Winter, Huh?

Quick!  What’s the difference between freezing rain and sleet?

I ran into this very useful graphic the other day in a NOAA presentation on winter weather that shows the difference between freezing raise (which we are having a bit of in Texas this morning, sleet, snow, and plain rain.

The Dakotas and down to Denver are expecting some serious winter weather and it will push down to the Republic this weekend and move eastward from there.

This is about the best graphic I have seen on the differences – and it’s one of those things that popped out of winter flying practice yesterday (outside air temp 19 at the time) and this is what the neighborhood looked like from 2,800 feet.  The grey trees are mostly oaks, a few hickory, and the deep green are southern/lob lolly pines.

The usual lush green down here turns a kind muddy brown in the winters and I was hoping to get “before and after” pictures of snowfall.

For better, or worse, though, looks like the forecast has dropped snow, so we will have to wait a while for the “after” pictures.  Understanding the weather, though, is really useful, weather you’re boating or flying.  Or, today, just living in the Dakotas or east of there as winter slides another one in this weekend.

Jobs Report:  Improved  (sort of…)

No doubt about where the market “should” end today after the manic rally the past couple of days.

Right about where it opens this morning.

And there’s a solid reason why:  The markets are often rather predictable to people who spend any amount of time learning different methods of market analysis.  And for the moment, the market looks like it will slowly edge up to new highs right around the end of the month.

Not a shoo-in, but near ‘nuff.

Should it happen, and we get new highs, that would push the “crash” potential out 55-days from the new highs, which means no crash until the end of March, which would be fine with us.  Although we havfe studied whatever we can get our hands on relative to Great Depressions, kit’s axiomatic that we don’t really want one.  But we can see the potential for one developing.

Just not today because the jobs report is out.  May I have the envelope, please?

“The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.6 percent in December, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 383,000 to 8.7 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women (5.0 percent) decreased by 0.2 percentage point in December, while the rates for adult men (5.3 percent), teenagers (16.8 percent), whites (4.8 percent), blacks (10.4 percent), and Hispanics (6.5 percent) showed little change. The jobless rate for Asians, at 4.2 percent (not seasonally adjusted), changed little from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million and accounted for 31.9 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million. (See table A-12.)

We have our usual companion numbers, but Chicken Little is not going to be seeing the sky fall anytime soon with these:

CES Birth Death Mode;   Created how many jobs out of statistical inferences this month?  This month, the Model subtracted 20,000 jobs – which is not a good thing.

The U-6 alternative measures of labor under utilization is at 11.2% versus 11.4% last month.

the real sour note to the report is that the Labor Participation rate dropped 2-10ths down to 62.7% of the workforce and no, that is NOT a good thing.

This months’ report is also complicated by the application (creative invention?) of annual adjustments.  (You can begin study of that over here).

But to say that the Labor Department has more adjustments than a Chiropractor with a winter sale understates things dramatically.

Free Money – EU Style

There is one other story which is popping through the headlines that heralds the arrival of a phenomena we have stated multiple times but which is being moved “out into the open” for the public to see.

Unfortunately, “the public” is generally dumber than a stick (you being the exception) and they will be all riled up with the crazy Muslim killers stories out of Paris and will miss the fact that the European Union – having gone to Ms. Janet’s Money Manipulation School – is about to adopt quantitative easing.

What this means may be that the EU will have some dough following into a new commodity bubble, though which one isn’t clear just yet.

Oil though, is hanging under $49 in the pre-open.

Free Money, – Obama Style

The free lunch is back:  The Obama administration will be making a pitch for two years of community college, for anyone who wants it – free. 

While this may sound like a fine idea, there’s a catch.  Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.  And with a two year degree, what kind of jobs, exactly, are in such high demand that a two year freebie will result in a meaningful career path?

Still, it’s a better idea (by a long shot) to most to come out of this administration.  But now, the fresh crop of highly politicized idiots on the Hill are likely to dick around with it so you’ll likely be dead and buried before it gets passed.  There will be so many people wanting to take credit for it, there won’t be enough to go around.

Funny (and distinctly sad) how complexity works when it’s stretched to the extreme, isn’t it?

The altruism aside, a driver to lower higher ed costs is the fact the student loan debt is quickly creeping up on a trillion dollars. 

Interesting policy question:  If someone got screwed with student loans from a previous two-year community college stint, would Uncle Fed tear up the old note?  Seriously, you think they would consider it?  Fair would be fair, right?

More in a sec.

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George Ure
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5 thoughts on “Winter, Huh?”

  1. 67.2% of the people are working. What do the 32.8% of the people who don’t work do?
    Suckle & go to school? Sit around in the old folks home waiting for tomorrow? Spend the day fishing? Sell stuff on the corner?

    Everybody as to eat….

  2. community college is about what high school used to be back in the 50′ or early 60’s. Mostly – as I said in my email – it adds two years, like the Army draft for males used to do – to grow up – but the Army two year course had some supervision. CC – probably not.

  3. Community college does more than just ‘degrees’. There are a huge number of technical trades to be learned. Things that will not be done well in Mexico, China or where ever the next cheap labor spot come up.
    Plumbers, mechanics and all those ‘hands on’ jobs that do keep our world running.
    As a plus they do require a little of general education along with the ‘how to’.
    Generally speaking education is not wasted, the post WW2 GI bill built the modern America.

  4. Many dreams lately. No idea why. Just this morning the name of a school mate from 60 years ago popped up for no apparent reason. Not a bud or any connection other then being in the same school. Not thought of or heard from for more then 60 years. Goggled and found him on the first try. Sent email with typical questions. Awaiting reply. A week or so ago had a short visit from mother. She is on the other side of what ever we call this dimension. She gave me the keys to her car. Go figure. Not been reading you for awhile. Wondering how the dream project is going. Seems the membrane is thinning.

  5. Lunatic idea of “community college” for “anyone that wants it”. What about something useful, like financial education seminars, two years of electrician/plumber, etc., apprenticeship with national license, or cost controls on education like opening up the institutional accreditation process to newcomers?

    All the current proposal will do is push the cost and overhead of educational institutions through the roof and remove what’s left of their own cost controls.

    At least it’s one of the few things from this administration that doesn’t involve more restrictions on activity, regulations, or mandated purchases.

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