Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’

Alabama May 2015 Unemployment Higher Than Reported

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 20, 2015

Alabama Unemployment Rates May 2015 by County with Totals

Alabama May 2015 Unemployment Rates by County with Totals

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, the Seasonally Adjusted preliminary state Unemployment Rate for May 2015 was 6.1%. The Not Seasonally Adjusted rate was 6.2%.

However, as I have written previously (October 2014, Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated), the rate is subject to flaw precisely because it is Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Democrats Vote to Save Jobs: ABC Privatization Bill Dies in Senate Committee

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A bill by State Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) to privatize the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has died in the Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee by a 7-6 vote along party lines, with one Republican voting ‘NO.’ The vote received applause from attendees.

A substitution bill presented by Orr would’ve changed the suspension penalty for Selling to Minors from one year to one week, and increased taxes, was also adopted along party line vote.
Orr said earlier that, “Part of our job is to downsize government,” and demanded a committee vote be taken on his bill today.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Administrator Mac Gipson testified that employees are paid from mark-ups from sales in the state’s 176 ABC stores. He also noted that by comparison, there are 587 private package stores in the state.

In Alabama, liquor is marked up at Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis: Alabama Unemployment Higher Than Stated

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bentley UR Tweet 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Bentley UR Tweet Claim 10-17-14

Alabama Governor Bentley claims he, and his policies – whatever they are (he has none… just look for your self) – have been responsible for declining Alabama Unemployment. Fact is, he’s blowing smoke.

Alabama’s Republican Governor Robert Bentley, MD has crowed about “success” in lowering Alabama unemployment during the past 4 years of his term.

However, to be certain, a random statistical examination of the state’s Unemployment rate shows that it is very likely, AT LEAST two points higher than reported.  Here’s how.

Unemployment is calculated as a simple average. Take the number of people working, added into the number of people NOT working, AND who WANT to work, divided by the people who are available to work, gives the unemployment rate.

Here’s how the Bureau of  Labor Statistics defines the parameters of the equation:

What are the basic concepts of employment and unemployment?

The basic concepts involved in identifying the employed and unemployed are quite simple:
• People with jobs are employed.
• People who are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work are unemployed.
• The labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed.
• People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.

Simply put, the formula is:

Unemployment Rate = Unemployed


Employed + Unemployed

 

However, if you’ve had a college course in Statistics – and most folks in Alabama have not (it’s part of maintaining the policy of “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”) – then you’d understand that a random sample of the set would show essentially the same results.

And face it… most folks in Alabama DO NOT HAVE A COLLEGE EDUCATION. In fact, according to the Alabama Department of Education, Alabama’s High School Drop Out rate is 28%. Page 2, Frame 2 of the linked document shows the 2010-2011 TOTAL Graduation Rate as 72%.

Face it… ALABAMA IS

Read the rest of this entry »

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Teaching Jobs Lost Under Alabama Governor Bentley

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 8, 2014

Yet more bad news from Governor Bentley’s incompetent, do-nothing administration.

Chalk up more jobs lost.

This is a DIRECT RESULT of the closure of the International Paper manufacturing facility in Courtland.

And the best worst part is, he’s playing with our children’s lives.

Be certain to thank him at the ballot box this November.

And the bad, sad news is undeniable: Alabamians are “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

When will Alabamians learn?

Wait… if the residents are “largely poor” they’re certain to be “uneducated, and [therefore] easy to command.”

Remember the cheer” We like it, we love it… we want some more of it!

Or if not, how about the line in the Charles Dickens classic Oliver Twist?

Please, sir… I want some more“.

Alabama obviously likes it, and hasn’t gotten a bellyful yet.

Again… apply the circular logic of:

“largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command.”

(Board Of Education) BOE cuts local funded teacher units

Posted: Thursday, May 8, 2014 6:00 am

The Lawrence County Board of Education continued to take steps to solidify the county’s financial footing Monday night, eliminating five certified positions in an effort to cut the number of locally funded teacher units.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said more cuts could be on the horizon.

“We have to start focusing on building our financial reserves and this is one step in doing that,” he said. “We’ve been working closely with the state Board of Education to get a plan in place to build a one-month operating reserve and this is one of the suggest measures.”

Lawrence County’s one-month operating cost is roughly $3.2 million. Grimes said the board has $1.5 million in reserve.

