Those “Bad Old” Bush Days – Unemployment Rate 2% – April 10, 2005

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In the week ending April 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 333,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 322,000. The 4-week moving average was 321,500, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised average of 323,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.0 percent for the week ending April 23, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 2.0 percent.

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 23 was 2,589,000, an increase of 38,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 2,551,000. The 4-week moving average was 2,606,500, a decrease of 24,250 from the preceding week’s revised average of 2,630,750.


The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 288,626 in the week ending April 30, a decrease of 12,249 from the previous week. There were 283,236 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004.

The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.0 percent during the week ending April 23, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,570,929, a decrease of 41,651 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.3 percent and the volume was 2,915,357.

Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending April 16.

Initial claims for UI benefits by former Federal civilian employees totaled 974 in the week ending April 23, a decrease of 132 from the prior week. There were 1,974 initial claims by newly discharged veterans, a decrease of 242 from the preceding week.

There were 14,361 former Federal civilian employees claiming UI benefits for the week ending April 16, a decrease of 17 from the previous week. Newly discharged veterans claiming benefits totaled 26,320, an increase of 661 from the prior week.

The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending April 16 were in Alaska (5.1 percent), Puerto Rico (4.1), Michigan (3.5), Oregon (3.1), New Jersey (3.0), Pennsylvania (3.0), Wisconsin (2.8), Massachusetts (2.7), Vermont (2.7), and California (2.6).

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending April 23 were in Massachusetts (+5,534), Kentucky (+4,080), California (+3,257), Texas (+2,974), and Connecticut (+2,396), while the largest decreases were in Minnesota (-2,801), Tennessee (-2,201), Wisconsin (-880), Pennsylvania (-865), and South Carolina (-707).

UPDATE: June 10, 2009 – The uneployment rate now stands at 9.4%. Pending the 12 weekly upward revision of unemployment data the percentage of unemployed may surpass 10%. At the time of Obama’s election in November 2008 the unemployment rate was 6.5%. For every 2 people out of work when Obama was elected we know have 3 people out of work.   

Global Warming: Religion Or Science – Beware The Climate Of Conformity

On March 8, 2009, Jeff Jacoby at The Boston Globe wrote, “But for many people, the science of climate change is not nearly as important as the religion of climate change. When Al Gore insisted yet again at a conference last Thursday that there can be no debate about global warming, he was speaking not with the authority of a man of science, but with the closed-minded dogmatism of a religious zealot. Dogma and zealotry have their virtues, no doubt. But if we want to understand where global warming has gone, those aren’t the tools we need.”

On April 13th, 2009, Paul Sheenhan of the Sydney Morning Hearld wrote an article titled, “Beware the climate of conformity”, that article appears below. Journalist Sheehan is a columnist and senior writer for the Sydney Morning Herald, where he has been day editor, chief of staff and Washington correspondent. Sheehan is a graduate of the Australian National University in Canberra, and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York, and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly and Foreign Policy.

Beware the climate of conformity

What I am about to write questions much of what I have written in this space, in numerous columns, over the past five years. Perhaps what I have written can withstand this questioning. Perhaps not. The greater question is, am I – and you – capable of questioning our own orthodoxies and intellectual habits? Let’s see.

The subject of this column is not small. It is a book entitled Heaven And Earth, which will be published tomorrow. It has been written by one of Australia’s foremost Earth scientists, Professor Ian Plimer. He is a confronting sort of individual, polite but gruff, courteous but combative. He can write extremely well, and Heaven And Earth is a brilliantly argued book by someone not intimidated by hostile majorities or intellectual fashions.

The book’s 500 pages and 230,000 words and 2311 footnotes are the product of 40 years’ research and a depth and breadth of scholarship. As Plimer writes: “An understanding of climate requires an amalgamation of astronomy, solar physics, geology, geochronology, geochemistry, sedimentology, tectonics, palaeontology, palaeoecology, glaciology, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, archaeology and history.”

The most important point to remember about Plimer is that he is Australia’s most eminent geologist. As such, he thinks about time very differently from most of us. He takes the long, long view. He looks at climate over geological, archaeological, historical and modern time. He writes: “Past climate changes, sea-level changes and catastrophes are written in stone.”

Much of what we have read about climate change, he argues, is rubbish, especially the computer modelling on which much current scientific opinion is based, which he describes as “primitive”. Errors and distortions in computer modelling will be exposed in time. (As if on cue, the United Nations’ peak scientific body on climate change was obliged to make an embarrassing admission last week that some of its computers models were wrong.)

Plimer does not dispute the dramatic flux of climate change – and this column is not about Australia’s water debate – but he fundamentally disputes most of the assumptions and projections being made about the current causes, mostly led by atmospheric scientists, who have a different perspective on time. “It is little wonder that catastrophist views of the future of the planet fall on fertile pastures. The history of time shows us that depopulation, social disruption, extinctions, disease and catastrophic droughts take place in cold times … and life blossoms and economies boom in warm times. Planet Earth is dynamic. It always changes and evolves. It is currently in an ice age.”

If we look at the last 6 million years, the Earth was warmer than it is now for 3 million years. The ice caps of the Arctic, Antarctica and Greenland are geologically unusual. Polar ice has only been present for less than 20 per cent of geological time. What follows is an intense compression of the book’s 500 pages and all their provocative arguments and conclusions:

Is dangerous warming occurring? No.

Is the temperature range observed in the 20th century outside the range of normal variability? No.

The Earth’s climate is driven by the receipt and redistribution of solar energy. Despite this crucial relationship, the sun tends to be brushed aside as the most important driver of climate. Calculations on supercomputers are primitive compared with the complex dynamism of the Earth’s climate and ignore the crucial relationship between climate and solar energy.

“To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable – human-induced CO2 – is not science. To try to predict the future based on just one variable (CO2) in extraordinarily complex natural systems is folly. Yet when astronomers have the temerity to show that climate is driven by solar activities rather than CO2 emissions, they are dismissed as dinosaurs undertaking the methods of old-fashioned science.”

Over time, the history of CO2 content in the atmosphere has been far higher than at present for most of time. Atmospheric CO2 follows temperature rise. It does not create a temperature rise. CO2 is not a pollutant. Global warming and a high CO2 content bring prosperity and longer life.

The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology. “But evidence no longer matters. And any contrary work published in peer-reviewed journals is just ignored. We are told that the science on human-induced global warming is settled. Yet the claim by some scientists that the threat of human-induced global warming is 90 per cent certain (or even 99 per cent) is a figure of speech. It has no mathematical or evidential basis.”

Observations in nature differ markedly from the results generated by nearly two dozen computer-generated climate models. These climate models exaggerate the effects of human CO2 emissions into the atmosphere because few of the natural variables are considered. Natural systems are far more complex than computer models.

The setting up by the UN of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 gave an opportunity to make global warming the main theme of environmental groups. “The IPCC process is related to environmental activism, politics and opportunism. It is unrelated to science. Current zeal around human-induced climate change is comparable to the certainty professed by Creationists or religious fundamentalists.”

Ian Plimer is not some isolated gadfly. He is a prize-winning scientist and professor. The back cover of Heaven And Earth carries a glowing endorsement from the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, who now holds the rotating presidency of the European Union. Numerous rigorous scientists have joined Plimer in dissenting from the prevailing orthodoxy.

Heaven And Earth is an evidence-based attack on conformity and orthodoxy, including my own, and a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence.

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