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Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Sat Jan 1, 2005, 04:45 AM
Number of posts: 8,141

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Great stuff. There's also that at-night lighted version - Overpass Light Brigade

The overpass light brigade http://overpasslightbrigade.org/
Their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/OverpassLightBrigade
Their tumbler page -- 4 pages of photos: http://overpasslightbrigade.tumblr.com/

This by the way, is the freeway blogger's website for anyone hunting for the URL - lots of great pictures: http://www.freewayblogger.com/

Voting Rights/Voter ID - heartening to see so many "getting it"

I know very few to none who are in the area will see this in time (on edit - the event was Oct 11), I wouldn't have bothered posting except it was nice to see such a widely diverse group of sponsors that are involved. To me, this amendment is the most important constitutional amendment on the ballot because if we have strict voter ID (and that's what the constitutional amendment calls for), then the civil rights of EVERYONE, and ALL progressive causes will be negatively impacted by the disproportionate disenfranchisement of progressives.

Voting rights 10.11 6:30pm

Voices for Voting Rights Red Carpet Event
Public Event • By Organizing Apprenticeship Project
Thursday, October 11, 2012
6:30pm until 8:30pm at PARKWAY THEATER
4814 Chicago Ave. South, Minneapolis

A Red Carpet Event and Film Screening.
...Come hear the voices of multiracial, multicultural leaders in our communities who are standing up for voting rights.
...Eat popcorn and enjoy artistic performances as well as the screening of several short social justice films featuring local celebrities.
...Dress to impress (optional)
...VOTE NO on VOTER ID (mandatory).

Contributing Partners:
African American Leadership Forum
Be the Vote Coalition 2012
Community Action of Minneapolis
Centro Campesino
Color the Vote
Lao Family Community
Main Street Project
Native Vote Alliance of Minnesota
Organizing Apprenticeship Project
Sagrado Corazón de Jesús
Somali Action Alliance

EF-0. Economic Statistics with links to official sources. Links to LBN jobs threads thru July 2

LBN Threads that discuss the latest monthly jobs reports (the one with the unemployment rate and the payroll jobs numbers that usually comes out the first Friday of the month, but sometimes the second Friday)

For June 2021 jobs report (dated 7/2/21) , see: https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142764396

New presidential jobs creation table updated 10/2/20
. . . https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142594312#post18

Since I'm not doing monthly updates anymore, the links below are the place to look for discussions of the numbers. I generally contribute to these threads, but it takes some time (like most of the Friday when they come out). I will at least add the latest link ASAP to the below. One can also look in the Latest Breaking News forum at shortly after 8:30 A.M. Eastern Time on the first Friday of the month (or the second Friday of some months) and find it.

When the jobs reports come out: https://www.bls.gov/schedule/news_release/empsit.htm
. . . for 2021: 1/8, 2/5, 3/5, 4/2, 5/7, 6/4, 7/2, 8/6, 9/3, 10/8, 11/5, 12/3 (so only exceptions to the first Friday rule are 1/8 and 10/8)

JUNE 2021 (dated 7/2/21): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142764396
MAY 2021 (dated 6/4/21): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142752086
APRIL 2021 (dated 5/5/21): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142739829
MARCH 2021 (dated 4/2/21): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142722728
FEBRUARY 2021 (dated 3/5/21): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142706904
JANUARY 2021 (dated 2/5/21): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142689073
DECEMBER 2020 (dated 1/8/21): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142662799
NOVEMBER 2020 (dated 12/4): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142641310
OCTOBER 2020 (dated 11/6): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142621613
SEPTEMBER 2020 (dated 10/2): https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142594312
AUGUST 2020 (dated 9/4) : https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142575568
JULY 2020 (dated 8/7) : https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142555568
JUNE 2020 (dated 7/2) : https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142528426
MAY 2020 (dated 6/5) : https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142507819
APRIL 2020 (dated 5/8) : https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142489386
MARCH 2020 (dated 4/3) : https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142462375
FEBRUARY 2020 (dated 3/6) : https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142442171
JANUARY 2020 (dated 2/7) : https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142430036

Major updates were done to all pages on February 8, 2020. For additional updates that were done since then, please click this link:   EF-U. Updates List

Handy key links to BLS data series / graphs pages, some with the latest year or two of monthly numbers: (May) https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142752086#post6

9/19/20 note - this delves into the discrepancy between the 29.6 million collecting benefits in all programs (aka continuing claims) as of week ending August 29 (the latest for this data as of 9/19/20 -- there's a 2 1/2 week lag in this statistic -- and the 13.2 million unemployed figure in the August 2020 BLS monthly jobs report (that came out 9/4/20)
. . . https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142575568#post39
. . . https://www.democraticunderground.com/100214030232#post3

5/12/20 note : Scroll down a a few inches to see a summary of the horrific April 2020 jobs report.


April 2020 Jobs Report that Came out May 8, 2020

I normally don't do monthly jobs reports anymore, but I'm making an exception for this historic jobs plunge we suffered in April.

The headlines are that non-farm payroll jobs dropped by 20.5 million in April, while the unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, the worst since the 1930s.

See the Latest Breaking News thread reporting this: https://www.democraticunderground.com/10142489386

Per Bureau of Labor Statistics May 8, 2020, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm :

In April the employment-to-population ratio is the lowest since records of that began in January 1948 (72 years ago)

Ditto the unemployment rate (except it is at the highest, not the lowest, since that seasonally adjusted series began in January 1948)

Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics admits the official unemployment rate is almost 5 percentage points higher than the 14.7% reported due to classification errors of some of the household survey interviewers (making it close to 20%)

As was the case in March, special instructions sent to household survey
interviewers called for all employed persons absent from work due to coronavirus-related business
closures to be classified as unemployed on temporary layoff. However, it is apparent that not all
such workers were so classified.

