We got the pre-spun job quantity data already, where we learned that nearly 3 times the headline print was due to seasonal and B/D adjustments and is thus nothing but noise. Now we get the quality. As can be seen below, courtesy of Table A9 from the Household Survey, in July the number of part-time jobs added was 31K, bringing the total to 27,925, just shy of the all time record of 28,038. Full time jobs? Down 228,000 to 114,345,000 lower than the February full-time jobs print of 114,408,000. Once again, more and more Americans are relinquishing any and all benefits associated with Full Time Jobs benefits, and instead are agreeing on a job. Any job. Even if it means working just 1 hour a week. For the BLS it doesn't matter - 1 hour of work a week still qualifies you as a Part-Time worker.
Happy by the headline establishment survey print of 133,245 which says that the US "added" 163,000 jobs in July from 133,082 last month? Consider this: the number was based on a non seasonally adjusted July number of 132,868. This was a 1.248 million drop from the June print. So how did the smoothing work out to make a real plunge into an "adjusted" rise? Simple: the BLS "added" 377K jobs for seasonal purposes. This was the largest seasonal addition in the past decade for a July NFP print in the past decade, possibly ever, as the first chart below shows. But wait, there's more: the Birth Death adjustment, which adds to the NSA Print to get to the final number, was +52k. How does this compare to July 2011? It is about 1000% higher: the last B/D adjustment was a tiny +5K! In other words, of the 163,000 jobs "added", 429,000 was based on purely statistical fudging. Doesn't matter - the flashing red headline is good enough for the algos.
Expectations were +100,000, NFP prints at 163,000K. Goodbye QE in 2012.
While Knight's algos will be focusing on the headline number and furiously calculating if [X AS PRINTED] is < or > than [X AS EXPECTED] and simplistically moving the market up or down accordingly, without regard for quality or compoisition (they don't call it the Part-Time Non Farm Payrolls for nothing), another key swing factor in July will be the seasonal adjustment. As a reminder, as the chart below shows, in July we experience a major swing event. While in June, seasonal factors typically subtract about 1 million from the headline non-seasonally adjusted headline number, in June we invert, and instead of subtracting, seasonal factors for the first time since April "add" jobs. 295,000 (past decade average) to be exact. How will this impact the actual number? We will find out shortly. One thing to note: of the 100,000 consensus headline adjusted print, the seasonal adjustment factor itself will be roughly three times the actual print that will move the market. In a year of record temperature abnormalities and the "average seasonal adjustment" being anything but, we leave it up to readers to do with this data as they see fit.
While normally quite absurd, we do have to admit that last month, Deutsche Bank's Joe LaVorgna was among the analysts closest to the final actual number, which came in far below consensus. As such we give him the benefit of the first forecast: Joe LaVorgna is expecting a headline/private payroll increase of 75k/80k respectively. The market is looking for 100k/110k. Unemployment is expected to hold at 8.2%. The irony today is that max pain is a far stronger number, which in light of some very recent economic news, can not be ruled out (see Nick Colas' discussion below): if indeed NFP rises by well over 100,000 the market will have to push back its prayer that the NEW QE will come in September into 2013 as Bernanke will not do another easing round just as the presidential election approaches. What are some others thinking? Here is what Bank of America says.
- U.S. nuclear bomb facility shut after security breach (Reuters)
- EU Commission Welcomes Greek Reform Pledge, Wants Implementation (Reuters) -> less talkee, more tickee
- China Cuts Stock Trading Costs to Lift Confidence (China Daily) as France hikes transactions costs
- Holding Fire—for Now—but Laying Plans (WSJ)
- ECB-Politicians’ Anti-Crisis Bargain Starts to Emerge (Bloomberg)
- Dollar falls back as non-farm payrolls loom (FT)
- Ethics Plan to Raise Consumer Confidence (China Daily)
- Brazil backslides on protecting the Amazon (Reuters) - fair weather progressive idealism?
- Japan Foreign-Bond Debate May Boost BOJ Stimulus Odds (Bloomberg)
- Japan’s Lower House Passes Bill to Let Workers Stay on to 65 (Bloomberg)
The short-end of the Spanish curve is collapsing rapidly, and at last check was tighter by nearly 70 bps even with the 10 Year essentially unchanged, for one simple reason: more hope and prayer. This time we have completely unconfirmed and unverified talk that either the ECB will hold another conference, or that Spain will finally request a full blown bailout. Neither is likely to happen, certainly not on a Friday. In other words, the rapid steepening of the curve on more "talking" will not last. What will however, is increasingly negative sentiment toward the longer end of peripheral country bond curves. To wit, here comes JPM recommending a new short position in Spanish 10 Years. Below is the full text of JPM's Gianluca Sanford saying to short the Spanish 10 Year until it touched 7.75%. Why 7.75%? Because that is the level at which Rajoy will have no choice but to demand a bailout. The irony is that the market, by frontrunning politicians, continues to make the required political decision impossible - welcome to the new normal. Paradoxically, only after the market has fully abandoned hope, can the desired outcome happen. But it will take the broken market a few more weeks to figure this out.
