Archive for March 8th, 2012

Unemployment: The final nums before tomorrow’s final nums …

March 8, 2012

Tomorrow’s BLS report will be very interesting.

On the plus side: ADP, released their proprietary private payrolls jobs report earlier this week. Its usually – but not always – a good leading indicator of the the BLS nums.

Form February, ADP reported a gain of 216,000 private sector jobs.

Last month (January) 2012 ADP’s final num was 173,000 jobs. In contrast, the BLS reported 257,000 seasonally adjusted private sector jobs for January.

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On the minus side:

Today, the BLS reported that the number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose for the third consecutive week

Initial jobless claims jumped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 362,000 in the week ending March 3.

Most important, Gallup – which nailed the drop to 8.3% last month —  has been consistently reporting an unemployment rate of 9% throughout February.

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The consensus of economists is that about 200,000 jobs will be reported and that the unemployment rate will hold at  8.3%.

Ken says: seasonally unadjusted jobs will decline, seasonally adjusted jobs will increase less than 200,000 … and the unemployment rate will bump back up to 8.5%

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Buffett: Giving to the Gates Foundation because it’s run more efficiently than the gov’t … no (bleep), Warren.

March 8, 2012

Interesting interview with Warren Buffett on CNBC last week.

The dialogue that caught my attention had to do, of course, with Buffett’s whining that his taxes are too low … paired with the hypocrisy that he’s sheltering his estate from taxes by dishing his end-of-life dough to the Gates Foundation.

CNBC’s Joe Kiernan observed to Buffett:

I’ve gotten you to admit in the past that one of the reasons you think the Gates Foundation will do a lot better with your 50 or 60 billion is because charities have a better — a much better reputation for watching how money is spend and for doing more good.

Buffetts retort:

Anytime an organization is as big as the US government or any other government, they are not going to be as efficient, obviously, as smaller organizations.

Kiernan followed up:

So with all that in mind, can you at least see how someone might, on an intellectual basis, be opposed to just giving a blank check to such a profligate entity?

Buffett’s answer:

On the other hand, we have successfully defended the country, we’ve built the greatest industrial machine the world’s ever seen, we’ve built the richest population the world’s ever seen.

The truth is, we can have a country that works wonderfully with 19 percent or so of revenues going to Washington and spending 21 percent.

Say, what?

Kiernan politely went in for the kill:

If the government was a business and Berkshire was looking at it, there’s no way Berkshire would even take a 1 percent stake in the government with their track record of investments. Right?

All Buffett could do was stammer …

Full transcript

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Another tipping point: married folks a dwindling majority …

March 8, 2012

Excerpted from the Wash Post:

The proportion of adults who are married has plunged to record lows as more people decide to live together now and wed later, reflecting decades of evolving attitudes about the role of marriage in society.

Just 51 percent of all adults who are 18 and older are married, placing them on the brink of becoming a minority, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

That represents a steep drop from 57 percent who were married in 2000.

The marriage patterns are a striking departure from the middle of the 20th century, when the percentage of adults who never wed was in the low single digits.

In 1960, for example, when most baby boomers were children, 72 percent of all adults were married.

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