Archive for Economy

So Much Owed to So Many by So Few

In the few remaining minutes we can even remotely trust anything from the Census Bureau…

Buried deep on the website of the U.S. Census Bureau is a number every American citizen, and especially those entrusted with public office, should know. It is 86,429,000.

That is the number of Americans who in 2012 got up every morning and went to work — in the private sector — and did it week after week after week.

Of the 103,087,000 full-time, year-round workers, 16,606,000 worked for the government. That included 12,597,000 who worked for state and local government and 4,009,000 who worked for the federal government.

Why does he single out private sector workers? Don’t public sector workers work too (after a fashion)? Maybe so, but they are paid by the taxes of the 86 million private sector workers.

Which gets to his point:

At first glance, 86,429,000 might seem like a healthy population of full-time private-sector workers. But then you need to look at what they are up against.

The Census Bureau also estimates the size of the benefit-receiving population.

This population, too, falls into two broad categories. The first includes those who receive benefits for public services they performed or in exchange for payroll taxes they dutifully paid their entire working lives. Among these, for example, are those receiving veteran’s benefits, those on unemployment and those getting Medicare and Social Security.

The second category includes those who get “means-tested” government benefits — or welfare. These include, for example, those who get Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, public housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Women, Infants Children.

There were 108,592,000 million people in the fourth quarter of 2011 who lived in a household that included people on “one or more means-tested program.”

Those 108,592,000 outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private-sector workers who inhabited the United States in 2012 by almost 1.3 to 1.

This brings us to the first category of benefit receivers. There were 49,901,000 people receiving Social Security in the fourth quarter of 2011, and 46,440,000 receiving Medicare. There were also 5,098,000 getting unemployment compensation.

And there were also, 3,178,000 veteran receiving benefits and 34,000 veterans getting educational assistance.

All told, including both the welfare recipients and the non-welfare beneficiaries, there were 151,014,000 who “received benefits from one or more programs” in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers.

The 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers 1.7 to 1.

How much more can the 86,429,000 endure?

Baby boomers are starting to retire. Each former worker who starts to collect benefits represents a two-person swing. (If ten people work to support ten beneficiaries, and one retires, the difference is now two, nine to eleven.)

One can make a moral case against this (it’s unfair and improper for a nation of 320 million people to be supported by barely a quarter of the population). But one doesn’t need to resort to moral arguments (fear not, liberals). Who thinks this is sustainable? When does the precarious balance come crashing down? Always sooner than you think is the answer.

And only Mark Steyn will be laughing as he cashes his royalty checks.

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Obama’s War On Women

Or More Good News From The ObamaEconomy

The number of women who were unemployed in the United States climbed 180,000 in March, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In March, there were 4,850,000 unemployed women, 180,000 more than the 4,670,000 American women were unemployed in February, according to BLS.

At the same time, the unemployment rate for women rose from 6.4 percent in February to 6.6 percent in March.

To be counted as unemployed, a person must have actively sought a job in the last four weeks and be part of what BLS calls the civilian noninstitutional population (meaning a person is 16 or older and not on active duty in the military or in an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home).

The number of American women who had jobs dropped 133,000 from February to March, declining from 68,458,000 to 68,325,000.

From February to March, the number of women in the civilian noninstitutional population increased by 84,000, climbing from 127,779,000 to 127,863,000. Of those 127,863,000 women in the civilian noninstitutional population, 73,175,000 participated in the civilian labor force, meaning they either had a job or actively sought one in the past four weeks. That put the labor force participation rate for women at 57.2 percent in March–the same as it was in February.

ETC. More at the link. But we can truthfully say that Obama has a War on Women (I wonder if we are stacked in binders somewhere?) and that anyone who goes to war against women is attacking The Children. Because a lot of those women are single providers, of course. And a distressed, desperate mom is not the Best She Can Be… Why, oh why, are we doing this to the children? Ask your Progressive friends. Maybe they understand the answer, I sure don’t.

- Aggie

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More Betterer News From The ObamaEconomy

To read The More Betterer News, see below.

- Aggie

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192,000 New Jobs!

Try to contain yourself:

In March, the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 10.5 million, and the unemployment rate held at 6.7 percent. Both measures have shown little movement since December 2013. Over the year, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.2 million and 0.8 percentage point, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women increased to 6.2 percent in March, and the rate for adult men decreased to 6.2 percent. The rates for teenagers (20.9 percent), whites (5.8 percent), blacks (12.4 percent), and Hispanics (7.9 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.4 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.7 million, changed little in March; these individuals accounted for 35.8 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 837,000 over the year. (See table A-12.)

