Thursday, December 30, 2010

As Year Ends, Labor Market Continues to Improve

The Department of Labor reported today that initial jobless claims fell to 388,000 for the week ending December 25, the lowest weekly level since early July 2008, almost two and-a-half years ago.   That brought the four-week moving average down to 414,000 claims, the lowest count since late July 2008 (see chart).

In other positive labor market news this week, the American Staffing Association reported that its weekly Staffing Index was 100 for the week ending December 19.  That marks the 14th consecutive week (except for a holiday-related drop around Thanksgiving) that the ASA Staffing Index has remained at a level of 100 or above.  U.S. staffing employment is 45% higher than the first week of 2010, and is 16% higher than the same weekly period in 2009.  And for late December, the demand for temporary and contract employment this year is above any of the previous years going back to 2006 (see bottom chart below).


36 Comments:

At 12/30/2010 9:56 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The fact that the initial jobless claims number is 388,000 is not good news. If you look at U-6 you see that unemployment stands at 17% and if you add back the long term unemployed who were defined out of existence in 1994 you see that unemployment is over 22%. How anyone rational can consider those levels as positive is a mystery.

As far as the temporary staffing index goes, get used to a shift in the economy where more and more temporary workers are used by companies that had previously relied on permanent positions. As such, changes to the index have to be looked as a particular part of the complex labour picture rather than be seen as indicative of anything universal.

 
At 12/30/2010 10:01 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Initial claims mean nothing when you have a huge U-6 + people on welfare. Never mind the private sector being unwilling to help with that U-6 number.


The American Staffing Association
...is a group that pays lipservice to the people that do the work, but advises on how to screw them over. But then they aren't earning anything from those people that do the work, so they're Fair Game.

 
At 12/30/2010 11:39 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Never mind the private sector being unwilling to help with that U-6 number.

How can the private sector 'help' with the U-6 number? Companies respond the what their customers choose. If they take their eyes off the ball for whatever reasons they are unlikely to be profitable for long and without profit they do not stay in business.

The American Staffing Association
...is a group that pays lipservice to the people that do the work, but advises on how to screw them over. But then they aren't earning anything from those people that do the work, so they're Fair Game.


The ASA also responds to its customers as it should. It does not force people to take a job or decide for them how much they should be paid. The labour market is an exchange, just as the other markets are.

 
At 12/30/2010 1:47 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

The recent economic news has been good, including the weekly unemployment results. Being below 400,000 is a great sign. Here is my hang-up with the data:

If I look at the weekly unemployment report, it shows the total people receiving benefits now is 8.867 million. This is a very good improvement over the same week a year ago when 10.788 million were receiving benefits of some kind. This is a drop of close to 1.9 million from the unemployment rolls.

When I look at the employment situation survey, there were 14.407 million people unemployed in November 2009. The number of people unemployed has only dropped to 14.282 million in November 2010 (-125,000). Likewise, the survey showed total employment has risen from 139.132 million in November 2009 to 139.415 million in November 2010 (+283,000).

Why the huge offset?

 
At 12/30/2010 5:32 PM, Blogger Don Culo said...

Hooray..... Obama's economic recovery plans are bringing back millions of jobs !!!!!

That is why we all bought so many Christmas presents and Christmas trees. Hoody Hoo President Obama, keep the good work.

The grinches on this blog can't deny the graphs and data on this blog, if it's on a graph IT IS TRUE !!!!

 
At 12/30/2010 5:46 PM, Blogger juandos said...

From the IBD editorial: The fact is, companies sitting on cash aren't doing nothing. They're hiring overseas, creating 1.4 million jobs in 2010 alone, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

That's not because they prefer foreigners to Americans, but because the bad business climate here pushes them to do so.

The rest of the world is a vastly different place from Obama's U.S., which is characterized by high taxes and protectionist set-asides for politically connected unions that shut out free trade
...

 
At 12/30/2010 9:49 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

When I look at the employment situation survey, there were 14.407 million people unemployed in November 2009. The number of people unemployed has only dropped to 14.282 million in November 2010 (-125,000). Likewise, the survey showed total employment has risen from 139.132 million in November 2009 to 139.415 million in November 2010 (+283,000).

Why the huge offset?


The long term unemployed are not counted by BLS so the numbers are not reflective of reality and certainly not compatible with the pre-1994 data when the government actually counted the discouraged long term unemployed as being out of work.

 
At 12/31/2010 5:00 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Blogger juandos said...

No, it's because there's not enough of a penalty to go offshore. Why should a company be able to move faster(and with more preference) than a citizen?

