Morning Report: the labor market remains tight 6/9/15

Stocks are lower this morning on concern that Chinese growth is slowing. Bonds and MBS are lower.

Wholesale Inventories increased 0.4% in April, while wholesale sales rose 1.6%. The inventory to sales ratio was 1.29x, which is on the high side. This means that unless sales increase markedly, manufacturers will have to slow down production to work down the excess inventory. This would dampen GDP growth going forward.

Job openings hit 5.4 million in April, the highest number since the survey began in late 2000. The “quits rate,” which is an important data point for the Fed is inching up to 1.9% from 1.7% a year ago.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism index rose to 98.3 in May, finally approaching “normalcy.” Money quote regarding the labor market: “Owners report that the labor market is, from an historical perspective, getting very tight. Owner complaints about “finding qualified workers” are rising, job openings are near 42 year record high levels, and job creation plans remain solid. Over 80 percent of those hiring or trying to hire in May reported few nor no qualified applicants. This is inconsistent with current Fed policy, which has no impact on the supply of qualified workers.” In terms of biggest concerns for small business, quality of labor (not cost) remains the #3 biggest concern, behind taxes and government regulation. Quality of labor has now displaced “poor sales” on the top 3 list.

The Chinese stock market bubble continues to inflate despite a weakening economy. The Chinese government is basically endorsing the rally, and is changing the rules regarding margin selling to ease the problem of forced selling. China is undoubtedly having an episode similar to the US in the 20s and Japan in the 80s. It may (and probably will) go on for a lot longer than people think it will. But with each passing day, the “investments” get more marginal and more speculative, and the whole edifice is built on borrowed funds, which always seems to end badly when the music stops.

Completed foreclosures fell to 40,000 in April, down from 50,000 a year ago, according to CoreLogic. The seriously delinquent rate fell to 3.6%, the lowest since Feb 2008. About 521,000 homes are in some stage of foreclosure, down from 694,000 a year ago. Foreclosure inventory remains the highest in the judicial states of New Jersey and New York. Note, New York is going to do something about zombie foreclosures: vacant homes which are taking their time to get through the process. Lest anyone think they are doing this to give investors a chance to limit their losses, the real reason is so they can sue if they are unhappy with the way the property is being maintained.

84 Responses

  1. Yep.

    “Mike Rowe thinks ‘hard work’ shouldn’t be a conservative vs. liberal issue. But it is.
    By Hunter Schwarz
    June 9 at 11:43 AM”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/06/09/mike-rowe-thinks-hard-work-shouldnt-be-a-conservative-vs-liberal-issue-but-it-is/?tid=trending_strip_6

    Like

    • yello:

      A feminist who thinks Caitlyn Jenner is a man, baby.

      If only there were some way to settle the matter scientifically.

      Like

  2. hawt blue-on-blue action…

    Like

  3. Jesus women are stupid.

    Like

  4. Troll. they want to waste their time figuring out how tab A does or doesn’t go into slot B, let them. they are jokes who will amount to nothing. here’s what i do every time i see something like that.

    “by the time they figure out what went wrong [with their lives], we’ll be sitting on a beach, earning twenty percent. ”

    Like

  5. also — the idea that gender is a spectrum is just about the dumbest thing i think i’ve ever heard. gender is binary.

    Like

    • nova:

      the idea that gender is a spectrum is just about the dumbest thing i think i’ve ever heard. gender is binary.

      Yet somehow it is those on the right that are “science deniers”. Go figure.

      Like

  6. Yello, how many genders are there?

    Also, is there such a thing as being transracial?

    Like

    • From the NYT article:

      “Abortion rights and reproductive justice is not a women’s issue,” wrote Emmett Stoffer, one of many self-described transgender persons to blog on the topic.

      Hah. When I said exactly that it resulted in a huge brouhaha with Okie announcing her departure from ATiM.

      It is “a uterus owner’s issue.”

      Not quite what I meant!

      Ah, the perils of identity politics in a time where identity is nothing but a function of one’s own whims.

