Jobless Rate Drops: Is the Worst Over?

This is quite good news:

The American economy lost 247,000 jobs in July, and in a reversal, the unemployment rate fell slightly, to 9.4 percent, the government reported Friday. Although businesses are expected to keep cutting jobs through the rest of the year, the Labor Departmentís latest figures offered some faint signs that the sinking job market was approaching bottom.

There was improvement in the broader measure of unemployment (U6) as well, with that rate dropping from 16.5% to 16.3%. If employment can bounce back quickly, then the recession may indeed not be as bad as many, including me, feared. Time will tell.

Speaking for me only

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    Man (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by CST on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:45:08 AM EST
    I sure hope so.

    It feels like things are turning.  But we all live in our own personal bubbles.

    You should see my bubble (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:50:29 AM EST
    Everything is the fine, the same wage has shown up the same day of every month.....what is everyone whining about :)?  If I hadn't been a single mother for as long as I was and if most of my family weren't small business owners I'd just go shopping :)  

    My own (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by CST on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:55:17 AM EST
    very personal bubble is more than fine.  I am doing better financialy than I ever have.  That being said, I know a lot of unemployed people.  They are slowly but surely starting to find work.  Then again, my state/city was never as bad as a lot of the country.  And the people I know tend to be well educated, cheap, and fairly qualified.

    I have been doing a good amount of shopping as well.  Mostly for stuff I need, but it's amazing how much a bad economy can convince me that buying that new pair of shoes is "good for the country".  Not that I ever really needed much of an excuse :)


    I care about people being able to (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:47:31 AM EST
    survive.  There are long term economic repercussions to an overall economy sustaining this sort of unemployment for the length of time that ours is but I don't really care to focus on that much right now.  I care about the common man and the common woman and I will vote accordingly.

    Table A-12, U-6 (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by SOS on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:52:52 AM EST
    Total unemployed plus all marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers at 16.8%.  


    This confusing (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:56:14 AM EST
    The news reports clearly stated otherwise.

    We need to get to the bottom of this.


    Employment-to-population ratio ... (none / 0) (#50)
    by RonK Seattle on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:45:30 AM EST
    ... is probably the most robust figure of merit.

    Down a tick, from 59.5 to 59.4 (seasonally adjusted) in this month's release.

    The news today is not that the news is good. The news today is that the news is better than anticipated.


    Not Seasonally-Adjusted (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by The Maven on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:33:44 AM EST
    The 16.8% figure for U-6 is the not seasonally adjusted number.  The figure generally being reported, showing the decline from 16.5% to 16.3% is the seasonally adjusted one, further to the right on the same row of Table A-12.  Working with the unadjusted totals is perfectly acceptable, so long as one is consistent in doing so and recognizes that there will be greater volatility in the index.  It's somewhat less useful, however, to follow the unadjusted figures for month-to-month comparisons unless one also notes the seasonal cyclicality.

    Thanks (none / 0) (#36)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:56:14 AM EST
    BTW (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:55:12 AM EST
    In case you are wondering, if this trend is real, it would mean I was wrong about the state of the economy and whether the measures implemented by the Obama Administration were sufficient to bring us out of the downward spiral.

    I certainly look at this data with a jaundiced eye, not the least reason being I like thinking I know what I am talking about.

    But there is nothing in the data supporting my view.

    The question is will this sustain. Remember there was an uptick in May as well.

    And the Stimulus (none / 0) (#32)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:34:46 AM EST
    has only reached 11% of what is going to be injected over the 2+ years. With an already moderately rising economy and recovering stock market combined with the other 89% of the Stimulus money we should do just fine.

    In fact I would not be surprised if much of the money slated for 2011 will not even been paid out due to no need.

    And I do agree with you - you were wrong.


    So, instead of an arterial hemorrhage, (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Anne on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:57:53 AM EST
    it's just, what, a slow bleed?

    I think it's worth considering that taking comfort in a .2% drop, when the number that precedes it is 16, is a bit like whistling past the graveyard.

    Anything positive is, of course, a good thing, and I hope it continues, but as long as jobs are being shed, then we haven't hit bottom, have we?  So the worst can't be over, can it?

    How do you assess the effect of those coming out of college, for example, who are not in the unemployment reporting because they didn't have jobs to begin with, and cannot get jobs because the market is already saturated with qualified and more experienced people looking for work, and there is little hiring taking place?