If the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to "other reasons" (over
and above the number absent for other reasons in a typical April) had been classified as unemployed
on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been almost 5 percentage points higher
than reported (on a not seasonally adjusted basis). However, according to usual practice, the data
from the household survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain data integrity, no ad hoc actions
are taken to reclassify survey responses.

And the April numbers come from a sample week of April 12-18. Many more millions of jobs were lost since then, according to the weekly new unemployment claims reports

Putting all of the above together, it is a virtual certainty that the unemployment rate was over 20% at the end of April.

As for the nonfarm payrolls job number being down 20.5 million in April -- that's from a different survey, the Establishment Survey. The key thing to know about that survey is that it is based on pay periods that include the 12th (some employers pay monthly but most pay every 2 weeks, some pay weekly). Anyway, most of that missed the further job losses that occurred in the second half of April.

More Details:


I won't be doing monthly updates, but rather annual updates of the jobs number, so if the job statistics are somewhat out of date in the future, I hope people will read "Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there". The other pages (EF-1 through EF-10) also has information about the economy that is still relevant or relatively timeless. I also make occasional changes to some of the other pages, particularly the debt and deficit information on the EF-5 page http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439#post5
and EF-9 Income and Inequality pages http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439#post9
. Again, please check out the   EF-U. Updates List

Another key purpose of this page is to provide links to the official sources of economic statistics and other resources for people to use in the message board / social media wars with the righties (and each other) about the economy.

Almost all sections have where to find the official numbers, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Treasury.gov, or widely cited non-partisan sources. Hopefully people will find these pages a useful reference for finding information. These are the numbers that are cited, and which virtually all analysis of the U.S. economy derive from. The rest is pretty much anecdotal (like "the prices in my grocery store have doubled in the past year" )

There are some amazingly distorted presentations of what their numbers are and what they mean that you find on the web, and yes, DU too. Please see the "Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there" section in the bottom half of this page for examples of what I mean by distorted presentations of BLS statistics.

I don't claim that the BLS and other government sources are inerrant, or even unbiased, e.g. whoever came up with some of the definitions like the official (U-3) unemployment rate being a count of jobless people who looked for work sometime in the past 4 weeks. And it is obvious that most of the Household Survey numbers have a lot of statistical error, considering how they wildly bounce around from month to month.

I'm just saying all of this is a presentation of the actual BLS and Commerce Department numbers (for the most part) with links to the statistics being discussed, so that you can check it out for yourself.

Most of what you read about economic statistics, including those skeptical of the BLS and Commerce Dept numbers (e.g. GDP), rely on these same statistics, since there aren't many comprehensive non-governmental sources of economic statistics available. In other words, they use these statistics to criticize these statistics. So by giving you the links, you can see the full context -- as many polemicists cherry pick here and there to give a misleading picture.

Again, see the "Beware the tricks of the economic pundits out there" section in the bottom half of this page for examples of what to watch for.

Unfortunately, a lot of the formatting has been lost because of the May 2017 hack of the DU website. For the latest version at archive.org -- WHICH SHOWS THE ORIGINAL FORMATTING -- see:


Unfortunately the latest archive.org snapshot that shows the original formatting is April 2016. Oh well. There is a way to ask archive.org to save a current snapshot ... the "Save Page Now" feature at https://archive.org/web. But unfortunately any snapshots made after the May 2017 hack of the DU website appear the same as what you are looking at -- with only selected formatting restored.

For more on what formatting does and does not work at DU, see https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1256&pid=13211

Here is a table of contents of this thread:

{#} EF-0. Economic Statistics with links to official sources (this post)

{#} EF-1. Job Loss and Creation - Payroll Employment. At the bottom all post-WWII presidents with completed terms are compared

{#} EF-2. Unemployment Rate, Labor Force Participation Rate, Unemployment Insurance Claims

{#} EF-3. Recessions and Expansions - Official (NBER.org). Also GDP (Gross Domestic Product)

{#} EF-4. U.S. Stock Market as measured by the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Avg

{#} EF-5. National Debt. Budget Deficits and Surpluses

{#} EF-6. U.S. Dollar Index (DXY). Oil Prices

{#} EF-7. In Progress (mostly Dem presidencies v. Repub presidencies. Also Inequality)

{#} EF-8. In Progress - Some canned excerpts to use in the message board wars

{#} EF-9. Incomes and Inequality and Consumer Prices and Poverty (in progress)

{#) EF-10. Definitions, Links (In Progress)

{#) EF-U. Updates List

I use facts from these in mixed message boards and in comments on news articles such as at news.yahoo.com. Be aware that I have included a few statistics that are not so pleasant as far as Obama's record, ones that anyone debating with others should be aware of because occasionally you will see these points or they will come back at you with these statistics (forewarned is forearmed).


Here are some summary tables of the key jobs reports statistics from the Establishment Survey and the Household Survey released on February 7, 2020.

A narrative "Detailed Discussion" section follows these tables.

In the below tables, all "%" ones are percentage point changes, *not* percent increases or decreases. FOR EXAMPLE, when you see something like this:

+0.1% Unemployment rate

It means that the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points (this EXAMPLE is from March 2016 when the unemployment rate rose from 4.9% to 5.0%).

