With all deference to Dr. Richard Fisher, the surging dollar is not good for either the economy or ultimately a stronger labor market. This is particularly the case when the dollar is only stronger because the rest of the world is on the brink of recession and or deflation. The negative impact of a surging dollar in a weak economic environment will more than likely outweigh any positive inputs for the U.S. consumer. Time will tell, but the evidence is mounting that the we are likely closer to the end of the current economic cycle than the beginning.
There was a point in 2010 when American capitalism might have had an opportunity to heal itself and commence on a long march toward sustainable growth and real wealth gains. But the monetary politburo would have none of it - keeping the pedal to the metal until this very moment... and the rest is history. The Fed and the other central banks around the world have fomented a new and even more virulent and dangerous financial bubble.
Dear Federal Reserve, we have just solved the biggest riddle that your "smartest economist PhDs in the room" have been unable to figure out for the past year...
Yellen has created a narrative about the US economy, especially the (un)employment rate, and with the narrative is now firmly in place, Yellen and her stooges can claim they have no choice but to hike In short, Janet Yellen will go down into history as the person responsible for what may be the biggest economic crash ever, or at least delivering the final punch of the way into it, a crash that will make the rich banks even much richer. And there is not one iota of coincidence in there. Yellen works for those banks. The Fed only ever held investors’ hands because that worked out well for Wall Street. And now that’s over. Y’all are on the same side of the same trade, and there’s no profit for Wall Street that way.
How can the government be telling us that we are nearly at “full employment” when so many people can’t find work? Could it be possible that the government numbers are misleading? It is our contention that the official “unemployment rate” has become so politicized and so manipulated that it is essentially meaningless at this point.
The consequence will not be eternal virtual prosperity, but rather a wrecked accounting system for the operations of civilized human life. We’ve stepped across the event horizon of that consequence, but we just don’t know it yet. Our bet is that we start feeling the effects sooner rather than later; and when it is finally felt, all the Kardashian videos in this universe and a trillion universes like it will not avail to distract us...
Suddenly everywhere you look, one after another, a story is making its way into the main stream press (albeit a trickle but that’s a tidal wave in comparison) that we may be, in fact; experiencing a “bubble” in stock prices. Even those who still believe in unicorns and rainbows (cue CNBC) are finding it harder and harder to hold onto the magic. Anyone with just a smidgen of common sense knows what’s being presented as “a miracle of economic intervention” has been nothing more than a grand escapade only made possible through the use of monetary smoke and mirrors.
The US population grew from February 2008 to February 2015 by 16.8 million persons, or a 5.5% increase in total population, and on a net basis, not a single one of those 16.8 million persons got a FT (full time) job… while a net 2.7 million were lucky enough to get a (or multiple) PT (part time) job.
We are happy to report that in February, the US economy added a recovery-validating 58,700 waiters and bartenders, the highest monthly increase in this minimum wage category in 18 months.
A month ago we asked if the "BLS Forget To Count Thousands Of Energy Job Losses" when as we showed, the BLS reported that only 1,900 jobs were lost in the entire oil and gas extraction space, which was a vast underestimation of what is taking place in reality, when compared to not only corporate layoff announcements, but what Challenger had reported was going on in the shale patch, when it calculated that some 21,300 jobs were lost in January in just the energy sector. Today we ask again: did the BLS once more forget to add the now tens of thousands of jobs lost in the US energy sector? We ask because the divergence is getting, frankly, ridiculous.
The three biggest single-category jobs added in February (because Professional services includes numerous occupations), were also the three lowest quality, lowest paying ones:
Leisure and Hospitality, added 66K jobs
Education and Health added 54K
Retail trade added 32K
Together these three job categories accounted for 152K jobs, or more than half the total February job gains. They also represent the lowest paid jobs in the US.
For those (very few now, with even the Fed admitting the unemployment rate has become a meaningless, anachronistic relic) still wondering why the unemployment rate dropped once again, sliding from 5.7% to 5.5%, the reason is that while the number of unemployed Americans dropped by 274K thousand while those employed rose by 96K, the underlying math is that the civilian labor force dropped from 157,180 to 157,002 (following the major revisions posted last month), while the people not in the labor force rose by 354,000 in February, rising to a record 92,898,000 (people who currently want a job rose to 6,538K) matching the all time high number of Americans not in the labor force.
The one thing to note about today's "decisive" jobs number, is that most are scrambling to warn that they really have no idea what it will be due to yet another unprecedented instance of cold weather and snow in the winter (see "Goldman Warns Snow May Leads To Lower Jobs Number, But Snowstorms Will Result In Higher Wages"). The reality is that, based on recent ADP trends and the shale patch reality and recent ISM/PMI surveys, today's NFP should print well below 200,000 (unless some 100,000 bartenders were hired in the deep of winter), not where Wall Street consensus expects it, at 235,000 (on a range of 150K to 370K.
The question stands: how much longer will the Fed allow the ECB to export its recession to the US on the back of the soaring dollar, and how much longer will the market be deluded that "decoupling" is still possible despite a dramatic bout of weakness in recent US data. Look for the answer in today's BLS report, which - if the Fed is getting secound thoughts about its rate hike strategy in just 3 months - has to print well below 200,000 to send a very important message to the market about just how much weaker the US economy is than generally perceived. For now, however, the ECB is getting its way, and the question of just how much European QE is priced in, remains open, with peripheral bond yields dropping to new all time lows for yet another day, while the EURUSD has plunged to fresh 11 year lows, sliding below 1.094, and making every US corporation with European operations scream in terror. Looking at markets, US equities are just barely in the red, coiled to move either way when the seasonally-adjusted jobs data hits.
Earlier today a lightbulb went over the head of Goldman Sachs which just had the following epiphany: "if we have blamed the snow for everything so far, shouldn't we also blame it for the most important data point to come - tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls?" And so it did...