Facts are treasonous and dangerous in an empire of lies, fraud and propaganda. It is maddening to watch the country spiral downward, driven to ruin by a psychotic predator class, while the plebs choose to remain willfully ignorant of reality and distracted by their lust for cheap Chinese crap and addicted to the cult of techno-narcissism. We are a country running on heaping doses of cognitive dissonance and normalcy bias, an irrational belief in our national exceptionalism, an absurd trust in the same banking class that destroyed the finances of the country, and a delusionary belief that with just another trillion dollars of debt we’ll be back on the exponential growth track. The American empire has been built on a foundation of cheap easily accessible oil, cheap easily accessible credit, the most powerful military machine in human history, and the purposeful transformation of citizens into consumers through the use of relentless media propaganda and a persistent decades long dumbing down of the masses through the government education system. This national insanity is not a new phenomenon. Friedrich Nietzsche observed the same spectacle in the 19th century: “In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
After every non-farm payroll report we provide our own breakdown of what the real unemployment rate is in a country in which the labor force participation rate has not been adjusted to normalize for the Second Great Depression. In the most recent such endeavor we found the "Real Unemployment Rate" to be 11.3%. Today, courtesy of the Post's John Crudele we find that our estimate was spot on not just from anyone, but the former head of the BLS himself: Keith Hall.
On one hand restaurants and bars have been a boon to the US economy. As first reported in June, and updated two weeks ago, America's waiters and bartenders (increasingly more of which are part-time) have made up a disproportionately large portion of job creation in the nation, rising by more than 50,000 on average each month in the last three, and hitting an all time high of 10.34 million workers in July, accounting for 9% of all private-sector payrolls. The surge was enough for Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors to conclude that "Apparently, people are eating out again like crazy." It turns out this conclusion was 100% wrong. According to this week's very weak retail sales report, Food-service sales fell 1.2% in June, the largest decline since February 2008 and the year over year change in "eating out" rose by just 3.1% - the lowest annual increase since June 2010. But at least all those empty restaurant seats have a record number of waiters catering to the non-existent clients which on the surface should mean the speediest service in history.
The concept we call gross domestic production (GDP) is highly distortive. It obfuscates intelligent debate in economics as the true underlying force for economic growth, capital accumulation, is seen as detrimental to prosperity
For those who don't eat or use energy: feel free to stop reading now - your inflation came in just as expected, at 0.2% up from May, and 1.6% higher compared to a year ago. However, those unlucky few who are forced to eat, use and A/C and/or commute, your inflation just saw its biggest monthly hedonically-adjusted jump (don't forget the deflationary impact of that 80 inch LCD TV you have zero intention of buying), or 0.5%, since February's 0.7% and well above the 0.3% expected. This was driven by a 6.3% surge in gasoline prices, and a nat gas price index soaring 11.7% leading to a 3.4% increase in Energy prices, even as the Food increase of 0.2%, tied for the highest since December 2012 was subdued. And while non-food and energy components did not see major spikes, June apparel prices jumped 0.9%, the highest since 2012, as did Medical Care Commodities and Services, rising 0.5% and 0.4% respectively, both posting the highest M/M jump since well into 2012.
No, last week’s jobs report was not “strong”. It was just another edition of the “born again” jobs scam that has been fueling the illusion of recovery during the entire post-crisis Bernanke Bubble. In short, the US economy is failing and the welfare state safety net is exploding. And that means that the true headwind in front of the allegedly “cheap” stock market is an insuperable fiscal crisis that will bring steadily higher taxes, lower spending and a gale-force of permanent anti-Keynesian austerity in the GDP accounts. And for that reason, the Fed’s strategy of printing money until the jobs market has returned to effective “full employment” is completely lunatic. The bottom-line is that Bernanke is printing money so that Uncle Sam can keep massively borrowing, and thereby fund a simulacrum of job growth in the HES Complex. Call it the Bed Pan Economy. When it finally crashes, Ben Bernanke will be more reviled than Herbert Hoover. And deservedly so.
Over the past week there has been some speculation whether the number of Americans who receive food assistance and/or are on disability, outnumber full-time employed workers in the US. Here is the answer.