“It’s important to understand that, yes, we are Read the rest of this entry »

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Perspective – By the Numbers: How has Job Loss under Governor Bentley & the GOP affected Alabama?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 14, 2014

It’s easy to talk about “the jobs situation” in Alabama. It’s especially easier to talk about it when it doesn’t affect you… directly. It’s like armchair quarterbacking.

There’s probably much truth to the statement that Alabama’s legislators aren’t directly affected by job loss in the state. They have jobs. As musician Steve Miller sang in his song “Take the Money and Run,” they make their “living off other people’s taxes.” That goes for Republicans AND Democrats. Such an observation, of course, is not to demean those who do “make their living off other people’s taxes,” because our military, public safety and others vital to our local, state and national well-being are among them. It is however, an acknowledgment of, and call to responsibility – not merely accountability – because accountability is the only remnant once responsibility has departed. And that is how the “Blame Game” is played.

In the previous entry entitled “Analysis – Examining the Record: Is Alabama Governor Bentley a “Jobs Creator” or a Drag on the State Economy?,” we looked at facts & figures about job loss & job creation during Governor Bentley’s administration.

In this entry, we examine some details on the extent of the damage done to families & individuals under his administration.

And so, let’s again refer to some previously-mentioned facts & figures, and introduce some new ones so that we can better understand the nature, scope and and extent of the situation, and corresponding problems Read the rest of this entry »

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Federal Reserve’s “Beige Book” shows improving economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Federal Reserve regularly publishes a summary of economic activity in the 12 Federal Reserve Districts in the United States.

It is important to note that “This document summarizes comments received from businesses and other contacts outside the Federal Reserve and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials.”

Much, if not most of the news was promising.

Summary highlights from this Beige Book 2013-01-16 are that:

• “Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity has expanded since the previous Beige Book report, with all twelve Districts characterizing the pace of growth as either modest or moderate.”

• “All twelve districts reported some growth in Read the rest of this entry »

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The Oracle at Delphi: Mitt Romney’s direct tie to increased unemployment in North Alabama

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, October 20, 2012

The average reader may not be aware that there was once a huge Delphi plant in Limestone county, Alabama, which facility was located directly across from Calhoun Community College.

American Industry... closed. - M1510 h712

Mitt Romney owned a significant interest in a firm that profited by laying off workers, dumping their pensions, moving to China, and then profiting rapaciously from the TARP bailout. That large plant – one among many, with the largest one being in Alabama – was the Delphi Steering Gear facility in Tanner, near Decatur, in Limestone County.

It was one of North Alabama‘s LARGEST employers – with emphasis on “was.”

The men & women who made careers there, whose labors enabled their children to attend college, provided their families’ clothing, groceries, housing & healthcare, and provided for their own retirement, and which was a union shop, was shuttered several years ago.

Most of what news I recall about it centered around how corporate traders, not unions, were wanting even more & more profit when they were already profitable. Time and time again, the workers took cuts in benefits & pay to keep their jobs for as long as they could… all to no avail.

Like a gazelle savaged on the plains of the Kalahari Desert in Africa, that once prosperous plant has been laid to waste, and there are only industrial skeletal remains. Even the human buzzards, scavenging metal for recycling from the industrial carcass, have left. For many years now, the hollow exterior hulk, instead of employees, materials & labor, has been drawing cobwebs, dust & rust. And soon, like all things left unattended, it too will crumble.

There are no taxes paid to Limestone county, or to nearby Decatur, Athens or Huntsville, or to Alabama for roads, schools, police & fire protection. But there is an even greater issue, one which is exceedingly more weighty and sorrowful. As a result of it all, there is no hope, there are no jobs, and there is no future.

Here’s the even more disturbing part: Mitt Romney had his hand in that pie.

And yet the saddest and most perplexing part is, that most Alabamians will vote for the GOP nominee/candidate.

Following the economic investigative report are historical local news reports that show the progression about the issue (which validate the economic investigative report by Greg Palast), from the:
Decatur Daily,
Huntsville Times,
• Associated Press,
• Athens-Limestone News Courier,
• Saginaw News (via MLive.com), and
• Wall Street Journal,
dating 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010.

For the benefit of the reader, Greg Palast is an economist and financial investigator turned journalist whose series on vulture funds appeared on BBC Television’s Newsnight. He is the author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Penguin) and, most recently, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps (Seven Stories). For additional information about him, his website is: http://www.gregpalast.com.

Mitt Romney’s Bailout Bonanza

Greg Palast, October 17, 2012   |    This article appeared in the November 5, 2012 edition of The Nation.

