Calamity Economy Strikes Again, But Hope Is Back In Vogue

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter

Hope was once again in vogue Thursday night in President Obama’s acceptance speech, after having gone the way of the green shoots. Hope has been swirling around the financial markets as well as the Fed keeps dangling QE3 out in front of them. And ECB President Mario Draghi injected a mega-dose of it with his bond-buying promise. It goosed the markets even more and powered them to multi-year highs.

Then came the jobs report. Only 96,000 non-farm jobs had been created—assuming that number is credible, despite the statistical cosmetic surgeries that are used to beautify it. Worse, June and July were revised lower by 41,000 jobs. The unemployment rate, which dropped from 8.3% to 8.1%, is just noise, and it remains unclear if it measures anything at all. But it will be THE number, the political number, that President Obama will focus on, and if all goes according to plan, it will obligingly drop to 7.9% before the election.

But the jobs report also contained the Employment-Population Ratio. By comparing the number of employed people to all people over sixteen, it outlines in unvarnished brutality the real employment situation. And it goes back to when dirt was young.

From 1948 through the mid-sixties, it bounced up and down between 55% and 57%. As women entered the workforce in greater numbers, it zigzagged to 64.7% in April 2000. Then it declined, with some ups and downs, to 62.9% by January 2008—and fell off a cliff. In December 2009, it hit bottom at 58.2%.

At the time, the Fed’s printing press had been running white-hot for a year. Congress was shoveling stimulus money in every direction. Federal deficits had ballooned beyond $1 trillion for the second year in a row. The new President had gotten his feet on the ground. Stock markets were rocking higher. But the employment-population ratio hit a low not seen since May 1983.

So then the magnificent jobs recovery started. And in August 2012, when our national debt blew through the $16 trillion mark, the employment-population ratio was ... 58.3%.

Just about where it was in December 2009, when the unemployment rate hovered around 10%—and now it’s 8.1%. Miracles of statistical cosmetic surgery.

It is true, I suppose, that since December 2009, quite a few jobs have been created. I can see that in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. It’s just that the population has grown at about the same pace, and the job market as seen by the average job seeker hasn’t improved much.

The graph is also a visual depiction of what the Pew Research Center calls “The Lost Decade of the Middle Class,” during which “the middle class has shrunk in size” and has “fallen backward in income and wealth.”

It’s convenient to blame President Bush for the precipitous decline of the employment-population ratio under his watch, or President Obama for the continued decline and the long stall. But Presidents don’t have a lot of power in managing the economy—Congress and the Fed are the go-to places for complaints in that department.

Purposefully overshadowed by the jobs report was Intel. After having already dialed back hopes in July, it slashed its third-quarter revenue outlook by 7.7%. Ominously, it saw weakness in the enterprise segment and in emerging markets. On Wednesday, it was FedEx that had cut its outlook due to lower shipping volumes. Last week it was the International Air Transport Association that had gored hope: in July, air-freight was 3.2% lower worldwide than last year, and 3.6% lower for North American airlines. July was also the month when bellwether UPS issued disappointing quarterly results. It appears the “recovery” has run its course.

And that despite the gargantuan stimulus of a Federal deficit that has been over $1 trillion for five years in a row—thanks to our ever so effective Congress, abetted by the Fed. But occasionally, even slick politicians accidentally say something meaningful. This time it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel who’d wondered out loud if politicians can win elections “if we don’t always spend more than we take in.”

The answer, Mrs. Merkel, at least in the US, is no. And so we’re stuck with huge deficits and our calamity economy. But then there’s always the hope that the Fed will print us more moolah so that the financial markets will rock, despite the economy [read.... Monsters With Acronyms: From A Nation of Investors To A Nation of Fed Watchers].

The US is no longer the safest place to invest, as China and India rise to superpower status, says Don Coxe, a strategic advisor to the BMO Financial Group. And financial products based on mathematical formulas are “the equivalent of mixing sewer water with tap water and claiming that because there was more tap water than sewer water in the glass, it was safe to drink.” Read the pungent interview.... “Invest in What China Needs to Buy.”

