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Economy Advantage

Economy Improving Now – Multiple Warrants- Gas Prices and Private Sector

Lowrey 7/12

(Annie, New York Times Reporter, 7-12-12 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/business/economy/in-latest-data-economists-see-signs-of-pickup.html “In Latest Data on Economy, Experts See Signs of Pickup” WL)
Despite the recent run of disappointing economic data, a broad range of experts and forecasters expect the economy to improve slightly in coming months, thanks to lower oil prices and new signs of life from sectors like automobiles and housing.¶ Economists at many of the most-watched forecasting organizations, both public and private, expect growth to pick up through the summer and into the fall, although only to a pace broadly considered sluggish, if not dismal.¶ This week, Macroeconomic Advisers, an economic consultancy often cited by policy makers, estimated the annual rate of growth in the second quarter at just 1.2 percent — well below the pace needed to reduce the unemployment rate. But the firm also projected growth to accelerate to around 2.4 percent in the third quarter.¶ “The pace of economic growth is picking up, but not to a rate that is very robust,” said Joel Prakken, the chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers. “It certainly is no great shakes.”¶ Forecasters, including those at the Federal Reserve, have been overly optimistic at several points during the slump of the last few years, of course. But the recent fall in oil prices and the stabilization of the housing market do give some gravitas to the current predictions.¶ On Thursday, the Labor Department reported that new claims for jobless benefits dropped to their lowest level in four years, at 350,000 a week. Analysts said they were unsure how much of the decline stemmed from an actual improvement, as opposed to temporary factors in the auto industry.¶ The pace of economic growth will have huge implications for a country still trying to emerge from the worst downturn in 70 years amid a presidential campaign that will most likely turn on the economy.¶ United States growth began to surge in late 2011 and early 2012, before slowing significantly in the spring. Some of the recent headwinds — like a re-escalation of the euro zone crisis, households that are paying down their debt, and a falloff in growth in big emerging markets, like China and Brazil — remain.¶ With tax increases and across-the-board government budget cuts looming at the end of the year — unless Congress acts to change the law — some economic experts are wary.¶ “The soft patch could easily extend through year-end or almost a full year,” Steven Ricchiuto, the chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA, wrote in a note to clients on Thursday. “Companies are unlikely to hire, invest in new plants and equipment or build inventory. This pullback could very well last through year-end as the chances of any movement on the fiscal front are unlikely until after the election.”¶ The weaker-than-expected spring data has raised speculation that the Federal Reserve might announce a new round of bond buying this summer to spur growth. Some Fed officials want further action because they are not confident the economy will pick up soon.¶ But other headwinds have started to slack, leading some economists to believe that jobs and growth numbers will track up modestly.¶ Perhaps most significant is the falling price of oil. Gas prices rose steadily from January through March on concerns over a confrontation with Iran as the United States and its allies cut the producer out of the petroleum market. But tensions have faded and gas prices have fallen to $3.38 a gallon today from above $3.90 a gallon in April, which has left more money in American consumers’ wallets and businesses’ ledgers. Every penny that the price of gas falls leaves about a billion dollars in American pockets over the course of a year, economists estimate. The lower gas prices “will take a few months to show up” in consumer spending and confidence numbers, said Mr. Prakken of Macroeconomic Advisers. But it should lead to higher sales for businesses and greater optimism among households.¶ James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said that he saw “modestly improving economic growth during the second half of 2012, along with a slow and intermittent decline in unemployment,” when he spoke in London this week.¶ Economists pointed to surging new car sales as a good economic indicator: a sign that households are confident enough to make a major purchase and that they are accessing the credit markets. It is also a boon for auto businesses — the auto industry reported a 22 percent jump in sales in June, with some carmakers reporting that revenue increased as much as 60 percent year-on-year. “The surge in car sales is disproportionately important,” said Ian Shepherdson, an economist and forecaster at High Frequency Economics. “It means that you’re willing and able to take out a loan — and that’s quite a good sign.”¶ Moreover, there are accumulating signs that housing has turned around, perhaps auguring a rise in residential investment, an upturn in construction jobs and growing sales.¶ “I do think that the economy is stronger than the recent data would suggest,” said Mark M. Zandi, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. “We’ve had the numbers say underlying job growth is at 80,000 jobs a month, where we could see 150,000 jobs a month. Or G.D.P. at 2 percent, where it’s really at 2.5 percent. That will become evident later in the year.”¶ Some economists pointed to private forecasts showing a stronger June than the one depicted in government reports. A Bureau of Labor Statistics survey showed that employers added just 80,000 new positions that month — not enough to bring the unemployment rate down from its elevated rate of 8.2 percent.¶ But a closely watched monthly survey showed that private sector employers added a strong 176,000 jobs in June.¶ “Everybody has argued that A.D.P. got it wrong,” said Mr. Shepherdson, of the survey. “But it’s a big survey, and a good survey. Maybe the Bureau of Labor Statistics got it wrong.”¶ Mr. Prakken said the initial unemployment claims “suggest that the labor market has not fallen out of bed.” He added, “There’s been a pause in hiring, a momentary pause in hiring.”
Economy growing now.
Targeted News Service 12

