Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

Headline unemployment rate drops another half percent in September 2020.

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The unemployment rate dropped from 8.4% in August 2020 to 7.9% in September.

Amongst the extremes we are seeing during the shutdown, that 0.5% drop is the smallest monthly decline since the peak in April.

Check out the extreme swings in the U-3 unemployment rate over the last 7 months:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

October 3, 2020, 7:57 am at 7:57 am

Posted in Economics

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Economic bad news keeps rolling in, but hint of good news is on the horizon.

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Parked airplanes idled by pandemic shutdown. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The bad news on the economy called for the shutdown just keeps growing but there is a hint of good news in the near future. First the good news. 9/30/20 – CNBC – US economy plunges 31.4% in the second quarter but a big rebound is expected – Commerce Department calculations of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter were revised, which is routine, dropping from an annualized contraction of 31.7% down just a little to 31.4% reduction in GDP. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

October 2, 2020, 10:08 am at 10:08 am

Posted in Economics

Minimal drop in number of new unemployment claims for last four weeks as of 9/26/20; more people going back to work.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 9/26/20 has been about the same over the last five weeks, in the mid- to high 800 thousands. Last big drop was the week of 8/29/20. To again put this in context, before the government induced shutdown of the economy new claims averaged about 220,000 per week.

Good  news is the number of continuing claims for unemployment is continuing to drop, which means that more people are going back to work than loosing their job.

The devastating impact of the economic shutdown continues to be painfully obvious.

New Graphs

Starting this week that way the information is presented for this ongoing analysis will be in graphs.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

October 1, 2020, 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

More updates on major bank fiascos. Another billion here. Three billion there.

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Painting on side of Concord stage coach at the Wells Fargo museum in San Diego. Photo by James Ulvog.

It has been a long time since I did an update on the money wasted by major banks in violating sundry laws and regulations. Last update was all the way back in February.

Today’s news about JPMorgan throwing away another billion cut me to thinking about what other biggies have been in the news.

9/29/20 – Wall Street Journal – JPMorgan Paying $920 Million to Resolve Market And pollution Probes – These fiascoes keep showing me the creative brilliance of crooks.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 30, 2020, 7:00 am at 7:00 am

Posted in Fraud

Tagged with

Observations from San Diego on economic destruction from shutdown.

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View directly underneath Coronado Bridge shows the arches in the support towers. Photo by James Ulvog.

It is sad to personally observe the economic devastation from the shutdown.

We spent a few days in San Diego last week. Stayed at a hotel downtown near the harbor. Saw several things showing the severity of the economic damage.

Air travel

For quite a long time airplanes have not been allowed to leave San Diego International Airport until 6:30. It is funny to hear the first engine rev up a few seconds after 6:30 a.m.

I have noticed on previous vacations that there is a string of airplanes lined up ready to leave right at the stroke at 6:30. The planes take off approximately 1 minute apart.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 29, 2020, 8:24 am at 8:24 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

Stats on infection coronavirus rates not showing what you would expect. Time to open the economy.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

We have been locked down long enough for the volume of statistics to build up to the point of allowing deeper analysis. As is always the case, the statistics can also be manipulated to give whatever answer you want. Deeper, honest analysis is starting to show surprising results, for example, the lack of correlation between infection rates and lockdown policies.

Surprising results on the low correlation will be mentioned after some game playing is described.

Wall Street Journal – 9/9/20 – The Sturgis Statistical Misfire – For this story remember the old saying

  • Figures don’t lie, but liars figure

The annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota routinely draws huge numbers of people to the town, whose population is only 7,000 people. Attendance at the 10-day event this year was lower than usual with an estimated 460,000 motorcycle enthusiasts hanging around.

Frightening news reports at the time said this would cause massive numbers of Covid infections leading to massive numbers of deaths.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 22, 2020, 7:55 am at 7:55 am

More churches resist shutdown of worship; one concedes. Pr. John MacArthur is open to starting a jail ministry.

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May be a beautiful sanctuary, but in California the government won’t let you use it. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

In news over the last few days, Rev. Dr. John MacArthur said he would start a jail ministry if County officials toss him in the slammer, the Archbishop of San Francisco stands up to de facto shutdown of Masses, and one church concedes to the severe pressures from Santa Clara County.