    The economy has lost (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by SOS on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:36:49 AM EST
    almost 5.7 million jobs over the last year, and 6.65 million jobs during the 19 consecutive months of job losses.

    Hardly what I would refer to as an "improvement".

    Broader question is (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by coast on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:02:27 AM EST
    what type of jobs are these that are being created.  If they are jobs that just keep people off the rolls for a short period of time, we will see an increase again.  I have a bad feeling this is the case.

    Yep. I think so, too (none / 0) (#46)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:30:46 AM EST
    from the jobs I'm seeing a few people get in my locale; see comments above re summertime industries.  Another I know just got her first job, after graduation, and I know how hard she worked to finally get through college.  The job is 'way below what similar grads got in recent years, and a recent study tells us the long-term effects of starting low, so this group of grads is going to suffer throughout their careers from starting now.

    Spouse is at a college that really tracks its grads better, and has story after story of how long it is taking recent grads to get jobs, what jobs they get if they do, and how much worse it is than for grads just a year or a few years ago.  And it's true for too many tech-school grads here, too.  Plus we are seeing that the recovery funding that was to be financial aid for laid-off workers to retrain in high-need fields like health care is simply not in place yet for fall.  It seems to be a story too similar to the problems with the fed home-mortgage help, which has helped only a few hundred folks.


    No homeowner bailouts (none / 0) (#63)
    by MyLeftMind on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:17:57 PM EST
    Instead of enacting Hillary's HOME/HOLC plan, Congress and O gave the banks money they could rely on to further hurt homeowners. Federally backed loans like VA have simple and effective solutions for homeowners. Change the rate to 4-5%, re-capitalize the interest and take the house off the foreclosure list. Conventional loans have no such support. The banks are sitting on the houses they can't make a profit from yet, while they survive off our little booster money ($45B to Citicorp alone). They refuse to offer lower rates and they're screwing Americans in foreclosure as we speak. The offers they make include re-capitalizing missed interest and even "missed principal" as if that is a valid amount owed by a homeowner. The "amount applied to principal" is how much your principal is reduced when you make a payment. If you don't make a payment that month, "amount to principal" does not exist. So if someone accepts the bank's highway robbery "offer." they have to pay double principal for any months they missed while out of work. I guess the banks think that's not illegal since the homeowner has the option to accept the unethical deal, or not.

    Anyone care to sue Citicorp for extortion during this economic crisis? Email me, I've got a sample of their dirty work.


    And even if the new jobs... (none / 0) (#49)
    by EL seattle on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:40:18 AM EST
    ... are full-time and permanent, how do their pay rate / benefits compare with the similar numbers for the jobs that have been lost?

    I keep thinking about all of the various jobs that exist at a "dinosaur industry" like newspaper publishing.  Lots of those jobs pay pretty well, with good benefits and sometimes even union representation.  When the newspaper closes (as many have over the past few months), most of those jobs go away, from reporters to press operators and delivery staff.

    If the stats that NPR is listing are correct (see ChiTownMike's post #26 above), hourly wages are averaging $18.50 and slowly moving higher.  Is this what most of the new jobs are paying for starting employees?  I'm a little skeptical about that.


    Just because (5.00 / 2) (#47)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:34:38 AM EST
    we may be reaching the bottom of the trough, it doesn't mean the trough will fill back up anytime soon.  The lost jobs may be lost forever.

    And what everyone else said, pay cuts, underemployment, "furloughs," "vacations" because human resources are on vacation, all factor into the hidden picture.  One month does not a trend make.  Let's see how things are going in December.

    I would be interested to see an analysis (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:20:09 AM EST
    of whether TARP had much to do with this.

    Do you think TARP did? (none / 0) (#10)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:43:53 AM EST
    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by andgarden on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:49:57 AM EST
    I do to (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:03:08 AM EST
    AP says:

    The slowdown in layoffs in part reflected fewer jobs cuts in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services and financial activities -- areas that have been hard hit by the collapse of the housing market and the financial crisis.

    Of course had banks and other financial institutions not been assisted with TARP loans or through the purchase of temporary equity positions there would have probably been massive layoffs in that sector. And of course the stock market would not have made the dramatic gains it has which is key in building Main Street confidence again via 401k's and other vehicles.

    Also of interest in AP:

    There also were fewer layoffs in the temporary-help industry, which analysts watch for clues about future hiring. Retailers, however, cut more jobs in July.

    Good news about temporary-help. Part time and temporary help is the first step to full time hiring in times like this.