Both the civilian labor force and total employment increased in March. The labor force participation rate (63.2 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.9 percent) changed little over the month. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 7.4 million in March. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work. (See table A-8.)

In March, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier.

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in March, down slightly from a year earlier.

Who wrote this press release, Eeyore?

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More, More, More Great News From The ObamaEconomy!!!!

Oh BTL, you have such a way with titles (see below…and below that)!

Due credit to Aggie, can you top this?

African-Americans and Latinos are losing economic ground when compared with whites in the areas of employment and income as the United States pulls itself out of the Great Recession, the latest State of Black America report from the National Urban League says.

“Many Americans are being left behind, and that includes African-Americans and Latinos who are being disproportionately left behind by the job creation that we see,” National Urban League President Marc Morial said.

But you know what? They’re cool with that!

Despite the dismal numbers, an analysis by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found African-Americans significantly more optimistic about their future standard of living than whites, regardless of income level, education or partisanship. Overall, 71 percent of blacks surveyed in the 2012 General Social Survey agreed that they have a good chance of improving their standard of living, outpacing the share among whites by 25 percentage points.

The survey found high optimism even among blacks who say racism is a cause for economic inequality.

Maybe you think that’s the good news. Their Mr. Micawber, something-will-come-along attitude serves them well. Maybe you’re right. But I don’t think they would be so chill under President Bush. I think they’d be pi**ed. And they’d have a right. It’s because of The Nation’s First Black President (TNFBP™) and his ruinous, job-destroying policies that they’re falling further behind, not despite him. It’s as obvious as the ears on his head.

But a white-hooded, white-robed Barack Obama could ride in on a white steed, toting a burning cross, flying the Stars and Bars, and crying “the South will rise again”, and his black supporters would speak admiringly of his horsemanship.

And then abort their unborn children. If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry.

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More, More Great News From The ObamaEconomy!!!!

A better class of cabbies

This is truly sad, but again, who did he and his family vote for? And how many times?

BOSTON — Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job.

Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.

“I’m not in my basement, unshaven, unshowered, drinking a bottle of Scotch a day,” Mr. Gorelick said. “I’m out there working these jobs, meeting people and trying to make something happen. But it is exhausting. It is stressful. It is difficult.”

For people experiencing such long spells without appropriate work, it is a crisis. Often, it is also a conundrum: What should a worker who finds himself out of a job for six months or more do?

“There is this very pressing issue,” said Ofer Sharone, a sociologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “and there is this great gap in knowledge about what to do about it, both for policy makers and these individuals.” Should long-term jobless workers seek out career counseling? Should they accept far lower salaries? Should politicians revamp training programs? To those questions, and to many others, there are too few answers.

Or, should government turn to business friendly policies in order to stimulate growth? Nah.

- Aggie

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Blame Bush

Crikey, I thought the Chinese were smart.

And they’re not shy of ripping off someone else’s good idea:

China’s economy weakened sharply during the first two months of the year, deepening concerns that growth in the world’s second-largest economy would decelerate further.

The country’s top leaders now have tough decisions about whether to set aside economic overhaul measures that could pinch growth in the short-term.

The slowdown was across the board, including retail, manufacturing, housing and investment, as the National Bureau of Statistics released a raft of data on Thursday for January and February, which was combined to adjust for distortions from the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday. Some of the results were the weakest since the global financial crisis of 2009. “This is terrible,” said Liu Li-Gang, a Hong Kong-based economist at ANZ Bank. “I wasn’t expecting high figures, but this is worse than I thought.”

And? So?

Honestly, do we have to show you Chinese how to do everything?

“After they [Deng, Communists] drove the car into the ditch, made it as difficult as possible for us to pull it back, now they want the keys back,” Obama said of the GOP. “No! You can’t drive. We don’t want to have to go back into the ditch. We [Xi, Communists] just got the car out.”

“We got our mops and our brooms out here and were cleaning stuff out and they’re sitting there saying, ‘Hold the broom better, that’s not how you mop, don’t tell me how to mop.’”

I wish he’d stop using such racially insensitive language—dog whistles, if you prefer. The nation’s first African American president should not be talking about janitorial work. But then, this is the guy who called black Americans a “mongrel people”.

