Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New posts coming...

Hope to have posts about the new JOLTS data up by the end of the day. Also looking ahead at post(s) about the state employment data releases at the end of this week.


Preaching Deacon, Part II

Have been very busy the past couple of weeks. About three weeks ago my pastor asked me to fill the pulpit for the Sunday just passed. I preached in both the morning and evening services (teach Sunday School in the morning as well).

I was empty afterwards. After the morning service I forgot that I needed to drive my oldest son back home (my wife did not have room for him in her car). Left the boy at church I did! Oh, my!

Still, it was a great blessing to be able to preach the Bible to God's people. Our Lord has been so good to me. May His holy name be lifted up!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Volvo! Say it aint so!

Just saw a story about Volvo's new truck orders in Europe for the third quarter. Last year they had in excess of 40,000 and this year orders fell to 115.

Absolutely stunning. This does not look good.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A "jolt" from the JOLTS program!

Job openings continue to fall according to the most recent numbers from BLS.


Map of Sept 08 Employment Report

Map shows the year over year employment change for each state from Sept 07 to Sept 08.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

State Employment: Sept 08

BLS released Sept establishment survey report today. On a year-over-year basis using non-seasonally adjusted data...

Nine states had employment growth rates of 1.0% or more. States were mostly in the Great Plains and Mountain West although D.C. and Maryland also made the list. 73 Electoral Votes.

Fifteen states had employment growth rates of less than 1.0% but still saw employment increase for the past 12 months. 127 Electoral Votes.

Twenty-seven states saw employment declines. 338 Electoral Votes.

Hope to have either a map or list up soon.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Equity Market Bottom?

Gee, guess I was wrong about the possible equity market bottom two days ago.

Starting to regret not selling a couple of months ago.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Worldwide 50pt Interest Rate Drop!

A lot of the recent market movement has been due to emotion not econ fundamentals per many experts. If this is true then perhaps this mornings rate cut will give us a bottom in the markets, both equity and credit.


Monday, September 22, 2008

State Employment: Aug 08

States with y/y nonfarm employment growth of 1% or more: Nine states worth 79 elec votes.

States with y/y nonfarm employment growth of less than 1%: Twenty states worth 164 elec votes.

States with y/y nonfarm employment decline: Twenty-two states worth 295 elec votes.

Most states east of the Mississippi River and along the West Coast are now showing year over year employment declines. With the exception of Texas, New York (how much longer?), Mass, and N.Car. all of our more populated states are showing y/y job declines.


Friday, July 4, 2008

IMB Restrictions and SBC History

There has been a great deal of talk in recent years about the current IMB restrictions regarding such things as Private Prayer Language (PPL) and other topics not mentioned in the Baptist Faith and Message.

It reminds be a bit of the history of the SBC founding. Unless I have my facts wrong the northern Baptists decided to keep slave owning southern Baptists from becoming international missionaries. When the original mission compact between US Baptists was started being a slave owner was not a disqualifying status. So in effect the northern Baptists changed the rules in mid-game and placed a limit on who could be appointed without consulting the entire US Baptist world.

While I don't want to equate slave owning with PPL it does seem like our own current day IMB is doing a similar thing. By adding a non-PPL plank without asking the churches of the SBC they seem to be acting just like the northern Baptists that we left back in 1845.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Worker Shortages and Voting Yourself a Portion of the Treasury

The number of vacant jobs is falling. The cycle high in Jan 2007 (4,307,000) was lower than the historic high (4,580,000) in Dec 2000.

Consultants have been telling govt officials and private industry that the next few years will see an explosion of impossible to fill jobs. However, as the data shows the number is less now than it was 7.5 years ago.

The great coming worker shortage is slow in getting here.

Why then do we see all this "buzz" about the shortage? Perhaps there is money in it.

One state recently passed a bill giving a tax credit to firms hiring occupations where workers are seen to be in short supply. Think about that. The firms say that want to hire more workers and can't find them so the govt gives the firms a tax credit to do what they say that want to do anyway. Perhaps the firms have figured out that they can vote themselves a portion of state revenue by yelling about coming shortage.


Friday, June 20, 2008

May 2008 State Employment

BLS released the state CES data for May today.