    And of course a moderate but helpful back-to-school season coupled with a moderate but helpful holiday season would be great for retailers and the economy in general.


    Slowdown in layoffs (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:04:29 AM EST
    Fewer people to layoff then there were 6 months ago (especially in manufacturing) - they're already gone!

    Well if you want to continue (none / 0) (#29)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:24:50 AM EST
    your Chicken Little way of looking at everything then you can create a dark cloud for just about anything when you have no real stats to back up your particular claim. If manufacturing fell off another 20% are you saying there would not be corresponding layoffs? Of course there would be.

    In case you haven't heard new home building is up which will directly and positively affect manufacturing.


    Look at the auto industry (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:29:29 AM EST
    It's simple math:

    If 6 months ago, the auto industry had 100,000 employees and laid off 20% of their workforce, that would be 20,000 employees, which would leave them with 80,000 employees.

    Now (assuming all 80,000 are still there), they have to layoff another 20%, that would only be 16,000, so yes, it would be fewer people let go.


    Well that is one way to look at it (none / 0) (#34)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:46:36 AM EST
    but probably the wrong way. It cannot just be looked at and figured in percentages, although I used a percentage. I should have used units but I didn't anticipate a useless battle of math although I should have with Chicken Little.

    So instead lets use some firmer numbers. Lets say  the auto industry sales fell off by 'X' number of units which caused 20,000 people to be laid off. Now if auto industry sales fell off by and additional 'X' number of units it stand to reason that approximately the same number, 20,000, would have to be laid off.

    But whatever - you will probably find fault in that also because the sky is falling. have fun with it though by yourself because I don't care to waste any more time with hypothetical number crunching.


    Did you not drink your morning coffee? (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:49:42 AM EST
    Why are you so spastic and rude?  We are having a conversation here, but instead you choose to resort to name calling.



    We all get that way sometimes (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:49:29 AM EST
    But that commenter is like that all the time.

    I apologize for it. Just ignore him.


    No (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:23:21 AM EST
    And economists cautioned that the unemployment rate had only declined because 400,000 people gave up their search for work and left the labor force. The White House and economic forecasters still expect unemployment to reach 10 percent or more before it begins to fall.


    Now, even if the economy begins growing again this summer -- as many economists expect it will -- laid-off workers are likely to be among the last to benefit. Businesses that slashed their work force and inventories over the last year to cope with the economic deterioration are likely to hire temporary workers or pay overtime wages before they begin fielding applications for new full-time workers.

    That means hundreds of thousands more workers are likely to lose their jobs, perhaps well into next year. Many economists -- and President Obama -- have said they expect the unemployment rate to reach 10 percent before businesses begin hiring again.

    That does not make sense (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:25:40 AM EST
    U6 dropped 2 tenths of a percent as well.

    The explanation proffered does not make sense.


    I mean this (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:27:01 AM EST
    "And economists cautioned that the unemployment rate had only declined because 400,000 people gave up their search for work and left the labor force."

    did not make sense. That would not explain the drop in U6. The rest is certainly plausible.


    Maybe (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:40:53 AM EST
    They are just referring to the overall unemployment rate (U3) and not the U6.  I don't beleive the U6 also accounts for those forced into early retirements,  "underemployed" workers, or those working "under the table" - does it?

    You beat me (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by Zorba on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:52:04 AM EST
    to the "underemployed" question, jbindc.  ;-)

    I'm pretty sure it does (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:41:55 AM EST
    But don't quote me on that.

    Could be also (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:03:28 AM EST
    Lots of people don't look for work in the summer if they have a little bit of money to get buy on.  Those who can afford it, take the opportunity to use it as a "vacation" , and other still know that hiring managers and others are not in the office as much.  

    I think when fall starts and people get back in a "routine", you'll see a little truer picture.


    The U6 (none / 0) (#15)
    by Zorba on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:50:45 AM EST
    does count the "discouraged" workers, the "marginally attached" workers, and those working part-time but who would like full-time jobs.  However, do any of the Bureau of Labor Statistics measurements count the full-time workers who are under-employed (had to accept full-time jobs that paid less than their previous jobs)?  It strikes me that this, too, would be an important number to look at.  Those who are under-employed are not going to be buying houses (and may not be able to remain in the houses they are in), new cars, or consumer goods, but will be tightening their belts.  I cannot see how the economy will fully recover without full employment.

    That is an important point (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:52:29 AM EST
    and those numbers were also encouraging in the data released. The number of hours worked per week also increased.

    the last bit of data that I have not seen is what has happened to average wages. That is also critical.