Pastor John MacArthur open to a jail ministry.

Christian Headlines – 9/17/20 – John MacArthur Says He’ll Start a “Jail Ministry” if Arrested for Worshiping Indoors.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 21, 2020, 6:20 am at 6:20 am

Posted in Other stuff, Pondering

Destruction in the educational world caused by the lockdown.

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Education today. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Growing indications point towards ongoing damage to learning at all educational levels due to the shut down. From kindergartners to college students there will be losses of learning time and knowledge.

Older students will be able to catch up. Motivated students will get through. I fear youngsters in particular and unmotivated students in general will suffer permanent damage from the lockdown.

Consider all the damage described in the following articles is a result of a public policy choice made by a host of state and local officials.

The Dispatch – 9/10/20 – The sad realities of virtual learning. – Looks like kindergartners are disappearing from schools. Enrollment in Los Angeles Unified School District is down 14% from a year ago.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 18, 2020, 8:57 am at 8:57 am

Posted in Other stuff, Pondering

The shutdown is killing people. Some estimates of ‘excess deaths’ from the lockdown.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The comment that shutting down the economy represents a trade-off of lives versus jobs is an invalid comparison.

The real trade-off from a shutdown is lives versus lives.

People are dying because of the shutdown. The shutdown is killing people.

It is time to open the economy.

I don’t have time to summarize all the articles I have read making this point. Here are just three examples.

The pandemic is killing dementia patients

Washington Post – 9/16/20 – Pandemic isolation has killed thousands of Alzheimer’s patients while families watch from afar – The Washington Post, the Post, studied data from CDC to identify there have been 13,200 excess deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia since the shutdown started. Excess deaths are the extra deaths over the number that would otherwise be expected because of some particular situation.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 17, 2020, 15:27 pm at 3:27 pm

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

Slight improvement in new unemployment claims for week ending 9/12/20.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 9/12/20 dropped a little, with “only” 860,000 people losing their jobs, down from an upwardly revised 893,000 the previous week. For contrast, before the government induced shutdown of the economy new claims averaged about 220,000 per week.

Better news in the data is the number of continuing claims for unemployment dropped about twice as much as the new claims, to 12.6M for the week ending 9/5/20.  That is the lowest since the shutdown started.

CNBC report on 9/17/20 says Jobless claims were lower than expected but unemployment growth is still sluggish. The number of new claims was slightly better than  the 875,000 which economists expected.

As I continue to sort out for myself what this means, will continue listing the stats I’m tracking.

The number of new claims for unemployment and number drawing unemployment is provided by Department of Labor. I calculated the net change, which I assume represents the number of new jobs, although it could also be that people dropping out of the job market wash into the new jobs number:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 17, 2020, 7:46 am at 7:46 am

Posted in Economics, Pondering

Check out these requirements in Los Angeles County for a church to worship, then give a one word summary. Perhaps repression?

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Check out the lengthy list of specific requirements imposed by the County of Los Angeles before a church can worship on campus. Pastor John MacArthur describes the requirements placed on Grace Community Church.

After I go through the requirements ponder how you would summarize these restrictions.

Ponder whether the net effect is to strangle worship.

Then ponder whether the net effect is an intentional strategy.

9/14/20 –HillFaithFaithful Disobedience: Here’s The Absurdly Detailed California Covid Orders to Prevent Churches From Meeting to Worship Indoors – A video embedded at the link gives the first four minutes of Dr. MacArthur’s sermon on 9/13/20. He received a rousing round of applause at the beginning.

He mentioned a few of the requirements placed on the church in order to hold any worship services. The following comments aren’t exact quotes, but are close:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 15, 2020, 7:05 am at 7:05 am

Posted in Other stuff, Pondering

New claims for unemployment slowly declining with new jobs exceeding new claims; 9/5/20

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

For the third time since start of the recession, the number of new claims for unemployment for the week ending 9/5/20 was below the 1,000,000 mark. For contrast, before the government induced shutdown of the economy, new claims averaged about 220,000 per week.

On the other hand, the number of new claims was flat for the week – the damage from the shutdown in terms of new claims did not go down.

As I continue to sort out for myself what this means, will keep listing the stats I’m tracking.

