Bloomberg

By Tom Blumer | February 16, 2013 | 8:10 PM EST

On Friday, Renee Dudley at Bloomberg News exposed the contents of February 12 internal emails revealing that Walmart executives are worried -- very worried -- about sales during the first 10 to 14 days of the its most current fiscal period (mostly likely either the first 10 days of February if the company works with calendar months, or 14 days if it began the second period of the fiscal year on Monday January 28).

Their primary concerns are the payroll tax hike and delayed tax refunds, but they may also need to start worrying about higher gas prices (bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | February 2, 2013 | 6:38 PM EST

Following the governmemt's Employment Situation Summary yesterday, two words were noticeably absent at the Associated Press (here, here, and here), Bloomberg, Reuters, CNBC, and the New York Times: "seasonally adjusted."

While they told their readers of the number of jobs supposedly added in total (157,000) and in other sectors, the fact remains that in the real world, before seasonal adjustment, the government told us, as is the case every January, that employment declined steeply. In January 2013, the government estimates that 2.84 million jobs were lost.

By Tom Blumer | January 24, 2013 | 11:27 PM EST

For the second week in a row, actual (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) unemployment claims as reported by the Department of Labor came in greater than the analogous week in 2012. 

At the same time, and also for the second week in a row, the department's seasonally adjusted claims number -- the only one the business wire services ever specifically identify in their reports -- came in lower. In today's instance, raw year-over-year claims were almost 5 percent higher than the same week a year ago, but the year-over-year seasonally adjusted figure came in 11 percent lower. That's bad enough, but then the wires compounded the problem by running with indefensible conclusions based on DOL's contradictory data.

By Tom Blumer | January 17, 2013 | 10:49 AM EST

None of the three major wire services covering today's report from the Department of Labor on initial unemployment claims is reporting the major news: For the first time in a long while, actual claims filed during the most recent week ended January 12 were almost 6 percent higher than the number filed during last year's comparable week, an indication that the current employment market may be worse than it was a year ago. Instead, all three are headlining how today's questionably created seasonally adjusted claims number is the lowest in five years.

Both weeks had five business days. Both weeks represented the first such week in the new year. So how did higher raw claims result in the lowest seasonally adjusted claims number in five years, a number which is 8 percent lower than last year's comparable week? The answer, as will be seen after the jump, is that the seasonal adjustment factor used this year is sharply higher than the one used last year.

By Ryan Robertson | December 13, 2012 | 5:21 PM EST

There has been no shortage of deceptive ads, factually-distorted statements, and outright fabrications from the political left over the campaign year to choose from, but leave it to the Tampa Bay Times's PolitiFact to give its "Lie of the Year" award to the Romney campaign. The now infamous "falsehood" in question was Romney's claim that Jeep was planning on moving production of some of its vehicles to China. This was in fact technically true, but PolitiFact trademarked it as its "Lie of the Year."

In a fit of glee, multiple left-leaning news outlets have promoted the proclamation, including of course, MSNBC. [video below, MP3 audio here ]:

By Tom Blumer | December 13, 2012 | 4:24 PM EST

Today's news from the Department of Labor on initial weekly unemployment claims was supposedly good -- as long as one doesn't scratch beneath the surface. Journalists used to do that. Today they didn't.

All one had to do is reach the third paragraph of DOL's release to realize that today's seasonally adjusted claims number of 343,000, touted as the lowest in two months in several news reports, was suspect. That paragraph told us that the 428,814 actual claims filed during the week ended December 8 were barely lower than the 435,863 claims seen in the week ended December 10, 2011, last year's comparable week; today's result only occurred because this year's seasonal adjustment factor was significantly different from last year's. I believe that this year-over-year drop of less than 2% in raw claims is the smallest weekly difference in a week not affect by storms or holidays this year. In other words, it really is news -- but not in the business press, which runs with the government's seasonally adjusted data and almost never looks any further. Examples follow the jump.

By Tom Blumer | December 11, 2012 | 10:41 AM EST

The first entirely post-election reading from the University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer confidence survey came out on Friday. It was awful. As reported at MarketWatch, the overall index "fell to 74.5 from 82.7 in November," far below expectations of 82.0, representing "the biggest one-month drop since March 2011." Zero Hedge noted that it's the "biggest miss on record" compared to expectations.

