It's difficult to have a meaningful national debate about economic policy when "headline numbers" are juiced to make things appear rosier than reality. Since unemployment statistics are either suspect or blatantly bogus, we must look for other less manipulated statistics for some modicum of truth. Key statistics of employment, income and production are vital propaganda tools for the status quo, and the temptation to adjust them to manage perceptions is apparently irresistible. The con being played here is the assumption that more jobs means more wages which means things are getting better and better in every way, every day. If payroll withholding taxes are declining, and wages/salaries are flatlined, things are not getting better and better in terms of earned income flowing into household bank accounts, purses and wallets.
To the Execs at Walmart, and all of those other retailers that are feeling the SS pinch, I say "Welcome to the club".
One of the biggest games in the Wall Street farce is the game of Beat the Number.
What's your wild guess?
To confirm a reversal in Treasuries we need a bona fide breakout.
Sudden collapse in withholding taxes... so now we can get back to the normal state, where the government borrows more than expected.
Over the past week we have repeatedly exposed the BLS' shennanigans to both keep the headline unemployment rate suppressed and to generate an upward bias in the market courtesy of a "bigger than expected beat" of expectations. Granted, various semantics experts continue to scratch their heads in attempting to explain a collapsing labor force when even Goldman's Sven Jari Stehn just predicted that it will drop to 63.1% by the end of 2012 (and 62.5% by the end of 2015). Funny then that the US will have no unemployment left when the participation rate drops to 58.5%. And no, the "population soared argument based on revised data" doesn't quite cut it when the bulk of said surge not only did not get a job, but was not even counted toward the labor force. Yet what the biggest flaw with all these arguments that vainly (and veinly) attempt to defend the US economy as if it is growing, is that they focus exclusively on the quantity of jobs, doctored or not, and completely ignore the quality. We have decided to step in and fill this void.
If last week's tax data is indicative of what's ahead this month, the "good news" won't be sustained.
Great news from today's BLS report, right (when one excludes that record 1.2 million explosion in people out of the labor force of course)? Wrong. As is well known banks have been firing workers left and right: these are the jobs that actually matter in the grand withholding taxes scheme of things. Yet someone is getting hired supposedly. Well, as we suggested before the NFP report, this is merely rotation from high paying jobs to "low-wage jobs." And no, it's not our words - this is what CRT Capital says. Per Bloomberg: About 113k of NFP gain from “low wage jobs,” David Ader, strategist at CRT Capital Group, writes in note. Additionally, “we didn’t see the drop in courier and messengers as expected - but suspect we will." Moreover, ‘‘long-term stress remains at the U6 measure at 15.1% is still high, but likely falling due to people leaving labor force, and duration on unemployment remains over 40 weeks." But yes, it is an election year, so by November expect the labor participation rate to be under 60% and the unemployment rate to drop to under 6%, or some other propaganda BS.
Record 1.2 Million People Fall Out Of Labor Force In One Month, Labor Force Participation Rate Tumbles To Fresh 30 Year LowSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/03/2012 08:51 -0500
A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that's not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation. As for the quality of jobs, as withholding taxes roll over Year over year, it can only mean that the US is replacing high paying FIRE jobs with low paying construction and manufacturing. So much for the improvement.
You've just crossed over...
The markets follow the money.
Stocks usually follow the Fed, but this time when the ECB pumped, so much of it flowed into the US that not only Treasuries, but also stocks, got a lift.
A down day in the US on Tuesday could begin to trigger intermediate sell signals...~ Lee Adler
Houston, We Have Recoupling - Initial Claims Back Over 400,000 (Post Next Week's Revision), Retail Sales Ex Autos Worst Since Early 2010Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/12/2012 09:04 -0500
Remember that whole "US is decoupling" theme so pathologically spread around by two-bit propaganda media outfits staffed by journalism B.A. majors? Time to put it in the trash where it belongs. As long expected, the temp hire surge, so effectively used by retailers to dump inventory below cost (just ask Sears), is over, and in the first week of 2012, Seasonally Adjusted claims soared to 399,000, the highest since November and a number which next week will be revised over 400,000, a decimation of expectations of 375,000 (naturally last week's number was revised upward from 372K to 375K - a long-lasting BLS tradition of fudging data that everyone knows about now). The Non-Seasonally adjusted number was +102,314 claims in the first week of the year. And the real question is how many of these real departures were of the banker type, where the impact on lost withholding taxes going forward, and thus government revenues, will be quite dire. Continuing claims also missed expectations, rising to 3628K from a revised 3609K (expectation was for an unchanged print, pre revision, of 3595K). And the worst news is that the 99-week cliff continues to grab more and more, with 48k people dropping off all rolls, and thus from the labor force completely, meaning the labor force participation rate in January will likely drop to another fresh 30 year low. But the horrendous jobs update was only one part. The other one focuses on actual consumer spending, as confirmed by the major miss in retail sales which were up 0.1% on expectations of 0.3%, but the entire gain was due to car purchases primarily driven by cheap govt-funded subprime credit for GM vehicles. Sales ex-autos actually declined by 0.2%, on an expectation of 0.3% rise: this was the first decline and worst print since early 2010. So much for the consumer-led recovery. And so much for the unemployment pick up. And so much for the decoupling. The chart below shows what will happen as the world finally reconverges, as was posted yesterday.