(6-22-12, MAPI Quarterly U.S. Industrial Outlook: Modest Improvement in Manufacturing Forecast in 2012, Slower Growth for GDP/PQ. bcd)
"We forecast that GDP growth will increase at annual rates of 2.1 percent over the next five quarters," Meckstroth said. "These growth rates are categorized as a relatively modest pace and well below what would be considered normal for an expansion following a severe recession. Consumers are deleveraging and are reducing debt and therefore can only increase spending commensurate with employment and wage growth."¶ The report offers economic forecasts for 24 of the 27 industries. MAPI anticipates that 18 of these will show gains in 2012, 3 will remain flat, and 3 will decline. The engine, turbine, and power transmission equipment sector will grow by 32 percent and housing starts will see a 22 percent increase. Broad-based advances should occur in 2013 with growth likely in 23 of 24 industries, led by housing starts at 35 percent. Public works construction is the lone industry expected to decline in 2013, by 2 percent.¶ MAPI forecasts that industrial production will increase 5.2 percent in 2012, up from 4 percent in the March report, and 3.3 percent in 2013, down from 3.5 percent in the previous forecast. Manufacturing production should outperform GDP growth, which MAPI estimates will be 2.2 percent in both 2012 and 2013.¶ According to the report, non-high-tech manufacturing production (which accounts for 90 percent of the total) is anticipated to increase 5.5 percent in 2012 and 3.2 percent in 2013. High-tech industrial production (computers and electronic products) is projected to expand by 5.3 percent in 2012 and show 7.7 percent growth in 2013.¶ Eighteen of the 27 industries MAPI monitors had inflation-adjusted new orders or production above the level of one year ago (the same as reported in MAPI's March 2012 report), eight declined, and one was flat. Engine, turbine, and power transmission equipment grew by 36 percent in the three months ending April 2012 compared to the same period one year earlier, while housing starts improved by 28 percent in the same time frame.¶ The largest drop came in domestic electronic computers, which declined by 12 percent.¶ Meckstroth reported that 8 industries are in the accelerating growth (recovery) phase of the business cycle; 10 are in the decelerating growth (expansion) phase; 7 are in the accelerating decline (either early recession or mid-recession) phase; and 2 are in the decelerating decline (late recession or very mild recession) phase of the cycle.

American economy on the rise

Dion Global Solutions 7-18

(7-18-12, “American factories still resilient amid deepening global slump”, Gale, ns)
America is not going down so easily even as a growing global economic gloom knocks on the doors of the world's largest economy. A rebound in industrial output certainly shows the resilience of the US economy to the deepening global economic slump.Output at mines, factories and utilities or overall industrial output rose 0.4 per cent in June 2012 from the previous month, the Federal Reserve reported on Tuesday.¶ In May 2012, industrial output fell 0.2 per cent from the previous month.¶ Manufacturing, which accounts for 75 per cent of total industrial output, rose an impressive 0.7 per cent last month, a sign that American factories are still running and churning goods despite a worsening world economy.¶ The latest data raises hope that manufacturing, the pillar of the US economy, is holding up despite a gloomy global outlook that is curbing overseas demand. The latest data also tempers fears over a deepening slowdown in the US economy.¶