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Vooter's picture

Blah, blah, blah...once again, anyone who votes for a Democrat or a Republican is LOST and PART OF THE PROBLEM...

geno-econ's picture

Cars can be repossessed, but student loans cannot and cannot be subject to normal bankruptcy proccedings. The youth have been manipulated and will ultimatly rebel against economic tyranny when unemployment crosses the threshold of college  loan sustainability.  Combined with the subprime mortgage debacle we are now facing a Fiscal Cliff.  Something has to give and Bernanke knows it 

shovelhead's picture

Obama is perfectly suited to be President.

His whole life's training is one of spending other peoples money and peddling Hopium.

Every circus needs a barker at the gate and the chumps picked a beaut.

Why settle for leadership when you can have ...slogans.

Forward! I hope you like the change.

SanOvaBeach's picture

POTUS is like the Wizard of OZ!  Behind the curtain pulling levers and pushing buttons.  The economy, jobs, price of gas, housing market, student loans, on and on and on............FUCK MAN........If your life is fucked-up, blame it on Obama or who ever else is sitting in the Oval Office.  It is easy and fun!  National scapegoatism.  If your knob is not gett'in polished on a daily basis, it is POTUS fault.  Don't accept accountability for anything.  POTUS is responsiable, you know, smoke and mirrors stuff.  Enough said, now blow me, bitch...................

eatthebanksters's picture

Politicians on both sides get elected buying votes with taxpayer dollars (taking from the rich to pay for entitlements to the lower classes or 'taking' from the poor so the rich aren't required to pay higher taxes).  The problem is that we ran out of money for these favors long ago and thus we are borrowing forty cents of every government dollar that is spent, with no end in sight.  We are already way beyond the point of painless corrections, the only question is when will it will all hit the fan.  It doesn't matter who get's elected, Obama will spend us into oblivion and Romney will never make the painful cuts needed to solve our problems.  The great re-adjustment is coming kids, it's just a matter of when.  Maybe someday people will realize that nothing is ever free.

Peter Pan's picture

Let's call a spade a spade. A participation rate of 58.2% is a polite way of saying that 41.8% is unemployed. Full stop. All other interpretations are bull shit.

Ungaro's picture

Not necessarily. 41.8% are living off of someone else. To be more honest, a good part of the 58.2% have non-productive jobs: federal, state, county or city government, or trade pieces of paper (banking, securities, real estate, etc.) It would be safe to say that there are no more than two productive workers for every idle or non-productive one.

Peter Pan's picture

Dear Ungaro, I was referring to unemployed while you are referring to productive people so I understand your point. The truth is though that many public servants whether they be police, doctors, firemen, teachers etc ARE employed AND productive so we need to be a little more measured. But point taken.

SheHunter's picture

great exchanges. welcome to ZH LetThemEatRand.

steve from virginia's picture


India: country done in by corruption and a population that outgrows any economy. Watch that monsoon, folks.


China: a tottering corpse that looks good enough from a distance to fool 'investors' that want to be fooled. Great airport terminals by all accounts. Hard to say about the rest of the country.

SanOvaBeach's picture

I concur!  Ever been to India you stupid,pseudo-intellectual ZH fucks?  You know who you are.  Your the jack=offs with hardly any formal education, pounding on a keyboard, in your underwear, in your bedroom.

India has sewer pipes laying on the ground everywhere. WHY?  Because it is one of the most corrupt countries in the world!  I'm not going to waste my time telling u why.

Element's picture

There's a simple test of how things are going in China. 

Tour the country and see if you can find any city in which you see a clear blue sky on any given day.

J Robert Burgoyne's picture

Tour the country and see if you can find any city in which you see a clear blue sky on any given day.

