May 07 2010

Unemployment Going Nowhere – Stimulus Bill Still A Failure

Lots of false bravado coming out on the latest jobs report for April. Yes, 290,000 jobs (mostly part time census work) were added. But the real measure of employment, the percentage of those out of work from the total work force number, is not budging and has not moved for months. Here is the unemployment (U3) and underemployment (U6) numbers, and as can be seen they are just holding steady at a very painful level (click to enlarge – source data).

In this graph I show those on Emergency Unemployment Compensation – the last vestige of support for the chronically unemployed. Things have not really changed since last summer, and indications are they are starting to float back up again. There is no way this can be seen as a success for the once vaunted stimulus bill and that measly jobs bill congress passed (click to enlarge – source data).

As can be seen here again, the EUC rolls are stabilizing around 5.5 million people. Democrats have failed. They have been given plenty of time and opportunity to make a difference, and they have failed. And they will be rewarded this fall.

23 responses so far

23 Responses to “Unemployment Going Nowhere – Stimulus Bill Still A Failure”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Free To Prosper, AJ Strata. AJ Strata said: new: Unemployment Going Nowhere – Stimulus Bill Still A Failure […]

  2. WWS says:

    Lindsey Graham has finally pulled out of both the Energy bill and the Immigration bill for good! Well it took him a while but he finally did the right thing.

    This Congress is so bad that the only goal any Republican should have should be to gum up the works and do everything they can to stop *anything* more from having.

    No More Bills this Congress. Start over next year, but anything this Congress does is poison. We don’t need to drink it.

    I’ve been watching the BP debacle unfold – and buying some BP stock on the way down. There’s actually a chance that they’ll have a good bit of the spill captured by the end of next week through the cofferdam they just put in place today, and then there’s a longshot chance of going through the BOP stack and gettting the whole thing under control within about 3 weeks. 3 months is still the time it will take for the relief well to finish up.

    From what I’ve been able to figure out from the reports, and what I know of cementing operations – and I hate to say this – but it looks like when it comes down to courtroom time it is gonna be Halliburton who was the #1 screwup in this case. I think it’s their cement job which failed first, and then Cameron’s BOP stack failed second. It remains to be seen whether any of Transocean’s actions helped precipitate this. I continue to think that BP is going to end up looking much better than they do now when this investigation is complete – so far, I haven’t seen anything that would indicate that it was their people who screwed up. Of course now you can criticize the overall design, but they were using state of the art tech in the same way that it has been used on every other deepwater well drilled over the last 25 years. Hard to fault them for that, although of course many already are.

    Now there’s still a lot we don’t know, so these are guesses. But a failed cement job that nobody caught in time would work as a trigger for everything that followed.

  3. Terrye says:


    I saw this morning on the fox home page that a methane bubble was responsible for the explosion.

    As for unemployment, it is hard to believe that 9.9% is considered good news.

  4. kathie says:

    A trillion dollar error and nobody is embarrassed. I’m amused Mr. President, did I say thank you yet?

  5. WWS,

    Graham is seeing the fate of Sen Bennett of Utah, McCain in Arizona, Rand Paul’s run in Tenn, and Rubio in Florida.

    He is looking at multiple well funded Republican Primary opponents in his next election.

    That kind of heat makes even a RINO see the light.

  6. WWS says:

    Well yes, Terry, of course a methane bubble was responsible – but every system on that rig is designed to keep that methane under control because if it ever gets out, it will cause an explosion. And the methane is *always* on the edge of getting out, that’s what makes drilling dangerous.

    So which one of the systems caused the original failure? Like all great disasters, this was a cascade failure, where each system failure led to the next systems failure until the entire system was lost. The BOP’s failed last. But which system failed first? The survivors agree that it happened immediately after the casing cementing operation – that operation that is supposed to seal off everything down hole so that the drilling mud can be removed and the rig can move off before final completion operations can begin later.

    But if the cementing operation fails – and there are dozens of things that can go wrong with it, say for example the operator puts in too much retarder and it never sets up (I’m not saying that’s what happened, that’s just one example of the many things that can go wrong) then the crew is going to think they are dealing with a low pressure wellbore that is under control when in fact everything is effectively wide open. That is what makes me think it was the cement job that failed – it is usually taken for granted, and everyone on that rig was caught by surprise when that well blew.

    Cementing operations are Halliburton’s specialty – that’s all they were on that rig to do. That failure could have been the trigger for this disaster. Now of course the BOP’s by Cameron were supposed to be the failsafe, and they failed too.

    With both of those systems gone, the rig could not have been saved under any circumstances, just like a shuttle can’t re-enter with a big hole in the wing.

    This is gonna be an interesting investigation.

  7. kathie says:

    I say that the government goes after Halliburton just for fun.

