Another Month, Another Mediocre Jobs Report

Sadly, I’ve written on this topic many times over the last 10 years. This time it’s the June employment report. I’ll let Bill McBride summarize it for you:

The good news: This was the best first half for private employment gains since 1999.  Also hourly and weekly wages increased 0.4% in June, and hourly wages are now up 2.2% over the last year (weekly wages are up 2.5% year-over-year).

Some bad news: the employment-population ratio for the 25 to 54 year old group (prime working age) declined, the number of part time workers (for economic reasons) increased and U-6 (an alternative measure of labor underutilization) increased to 14.3%.

Be sure to scroll down for The Scary Chart showing that there are still 2% fewer jobs than there were at the beginning of the Great Recession. At least — theoretically — there may have been enough jobs created to absorb the new people in the workplace. Or rather, there would have been if it hadn’t been June, a month when both high school and college graduations occur.

So let’s dig into the bad news. A lot of people are working part time because that’s the best they can do right now. Some employers think they are getting around benefits such as health care costs doing this, but the fact is that if the economy ever really recovers, workers will demand little things like full time work at decent wages with benefits.

Many of those workers are also in low wage jobs — or worse yet, temporary jobs that might vanish next month. It’s dishonest to say a job was “created” if it’s not worth actually hiring someone to do it. These are the kind of jobs where they can get away with giving workers a debit card instead of a paycheck, because they know the worker has no choice but to suck it up.

Now, I’m hesitant to bring up this story, but it seems that some “Doctors” licensed in other countries are having a hard time getting licensed here. I’m finding it difficult to swallow the idea that our standards are just too high for typical FMGs (Foreign Medical Grads). If Depak Desai could get licensed in the states, it can’t be that hard. However, these “doctors” are taking jobs that could be done by someone with a fraction of the education. Maybe we could find them jobs as medical or nursing assistants pending their actually passing the exams, and free up those menial jobs for others? At least this story is another stake in the heart of the idea that we need H1B guest workers.

The good news today masks another sad truth: the percentage of us “in the workforce” has declined. That means that more of us are staying home with the kids, more of us have gone back to school, more of us have tried to get disability benefits, and more of us have just plain given up on the idea of finding gainful employment.

I will wrap up with two related stories. First, unemployment benefits don’t increase unemployment, no matter what some conservatives want you to think. Second, some advice for the kids: employers don’t want to hear from or about your parents. Be a grown-up.

In Closing: All the NSA and Snowden you can stand; follow up on the 4th. Supports the International T-Pain Autotune Treaty

Be it resolved that henceforth, only T-Pain will be allowed to use autotune in recorded music. Other uses shall be considered a crime against humanity.

It is further resolved that quotations of Rapper’s Delight may only be made with the express consent and permission of the United Nations Security Council.*

Please, join me in support of this desperately needed performing arts issue. If I had a little more HTML talent, I’d put together a little ad for the sidebar.

In Closing: Mongols; he’s got a point; Rolling Jubilee; delayed; I guess it’s hard to win elections when you piss off 50% of the population; but they’re already part of the United States!; we’re all suspicious; belly buttons; new health plan?; politics and religion; filibuster all you like, but you gotta talk!; and oops! Somebody was very sure he’d win.

* Yeah, I’m talking to you too, Pitbull.

The iPhone

So here’s my iPhone. It’s ok. It’s way too easy to take a screenshot, unless of course you want to take one.

As you can see, just by looking at the main screen, I can tell what time it is, how much signal I’ve got, battery life, unread emails, even how many items are on my grocery list. If I had missed calls, voicemails, or text messages, they would show up here as well.

Here’s my frustration: It’s always 73 and sunny according to my phone.

Don’t get me wrong, it sounds trivial, and I know this is sort of a tough computer science kind of problem to solve. How often should this update? Should it pull data when I un-sleep it, or should data be pushed to it? Should it use use my GPS features to find and use my current location, or should it use my default location?

Well, I thought it was a hard problem. Until I noticed my partner’s Android phone showed him exactly what the temperature and forecast were every time he unlocked it.

Maybe a new phone in my future. Maybe.

In Closing: hoodie magic; muscle confusion; Depak Desai takes the 5th; Strong government; and the importance of commas.

Food Fight

Maybe you heard the story of a blogger who was threatened with jail time for blogging about his experience in a non-mainstream diet called “Paleo” or “Primal” eating. Never mind for just a moment that his diet doesn’t conform to what The Experts think it should. That wasn’t the issue at all: the issue and his “crime” is that he was giving dietary “advice.”

That’s exactly what the American Dietetic Association is trying to make illegal across the nation: giving “advice” without having their name-branded license. Don’t believe me? Go  on to page 3 where you’ll learn about a lady with a freakin Masters Degree in Human Nutrition who was told by her state to shut down her practice of, well, nutrition. Now, if she’s not an expert, I’m really not sure who would be!

