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Some of you may be gravely disappointed(39 posts)

Some of you may be gravely disappointedLive Steam
Nov 7, 2003 5:59 AM
Live Headline
Page One - Ahead of the Open: Jobs. That is what it is all about today. The October employment data were strong across the board and have provided a boost to stock futures, which indicate a positive open.

The October nonfarm payroll gain of 126,000 was significantly higher than expected, and above the psychologically significant 100,000 level. The September increase in payrolls was revised to 125,000 from a previously reported 57,000 gain. This clearly shows that the economic upturn is in full swing. Talk of a "jobless recovery" will finally face a much deserved death. Productivity growth will be seen as the positive economic development it really is, rather than as a job killer. This is clearly bullish economic news.

The average workweek rose 0.1 to 33.8 hours in October. This is a positive sign and consistent with further job gains to come. Average hourly earnings rose 0.1% after being unchanged in September. The unemployment rate dropped a notch to 6.0% from 6.1%. Manufacturing employment fell 24,000, but it typically lags even more than overall payroll, and it too will rebound in the months ahead as manufacturing production has already picked up.

Almost 90% of the S&P 500 companies have now reported third quarter earnings, and it looks like the gain from last year will come in between 21% and 22%. Guidance for the fourth quarter has been extremely good, with a much lower percentage of warnings than is typically the case. Fourth quarter earnings are also like to increase by over 20%. It was a very strong quarter for earnings reports.

The payrolls data show that the economy is hitting on all cylinders. There is little left to argue about. Real GDP is rising sharply, profits are up sharply, and now job growth is evident as well. This is all bullish for stocks -- so long as the market does not develop concerns that significantly higher interest rates might be around the corner. That does not appear to be the case yet.
Not me!53T
Nov 7, 2003 6:48 AM
I see you you have left them speachless, Steam.

Political analysis:

The timing of the recovery could not be better for the '04 elections. The democrat field, and Dean as frontrunner, could not be better for Bush in '04 either.

Like everyone, we will have to keep a close eye on Iraq. A couple of big stories, like a sharp drop in attacks and casualties, capturing Saddam, or a groundswell in international support would be the icing on the cake.

If these three factors come together in the summer of '04, we could be looking at a 40-state win for Bush.
I like your thinking :O)Live Steam
Nov 7, 2003 7:36 AM
I believe that a few of those will pan out. I'm not too sure about "international support", but I do think there will be some positive news out of Iraq. I think the bottom line in any election is MONEY. Will this guy help me hold on to more of my money and will I be in a better place financially if he is elected vs the other guy. GW1 suffered from having a late blooming economy. GW2 is helping to make sure that it doesn't happen to him. Actually this will be a much greater achievement than Clinton ever was able to accomplish. Clinton did nothing to boost the economy. The pieces were already in place and everything was in motion when he took office. The Tech boom had nothing to do with any Clinton initiative.
Steam, you're a piece of work! nmOldEdScott
Nov 7, 2003 7:45 AM
A fine piece of work that is :O) nmLive Steam
Nov 7, 2003 9:00 AM
Not me, eithertorquer
Nov 7, 2003 7:47 AM
Steam, your implication that some of us to your left (billions and billions, as Carl Sagen said) look forward to bad economic news could be taken as offensive, but I've already been offended this morning by an e-bay seller (more on that later, maybe), so you're off the hook for now.

Job gains are great, exactly what the economy really needs, not more upward redistribution of wealth, which seems to be this administration's primary objective. But the job news is not quite as totally rosy as you suggest. Here's how that nest of socialist vipers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, introduces its monthly jobs data (I've tried to emphasize the less-than rosy parts using a rose-red font, but the color got lost; how do you do that in your postings, Steam?):

Employment Situation Summary
Technical information:
Household data: (202) 691-6378 USDL 03-675

Establishment data: 691-6555 Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until 8:30 A.M. (EST),
Media contact: 691-5902 Friday, November 7, 2003.