  8. WWS says:

    Bennett is gone – another one bites the dust. I doubt he will ever understand that one of the things the convention rebelled against was his sense of Entitlement – “I’ve been here 18 years, I OWN this seat! How dare you take it away from me!”

    and this from a guy who when he was first elected solemnly promised to retire at the end of two terms. That shameless lie is enough to justify dumping him all on its own, regardless of his other positions.

    Bennett’s defeat ought to stand as the signpost of the death of the “Go along to Get along” era. The battle lines are being drawn, and those who play in the murky middle are being cut down first. (same as in any war)

    I talked to a friend last night with several relatives working in the Gulf right now – they were able to verify that none of them had been on that rig, but also something more interesting – they related that *everyone* who was on that rig is under some type of high-level gag order. I don’t know if this is coming from BP’s legal department or higher than that, but *no* *one* is saying anything publicly, not even the lowest grunt on the team. (A couple minor puff pieces with survivors have been in the Houston Chronicle, but they conveyed no information that wasn’t already known) They’ve even been told not to say anything to relatives or co-workers – that’s extreme!

    If you’ll listen to the Mark Levin audio interview with the survivor, note that the caller makes a point of calling from a neutral phone, *never* identifies who he works for and is very careful to *never* give his name or any other clue that would let him be singled out. (other than his voiceprint, he did take a chance by leaving that) He’s clearly worried about the consequences of being identified.

    Everyone on that rig and involved with that operation has obviously been ordered to Shut Up about Everything. Who gave that order?

  9. Fai Mao says:

    Just to stir the pot a little.

    Please realize I know nothing about this process so I am speculating in the dark.

    What if this was sabotage?

    What if those responsible, including the government would rather not have the general public know that?

    The cascading failure of so many redundant systems just seems a bit strange to me. What if, for instance a Halliburton employee intentionally put too much retarder in the concrete or didn’t pour enough or poured it in the wrong spot? What if a small group of people had a vested interest in an event like this. Derivative traders for instance.

    Would it have even in theory, been possible for someone to bribe someone to create this mess?

    I do not have very much confidence in the ethics of liberals. I cannot make myself not believe that at least some of them would do something like this in order to pass an agenda. Even if they got caught they could say “See, it is too dangerous to drill there! Somebody could cause a disaster” So in a sense they win even if the lose. Especially if when they didn’t get caught they could blame it on Dick Cheney.

    But what if the plan was discovered after the well had blown? What if some of the people involved had connections with certain political powers that would rather not be blamed?

    I wonder if I can make that tin-foil hat fit a little better?

  10. lurker9876 says:

    Cap and Trade is back on for this week. And they anticipate Lindsay and Susan Collins to vote for it PLUS about five more Republicans, such as Scott Brown, Judd Gregg, Voinovich.

    American Thinker has an article up this morning about Cap and Trade.

  11. WWS says:

    Valid questions, Fai Mao, although I think the answer has to be “no”. The reason – as in almost all cascade failures, it would have been impossible for *any* actor to predict the disastrous outcome from the (probably minor) mistake that was made.

    I’ve read a few more snippets this weekend, enough to know that it was indeed some part of the cementing operation which failed after everyone believed that it had been completed successfully. The problem is that next the BOP stack failed, even though it had been tested less than 48 hours before the accident! (Maybe the test was faulty?) Remember that the BOP’s are underneath 5,000 feet of water, in a place unreachable by any human hands – and they failed *internally*, not externally. I’ve stood on top of BOP stacks, and I cannot think of any possible way, even remotely, that a human being could have damaged it that way. There are about 6 inches of high strength steel between any working parts and the outside, and they’re even designed so an overpressure should close them, not open them. My best guess is that somehow they got pumped full of cement internally, which set up just before the surface crew tried to open the stack. And some piece of the casing (pipe) got cemented in place across all the valves, keeping a clear channel open for the fluids from below. But that’s just a guess because I can’t think of anything else. And this would have been almost impossible to do even if a crew was *trying* to do this, which makes intentional action so unlikely.

    One man who talked anonymously said in an interview that the rule on any rig, the one all hands are trained in, is “whoosh, bang, run!” The “whoosh” is the gas spraying out of the wellbore, the bang is the first explosion (which always happens when gas gets free) and by the time you hear the bang, you had better already be running. We’ve been so successful for so long that we’ve forgotten that drilling rigs are always just one or two bad decisions away from disaster.

    The single most useful book I’ve read in the last 3 years has been Nick Taleb’s “The Black Swan.” Hard for me to sum it up in a sentence, but a try is to say it’s about the mathematical likelihood of what we think are extremely unlikely events.

    Taleb was one of the very few people who quite accurately predicted the meltdown in the fall of 2008 a full year before it happened. Black Swan’s are the achilles heels of our modern complex systems – they are the disasters that are impossible to forsee, and in complex technical and financial systems they are the disasters that take down the entire system because we, as humans, can never anticipate the way that all of these systems will interact with each other in extreme situations.