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Try Not To Let This Damage Your Faith In The ObamaEconomy

Labor force participation rate among 20-somethings lowest in 33 years.

The labor force participation rate in 2013 for Americans in their twenties hit the lowest level recorded since 1981, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started releasing employment data on people in the full age bracket of 20 through 29.

The labor force participation rate for people ages 20 through 24—which BLS has been tracking since 1948—hit a 42-year low in 2013.

Since 2008, the last year before President Barack Obama took office, the number of Americans in their twenties who were not in the labor force during the average month has climbed from 8,756,000 to 10,511,000—an increase of 1,755,000 or 20 percent.

The 10,511,000 Americans age 20 through 29 who were not in the labor force in 2013 is the highest ever recorded by BLS.

The patriotic thing to do would be to rush out to Starbucks and help keep the ones that do have jobs employed. Maybe eat in a fast food joint tonight. Anything to grow the economy.

- Aggie

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Whoop-Di-Frickin’-Do

That’s my summation of the unemployment numbers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics agrees:

Both the number of unemployed persons (10.5 million) and the unemployment rate (6.7 percent) changed little in February. The jobless rate has shown little movement since December. Over the year, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.6 million and 1.0 percentage point, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.4 percent), adult women (5.9 percent), teenagers (21.4 percent), whites (5.8 percent), blacks (12.0 percent), and Hispanics (8.1 percent) showed little or no change in February. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.0 percent (not seasonally adjusted), about unchanged over the year. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million; these individuals accounted for 37.0 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 901,000 over the year. (See table A-12.)

Both the civilian labor force participation rate (63.0 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.8 percent) were unchanged in February. The labor force participation rate was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago, while the employment-population ratio was little changed over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 7.2 million in February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work. (See table A-8.)

In hockey, they say a tie is like kissing your sister. These numbers are like kissing your brother. There’s been improvement over the course of the year, but it’s stalled in the last few months. Disturbingly, unemployment for black men, 20 and over, jumped from 12% to 12.9% (while it fell for women and teens of both sexes).

And it ain’t about the weather:

Everyone agrees that the winter just now winding down (hopefully) has been brutal for most Americans. And while it’s easy to conclude that the Polar Vortex has been responsible for an excess of school shutdowns and ice related traffic snarls, it’s much harder to conclude that it’s responsible for the economic vortex that appears to have swallowed the American economy over the past three months.

But this hasn’t stopped economists, Fed officials, and media analysts from making this unequivocal assertion. In reality the weather is not what’s ailing us. It’s just the latest straw being grasped at by those who believe that the phony recovery engineered by the Fed is real and lasting.

Of course the biggest weakness ascribed to the snow and ice has been the very disappointing employment reports over the last few months. Analysts faced a very difficult task in squaring these reports, which showed fewer than 187,000 new jobs created in December and January combined, with the accepted narrative that the recovery was firmly underway and that the economy was no longer dependent on the Fed’s monetary support.

For these desperate economists the weather was a godsend.

I believe a recovering economy would be expected to create more than 300,000 jobs per month in order to make a real dent in underemployment. Those levels, once routine in past decades, seem untouchable today. But weather-related pessimism had caused economist to ratchet down their predictions to just 150,000 jobs in February. Based on that, today’s numbers were seen as a win.

But economists are ignoring the likelihood that the weather was never a major factor. Take the cold out of the equation and you would be left with a mediocre February number following two consecutive monthly disasters.

A much more plausible explanation to me is that the economy has been weak recently because it is weak fundamentally. The data deterioration corresponds not just to unseasonably low temperatures but also to the diminishment of monthly QE from the Federal Reserve. If you recall the highly anticipated “taper” finally began in mid- December. From my perspective the Quantitative Easing has become the sunshine that drives our phony economy. Diminish that sunshine and the economic winter spreads.

But the sad fact is that QE can push up prices in stocks and real estate, but can do very little to affect positive change in the real economy. That’s why I believe that BMW’s are selling like hotcakes even as Chevies sit on the lot. Our current policies help the wealthy at the expense of everybody else.

Poetry, isn’t it? Lame-brained Democrat policies to “stimulate” the economy end up hurting the “folks” who need help the most. They want jobs, not Facebook at $72 a share. They have neither.

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Obama’s Greatest Success is His Greatest Failure

Billionaires are exploding!

