"Racial and ethnic minorities now surpass non-Hispanic whites as the largest group of American children under 5 years old, the Census Bureau said Thursday. The demographic rise of minorities comes at a time when heightened racial tensions make headlines from St. Louis to Charleston, South Carolina, and as minorities lag in education, earnings and labor market outcomes."
One hoary old myth claims the interest rate you see isn't real. You see, it’s only nominal. To calculate the real rate, you're supposed to adjust the nominal rate by inflation.
The idea of an imminent US recession may seem moot as all the self-proclaimed experts and talking heads still acts as we are well into a recovery and patiently waiting for the forthcoming escape velocity which will take care of all ills plaguing today’s over-indebted society. Never do they stop to think about why things looks as dismal as they do. The sheer scale of the backwardness shown in such gross economic illiteracy suggest to us there is ulterior motives behind so-called Keynesian economic theories. Comparing GDP with cumulative goods sold and inventory accumulation since 2000 should tell you everything you need to know. The US economy is now on the verge of a new recession.
Officially, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 5.6%, meaning 5.6% of the work force is temporarily out of a job and actively seeking another one. But these do not feel like good times for most households, despite the low unemployment rate. By our reckoning, roughly 60% of the civilian work force is fully employed and 40% are marginally employed or unemployed.
Spot the outlier in housing permits among the four US census regions. Hint: at an annual change of 165.8%, it has never been higher.
After 27 years, honest price discovery has been destroyed, thereby reducing the nerve centers of capitalism - the money and capital markets - to little more than gambling casinos. Accordingly, speculative rent-seeking in the financial arena has replaced enterprenurial innovation and supply side investment and productivity as the modus operandi of the US economy. This has resulted in a severe diminution of main street growth and a massive redistribution of windfall wealth to the tiny share of households which own most of the financial assets. Warren Buffett’s $73 billion net worth is the poster boy for this untoward state of affairs. The massive and systematic falsification of asset prices which lies at the heart of this deformation of capitalism is a direct and unavoidable consequence of monetary central planning.
Currently, there are things occurring that are very troublesome, and in more normal times, would likely already have investors heading for cover. However, in today's liquidity fueled, Central Bank supported environment, that has yet to be the case. The reason was best described recently by Dr. Robert Shiller "I call this the 'new normal' boom ó it's a funny boom in asset prices because it's driven not by the usual exuberance but by an anxiety." What happens next is only a guess. However, historically, it hasn't been the outcome that investors were hoping for. But then again, maybe "bearish bull" isn't as much of an oxymoron as it is just a warning.
"The elderly dependency ratio is in the early stages of a relentless rise that doesn't hit an interim peak until around 2036, over two decades from now." The "structural shift" in the dynamics that drove the economy and financial markets in the 80's and 90's will not likely exist again for quite some time. Of course, if this was not the case, would we still be needing massive Central Bank interventions to support global economies and markets? Meh? What could possibly go wrong? [sarcasm alert]
... at least according to the Atlanta Fed. Based on the one GDP model which hasn't lost all credibility and which for the past 3 months has captured the attention to wannabe weathermen and other Wall Street strategists, today's bevy of stronger than expected data, everything from Durable Goods, to core CapEx, to New Home Sales, to Case Shiller, to Consumer Confidence, and even the Richmond Fed was sufficient to push Q2 GDP... by 0.1% to 0.8%.
Following last month's disappointing slump to only 481K new home sales in March (now revised to 484K) which was the biggest drop in nearly 2 years driven by a collapse in Northeast transactions, according to the latest new home sales data by the Census Bureau housing rebounded back over 500K, printing at 517K thanks to a 37% sequential jump in Midwest new home sales, which rebounded from 57K to 78K, even as sales in the Northeast continued to decline and even the West saw a modest drop.
To preserve any idea that the US is not heading into recession, the FOMC is now wholly reliant on statistical processes within the BEA’s use of the Census Bureau’s updated ARIMA-X13 modeling system. It is amazing to see this policy body that once proclaimed, unequivocally and forcefully, that it could perform the monetary equivalent of sorcery and alchemy reduced to quivering about winter. The latest policy statement, a silly farce of its own accord, is, quite simply, an embarrassment.
The rising risk to the housing recovery story lies in the Fed's ability to continue to keep interest rates suppressed. It is important to remember that individuals "buy payments" rather than houses. With each tick higher in mortgage rates so goes the monthly mortgage payment. With wages remaining suppressed, 1 out of 3 Americans no longer counted as part of the work force or drawing on a Federal subsidy, the pool of potential buyers remains tightly constrained. While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a "driver" of economic growth in 2015 and beyond - the lack of recovery in the home ownership data suggests otherwise.
That the Fed and other central banks have unleashed the speculative furies is an unassailable and baleful reality. What is going on here plain and simple is a one-sided game of chicken. The robo-traders and hedge fund buccaneers on Wall Street press the market higher on virtually no volume or conviction whenever macro-economic weakness presents itself, virtually daring the Fed to maintain is ultra-accommodative stance still longer. The casino gamblers will keep chop, chop choppin’ higher until they finally lose confidence that the Eccles building is heaven’s door to further riches. Then the machines will sell, sell, sell. There will be no credible Fed speakers to stop them.
The largest problem with the data sets below is that they are all subject to large historical revisions. This is why the NBER is ALWAYS well after the fact in pronouncing the start and end of recessions in the U.S. economy. Given the ongoing interventions from the Federal Reserve and the current administration, it is likely that many of the statistics, and seasonal adjustment metrics, have been skewed in recent years. In the quarters ahead it is likely that we could see rather sharp adjustments to historical data which may suggest the economy has been far weaker than headline statistics have suggested.
Zero Hedge first brought attention to the Atlanta Fed over two months ago, when the first massive divergence between bullish consensus and objective reality appeared. Since then it has been nothing but a downhill race for reality, with consensus scrambling to catch up. Moments ago, the Atlanta Fed just cut its Q2 GDP forecast once more, this time to 0.7% from 0.8%. This is on the back of a Q1 GDP which as of this moments is around -1.0%.