Increase that as an across-the-board measure, make it easier to report it, and give people the ability to ignore gag orders if they see something(even if it's "not there"). Then remove 20 CFR 655, 20 CFR 656, regulations that enable fraud.

How interesting that you and the IBD wish to sell out the country, lie about it, and no McCarthy is there to put people in their place. The only reason they give is that not enough regulatory preference is given to businesses over individuals.

The rest of the world is quite worse. Those places are more likely to give less of a damn about human life, unless you are politically connected. Where the US would prosecute crimes, these countries allow the action to proceed. Preferences for business aren't all they're cracked up to be.



VangelV said...

They can help by not ignoring the long-term unemployed or making them second-class citizens.

As for the ASA, that's not enough of an excuse. When you're squabbling over who really is the customer, you're simply trying to make one party (justifiably) less important than the other. By doing so, you forget that the person that does the work deserves as much legal protection (if not more due to disposability) as the ASA provides to everyone else.

Without the "who is the customer" question, why are the people that do the work less deserving of protection than the rest of the people in the transaction?

 
At 12/31/2010 5:22 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


In places like Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, India and Thailand, nobody demonizes business or blasts trade. Instead great efforts are made by the state and the private sector to draw in foreign investment by becoming more competitive than their rivals.

What the IBD glosses over is that those places have no issue with killing, maiming, imprisoning, or disappearing the critics. All of those countries.

Singapore? Defamation lawsuit or a flogging.
Taiwan? Anything could happen.
India? Bribe a few cops, and it's as if the critics never even happened.
Thailand? India, except worse.

None of those things fit in the IBD narrative, but it's not something they'd bring up. It's all sunshine and rainbows since they all love their private sector as if it was their Dear Leader. Whitewashing despotism with a private sector won't make the problem any better, but it'll be attractive to multinationals.

 
At 12/31/2010 3:20 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"No, it's because there's not enough of a penalty to go offshore. Why should a company be able to move faster(and with more preference) than a citizen?"...

Good Lord sethstorm, what are you babbling about now?

Move faster?

More preference?

Companies (either individuals or a collection of people owning shares of the company) can do with their money what they please...

Companies ARE NOT in business to make sure someone gets a paycheck...

Apparently you failed to learn the thrashing you received over the silly 'Thomas Edison' comments you made awhile back...

"How interesting that you and the IBD wish to sell out the country, lie about it, and no McCarthy is there to put people in their place"...

Well apparently you aren't smart enough to understand that people with your attitude that vote for people that have created excessive government overreach cause companies to pull up stakes and head to friendlier places and make life more expensive for everyone...

 
At 1/01/2011 7:21 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


juandos said...

Pull up stakes however one wishes. The problem with doing so is that there is nowhere to run or hide.

As for the purpose of a corporation, you might serve well to look at the original purpose of a corporation in the US, before personhood was given.

Yes, a company can move faster. Ask yourself this:

How long does it take to move a business to a country versus making oneself eligible for work in that country(without the benefit of the business or any other special preferences)?

That will show a preference for business. It will also show how much faster the business can move.


Also, you keep on quoting things I am not in support of, especially with environmental regulations.

 
At 1/01/2011 8:08 AM, Blogger Don Culo said...

"The rest of the world is a vastly different place from Obama's U.S., which is characterized by high taxes and protectionist set-asides for politically connected unions that shut out free trade..."

*****************

Now the looney Toons believe Obama owns the U.S. and that is why kobs are going over seas.

Some blind looneys did not notice jobs have been moving over seas for the last 30 years.

Remember Kaiser Steel, U.S. Steel, Bethlehem Steel. What about RCA, Zenith did.

Omaba will soon rule world, hahahaha

 
At 1/01/2011 11:56 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

How interesting that you and the IBD wish to sell out the country, lie about it, and no McCarthy is there to put people in their place. The only reason they give is that not enough regulatory preference is given to businesses over individuals.

Sell out the country? How? Your country used to be great because people were allowed to engage in voluntary exchanges without much interference from government. Its serious decline became apparent when government grew and begin to interfere. It seems to me that it is people like you, who argue for even less individual freedom and more and more government, are selling out the country.

The rest of the world is quite worse. Those places are more likely to give less of a damn about human life, unless you are politically connected. Where the US would prosecute crimes, these countries allow the action to proceed. Preferences for business aren't all they're cracked up to be.

How much did your government care when it exploded nuclear devices in the atmosphere and allowed people to be exposed to radioactive byproducts when it had no idea of their effects? How much did it care when it invaded Iraq on the pretense of WMDs and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Did your Secretary of State show that the US cared when she told the media that the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it if American goals in the region were achieved? Did Clinton care when he bombed civilians in Serbia and the Sudan? Did the CIA show that it cared when it trained, funded, and armed bin Laden? Or when it overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh so that a tyrant like Mohammad-Rezā Shāh Pahlavi could be put into his place?

It is a fact that governments across the globe try to limit rights of individuals. Sadly, your own government is not very good at protecting those rights. And it cannot show that it protects rights by imposing more conditions to force people to act in ways that they would not choose without being forced to by oppressive regulations.

 
At 1/01/2011 12:07 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

They can help by not ignoring the long-term unemployed or making them second-class citizens.

Businesses are not ignoring the long-term unemployed. Many would love to hire people with low skills but are unable to because government demands that they be paid at a level that will generate losses for owners and put into place conditions that make it difficult to hold people accountable for not living up to their promises.

As for the ASA, that's not enough of an excuse. When you're squabbling over who really is the customer, you're simply trying to make one party (justifiably) less important than the other. By doing so, you forget that the person that does the work deserves as much legal protection (if not more due to disposability) as the ASA provides to everyone else.

I do not argue that anyone is more or less important. All I have argued for is a free market where individuals are allowed to interact voluntarily without the imposition of conditions from a third party like the government. I know that you do not want to or can't admit this but most of the problems that we have seen came from regulators who thought that they were passing laws that would create a certain outcome but, when enacted, had unintended consequences that were very negative for the individuals that were effected and for the general economy.

Without the "who is the customer" question, why are the people that do the work less deserving of protection than the rest of the people in the transaction?

Protection? Who is arguing for protection of anything but individual rights. Workers sell their labour just as companies sell their products and services. Just as customers have to satisfy their customers by providing the right quality at a good price so do workers. If they are very productive they can demand higher compensation and will get it if their employers want to retain them. If they are not productive their employers will no longer choose to purchase their labour. Whether you like it or not that is the way the real world works. You certainly don't buy the same brand of television set time after time unless the producer of that brand keeps coming up with better products at a lower cost. And if you have a choice and should have a choice about which brand of TV you buy why can't the manufacturer of that TV not have a choice about which people are employed to make those TVs?

 
At 1/01/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

What the IBD glosses over is that those places have no issue with killing, maiming, imprisoning, or disappearing the critics. All of those countries.

Have you looked at the US lately? You can be put into jail without charges and kept indefinitely without being charged just because someone thinks that you are a security threat. You can be kept locked up even though there is no evidence against you and even if there is evidence that the initial charges were wrongly applied because you could not have committed the crime that you were accused of. If you speak out against the government you will soon have law enforcement agencies increase their surveillance, the IRS begin to audit your financial activities, and all kinds of bureaucrats begin to investigate activities that they are authorized to regulate.

But none of this has anything to do with the issue that is being discussed. It is just a diversion because you have no answer to the argument that the US has become a terrible place to business in and far too risky for capital accumulation.

 
At 1/01/2011 12:17 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

How long does it take to move a business to a country versus making oneself eligible for work in that country(without the benefit of the business or any other special preferences)?

An individual who has marketable skills that are in demand or sufficient investment capital can move abroad very quickly. So can a company. An individual with few skills and little capital will have a much harder time. But so will a company that has no capital to invest.

 
At 1/01/2011 4:17 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

VangeIV:
The US is a bit slower to accuse its own citizens of outright terrorism, preferring to allow citizens more choice. That's all I can really say to sum up your non-economic side of your argument.

What I am saying is that the set of incentives and morals that are of the world of business are different than the ones of regular non-business individuals or governments. This results in a conflict as to how far one should go in terms of efficiency. Absent a regulatory framework that respects both individuals and businesses equally, you might have businesses that have no problem with an average of 5 people killed per day or labor laws so strict that few things get done.

What I am simply asking for is balance. That is, one can start a business, work for one and have no worries(as a result of their choice to be a business or an individual, no more no less) for either person.


An individual who has marketable skills that are in demand or sufficient investment capital can move abroad very quickly

That would be a "special case". I am talking about normal people who do not have the benefit of skills nor the wish to have fraud make up for the lack of them.

 
At 1/01/2011 4:47 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Pull up stakes however one wishes. The problem with doing so is that there is nowhere to run or hide"...

Well sethstorm three companies who are hiding in plain sight come to mind, DHL, Emerson, and Halliburton...