Now that Bernanke has thrown in the towel and reverted back to the old bad news is good news regime (or did he - GETCO's vacuum tubes at least sure seem to think so), there was hardly anything more the market could ask for than a horrible Initial Claims print. It got just that with today's initial unemployment claims which soared from last week's upward revised 344K (only +1k revision this time) to 360K, well above the consensus (and Joe LaVorgna) forecast of 340K. Sure enough, the BLS said the July claims were difficult to seasonally adjust, so let's look at the NSA claims which jumped by 49,778 in the week ended July 6 to 384,829 making one wonder if the BLS' instruction in the holiday shortened week was to actually represent a worse economic reality unlike during the Obama pre-reelection months. The only other notable item in the report was the ongoing drop in Extended claims, with EUCs down by 23K to just 1.6 million, 1 million less than a year ago as claims exhaustion means ever more people drop out of the official labor pool. Permanently.
In a surreal and deja vu-ish turn of events, three days ago we reported that in parallel with the ongoing collapse in CNBC viewership, the ratings of some of its shows namely Jim Cramer's Mad Money and Larry Kudlow's Report had just hit all time lows. This was met with an immediate response by Larry Kudlow himself who, alongside Groundhog Phil-fodder Joe LaVorgna, decided to take Zero Hedge to task for reporting that part-time jobs are not really full-time jobs and invited us over to their show to explain how dare we point out the weakness in the manipulated BLS datadump. We were kind enough to remind Mr. Kudlow that the last time someone from CNBC "invited" us over, i.e., Dennis "Digital Dickweed" Kneale, their show was promptly cancelled. To wit: "While we appreciate the offer, the last thing we intend to do is suffer Mr. Kudlow the same fate as that experienced by his predecessor Dennis Kneale who also invited Zero Hedge on his laughable excuse for a show in 2009, only to be sacked a few months later." Make it two for two as irony strikes again. The NY Post reports that Kudlow's show is over.
While we have already extensively deconstructed the quality components of jobs in the US, showing first that in June 240K full time jobs were lost, even as 360K part-time jobs were "gained", and second that so far in 2013 only 130K full time jobs have been added offset by 557K part-time jobs, we had sinking suspicions that there was something off with the quantity component as well: after all, at an average monthly gain of precisely 201.8K jobs in the past six months (or in 2013), this number seemed just a little too perfect considering the Fed's implicit target of generating just over 200K jobs in a half year period before it begins tapering, which in light of declining gross issuance and less monetizable instruments, has been the Fed's goal all along. Today, courtesy of the monthly JOLTS survey we got just the confirmation we needed that, indeed, the official non-farm payroll number as per the Establishment Survey has been substantially off to the tune of a whopping 40% above what is quantitatively happening in reality.
While global equity markets (alone) celebrated what appeared to be a somewhat lackluster jobs data dump yesterday, it's not all rainbows and unicorns for the US employee. It is not just manufacturing jobs that are bleeding (as bartenders and waitresses surge), but the following 14 professions have been in decline for the last decade and are projected to drop even further going forward. From shipping clerks to sewing machine operators and typists, the new normal looks a little different from the old normal of the last century.
As a reminder: jobs have quantity and quality components. The quantity component was good enough to convince the 10 Year the taper is imminent (if not stocks, which continue to trade dislocated from any and all fundamentals). But how about the quality? In a word: not good. In June, the household survey reported that part-time jobs soared by 360,000 to 28,059,000 - an all time record high. Full time jobs? Down 240,000. And looking back at the entire year, so far in 2013, just 130K Full-Time Jobs have been added, offset by a whopping 557K Part-Time jobs. And there is your jobs "quality" leading to today's market euphoria (if only for now).
When enough of us realize the extent of inflation, bond buyers will likely demand higher coupon rates; the government's cost of debt service could soar.
Something is way off: either the unemployment data is very much wrong and the real unemployment rate is far higher especially when normalized for the collapsing labor participation rate and the surge in part-time and temp workers, or the GDP calculation is incorrect and the economy is growing at a 4%+ rate. (It isn't). The scarier implication is that in addition to all other seasonally adjusted economic data points which have become painfully unreliable, daily Treasury tax receipts must also now be added to the docket of meaningless and corrupt data points. The question of just how the Treasury could explain a massive (and deficit boosting) cash discrepancy could only be answered if somehow the Fed is found to be parking cash directly into the Treasury's secret basement.