The Association of American Railroads reports the number of rail tankers carrying crude oil and petroleum products in the United States increased more than 35 percent during the first six months of the year when compared with 2011. Each rail tanker carries around 700 barrels of oil, meaning June deliveries translated to nearly 1 million barrels per day. When completed, the entire Keystone oil pipeline network could carry about 1.1 million bpd compared with the same approximate total for the entire United States for rail. BP this week said it was considering a rail project to bring Bakken crude to its 225,000-bpd refinery in Washington. Though in terms of volume, pipeline transportation has proved its merit, the move by BP in the Bakken formation suggests rail transit remains a viable option for the industry.
When we started reading the LA Times article reporting that "the federal government has quietly been completing an audit of U.S. gold stored at the New York Fed" we couldn't help but wonder when the gotcha moment would appear. It was about 15 paragraphs in that we stumbled upon what we were waiting for: "The process involved about half a dozen employees of the Mint, the Treasury inspector general's office and the New York Fed. It was monitored by employees of the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm." In other words the Fed's gold is being audited... by the Treasury. Now our history may be a little rusty, but as far as we can remember, the last time the Fed was actually independent of the Treasury then-president Harry Truman fired not one but two Fed Chairmen including both Thomas McCabe as well as the man after whom the Fed's current residence is named: Marriner Eccles, culminating with the Fed-Treasury "Accord" of March 3, 1951 which effectively fused the two entities into one - a quasi independent branch of the US government, which would do the bidding of its "political", who in turn has always been merely a proxy for wherever the money came from (historically, and primarily, from Wall Street), which can pretend it is a "private bank" yet which is entirely subjugated to the crony interests funding US politicians (more on that below). But in a nutshell, the irony of the Treasury auditing the fed is like asking Libor Trade A to confirm that Libor Trader B was not only "fixing" the Libor rate correctly and accurately, but that there is no champagne involved for anyone who could misrepresent it the best within the cabal of manipulation in which the Nash Equilibrium was for everyone to commit fraud.
"The problems of a group of 17 different economies that are growing further apart - all functioning under the same currency - will not be solved by any actions taken by the ECB" is how Stratfor's Adriano Bosoni describes the can-kicking that has once again become the euro-zone this summer. From the systemically rising and drastically desperate unemployment rates around the Southern nations, which are not benefiting from the typical seasonal advantages of the Summer tourist trade (since both recessionary contraction of spending and fear of violence are keeping northern Europeans at home); to the Madrid-to-Rome 'demands' in the face of Berlin's clear message, Bosoni notes the ironic fact that 'aid' is there (as Draghi pointed out today) if it is asked for (and an MoU is signed) but both Spain and Italy know full well that the mere act of signing that Memorandum signals the market that a full sovereign bailout is closer at hand and will further steepen yield curves and shrink market access (which in our view is now gone for anything but short-duration issuance in Spain). A succinct 'status update' on where Europe stands.
In today's episode of blast from the past, Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil takes us on a time journey, which presents the Too Big To Fail bank problem from a different perspective: that of the Cocaine Cowboy roaming the streets of Miami in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Just like today's big banks they were untouchable; just like today's banks they were collaborating and existing in perfect symbiosis with the Federal Reserve; just like today the Cocaine Cowboys existed in an untouchable vacuum courtesy of endless bribes to the local law enforcement and judicial officials, and just like today, the TBTF institution du jour isn't "merely an economic problem. It is a great moral failing of our society that poisons our democracy." Back then, Ronald Reagan stepped in just when Miami (whose real estate market had soared in 1979-1981 courtesy of rampant crime and money laundering: hint hint NAR anti money-laundering exemptions) was about to be overrun, forming a task force that in the nick of time restored law and order. Today we are not that lucky, as there is not a single politican willing to risk it all just to eradicate the modern version of a classic scourge: only this time they don't hand out 8 balls; they give away 0% introductory APR cards and 3 Year NINJA Adjustable Rate Mortgages. Both however get you hooked for life: either on drugs or on debt. Will someone step up this time and form a task force to eliminate the second coming of the Cocaine Cowboy? Sadly, we don't think so. At least not until the next great crash happens.
In addition to the compelling evidence that more active monetary and fiscal policy involvement did not produce beneficial results over the short run, three recent academic studies, though they differ in purpose and scope, all reach the conclusion that extremely high levels of governmental indebtedness diminish economic growth. In other words, deficit spending should not be called "stimulus" as is the overwhelming tendency by the media and many economic writers. Whereas government spending may have been linked to the concept of economic stimulus in distant periods, these studies demonstrate that such an assertion is unwarranted, and blatantly wrong in present circumstances. While officials argue that governmental action is required for political reasons and public anxiety, governments would be better off to admit that traditional tools only serve to compound existing problems.