There were fourteen states showing Y/Y declines in SA employment. These states are now nearly in all regions of the county with the exception of the Great Plains. They are as follows:

Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

States with Declining Employment: 14 (203 electoral votes)
States with growth under 1%: 22 (221 electoral votes)
States with growth of 1% or more: 15 (electoral votes)


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Royal Bank of Scotland: Beware of Coming Crash!

While I am surprised that economic conditions are not presently weaker than they seem to be right now, I am hopeful that this "alert" from the RBS will be seen in hindsight as much too fearful.


In any event the article makes for an interesting read and it may prompt me to make some changes in my own retirement accts.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Postcard Sending Deacon

Sam Rainer's post (hat tip to Timmy over at P&P) gave me the idea to contact our own members (esp those I don't know or have not seen in a few weeks).


Hope this starts a process of reclaiming some who have stopped attending our church.


PS. Sam's blog is new to me but is very good. Learned a lot.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

JOLTS: Better News on the Labor Market

This past week the BLS released the newest JOTLS data and for a change it was a little better.

Job openings (SA) increased for the first time in many months. Still showing a Y/Y decline.

Saw similar good news on the layoff and hiring results (if I recollect correctly).

One month of data of course is not a trend but not wanting to be a perma-bear (at least all the time) I must admit that it was better than I expected.


A small cloud the size of a man's fist...

I have a great deal of hope right now about things in my own church and the SBC as a whole.

When the Lord first opened my eyes to the doctrines of grace about 12-13 years ago I began to see problems with our almost mega-church. Ladies and men were engaging in church sponsored lite-gambling, fellowship socials were the main point of Sunday School, the teaching in our young adult class was largely centered upon having a good marriage and getting ahead in your workand our youth were dancing to rock music in the fellowship hall with the aid of a disco ball. We left.

It took a few years for both my wife and I to see all of this and to understand how it did not square with Scripture. But God is good and continued to grow us in grace until we did see.

It is only in the last year that I clearly see the Lord changing the SBC. Now we have a church home where our pastor is reformed in salvation doctrine. Now the convention as a whole is concerned with regenerate church membership (my pastor tells me he is planning on bringing the issue up at an upcoming deacon's meeting). Now me, a 5 pointer not only am ordained but get to preach in what I would have termed a "typical Southern Baptist Church". (The "C" word came up during my ordination. The DOM asked me about it and after I told him I was one of them he said he agreed with me!)

Said all this to say this. I see God moving us in the right direction. Let us be faithful to our Lord and His word. Let us do our duty to Him out of gratitude for all He has done for us.

By His Grace,

The Dismal Deacon

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Church Membership

The Southern Baptist Convention meeting today in Indy voted to repent for our lack of what I would call Biblical faithfulness in regards to church membership.

All too often we allow folks to remain members when they show no evidence of being born again. We have done great harm in calling them "brothers" and "sisters" when in fact they are not.

It is now up to each church to decide how to deal or not deal with this issue. Will we face the truth that people who have no interest in fellowship with believers and no interest in worshiping the Lord are not true converts?

May God grant us the grace to do so.


Retail Trade Employment

Saw newspaper article today talking about the tough time teens are having finding summer employment.
As a large portion of them typically find work in retail trade this graph gives a hint at why they not having great success in finding a summer job.

Oil:Supply/Demand or Bubble?

A lot of folks are asking the question. Is the current run-up in price a result of supply & demand (fundamentals) or a bubble fueled (sorry about the pun) by speculation.

The general thrust of the fundamental story does seem right to me. Increasing wealth in BRIC nations leading to shifts in the demand for oil leading to higher prices.

However, would we see such a huge increase in oil prices given the slower and gradual increase in BRIC wealth? Perhaps so. Markets are not perfectly efficient and can sometimes rally to catch up to real world facts they should have taken into account months and even years ago.

However one of the smartest guys I know (my dad) thinks it is speculation and the price is about to fall dramatically. He is not an economist but he is not wrong about much of anything very often.


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Preaching Deacon!

The Lord blessed me yesterday with the chance to preach in both our morning and evening services! My pastor was on vacation last week and this week is attending the SBC in Indy.

I think my church will have a copy of at least the morning service up on our website soon. If anyone would like a link just let me know in the comment section.

