Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Required Reading: Tuesday, June 23rd 2009

Five Things: Jobless Turn In, Tune Out, and Drop Off as Benefits Expire – Minyanville, Kevin Depew

Last Thursday the Labor Department reported continuing claims for unemployment fell by 148,000 to 6.69 million, yet another "green shoot" for the "economy is bottoming" crowd. This was the first decline in continuing claims since early January, breaking a string of 21 consecutive increases, the final 19 of which were records. But let's look a little closer at the numbers.

Even though there was a small jump in initial applications for unemployment insurance, the decline in continuing claims was largely due to benefits exhaustion. Unemployment benefits are provided for 26 weeks, after which those claimants are dropped from the rolls. According to the New York Times, the number of recipients whose claims were exhausted was about 36% in 2007, but at the end of last month that number had risen to nearly 50%.

The bottom line is that people are not dropping off the benefits list because of new jobs, but because they are exhausting their eligibility to receive them.

Continuing Claims “Exhaustion Rate” – The Big Picture

Last week, we saw Continuing Claims decrease — proof, said the green shooters, of the imminent economic recovery.

Only, not so much:

Those of you (who can still afford the luxury of) a trusty Bloomberg will note the ‘exhaustion rate’ for jobless benefits - EXHTRATE – reveals that people are not leaving the pool of continuing unemployment claims because they are getting new jobs; Rather, they are leaving because they have exhausted their benefits.

They are now unemployed AND broke. That is hardly a green shoot . . .

TV show helps Utah boy survive night solo in woods – The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY – When he realized he'd been separated from his family on a weekend hike in a northern Utah forest, 9-year-old Grayson Wynne's thoughts turned to television.

Grayson watches "Man vs. Wild" on the Discovery Channel every week with his brothers and his dad. On the show, host and adventurer Bear Grylls strands himself in the wilderness and then shows viewers how to survive the sticky situations.

That's where Grayson says he learned to leave clues behind to help searchers find him.

The Big Inflationist Scare – Mish

Congress Still Working Against Housing Recovery – Minyanville, Andrew Jeffrey

Which way to Bay? Baby sea lion rescued on freeway – The Associated Press

A baby sea lion was rescued early Monday after wandering onto a busy San Francisco Bay area freeway.

Drivers on Interstate 880 started calling authorities around 5:45 a.m. to report the animal "walking" in the center divider near the Oakland Coliseum, said Peter Van Eckhardt, an officer with the California Highway Patrol.

He said the sea lion likely made it onto land from a nearby San Francisco Bay estuary and crossed the roadway in the middle of the night.

Adjustable rate mortgages threaten housing rebound – The Contra Costa Times

More Bay Area car dealers closing shop – The Contra Costa Times

Two more Bay Area auto dealerships, Dodge stores both headed by Glen Hartzheim, have closed their doors — at least temporarily.

In contrast, Hartzheim Dodge in Hayward was manned only by a security guard in the early afternoon on Monday.

Startup's prefab homes aim for zero energy bills – The San Francisco Chronicle

Zeta Communities, which is headquartered in South of Market and owns a manufacturing plant in San Leandro, is close to completing its first "zero energy" townhome in Oakland and is working with a developer on a proposed 30-unit studio apartment building in Berkeley.

The firm plans to build segments of housing units indoors and ship them to development sites for assembly.

Energy-saving features include extra-thick windows, dense insulation, efficient appliances and a monitoring system that manages temperature and ventilation and tracks electricity use. Warmth in the house is used to heat incoming air, and recovered hot wastewater helps warm shower and sink water. Solar panels generate new energy.


Obama Drastically Scales Back Goals For American After Visiting Denny’s – The Onion

Obama Drastically Scales Back Goals For America After Visiting Denny's