"As for the purpose of a corporation, you might serve well to look at the original purpose of a corporation in the US, before personhood was given"...

Try something other than wikipedia for your source material...

"How long does it take to move a business to a country versus making oneself eligible for work in that country(without the benefit of the business or any other special preferences)?"...

Depends on what the company does and where the company wants to go...

Individuals with the skill sets can move to almost any country overnight and have all the county's citizenship privledges and more if said country needs their skill sets...

Two examples:

1) mechanical engineers with experience in pipeline and distribution can move to almost any Arabian or Pacific rim country immediately...

2) biochemists with food production experience can get jobs overnight in Singapore and other Pacific rim countries...

Companies on the other hand need a lead time measured usually in years, months if they're lucky...

 
At 1/01/2011 6:17 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"...people who do not have the benefit of skills..."

sethstorm, these people are forbidden by law to work in the US for a wage that reflects their value to an employer.

 
At 1/02/2011 11:36 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


sethstorm, these people are forbidden by law to work in the US for a wage that reflects their value to an employer.

If you are talking about the common definition of unskilled, I would highly doubt it. The employer is trying to be excessively cheap. They would rather see their tax dollars go to nonproductive uses of these people because of some label they can use.

 
At 1/02/2011 11:43 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Well sethstorm three companies who are hiding in plain sight come to mind, DHL, Emerson, and Halliburton...

...which help define the phrase "enemies foreign and domestic". It is a shame that no President will call them out and just say what they are, traitors to the US(or the countries they originally were with).

The same goes with those that support offshoring of anything other than the literal offshore placement of oil rigs.

 
At 1/02/2011 4:25 PM, Blogger juandos said...

" It is a shame that no President will call them out and just say what they are, traitors to the US(or the countries they originally were with)"...

sethstorm have you ever read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

If not you should consider it...

 
At 1/02/2011 7:14 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


sethstorm have you ever read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

Yes, I have. What section allows our country to aid and abet hostile foreign powers(albeit in more subtle forms)?

 
At 1/03/2011 1:03 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Yes, I have. What section allows our country to aid and abet hostile foreign powers(albeit in more subtle forms)?"

You are confused. The Constitution provides a structure for federal government and imposes severe restrictions on it. It has no bearing on private companies or individuals. The bill of rights spells out some of the many things the federal government cannot do.

 
At 1/03/2011 10:20 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

You are confused. The Constitution provides a structure for federal government and imposes severe restrictions on it. It has no bearing on private companies or individuals. The bill of rights spells out some of the many things the federal government cannot do.

He claims to have read the Constitution. Either he lied or he was not smart enough to figure out what it said.

 
At 1/03/2011 2:07 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


You are confused. The Constitution provides a structure for federal government and imposes severe restrictions on it. It has no bearing on private companies or individuals. The bill of rights spells out some of the many things the federal government cannot do.

Problem with that objection of yours:

When an entity operates outside of the US, they are beholden to their rules, and their government. At that point, they are aiding and abetting a hostile government(in the case of China and all places where work is sent to). As far as our government is concerned, individuals are not left off the hook when it comes to treason.

Things could go deeper if you wanted to count recent interpretations of Executive Branch powers.

 
At 1/03/2011 3:32 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Problem with that objection of yours:"

You are still confused. That wasn't an objection, it was my attempt to correct your muddled thinking by offering some clarification. You asked what section of the Constitution applied to your concern, and I explained that it didn't. Now you are off onto something else about government. Uo you see where you were wrong before?

"Things could go deeper if you wanted to count recent interpretations of Executive Branch powers."

The federal government currently operates almost entirely outside the constraints of the Constitution. Very little that it does is legal.

 
At 1/03/2011 3:37 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The US is a bit slower to accuse its own citizens of outright terrorism, preferring to allow citizens more choice. That's all I can really say to sum up your non-economic side of your argument.

What the hell does this mean? That people should not have any choice for the sake of some collective good that protects the unproductive?

What I am saying is that the set of incentives and morals that are of the world of business are different than the ones of regular non-business individuals or governments.

Really? Do you mean to say that individuals buy the most expensive goods because they are made domestically? If that is the case, why did American producers of expensive goods go out of business?

This results in a conflict as to how far one should go in terms of efficiency.

Really? You try to sell what you make by being less efficient than others who provide the same thing and see what happens to you. You keep ignoring the empirical evidence because you want to construct some world that fits your preconceived idea of what the world should be.

Absent a regulatory framework that respects both individuals and businesses equally, you might have businesses that have no problem with an average of 5 people killed per day or labor laws so strict that few things get done.