So, could I run afoul of these laws by pointing out that veggies are good for you?

What if I link this article on how sugar may be bad for you? Never mind that too much sugar is absolutely bad for you, that article was written by journalists, not dietitians or nutritionists.

How about if I link to this infographic about nutrition for athletes and those who wish to get into shape?

This is foolishness and must be stopped.

In Closing: the case that will show “stand your ground” laws have gone overboard involves a grade school teacher who was killed because the stereo was a little loud; Depak Desai has some ‘splainin to to to the bankruptcy court; funny how you can be a loose cannon when you aren’t running for anything; he admits it; anybody surprised??; Click and Clack retiring; electric race car going up the mountain; I thought impersonating a police officer was a crime?; yeah right; and have a great weekend.


Ok!  Let’s clear some browser tabs!

Yahoo!: Not so excited about Wall Street protesters.

Anybody Surprised?: OnStar selling your data. But have no fear, they won’t give it to the FBI for free. Unless they ask sweetly.

To think I’ve been paying money for this: How to make your own ricotta.

Explain it again: seriously, how does lower taxes for wealthy individuals cause these guys to create jobs?

It was still the damned scopes: Desai will stand trail.

From the Archive of Great Headlines: Anonymous US Officials push open government (HT).

Drew hits the nail on the head: How some people think it’s obviously meant to read.

More missing good old days that were only good for wealthy white Protestant folks: colleges becoming increasingly unaffordable, and scholarships becoming increasingly scarce.

Don’t travel with cash: Unless you can afford to lose it.

We’re Number One!: In a bad way. Nevada leads the nation in domestic violence killings. Remember SafeNest.

Silence: At what point do we get noisy?

About the Ladies: Middle Class White Guy and crimes vs. reported crimes.

Wish I were surprised: Fewer than one in 4 people can correctly identify all 3 branches of our Government.

And last…

Oh Hai!: I brought you something!


Curious No More

When I saw this in a parking lot, I wondered what the heck it was:

Now I know. It’s an old mail truck!


Alright, for those of you who aren’t into Volkswagens, here’s In Closing: earthquake shaking things up at the zoo; solving Too Big Too Fail with Even Bigger; I wonder if Blodget is right; the cover-up continues; just in case you didn’t have enough depressing bank news; sure a “high fat” diet can cause diabetes, when it’s also a MEGA sugar diet!; wouldn’t it be terrible if Amy Winehouse didn’t have a drug/booze problem but rather a degenerative neurological disease?; “Hey, if he can stop earthquakes, why can’t he golf and bike at the same time?”; the New Retirement Plan; told you so; in case you didn’t understand that the War on Drugs was racist; only 1 in 5 medical malpractice cases result in anybody getting money (other than the lawyers, of course) (or if you prefer, 4 out of 5 med-mal cases may be almost completely without merit).

Someone Noticed the Man Behind the Curtain?

Today the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down over 500 points. Now make no mistake, I don’t like to read too much into the Dow. After all, it’s only 30 stocks, tweaked so the most expensive ones matter the most. However, the S&P 500 also dropped almost 5% today.

The culprit? “Fears over the economy.” That’s the same economy that — at least outside corporate boardrooms — was crappy a week ago, a month ago, a year ago. But now? Someone is exposing the Wizard behind the curtain and it’s obvious that Bad Things are afoot in the Wonderful World of Oz.

What’s different now? Is it that the State of New York isn’t going to let Bank of America get off with a pennies on the dollar settlement? Is it that Congress has done such a bad job that their disapproval rating is at an all time high? Perhaps it’s that we now understand some of the lies surrounding the federal budget? Maybe somebody outside peace activists has realized that we really are running 2 and a half pointless wars (to say nothing of thinking we can still starve Cuba into capitalism)? Did some stock broker take a wrong turn into the wrong neighborhood and notice that trickle down doesn’t work? Could it be that somebody noticed that unemployment is up nearly everywhere, and there’s nothing in the budget deal or any other federal plan that would create jobs?

Of course, I am not alone in thinking we never actually got out of the Great Recession.

If you are looking for a silver lining, mortgage rates are down due to the economic data. Assuming you have a job, and good enough credit to qualify for a mortgage.

In Closing: Fannie and Freddie were just following everyone else off the cliff; if we seriously believe that some criminals can’t be rehabilitated, the answer is life in prison, not a scarlet letter (oh but then we would have to think for more than 10 seconds); it still wasn’t the drugs, but the scopes; Toyota, and Honda lose to Nissan, Kia, and VW; tax reform zombie; you have to be wealthy to eat healthy; and aww honey honey.