Employment rose in October, and the unemployment rate, at 6.0 percent, was
essentially unchanged, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of
Labor reported today. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 126,000 in October,
following a similar increase (as revised) in September. Job gains occurred in
several service industries in October. Manufacturing employment continued to
decline, but the rate of job loss has moderated in recent months.

Unemployment (Household Survey Data)

The unemployment rate, 6.0 percent, and the number of unemployed persons,
8.8 million, were essentially unchanged in October. Unemployment rates for
the major worker groups--adult men (5.6 percent), adult women (5.2 percent),
teenagers (17.1 percent), whites (5.1 percent), blacks (11.5 percent), and
Hispanics or Latinos (7.2 percent)--also were little changed. The unemploy-
ment rate for Asians was 6.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables
A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In October, 2.0 million unemployed persons had been looking for work for 27
weeks or longer, about the same level as in September. They represented 23.0
percent of the total unemployed. (See table A-9.)

Total Employment and the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

Total employment increased by 441,000 in October to 138.0 million, season-
ally adjusted. The employment-population ratio edged up to 62.2 percent.
The civilian labor force was little changed at 146.8 million, while the labor
force participation rate remained at 66.1 percent. (See table A-1.)

Persons Not in the Labor Force (Household Survey Data)

In October, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
170,000 more than a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals wanted and were available to work and had looked for a job sometime
in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed, however, because
they did not actively search for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Of
the 1.6 million, 462,000 were discouraged workers--persons who were not current-
ly looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available
for them. The number of discouraged workers was up by 103,000 from October
2002. (See table A-13.)

I for one do not want to see Dubya lose if that requires further job losses (perhaps even my job, or yours), or continued chaos in Iraq. But we've got a long way to go before
Not me, either, continuedtorquer
Nov 7, 2003 7:53 AM
I for one do not want to see Dubya lose if that requires further job losses (perhaps even my job, or yours), or continued chaos in Iraq. But we've got a long way to go before the White House can dust off that "mission accomplished" banner.

By the way, Steam, I note that the BLS jobs data was embargoed untill 8:30 this morning, while your posting was at 6:00 AM. I demand that a special prosecutor be appointed (you available, Old Ed?) to find out who was responsible for this leak!
Not me, either, continuedLive Steam
Nov 7, 2003 8:58 AM
I agree that the numbers are not the whole story, but it goes to show that the economy is in an upward swing . IMO. The Sep and Oct gains are consistent with a stronger underlying economic demand. Employment tends to lag the overall economy but consumer demand will eventually feed the labor demand. The sharp rise in worker productivity (3.5%) is more than likely due to workers fearing loss of employment. This somewhat stifled the hiring of new workers. Once demand picks up further, employers will have no choice but to hire more workers to pick up the slack.

I didn't mean to offend you. I was just prodding the naysayers who derided "Dubaya's" economic plan :O) Say what about that bad Ebay deal?
I've said it before...No_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 8:30 AM
Whether you know it or not, we've got the right guy in office and we should all be thankful.
That should be comfort for the secretaries...dr hoo
Nov 7, 2003 9:23 AM
... I heard yesterday at lunch discussing the 0% raise and $3000/year increase they will be paying for health insurance starting in 2004. Of course most of them will be moving to a cheaper plan, so the increase out of pocket expenses they face will only be $1500/year.