    A black swan is the disaster that every expert (except one or two “cranks”) will swear on a stack of technical manuals is impossible – until it happens. Wasa, Titanic, Columbia, Challenger, Piper Alpha, now Deepwater Horizon – these things happen much more often than we care to admit, and every time they happen we swear we will never make that mistake again. So we build an even more complex system, and that complexity itself becomes the seed of the next great failure. Kind of makes you think the greek playwrights were on to something about human nature long, long ago.

  12. WWS says:

    The American Thinker article was disapointing – it’s as if the writer has ignored the last 3 weeks. Yes, Kerry and Liebermann are still going to introduce it, but the project is dead now.

    Ironically, it was the BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster that finally killed it. Interesting story, but too long to get into after my last long post.

    The odds of it ever coming to vote on the Senate floor (much less passing) or somewhere between slim and none.

  13. kathie says:

    Why isn’t Tennessee Obama’s Katrina. FEMA just arrived!

  14. WWS says:

    Tennessee is a red state, Kathie. No one (in the MSM) cares what happens there, and that’s why they’ll never report it.

  15. lurker9876 says:

    MSM needs to be killed for good.

    WWS, Re: AT article, I am glad that BP/Deepwater Horizon finally killed it. Looking forward to see how this killed Cap n Trade.

    There are now new articles supporting land drilling (e.g., shale oil drilling and horizontal drilling) over offshore drilling.

    I read that Congress plans to spend another week on the Obamabailout deform bill.

    I hope Congress will not pass anything major and just go on recess. Sooner they go on recess between now until November would be great!

    Well, even confirming Kagan, too! As if they cannot nominate the right person for the US Supreme Court.

  16. crosspatch says:

    “MSM needs to be killed for good.”

    You know that is impossible, don’t you?

    As soon as one thing is no longer the “mainstream”, then something else comes along that becomes the “mainstream”. So the current liberal cheerleaders who carry water for the DNC might go away but something else will come along.

    But the more I think about it the more I come to the conclusion that we do not need TARP, we do not need Stimuzilla, we do not need health care reform. What we need is Congress reform and the way to get that is, I believe, very simple. Simply end Congressional pensions.

    Just simply end them. It would probably have to be done by Constitutional amendment, though, because I doubt Congress would ever vote for eliminating their own pensions.

  17. crosspatch says:

    “No one (in the MSM) cares what happens there, and that’s why they’ll never report it.”

    I think the message they are trying to get across is: “Y’all didn’t vote for Obama so now you have to suffer the consequences. If you had voted for him, he would be a$$ over teakettle getting help down there”. In other words, Obama only helps “his” people.

  18. WWW,

    The US unemployment problem gets back to a several issues for the Obama Administration in particular and Post 2008 Democrats in general.

    First, Democrats don’t know beans about the real economy.

    They think any amount of taxes and entitlements can be thrown on top of it and it will still generate money, particularly campaign contributions from “the rich.” California, NY State New Jersey et al are now seeing “The Rich” simply leave their states for lower tax states and bigger businesses are avoiding locating in them in the first instance.

    Second, post 2008 Democrats don’t know beans about small businesses other than Hard Core Leftist Democratic view of them as class enemies.

    This means they don’t understand in their guts where most jobs in America really come from.

    Third, what economics they do understand comes from high level Banksters that high level Federal Democrats cavort with.

    Goldman Sack’s business model is to defraud low level clients for higher level clients. Given the corrupt urban political machine background of many Democratic Party leaders, this leaves them ill served as national leaders compared with someone like Bill clinton who had to deal with both the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce and the bond market for Arkansas’ public works projects.

    Taken together, it means Democratic Party Majority governments that don’t have an Ex-State governor as President cannot help but make the economy worse.

    And Obama was a first term Senator from Chicago.

  19. KauaiBoy says:

    Well said Trent, problem is the voters know even less about the economy and only hear “free stuff from rich folks”. Nor will they learn from what is right in front of them—no government can create, sustain or maintain an economy—-go ask the Greeks with 25% of the population on the government payroll.

    In the past, countries would wage war to raid one country’s resources and restore their own treasury. The same pilfering goes on today by pale, skinny people in nice suits who use information as a weapon to help shift resources in their favor. At least the old schoolers showed some balls before they robbed you.

    Don’t be surprised if last week’s stock market “glitch” wasn’t a terrorist attack either. Not sure whether foreign or domestic.

  20. KauaiBoy,

    Most Americans dimly see anything beyond their immediate life.

    Freedom means the freedom to ignore political and economic problems until you are run over by them and the freedom to fail because of those problems.

    It also means the freedom to hold someone else responsible for your actions or inactions.

    That is why, politically, the arroused American public burns in effigy whatever party or political leader is on top when the economy is down at election time.

    Candidate Ronald Reagan summed this up best when he said:

    “An Economic Recession is when your neighbor loses his job.

    An Economic Depression is when you lose your job.

    And an Economic Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his job.”

    Whoever is the Republican candidate in 2012 is going to get a shot at recycling that 1979-80 ad line against Pres. Obama.