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Dale Franks

Dale Franks’ QandO posts

Economic Statistics for 2 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The big number today is the monthly employment situation. The BLS released the headline as "Unemployment rate falls to 8.6% in November; payroll employment rises by 120,000". The numbers behind the headline are less impressive. Actually, the headline isn’t all that impressive, considering that 120,000 new jobs is, at best, an anemic rate of job growth.  Also, it’s the time of year when a fair amount of hiring is seasonal, for temporary Christmas jobs, which can make the employment situation look better than it actually is, despite the seasonal adjustments to the data employed by BLS. Looking deeper, the labor force participation rate  continued to fall -0.2% to 64% as nearly half a million workers left the labor force.If the labor force participation rate was at the historical average of 66%, the unemployment rate would be 11.41%.  2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about the same as last November.  The average workweek is unchanged at 34.3 hours, where it has been since September. Even worse, average earnings declined this month with the average hourly wage dropping 2 cents an hour to  $23.18. So, I think we can say that the drop in the unemployment rate is mainly due to people leaving the labor force, as the rate of job creation is weak.  Also, the lack of change in the workweek, and decline in wages implies that hiring pressure among firms is essentially non-existent as there has been no increase in the workweek for three months, and a glut of labor still exists as upward pressure on wages reversed this month. The only positive thing I can glean from this report comes from the household survey, where the number of respondents who are employed rose 278,000 to 140,580,000.

Monster.Com reports their employment index fell 4 points in November to 147 as online recruitment slowed.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 1 Dec 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

Today’s chain-store results do NOT confirm the widespread anecdotal reports of a strong Black Friday week, trending at a same-store year-on-year 2.5%.

Initial jobless claims rose 6,000 to 402,000 in a short Thanksgiving week, which clouds the results.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index remained steady at -50.2 compared to the previous -50.1.

The ISM Manufacturing Index rose to 52.7, and many of the sub-indexes rose sharply, a good sign for the economy.

Construction spending rose 0.8% last month, which is nice, even though it’s rising from an extremely depressed base.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 30 Nov 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Mortgage Bankers Association reports that mortgage applications were down by -11.7%, but the short Thanksgiving week clouds the significance of this week’s results. Delving deeper into the report shows new purchase applications were down -0.8% while refinance apps fell -15.3%.

The Challenger Job-Cut Report shows layoff announcements are fairly steady this month at 42,474 compared to 42,759 in October and 48,711 last year.

ADP, the country’s largest third-party payroll processor, estimates private payrolls rose 206,000 in November. We’ll see if Friday’s Employment Situation confirms that.

3Q productivity and costs were revised downward slightly, with productivity increasing at 2.3% annually, while labor costs fell -2.5%. This is pretty much in line with the GDP revision for 3Q.

The Chicago PMI indicates a pickup in business activity for the Chicago area, with the index rising to 62.6 from 58.4. This report is widely seen as a predictor of the national PMI, which will be released tomorrow.

The National Association of Realtors reports their pending home sales index rose to 93.3 from 84.5.

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Economic Statistics for 29 Nov 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index jumped sharply upwards, from 39.8 to 56, mainly on employment optimism.

Distress sales and foreclosures seem to be pushing the housing sector deeper into contraction. The S&P Case-Shiller home price index fell again, -0.6% for the month, and -3.6% for the year. On the other hand, the FHFA  reports housing prices rose 0.9% last month, though they’re still down -2.2% on a year over year basis. But, the FHFA only reports on conventional loans or those bundled by government agencies—which often has price caps. Case-Schiller is far more broad, and the FHFA picture is probably missing a lot of trouble in the housing sector.

The State Street Investor Confidence Index rose 2 points to 97.2 from a revised 95.2 last month, as institutional investors became a bit more jaunty.

Finally in retail sales, Redbook reports a year-over-year jump of 5.4% in sales last week. ICSC-Goldman is also strong, with sales up 1.7% for the week, and up 4% over last year.

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Economic Statistics for 28 Nov 11

It’s a heavy week for economic statistics, culminating in the Employment Situation on Friday, but we start the week off light:

New home sales rose 1.3% in October. That’s a solid gain, but the total of 307,000 was a bit below expectations.

The Dallas Fed general business activity index rose to 2.3 from -14.4., its first positive reading in six months.

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Observations: The QandO Podcast for 27 Nov 11

This week, Bruce Michael, and Dale record talk about the implications of Germany’s failed bond auction.

The direct link to the podcast can be found here.

Observations

As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.

Economic Statistics for 23 Nov 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association reports that mortgage applications fell -1.2% in the Nov 18 week, with purchase apps up 8.2%, but re-finance apps down -4%.

Weakness in the transportation sector led durable goods orders down -0.7% last month, but up 7.5% from last year. Ex-transportation, orders were up 0.7% for the month, and 11.7% for the year.

Personal spending and income both rose last month, with spending up 0.1% and income up 0.4%. On a year-over-year basis, income has risen 3.9$, but spending rose faster, at 4.7%. The Price Index rose by 0.1% for the month, and 1.7% year-over-year.