Before each item, (F) indicates very bad, (D) indicates bad, (C) indicates neutral, (B) indicates good, (A) indicates very good. (Edit: I haven't been putting these "grades" on the items lately)


The links to the data below in the "over the last year" etc. tables

# Nonfarm Employment (Establishment Survey), https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001  monthly change

# . . . the raw (not seasonally adjusted numbers) are at http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CEU0000000001   monthly change

# INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000031

# Labor Force http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11000000   monthly change

# Employed http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12000000   monthly change

# . . . the raw (not seasonally adjusted numbers) are at https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNU02000000   monthly change

# Unemployed http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13000000   monthly change

# ETPR (Employment-To-Population Ratio) aka Employment Rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

# LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

# Unemployment rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

# U-6 unemployment rate http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13327709

# NILF -- Not in Labor Forcehttp://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS15000000   monthly change

# NILF-WJ -- Not in Labor Force, Wants Job http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS15026639   monthly change

# Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12032194 monthly change

# Part-Time Workers (Table A-9) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12600000   monthly change

# Full-Time Workers (Table A-9) http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12500000   monthly change

# Multiple Jobholders as a Percent of Employed (Table A-9) https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12026620   monthly change

# Civilian non-institutional population https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS10000000   monthly change

Some statistics by age group
The ones beginning with "LNS" are seasonally adjusted (SA).
The ones beginning with "LNU" are not seasonally adjusted (NSA)
16+ is the default one that the BLS and the media report.
16+ means every civilian non-institutionalized person age 16 and over, including centenarians. So it is misleading -- the population is aging and there are about 10,000 boomer retirements a day (which comes to 3.6 million/year). That's why I show other age groups.

Age 25-54 is what the BLS calls the "prime age". It isn't contaminated by a lot of voluntary retirements.

By default, the graphs are 10 - 11 years, specifically they begin in the January of the year that was 10 years ago -- meaning in this case they begin January 2009 (which happens to be near the bottom of Great Recession job market -- well actually the job count fell for another 13 months to its lowest point in February 2010)

You might want to set the start date of the calendar back to, oh, whatever. 1989? 1979? 1969? In order to get a more historic view. 1989 is about when the rapid growth of female workforce participation began to level off

LFPR - Labor Force Participation Rate for some age groups
The LFPR is the Employed + jobless people who have looked for work in the last 4 weeks (and say they want a job and are able to take one if offered). All divided by the civilian non-institutional population age 16+.
SA means Seasonally adjusted. NSA means Not Seasonally Adjusted
16+: SA: LNS11300000 NSA: LNU01300000
25-34: SA: LNS11300089 NSA: LNU01300089
25-54: SA: LNS11300060 NSA: LNU01300060
55+: SA: LNS11324230 NSA: LNU01324230
65+: SA: ---------------- NSA: LNU01300097

ETPR - Employment to Population Ratio for some age groups
SA means Seasonally adjusted. NSA means Not Seasonally Adjusted
16+: SA: LNS12300000 NSA: LNU02300000
25-34: SA: LNS12300089 NSA:
25-54: SA: LNS12300060 NSA: LNU02300060
55+: SA: LNS12324230 NSA: LNU02324230
65+: SA: ---------------- NSA: LNU02300097

OVER THE LAST YEAR (last 12 months), i.e. Trump's 3rd year:
Updated to include the January 2020 jobs report that came out on Feb. 7, 2020
+2,052,000 Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey, CES0000000001)
-0.16% INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers ( CES0500000031 ) - YES, A DECLINE
......... the weekly earnings percentage is 11 months thru December because no CPI data for January yet
==== HOUSEHOLD SURVEY ========
+1,464,000 Labor Force = Employed + jobless people who looked for work in the past 4 weeks
+2,087,000 Employed
-624,000 Unemployed (jobless people who looked for work in the past 4 weeks)
+0.5% Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate
+0.2% LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate)
-0.4% Unemployment rate
-1.1% U-6 unemployment rate (It includes anyone that looked for work even once in the past year,
` ` ` and part-timers who say they want full-time work) (It's at 6.9%)
-1.2% "U-7" unemployment rate: Counts EVERY jobless person who SAYS they want a job,
` ` ` no matter how long it has been since they looked for work, plus part-timers who want
` ` ` full time work (it's at 8.8%)
-335,000 Not in Labor Force, Wants Job LNS15026639
-923,000 Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons)
+759,000 Part-Time Workers (Table A-9)
+1,324,000 Full-Time Workers (Table A-9)

The "U-7" unemployment rate is a creation of Paul Solman of the PBS Newshour, not a BLS number. The above number is one I calculated, because he doesn't update his number every month, and when he does, it is about a day after the jobs report comes out. My number has consistently matched his within 0.1 percentage points (and mine has always been a bit higher). The "U-7" unemployment rate counts EVERY jobless person who SAYS they want a job, no matter how long it has been since they looked for work, plus part-timers who want full time work

For more background on the U-7 number, see: "If you count everyone who says they want a job, even if they have made no effort to find one in many years" at http://www.democraticunderground.com/111622439#post2

OVER THE LAST 3 YEARS (last 36 months), i.e. Trump's presidency:
Updated to include the January 2020 jobs report that came out on Feb. 7, 2020
+6,559,000 Nonfarm Payroll Employment (Establishment Survey, CES0000000001)
+2.84% INFLATION ADJUSTED Weekly Earnings of Production and Non-Supervisory Workers ( CES0500000031 )
......... the weekly earnings percentage is 23 months thru December because no CPI data for January yet
......... Incidentally in Obama's last 3 years, this measure increased by 4.48%
==== HOUSEHOLD SURVEY ========
+4,959,000 Labor Force = Employed + jobless people who looked for work in the past 4 weeks
+6,585,000 Employed
-1,626,000 Unemployed (jobless people who looked for work in the past 4 weeks)
+1.3% Employment-To-Population Ratio aka Employment Rate
+0.6% LFPR (Labor Force Participation rate)
-1.1% Unemployment rate
-2.3% U-6 unemployment rate (It includes anyone that looked for work even once in the past year,
` ` ` and it includes part-timers who want full time work) (It's at 6.9%)
-2.6% "U-7" unemployment rate: Counts EVERY jobless person who SAYS they want a job,
` ` ` no matter how long it has been since they looked for work, plus part-timers who want
` ` ` full time work (It's at 8.8%)
-835,000 Not in Labor Force, Wants Job LNS15026639
-1,552,000 Part-Time Workers who want Full-Time Jobs (Table A-8's Part-Time For Economic Reasons)
+83,000 Part-Time Workers (Table A-9)
+6,536,000 Full-Time Workers (Table A-9)

The reason there's no data for January yet for the inflation-adjusted Weekly Earnings is because the CPI inflation adjustment number for January is not yet available.