US economy slowly recovering now

Economist 12

("Points of light; America's economy." The Economist [US] 14 July 2012: 22(US). General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 19 July 2012.MPH)
Consumers are now engaged in a long, hard process of shedding debt and learning to live within their means. This is essential, but it has a price: an uncommonly feeble recovery. In the three years since the recession ended, GDP has grown by an average of 2.4%. This year it may not reach even that. On July 6th the government reported that jobs figures, excluding jobs on farms, rose by just 80,000 (less than 0.1%) in June, the third straight month of meagre growth, and unemployment remained at 8.2%. Emerging markets are slowing, Europe remains in crisis, and at home businesses worry that political deadlock will force dramatic tax increases and cuts in federal spending at the end of the year.¶ Although America's overall growth may indeed by unimpressive, its components show some intriguing shifts. Consumer spending and housing contributed just 65% of growth. Exports contributed 43%, one of the strongest showings in any recent economic recovery (see chart 1 on previous page). Other components, such as business investment, imports and government spending, added to or subtracted from growth, roughly offsetting each other.

US economy improving now – auto industry.

Global Insight12

(Global Insight, “North American Economy Gets Boost from Record Production at Japanese Automakers”, 7/19/12, lexis, ps)
Production is booming as inventory is being rebuilt and demand being met, all of which is putting people back to work. The United States' economy may still be improving at a very slow pace, but much of that improvement is being driven at the local level by record levels of auto manufacturing, particularly by Japanese automakers, reports Bloomberg News. Coming off a very difficult year, in which the Japanese automakers saw production hampered severely by the impact of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan, nearly all of the companies producing vehicles in North America have seen production not only return to pre 3/11 levels, but even surpass it. Toyota is on track to produce a record number of vehicles in the region this year, with production up 66% in the first half of the year to 944,570 units, a 374,429-unit increase from the year-ago period. Honda's gain is even greater, up 75% year-on-year (y/y) to lead the industry, producing a record 894,196 vehicles in North America.

This is affecting the US economy as well, as the favourable exchange rates versus both the yen and the euro have provided a major boost to North American manufacturing. European automakers are also taking advantage of it by using US production as an export base, with both Mercedes-Benz and BMW building expensive SUVs in the US, and exporting them abroad to growth markets like China, Brazil, and Russia. Japanese automakers are exporting to South Korea, taking advantage of a new free trade agreement. While these levels are not likely to say, tilt the balance of the trade deficit between the US and China, they are the start of a trend that could see the region used increasingly for such exports during the rest of the decade. This means more jobs for the region, and hopefully a kick-start to what is still a fairly tepid economic recovery.

U.S. business conditions good

Cohn, writer for the New York Times, 7/18

(Michael, 7/18/12, http://www.accountingtoday.com/news/accountants-economy-acca-ima-63342-1.html, “Accountants See U.S. Economy Improving, China Slowing”, kaw)

Despite the slowdown this year of the economic recovery, financial professionals surveyed by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants believe that business conditions in the U.S. are improving, but they worry about conditions abroad.¶ The survey by the ACCA and IMA of 2,700 professional accountants found that growth across the world's most developed economies stalled again, and the global economy remains fragile. China’s slowing economy dominated the survey findings, although ACCA and the IMA emphasized that there are few signs of the hard landing feared by many commentators. Both confidence and investment showed signs of decline, despite increasing business opportunities.¶ “The point now is to see how far and how fast the Chinese slowdown will travel,” said ACCA senior economic analyst Manos Schizas, who edited the survey. “Our members in Africa tend to feel any fallout from Asia fairly quickly, and there could be implications for other markets that trade with China."¶ The flip side of the Chinese slowdown is a recovery for the U.S. economy, where investment is on the rise and confidence is high, the survey found, despite significant potential problems.¶