The number of new claims for unemployment and number drawing unemployment is provided by Department of Labor. I calculated the net change, which I assume represents the number of new jobs, although could also be that people dropping out of the job market could wash into that number:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 11, 2020, 8:29 am at 8:29 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

California’s efforts to suppress religious freedom will fail – #4 in a series.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Circumstances are now to the point in the state of California, and three counties in particular, where we can say that the government is now persecuting the Church. This presents itself as counties going after three specific congregations, but when you look at the details you see a broader pattern in play.

These efforts will fail.

Three previous posts discuss this issue.

A few updates to previous posts before getting to the main discussion.

The County of Los Angeles has unilaterally canceled the lease on land which provides something in the range of 40% or 50% of parking capacity for Grace Community Church. Oh, the lease has been in place for 45 years.

North Valley Baptist Church is now facing $52,000 in fines for the heinous offense of worshiping indoors. Keep in mind this is the church which was visited by spies from the county. It certainly appears that Santa Clara is acting like the Stasi back in about old days of East Germany. The pastor declared “We Are Not Closing down This Church” – California Pastor Warns Officials.

Also, additional Churches Defy California Guv’s Restrictions on Multiple Worship Gatherings including:

  • Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena
  • River of Life Church, Oroville
  • Destiny Christian Church, Rockland
  • South Bay United Pentecostal, Chula Vista

The article also provides the biblical explanation for standing up to unbiblical government rules.

These efforts will ultimately fail.

There may be short-term successes for the government.

There may be intermediate-term successes.

These efforts will fail.

Standing up for constitutional rights in court.

Los Angeles County doesn’t realize they have taken on a church that will not back down. I will make an easy guess that Grace Community Church will put whatever effort in time and dollars that it takes to stand up in court even if it involves going to state appeal court, then federal appeal, then US Supreme Court.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 5, 2020, 10:20 am at 10:20 am

Posted in Other stuff, Pondering

Unemployment rate declines again in August 2020 after sharp spike in April 2020.

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After shooting from 3.4% in February to 14.7% in April, the headline unemployment rate has dropped to 8.4% in August.

You will interpret the statistics as you wish.

Looks to me like people are slowing getting back to work after the shock of the pandemic and follow-on government-ordered shutdown of the economy.

There are six different measures of unemployment, each providing a slightly different perspective. Put them all together for a more complex picture the economy.

At the top is a graph since 2007 of U-3, the headline statistic, along with U-6, the broadest stat which includes discouraged workers, marginally attached, and those working part time because they can’t find full time work.

For a closer picture, focus in on the stats since January 2019:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 4, 2020, 7:52 am at 7:52 am

Posted in Economics, Other stuff

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Devastation from government ordered shutdown of the economy – 3 of 3

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What the California economy might look like by the time it is allowed to reopen. Photo of abandoned farm in North Dakota by James Ulvog.

This is the third in a series of posts describing the damage caused by shutting down the economy. First post discussed recent news on economic damage. Second post described ongoing health damage.

Some things are *not* going wrong

Just under half a million people attended the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota from August 7 through 16.

9/1/20 – PJ Media – OH THE HORROR! Sturgis Motorcycle Rally COVID-19 Numbers Are in and They Are Shocking

Half a million. Official tally is 462,000.

In one small town.

Check out any of the pictures from the rally and you will notice a distinct lack of masks and social distancing.

Expectations in most media sources were for this event to produce massive amounts of infection.

Half a million people. In one town.

The tracking results are in from the massive numbers of people who were infected and the resulting fatalities from this massive event.

It is shocking. Amazing. Head-shaking. Astounding.

Best info available is that:

  • 196 people tested positive for COVID with results linked to attending Sturgis.
  • 4 people died.

To put that in context, 5 people died of motorcycle accidents in Sturgis during the rally.

Growing awareness something is wrong with lockdowns

8/24/20 – Wall Street Journal – New Thinking on COVID Lockdowns: They are Overly Blunt and Costly – Article has a massive amount of information on the course of the pandemic, wide range of strategies by national and state governments, and large volume of statistics. The story is told basically scrambled egg style with no pattern or trends or storylines that I can easily summarize.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

September 4, 2020, 7:05 am at 7:05 am