Commentary: usually I have more to say because reports are usually more mixed. But as far as over the past year numbers (thru January 31, 2020), the only one that looks bad or disappointing is the slight 0.16% drop in the inflation-adjusted weekly earnings of production and non-supervisory workers. But over the past 3 years (Trump's presidency) it has gained 2.84%. (In Obama's last 3 years it gained 4.48%). As for the past 3 year numbers, I don't see anything that looks bad.

Interestingly, over the past year, the civilian non-institutional population age 16+ incresed 1,263k while payroll jobs increased by 2,052k and "Employed" increased by 2,087k.

The past 3 year numbers are more rational but still surprising: the civilian non-institutional population age 16+ increased by 5,420k, while payroll jobs increase by 6,559k, and the number of employed increased by 6,585k.

(This paragraph was written during Obama's 2nd term) On a separate topic, in general, it seems to me that there is too much discussion in the media of the Labor Force Participation Rate -- aka the Labor Force to Population Ratio -- (the employed plus the jobless people who have looked for work in the last 4 weeks, all divided by the population), and not enough attention to what seemingly matters more -- the Employment to Population Ratio. Why aren't we highlighting the increase in the percentage of the population that is employed (the employment to population ratio)-- a figure that has been slowly moving up since the job market bottom, despite the growing wave of baby boomer retirements?

This was particularly irritating during the 2nd term of the Obama administration when the labor force participation rate was barely off its Great Recession bottom, while the employment to population ratio was definitely and steadily increasing since fall 2013.

(As always, the population being talked about is the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over, including the elderly, even centenarians).

Part-Time Workers Who Want Full Time Jobs, as % of All Employed
Jan'17 Jan'19 Jan'20
3.8% ` 3.3% ` 2.6%

Aren't most of the new jobs part-time?

No. This excellent post from early July 2015 show two perspectives of the trends in part-time workers and full-time workers (not part-time jobs and full-time jobs). Thanks mahatmakanejeeves

Since February 2010 (the bottom of the Great Recession job market) through January 2020, part-time workers have DEcreased by 98,000 while full-time workers have INcreased by 20,321,000. (Table A-9).

Chart 7 of the below link shows Part-time workers as a percent of total employed, Seasonally adjusted, 1990–2020. In recent years it has ranged from 20.1% at the height of the Great Recession to around 17% now.

Romney justifies virtually no job growth at his 3 1/2 year point in Mass.

Probably your crazy uncle is telling you that he's tired of hearing "Oblamer" blame Bush for the poor state of the economy and essentially zero job growth since he took office (since January 31, 2009 thru August 31, 2012, under Obama 261,000 jobs have been lost, although he is in positive territory in private sector jobs).

Your crazy uncle also pooh poohs you when you tell him that in the last 30 months, under Obama 4.6 million private sector jobs and 4.1 million total jobs (actually civilian non-farm payroll jobs), have been created, telling you that you are cherry-picking Obama's best months blah dee blah.

# Payroll Jobs: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0000000001
# Private Sector Payroll Employment: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES0500000001

Well, Romney in his June 24, 2006 press conference (nearly 3 1/2 years into his governorship of Massachusetts), blamed the economy he inherited for his woeful job record over his entire term, and touted the 50,000 jobs created since the turnaround. Exactly the sort of argument that the righties are criticizing us for making regarding Obama.

Transcript and press-conference video (1:50): http://www.youtube{DOT}com/watch?v=ArRj-dQXX3Y
(replace the {DOT} with . in the above URL. I don't know why it is fighting with me)

TRANSCRIPT:[font color = blue]"You guys are bright enough to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs had been just falling right off a cliff, I came in and they kept falling for 11 months. And then we turned around and we're coming back and that's progress. And if you are going to suggest to me that somehow the day I got elected, somehow jobs should have immediately turned around, well that would be silly. It takes awhile to get things turned around. We were in a recession, we were losing jobs every month. We've turned around and since the turnaround we've added 50,000 jobs. That's progress. And there will be some people who try and say, 'well Governor, net-net, you've only added a few thousand jobs since you've been in.' Yeah but I helped stop, I didn't do it alone, the economy is a big part of that, the private sector's what drives that -- up and down -- But we were in free fall for three years. And the last year that I happened to be here, and then we turned it around, as a state, private sector, government sector, turned it around. And now we're adding jobs. We wanna keep that going, to the extent we can. We're the, you know, we're one part of that equation, but not the whole equation. A lot of it is outside of our control, it's federal, it's international, it's private sector. But I'm very pleased that over the last a 2, 2 and a half, years we've seen pretty consistent job growth. 50,000 new jobs created, some great companies, we just had, last week, Samsonite announced their headquarters moving here. Companies outside Massachusetts moving in to Massachusetts. That kind of commitment, that kind of decision, says something about what they feel about the future of our state."[/font]

Well, then I wondered, is 50,000 jobs so great for a state the size of Massachusetts? Using July 2011 data, Massachusett's share of the USA population is 6.587 Million / 311.6 Million = 2.1139%. (It would have been better to dig up population numbers more around the 2003-2006 time frame but I doubt that the percentage would be more than slightly different). So on a per-capita basis, 50,000 jobs in Massachusetts is equivalent to 50,000 / 2.1139% = 2.366 Million nationwide jobs.

I'm assuming since the press conference was held in June 24, 2006, that the 50,000 jobs is through the end of May 2006 since they wouldn't have end-of-June numbers in yet.

Well, Obama in a similar point of his presidency -- the end of May 2012, had presided over the creation of 3.744 Million jobs.