Of course, in Establishment Medialand and with the analysts they chose to consult, the plunge has everything to do with the "fiscal cliff," and nothing to do with the reelection of President Obama to a second four-year term or his intensely partisan conduct since then. Sure, guys.

By Tom Blumer | October 31, 2012 | 10:34 AM EDT

CEO Sergio Marchionne of Fiat, the parent company of the U.S. government bailed-out Chrysler, got two unexpected and undeserved breaks from Craig Trudell at Bloomberg yesterday.

The first was the story's presidential election-driven focus in its headline ("Chrysler CEO Reiterates Jeep Production Staying in U.S.") and first five paragraphs on Fiat's plans to manufacture vehicles in China for the Chinese market and Marchionne's insistence that this move won't reduce U.S. employment at Chrysler. Trudell waited until the sixth paragraph of his report to convey the real news, noted by yours truly yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), which is that the company plans to make a new model of Jeep, Chrysler's signature nameplate, in Italy for export to Europe and the U.S. The second undeserved break the Bloomberg reporter gave Marchionne credited him with five times more future employment growth than he deserves (if it really occurs), and is in the paragraph which follows the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post)::

By Tom Blumer | October 30, 2012 | 3:47 PM EDT

Yesterday, Bloomberg News reported that Fiat "is considering building Chrysler models in Italy, including Jeeps, for export to North America." Today, that news became real when company CEO Sergio Marchnionne announced, in Bloomberg's words (in paragraph 6, subtitled "Italy's Jeep"), that it will "build a small Jeep in Italy for export beginning in 2014 ... a new model for Europe and the U.S. that isn’t currently in production."

Of course, today's Bloomberg report led with Marchionne's clever denial about the company's plans for manufacturing in China: "Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China." No, he has instead set the stage for newer Jeep models exported to the U.S. to gradually supplant older models made in the U.S. over several years. This should be an embarrassment to those who engineered the Obama administration's bailout of Chrysler in 2009, ripping off secured creditors in the bankruptcy process and thereby giving Fiat a larger initial share of the company than it deserved. But don't worry, Colleen Barry at the Associated Press is there with vague language to ensure that this news doesn't become general knowledge (bold is mine):

By Tom Blumer | October 24, 2012 | 10:06 PM EDT

The Associated Press, Bloomberg and Reuters all eagerly told readers today that the seasonally adjusted annualized level of single-family home sales in September of 389,000 was the highest in 2-1/2 years and really, really good news for the housing market, the economy as a whole, or both. What they all "somehow" failed to mention was the fact that sales are still far below where they were during the 12-month recession in 2008 and 2009 (defining "recession" properly), when the market was screeching to a halt after overbuilding driven by subprime lending frauds by design Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The numbers reported by the Census Bureau since January of 2008, first expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, then as raw number of homes sold, follow the jump.

By Tom Blumer | October 22, 2012 | 1:20 AM EDT

Let's get the easy part out of the way first. The New York Times and the Associated Press are only covering the outrages emerging in Solyndra's bankruptcy in the vaguest of terms. The only related Times item I could find was a sentence at the end of an October 11 Green blog post indicating that "the I.R.S. and the Energy Department argue in court papers" against the company's bankruptcy plan. The AP's Randall Chase was a bit more specific that day, writing that "The plan allows for two private equity funds that control Solyndra to potentially reap hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks after Solyndra emerges from bankruptcy, using net operating losses." Beyond that, the details are news only in the business press, and even then not to a great extent.

Are the private equity funds (you mean they're sort of like the eeeevil Bain Capital?) getting hundreds of millions in "tax breaks" as in tax deductions or tax reductions? Unbelievably, it's the latter (the former is almost $1 billion), as an October 15 Wall Street Journal editorial and an October 17 Bloomberg News item which seemed to be simultaneously trying to catch up to but then cover up what the Journal revealed.

By Tom Blumer | October 16, 2012 | 9:49 AM EDT

(See Updates re President Obama's statement in 2010 and money the State of Michigan flushed down the drain.)

Eric Savitz at Forbes relays news this morning that "A123 Systems has filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court ... Late yesterday, the battery company had warned that it was about to default on several loan issues, noting that a bankruptcy filing was a possibility; but it still seems startling to see them file just hours later."

What does (or did) A123 do? It "makes rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric cars." Savitz can't resist casting the bankruptcy in political terms in his third paragraph: