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September 2012 unemployment according to the BLS:  7.8%

Nate Silver comments:

The jobs numbers are certainly not enough to change the basic story of a slow economic recovery, and it will take many years for the economy to get back to full employment.

However, the jobs numbers are one of the more hopeful signs for the economy on balance. An average of 146,000 jobs have been created per month over the past year, or closer to 157,000 with the government’s anticipated benchmark revisions accounted for.

Those aren’t great numbers by any means, and would translate to an annualized growth rate of 1.4 percent. But over the past 25 years, payroll jobs have grown at an annualized rate of 1.1 percent, or the equivalent of about 125,000 jobs added per month given today’s population. By this measure, it’s been a fairly average economic year, although certainly not enough to make up for the productivity that was lost from the economy in 2008 and 2009.

Categories: Economics Tags: 2012, 538, fivethirtyeight, Jobs, Nate Silver, obama, unemployment, unemployment rate

1. Nate Silver is showing a significant bump  for the Democrat’s after the DNC, much higher than the RNC’s bump.

Via NYT’s fivethirtyeight:

Electoral Vote Prediction

Barack Obama

314.2

+10.4 since Aug. 31

Mitt Romney

223.8

Animated Granholm .gif via HuffPo

Personally, I thought Jennifer Granholm’s speech was the best. She was one of the more rousing and animated speakers of the night.

5. Factcheck.org had to aggregate their analysis of Obama’s and Biden’s speeches, because apparently they each didn’t have enough exaggerations and out-of-context quotes to warrant posts of their own. (Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney each had their own posts from the RNC previously on factcheck.org)

6. As promised, song for Friday. This is seriously the best Gangnam Style mash-up I’ve seen yet:

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble, Pop-culture Tags: barack obama, democrats, DNC, election 2012, fivethirtyeight, gangnam style, honey boo boo child, jennifer granholm, joe biden, Nate Silver, obama, politics, PSY

^Anthony Weiner’s Speech Presented by Guilty Looking Dachshunds.

Anthony Weiner’s vacated seat is lost to the GOP.  How did the Democratically heavy 9th district manage to lose to the Republicans?

Dem. contender David Weprin had a series of gaffes over the summer, fucking up knowledge of the national debt.  He also failed to pander to the Hassidic Jewish population, which are a significant voter demographic in the Brooklyn section of the 9th.  His opponent, Bob Turner, was supported by Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat and an orthodox Jew, and local rabbis.

Nate Silver predicts that the 2012 elections will end up looking a lot like 2010:

Democrats might not lose many more seats in the House if that were the case, since most of their vulnerable targets have already been picked off, but it would limit their potential for any gains. And it could produce dire results for the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, where they have twice as many seats up for re-election.

Newsflash:  Young people still suck at knowing what district they’re in and who their Congressperson is.  In case you missed it:

In Ohio, volunteers are rallying against House Bill 194, which would limit the window to send in absentee ballots, among other voter-friendly practices. In this op-ed by Cincinnati’s Howard Wilkinson, whose Enquirer byline is “don’t trust anyone else,”  he notes that “it won’t be in effect for the November 2012 presidential election either, because that is the day when Ohioans will go to the polls not only to choose a president but to vote up-or-down on House Bill 194.”

By his own logic, it won’t help the 2012 election. Yet the rest of his article is talking about why Democrats are flipping out right now.  It’s a sad day for politics, when people sincerely believe that everything that hurts the other party and democratic process is good for America.

Oh wait, that’s every day now.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: 2012 elections, 9th district, Anthony Weiner’s seat, Bob Turner, Dachshunds, David Weprin, Hassidic Jews, Nate Silver

There are 75,500 Google image results for “sad stockbroker.”

Round up time:

Paul Krugman, of course, is highly critical of the move. He dedicated a post in his blog to a quote from Atrios:

Apparently we’re supposed to care about what some idiots at some corrupt organization think about anything.

Statistics whiz Nate Silver provides us with a comprehensive post with solid statistical evidence that S&P’s previous ratings are pretty worthless and says their “advice has more often than not led investors toward the losing side of bets.”