I'll go back and tell them you said everything is booming and not to worry.
Always the glass is half empty view?Live Steam
Nov 7, 2003 9:36 AM
Maybe they are overpaid to begin with when considering their total compensation including benefits. Maybe they will get that raise later in '04 to compensate for their loss of coverage. How dark is it in your world? The economy is cyclical and the cycle is turning. I think it is turning faster than it would have without the stimulus from Bush's economic package. Heck I've had to pay for my own health insurance for the past 11 years. I just now have the "luxury" of benefiting from my wife's coverage under the UFT umbrella. Ah, the benefits of marriage :O)
Rename him Dr. Boohoo... :) nmNo_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 9:41 AM
BTW, the job creation numbers are still too low.dr hoo
Nov 9, 2003 6:15 AM
I have slowly been more optimistic on the direction of the economy over the last 6 months. I am currently neutral. I did change from slightly negative, in part from the broad base of job creation in many labor areas in the report you cited, and other good numbers that have come out in the past couple of months

Interestingly, last night I heard an economist talking about these numbers. She said the economy needs something like 150,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. In other words, 150k/month is actually a STEADY STATE number. So a couple of months of 125k growth is pretty close to break even. More is needed.
They're obviously in the wrong company...No_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 9:40 AM
$3000 increase in health care starting in January? 0% raise? I work for a non-profit corporation and while the entire institute has a 2 or 3% cap in total institute wide raises, that leaves plenty of room for the good performers at the expense of the bad, the way it should be. If they're working in profit corps, well, either the company is doing badly or they're being taken advantage of. Either way, they don't have to stay.

$3000 increase in one year? That's absurd. I've never heard of anything like that and if that's the case, once again, IT'S TIME TO GO!

I pay more than the national avg. for HMO. $39 single, $70 employee and spouse. It has slowly gone up from $15 and $30 about 10 years ago. More than the national avg. and not too bad at all in my opinion. If you're paying significantly more than that, simply find a job at an average company rather than a terrible one. TIME TO GO!
pretty sure they were state employeesdr hoo
Nov 7, 2003 10:07 AM
And with state budget problems, all of the cost of health care was passed on to employees this year. If the total annual was about 15k, then a 10% increase leads to 1500, 20% to 3000. Premiums have gone up, depending on plans, about that much. The state actually LOWERED what it was paying for health care for it's employees this year, which made the numbers bigger.

These same secretaries are being told 4% per year for 2005-2007. They don't expect it.
That makes your basic premise sort of ridiculous,TJeanloz
Nov 7, 2003 10:18 AM
State budget problems are the result of a poor economy. With a good economy things will get better. Why should they feel entitled to a raise when everybody else is facing cuts?

As far as health care is concerned, where does it cost $15K per year for health insurance? My premium is $290/month, or ~$3,500/year. If the state is spending $15K per year for this insurance, I don't know how anybody can consider making the state a single-payer.
Really where did he get $15k?Live Steam
Nov 7, 2003 10:26 AM
I paid $349/mo. and that was for full coverage plus hospitalization.
I made it up.dr hoo
Nov 7, 2003 12:42 PM
Actually, I was trying to squeeze a reply in between other things, and I had the 15k number in my head from some reading earlier in the day. That is expected to be the average health premium in 2006.

For 2004 the numbers are expected to be 10.7k on average. If you are paying only a few hundred dollars a month, your employer is paying the rest, or you have a huge deductable or limited coverage. Family coverage in an HMO, 9+k this year and 10.5+ next year is pretty accurate.
Actual costs, not a *study*No_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 1:17 PM
Actual cost for a family with two or more dependents is less than $7000 total at my institution. Employee and a spouse is less than $4800 total on the year. This includes all payments, employer and employee. No deductibles, no limits, $10 prescriptions, unlimited catastrophic and hospice care, inhome care, mental health, substance abuse, glasses.

I happened to get my entire benefits booklet for 2004 just this week.

These are 2004 numbers.

The employee contribution part of this coverage is more than the national average.

City employees here make no contribution at all, neither do the grocery workers currently.

So, for a single person, using your 10%, of let's say $3500 total, that's less than $35 month. HEY! I like your idea! That's less than what's happening in 2004!
Ok, you get this data, but that's it!dr hoo
Nov 7, 2003 2:58 PM
I have real work to do the next 3 days. It took a couple of phone calls to track this info down, since the sign up/switching period ended a couple weeks ago.