So on a per-capita basis since their respective job turnaround points, Obama's job creation record is 3.744 / 2.366 = 1.58 X better (58% better) than Romney's.

And since Romney is "very pleased" with his job creation record in Massachusetts since the turnaround, he should be 1.58 times "very pleased" with Obama's record.

(Note that since Obama took office January 20 (2009) and Romney took office January 2 (2003), I could have moved Obama forward by a month to the end of June. If so, Obama's job creation record through the end of June 2012 is 3.819 Million jobs, and his per-capita record is 3.819 / 2.366 = 1.61 X better (61% better). But I'll settle for the end of May figures. )

The background behind the 5% effectiveness / 95% ineffectiveness claim (LONG dissertation)

Dembearpig> AA and the twelve steps are the most unsuccessful self-help program in human history, and even their own data supports this fact. 12-step rehab facilities have a 97% failure rate within 12 months. AA has a 95% dropout rate in the first year. Numerous studies show that those who take no formal action have a SIGNIFICANTLY higher success rate.

I've long read statistics about the success or failure rates of 12-step treatment "rehab" facilities and, separately, A.A.

I've never seen a 97% failure rate figure for 12-step rehab facilities before, or anything near that high. I'll leave it to others to delve into that.

On the "AA has a 95% dropout rate in the first year", the source of this controversy is an (allegedly) internal A.A. document, "Comments On A.A.'s Triennial Surveys (5M/12-90/TC)" available at (http://www.scribd.com/doc/3264243/Comments-on-AAs-Triennial-Surveys) And in particular, "Figure C-1" on page 11, which is a graph that also helpfully includes the data being graphed. The data is as follows (I've also included Figure C-1's heading in the below):

"% of those coming to AA within the first year that have remained the indicated number of months.

1mo 2mo 3mo 4mo 5mo 6mo 7mo 8mo 9mo 10mo 11mo 12mo
19% 13% 10% 9%   8% 7%   7%   6%   6%   6%    6%   5%

I agree with Agent Green http://www.green-papers.org (or at least I think his interpretation is much more plausible). Here is the relevant excerpt from his web page --

Does AA's retention rate indicate 95% failure?

Orange quotes ( http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html#AA_dropouts ) an internal AA survey as evidence that 95% of people who begin going to AA meetings will have left after a year. In reality, the graph shows that 74% will leave within their first year not 95% - Orange either doesn't know how to read a frequency distribution graph, or is willfully presenting it dishonestly.

The graph (http://www.scribd.com/doc/3264243/Comments-on-AAs-Triennial-Surveys) is very simple.

The researchers went into different AA meetings and asked the people there how long they had been attending, they plotted the results for those within their first year on this graph by monthly averages. So it shows, 19% of people were in their first month, 13% their second, 10% in their third and so on up to 5% in their twelfth month. Orange claims the 5% of people in their twelfth month indicates that 95% had left after a year (oblivious to the fact that the other 95% in the survey was comprised of those sitting in the same room and with less than 11 months time attending meetings). Agent Orange is in need of a math lesson.

This survey is the other source for Orange's purported 5% success rate. The graph actually shows that 26% of people who try an AA meeting for the first time are still attending AA after the first year, the attrition is from 19% (those in their first month) to 5% (those in their twelfth), and therefore around 74%.

Orange also claims that this 74% attrition is an AA failure rate. I will now use Orange's spectacularly warped logic to prove that exercise is unhealthy. Watch carefully!

•After one year, 74% of people who began work-out routines at a gym are no longer using the gym.
•Therefore gyms have a 74% failure rate.
•Therefore exercise is unhealthy!

It is indeed true that only 26% of visitors to AA stay more than a year, and AA has shown some concern about this statistic. But:

•Some people visit AA and decide it's not for them.
•Some people get sober and decide to leave AA.

Orange's 'failure' statistics turn out to be at best ignorance and at worst flat out lies.

What Agent Green left off, unfortunately (for those trying to defend his interpretation from his critics), is that there is a couple of statements in A.A.'s study which would lead one to believe the Agent Orange interpretation that only 5% remain after 12 months, rather than Green's interpretation that 26% of those in month 1 are still around in month 12. Frankly, from the Green (and my and AAHistoryLovers' viewpoint <1> ), Figure C-1 is mislabeled; and also the page 11 "It is possible to calculate" statement in a2 below is also incorrect:

a1). The heading of Figure C-1 (p. 12): "% of those coming to AA within the first year THAT HAVE REMAINED THE INDICATED NUMBER OF MONTHS." ((emphasis Progree's. Note that Tom E., a writer of a number of postings on this subject at AAHistoryLovers, also indicates the wording is incorrect: "The title of C-1 doesn't match the data" <1> -Progree))

a2). p. 11 - "It is possible to calculate from completed questionnaires, by month, the number of members that have "been around" a given number of months. This relies on the question that determines the month and year that the respondent first came to A.A. The calculation has been performed for the twelve months of the first year for the five surveys, and the results are plotted in Figure C-1. Such results can be interpreted to show the probability that a member will remain in the Fellowship a given number of months" ((immediately following this statement is the "to be more explicit" paragraph in b2 that makes clear the 26% interpretation - Progree))

And here is why we think the Green 26% interpretation is the one intended (and repeating the data again for convenience of proximity):