The US trade deficit has begun to drop noticeably

NYT 7/12 (New York Times, U.S. Trade Deficit Declined in May, July 12 2012, jmb)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The United States trade deficit narrowed in May from April, helped by cheaper oil that reduced imports and an increase in exports to Europe and China.¶ But economists cautioned that the global economy had weakened since then. And they noted that the decline in the deficit did not change their growth forecasts for the second quarter.¶ The Commerce Department said on Wednesday that the trade deficit fell 3.8 percent to $48.7 billion in May, down from $50.6 billion in AprilExports rose 0.2 percent to $183.1 billion. The increase reflected stronger sales of telecommunications equipment and heavy machinery. Exports to the 27-nation European Union rose 2.6 percent in May from April. Imports dropped 0.7 percent to $231.8 billion. The amount the United States spent on imported oil fell to the lowest level in 15 months.¶ A narrower trade gap means the United States is spending less on foreign products, while taking in more from sales of American goods.¶ ''It is always nice to see the trade deficit narrow, but I am not sure this will continue,'' said Joel L. Naroff, chief economist for Naroff Economic Advisors. ''The sharp decline in oil prices has faded, and the economies in Europe and Asia have weakened further.''¶ A separate Commerce Department report showed that American wholesale companies added modestly to their stockpiles in May. But sales at the wholesale level dropped by the largest amount in three years. That could prompt companies to restock more slowly in the coming months, which could weigh on growth this year.¶ Wholesale stockpiles rose 0.3 percent in May after a 0.5 percent increase in April, which was reduced from an initial report of a 1.1 percent gain. But sales at the wholesale level fell 0.8 percent in May, the biggest decline since March 2009.¶ American manufacturing has weakened this year, hurt by Europe's financial crisis and slower growth in China. Sluggish job growth and meager pay increases have made American consumers more cautious about spending. Consumer spending drives roughly 70 percent of economic activity.¶ Paul Ashworth, chief United States economist at Capital Economics, said he did not expect growth to increase from the first quarter's tepid 1.9 percent annual pace. He forecast annual growth of 1.5 percent to 2 percent in the second quarter.¶ Growth in American exports will slow further ''given the sharp slowdown in economic growth in Europe and Asia,'' Mr. Ashworth said. He predicted that trade would be a drag on growth in the second half of this year ''and probably through 2013 as well.''

US Trade deficit is dropping linearly

Action Economics Alert 7/11

( 7/11/12, "The U.S. Trade Deficit Narrowed," Action Economics Alert, lexus, znf)
The U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $48.7 bln in June, thanks to an expected petroleum import drop, after a decline to $50.6 (was $50.1) bln in April from $52.6 bln in March. We expect a further trade deficit drop to the $45 bln area in June, as the $3.2 bln May petroleum import decline is followed by a larger $4 bln June drop, versus the $0.4 (was $0.5) bln April decline. We still assume a 1.6% Q2 GDP growth clip that undershoots the 1.9% Q1 pace thanks partly to a $14 bln Q2 net export subtraction that follows $3.8 bln Q1 add to growth. We expect real export growth of 4% in Q2, following a 4.2% Q1 rate. We expect Q2 import growth of 6%, following a 2.7% Q1 rate. We expect a Q2 drop in the current account deficit to $129 bln that half-reverses the Q1 pop to $137.3 bln from a $118.7 bln in Q4, versus a peak-gap of $214.4 bln in Q3 of 2006. We peg the 2012 current account gap at $504 bln, versus prior gaps of $466 bln in 2011, $471 bln in 2010, and a record $801 bln back in 2006.

