Bureau of Labor Statistics
As the EU agrees to fund another bailout deal to help Greece rise from the ashes, providing them with another $8.7 billion in financial aid, the question that begs an answer is: will this have any effect on the austerity that is being imposed on the country. Throwing good money after bad?
Benjamin Strong was near the end of a long stint as head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank (he passed away in October 1928), where he enjoyed the same immense power that Ben Bernanke has today. The economy had just begun to recover from a recession in December 1927, and there was much unemployment and spare capacity.... Agriculture was booming during and immediately after World War I, based on thriving exports to Europe. Overinvestment during the boom then gave way to stagnation in the 1920s. Europe was in a bad state in the late 1920s, just as it is now. What’s more, two of the world’s three largest economies are now in Asia, and these economies face similar challenges to those of 1920s Europe. While analogies are never perfect, the parallels with early 1928 are troubling. When the world slipped into depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s, it was on the back of imbalances and debt overhangs that are oddly similar to those that we face today.
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.
The Consumer Metrics Institute is generally a pretty subdued bunch, as befits their job interpreting economic statistics for money managers and other economists. But lately they’ve been increasingly vocal about the farce we are witnessing: "From time to time we may quarrel with the quality of the BEA’s deflaters. And frankly we may even find that at face value the lackluster numbers amount to nothing more than a sham “recovery.” But the most shocking part of this report is glaringly obvious from the real per capita disposable income numbers: all of the unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus has left American households materially worse off than they were two years ago."
It should be obvious by now that the old adage– study hard, get good grades, go to a good school, get a great job, and work your way up the ladder– really doesn’t apply anymore. And it’s time to re-invent the model. Based on the eight reasons below, it’s no wonder they call them the “Boomerang Generation”, and that 45% of college grads aged 18-24 in the United States were still living with Mom and Dad...
Few others are better equipped to comprehend both the insider's and outsider's perspective on what the government, the Fed, and the banks are doing in this so-called 'recovery' we are experiencing than David Stockman. Nowhere does he detail this better than Chapter 31 of his new book 'The Great Deformation'. In this first part (of a five-part series), he explains just what happened after the US economy liquidated excess inventory and labor and hit its natural bottom in June 2009. Embarking upon a halting but wholly unnatural "recovery," doing nothing but igniting yet another round of rampant speculation in the risk asset classes. The precarious foundation of the Bernanke Bubble is starkly evident in the internal composition of the jobs numbers.
Whether or not this is a direct result of the Snowden whistleblower affair is unclear, but the following BLS job posting just hit the tape. In brief: suddenly the Bureau of [insert favorite L and S words here] is just a little concerned about the "proper security and unauthorized disclosure" of its data and making sure it is not "vulnerable to purposeful denial-of-access or alteration by unauthorized persons." So we wonder: will the next whistleblower to emerge be from the BLS, and just what tidbits of ARIMA-X-12 "seasonal adjustments" will they unleash upon the world? We are confident at least one of our computer savvy, if temporarily unemployed readers, would be delighted to provide their skillset to the BLS.
If we take out this trendline, stocks could easily go to 1,450. And if things get really ugly we could even see a Crash (though that would likely come later in the Autumn based on historic patterns).
Inflation, housing, unemployment figures, personal spending and utility bills are all improving across the US.
The Nikkei dropped by 7.3% at the end of the day and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dipped by 2.5%. Shanghai maintained a moderate fall at just 1.2% (if you believe that data now!). The Asian markets are down.
Last week (May 11th) there was a peak of 32, 000 new claims being made taking the US to 360, 000 new unemployed claims being filed, which is the biggest increase since March.
The number of people on SSDI now exceeds the entire population of Greece. The aging of the population has nothing to do with the increase. In 1968 there were 51 workers for every person on disability. Today there are 13 workers for every person on disablity. Even the most pollyanna would agree that medical advancements since 1968 have been significant. These medical advancements would argue for less people being on disability and unable to work. Workplace safety measures have been increased exponentially since 1968, so that also argues for less disabled workers. The good old ADA law forced all workplaces to become disabled friendly. That argues for less people on disability. The country has transitioned from a manufacturing society to a service society. Workers don’t work on dangerous assembly lines anymore. Robots do the dangerous stuff. This should have dramatically reduced worker injuries and disabilities. The tremendous increase in people on SSDI is nothing but a gigantic fraud. The government broadened the scope of disabilities to include stress, depression, and non-diagnosable things like aches and pains. And don't forget, you get the added benefit of Medicare coverage after only two years of SSDI stress.
Since the end of the recession businesses have been increasing their bottom line profitability by massive cost cuts rather than increased revenue. Of course, one of the highest "costs" to any business is labor. One way that we can measure this view is by looking at corporate profits on a per employee basis. Currently, that ratio is at the highest level on record. The problem that businesses are beginning to face currently is that while they have slashed labor costs to the bone there is a point to where businesses simply cannot cut further. At this point businesses have to begin to "hoard" what labor they have, maximize that labor force's productivity (increase output with minimal increases in labor costs) and hire additional labor, primarily temporary, only when demand forces expansion. The issue of "labor hoarding" also explains the sharp drop in initial weekly jobless claims. This is likely obscuring the real weakness in the underlying economy. Without an increase in the demand part of the equation businesses are likely to continue resorting to further productivity increases to stretch the current labor force farther to protect profitability. However, as we may currently be witnessing, businesses may be reaching the limits of what they can do.
“Labor market conditions are affected by a variety of factors outside a central bank’s control,” admitted the Fed's Jeffrey Lacker after the employment report bounced around the world.
The trajectory of self-employment from 1970 to the mid-2000s tracked general economic growth, which was weak in the 1970s but began a 30-year boom in the early 1980s. Things changed in the recession, as the self-employed ranks have lost 1.6 million from the peak in 2007. The number of self-employed has fallen to early 1980s levels. Small business is the incubator of employment. As it declines, so too do opportunities for first jobs, second chances and economic independence.