This investigation was supported by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute and by the Puffin Foundation. Elements of it appear in Palast’s new book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps (Seven Stories). Research assistance by Zach D. Roberts, Ari Paul, Nader Atassi and Eric Wuestewald.

Mitt Romney

2012 GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mitt Romney’s opposition to the auto bailout has haunted him on the campaign trail, especially in Rust Belt states like Ohio. There, in September, the Obama campaign launched television ads blasting Romney’s November 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” But Romney has done a good job of concealing, until now, the fact that he and his wife, Ann, personally gained at least $15.3 million from the bailout—and a few of Romney’s most important Wall Street donors made more than $4 billion. Their gains, and the Romneys’, were astronomical—more than 3,000 percent on their investment.

It all starts with Delphi Automotive, a former General Motors subsidiary whose auto parts remain essential to GM’s production lines. No bailout of GM—or Chrysler, for that matter—could have been successful without saving Delphi. So, in addition to making massive loans to automakers in 2009, the federal government sent, directly or indirectly, more than $12.9 billion to Delphi—and to the hedge funds that had gained control over it.

One of the hedge funds profiting from that bailout—
$1.28 billion so far—is Elliott Management, directed by 
Paul Singer. According to TheWall Street Journal, Singer has given more to support GOP candidates—$2.3 million—than anyone else on Wall Street this election season. His personal giving is matched by that of his colleagues at Elliott; collectively, they have donated $3.4 million to help elect Republicans this season, while giving only $1,650 to Democrats. And Singer is influential with the GOP presidential candidate; he’s not only an informal adviser but, according to theJournal, his support was critical in helping push Representative Paul Ryan onto the ticket.

Singer, whom Fortune magazine calls a “passionate defender of the 1%,” has carved out a specialty investing in distressed firms and distressed nations, which he does by buying up their debt for pennies on the dollar and then demanding payment in full. This so-called “vulture investor” received $58 million on Peruvian debt that he snapped up for $11.4 million, and $90 million on Congolese debt that he bought for a mere $20 million. In the process, he’s built one of the largest private equity firms in the nation, and over decades he’s racked up an unusually high average return on investments of 14 percent.

Other GOP presidential hopefuls chased Singer’s endorsement, but Mitt chased Singer with his own checkbook, investing at least $1 million with Elliott through Ann Romney’s blind trust (it could be far more, but the Romneys have declined to disclose exactly how much). Along the way, Singer gained a reputation, according to Fortune, “for strong-arming his way to profit.” That is certainly what happened at Delphi.

* * *

Delphi, once the Delco unit of General Motors, was spun off into a separate company in 1999. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to End This Depression

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, July 29, 2012

It’s been said that ‘everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’

The distinguished Dr. Krugman – who accurately foretold in 2001 that the “Bush Tax Cuts” would create significant deficit (and they did) – understands the role of government in providing opportunity for entrepreneurs and private enterprise, and the equally important role that government has in responsibility to protect public health and safety.

The long and short of it is this: Government spending on economic infrastructure (including education) is a good investment because it yields significant immediate and long-term results.

Why?

Because Materials and Manpower ALWAYS come from the private sector.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the aforementioned premise, and the numerous times about which I have written in detail about the same. This entry illustrates with three excellent examples of that principle.

Naysayers and critics miss one very important factor in their analogy, which is that the Federal government has the power and authority to print money. The way that factor relates to the issue at hand is this: While the government could – in theory, and in reality – print enough money to give $10,000 to every man, woman and child in this nation the net effect of so doing would be to devalue the money, which would be resulting from inflation.

How to correct, resolve or work within the guidelines of that factor is to understand that one very important role of government is to provide OPPORTUNITY for entrepreneurs and private enterprise. By providing opportunity, government is also encouraging private enterprise and entrepreneurship. And, for the strict Constitutionalists, courts have continued to uphold and acknowledge that such power is contained within the Preamble’s clause “to promote the general welfare.”

Further, for the “anti-Big Government” naysayers, it is preposterous (contrary to reason or common sense; utterly absurd or ridiculous) to imagine that, in this era, with every technological advance, invention and discovery which has been made since 1776, and with our population (now approaching 312,000,000), that we would have fewer laws, rules and regulations than when we first began.

And, for those who say we should balance our budget, I would agree. However, I hasten to point out, that the last time that was done was under Eisenhower and LBJ. That does not excuse us from an ongoing civil discussion and debate about how to effectively manage our nation’s budget. Perhaps a formula of some type which would take into account GDP, debt (outstanding Treasury notes), trade deficit, population growth, birth rate, and other factors – with an “escape” mechanism for times of civil emergency or war, of course.