We live in a complex world where regulations do not work. Anyone wise enough to see reality as it is and to understand the world will not be a regulator because it is far more profitable to take advantage of the opportunities presented by top down planning and regulations.

 
At 1/03/2011 3:44 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

What I am simply asking for is balance. That is, one can start a business, work for one and have no worries(as a result of their choice to be a business or an individual, no more no less) for either person.

How can protecting mediocrity by limiting consumer choice be called 'balance?' If I become a doctor and turn out to be a bad one why should I be protected in the name of 'balance?' If I have a car factory that makes vehicles that nobody wants to buy why should I be bailed out because I can't compete? If consumer choice is not there to keep producers in check how are those producers going to be prevented from gouging them?

That would be a "special case". I am talking about normal people who do not have the benefit of skills nor the wish to have fraud make up for the lack of them.

Why should 'normal' people who have no marketable skills be entitled to impose themselves on others? In the real world you should pay your own way. If you can't and need charity you are in no position to demand that you can do the same thing as others who do pay their way. What next? Will you demand that 'normal' people be entitled to drive Lamborghini Reventons?

 
At 1/03/2011 4:09 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Really? You try to sell what you make by being less efficient than others who provide the same thing and see what happens to you.

What you mean by efficiency, is the constant priority to seek despotic and totalitarian countries for a labor supply, and then cozy up to their governments. Those countries are willing to cover up the fact that their factories only run by being able to kill/maim/imprison/disappear/remove obstacles.

That is the "different set of incentives and moralities" for which businesses practice.

 
At 1/04/2011 9:42 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Problem with that objection of yours:

When an entity operates outside of the US, they are beholden to their rules, and their government. At that point, they are aiding and abetting a hostile government(in the case of China and all places where work is sent to). As far as our government is concerned, individuals are not left off the hook when it comes to treason.

Things could go deeper if you wanted to count recent interpretations of Executive Branch powers.


Just how dumb can you be? Where in the Constitution is there anything that says that the US government can prevent people from investing in other countries? And I suggest that you buy a dictionary and look up the meaning of the word treason. While your interpretation can probably be found in the type of dictionaries favoured by Stalin or Hitler you will not find it in a normal one used by the general population.

 
At 1/04/2011 9:46 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

What you mean by efficiency, is the constant priority to seek despotic and totalitarian countries for a labor supply, and then cozy up to their governments. Those countries are willing to cover up the fact that their factories only run by being able to kill/maim/imprison/disappear/remove obstacles.

No. What I mean is making stuff for my customers with the least amount of waste. I have little choice because they are in the driver's seat and can choose to buy goods or services from more efficient competitors.

That is the "different set of incentives and moralities" for which businesses practice.

Absolutely. Businesses care about satisfying their customers so that they can make the best returns possible. They cannot use force to make customers buy their products or employees to 'work' for them. Only governments are allowed to limit choices by initiating force against others.

 
At 1/04/2011 1:07 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


No. What I mean is making stuff for my customers with the least amount of waste

The problem is that the private sector interprets anything but a despotic country as "wasteful" country. To cloak that in the canards of "competition" and "choice" is to aid and abet hostile governments through the defense of such practices.


They cannot use force to make customers buy their products or employees to 'work' for them.

Bullshit. Force by practicality is still force, with the same effect.

 
At 1/05/2011 11:00 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The problem is that the private sector interprets anything but a despotic country as "wasteful" country. To cloak that in the canards of "competition" and "choice" is to aid and abet hostile governments through the defense of such practices.

You keep crossing over into your ideological fantasy and stay away from economics, which is where the discussion belongs.

Bullshit. Force by practicality is still force, with the same effect.

Same effect? How is taking 50% of what you earn at the point of a gun (which is what taxation is) the same as asking you to shop at my store rather than that of my competitor? Does Target force people to shop there? Does Sony force consumers to purchase its VHS machines rather than those of Panasonic? What you need is an education.

 
At 1/06/2011 6:50 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


VangelV said...

Recognize it any way you want, but what I have said is the truth.


Force by practicality == all the choices have an equal(or as close to one can get) opportunity cost. With that, one can go downward in quality.

 
At 1/06/2011 9:48 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Recognize it any way you want, but what I have said is the truth.


Force by practicality == all the choices have an equal(or as close to one can get) opportunity cost. With that, one can go downward in quality.


Choice is not force. The fact that working for Starbucks is the best that you can do does not mean that anyone forced you to work there.

 

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