The total costs of the state plans vary for 2004. This booklet I have (no online link) contains 23 plans to select from. Blue Cross/Blue Sheild is $1622 a month. For that they pay 80% of most things, you pay 20%. Employee share is $250 a month.

The rest are HMOs. Premiums range from $921 to $1223 on these, with higher employee shares for the more expensive plans. Let's call it $1000 a month average. That's $12,000 per year total premium. Employee share, $125 or $67.50 a month, depending on plan. That is an increase of about 60-115 per month in employee share over 2003.

These plans all have "standard plan" rules, plus some variation (mostly on vision and dental options). The standard plan pays 100% of just about everything. Small copays for meds (8 generic, 15 name brand). It is GREAT coverage with some excellent plans (if you look at customer satisfaction ratings at least).

Individual data is fine, but if you want to talk about national economies (such as this thread discusses) then population studies are the way to go. Prices for insurance can vary widely, just like any other product. Given what I know about the issue, 10k/year full costs for full coverage sounds about right.

BTW, if you can give me the name of your insurer, and the size of your company, I would appreciate it. I could clearly save the state MILLIONS of dollars by brokering a deal!

Now I get three days of data analysis and follow up surveying of my cardiac patients. Or more accurately, the cardiac patients in my current study.

dr. (medical sociologist) hoo
Get to work!No_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 3:05 PM
Kaiser Permanente and Pacificare have insignificantly different pricing and coverages. It's all laid out in front of me. Pacificare doesn't cover any glasses.

My institution is a reasonably large non-profit corporation. Check out anything the size of UCLA, USC, Stanford, etc. It's really quite small in the big picture of number of employees. How many does Accenture have? Who knows...
Fundamental flaw in the reasoning,TJeanloz
Nov 8, 2003 8:12 AM
This is where our basic philosophies on life are going to differ, and, while I respect what I believe your opinion is, I don't agree with it.

My feeling is that the employer can be reasonably expected to pay for their employee's health insurance. It is, after all, in their direct interest to keep their employees healthy. The rest of their family is their own problem. You want to have 10 kids, great, but don't whine about how much it costs to keep them healthy. I don't see why the employer should be burdened to pay for the healthcare of the entire family - it is fundamentally unfair to those without families who are being compensated less as a result of the policy.
Not really, unpaid labor benefits the organization.dr hoo
Nov 9, 2003 6:00 AM
Yes the employee's health is critical, but so is the employee's family's health. A healthy spouse at home does a HUGE amount of unpaid labor that supports the worker. Sick spouses and childred distract from productivity. Married people live longer and healthier lives. It is good for business.

I'm with you on kids. Our plan has single and family rates. But no kids or 10, the rate is the same.

Under our current system, no employer has to pay ANY insurance if they don't want to. They choose to.

My position on health care is based on cost control, and it is a pragmatic one. If the free market was or COULD work in the area of health care, I would be all for it. However, the market does not lower costs in health care, it jacks those prices up WAY faster than inflation. Health costs are a big drag on the economy, and a huge issue for working and middle class people. So I am for a single payer system.

That does not mean that I see no middle ground where simple programs can have good outcomes. For example, throw the state employee health insurance pool open to any state resident. That lower costs for small businesses, farmers, the elderly, and most groups in society. It also makes the pool larger so the state can negotiate lower rates. Will that solve all problems? No, but it would help the current situation, and would likely have bipartisan support.

But overall, I think a single payer for basic health care makes the most economic and social sense for an advanced and wealthy western nation.
Especially if in California...No_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 11:05 AM
Classic liberal overspending and then Davis really tries to sink the ship.

It's not hard to figure out that spending must be slashed. Arnold is the only candidate I saw that realized this.