      Like

  7. Yello, how many genders are there?

    How many do you want?

    Also, is there such a thing as being transracial?

    Race is a completely sociological construct.

    Like

    • yello:

      Race is a completely sociological construct.

      I thought the whole transgender movement is based on the idea that gender is, as well.

      Like

  8. But transgenderism isnt? That’s your position?

    Like

  9. Race is a completely sociological construct.

    what?

    unless you are substituting “race” for “culture”

    Like

  10. it’s a social construct until society moves to the desired viewpoint. then it’s science and can’t be questioned.

    Like

  11. Yello, should chick-only colleges be forced to accept transgendered? If not, why not? Does it alter your calculus if they take Federal money?

    Like

    • Yello, should chick-only colleges be forced to accept transgendered?

      I know one person who enrolled in a chick-only (to use your endearing description) college and graduated as a man.

      My one life goal has been to attend the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival except they have a very strict women-born women only attendance policy. That’s when I took a sex change operation off the table as an option for me.

      Like

      • yello:

        My one life goal has been to attend the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival except they have a very strict women-born women only attendance policy.

        Shouldn’t that be a “womyn-born womyn only” policy?

        And I thought use of the word “womyn” had gone out in the ’70s?

        Like

  12. “novahockey, on June 9, 2015 at 1:16 pm said:

    Race is a completely sociological construct.

    what?

    unless you are substituting “race” for “culture””

    No, he actually believes what he says.

    Like

  13. Salon actually has a good piece on Reagan.

    ““Liberals still don’t take Reagan seriously enough”: New biographer says Reagan was postwar America’s FDR
    Despite his giant influence on U.S. politics, many of us still don’t understand the Gipper, H.W. Brands tells Salon
    Elias Isquith
    Tuesday, Jun 9, 2015 08:00 AM EST”

    http://www.salon.com/2015/06/09/liberals_still_dont_take_reagan_seriously_enough_new_biographer_says_reagan_was_postwar_americas_fdr/

    Like

  14. “they have a very strict women-born women only attendance policy.”

    Sounds like an illegal discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Like

  15. Is that a yes? Also is Transgenderism a social construct?

    If race is a social construct than you agree there is no such thing as immutable characteristics, correct?

    Like

  16. “yellojkt, on June 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm said:

    No, he actually believes what he says.

    Which chromosome is the Aryan gene located on?”

    Presumably next to the one that cause higher risks of heart disease etc for certain races and ethnicities. Skin color at birth is not a random occurrence.

    Like

  17. Which chromosome is the Aryan gene located on?

    So you believe that Transgenderism is a social construct?

    Like

    • McWing:

      So you believe that Transgenderism is a social construct?

      I think the progressive claim (although yello seems reluctant to make it explicit for some reason) is that gender itself is a social construct. Hence, if the classifications male and female have simply been willed into existence by society and have no referent to objective reality, then new classifications can also be willed into existence. Hence his response to your original question…”How many do you want?”

      Like

  18. “Skin color at birth is not a random occurrence.”

    but it is a lottery. so the game is rigged. and that’s how you square that circle. or whatever.

    Like

  19. One of the gals here got all butt-hurt cause I used the word “womyn.” I’d tread lightly yello.

    Or it’s ok cause your ideology is appropriately leftish.

    Like

  20. And I thought use of the word “womyn” had gone out in the ’70s?

    Well, the festival did start in 1976, so maybe it’s a throwback thing like NAACP or UNCF. Although they do use the term unironically all over their website.

    Like

  21. Yello, is Transgenderism a social construct?

    Do you believe in the concept of immutable characteristics?

    Thanks.

    Like

  22. Eye color is a social construct.

    Like

  23. Penis? Vagina? Testes? Ovaries? Uterus?

    Like

  24. “Penis? Vagina? Testes? Ovaries? Uterus?

    oh. oh. very small rocks!