US trade deficit decreasing now

Gupta, writer for 123jump.com, july 11

(Arthi, 7-11-12, http://www.123jump.com/market-update/U.S.-Trade-Deficit-Narrows,-Stocks-Lower-Ahead-of-Minutes/49356/1, “U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows, Stocks Lower Ahead of Minutes,” ks)
¶ 11:00 AM New York – U.S. indexes traded sideways after trade deficit contracted and wholesale inventories increased in May. Unit Corp agreed to acquire certain oil and natural gas properties from Noble Energy for $617 million.¶ ¶ U.S. indexes traded sideways and trade deficit declined and Spain proposed additional austerity measures to meet bailout conditions and Germany sold debt today at record low yields.¶ ¶ Investors are also awaiting the release of Fed minutes of the latest meeting later in the day. The euro traded near 2-year low against the dollar.¶ ¶ Spain''s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy unveiled tax increases and spending cuts to reduce the budget deficit by €65 billion over two years.¶ ¶ Rajoy said at a speech to lawmakers, “We have very little room to choose” and added “I pledged to cut taxes and now I am raising them. But, the circumstances have changed and I have to adapt to them.”¶ ¶ Some of the austerity measures include raising the value-added tax to 21% from 18%, reducing jobless claim benefits by 10% after six months, and imposing salary cuts for government employees and foregoing of Christmas bonus.¶ ¶ Separately, Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras said the government requires another €3 billion to cover its short-term funding requirements.¶ ¶ A report from the International Labor Organization stated that unemployment in the euro-zone could reach almost 22 million over the next four years, up from 17.4 million.¶ ¶ Asian markets closed mixed tracking weak U.S. earnings and European economic worries. Investors look ahead to the two day policy meeting of the Bank of Japan beginning today for some economic cues.¶ ¶ U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows¶ ¶ The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in May, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department today. In the month of May exports edged up $183.1 billion and imports declined to $231.8 billion in May resulting in a goods and services deficit of $48.7 billion, down from the revised $50.6 billion deficit in April. Exports in May were $0.4 billion more than April exports of $182.7 billion and May imports were $1.6 billion less than April imports of $233.3 billion. The goods and services deficit increased $1 billion from a year ago month. U.S. Wholesale Inventories Rise¶ ¶ U.S. wholesale inventories at a seasonally adjusted level were $484.1 billion in May, a 0.3% increase from April levels, according to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department today.¶ ¶ On an annual basis, U.S. wholesale inventories rose 6.4% from May 2011 levels.¶ ¶ Unit Corp. to Acquire Certain Assets from Noble Energy¶ ¶ Unit Corp., the energy company said its wholly owned subsidiary, Unit Petroleum Company agreed to acquire certain oil and natural gas properties in western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle from Noble Energy, Inc. for $617.1 million in cash.¶ ¶ Unit Corp expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to cash flow and earnings beginning in 2013.

United States trade deficit is decreasing now

TNS 7-12

"Travel Exports Grow Twice as Fast as Overall Exports Through May 2012." Targeted News Service [TNS] 12 July 2012. Infotrac Newsstand. Web. 19 July 2012.
WASHINGTON, July 11 -- The U.S. Travel Association issued the following news release:¶ David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association, provides analysis on today's Commerce Department announcement on international trade:¶ "The Commerce Department reported today that after falling slightly in April, U.S. exports edged up in May, decreasing the trade deficit to $48.7 billion. Travel exports also rebounded in May, increasing by $60 million. This growth was three times more than the $20 million increase in overall goods exports and accounted for 17 percent of the increase in total exports. "The growth in travel exports continues to assist in narrowing the nation's international trade deficit. Through the first five months of the year, travel exports increased 12 percent from the same period in 2011, double the six percent increase of overall exports.

Trade gap shrinking now

The Telegraph ’12

(The Telegraph, 7-11-2012, http://www.lexisnexis.com.proxy1.cl.msu.edu/hottopics/lnacademic/, AP)
The gap shrank 3.8pc to $49bn (£31bn), the US Commerce Department said. Cheaper oil from abroad also helped reduce the trade deficit.? American companies slammed the brakes on hiring in the second quarter, a warning sign the recovery from the 2007-2009 recession is faltering.? Many economists think economic growth slowed in the second quarter, with companies holding back due to fears of Europe's debt crisis as well as US government plans for severe belt tightening in 2013.? Exports have been a key support for the economy since the recession.? "At least as of May the situation in Europe wasn't leading to some kind of collapse in trade," said David Resler, an economist at Nomura Securities in New York.? Exports climbed 0.2pc, rising across categories from capital goods and industrial supplies to consumer goods. Imports fell 0.7pc.? Still, Europe's problems and signs of cooling growth in China suggest demand from abroad might weaken.? "While the positive momentum in export activity provides some encouragement on the tone of overall global economic activity, it is unlikely to be sustained in the coming months," said Millan Mullraine, an economic strategist at TD Securities in New York.? Earlier this month, a private survey showed activity at US factories declining in June, with new orders falling, including those for exports.

US unemployment decreasing

Independent Television News Limited 7-18

(NQA, 7-18-12, “Jobless total falls for fourth month”, Gale, ns)
Unemployment has fallen for the fourth month in a row, according to new figures released on Wednesday.¶ The statistics also show more jobs are being created, especially for people over the age of 65.¶ The jobless total fell by 65,000 to 2.58 million in the three months to May, the lowest for almost a year, while the number of people in employment increased by 181,000 to just under 30 million, the highest for almost four years.