1mo 2mo 3mo 4mo 5mo 6mo 7mo 8mo 9mo 10mo 11mo 12mo
19% 13% 10% 9%   8% 7%   7%   6%   6%   6%    6%   5%

b1). p. 2 - "approximately 50% of those coming to A.A. leave within 3 months" ((only the "Green 26%" interpretation of the numbers comes anywhere near close to matching this statement -- for every 19 people in month 1 there are 9 in month 4 -- 9/19 = 47% = about half. Perhaps the intended comparison is 19 in month 1 and 10 in month 3 -- 10/19 = 53% also equals about half. --Progree))

b2). p. 11 - "To be more explicit: if all the members who report they have been in the Fellowship for less than a month were still present a month later, then the number who report being in A.A. between one and two months should be equal the number that report being in less than a month, subject, of course, to month-to-month fluctuations and to any possible seasonal effects. The same should apply to succeeding months. However, it is observed that there is a steady decline, (subject to inevitable fluctuations)"

b3.) The percentages add up to 102%, supporting the frequency distribution interpretation ((a frequency distribution table with exact numbers will add up to 100%, but since all 12 numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number, a sum of 102% is quite consistent with a frequency distribution table. It just means that 2 more numbers got rounded up than got rounded down. -Progree))

b4.) It is highly unlikely that given the Orange interpretation of drastic attrition, that only 1% leave in the 5 month period between 6 months and 11 months. Data: (6mo, 7%), (11mo, 6%).

There are a couple of other reasons for thinking the Green 26% interpretation is correct, but they are difficult to explain succinctly.

Anyway, now you know where statements like "according to A.A.'s own statistics, 81% of newcomers leave in the first month (and only 19% remain after the first month); and 95% leave in the first year (and only 5% remain after the first year)" come from. And why that interpretation persists and is so widespread. For example, just Google (without the quotes)

"A.A. 5% retention rate"
"A.A. 95% dropout rate"

and similarly, in the above replace "retention" with "effectiveness" and "dropout" with "attrition" and similar terms to get some more hits.

Another piece of datum cited supporting A.A.'s alleged 5% effectiveness rate is the Vaillant study, which Agent Green also debunks at green-papers.org (and having looked at the Vaillant study extensively myself, I agree with what Green says about it).

Just thought some of you might be interested in knowing where that 5% effectiveness rate stuff comes from. And about the Orange v. Green fight. If you wonder why the A.A.'s don't get together and present the case for A.A.'s effectiveness (such as it is, but almost certainly better than 5%), I don't know either. If you have wondered why A.A. has (apparently) never confirmed which interpretation of the Triennial Survey data is correct, a lot of people are wondering that too.

I agree with the authors of the A.A. study that we could and should be doing a better job at retaining people...

====== Footnotes ==========================
<1> AAHistoryLovers group - see: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/AAHistoryLovers/message/2044
See also messages 2379, 3374, 3385

God in the Steps and literature sure sounds like a deity who does favors and answers prayers ....

Your comment........

"I was just pointing out that, though a belief in a deity is not required, the steps, Tradition 2, and the literature proselytize about a specific kind of God - a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity"

my thoughts....

Maybe so, but I do not believe in this...haven't for many years, and don't, and won't...sometimes, there are circumstances that look like there might be, but that doesn't mean there is...

Yes, there are people who believe in that "..prayer answering favor dispensing deity..."

Many people do not.

Again, I'm talking about what the steps, Tradition 2, and the literature say, taken literally and according to dictionary definitions, not what you believe or what I believe or what many people believe. And I'm saying it is wrong for a program that claims to be not religious (and extols rigorous honesty) to be pushing a religious program. And I'm saying it is wrong for A.A. to be helping the government and employers to coerce people into it --

{#} A.A. cooperation with coerced attendance

A.A.® Guidelines
Cooperating with Court, D.W.I. and Similar Programs
from G.S.O., Box 459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163
http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/mg-05_coopwithcourt.pdf [URL FIXED and uploaded 9/16/15. my local copy: AA-mg-05-coopwithcourt.pdf]

where it is suggested that A.A. members create local Cooperation With the Professional Community (C.P.C.) committees and provide the courts with a list of open A.A. meetings. And suggesting ways that A.A. groups and members can help enforce court-ordered attendance, by signing attendance slips for example, and even suggesting other schemes for verifying coercee attendance for groups that don't want to sign attendance slips (See section "E. Proof of attendance at A.A. meetings." ). In other words, enrolling A.A. members to act as agents of government.

{#} Doesn't this "God" sound like a deity, something other than human?

More specifically, as for not believing "for many years" that "the steps, Tradition 2, and the literature proselytize about a specific kind of God - a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity" --

Let's start with the deity first. When you first saw the 12 Steps, did not a deity come to mind? You know, God this and God that and God God God? Isn't deity and God pretty much synonyms? (They are in my dictionary) . I don't think the first thing that came to mind when you saw God was Group Of Drunks.

Do not the Steps and Tradition 2 describe this Higher Power (in Step 2 capitalized) and God (in Step 3 and beyond) as one who will restore us to sanity, remove our shortcomings, manage our lives, care for us, love us, listen to our prayers, give us power, and guide our groups? Kind of hard not to think of this "God" as a deity with some pretty impressive capabilities and characteristics?

and who in Step 11 you pray to for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out?

If you were thinking God = Group Of Drunks, then were you perplexed a bit by Step 5 which said "Admitted to Group Of Drunks, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs?" Didn't you think, uhh, I already admitted to several human beings -- the Group Of Drunks -- the exact nature of my wrongs? So why yet another human being?

Or in Step 11, were you wondering if there is some special small group session where you prayed to the Group Of Drunks for the Group Of Drunks' will for you and the power to carry that out?

Did your group ever read the first part of "How It Works", Chapter 5 of the Big Book, p. 58-60, (many groups do at every meeting) --

p. 60: Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventure before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

If your concept of GOD was something human, like perhaps the Group Of Drunks -- the warm welcoming loving smiling people in the church basements (so long as you don't maintain that all this is religious) -- were you shocked to see that one of the 3 pertinent ideas said "probably NO HUMAN power could have relieved our alcoholism?" So AA's conception of God apparently isn't any kind of human power, judging from Pertinent Idea #2. Then the third pertinent idea -- that God could and would relieve our alcoholism and manage our lives if He were sought -- doesn't that kind of sound just a little bit like a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity?