    Well, how nice for everyone else (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:19:52 AM EST
    but a lot of us are getting pay cuts -- like mine called a "furlough," one that will last at least the next two years, and after having my raise due last year and then deferred to the end of the fiscal year then finally cancelled.  And when I say a lot of us, I work for the largest employer in my state -- the state itself -- and it is happening in many states.  Add to the "furlough" pay cut that we will have increasing health insurance costs, and the take-home pay cut will be about 10 percent.

    The impact will be seen soon, when states as the largest employers in their states deal with drops in income tax revenue.  Then they will have to raise taxes on everyone else, too, so those with increased wages may see less after taxes, too.  It's a nasty spiral that is one of the reasons, I think, that recovery will take a long time coming.


    Average wages have risen (none / 0) (#26)
    by ChiTownMike on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:17:57 AM EST
    according to NPR:

    [the] unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds hourly wages rising in July to $18.56 from $18.53 for June and May.

    And according to the chart at NPR wages have risen steadily since June '08.

    But of course in the game of dueling stats the Bureau of Economic Analysis says the small increase in July "may have stemmed in part from a one-time stimulus boost to Social Security recipients the month before".

    One thing for sure wages haven't fell dramatically which is a good thing. Anything short of south is a good thing.



    Average Wages (none / 0) (#28)
    by The Maven on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:23:14 AM EST
    "In July, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $18.56. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.5 percent, while average weekly earnings have risen by only 1.0 percent due to declines in the average workweek."  (Pages 3 and 25 of the full BLS release.)

    curious (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:33:49 AM EST
    how do they decide when some one "give up" and leaves the work force?
    isnt it just that they are dropped from the work force after one year.

    Your dreaming (none / 0) (#6)
    by SOS on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:35:05 AM EST
    We got a long ways to go before we hit bottom.

    Look (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 09:41:21 AM EST
    data is data.

    I;m not saying the worst is over but this data is certainly favorable to the view that the worst may be over.


    Channeling SteveM - grammar police (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:38:50 AM EST
    "Data are data", not "data is data" (datum being singular; data being plural.)

    Hee hee - I've always wanted to do that!


    Both Are Correct (none / 0) (#52)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 12:01:28 PM EST
    Now let's get back to our original question, is data singular or plural? Or, more accurately, is data a mass noun -- remember, a mass noun always takes a singular verb -- or is data a count noun,‡ the plural of datum.§

    As I said, both usages are standard. The count noun datum and its plural data, meaning "a given fact or assumption," were adopted from Latin into English by the seventeenth century (2); however, it wasn't till the late nineteenth century that data took on the modern sense of facts and figures. This shift in meaning also led some to start treating data as a mass noun.**

    So if data is correct as both a count noun and as a mass noun, which should you use? It comes down to style and personal preference. Many academic and scientific fields, as well as many publishers and newspapers, still insist on the plural count noun use of data, as in The data are compelling, but it is more commonly used as a singular mass noun, as in The data is compelling.


    Here's a quick and dirty tip to check your own use of data. If you wish to use data as a singular mass noun, you should be able to replace it in the sentence with the word information, which is also a mass noun. For example,

    Much of this information is useless because of its lack of specifics.

    If, however, you want to or need to use data as a plural count noun, you should be able to replace it with the word facts, which is also a plural count noun. For example,

    Many of these facts are useless because of their lack of specifics.

    Grammer Girl


    "Grammer" Girl is a joke (none / 0) (#55)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 12:40:04 PM EST
    I hope.  Or is this Kelsey Grammer's girl?

    LOL! (none / 0) (#56)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 12:45:24 PM EST
    I don't know if it's a joke, CC. But I do know grammer girl could not get a science paper past the editors use "data is" instead of "data are"! Maybe that's just my field, but it tortured me for a long time...

    BTW, sorry to hear about the furlough and cuts you've sustained. It is the same thing I'm hearing from so many of my friends and colleagues at many different colleges and universities. I hope things start looking up soon. State schools are really suffering.


    Wrong (5.00 / 0) (#57)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 12:51:00 PM EST
    Grammer Girl would get a science paper past the editors, because she is not as rigid as you seem to be. But I am sure that you did not bother to read the link, as you are always right.

    Not a joke:

    Many academic and scientific fields, as well as many publishers and newspapers, still insist on the plural count noun use of data, as in The data are compelling, but it is more commonly used as a singular mass noun, as in The data is compelling.