My favorite libertarian blogger, Andrew Sullivan, thinks the that downgrade makes sense.

A libertarian I like much less, Professor Richard A. Epstein, claims to have “4 Reasons S&P Got it Right,” but mostly rants about spending.

An anonymous author for the WSJ says, “The Obama Administration’s attempt to discredit S&P only makes the U.S. look worse” and it was the “Keynesian and statist revival of the last four years have brought the U.S. to this downgrade.”

Economics of Contempts says, “To say that S&P analysts aren’t the sharpest tools in the drawer is a massive understatement.”

Karl Smith of Modeled Behavior comments, “I think the value of S&P’s action is that it has given both sides ammo where they need it, which seems like it should strengthen our ability to make a deal. Ironically, perhaps the act of issuing this report will help make the conclusions of the report less true. I hope so anyway.”

I hope so too.

I can understand S&P wanting to reclaim their integrity after their terrible track record, but is manufacturing a fear-induced international market crisis really worth that right now? I’m leaning towards no, so I’m still not fully understanding S&P’s motivation here. Especially when they own and maintain the S&P 500 index, which unsurprisingly dropped after their parent agency’s own downgrade.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: AA+, Andrew Sullivan, downgrade, economic opinion, Nate Silver, Paul Krugman, rating, round up, S&P, S&P 500

[May 2011 update:  Well, fuck.  8.7%.  This blows.  Nate Silver fail.]

I remember reading a post from Nate Silver a year ago about the relationships between recessions and unemployment.  No doubt Nate is a statistical genius.  He predicted the 2008 election 49 out of 50 states, a popular vote within 1%.

I’m totally going to steal a chart and bandwidth from 538 now.  From:  http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/08/why-unemployment-probably-wont-hit-10.html

People do not jump right back into the labor force the moment a recession is over. Oftentimes, indeed, they can’t, because they’ve made somewhat long-term commitments – good luck ditching the army because the local bank is having a hiring fair back at home in Topeka. These effects are fairly strongly lagged, probably by at least 3-9 months, and usually occur only once the jobs picture has gotten to the point where it’s actually pretty darn good – not just when it’s merely improving. Where we’ll see these effects is in, say, January of 2011, when the employment rate might not budge much even if a couple hundred thousand new jobs are created. But the unemployment rate should already be safely clear of 10 percent long before that… By the way, this model is decidedly more optimistic about the velocity of the jobs recovery than are most mainstream observers.

Here’s a monthly interactive unemployment map.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27913794/ While some states have notably surpassed 10%, the “national average” has not peaked 10% as of May.

I don’t know what math MSNBC used for that “national average” (probably by adding all the state averages and dividing them by 50 or something like that), but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows something a little less rosy:  http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=usunemployment&met=unemployment_rate&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=current+unemployment+rate

Looks like Nate made the wrong call on this one.  Unemployment did pass 10% briefly for three months. 10.6% in January.  10.4% in February.  10.2% in March.  Looks like unemployment is about 1% higher than Nate predicted.  It’s currently 9.6%

I still have some faith in Nate.  My totally amateur and unprofessional prediction is that unemployment should be better by January 2011 and on a significant decline.  I’ll say 7.5%.  GDP is currently up a bit and it makes sense to me that unemployment rates should respond to that in 6-9 months.  I reserve the right to amend this number in 2 months depending on how the trends are looking.

I don’t think we’re going to have a double dip. But I did believe Paul Krugman in early 2009 when he said the stimulus was the size below what was needed for good Keyensian effect and that the economy was going to sputter along for 2 years.  His prediction seems to be coming true.  What this means for the 2012 elections, I’m not sure yet.

Andrew Sullivan shows GDP decline and growth over the last several quarters and a rundown of various persons’ analyses here.

Categories: Politics or: the art of looking for trouble Tags: 538, analysis, economy, fivethirtyeight, GDP, MSNBC, Nate Silver, Paul Krugman, prediction, recession, unemployment, unemployment rate