Bureau of Labor Statistics
The last two days have seen President Obama will give speeches on the economy. This issue is critical going into the mid-term elections as virtually every poll shows this is a top concern of voters. The question of economic recovery is interesting in the context of where that recovery has occurred. As we discussed recently in "For 90% Of Americans, There Has Been No Recovery," while the ongoing interventions by the Federal Reserve have inflated asset prices, the only real accomplishment has been a widening of the wealth gap between the top 10% of individuals that have dollars invested in the financial markets and everyone else. Unfortunately, the facts are going to make promoting an "economic success" story rather difficult. Let's review Obama's economic scorecard in terms of the things that truly matter to the average American...
On the surface, earning $174,000 per year, while putting one solidly in the top 10% of all US earners, does not sound like much. This happens to be the 2014 allocated wage of America's elected political representatives, the members of the House of Representatives. And indeed, in the grand scheme of things it isn't much... until one considers that in the 102-day period between August 1 and November 12, this wage will be "earned" for just working a paltry 8 days, which, presuming 10 hour workdays, amounts to a whopping $608 per hour, on par with what some of America's most prominent lawyers earn. It is also several times the hourly compensation of anesthesiologists, one of the highest-earning professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at $113 an hour on average.
These days, central banks have become so intertwined with the economy and capital markets that every word uttered by just about any senior Federal Reserve official is endlessly scrutinized to gauge what their next step might be. But it wasn’t always like this. There were times when the Fed actively defended the strict independence of monetary policy, as well as the role of free markets in creating prosperity and even preserving civil liberties. And those were the days of William McChesney Martin, Jr.
Rents and housing costs make up 30% of CPI. They’re its largest component. They’re soaring in real life. But not in the CPI.
Every three years the Federal Reserve releases a survey of consumer finances that is a stockpile of data on everything from household net worth to incomes. A major mainstream media theme has been that the surging stock market, driven by the Federal Reserve's monetary interventions, has provided a boost to the overall economy. However, given that the bulk of the population either does not, or only marginally, participates in the financial markets, the "boost" has remained concentrated in the upper 10%. The Federal Reserve study breaks the data down in several ways, but the story remains the same...
Last week, Adam Hartung qualified for the "Mark Twain Award" if there was such a thing. In his article, "Obama Outperforms Reagan On Jobs, Growth & Investing," Adam goes to some length to try and show that unemployment rate, the S&P 500 and economic growth are currently better under the current administration than they were during the Reagan administration. Unfortunately, that is not the case. When considering that President Obama has been able to achieve real economic growth of just 2.04% annually despite historically low levels of inflation and interest rates combined with massive government interventions and balance sheet expansions; it makes his overall performance even more disappointing.
The 30 statistics that you are about to read prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the middle class in America is being systematically destroyed. Once upon a time, the United States had the largest and most prosperous middle class in the history of the world, but now that is changing at a staggering pace. Yes, the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights this year and there are a few isolated areas of the country that are doing rather well for the moment. But overall, the long-term trends that are eviscerating the middle class just continue to accelerate.
This weekend’s “Things To Ponder” is comprised of a variety of readings that cover a fairly broad spectrum from educational to informative and even a little bit sarcastic.
When considering the catalysts for silver, let’s first ignore short-term factors such as net short/long positions, fluctuations in weekly ETF holdings, or the latest open interest. Data like these fluctuate regularly and rarely have long-term bearing on the price of silver. We're more interested in the big-picture forces that could impact silver over the next several years. The most significant force, of course, is governments’ abuse of “financial heroin” that will inevitably lead to a currency crisis in many countries around the world, pushing silver and gold to record levels; but here are seven more...
According to a new analysis from CareerCast jobs, seven of the top 10 careers are in the healthcare industry and, as expected, require an advanced degree. As CBS reports, while these jobs are all pegged to show strong earnings growth through 2022, there is a downside: Becoming a surgeon or physician requires years of graduate school and training, which requires an investment of time and money. "There is a tradeoff for every job," Oh well, at least it doesn't require stealing from widows and orphans, and one can even sleep at night without the help of industiral amounts of horse tranquilizer. So without further ado, here are the ten top paying jobs for 2014...
Now that even the Fed has admitted the BLS' nonfarm payroll and unemployment rate are meaningless due to the "noise" from a record number of workers dropping out of the labor force, Janet Yellen is left with one fallback "favorite" indicator, the JOLTS survey (Job Openings and Labor Turnover). It is here that something rather unexpected just happened, when moments ago the BLS reported that US employers reported a whopping 4671K job openings in the month of June, beating expectations of a 4.6MM print and well above the downward revised 4,577K in May. This was the highest openings print since February 2001, and one which suddenly puts the "hawkish" Janet Yellen back in play as it suggests that slack in the labor market, at least based on the number of job openings, has not only filled the gap, but it is now overflowing!
The failure to understand money is shared by all nations and transcends politics and parties. The destructive monetary expansion undertaken during the Democratic administration of Barack Obama by then Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke began in a Republican administration under Bernanke’s predecessor, Alan Greenspan. Republican Richard Nixon’s historic ending of the gold standard was a response to forces set in motion by the weak dollar policy of Democrat Lyndon Johnson. For more than 40 years, one policy mistake has followed the next. Each one has made things worse. What they don’t understand is that money does not “create” economic activity.
We frequently see stories telling us how well the United States is doing at oil extraction. The fact that there are stories in the press about the US wanting to export crude oil adds to the hype. How much of these stories are really true? A major concern with falling per-capita energy consumption it that the financial system may soon reach limits where it is stretched beyond what it can stand. The economy needs energy growth to grow, but the economy is not getting it.
If one looks past headline figures, things are not really getting better. As shown in Figure 1, real disposable income per capita in the U.S. has increased only modestly since the Great Recession. However, all of this increase is due to Government Transfers, not from an improvement in the real economy.