    Use whatever sounds better (none / 0) (#59)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:06:39 PM EST
    The "data are" sounds stuffy and pretentious imho.  Just a throwback to Latin enthusiasts--but English is a Germanic, not a Latin, language--at least in the beginning....

    I always thought (none / 0) (#64)
    by CST on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:21:11 PM EST
    English was a Latin AND Germanic language - however we managed that one.

    I DVRed (5.00 / 2) (#67)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:28:33 PM EST
    this wonderful series on the history of English on the History Channel--about 8 episodes called "The Adventure of English."  Fascinating stuff--at least to me....

    Germanic, then Roman/Latin, Norman/French, Vikings, and then more Latin was imported in the 1800s to use as legal terms (the doctors used Greek.)  English is a mess, a hodge-podge of everything and the language of the world--apparently because it is so flexible.


    So sorry, Dr. Molly (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:10:01 PM EST
    that you don't seem to know a thing about publishing in your field. :-)

    Yes, we know that a lot of good colleagues elsewhere at state schools are getting hit even worse -- so we also know that means the hits will keep coming in our state, too, which usually follows those trends.  The trouble is that, unlike systems in many of those other states, our has been taking budget hits for so long that we in ours are now at the point of severely cutting student service -- courses as well as other services.

    So we also have "laid off" aka not rehired many, many parttime instructors.  Some rather enjoyed the itinerant life, didn't want to get into the tough research-and-publish track, so did not take the advice to find more secure positions.  They are good teachers, but they were "temps" in that category set up by the higher-ups increasingly in recent years for these rainy days.  So students are finding far fewer interesting topic courses that added to our curricula in past, while they also will see larger class sizes in remaining courses.  I'll be handling hundreds this fall -- at the same time that I am to "furlough" myself with fewer hours to meet with them, since we are not to take furlough time in class time or in committee time.

    So the hit may have to come in office hours and such -- hours when I am not even to answer student email, apparently!  It's all so nutty.  We have said we would prefer it just be called what it is, a pay cut, rather than cut back on student contact time outside of class.  But at least I'm not faced with how to cut out course material.  I was trying to figure out just how to teach 3 percent less U.S. history. :-)


    CC - I've also heard a lot of stories (none / 0) (#76)
    by Dr Molly on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:04:47 PM EST
    from students and advising professors about courses being cut back so severely that students can't finish their degree programs on time because their required courses aren't being offered this year. This is bad enough for them, of course, but it's also bad for their parents or whomever is paying because it means more semesters to pay for. Crazy....

    I also have some colleagues at other types of research institutions -- like museums, genomics labs, and botanical gardens -- who are going through similar severe cuts and furloughs.


    Fortunately, we agreed on guidelines (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:29:09 PM EST
    'way last year, seeing all this meltdown coming, as to prioritizing curricular planning and much more.  Our number-one guideline agreed upon is to get students to graduation.  That's why many of those interesting elective topic courses are gone, why course size is up on remaining courses -- courses that meet more requirements.  And I also know, from experience with such cuts (but never so bad), that we can accomplish a lot with waivers of reqs . . . although they take a lot more time for students and faculty alike, as only we can approve waivers to the reqs that only we can approve in the first place.  (So it also means more time in keeping an eye on admins who may interlope on our curricular turf.:-)  And we must do all this within less time, per furlough strictures.  But so it goes, and as long as we can keep those students going up the aisle to "Pomp and Circumstance" to become grads. . . .

    p.s. Dr. Moll, read more (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:31:00 PM EST
    at the Grammar Girl (yes, she also is a Spelling Girl and has it correct:-) link -- the rest of the link, not quoted above -- as she agrees with you, quite clearly, re scientific writing.  Whew.

    but at least most of them (none / 0) (#85)
    by of1000Kings on Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 08:16:17 PM EST
    have new arenas and stadiums...yay...

    Is there really such a thing (none / 0) (#58)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:04:25 PM EST
    as correct grammar or usage?

    Correct grammar is just what is the prevailing norm....

    In the 1800s, all the educated folk felt that Latin was the perfect language, so our grammar and usage rules tended to often follow Latin, e.g., the rule against split infinitives....

    But English was very different in 700 A.D. and in 1300 and in 1800.  Shakespeare was written in the vernacular that the uneducated could understand....

    With texting and all sorts of informal e-mails, English will evolve yet again....It's whatever communicates the idea best--whether it be fractured abbreviations in text messages, or long passages of flowing prose in a Nineteenth Century novel.