Perhaps you thought, nawww, this must be a bit of a fluke, maybe one place where Bill W. got a little carried away. So you started reading further on in "How it Works", hoping to get back to the generic "God can be a shoe, a lightbulb, a tree, a Group Of Drunks" of the AA apologists' imagination, and instead you encounter many passages where God is clearly described as a rather powerful micro-managing, favor-dispensing deity:

"Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal, we are His agent. He is the Father, and we are His children." - BB p. 62

"We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well." - BB p. 63.

"Take away my difficulties" - 3rd Step Prayer, BB p. 63 {quite a tall order for a Group of Drunks or any group of humans}

"We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves. We are in the world to play the role He assigns." - BB p. 68 {infinite - another characterization of God, as well as the assigner of roles}

"Our sex powers were God-given" - BB p. 69

And in the first 11 chapters of the Big Book, God is called Creator (12 times), and Maker (2 times). Pretty specific concept of God, no? Since he is all powerful, he is going to provide what we need, if we keep close to Him and perform His work well? And why not, since he gave us our sex powers (something neither a light bulb nor a tree nor a Group of Drunks ever did for me).

In short, the Big Book contains endless proselytization about a favor-dispensing deity -- the word "God" appears 136 times in the first 11 chapters of the Big Book, not counting Him, His, He, Maker, Creator, Employer, Principal, Father, assigner or our roles, giver of our sex powers, provider of our needs, something other than our well-loved A.A. group, no human power, nor any other human being, accomplisher of the humanly impossible, divine, Providence, has all knowledge and power ... [Added 12/5/13 but not yet uploaded]

If you ventured into the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (aka the 12 X 12), were you surprised to see on page 109 what certainly seems to demean the Group Of Drunks version of higher power:

"From great numbers of such experiences, we could predict that the doubter who still claimed that he hadn’t got the “spiritual angle,” and who still considered his well-loved AA group the higher power, would presently love God and call Him by name". -- p. 109 (12 X 12)

{#} If it's not religious, why are agnostics being so ferociously attacked?

If you thought A.A. wasn't a religious program, were you at all perplexed by Chapter 4, where they spent page after page dumping on agnostics, calling them, [font color = brown] "Handicapped By Obstinacy" (p. 48), "prejudiced" and "unreasoning prejudice" (p. 48) "Rather Vain" (p. 49), "No Reasonable Conception Whatever" (p. 49), "Biased And Unreasonable" (p. 51), "Prey To Misery And Depression" (p. 52), "Couldn't Make A Living" (p. 52), "Full of Fear" (p. 52), "Our Ideas Did Not Work" (p. 52), "We Couldn't Quite Step Ashore" (p. 53), "Leaning Too Heavily On Reason" (p. 53), "Abjectly Faithful To The God Of Reason" (p. 54), "Whirling On To A Destiny Of Nothingness" (p. 54), "Fooling Ourselves" (p. 55), [/font] and on and on?.

And on page 28, the Big Book implies that agnostics are not members of A.A.: [this and parag below uploaded 6/17/13]

"In the following chapter, there appears an explanation of alcoholism, as we understand it, then a chapter addressed to the agnostic. Many who once were in this class are now among our members."

It seems like when agnostics are assaulted, nobody cares. But what if a chapter was added to the Big Book titled "We Jews" that called Jews vain, prejudiced, obstinant etc? Or "We Muslims" or "We Catholics" or "We Buddhists" or "We Wiccans" or "We Pagans"? Would you just shrug your shoulders and say critics are being overly sensitive?

{#} Some more from the Big Book suggesting God is not other people or human

"we simply do not stop drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God. Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." - BB p. 98

"The alcoholic at certain times has no effective mental defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such a defense. His defense must come from a Higher Power." - BB p. 43

Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is dependent upon his relationship with God. - BB p. 99 [this parag added 9/9/13]

"This Power has in each case accomplished the miraculous, the humanly impossible. " - BB p. 50

"5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs." - Step 5, BB p. 59 {So God isn't human}

"As to two of you men, whose stories I have heard, there is no doubt in my mind that you were 100% hopeless, apart from divine help. " - BB p. 43 {a doctor commenting on Jim's (p. 35) and Fred's (p. 40) cases )

"only an act of Providence can remove it from us." - 12 X 12 p. 21, referring to the obsession for destructive drinking

"Much has already been said about receiving strength, inspiration, and direction from Him who has all knowledge and power." -- BB p. 85 {Wow. And he is called "infinite God" on p. 68 and has "Infinite Power and Love" on p. 56 and "loving and All Powerful Creator" on p. 161. So yup, he is one powerful dude. Loving is a bit hard to swallow though -- why does somebody who has all knowledge and infinite power and the ability to create the entire universe let millions starve while dispensing favors to wealthy American alcoholics? }.

"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand. Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you unharmed." - BB p. 102 {I wonder if A.A. has ever been sued for that advice when Infinite God didn't show up to help?}

And several implications that there is ONE God over us all (aside from all the reference to Maker and Creator)

"There is One who has all power - That One is God. May you find Him now!" - BB p. 59

"all of us... are the children of a living Creator with whom we may form a relationship" ... as soon as we are willing and honest enough to try." - BB p. 28

"Being wrecked in the same vessel, being restored and united under one God" - BB p. 161, describing the variety of people in A.A.

This is relevant counter to those who argue that there's some God helping us individually or us wealthy American alcoholics or whatever, and an entirely different God or gods that presides over, and neglects the starving millions. If there is one God who presides over us all, one can't duck and dodge the question of why this ONE God of infinite power, knowledge, and love, chooses to dispense favors to wealthy American alcoholics while letting millions starve.