Statistics and trends forecast optimistic job rates

Norris, chief financial correspondent of The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune, 7/15

(Floyd, 5-29-12, “Jobless rate in U.S. isn't all bad news”, TVB)
"The latest report held some very good news, which was widely overlooked," said Ed Yardeni, of Yardeni Research, an economist and longtime Wall Street strategist. "This could very well lead to surprising strength in retail sales in June and July."¶ He pointed to a Labor Department index of total hours worked, which rose to the highest level since 2008, and to an index of total private sector payrolls. As can be seen in the accompanying charts, that index, after being basically flat for three months, accelerated.¶ As a result, he said, "consumer spending should soon show renewed vigor." The fact that those with jobs are working longer hours may eventually lead to an uptick in hiring, but few expect rapid improvement. The minutes of the June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, released in the past week, said most members of that policy-making panel of the Federal Reserve had reduced their expectations of employment growth.¶ A slow decline in the unemployment rate, now at 8.2 percent, would be unimpressive when compared with past recoveries, a point Republicans are sure to make often as President Barack Obama seeks re-election.¶ But if the U.S. economy were to be graded on a curve - measured against the performance of other countries - that performance might seem very impressive.¶ The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose members include all of the large industrialized countries, issued its annual employment outlook report during the past week, forecasting rising unemployment in many countries.¶ An accompanying chart shows the forecasts for unemployment rates in all 34 countries that belong to the organization. The figures for each year are the average of the monthly numbers, so the forecast of 8.1 percent in 2012 for the United States implies that the rate will fall below 8 percent by late 2012. The average for 2013 is predicted to be 7.6 percent, 1.3 percentage points below the 2011 rate.

U.S. jobless claim fallen to lowest level in four years.

Bond, reporter and FT.com editor, 7/12

(Shannon, 7-12-12, FT.com, “US trade gap narrows as oil prices fall”, ProQuest)
US jobless claims fell to 350,000 last week, the lowest level in more than four years, in an unexpected sign of improvement in the labour market. The drop of 26,000 from the previous week surprised economists who had predicted a slighter decline to 372,000.¶ However, the labour department noted that some of the decrease may be due to fewer temporary lay-offs in the auto industry. Ford and Chrysler announced earlier this year that they would keep factories running in July to meet strong demand. That may have led fewer auto workers to file for unemployment benefits, suggesting that the apparent strength may not reflect a deeper improvement in employment.¶ John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros at RDQ Economics said: "The claims data in early July are far less useful than normal in judging the underlying state of the labour market. It will take two or three weeks for this distortion to the claims data to unwind, which means this report will be of little use in forming early opinions on the July employment data."¶ The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out volatility, fell 9,750 to 376,500.¶ The pace of hiring at US companies has slowed in recent months amid uncertainty over the global economy and the strength of the US recovery. Employers added just 80,000 jobs in June, continuing a run of weak employment figures in the second quarter after a pickup in job creation at the beginning of the year.¶ Continuing claims fell 14,000 to 3.3m in the week ending June 30, while the number of people who have expended traditional benefits and are now receiving emergency assistance fell to 2.6m in the week ending June 23.

US Unemployment Rate Dropping

Benzinga 7/11

( 7/11/12 "Initial Jobless Claims Fall to March 2008 Lows," Benzinga, lexis, znf)
In its weekly report, the U.S. Department of Labor said for the week ending July 7 that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 350,000. This reading was better than the consensus estimate of 372,000, and decreased 26,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 376,000. Initial jobless claims data measure the number of individuals filing for jobless benefits for the first time during the previous week. A lower-than-expected reading is typically a positive signal about the U.S. job market, as more people remain employed. When emerging unemployment is low and less than expected, it indicates a relatively healthy or recovering economy. Thursday, the initial jobless claims' four-week moving average was 376,500, decreasing 9,750 from the previous week's revised average of 386,250.

Unemployment benefits dropped early July

The Times 7-13

"Economics." Times [London, England] 13 July 2012: 34. Infotrac Newsstand. Web. 19 July 2012
Mortgages: British home lending bounced back in May, jumping by a third compared with the prior month, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Some 48,300 loans for home purchase were advanced during the month, worth [pounds sterling]7.2 billion.¶ United States: Unemployment benefit claims dropped by 26,000 last week to 350,000, the lowest level since March 2008, in a sign of fresh life for the labour market.

