. Obama Economic Rout’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:08 am

It’s here — and it is a rout.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

August 5, 2014

ISM Non-Manufacturing Hits Highest Reading Since 2008 Inception: 58.7%, Up from 56.0% in June

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 2:53 pm

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

(Tempe, Arizona) — Economic activity in the non-manufacturing sector grew in July for the 54th consecutive month, say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The NMI® registered 58.7 percent in July, 2.7 percentage points higher than the June reading of 56 percent. This represents continued growth in the Non-Manufacturing sector. This month’s NMI® is the highest reading for the index since its inception in January 2008.

The Non-Manufacturing Business Activity Index increased to 62.4 percent, which is 4.9 percentage points higher than the June reading of 57.5 percent, reflecting growth for the 60th consecutive month at a faster rate. This is the highest reading for the index since February 2011 when the index registered 63.3 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 64.9 percent, 3.7 percentage points higher than the reading of 61.2 percent registered in June. This represents the highest reading for the New Orders Index since August 2005 when it registered 65.3 percent.

The Employment Index increased 1.6 percentage points to 56 percent from the June reading of 54.4 percent and indicates growth for the fifth consecutive month. The Prices Index decreased 0.3 percentage point from the June reading of 61.2 percent to 60.9 percent, indicating prices increased at a slightly slower rate in July when compared to June.

According to the NMI®, 16 non-manufacturing industries reported growth in July. …

The reference to points in time before the NMI refer to the old “services index”; ISM apparently sees such comparisons as valid.

Including the old services index, according to Zero Hedge, July’s reading is the highest in 9 years.

This is very good news. It would be nice if it were more obvious that this sentiment index correlates with hard-number reality on the ground. But it really isn’t.

August 2, 2014

The Depression-Era 1930s—1, The Obama ‘Recovery’—Ø

Thanks to the government’s comprehensive revision.


This column went up at PJ Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Thursday.


Rather than allow the establishment press to be the nation’s lone voice on the U.S. economy — predictably chortling that it “has rebounded with vigor” after one supposedly good quarter showing 4 percent annualized growth — let’s take a look at what else the government’s Gross Domestic Product data released Wednesday revealed.

In addition to disclosing that the first quarter’s contraction, at an annualized 2.1 percent, was not quite as awful as once thought, the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s comprehensive revisions to previously published annual and quarterly GDP data reconfirmed that the economy during the first four years of the Obama “recovery” underperformed every post-downturn economy since the Great Depression by a wide margin. Most people know that, or should — and if you don’t, here’s the proof.

Beyond that, BEA data now show that Obama’s post-recession economy put in a performance worse than that seen after the Great Depression itself.

To be clear, as I have noted in previous writeups on this comparison, I’m certainly not contending that the level of human suffering during and after the Great Recession has been anywhere near what it was during the 1930s. That said, many of us need to be reminded in this Obama-compliant media world — thank goodness we have the British tabloids to partially fill that void — that, among many other indicators of abject poverty and misery, there has been no meaningful decline in documented homelessness during the past several years.

In early June, I characterized the Obama economy’s recovery during the first four years after the Great Recession’s official end as “awfully close” to being as ugly as that seen after the Great Depression. In late June, after the first quarter’s reported contraction worsened to an annualized 2.9 percent, the Obama economy’s margin narrowed even further.

Wednesday’s news tipped the balance in favor of the 16 quarters after the Depression ended in early 1933 (see the June column for a description of how I interpolated quarterly results during those years). That’s because the BEA’s comprehensive revisions applied to the first 16 post-Great Recession quarters brought down reported growth considerably:


Nine quarters took a hit, three of them quite significant. Only three got revised into an increase, and only one of them was significant.

