Not Close to Full Employment – But It’s Progress

from IBD:

Full Employment? Even With 313,000 New Jobs, We’re Not There Yet

The February gain in jobs — 313,000 — was impressive on a number of levels. But it also confirms something we’ve been saying for some time: We aren’t anywhere near full employment.

 If you’re looking for good news in the latest jobs numbers, it’s hard to know where to start.

First, 313,000 was 50,000 more than expected, and is the biggest monthly gain in jobs in a year and a half.

In fact, since the recession ended in June 2009, there have only been six months in which job gains beat this number — which doesn’t say much for President Obama’s economic performance. read more

Biofuel Scam

from: IBD

 

 In yet another green folly, the lawless Environmental  Protection Agency continues to fine gasoline producers for not using cellulosic biofuels in quantities that don’t exist, making only more pain at the pump.

cellulosic-ethanolLast month, a federal court dealt a serious blow to the Environmental  Protection Agency’s renewable fuels push by ruling that the agency exceeded its authority by mandating refiners use cellulosic biofuels, which aren’t  commercially available. The EPA’s lawless response in a lawless administration was to raise its requirements.

In 2005 and 2007, Congress twice amended the Clean Air Act to establish a renewable fuel standard (RFS) that included a mandate to use cellulosic  biofuels.

If refiners failed to meet the goals, the EPA could fine them. The RFS set ambitious goals for cellulosic biofuels but at least charged the EPA with reducing the requirement if production was lower than the mandate.

This the EPA simply ignored, issuing fines for failing to use this biofuel when it wasn’t even available.

As Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner points out in Politico, 2010, the first year of the mandate, the EPA projected 5 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels would be available.

In fact, there were none. Not a single gallon. In 2011, the EPA increased the mandate to 6.5  million gallons. Again, the actual amount available was zero. Undeterred, in  2012, the EPA increased the required amount to 8.5 million gallons. The actual available amount was 25,000 gallons.

ScamThis absurdity prompted the American Petroleum Institute (API) to file a lawsuit last year challenging the EPA’s rulemaking. The API petitioned the court to review the EPA’s January 2012 RFS.

On Jan. 25, 2013, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed the EPA had  exceeded its authority. “(W)e agree with API that EPA’s 2012 projection of  cellulosic biofuel production was in excess of the agency’s statutory authority,” reads the court decision.

The court further told the agency: “The EPA points to no instance in which the term ‘projected’ is used to allow the projector to let its aspiration for a self-fulfilling prophecy divert it from a neutral methodology.”

The agency’s response to the court’s ruling, Sensenbrenner notes, was to  nearly double its 2013 mandate from 8.5 million gallons to 14 million gallons.

Different from corn- or sugar-based ethanol — which have questionable benefits — cellulosic ethanol is made from wood chips, switch grass and  agricultural waste, such as corncobs.

The EPA’s requirement for 14 million gallons of the stuff is about as realistic as that trillion-dollar coin some have proposed to solve our fiscal problems.

 

 

We Can’t Drill Our Way Out!

 North Dakota Oil Boom Exposes Obama’s ‘Self-Serving Falsehood’

North Dakota is experiencing such a boom in revenues from oil production that voters actually considered a measure to abolish the state’s property taxes.

Although the measure was defeated in the June 12 vote, the fact that it was even considered points to the incredible economic opportunities enjoyed by North Dakota residents due to unfettered oil production.

“It turns out that, yes, we can drill our way out of our problems,” Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) observes in an editorial.

“If you can see a pattern here, you’re way ahead of President Obama. His argument is that we can’t drill our way out of high energy prices let alone out of debt and the need for higher taxes. But it’s about to be exposed once again as the self-serving falsehood it is.”

North Dakota in March pumped oil at the rate of 575,490 barrels per day, replacing California as the nation’s No. 3 oil-producing state behind Texas and Alaska. At its current rate of production growth, North Dakota will likely surpass Alaska sometime this year.

Continental Resources, which operates 10 percent of the drilling rigs in North Dakota, estimates there are more than 900 billion barrels of oil in place.

Only 27 billion to 45 billion barrels are currently recoverable using today’s technology, but that amount will grow as technology advances. So let’s meet halfway and say 36 billion barrels. That’s 4% of estimates.

A current extraction rates, that’s about 173 years.

Thanks to the energy boom, North Dakota has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate at just over 3 percent, and Williams County — at the center of the drilling boom — boasts the lowest jobless rate in the country at just 0.7 percent.

Oil revenues in the state generated some $840 million in fiscal 2011 and are expected to deliver more than $2 billion over the next two years. State per-capita income is $4,000 above the national average.

“The North Dakota oil boom has occurred on private and state lands, unfettered by federal edict that has placed out of reach much of the estimated 200-year supply of oil within our borders,” IBD stated, noting that 94 percent of federal onshore lands and 97 percent of federal offshore lands are off-limits to oil and gas drilling.

As the Insider Report disclosed earlier, the Green River Formation, a largely vacant area where Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.

But most of the oil is beneath federal land overseen by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, and the government has “locked up” development of the huge resource.

“Critics will say North Dakota is a small state and its success couldn’t be replicated nationwide,” IBD concludes. “Oh, yes it can.

“We can cut taxes, boost employment and jump-start economic growth if we tap into that 200-year supply of oil and back oil-extraction technology with as much enthusiasm as the Obama administration backs electric cars and high-speed rail.”

If experts claim to have calculated a 200 year supply, I contend it is likely a lot more.

Attribution: NewsMax

We’re Hummin Now

By Ed Carson, INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY:

The U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February vs. expectations for 206,000, continuing a recent trend of decent hiring activity. The unemployment rate held at 8.3%.

But America remains mired in the longest jobs recession since the Great Depression. It’s been 49 months since the U.S. hit peak employment in January 2008. And with nonfarm payrolls still 5.33 million below their old high, the jobs slump will continue for several more years.

The previous jobs recession record — 47 months — came during and after the comparatively mild 2001 recession, which saw unemployment climb to only 6.3%. The average job recovery time since 1980 is 29 months, not including the current slump.

The labor market won’t truly return to health until some 10 million positions are created to rehire all those who lost their jobs and to absorb new workers.

The longest jobs recession in decades coincides, not coincidentally, with the longest stretch of anemic economic performance on record.

U.S. gross domestic profit hasn’t risen 4% or more in any quarter since the first quarter of 2006. That’s by far the longest such stretch on record going back to 1950. The only other sizable sub-par stretch was a three-year span from late 2000 to mid-2003 during the prior recession and sluggish recovery.

The current expansion, which began in mid-2009, is particularly disappointing, given the deep recession that preceded it. The best growth was a three-quarter run of 3.8%-3.9% gains.

After the severe 1981-82 recession, the U.S. economy enjoyed a five-quarter stretch of 7% or more — following a 5.1% annualized gain.

The U.S. economy is up just 6.2% above the level at the end of the recession vs. 14.9% in the 10 quarters after the 1981-82 slump.

President Obama may take hope that the U.S. economy has picked up from near-stall speed to a modest pace in recent months. But after the mild 1990-1991 downturn, the U.S. economy rose tepidly for a few quarters before growing more than 4% in every quarter of 1992. That still wasn’t enough to keep the first President Bush from losing to Bill Clinton.

And nobody is predicting 4% growth in 2012.