Unemployment Trends Good – More important than weekly numbers

Ricker 6/20

(Robert, Minnesota Daily News, 6-20-12, http://www.mndaily.com/2012/06/20/president-obama-reversing-unemployment-trends-unique-amongst-world-leaders, “President Obama reversing unemployment trends, unique amongst world leaders” WL)
The Republican Party wants us to believe that the unemployment rate of 8.2 percent reflects negatively on President Barack Obama’s economic policies. My question is: compared to what?¶ The euro area’s current unemployment is 11 percent, with major countries like Spain sitting at 24 percent unemployment. Larger trading partners, such as France and India, are home to unemployment rates well above 9 percent, with smaller countries such as Greece, Italy and Egypt at double digit unemployment. In 2009 our unemployment during the current recession reached 9.9 percent. At that time the United Kingdom was at 8.1 percent. Today our unemployment has gone down to 8.2 percent, and the U.K. has stayed relatively stable at 8.2 percent, whereas the rest of the euro area has only gotten worse.¶ If Obama is doing a poor job, then what are we comparing him to? Obama was at least able to reverse the trend in unemployment during the worst worldwide recession in our nation’s history — something that Europe has failed to do thus far.
Employment Rates Increasing in Multiple different Fields

U.S. Labor of Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7/6/12

(BLS, http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/unemployment-rate, “U.S. economy adds 80K jobs in June, Unemployment at 8.2%”. bcd)

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to edge up in June (+80,000), and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today., and employment in other major industries changed little over the month. ¶ ¶ ¶ The number of unemployed persons Professional and business services added jobs (12.7 million) was essentially unchanged in June, and the unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent.¶ ¶ Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks (14.4 percent) edged up over the month, while the rates for adult men (7.8 percent), adult women (7.4 percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and Hispanics (11.0 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.3 percent in June (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.¶ ¶ In June, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was essentially unchanged at 5.4 million. These individuals accounted for 41.9 percent of the unemployed. ¶ ¶ Total nonfarm payroll employment continued to edge up in June (+80,000). ¶ ¶ Professional and business services added 47,000 jobs in June, with temporary help services accounting for 25,000 of the increase. Employment also rose in management and technical consulting services (+9,000) and in computer systems design and related services (+7,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.5 million since its most recent low point.¶ ¶ Employment in manufacturing continued to edge up in June (+11,000).Employment continued to trend up in health care (+13,000) and wholesale trade (+9,000) in June. ¶ Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little or no change.¶ ¶ The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised from +77,000 to +68,000, and the change for May was revised from +69,000 to +77,000.

US jobless claims down

The Bond Buyer 12

("Jobless Claims Fall 26,000 to 350,000 in Week Ended July 5." The Bond Buyer 13 July 2012. General Reference Center GOLD. Web. 19 July 2012, MPH)
WASHINGTON - Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment benefits plunged by 26,000 to 350,000 in the July 7 holiday week, the lowest level since 348,000 in the March 8, 2008 week, as the impact of auto retooling shutdowns was smaller than seasonal adjustment factors has expected, the Labor Department reported Thursday.¶ The median estimate of economists surveyed by MNI was for 370,000, a drop of 4,000 from the initially reported 374,000 level in the June 30 week. That week's claims level was revised up slightly to 376,000.¶ A Labor Department analyst said that first week of July is typically marked by a surge in manufacturing retooling shutdowns, particularly in the auto production industry. In addition, the beginning of a new quarter as well as the Independence Day holiday typically complicate the claims data in the first week of July. No states were estimated in the current week, the analyst said

Unemployment rate decreasing

Shell 12

(Adam, USA Today journalist, Feb 6 “Job gains fueling stock gains; Investors hope hiring continues,” http://www.lexisnexis.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/hottopics/lnacademic/ L/N lj)
"It's the job market, stupid!" is fast becoming the new refrain on Wall Street, which is enjoying its biggest early-year stock market surge since 1987 amid a sharp drop in the unemployment rate.The stubbornly high jobless rate, which has been a nagging headwind for stocks, is morphing into a tailwind, as the percentage of people without jobs fell in January for the fifth month in a row. The government said Friday that 243,000 jobs were created last month, more than 100,000 above what economists expected.¶ More important, the U.S. unemployment rate fell from 8.5% to 8.3%, its lowest in three years. Historically, the Standard & Poor's 500 index has posted its best gains in periods when the unemployment rate has been above 6% but down from its level three months earlier, says Ned Davis Research. Since 1948 stocks have been up nearly 17% a year, on average, when the jobless rate has been "dropping from such high levels," says NDR investment strategist Tim Hayes.¶