Initial unemployment claims rose to 393,000 from last week’s revised 391,000. The 4-week average fell from 396,750 to 394,250.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index was -50.1 last week, from -50 a week earlier. The index has hovered at -50 for 9 weeks.

The Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index fell slightly, to 64.1 from 64.2 last period.

Manufacturing growth in the Kansas City Fed’s district eased slightly, with the KC Fed Index falling from 8 to 4. Future expectations remained solid, though.

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Dale Franks
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Climategate 2.0

As of today, FOIA.org released another 7zip file—which can be obtained here—containing 5000 unencypted, and an additional 250,000 encrypted, climate change emails from all the usual suspects we remember from Climategate. FOIA.org says they don’t plan on releasing the encryption keys for the remaining emails yet, but the 5,000 unencrypted emails are…interesting.

More background is available from Pajamas Media and the links they provide. But the good stuff is in the emails themselves.

One quick take-away: Michael Mann’s temperature results may be…questionable.

<4241> Wilson:

I thought I’d play around with some randomly generated time-series and see if I could ‘reconstruct’ northern hemisphere temperatures.
[…] The reconstructions clearly show a ‘hockey-stick’ trend. I guess this is precisely the phenomenon that Macintyre has been going on about.

That would seem to be a pretty big vulnerability in the "hockey stick".

And the IPCC process seems…really questionable.

<1939> Thorne/MetO:

Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary […]

<3066> Thorne:

I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.

<4755> Overpeck:

The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.

<1104> Wanner/NCCR:

In my [IPCC-TAR] review […] I crit[i]cized […] the Mann hockey[s]tick […] My review was classified “unsignificant” even I inquired several times. Now the internationally well known newspaper SPIEGEL got the information about these early statements because I expressed my opinion in several talks, mainly in Germany, in 2002 and 2003. I just refused to give an exclusive interview to SPIEGEL because I will not cause damage for climate science.

<0414> Coe:

Hence the AR4 Section 2.7.1.1.2 dismissal of the ACRIM composite to be instrumental rather than solar in origin is a bit controversial. Similarly IPCC in their discussion on solar RF since the Maunder Minimum are very dependent on the paper by Wang et al (which I have been unable to access) in the decision to reduce the solar RF significantly despite the many papers to the contrary in the ISSI workshop. All this leaves the IPCC almost entirely dependent on CO2 for the explanation of current global temperatures as in Fig 2.23. since methane CFCs and aerosols are not increasing.

<2009> Briffa:

I find myself in the strange position of being very skeptical of the quality of all present reconstructions, yet sounding like a pro greenhouse zealot here!

But, remember, the science is settled!

<0310> Warren:

The results for 400 ppm stabilization look odd in many cases […] As it stands we’ll have to delete the results from the paper if it is to be published.

<1682> Wils:

[2007] What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably […]

<2267> Wilson:

Although I agree that GHGs are important in the 19th/20th century (especially since the 1970s), if the weighting of solar forcing was stronger in the models, surely this would diminish the significance of GHGs.
[…] it seems to me that by weighting the solar irradiance more strongly in the models, then much of the 19th to mid 20th century warming can be explained from the sun alone.

<5315> Jenkins/MetO:

would you agree that there is no convincing evidence for kilimanjaro glacier melt being due to recent warming (let alone man-made warming)?

<2292> Jones:

[tropical glaciers] There is a small problem though with their retreat. They have retreated a lot in the last 20 years yet the MSU2LT data would suggest that temperatures haven’t increased at these levels.

<1788> Jones:

There shouldn’t be someone else at UEA with different views [from "recent extreme weather is due to global warming"] – at least not a climatologist.

<4693> Crowley:

I am not convinced that the “truth” is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships

<2733> Crowley:

Phil, thanks for your thoughts – guarantee there will be no dirty laundry in the open.

<2095> Steig:

He’s skeptical that the warming is as great as we show in East Antarctica — he thinks the “right” answer is more like our detrended results in the supplementary text. I cannot argue he is wrong.

<4470> Norwegian Meteorological Institute:

In Norway and Spitsbergen, it is possible to explain most of the warming after the 1960s by changes in the atmospheric circulation. The warming prior to 1940 cannot be explained in this way.

<4944> Haimberger:

It is interesting to see the lower tropospheric warming minimum in the tropics in all three plots, which I cannot explain. I believe it is spurious but it is remarkably robust against my adjustment efforts.

You know what else is remarkably robust against adjustment efforts? Reality.

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Dale Franks
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Economic Statistics for 22 Nov 11

Today’s economic statistical releases:

3rd Quarter GDP took a downward bump on the Commerce Department’s first revision from 2.5% to 2%. Analysts had expected a revision to 2.4%, so today’s revision was well below that.

The Richmond Fed Index ended 4 months of contraction, coming in at 0, indicating no growth or contraction.

Corporate after-tax profits in the 3rd quarter rose 6.5%.

In weekly retail sales, ICSC-Goldman Store Sales were down -0.9% for the week, and only up 2.8% year-over year. Meanwhile, Redbook reports strong 3.7% sales growth over last year.

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