Not only is the specter of recession growing more visible, but it is also attached to a truth that cannot be gainsaid. Namely, having stranded itself at the zero bound for an entire business cycle, the Fed is bereft of dry powder.
"With January looking like a loser, there is a 70% chance that February will decline also. The high degree of risk of further declines in February would likely result in a confirmation of the bear market. This is not a market to be trifled with. Caution is advised."
If the Wall Street Journal meant to reach for reassuring comfort, they fell far short. After spending late summer last year and into the fall proclaiming that manufacturing didn’t matter (12%), the newest round of talking points are “false positives.” In other words, manufacturing and industry does matter, after all, but just “not enough” to tip into full recession. Last year was supposed to be “the” year because of faith in only the BLS’ numbers. It was advertised as full deliverance of the promises of QE and ZIRP, but instead 2015 delivered only recessionary impressions.
"Most Of Us Ended Up At Office Depot": Thousands Of Angry Students "Flood" Government With Demands For Debt ReliefSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2016 19:05 -0400
"In the past six months, more than 7,500 borrowers owing $164 million have applied to have their student debt expunged under an obscure federal law that had been applied only in three instances before last year," WSJ wrote on Wednesday. Imagine the shock when the US public suddenly realizes that bailing out jobless students isn't compatible with the "robust" labor market rhetoric.
Since 2011, when the E/P ratio for those with less than a high school diploma bottomed, that metric has regained almost two-thirds of its recessionary losses (orange line in chart). But the E/P ratio for high school or college graduates – i.e., eight out of nine American adults – has not recovered any of its recessionary losses, and has barely budged in four years (purple line). This data underscores how the jobs recovery has been spearheaded by cheap labor, with job gains going disproportionately to the least educated — and lowest-paid — workers.
While the trend of US trade partners exporting deflation either across the Atlantic or Pacific continues, one name continues to stand out. China.
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.