Archive for April, 2010


Friday, April 30th, 2010

(1) Verb:  To review something and edit it so it “looks better”… but is no longer factual.

(2) Verb:  When a company’s auditor permits false and fraudulent accounting or reporting.

The Essence of Wealth?

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I spotted this quote over on The Big Picture today, and thought it apropos given the subtitle of this blog (“making the most of time and treasure”):

“Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures but in the use made of them.” —Napoleon Bonaparte

(Whatever one thinks of Napoleon, he certainly knew something about both treasure and many of its uses!)

From this perspective, much of Wall Street, though it has accumulated “treasure”, knows nothing of “riches”. Money not responsibly invested is wasted wealth, as is the labor (“time”) of those involved. If you really want to learn about modern investment opportunities to increase your wealth just go to to get some tips.

It is also worth pointing out that banks do not own their money.  They merely borrow it from their depositors and other creditors.  If they accumulate riches (i.e. siphoning profits off the spread between their borrowing costs and their lending rates), it is only because they are better at making “use” of your treasure than you are!

Weekly Claims Data Improve Further; Oscillator down to 31% from 43%

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

DOLETA reports 414,657 actual unemployment claims for the week ending April 3, and puts that at 460,000 seasonally adjusted, an increase of 18,000 from the prior week. The media spin on this is negative. BUT… As shown below, this is actually a very favorable weekly claims report.  Last week the claims number was 41% of the way up from the low values of 2006-2007 to the high value of 2009 *for this week*; this week it is only 31% of the way up. The claims data continue to trend towards the “healthy” market level.

I do not know where the Department of Labor gets its seasonal adjustment factors from, but the fact is that there was a surge in claims during this time of year (an increase of about 30,000, generally this exact week, sometimes 1 week earlier) in each of the past 4 years.  Their seasonal adjustment factor doesn’t seem to be filtering that out correctly.

Related Links and The Chart:

Department of Labor Weekly Unemployment Claims for Week Ending April 3
Calculated Risk

Hoocoodanode (Calculated Risk Comment Thread)Weekly Claims, N.S.A., as of April 8, 2010

Per a Bloomberg article , a “Labor Department analyst” (don’t these people have names?) reportedly said something to the effect that (don’t these people get direct quotes?): “Easter is a particularly “difficult” to adjust for seasonal factors because it’s a floating holiday that doesn’t come at the same time each year, the government analyst said. Additionally, a state holiday in California on March 31 also complicated the tabulation of the data, he said.”

I think the chart above is pretty clear and doesn’t need much media obfuscation!

Unemployment Claims Oscillator at 43%, down from >50%

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

The last two weeks of unemployment claims data have shown not only the usual seasonal lull in new claims, but also shown a trend downward.  We are still far from a healthy employment market.  If the current downward trend continues at the current rate, we might expect a healthy employment market, with meaningful jobs growth, by the end of the year.  (This is an extrapolation of the current trend in the “Claims Oscillator” on the chart below.)  On the other hand, with Congressional stimulus and Federal Reserve credit injections waning, banks still crippled, and few strong growth industries…

Weekly Claims, N.S.A., as of April 1, 2010