For such, we need technocrats – experts in areas of operations – rather than bureaucrats. Perhaps in an advisory role. But then again, we have those.

So… why don’t we work together as we ought?

Politics.

It seems that “Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my monkey.”

How to End This Depression

May 24, 2012

Paul Krugman

The depression we’re in is essentially gratuitous: we don’t need to be suffering so much pain and destroying so many lives. We could end it both more easily and more quickly than anyone imagines—anyone, that is, except those who have actually studied the economics of depressed economies and the historical evidence on how policies work in such economies.
Obama in Master Lock factory Milwaukee

President Obama on a tour of the Master Lockfactory in Milwaukee with the company’s senior vice-president, Bon Rice, February 2012; Susan Walsh/AP Images

The truth is that recovery would be almost ridiculously easy to achieve: all we need is to reverse the austerity policies of the past couple of years and temporarily boost spending. Never mind all the talk of how we have a long-run problem that can’t have a short-run solution—this may sound sophisticated, but it isn’t. With a boost in spending, we could be back to more or less full employment faster than anyone imagines.

But don’t we have to worry about long-run budget deficits? Keynes wrote that “the boom, not the slump, is the time for austerity.” Now, as I argue in my forthcoming book*—and show later in the data discussed in this article—is the time for the government to spend more until the private sector is ready to carry the economy forward again. At that point, the US would be in a far better position to deal with deficits, entitlements, and the costs of financing them.

Meanwhile, the strong measures that would all go a long way toward lifting us out of this depression should include, among other policies, increased federal aid to state and local governments, which would restore the jobs of many public employees; a more aggressive approach by the Federal Reserve to quantitative easing (that is, purchasing bonds in an attempt to reduce long-term interest rates); and less timid efforts by the Obama administration to reduce homeowner debt.

But some readers will wonder, isn’t a recovery program along the lines I’ve described just out of the question as a political matter? And isn’t advocating such a program a waste of time? My answers to these two questions are: not necessarily, and definitely not. The chances of a real turn in policy, away from the austerity mania of the last few years and toward a renewed focus on job creation, are much better than conventional wisdom would have you believe. And recent experience also teaches us a crucial political lesson: Read the rest of this entry »

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Atlanta Federal Reserve: Southeast employment up in May

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 18, 2012

Slowly, but surely, the signs that our nation’s economy is improving are emerging.

They’re not rapid, they’re not massive, but they’re there.

And like a trickle that becomes a raging river, it’s beginning to rain.

District employment increases modestly in May

06/18/2012
Payroll employment 6th district 1/11-5/11

Payroll employment 6th district 1/11-5/11

The Sixth District as a whole added 9,000 jobs in May, following 9,600 new payrolls in April, and 18,900 in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Alabama, Florida, and Georgia recorded payrolls increases while Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee reported payroll decreases. Georgia was primarily responsible for the net positive District increase.

Payroll employment 6th district states 1_11-5_11

Payroll employment 6th district states 1/11-5/11

The District unemployment rate was Read the rest of this entry »

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Congressional Budget Office: Food Assistance Rate to Grow

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, April 19, 2012

While not totally bright, the CBO report is not totally grim, either.

Here’s why.

The method by which unemployment figures are calculated does NOT take into account people whom have STOPPED looking for work. Many – if not most – of those people would accept work, were suitable work offered to them. They have stopped looking for work for many reasons, not the least of which is that they have become despondent from their unfruitful job search.

Now, when the unemployment rate begins to rise again, we will actually see an INCREASE in the rate.

Why?

Because many of the people whom had previously stopped looking for work, will again resume their job search. Thus, they will be counted among the unemployed, whereas previously, they were not counted among the unemployed.

How does the methodology of counting the unemployed relate to this report about rising participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?

In many cases, the rates of unemployment, in conjunction with the expiration of unemployment compensation benefits, correlates strongly with want and poverty.

Thus, if the CBO says the rates will grow, we can make a reasonable estimate that the strength of economic recovery will have taken hold, and be in full swing.

As an observation aside, examine the larger infographic, and look at the states with the highest rates of SNAP utilization. Most of them are in the Southeast: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia. Those states were formerly Democratic strongholds, and have now swung strongly toward Republican politics. Three other states – Maine, Michigan, and Oregon – also have SNAP utilization rates above 18% of their population.