At least if they're state workers, they don't have to work much at all to get what they're getting paid...
I thought you self insured?dr hoo
Nov 7, 2003 12:45 PM
Or is that just for catastrophic coverage? If it is through your work, is that your share, and does your employer pick up any of the tab?
Doesn't matter...No_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 3:07 PM
If you're single and must insure yourself, you simply see they pay you X amount of dollars more than you would otherwise take if they're paying.
I used to,TJeanloz
Nov 8, 2003 8:05 AM
I did self-insure for a long time, but my current "job" (quotation marks because I don't get "paid") offered to pay 85% towards my health coverage, so I pay them ~$45 a month for coverage. While I don't think coverage is worth as much as we (my firm and I) pay for it, I do think it's worth what I alone pay for it - so I stopped self-insuring.
You decided to get health insurance? nmOldEdScott
Nov 7, 2003 2:14 PM
It's newTJeanloz
Nov 8, 2003 8:07 AM
I have yet to see my "primary care physician," or make any claim on the insurance, but I do now have it.
Lots of jobs at Mickey D's.................MR_GRUMPY
Nov 7, 2003 10:00 AM
Just look at WHERE all these jobs are. Low paying service jobs are not what pays the rent.
More Indians than Chiefs, the way it'll always be...No_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 10:03 AM
Not everyone has an MBA, JD or MD. The large masses are not post grad or even college graduated. Good thing there are lots more service positions opening, if the openings were all for doctors, well, that wouldn't help the people who need it. The system is working and it's looking up!
Not in your neighborhood anyway,TJeanloz
Nov 7, 2003 10:19 AM
Low paying jobs pay the rent. Just not in the safest section of town with the best schools - these are the trade-offs in life.
$7.25 an hour with a wife and two kids = troubleMR_GRUMPY
Nov 7, 2003 1:02 PM
Wife has to go to work. Can't afford day-care.......More trouble. I'm not sure that anyone has the answer. I'm sure that george doesn't.
$7.25/hr and having two kids, let alone a wife andNo_sprint
Nov 7, 2003 1:32 PM
expecting her not to work is absolutely beyond stupid.

I know plenty of non college grads, no college time at all making a very decent $40k/year.

This place is about opportunity to make something of yourself, there's no guarantee for $40k/year for the unmotivated and ignorant.
Mildly disappointed, but 80% plus are still crap jobs.Cory
Nov 7, 2003 2:51 PM
That's one of the things you rarely read in those rosy reports on how well things are going--about 8 in 10 jobs are low-pay, no-benefits service "yobs." There was a story on the AP wire today about what it COSTS a community when Wal-Mart comes to town. They make a big deal of bringing 400 jobs or whatever with a new store, but because they're low-pay and most employees have no health insurance, it actually costs the local economy money. The employees don't even pay for the services, schools and roads they require, let alone make enough to go to the doctor.
If that's "economic recovery," the meaning has changed since the Clinton years.
Amen....(excuse the term)MR_GRUMPY
Nov 7, 2003 7:15 PM
In Bush-speak "economic recovery" means that the " trickle-on" theory of economics is helping all of his Pals reap huge profits. (Note that I said trickle-on, not trickle-down)
Yeah! Wal-Mart didn't employ anybody in the Clinton years!TJeanloz
Nov 8, 2003 8:15 AM
All the jobs paid $100K per year. And all of the children were above average.

Where have those times gone?
77% of all these new jobs were for people 55 and over.MR_GRUMPY
Nov 8, 2003 11:13 AM
What this means, is that all these "Great" new jobs are for older, out of work people, who will be saying "Welcome to Wall-Mart", for $7.25 an hour
Quoting the report from the labor Dept, " Low-paying jobs grew the fastest in October, with many being part-time of second jobs." "manufacturing continued to lose jobs in October. The hard hit sector, which has seen declines for 39 consecutive months, shed 24,000 positions in a single month."
And those people would be better off with no jobs at all!! (nm)TJeanloz
Nov 10, 2003 8:49 AM
You want a job, or not?