Job Growth Is Weak In Several Key States

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Another terrific data source from the WSJ, buried online. (This is an excellent source of information, and is well worth the expense of subscribing to the online version).

“Job growth is a key issue for voters heading into this presidential election and national readings on the labor market have been painfully weak in the last two months. The latest breakdown of payrolls by state show that several key battleground states suffered some of the biggest drops in the nation in July – including Missouri and Michigan. However, Washington and Wisconsin experienced some of the highest job growth in the nation.

Here are data for 16 so-called battleground states, where thin margins in the 2000 election and possible swing voters could make all the difference on Nov. 2.” (Source: U.S. Labor Department)

  Employees on Nonfarm
Payrolls (in thousands)
Seasonally adjusted
State July June Change
Arkansas 1,152.8 1,150.9 1.9
Florida 7,442.7 7,449.1 -6.4
Iowa 1,446.2 1,444.2 2
Michigan 4,350.3 4,375.3 -25
Minnesota 2,672.7 2,675.8 -3.1
Missouri 2,681.2 2,733 -51.8
Nevada 1,136.6 1,130.3 6.3
New Hampshire 629.5 626.6 2.9
New Mexico 790.4 790.6 -0.2
Ohio 5,374.4 5,371 3.4
Oregon 1,598.2 1,597.6 0.6
Pennsylvania 5,636.8 5,639.6 -2.8
Tennessee 2,684 2,686.2 -2.2
Washington 2,717.4 2,708.8 8.6
West Virginia 733.4 732 1.4
Wisconsin 2,839.2 2,832.2 7
Total Gain/Loss     -57.4

See the full report at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/laus.pdf

Stastistically, this implies an Unemployment Rate (Percent) that is relatively unchanged, with an average Gain/Loss of -0.03%.

Source:
Job Growth Is Weak In Several Key States
August 20, 2004 2:19 p.m.

http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB109301461729797236,00.html

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Barton Biggs Better Begin Browsing Blogs . . .

As we noted last November, oil prices were approaching resistance at $32.25. As we noted, “if prices pop over that level, you could see a clear run towards $36-38.”

So now we read that a Wall Street legend avoided our good (and free!) advice:

“Hedge funds started a year ago by a leading investment strategist, Barton M. Biggs, have been stung by losses this year, partly because of a bearish bet on the price of oil at a time when the commodity’s prices are setting records.

Mr. Biggs, for nearly three decades a strategist at Morgan Stanley, set up his investment firm, Traxis Partners, in June 2003 with two other longtime Morgan employees. He now manages around $2 billion in assets. Mr. Biggs, 71, joined an exodus of scores of prominent Wall Street executives over the last few years who started hedge funds – portfolios managed on behalf of wealthy investors and institutions like pension funds.

Mr. Biggs’s funds were down more than 7 percent this year through July, net of fees, according to a letter to Traxis investors. A majority of the losses came in July, as the price of oil soared. Yesterday, crude oil for September delivery settled at a record $48.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures prices have climbed more than $10 a barrel since the end of June.

In all seriousness, I rarely would want to be on the other side of a bet from Mr. Biggs. And, I expect that right here is where we should see some sort of topping action in Oil.

But that doesn’t mean we are going back to the mid-30s anytime soon; I’d be happy with low 40s.

Here’s an additional excerpt:

Read More

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