    Yes, there is. (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:11:54 PM EST
    If you want to see the alternative to correct usage, I've got a stack of papers coming in next week that would persuade you.

    Wanna bet they'd like (none / 0) (#65)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:22:09 PM EST
    my grammar rules?

    But, really, is it as bad as I have heard:  few read books, and anyone who can write is an anomaly?  And, what on earth, can you do about it?

    Books are becoming obsolete, no?  The Kindle will make it so even faster....

    A shelf of nice books--I'm afraid such a thing will become a curio....a bunch of chotskies.


    As bad as it ever has been (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:31:58 PM EST
    but that means, as ever, that there still are the terrific students who are fine writers (and in many majors, interestingly -- some of my best have been in non-writing majors such as pre-med, music, etc.) and love books of the old paper-and-binding sort.

    However, I am not at all averse to and actually am among the early adopters of all sorts of new-tech alternatives -- electronic reserve, online readings (and other online course tools), etc.  It is reading and learning that matter, not how to access them, and the alternatives make so much more accessible/affordable to students and teachers alike.  We can go on "field trips" to the Library of Congress archives, for example, wherever we are!


    F*ck grammar... (none / 0) (#66)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:26:12 PM EST
    Well said MKS....if the person you're talking/writing to understands, you're good....if not, try a different word or phrase.  There is no right or wrong when it comes to communication.

    I'm a big fan and user of "ain't"...whenever somebody says it isn't a word I say of course it is, you know what it means don't ya, so how could it not be a word?

    We've got enough law and order in our lives already, lets not let it intrude into our communications.


    I dunno (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by CST on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:30:05 PM EST
    When I am reading something in a book/paper, grammar helps give it a certain flow.  Especially something already technical/hard to understand.  Bad grammar makes it incomprehensible.
    Blogs and speaking are different, clearly.

    I guess for technical writing... (none / 0) (#71)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:42:32 PM EST
    it makes sense...but artistically speaking, grammar is a curse instead of a blessing.  I find perfect grammar lacks soul, gimme slang and incorrect sentence structure when it comes to artistic writing and everyday communication.  It lends a certain realism to the work..perfect grammar is almost lifeless.

    Like this... (none / 0) (#72)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:46:31 PM EST
    CST from my boy ee cummings...grammatically correct this work and ya got absolutely nuthin', as is it is a thing of beauty...all imo of course.

    Buffalo Bill's


            who used to

            ride a watersmooth-silver


    and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat


    he was a handsome man

                          and what i want to know is

    how do you like your blueeyed boy

    Mister Death

    Music (none / 0) (#74)
    by CST on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:57:34 PM EST
    Is a whole 'nother ball game.  Where would rap be if the grammar police ran things?

    It would be... (5.00 / 1) (#77)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:06:45 PM EST

    "Residing in the Township of Compton, I am a mentally unstable chap that goes by the name of Ice Cube."


    Love me some e.e. cummings, too (none / 0) (#81)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:35:39 PM EST
    and of course, a perfect example of brilliance in breaking the rules -- because he knew them well.

    A good teacher does not stifle such creativity, kdog, don't worry.  The goal is communication, not grammar or spelling or syntax or such.  There are easy techniques we use that allow students to break rules if to achieve better communication -- of facts, of emotions, whatever, as poets do so well -- but also show us that they know that a rule is being broken.  Then we know that they know the rules when they many find themselves in those "day jobs" that require correct usage, the jobs that will pay their way at poetry slams or just to head home to write The Next Great American Novel.:-)


    Knowledge is never a bad thing Cream... (none / 0) (#82)
    by kdog on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:46:01 PM EST
    grammar knowledge is no exception, I hear ya...I just have little use for it personally, you know me and "rules":)

    You (none / 0) (#83)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 03:45:44 PM EST
    edify me continually as to the sort of thing that must be going on in the minds of some of my most interesting students.  Not always the "best" students, but the ones who will succeed by other definitions of success. :-)

    Hey (none / 0) (#53)
    by Steve M on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 12:11:07 PM EST
    I would not have touched that one.  Promise! :)

    Don't be too optimistic ... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:20:47 AM EST
    looks like a lot of this comes from a slow down in service sector job loss which is probably just a seasonal phenomena.  The hospitality industries small growth is indicative of this.

    September, October and November will really tell the tale.  If the rate can stay below double digits during this period that would be a good sign.

    But I wouldn't count on that.