    Like

  25. Penis? Vagina? Testes? Ovaries? Uterus?

    Immutable is a pretty strong word. There is a lot of variety in nature.

    Like

    • We once had a whole discussion here at ATiM in which I was told by several people that what made discrimination a Bad Thing was when it was done on the basis of immutable characteristics. So I guess, then, if race and gender are mutable, it is OK to discriminate on the basis of race and gender.

      Like

  26. in parts of nature. such variety in other parts of nature are better described as abnormalities.

    Like

    • abnormalities

      That is not a word that you are allowed to use these days.

      (Although I am the one that gets so much grief for being exacting in communication, progressive culture warriors know better than anyone the power of language, which is why they spend so much time attempting to both corrupt and police it.)

      Like

  27. Is that a no then?

    Like

  28. So I guess, then, if race and gender are mutable, it is OK to discriminate on the basis of race and gender.

    If you’re really dead set on discriminating, you’ll find a reason to.

    Like

    • yello:

      If you’re really dead set on discriminating, you’ll find a reason to.

      Everyone discriminates. The relevant question is the basis upon which the government should allow discrimination, or be allowed to discriminate.

      Like

  29. We can throw out civil rights law!

    Like

  30. We can throw out civil rights law!

    You needed an excuse to advocate for that?

    Like

  31. No, yello, you do, er did I guess since immutable characteristics are now merely social constructs.

    Like

    • We once had a whole discussion here at ATiM in which I was told by several people that what made discrimination a Bad Thing was when it was done on the basis of immutable characteristics.

      That would be this one, right?

      There is a big difference to me between (relatively) {emphasis added} immutable characteristics like skin color or gender and something that changes over the course of time for everyone like income.

      Like

  32. The progressive mindset in action:

    “Vollmer drives a Prius. The Schwartzes have a Mercedes. Vollmer prizes rough-hewn back yards with lots of vegetation. The Schwartzes appreciate a more manicured aesthetic. “Some people may question my motives,” Vollmer said. “But what’s happening in this town, these developers, tearing down old homes. I’m standing up for my rights. . . . And then this whole thing just kind of evolved” from that.”

    Her right to tell her neighbors what they are and are not allowed to build on their property.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/inside-the-great-chevy-chase-driveway-war/2015/06/08/e3979136-0ba2-11e5-a7ad-b430fc1d3f5c_story.html?tid=trending_strip_5

    Like

  33. chevy chase. of course. and that photo could be a stock photo of “old insufferable hippie”

    Like

  34. have we reached perk derp? I mean, geez. we must look like idiots

    Like

  35. The ironies of the left continue apace

    Huh? Is Nicholas Wade a leftie because he used to write for the New York Times but is now in the Wall Street Journal?

    Because the New York Times was not very complimentary to Wade’s work:

    Mr. Wade occasionally drops in broad, at times insulting assumptions about the behavior of particular groups without substantiating the existence of such behaviors, let alone their genetic basis. Writing about Africans’ economic condition, for example, Mr. Wade wonders whether “variations in their nature, such as their time preference, work ethic and propensity to violence, have some bearing on the economic decisions they make.”

    But Jeb Bush’s favorite author gives a much more favorable assessment in the WSJ:

    So one way or another, “A Troublesome Inheritance” will be historic. Its proper reception would mean enduring fame as the book that marked a turning point in social scientists’ willingness to explore the way the world really works.

    Like

    • yello:

      Is Nicholas Wade a leftie because he used to write for the New York Times but is now in the Wall Street Journal?

      No. The irony to which I was referring was the fact that, in rejecting the biological basis of race, those on the left who usually mock fundamentalists for rejecting evolution are implicitly doing exactly that themselves.

      Like

    • An interesting little game is available for those of us with both too much time and too much money on our hands.

      We can have our DNA tested for ethnic/regional history. The results for those of my friends and acquaintances who have done it tend to support the notion that most of us are cousins of some degree.