In the morning I preached about "fleeing the coming wrath" using Matt 3:7-12 as my main text. The evening was about how we as believers should eradicate sin from our lives (used various texts in Romans and the example of the Hebrews failure to completely subdue the Promised Land).

I hope the Lord will give me the chance to do it again. But doing two in one day is a bunch of work! PTL for my pastor.


Youth Not Singing?

I was shocked. Last night a visitor to our church took me aside to say that he was concerned about our youth. He said that he did not believe a single one of them had been singing during our worship service (the youth tend to all sit together on the first few pews).

I was sure he must be mistaken so I asked my wife about it when we got home. She agreed with the visitor and added that she did not think that most of them ever joined in the congregational singing.

Do any of you see this in your own bodies?


Looks like a trend...

This graph from the St. Louis Fed shows national number of unemployed as reported by the BLS last Friday.

As you can see we have a quite a large increase in the number of unemployed over the past few months. Wonder when/if we will get a grey line to match the clear uptick in the blue one?


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Blog Update

Sorry, for the lack of posts recently. My son has been in the hospital for the past two weeks (he has leukemia). Things became quite tense earlier this week but on Wednesday his condition turned around and he was able to come home yesterday.

May the Lord be praised for His goodness. Morning by morning new mercies I see.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Not Much Better...

Even though today's employment report was a little better than expected the growth of unemployment over the past few months still looks like a recession.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Abstract of Principles

The Abstract of Principles is the statement of faith of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. All professors who teach there are to commit that they will teach according to it and not contrary to it (a link to the statement is below).


I really like the Abstract as it's language to me has always seemed "tight". I don't find obvious places in it where you can have two dramatically divergent views both claiming that the language of the Abstract supports them both. I see such language and interpretation in the Baptist Faith and Message. How can a person like the Dr. Tom Nettles embrace the same wording regarding the doctrine of election that the late Dr. Hobbs supported?

What do you think? Should the convention have a statement of faith more like the Abstract where viewpoints are more pointed/defined or is the BF&M "big tent" language the way to go?


Friday, April 25, 2008

The Long Term Picture of Unemployment

This graph shows the annual rate of increase in our national unemployment. The number of months that we have grown unemployment on a Y/Y basis and the percentage growth we are now seeing strongly suggest that we are in a recession.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Lifting Up the Name of the Lord during a Recession

It is getting harder out there. Both unemployment and prices are increasing at pretty fast paces (inflation will likely cool as the economy does - but so far has not) and no doubt there is concern among many in our churches about how they will make ends meet.

The needs of our brothers and sisters give us all opportunities to lift up the name of our Savior. Please be on the look out for folks in your church who might be in need during this time of economic decline.

Some may stop attending church (Job loss can be very defeating to a person. An unemployed person may just stop attending the regular worship of the church because of the resulting shame. Several years ago when I lost a job I did not want to go to church because of the shame I felt. That type of feeling may originate from excess pride but it does occur) or have financial needs that might not be seen on the surface.

When we as believers reach out and help our hurting siblings we honor our Lord. Lets not miss a chance to do that. That is our chief end afterall.


Decline in Job Openings

Data from the BLS JOLTS program shows the number of vacant jobs in the nation declining. Just another indicator that our economic activity is likely contracting.
Also of note is the fact that the cycle high (around the end of 2006) was below that of 2000.
Looks like we may have to wait a while before the onset of the great labor shortage predicted by so many"futurists"!

March 2008 Payroll Data

The BLS and many state workforce agencies today released both establishment and household survey data for March.

Of particular interest on the establishment/payroll side is that there are now eleven states who saw a decline in Y/Y NSA employment. The eleven are... Rhode Island, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, and California. I have followed the number of states showing employment declines now for several months and this is the largest number of states seen yet (also the largest total population represented so far).


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Welcome to the Dismal Deacon

First the name.

The "Dismal" is not in reference to my role as a deacon in my church. Instead it refers to my vocation as an economist (economics being the "dismal science").

My intent with this blog is to talk about topics I enjoy. Primary it will focus on both economics and theology but no doubt such things as history, current events, college sports, and chess might pop us as well.

Visit again soon.