Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Oh, But Mr. Trump, Obama WAS Working For the American People Last Thursday. (!)

Looking at Air Force One @ MIA. Why is he campaigning instead of creating jobs & fixing Obamacare? Get back to work for the American people! 11:19 AM – 3 Nov 2016

Obama taunts Trump after aides reportedly take his Twitter account, Colin Campbell, Yahoo News, yesterday, quoting a Trump tweet from last Thursday

Is there really any work of more importance for the American people (!) than campaigning to defeat his man?  Of course not.

Tags: , , , Comments (0) | |

Obama-care and part time employment –Part 2

I’m seeing all types of comments on the 2013 rise in part time employment that blame it on Obama-care and that is just plain wrong.

Based on unpublished BLS data so far this year federal employes forced to work part time because of the sequester account for over 100% of the increase in part time employment.

So far this year private part time employment is actually some one million jobs lower than in the same 8 months of last year.  Because the data is not seasonally adjusted ( NSA ) the correct comparison to make is the year over year change because frequently the month-to-month changes can be misleading.

Time after time I’m seeing people observe the jump in part time workers and just jumping to the conclusion that it is Obama-care.  That is what they want to believe, so they do not bother to check  if their is another explanation. Economist generally call this  the omitted variable problem.  But I suspect it is just more Republican disinformation.  All it takes to get the data showing that the jump in part time  employment is all federal employes is just one simple phone call or email to the BLS . But it appears that people do not want to be confused by the facts.

(See table after the read more)

Clipboard01 PART

 

 

 

 

Disinformation was the old Cold War practice of both the CIA and KGB of planting false information in the press for propaganda purposes or to fool each other.The KGB actually had an entire Disinformation Division.Now it just seems to be the conservatives-liberaterians trying to fool themselves.

 

Tags: Comments (14) | |

OBAMACARE,THE SEQUESTER and part time employment

It is time to get serious.

There are widespread claims that firms are cutting  hours worked and converting full time jobs into part time jobs because of Obama-care.

So what does the data say.  Below is a table of unpublished data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of part time employment by private and government employers.  The government data includes state, local and federal part time workers but I have also broken out federal part time workers in a separate column. The data  also is not seasonally adjusted, so generally month to month comparisons are meaningless and one should make comparisons between a month in 2013 and the same month in 2012.

Clipboard02 parttime

 

 

 

 

 

The data shows that private part time employment in 2013 is lower in every month but one than it was in the same month of 2012. Moreover, federal part time employment was just the opposite, rising in every month but January. In particular, in June and July, 2013, when firms were supposedly cutting hours worked to avoid having to pay for employee health insurance over 100% of the increase in part time employment stemmed from federal government employment.  This in turn was generated by employee furloughs brought about by the sequestration.

So over the last few months when Obama-care was supposedly causing a surge in part time employment the data shows that private part time employment actually fell, just the opposite of what is being claimed.

Overall, the data massively contradicts claims that Obama-care is responsible for the recent surge in part time employment. Moreover, it strongly supports the case that the recent increase in part time employment stemmed from the Sequester.

I can understand why papers like the Wall Street Journal will buy into such Republican misinformation, but I am really surprised that the New York Times  appeared to accept the misinformation even though they were publishing good data on the sequester. But as far as anyone else is concerned, I see no reason to take you seriously unless you can show good, hard data demonstrating that the BLS data is wrong.

PS. The Pentagon announced that it is reducing the number of furlough days DOD civilians must take from 11 to 6.

 

 

Tags: Comments (5) | |

Part Time Employment and the Sequester

Part of the reason employment and hours worked, in particular, have been so weak in early 2013 is the rapid growth of part-time employment. Part time employment is volatile and subject to many influences.  From December to June part time employment rose 589,000.  That is a 2.2% — almost 5% annualized – growth rate. Part time employment jumped from 18.4 % of total employment in December  to 19.0% in July.

The unusually large increase in part time employment is due  almost exclusively to the sequester.  For example, at the Department of Defense (DOD) some 650,000 civilians must take 11 days off in the second and third quarters. They have 26 weeks, but after adjusting for federal holidays, vacations, sick leave, etc., the effective  time is 22 weeks. This works out that DOD employees must take an involuntary, unpaid day-off every other week. Consequently, on any given week about half of the DOD civilian workers (325,000) became part time employees.  That is 55% of the 589,000 jump in part time employment in the first half of 2013..

But the sequester is impacting all federal employees and is spreading to federal contractors.  Total federal civilian employment is 2,760,000.  If half are now part time workers that would be 1,380,000, or 134% of the 589,000 jump in part time employment. Even if only 25% of non-DOD federal civilian workers are now part time, it would still mean that the sequester is converting over a million jobs into part-time work.

 

 

 

 

Tags: Comments (6) | |

Stock Market Valuation

Mark Thoma had a tweet asking if the stock market is  in a bubble.

I do not think so.

The market PE  on trailing operating earnings is 15.5 and my model says that based on the historic relationship to interest rates and inflation the market PE should be 21.5%.

Obviously, either the market does not believe rates will stay this low and are using a higher interest rate or they expect  long-run trend earnings to slip far below the long run trend of  7%   The market PE is an expression of the present value of expected long-run earnings growth.  The long term historic average for the market PE is 15, almost exactly where it is now.  Of course there is no central tendency for the market to converge on a PE of 15.  If you do a histogram of the market PE you will find that the probability of the PE being on any number between 10 and 20 is about the same.

 

Clipboard01 pe

Maybe we just need to look at the market from a simpler perspective.

Clipboard02 sp

Tags: Comments (3) | |

Solar Power

Last year I had solar panels installed on my roof under a deal where I pay nothing up front for the installation and pay the solar company for the power I produce at a rate about 75%   of  what I pay the electric utility.

I just got my April bill from the electric company.

It was a credit for $15.54, so I actually produced more electricity than I consumed in April.

Over the winter months I met about half of my electric needs from solar.

I thought that was pretty good for the Boston area.

So it will be interesting to see what happen this summer when solar production should be maximized.

Tags: Comments (11) | |