      We do not have to go back to the dawn of human existence to see the arithmetic behind this. Jesus lived 70 generations ago, allowing 30 years for a generation, but considering that generations were shorter at one time, we could call it 100 generations without much of a stretch. Besides, 100 generations is easier to work with.

      Everyone alive, and everyone who ever lived, had two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, and so on. Thus each of us had about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ancestors at the time of Jesus.

      Right?

      Take it back another 30,000 years and the numbers are even more absurd.

      There is only one human “race”, one species. There are physical variations within the race, but not so many as appear among domesticated dogs, by a long shot. However, I am willing to use “race” as a descriptive of broad categories of similar variances, such as skin color, eye shape, hair structure, and the like because it is convenient and because I am not an evolutionary biologist, nor a biological anthropologist, nor a geneticist.

      Thus, I am “white”.

      Like

  36. Heh.

    Like

  37. Yello, is it wrong if I as a Caucasian, *feel* black, apply and am accepted by a state institution of higher learning that gives preference to those that apply and are black because they are under the impression that I am black?

    If so, why?

    Like

  38. “There is only one human “race”, one species.”

    Well then we can dispense with the unnecessary categories on the census and college applications.

    Like

    • Well then we can dispense with the unnecessary categories on the census and college applications.

      If I were King, that would work.

      As I wrote, I’m willing to use the popular categories, so don’t corner me on a biologically correct if socially inept statement.

      How many genders are there?

      I don’t know. Two, or 2.5. Two for sure. But I know hormonally challenged almost males and almost females. At least, I think they are hormonally challenged. I haven’t inspected their parts. I don’t want to put stumbling blocks before the lame and the halt, which translates here to having sympathy for the hormonally challenged, who need not be treated like misfits because they are different. How people look is pretty superficial when we are talking about human rights, but it takes on a different coloration if persons with dicks want to use the ladies’ room, or attend Vassar, or convicts with vaginas want to be in male prisons.

      Thinking this is a statistically minimal issue, one for which authorities can just say “no”, I am not going to worry about it.

      Like

      • Mark:

        Thinking this is a statistically minimal issue, one for which authorities can just say “no”, I am not going to worry about it.

        Do you worry more when the statistically minimal issue ends up with statistically oversized political clout resulting in authorities not only not just saying “no”, but telling everyone else they can’t say no either? That is, after all, where all this absurdity has us headed.

        Like

      • Mark:

        As I wrote, I’m willing to use the popular categories, so don’t corner me on a biologically correct if socially inept statement.

        There are some biologists/geneticists who would say that it isn’t biologically correct.

        Like

        • There are some biologists/geneticists who would say that it isn’t biologically correct.

          I didn’t know that. I have read the single origin + migration + natural selection for region/climate/diet + more migration + re-mixing of populations = statistical variance with populations exhibiting different color skin, cheekbone height, eye sockets, hair, and other adaptations for 60 years. So fill me in on the latest stuff. Seriously.

          There is big shit and little shit, in my world. State universities refusing entry to blacks until well after WW2 was big shit. Not allowing women on Grand Juries after they were on the voter lists was big shit. Big shit deserves federal intervention, at least through the courts enforcing the Civil Rights Acts. To me, who gets to use the Ladies Room is annoying little shit that should be left in the hands of the owners and tenants of the building, depending on the lease terms. “Big shit-Little shit” distinctions is what suspect classifications are all about. Thus life insurance is cheaper for women than for men, based on a statistical analysis, and men lose that case.

          Because one person’s mountain may be another’s molehill we get odd litigation, like the males who sued to be Hooter’s waitresses [and lost]. I put the cake episodes in that category and think the caterers should prevail, eventually. But what I think should happen doesn’t always happen. And I think the collateral damage caused by organized protests to the caterers and florists who wouldn’t sell to SS weddings has been awful, but I haven’t thought up a remedy yet.

          I don’t get pissed off easily. The last Supreme Court decision of note that truly pissed me off was Kelo, although I have disagreed with several cases since. Which reminds me that I truly would have been comfortable arguing either side of the “Jerusalem” case, or either defending or attacking GWB’s signing statement about the “Jerusalem” legislation.