How about all of the prayers in the Big Book? Rather specific characterizations of God contained in those prayers too. And certainly religious to anyone who is constitutionally capable of acknowledging the obvious. -- Please see the "Big Book Prayers" at http://www.blisstree.com/2009/01/12/mental-health-well-being/big-book-prayers-16

It is interesting that the two well-known Big Book "Step Prayers" are to the "Maker" (Step 3 Prayer, p. 63) and to the "Creator" (Step 7 Prayer p. 76).

The other well-known step prayer is the Step 11 Prayer in the 12 X 12 p. 99 ("Lord, make me a channel of thy peace -- that where there is hatred, I may bring love ..." ) .

While calling Him "Lord" (twice), rather than some form of creator, it brings in the religious concept of eternal life -- "It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life"

This one is not from the Big Book, but rather from the Concepts: [this and next parag uploaded 6/1/13]

"Freedom under God to grow in His likeness and image will ever be the quest of Alcoholics Anonymous" -- Concept XII, Warranty Six, "The World Concepts For World Service, Illustrated", P-8) http://www.aa.org/pdf/products/p-8_thetwelveconetps.pdf ) (Kind of sounds like a religious agenda to me).

{#} If it is not religious, why is The Lord's Prayer so often used to close meetings? Why doesn't A.A. have any official position on it other than leaving it to each individual to decide whether to participate or not?

Given that it is a prayer straight out of the Bible (Matthew 6 and Luke 11) with explicitely Chrisitan themes which was preached by Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount (the Lord in the Lord's Prayer is Jesus) and that clearly departs from our claim to be not religious?

And pushes the boundaries or violates numerous Traditions (non-affiliation, non-endorsement, outside issues, unity, primary purpose)?

That breaks with A.A.'s attempt to present a generic god and instead present an explicitely Christian God out of the Christian holy book?

For more on the Lord's Prayer, please see http://www.democraticunderground.com/1144174#post25

{#} All 4 federal appeals courts and both state supreme courts that have heard these cases have concluded that A.A. is at least religious in nature and coercion into A.A./N.A. is a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause

Four Federal Courts of Appeals (Second, Third, Seventh, and Ninth circuits -- the latter one twice) and Two state supreme courts (New York and Tennessee) have ruled that Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are religious and that nobody can be coerced by government authority into attending these organizations (as that would violate the First Amendment's prohibition against the state establishment of religion). No Federal Court of Appeals and no State Supreme Court has ruled otherwise. To date, the United States Supreme Court has declined to consider any of these rulings, thus letting these rulings stand.

For more on these court rulings:

Warner v. Orange County Department of Probation, 2nd Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 1996

Rauser v. Horn, 3rd Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 2001

Kerr v. Farrey, 7th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 1996

Inouye v. Kemna, 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 2007

Hazle v. Crofoot, 9th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, 2014

Arnold v. Tennessee Board of Paroles, Tennesses Supreme Court, 1997

Griffin v. Coughlin, New York Court of Appeals (New York's highest court), 1996

Here is a Duke Law Journal article that discusses the religious aspects of A.A. and the definition of religion for constitutional purposes (first amendment establishment clause). http://www.law.duke.edu/shell/cite.pl?47+Duke+L.+J.+785

{#} Listening to stories of God doing favors for wealthy American alcoholics (while millions are starving)

So far, I've only talked about how the literature and steps proselytize about a prayer-answering favor-dispensing deity. But probably the most annoying form of proselytization is members in meetings sharing how "God" or "my Higher Power who I choose to call God" did them favors no human power could do. Here are just a few that I've heard:

- gave "oomph" to my dead car battery, so I could start my car and get to the meeting on time to hear something I really needed to hear

- miraculously cleared the left lane so I could get into the left turn lane in time

- made available a parking spot near the front door, even though the parking lot was jammed full and overflowing

- Burned down some troublesome rental property I owned, resulting in a great insurance settlement

- My chain saw came loose from my pickup truck and fell out of the truck, and was dragged for 50 feet (it was still chained loosely to the truck). But the saw wasn't damaged other than nicks and scratches. This was my Higher Power gently warning me to be more careful in the future.

In all their shares, they go out of their way to make it clear that it was something other than human that intervened to make the blessed event happen, something supernatural usually named "God".

Particularly all the ways this deity "God" is helping their cars and their driving -- I keep thinking of when I lived in Accra, Ghana, and I didn't see any wheel chairs, but rather people with very long distended less-than-useless legs (polio?) got around by "walking" on blocks strapped to their forearms.

Why was some deity God (and the Big Book makes clear there is one God) helping wealthy American alcoholics with their cars while these poor people with their forearm blocks are begging in the dirty sidewalks and streets?

Or what about those millions in the 3rd world who starve, or who die long agonizing deaths in parts of the world where there are no morphine drips or other effective painkillers?

Listening to narcissistic wealthy Americans talk about God helping them with their cars in a world where so many people live and die miserably is not at all spiritual to me.

{#} Step 11 -- Praying For Knowledge of God's Will For Us and the Power To Carry It Out is a lot more than listening to nature or one's own thoughts

The quietness of a walk in the forest can be your prayer and meditation..or thinking of that quietness of a walk in the forest listening to Moonlight Sonata..can be it..The process of scilencing the clatter in our minds is prayer sometimes.

It's a good description of meditation. However, it doesn't sound like Step 11's praying for God's will for us and the power to carry it out. If anything, it sounds like listening to one's inner thoughts, which gets us into the dangerous area of praying to oneself, becoming one's own God, self-will run riot and all that.

I appreciate that you are trying to be helpful, and I thank you. But I've been around the rewms in and out of maybe a half dozen 12-step programs over the past 30 years. And as time goes on, I get more radicalized by the religiosity, not less. I'm involved with Americans United For Separation of Church and State (www.au.org) and, like many Democrats, I am appalled by the increasing religious penetration of our government and classrooms.

== Recovery Without Proselytization About A Micro-managing Supernatural Loving Personal Favor-Dispensing Entity Called "God" ==
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