Welcome to the recovery: a record number of Americans who are retired, or are collecting Social Security, worked part-time last month.
The problem is that when this sucker goes down, to paraphrase the immortal words of George W. Bush, you have to wonder how much other stuff of everyday life for everyday people it will take down with it. The discovery phase of our predicament began ever so crisply in the very first business week of the new year. The loss of faith in value of all kinds will play out sequentially. It is starting in financial “assets” because so many of these are just faith-based stories, and in this quant-and-algo age it has gotten awfully hard to tell what is good story and what is just a swindle.
Here’s a newsflash that CNBC didn’t mention. According to the BLS, the US economy generated a miniscule 11,000 jobs in the month of December.
As we noted earlier, while the headline payrolls print blew away consensus estimate, printing above the highest expectations, there was a rather unpleasant number in the data: nominal average hourly wages actually dipped by 1 cent to $25.24. What caused this? There are three reasons.
For Americans between the ages of 20 and 24, the share of those sidelined over the past decade because they were in school increased, unsurprisingly, during the decade that included the Great Recession. What's more unusual is that the share of 20- to 24-year-olds who say they're retired doubled from 2004 to 2014.
The prospect that the leaders of our monetary politburo are about to be tarred and feathered by economic reality might be satisfying enough if it led to the repudiation of Keynesian central planning and a thorough housecleaning at the Fed. Unfortunately, it will also mean that tens of millions of retail investors and 401k holders will be taken to the slaughterhouse for the third time this century. And this time the Fed is out of dry powder, meaning retail investors will never recover as they did after 2002 and 2009.
Our quarterly survey of “Off the Grid” economic indicators finds that the U.S. economy is still growing, but the pace seems to be slowing from Q3 2015.
The 10 largest occupations include retail salespersons and cashiers, food preparation and serving workers, general office clerks, registered nurses, customer service representatives, and waiters and waitresses. That combined group of workers accounted for 21 percent of total U.S. employment in May 2014. Only one - registered nurse - makes more than the national average when it comes to all U.S. jobs.
Since our Keynesian central bankers have no clue that their prodigious money printing resulted in the drastic underpricing of credit and capital over the course of the past two decades, they are flying blind. They simply fail to see that the global economy is now swamped in more excess capacity than at any time since the 1930s, and probably even then. So they keep expecting the commodity cycle to momentarily bottom and prices to rebound, thereby reflating CapEx and household spending.
Taken together with the rather steep drop in US industrial production, the risks of a full-blown and perhaps severe recession have undoubtedly grown. Unlike what the FOMC is trying to project via the federal funds rate, a rate that isn’t being fully complemented, either, at this point, visible economic risk is not just rising it is exploding.
Yellen and her cohort have no clue, however, that all of their massive money printing never really left the canyons of Wall Street, but instead inflated the mother of all financial bubbles. So they are fixing to blow-up the joint for the third time this century. That was plain as day when our Keynesian school marm insisted that the Third Avenue credit fund failure this past week was a one-off event - a lone rotten apple in the barrel. Now that is the ultimate in cluelessness.
We have reached the apogee of history’s greatest credit inflation. Now we’re hurtling into a prolonged worldwide deflation. You can already see this deflation in the plunge of oil, iron ore, copper and other commodity prices. We are in uncharted waters after nearly 20 years of madcap money printing by the Fed and other central banks. The world’s central banks are finally out of dry powder. They no longer have the means to inflate the global credit and financial bubble. That’s why today’s FOMC meeting is the most crucial inflection point since 1929.
Just hours before the FOMC sits down in the Marriner Eccles to discuss just how it will announce the first rate hike in 9 years, 7 years to the day after it cut rates to zero, it got the best gift from the BLS it could have asked for: core inflation rose precisely the amount the Fed wanted from a year ago, ot 2.0% on the dot, the highest annual core CPI increase in the past year. Why the jump? "About two-thirds of this increase is accounted for by the shelter index, which rose 3.2 percent over the span."
Following a miss in retail sales (if slight beat in core spending), the final key economic update the Fed will look at before its "first rate hike in nine years" meeting next week is today's Producer Price Inflation report which rose 0.3%, above the expected unchanged print and even higher compared to October's -0.4% decline. The report showed that while the decline in energy prices continued as expected, sliding 0.6% in the Final Demand Goods category, there was a surprising pickup in final demand services, which rebounded by 0.5% driven by Trade which rose 1.2% from the prior month, driven by an unexpected pickup in margins for apparel, jewelry, footwear, and accessories retailing.
The Fed's Painted Itself Into The Most Dangerous Corner In History - Why There Will Soon Be A Riot In The CasinoSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 12/10/2015 19:30 -0400
The chart below crystalizes why the Fed is stranded in a monetary no man’s land. By the time of next week’s meeting the federal funds rate will have been pinned at about 10 bps, or effectively zero, for 84 straight months. After one pretension, delusion, head fake and forecasting error after another, the denizens of the Eccles Building have painted themselves into the most dangerous monetary corner in history. They have left themselves no alternative except to provoke a riot in the casino - the very outcome that has filled them with fear and dread all these years.