This Week’s Business News

Unemployment Rates

July 1997 – 4.2 – whites
July 2007 – 4.2 – whites

July 1997 – 7.9 – Latinos
July 2007 – 5.9 – Latinos

July 1997 – 9.4 – blacks
July 2007 – 8.0 – blacks

Overall Net Job Growth

137.5 million = total employment, July 2003
146.1 million = total employment, July 2007

8.6 million = net gain in total employment, 7/03 – 7/07
(179,000 per month)

Wage Growth – Lower-Tiered Workers

$14.56 – avg. hourly wages, July 2001
$17.45 – avg. hourly wages, July 2007

19.8% = increase in avg. hourly wages, 7/01 – 7/07
17.4% = total consumer inflation rate, 7/01 – 7/07

Net W-2 Job Growth

129.9 million = W-2 employment, July 2003
138.1 million = W-2 employment, July 2007

8.2 million = net gain in W-2 employment, 7/03 – 7/07
(171,000 per month)

Breaking that down by sectors:

7.6 million – private sectors (93%)
0.6 million – government (7%)

Breaking it down by occupations:

1,181,000 – healthcare
915,000 – construction
494,000 – retail sales
249,000 – computer systems design
215,000 – engineering & architecture
158,000 – mining
157,000 – management of enterprises/businesses
143,000 – accounting
143,000 – real estate
95,000 – securities & investments
90,000 – insurance
55,000 – commercial banking

On the other hand, our nation’s publishing companies have generated the sum net total of (minus) 13,500 payroll jobs over the past four years.

But don’t fret. There’s still plenty of good news out there for liberal journalists at big-city newspapers and magazines. Halliburton is hiring. So too is Wal-Mart.

Total Personal Incomes

Total personal incomes include such items as rents, dividends, interest, and employer contributions to pension plans, in addition to base salaries and wages.

From June 2006 through June 2007 total personal incomes for all Americans rose 6.1%. That’s far in excess of the total inflation rate during that period. This calendar year total personal incomes are on pace to rise 6.7% annually. That too is above the current and prospective inflation rates.

Economic Growth

The country’s vast services sector grew in July for the 52nd consecutive month. The services sector accounts for roughly 80 percent of all economic activity. The manufacturing sector also grew in July.

Cue the Imperial Theme Music

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. will acquire Dow Jones, of which the key asset is the Wall Street Journal.

News Corp. overpaid. Liberalbots hate Murdoch, so they’ll be angry and depressed (even moreso than usual). Other big media conglomerates, e.g., Viacom and Liberty Media, probably will feel compelled to acquire more assets.

Law & Order

In a huge case for the insurance industry the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of insurers and against policyholders regarding flood damage caused by Hurricane Katrina but excluded from coverage in standard homeowners’ insurance policies. The ruling simply applied basic and long-standing principles of insurance contract law. Once it becomes final the decision will save P&C carriers and their reinsurance partners from billions of dollars in claims.

BTW, that decision comes as no surprise to those who follow our court systems. The 5th Circuit is one of the more conservative, i.e., intelligent, rational and non-activist, federal appeals courts.

Mr. Market

The major stock market averages continued with their well-publicized downward corrections.

Color me unmoved.

If the Dow re-traced its steps all the way back down to 12,000, then I might get excited about large-scale buying opportunities. Until then, however:

Zzzzz.

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