These revisions lengthened the amount of time it took for the economy to escape a recession under Warren Buffett’s definition. In September 2010, he told CNBC that he wouldn’t consider the recession to have ended “until real per capita GDP gets back to where it was before.” That statistic didn’t return to its fourth quarter 2007 peak until the third quarter of 2013, 23 agonizing quarters later. Before the revisions, the data showed that Buffett’s self-described “common sense” benchmark had been achieved in that year’s second quarter.

The revisions also changed how much larger than its pre-Great Recession peak the economy was after 16 quarters of “recovery” from the 4.6 percent seen at my June column to 4.1 percent.

That revised comparison-to-peak figure officially puts the first 16 quarters of the Obama “recovery” behind the post-Great Depression 1930s (Note: The chart incorporates very small revisions BEA made to all years and quarters involved):


As seen above, and paraphrasing what I noted in June — In every other economic recovery (except in the Obama and Great Depression economies), GDP was at least 10 percent larger than its pre-downturn peak 16 quarters later (or fewer, in several instances when an earlier subsequent recession occurred). The Obama economy — often described by yours truly as the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) economy to identify the three parties who bear primary responsibility for its pitiful results — has achieved less than half of that, and now comes in worse than the 1930s.

Wednesday’s revisions also worsened the Obama economy’s 16-quarter growth after the recession’s end from 9.2 percent to 8.7 percent, moving it even deeper into the cellar in that category:


As explained in June, this chart nukes the “deep hole” argument Team Obama tirelessly employs to explain away their pathetic economy. In reality, the deeper hole should have led to a stronger recovery. But it didn’t.

In 1938, as it became obvious that Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal had failed to ignite a genuine, sustainable recovery, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. lamented: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work.” Clearly, it also didn’t work after the Great Recession. But now we have administration apparatchiks and President Obama himself howling with joy after one quarter has come in initially strong.

They would be well-aThe Depression-Era 1930s—1, The Obama ‘Recovery’—Ødvised to curb their enthusiasm. The first quarter’s initial reading of 0.1 percent got knocked down by over 2 percentage points by the time all the dust had settled. More importantly, it would take about five straight years of 4 percent growth to get us even into the neighborhood of truly recovering what misguided fiscal and monetary policies have lost. Does anyone see that happening?

August 1, 2014

July ISM Manufacturing Increases to 57.1%, Up From June’s 55.3% (Update: June Construction Spending Dove)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:25 am

From the Institute for Supply Management:

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in July for the 14th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 62nd consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The July PMI® registered 57.1 percent, an increase of 1.8 percentage points from June’s reading of 55.3 percent, indicating expansion in manufacturing for the 14th consecutive month. The New Orders Index registered 63.4 percent, an increase of 4.5 percentage points from the 58.9 percent reading in June, indicating growth in new orders for the 14th consecutive month. The Production Index registered 61.2 percent, 1.2 percentage points above the June reading of 60 percent. Employment grew for the 13th consecutive month, registering 58.2 percent, an increase of 5.4 percentage points over the June reading of 52.8 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 48.5 percent, a decrease of 4.5 percentage points from the June reading of 53 percent, contracting after five months of consecutive growth. Comments from the panel are generally positive, while some indicate concern over global geopolitical situations.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 17 are reporting growth in July …

New Orders and Production would indicate stronger GDP in the quarters to come. But backlog stayed in contraction, thought just barely (49.5%).

Overall, it’s a very strong report. The mystery is why this strong sentiment survey (as well as the Non-Manuafacturing report, which will come out next Tuesday) isn’t correlating much with actually reported, hard-number production, spending and sales results.

Latest example: In the first indication that Wednesday’s GDP report may have overstated second-quarter growth, construction spending fell by 1.8% in June – its biggest drop since Jan 2011 (HT Zero Hedge) —

The U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce announced today that construction spending during June 2014 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $950.2 billion, 1.8 percent (±1.8%)* below the revised May estimate of $967.8 billion. The June figure is 5.5 percent (±2.3%) above the June 2013 estimate of $900.3 billion.

During the first 6 months of this year, construction spending amounted to $445.1 billion, 7.8 percent (±1.6%) above the $413.0 billion for the same period in 2013.

The July Employment Situation Summary (080114); 209K Jobs Added, Unemployment Rate Rises to 6.2%

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:25 am


  • Associated Press — 225,000 seasonally adjusted jobs added; 6.1 percent unemployment rate. “… it would mark the sixth straight month of gains above 200,000, the longest such stretch since 1997.”
  • Bloomberg — 230,000 jobs added, no rate prediction.
  • Reuters — 233,000 jobs added, 6.1 percent unemployment rate.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Benchmarks:

Readers here know that yours truly likes to look at actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) data to see what’s really happening in the labor market, so let’s do that side-by-side with the adjusted data:


July is a month during which many jobs are actually lost overall.

If the job market is on track to be stellar, we shouldn’t see more than 1.05 million jobs lost overall. That number is lower than any other July listed because I believe that the factors influencing the high number of July let-go’s are not as strong as they have been in the past.

If the private sector is on track to be stellar, we need to see 200,000 such jobs actually added before seasonal adjustment, i.e., it needs to be a lot better than the previous four years, which gave us mostly mediocre seasonally adjusted results.

We’ll see what transpired here at 8:30 a.m.

HERE IT IS (full HTML): At firtst blush … Well, things aren’t absolutely perfect in the land of economic legacy, are they? —

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade, and construction.

Both the unemployment rate (6.2 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (9.7 million) changed little in July. Over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons have declined by 1.1 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women increased to 5.7 percent and the rate for blacks edged up to 11.4 percent in July, following declines for both groups in the prior month. The rates for adult men (5.7 percent), teenagers (20.2 percent), whites (5.3 percent), and Hispanics (7.8 percent) showed little or no change in July. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.5 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

… The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, changed little in July. The participation rate has been essentially unchanged since April. The employment-population ratio, at 59.0 percent, was unchanged over the month but has edged up by 0.3 percentage point over the past 12 months.

… Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July, the same as its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. In July, employment grew in professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade, and construction.

Professional and business services added 47,000 jobs in July and has added 648,000 jobs over the past 12 months. In July, employment continued to trend up across much of the industry, including a gain of 9,000 jobs in architectural and engineering services. Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month.

Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in July. Job gains occurred in motor vehicles and parts (+15,000) and in furniture and related products (+3,000). Over the prior 12 months, manufacturing had added an average of 12,000 jobs per month, primarily in durable goods industries.

… The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +224,000 to +229,000, and the change for June was revised from +288,000 to +298,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June were 15,000 higher than previously reported.

These releases read like propaganda a bit more with each passing month.

Just one example: “Employment in temporary help services changed little over the month.” It increased by a seasonally adjusted 8,500, or 4% of the total jobs pickup, for a sector which has about 2% of all of employment. In other words, the statement’s just not true, but BLS doesn’t want to admit that the economy is generating a disproportionate number of temp jobs.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Benchmark Follow-up: The economy actually lost 1.11 million jobs overall, while the private sector picked up 127,000 jobs. Those figures fell 60K and 23K, respectively, short of the benchmarks above. Fairly close, but no cigar, which explains why the overall number of jobs added trailed predictions by about 25,000.

Other notes (referencing seasonally adjusted figures unless otherwise indicated):

  • The seasonally adjusted labor force increased by 329,000 in July to 156.023 million. That’s still 204K below where it was in March.
  • The number of employed in the Household Survey increased by only 131K. Meanwhile, the number of full-timers and part-timers increased by 285K and 52K, respectively, a total of 337K. Don’t ask me to explain that, except to ask, “Aren’t seasonally adjusted numbers fun?”
  • The black unemployment rate shot up to 11.4%, while the white unemployment rate stayed at 5.3%. The rate for 20-and-over black women zoomed from 9.0% to 10.1%.
  • The number of those unemployed for 27 or more weeks increased a bit from 3.081 million to 3.155 million after declining significantly during the three previous months.
  • “Food services and drinking places” keep on cranking a disproporationate number of relatively low-paying jobs (18,600 in July, 292K in the past year).


UPDATE: Zero Hedge notes that in a separate government report, wage growth came in below estimates.

UPDATE 2: Pethokoukis (“July jobs report: The Obama recovery hits its stride. And that’s the problem”; bolds are mine) —

… the Obama recovery seems to have hit its sweet spot. And that’s the problem. This may be as good as it gets given that the expansion is five-years old and GDP growth seems stuck in low gear. The US employment rate of 59.0% is still well below its prerecession level of 62.9%, a gap of nearly 10 million jobs. There are still 3.2 million long-term unemployed vs. 1.3 million in December 2007. And as Capital Economics points out, “Despite the strength of employment gains and the decline in the unemployment rate, there is still no sign of an acceleration in average hourly earnings, which were unchanged in July.”

Overall, it was a bad report for the job metrics “dashboard” of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. As economist Robert Brusca points out, ” … we see that the unemployment rate has risen, the U-6 rate is up. The long-term unemployed share of total unemployment is up. Part-time workers are up, part-time workers looking for full-time work is a higher ratio. Marginally attached workers are greater in number. There are more discouraged workers.”

Then again, what can you really expect from an economy that has expanded by just 2.4% over the past four quarters, and a mere 2.2% over the five years of the expansion?

There is little happening in the economy right now that suggests this expansion will ever be a whole lot more than what it currently is.

To anyone with a memory or a knowledge of history, “what it currently is” is unacceptable.

July 31, 2014

Writers at the Hill Give ‘Obama Pivots to Economic Legacy’ Credibility

This post is not about an item in The Onion. It’s about a supposedly serious establishment press story at the Hill.

This morning, Amie Parnes and Peter Schroeder covered the Obama administration’s apparent plan to pivot to the economy for the umpteenth time. But this time, Obama and his apparatchiks aren’t doing it because they think they need to convince people that things are getting better. No-no-no. They’re declaring victory, “tying his legacy” to Obama’s apparently wondrous stewardhip of the economy. In the words of the Hill pair, they are “seizing on the administration’s successes in boosting the nation during financial woes.” Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):


The Gruber Grovel

Filed under: Economy,Health Care,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:49 pm

This video summarizes (HT to a NewsBusters commenter) how utterly ridiculous Jonathan Gruber and all Obamacare-supporting politicians and pundits are when they claim that the the Affordable Care Act’s limitations of premium subsidies to those participating in state-run exchanges was a “typo”:

Money quote (at 1:08 in the video):

If your governor doesn’t set up an exchange, you’re losing hundreds of millions of dollars of tax credits to be delivered to your citizens. So that’s the other threat. Will the states do what they have to do to set it up?

The intent to force governors to set up an exchange or lose billions could not be clearer.

As I wrote shortly after the DC court’s ruling came out, that ruling has to stand, or the rule of law is dead.

AP Acknowledges That There Are ‘Fewer Full-Time Jobs,’ But Doesn’t Cite Obamacare As a Contributor

In a Thursday report on why many Americans are still unimpressed with the U.S. job market, Associated Press reporters Christopher Rugaber and Josh Boak made a rare admission that “Finding a steady full-time job has become harder” than it was before the recession.

The AP pair then contended that “the trend might also reflect a lasting shift among restaurants and coffee shops,” but found an “expert” who only acknowledged that such employers are trying to be more careful in their spending. Although they mentioned Obamacare as a reason why pollied Republicans are dissatisfied with the economy, Rugaber and Boak never cited the healthcare law as a possible factor in the significant move to employ part-timers, even though Investor’s Business Daily has compiled a list of 429 employers “with strong proof that ObamaCare’s employer mandate is behind cuts to work hours or staffing levels.” Excerpts follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):