          Like

        • Mark:

          So fill me in on the latest stuff. Seriously.

          I linked to this WSJ article yesterday by Nicholas Wade, about his book on exactly this topic.

          http://www.wsj.com/articles/nicholas-wade-race-has-a-biological-basis-racism-does-not-1403476865

          In a book published last month, “A Troublesome Inheritance,” I have tried to draw some of the tension from this fraught subject by showing that the understanding of genetic differences between human groups does not lead to racism. The human genome confirms what common sense would suggest, that there is clearly a biological basis to race.

          The genome shows that the races are not separated by genes—everyone has the same set—nor even by alleles, the alternative forms of each gene that arise from mutations. Rather, there is a continuum of variation in which the races differ predominantly in the relative frequency of their alleles. It’s hard to see a master race in allele frequencies. The genome emphatically declares the unity of humankind.

          The human genome records that natural selection has been regional, meaning that a largely different set of genes has changed under evolutionary pressure in each race. This is just what would be expected given that the populations on each continent have responded to different local challenges. Some of these selected genes are active in the brain, though with unknown function, confirming that the brain is no more exempt from evolution than is the body.

          Like

        • I linked to this WSJ article yesterday by Nicholas Wade, about his book on exactly this topic.

          Nicholas Wade is hardly a mainstream thinker on this topic. His book has drawn praise from non-scientists like Charles Murray and Steve Sailer but scientists are less enthusiastic. <a href="http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/pub/a-troubling-tomeAmerican Scientist magazine" had this to say:

          So is Wade right? Are there human races? Is the variation seen between different cultures and locations best explained by genetic differences between human populations? And have anthropologists been turning a blind eye to the evidence in front of them?

          There is no shortage of scientific information, and it gives a clear answer: no.

          Wade’s claim that races really do exist is based partly on genetic sampling of geographically distant populations. These samples appear to show clustering into distinct groups by gene variants, also known as alleles. But sampling geographically distant parts of a continuum and ignoring the regions between the samples can provide apparent clustering that does not actually prove the existence of discrete groups.

          [snip}

          Without boundaries or predictive value, race isn’t a valid biological concept. Human races may have existed in the past—just as there are subspecies of a number of different mammals, including chimpanzees—and they could exist in the future. Nonetheless, to this point the history of Homo sapiens has not led to a known emergence of distinct races. We evolved recently, spread quickly, and in many regions interacted readily. Race is a powerful and important social construct, and in that way it is very real, but it is not a biological useful concept for understanding human diversity.

          Wade’s views seem to be most popular among people who are predisposed to view race as an important sociological factor.

          Like

        • yello:

          Nicholas Wade is hardly a mainstream thinker on this topic.

          And science, of course, is all about joining the crowd.

          It’s interesting to see an appeal to the “mainstream” from someone who thinks gender is a function of subjective feelings rather than physical biology.

          Wade’s views seem to be most popular among people who are predisposed to view race as an important sociological factor.

          I get the exact opposite impression. It seems to me to be least popular among those on the left who place huge importance on race and racial classifications.

          Like

        • Wade’s book has gotten a great deal of praise on websites such as V-Dare where John Derbyshire (late of National Review) gushed over it and American Renaissance which lamented it didn’t go far enough:

          It is gratifying to see someone firmly planted in the mainstream poke the regime in the eye, and the regime’s reaction will be a diverting spectacle. Bravo Mr. Wade, and we wish him a thick skin—though we wish he had not been quite so circumspect on certain matters.

          So Wade’s message is being well received in certain quarters.

          Like

        • yello:

          So Wade’s message is being well received in certain quarters.

          To me how well Wade’s message is received, or where it is (or isn’t) well received, is relatively meaningless. What matters is whether his claims are correct.