Unemployment slows down

Asian News International, July 6,

(Asian News, 7-6-12, “Obama gets good economic news with unemployment rate marking slow down Source: Asian News International”, gale, rs)
Washington, July 6 ( ANI ): The unemployment rate in the United States has marked a slow down, which is the first positive economic news for President Barack Obama in more than a month, economists have said. ¶ According to New York Daily News, the US Labor Department has reported that there were 374,000 first-time unemployment claims last week, the lowest weekly total since May 19. ¶ Plus, following encouraging fiscal news from Europe, Obama was able to breathe a sigh of relief when the Labor Department released the nation's first positive economic news in weeks. ¶ The 374,000 initial claims for unemployment aid last week have gone down from 380,000 the week before, according to the federal government. ¶ The week's total is the lowest since May 19. It's a sign that layoffs are slowing down and that a wave of hiring could be on the horizon, according to economists. ¶ The number of people who apply for benefits generally provides a measure of the pace of layoffs, and when it falls below 375,000, the unemployment rate usually drops.

Joblessness Claims Fall

Benzinga, 6/12

(7-12-12, “Initial Jobless Claims Fall to March 2008 Lows”, Benzinga, LexisNexis, jn)
In its weekly report, the U.S. Department of Labor said for the week ending July 7 that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 350,000. This reading was better than the consensus estimate of 372,000, and decreased 26,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 376,000.¶ Initial jobless claims data measure the number of individuals filing for jobless benefits for the first time during the previous week. A lower-than-expected reading is typically a positive signal about the U.S. job market, as more people remain employed. When emerging unemployment is low and less than expected, it indicates a relatively healthy or recovering economy.¶ Thursday, the initial jobless claims' four-week moving average was 376,500, decreasing 9,750 from the previous week's revised average of 386,250. Continuing jobless claims measure the number of unemployed individuals who continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits.¶ The U.S. Department of Labor said the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment, during the week ending June 30, was 3,304,000. This number was worse than the consensus estimate of 3,300,000, and decreased 14,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 3,318,000.¶ The four-week moving average for continuing jobless claims increased 1,250 on Thursday. The average moved to 3,308,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 3,307,250.¶ U.S. equity futures were slightly higher immediately after the 8:30 a.m. ET release.¶

Global Economy improving

The Main Wire 12 (July 18, Market News International, “Goldman's Blankfein: World Economy Growing, BRICS Thriving” http://www.lexisnexis.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/hottopics/lnacademic/, lj)
The global economy is continuing to recover in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and emerging markets are becoming even more viable in the global marketplace, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said Wednesday.¶ Blankfein discussed his view regarding the future of the global economy at a conversation hosted by the Economic Club of Washington.¶ "This is going to be the century of BRICS," he said. "The genie is out of the bottle and it's just going to keep on growing."¶ "Those countries that have much more of their wealth and growth predicated on commodities will have a better time while the world is growing and not as good of a time when the world isn't," he warned.¶ BRICS is the grouping acronym that refers to the leading emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and possibly, South Africa.¶ Blankfein said the U.S. would do well to invest in BRICS because it is "easier to forecast ten years forward than ten months."¶ Blankfein also discussed the European sovereign debt and banking crises and the future of the euro.¶ He said, "I'm worried and I think it will survive. There are not insignificant possibilities that there could be an unraveling, but I don't doubt the intensity of government and business leaders. They want to preserve the eurozone."¶ Blankfein cited flawed governance and structure of the eurozone as reasons for the downfall of the euro. "It's a form of federalism with very incomplete mechanisms for achieving the results that are sought," he said.¶ Speaking on the slow U.S. recovery, Blankfein said "the sentiment is very bad, but for real reasons."¶ "But there is a cycle and a rhythm to things. I'm optimistic because statistically, things do work out," he added.¶ And as the November presidential election approaches, the Goldman chief noted the U.S. political climate will affect fiscal policy.¶ "If you want to manage the country, you'd better not leave a 49% minority ... trying to undermine you and biding its time so it can reverse your majority," Blankfein said.

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