    Summertime tourism industry? (none / 0) (#43)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:24:14 AM EST
    That means temporary work where I am, where tourism is the number-one industry.  It's down a lot this year, too, but down is not out, so some people got their seasonal tourism jobs.  They will be out of work again within a month, of course.

    And tourism/hospitality/etc. industry jobs do not pay what people's other jobs did, nor do they pay what the tourism industry used to pay.  I know this from my family, with a lot out of work, including one who was in the industry and was laid off.  To not have to call her back, the boss replaced the job with one that is not fulltime and for much less pay.  The person with that job now will be laid off after the summer, we suspect.  So it goes -- my family member is back in school to train for a more secure field.


    these number are ALWAYS... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Dadler on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:58:15 AM EST
    ...readjusted up later.  And based on what track record of honesty and integrity by the government, or any corporation for that matter, are we to childishly believe the numbers we are fed?

    Wages are flat, workers cannot get a raise.  This has been the case for decades.  And it is not changing.  Therefore, IMO, nothing else will either, except whatever new illusion or delusion we decided to adopt as our new hope.

    In that case (none / 0) (#39)
    by CST on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:59:48 AM EST
    wouldn't you probably expect all the numbers to get worse.  Therefore the month to month data is probably somewhat accurate in measuring change, not total.

    But not for the most recent month (none / 0) (#44)
    by Cream City on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:25:09 AM EST
    until the readjustment, so it's comparing apples to oranges.  I have seen, too, that the numbers always seem to get changed later.

    WH warns of more bad news to come (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 10:58:32 AM EST

    Despite "positive" news that the rate of unemployment slowed in July, the White House on Friday warned that more job losses are still expected.

    White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that the president is "pleased" that unemployment dipped to 9.4 percent, but that the administration is still only seeing signs that the economy is stabilizing and still expects unemployment to reach 10 percent this year.

    "I think it's going to be a long time before we see genuine, sustained, positive job growth," Gibbs told reporters in his West Wing office.

    Republicans on Friday blasted the Obama administration's stimulus efforts, noting that even though the rate dropped, there were almost 250,000 jobs lost.

    "The president said his stimulus bill would keep unemployment from rising higher than 8 percent. It hasn't," said Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee. "Now he expects Americans to believe his trillion-dollar healthcare experiment will improve their healthcare? It won't. America simply can't afford more of the president's costly experiments."

    But Gibbs said there is "no doubt that the Recovery Act has and is making a difference."

    "We're moving in the right direction, but we still have more work to do," Gibbs said.

    Gibbs hailed "the least bad jobs report we've had in a year" as "more evidence that we have pulled back from the edge and away from the brink of a depression."

    Will Hannity Apologize? (none / 0) (#41)
    by kevsters on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:19:27 AM EST
    Here is a clip of Hannity, just yesterday, saying that unemployment will go up.

    So should we all hold our breath for an apology today?

    Here is the clip.


    Why? (none / 0) (#45)
    by jbindc on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:27:21 AM EST
    The WH says it expects the numbers to go up.  Why should Hannity apologize?

    Well... (none / 0) (#54)
    by jarober on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 12:18:29 PM EST
    It all depends on whether this (from Yahoo Finance) is accounted for:

    The easing in the unemployment rate could have been the result of the labor force shrinking by 422,000 in July, far more than the 155,000 decline in June, suggesting jobless workers may have given up looking for new work.

    Having people fall off the end of the queue such that they no longer appear in the jobless stats is hardly new to this administration; it goes back decades.  One thing is for sure: this kind of statistical sleight of hand makes all the stats on unemployment for the last few decades very hard to understand.

    This isn't good news (none / 0) (#62)
    by FreakyBeaky on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:15:25 PM EST
    This is news that sucks less.  Big difference.  

    I stick to my position that the administration has grossly underestimated the weakness of the economy.  Would be nice to be wrong.  

    Wishful thinking (none / 0) (#69)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:31:08 PM EST
    We have a ways to drop before hitting bottom. Next up: The Alt-A resets and the crash in commercial real estate. Oh boy!

    The administration hasn't done a thing about job losses and has barely whispered the word "jobs" since Obama took office. It's a combination of not knowing what to do and not caring enough to find out. Look, I don't know what the answer is, either -- although personally I would have preferred seeing the TARP money spent on a modern-day version of the WPA and the CCC. But I also don't need to know: I wasn't the one who wanted the damn job of running for president. Obama did, despite all evidence that he wasn't up to the job.