          Like

        • yello’s link to Derbyshire did result in me finding this interesting tidbit, from a NYT article by Professor Jerry Coyne, of the evolution and ecology departments at the University of Chicago:

          Watson is also keen about searching for genes that can cause differences in behavior or differences in personality among individuals and groups. As he sees it, ”Knowledge, even that which may unsettle us, is surely to be preferred to ignorance, however blissful in the short term the latter may be.” I am not so sanguine. What possible good, for example, could come from a study of genetic differences in I.Q. between ethnic groups?

          A finding of ”no difference” may slightly reduce racism, but it would surely be disregarded by most bigots. The opposite finding would have disastrous consequences: institutionalized racism and odious social policies.

          An interesting approach to science and the quest for knowledge. Wonder how much this kind of thinking plays a part in the science surrounding global warming alarmism.

          Like

    • jnc:

      Well then we can dispense with the unnecessary categories on the census and college applications.

      Not to mention the unnecessary “suspect classification” under equal protection clause law. And the Justice department will no longer have any grounds on which to control districting in places like Texas. And government bodies like the NIH will no longer be doling out taxpayer funded grants aimed at attracting non-existent categories of people into science fields.

      The potential benefits are immense.

      Like

  39. What matters is whether his claims are correct.

    And how is that determination made?

    Like

    • yello:

      And how is that determination made?

      Scientific inquiry.

      Like

      • Scientific inquiry.

        From the American Scientist review I linked to earlier:

        Ultimately, Wade claims that modern anthropology ignores key scientific information for political reasons, yet his own arguments are only thinly supported by data, and much of the data he does reference isn’t rigorous. To his credit, he refutes certain racist notions associated with the idea of genetic determinism, and he speaks against social Darwinism and similar concepts. But if that verbiage were excised, his book would fit comfortably in the early to mid-20th century literature on race and human variation. A Troublesome Inheritance is itself troubling, not for its politics but for its science. Its arguments are only mildly amended versions of arguments discarded decades ago by those who methodically and systematically study human behavioral variation across cultures.

        Like

        • yello:

          I am not equipped to arbitrate a scientific dispute between Wade and Greg Laden. But, seemingly unlike you, I do not assume that Laden is an authority beyond question. And particularly given the political toxicity of the topic, I find the idea that political rather than scientific considerations might be influencing someone to be more probable for Laden than Wade. Much more probable, in fact. (See Professor Coyne from below.)

          I am also skeptical of the notion that evolution suddenly stopped in humans once they started to depart to different parts of the globe, or that the human brain is somehow exempt from evolutionary forces. Political correctness, though, is a powerful force so I guess I should never underestimate what it might accomplish.

          BTW, the fact that Laden spent almost his entire “review” detailing his own theory for behavioral variation, didn’t even mention Wade or his claims until the last sentence of his penultimate paragraph, and can’t even bother to quote a single sentence that Wade actually wrote, makes me wonder whether either Laden or Scientific American is aware of what a book review is actually supposed to be. That doesn’t increase my level of confidence in either as an authority on what they are ostensibly reviewing.

          Like

  40. Something’s just aren’t done Bagger.

    Like

  41. I don’t understand the point(s) of contention. I take “immutable” to mean not within one’s power to alter in a lifetime, Michael Jackson.

    I don’t understand how what Scott quoted is significantly different from what I wrote. What is the point?

    Like

    • Mark:

      I don’t understand how what Scott quoted is significantly different from what I wrote.

      From your “biologically correct” claim I understood you to be saying that there is no biological basis to idea of various races among humans. Wade claims the precise opposite: “The human genome confirms what common sense would suggest, that there is clearly a biological basis to race” and “The human genome records that natural selection has been regional, meaning that a largely different set of genes has changed under evolutionary pressure in each race.”

      As you can probably tell from yello’s posts, Wade’s claims are highly controversial and scandalous, although whether it is his scientific claims, or simply the potential implications of them, that are controversial is somewhat of a question.

      Like

  42. Whether gender and race are ‘social constructs” that each individual can determine for themselves, or if they are based on objective, observable traits.

    Like

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