The ranks of the world’s billionaires continue to scale new heights–and stretch to new corners of the world. Our global wealth team found 1,645 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion a year ago. We unearthed a record 268 new ten-figure fortunes, including 42 new women billionaires, another record. In total, there are 172 women on the list, more than ever before and up from 138 last year.

Thanks to the tech boom, and strong stock market, the U.S. once again leads the world with 492 billionaires, followed by China with 152 and Russia with 111.

Roughly two-thirds of the billionaires built their own fortunes, 13% inherited them and 21% have been adding on to fortunes they received.

So, that’s the world’s one-percent taken care of. How about the bottom dwellers? Ninety-two million Americans not working; forty-seven million on food stamps; fifty million below the poverty line.

Heckuva job, ‘Bama! Five years in office and the only people making any money are the 0.00001%-ers. Michael Kors sends his thanks. Even if Van Jones, Rachel Maddow, et al are sticking pins into their Obama dolls.

PS: I do take solace from the note that, even in this socialist and confiscatory environment, two-thirds of the billionaires are self-made. Hard to demonize people who earned every cent they have.

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Our Substitute-Teacher-In-Chief Pummeled With Lots Of Spitballs

Obama was elected on Hope-n-Change. Every now and then, it is instructive to see where he has lead us.

Let’s begin with his foreign policy. Obama has adopted the foreign policy of Neville Chamberlain, with similar results. The Arab Spring has turned into chaos in Egypt and Syria, with reports of approximately 140,000 deaths in Syria alone. We don’t have a grim milestone watch for Egypt or Libya. The press seems a bit bored. And it seems that Iran will soon be a nuclear power. That should help.

As Sarah Palin predicted, Russia has invaded Ukraine and Obama stands holding his limp you-know-what. (Ms. Palin didnt put it that way, I did.) At least Bill Clinton was capable of doing two things at once.

Oh and there are problems in Latin America too, it seems.

That’s all so dreary. Let’s turn to domestic matters. We now have a shiny new health care system that costs much more than predicted and delivers much less. But we love it just the same. It’s called ObamaCare.

And the economy continues to play CandyLand. Did you ever play CandyLand? Nothing ever happens and it goes on and on forever. I think that ObamaCare is somehow related to the performance of the economy, but who knows?

And what else is there? What am I missing here? Oh yeah. We hired a stoner, apparently, to be the President. He recently gave a talk in which he said that he “got high a lot” instead of doing school work, but that he got many, many chances to improve. This confirms what I suspected. Obama went to an elite private school in Hawaii, and from there to an ok school in California, Occidental College. People who work very hard at those elite private schools usually end up going to elite colleges. I’m not trying to be snotty here; that’s just a fact. Obama somehow then managed to go to Columbia and then to Harvard Law. The public has never seen his transcripts so we don’t know what his grades were in High School or what he studied at either Occidental or Columbia. But we can guess. Those of you who have kids in high school, or had them in high school, just imagine your son or daughter getting the ride this man has gotten. We elected him, fair and square. We deserve this because elections have consequences. But it is shocking to consider the power in the hands of such an incompetent.

- Aggie

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It’s Less Than Previously Estimated!

By a quarter! [Not a third as previously written.]

Untitled

The economy in the U.S. grew at a slower pace in the fourth quarter than previously estimated, giving the expansion less momentum heading into 2014.

Gross domestic product grew at a 2.4 percent annualized rate from October through December, compared with the 3.2 percent gain issued last month, revised figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington.

For all of 2013, the economy expanded 1.9 percent after a 2.8 percent increase in the prior year.

Hate to harsh anyone’s mellow, but aren’t we going backwards? from 4.1 to 2.4, quarter to quarter, 2.8 to 1.9, year to year.

The CBO has noticed:

The Congressional Budget Office has more bad news for President Barack Obama: His economic recovery isn’t working — and is much worse than the previous four recoveries.

“More than four and a half years after the end of the recession, employment has risen sluggishly — much more slowly than it grew, on average, during the four previous recoveries that lasted more than one year,” the report reads. (CBO: Obama’s proposed minimum wage hike would cost 500,000 jobs by 2016)

The CBO also lent credence to Republican insistence that the small declines in unemployment often touted by the White House are largely because of disenchanted and unemployed people dropping out of the labor force and not being counted.

No, silly CBO. They’ve been freed from “job lock”, and that’s a very good thing. Those aren’t “disenchanted” people “dropping out”, they’re poets and composers finally getting around to those Homeric odes and Ring cycles they’ve always wanted to write. Duh.

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