    So now what? Nothing in the economy can be fixed without job creation. Falsely propping up car sales and bleating about home prices and offering up half-baked "healthcare reform" that's a giant sweet sloppy kiss to the insurance industry -- NONE of these things are going to do anything to ease people's suffering. People need jobs, period. If Obama and his merry band of DINOs gave a damn about the people they bamboozled into voting for him, this is where they would train their efforts.

    Wishful thinking. We have a loooong way to go.

    Linkies (none / 0) (#73)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 01:50:56 PM EST
    All, h/t to patrick.net:

    Wages and salaries, which drive recoveries in spending, fell 4.7 percent in the 12 months through June, the biggest drop since records began in 1960, according to Commerce Department figures released yesterday. The Obama administration's tax cuts, extended jobless benefits and a one-time Social Security bonus have helped mask the damage done by the worst employment slump since the Great Depression.

    http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2009/08/wages-and-salaries-fell-47-most-on.html?ref=patri ck.net

    The second quarter of 2009 saw leasing and sales conditions across the U.S. office market plummet at a rate unforeseen in previous analysis by CoStar Group, Inc. In particular, CoStar confirmed that the value of Class A office buildings has declined by 57% compared with prices paid at the peak of the market in 2007.

    In addition, office-leasing activity is off 39% from year-ago levels and all but three U.S. office markets posted negative net absorption over the first two quarters of 2009.



    it can take years for a worker's earnings to bounce back after a layoff, and that it can take even longer for a layoff during a recession. Economists, in fact, say income losses for workers who are let go in a recession can persist for as long as two decades, a depressing prognosis for the several-million people who have lost their jobs in the current recession.

    "On average, most workers do not recover their old annual earnings," said Till von Wachter, an economics professor at Columbia University, who recently completed a working paper with two other economists that examined the long-term earnings of workers who lost their jobs in the recession of the early 1980s.


    I'm a statistic (none / 0) (#75)
    by PlayInPeoria on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:03:37 PM EST

    Long-term unemployment is also dangerous for the economy as a whole. One quarter of the long-term unemployed permanently leave the workforce, a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office found, producing increased loss of output in the economy. Long-term unemployment burdens social services, diminishes spending levels in the economy and drains overall savings. It can also affect unemployment among young, first-time job-seekers. "Long-term unemployment is debilitating for people trying to find jobs in the first place," says Professor James K. Galbraith of the University of Texas at Austin. The more long term unemployed there are already competing for jobs with long résumés, the harder it is for first timers with no work experience to get the job, thereby tossing them into the pool and sustaining the high rate.

    Sorry about quoting Time... but several other articles support this oppinion.

    I'm one of those long-term unemployed, tight fisted consumers that will need to get back to work. I have a degree and 12 years of experience in computer networking. I worked for the firm for 9 years. I will not be called back.. the midwest company is Chapter 11 and restructuring.

    I was laid off with other "older" workers (we make more money so we got laid off) that will need to be retrained and work until we die.

    The economy would have to grow like it did under Bill Clinton to get me back to work. (Read it on the Web but cannot find the source.)

    When I apply for a job... there are thousands of other applicants... eventually my unemployment will run out.. and then I won't be counted any more.

    Yup (none / 0) (#78)
    by DancingOpossum on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 02:22:43 PM EST
    Brutal but true. So sorry to hear of your terrible situation.

    The youngsters look at me like I'm hallucinating when I describe the Clinton years.

    perhaps the worst is over (none / 0) (#84)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Aug 07, 2009 at 11:02:45 PM EST
    from a job loss perspective.  But that is not the pressing issue.  in 2003-6 the economy grew based on credit based consumption.  We had about 1.6t in credit before 2003 outsanding.  We are now at 2.5t outstanding.  We created an industry based on consumption spend and it drove the economy creating jobs.  For the next 2-4 years we will have increased savings and increased debt pay down.

    The bigger concern is no longer job loss but from what industry will job creation be derived.  It took 46 months to return to peak employment last recession with job creation coming from credit fueled spend.  We don;t have that option now.

    The stimulus will help with debt pay down and stabilization of sorts but this will be a long hard slog.  So as excited as i get about 247 (and i am very excited as a labor geek) i know that we have a double dip coming and a questionable recovery on the horizon.

    Third quarter earnings will be interesting as we will be comparing to the cliff dive last year and as corporations have to readjust to a "new economy" that won't be spurred by cheap and easy credit.   When was the last time you received a credit card offer in the mail????