What would happen politically if Republicans were allowed to eliminate the SNAP program?

Food Stamp Rolls to Grow Through 2014, CBO Says

  • April 19, 2012, 1:58 PM ET

The Congressional Budget Office said Thursday that 45 million people in 2011 received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, a 70% increase from 2007. It  said the number of people receiving the benefits, commonly known as food stamps, would continue growing until 2014.

Click for larger CBO infographic.

SNAP infographic - Click for much LARGER image.

Spending for the program, not including administrative costs, rose to Read the rest of this entry »

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Rising Job Numbers: Will they Buoy the President’s re-election Chances?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 10, 2012

Recently, the Obama administration has justifiably trumpeted news from the Department of Labor Statistics that hiring hiring by the private sector has increased significantly, and added 227,000 jobs in February while the national unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent.

With 233,000 jobs added by private businesses, this marks the 24th consecutive month of private sector job growth. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

This is good news for everyone, especially individuals, private households, the economy at large, small businesses, including Read the rest of this entry »

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On the Importance of Human Dignity (wherein I attempt an explanation of why we’re in this mess)

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, December 3, 2011

It’s 2011 – very nearly 2012 – and the world seems in an uproar.

The Greek/Euro banking/debt crisis looms. The American banking/debt crisis looms larger yet.

Unemployment is at an all-time high in the United States and abroad. The Arab Spring uprising has deposed dictators in Egypt, Libya and the Middle East. Terror and anti-terror wars in Pakistan, Afghanistan & Iraq have gone on for very nearly a decade.

And the stateside Occupy Wall Street movement has become an international phenomenon with sit-ins/camp-outs/protests/demonstrations in Canada, and other nations, while general labor strikes in London have been, or will be ongoing amidst riotous demonstrations and worldwide unrest which have the potential to destroy any nation’s status quo.

Climatological changes never before witnessed have the scientific community hotly debating whether such changes are cyclical, or whether they’re induced. All the while, the polar ice caps continue a highly-documented and steady erosion by melting directly underneath an ever-increasing hole in the ozone layer – which layer protects the Earth from harmful solar radiation.

Earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan and Southeast Asia – brought about by deep sub-oceanic earthquakes – have destroyed nations’ shore lines and cities in the Far East and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the intensity and frequency of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts have wreaked havoc at home in the U.S. and abroad.

And fracking – the geological practice of rupturing the Earth very deeply to force out petroleum – is rapidly becoming a commonplace practice in oil exploration efforts in the United States – which practice will doubtlessly spread worldwide.

The increasing democratization of the world enabled by the Internet and social networking tools – among them the almost ubiquitous smartphone – have brought Read the rest of this entry »

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How to fix this ROTTEN economy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 11, 2011

Here are a few “quick” points, and anecdotal observations, followed by solutions.

According to published reports, unemployment has ranged, on national average, between 9-12%. However, some suggest that the real unemployment rate may be much higher, in some cases, up to twice – or more – of the reported figure. Adding strength to that argument is the fact that 1.) the government reports Read the rest of this entry »

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Unemployed? Mortgage Trouble? Facing Foreclosure? Live in Alabama?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Help is HERE!

If you are an unemployed Alabamian, down on your luck – and in this economy, who’s NOT?!? – and are facing the possible disaster of losing your family’s home… becoming homeless, THERE IS HELP AVAILABLE, right now!

Click on this link for additional details, and to apply for help: “Hardest Hit Alabama.”

FYI, that is a SECURE website. That is, the https protocol is used. (The reader should be aware that there are other links within this entry, most of which are informational. The “Hardest Hit Alabama” link, however, is directly to that site: https://www.hardesthitalabama.com/index-static.html.

Here’s a brief primer from the site on the foreclosure prevention program. Read the rest of this entry »

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Feel like an economic victim? Here’s how to TAKE CONTROL!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Great Seal of The State of Alabama

Seal of the Great State of Alabama - Sweet Home Alabama

You’re laid off, the victim of downsizing, or your company went belly up… and you can’t find work.

What to do next? Read the rest of this entry »

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Bob Riley loses Hyundai to Georgia

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, March 6, 2010

Governor Bob Riley (R), whom crowed about Hyundai Motor Manufacturing’s construction of a new plant in Montgomery, must be eating crow now.

Apparently, Hyundai will be moving OUT of Montgomery to West Point, GA.

Though federal law requires advance notification of layoffs, Hyundai officials …Continue…

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