I agree that most of China has significant air pollution. But Kunming, in southwest China, has excellent weather and clear skies, similar to southern California. So favorable is the weather in Kunming that the USA and our allies used Kunming as a staging ground in WWII. 

SanOvaBeach's picture

Thats for sure, thats for dang sure.  Fuck'em!  I wanna buy another cheap, hang-on-the-wall big screen for my pad overlooking Lake Tahoe.  Nuke the fuck'in whales and fuck the enviroment.  I got mine and 25 more years to live if I'm luckly.

TPTB_r_TBTF's picture



USSofA: country done in by corruption and an immigration policy that wonT outgrow any economy. Watch that hurricane, folks.

USSofA: a tottering corpse that looks good enough from a distance to fool 'investors' that want to be fooled. Great airport terminals by all accounts, at least in the non-flyover states. Hard to say about the rest of the country (the flyover states).

Ungaro's picture

A Picture of Dorian Gray. When you mention great airport terminals, Singapore and Hong Kong come to mind, certainly not LAX or JFK.

Immigration policy is a small problem when compared to others: financial, educational, justice, political, transportation and many other systems are in shambles. Maybe the time has come for us to start thinking about a different way of governing ourselves. We had a great start with the US Constitution but we have veered too far from its principles.

Go Tribe's picture

You gotta be kidding. Here's what government's true role is and both parties understand it perfectly well, as do you....

"provide a robust infrastructure for commerce" = funnel wealth collected via taxation to crony friends for overpriced highways, sewers and bridges to nowhere

"provide a tax/tariff structure that discourages off-shoring to countries that do not ensure a living wage and basic environmental controls and that encourages local production and a living wage for local workers" = steal wealth and give it to close friends and countries under the guise of "fair redistribution" and "economic development"

"prevent monopoly (a.k.a. TBTF) formation" = encourage revolving-door kickbacks, transferring stolen wealth to friends, their companies and their burgeoning government bureaucracies

"eliminate the corporate exception to personal responsibility" = protect friends in corporations and government agencies from the law

"provide a reasonable social safety net that prevents abject poverty while providing opportunity (education, health care) for those who are not the most exceptional among us" = tell everyone what they should do with their money, after robbing them blind via taxation for the most stupid and wasteful endeavors, namely education, housing, and healthcare.

SanOvaBeach's picture

Make it easy dude, blame everything on POTUS.  You"ll feel better!

LetThemEatRand's picture

Perfect douche response.   Just one example:  ""eliminate the corporate exception to personal responsibility" = protect friends in corporations and government agencies from the law."

I clearly stated that we should eliminate the concept of the corporation.  And you read it to mean  that I advocate protecting corporations.



dexter_morgan's picture
Obama: ‘America, our problems can be solved’

Solved. There, that was easy. I guess he's waiting till re-elected to enlighten us as to how, since he hasn't fixed anything yet has he?. Oh yeah, he got bin laden, forgot the peacenik actually did do something good.

SanOvaBeach's picture

C my posts!  Blame everything on POTUS, you'll feel better.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Oh yeah, he got bin laden, forgot the peacenik actually did do something good."
Bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11, and he died years before he was "killed" by the Seals.  All part of the Big Lie.

nmewn's picture

So, we're now to believe all the SEALS involved in the raid (and their support) are lying about who they killed and the Pentagon is now trying to censor a book written by one the SEALS about the raid because it goes against the official line of what they (the government) said actually happened?

Is that where we're at, again?...some weird ass conspiracy?

The only conspiracy here is, Bin Laden survived daisy cutters at Tora Bora and wound up right where everyone (with a modicum of sense thought he would, down the road from a medical facility because of his health) oh, AND the WH said he was hiding behind his wife and possibly armed.

He wasn't.

He was encountered in a hallway by SEALS, unarmed and shot...(good riddance) and he died after falling through a doorway into another room with SEAL guns pointed at his was jus fuckin unfinished bizness.

It goes against the fantastic, the surreal, the salacious, the conspiracy moonbats AND the official version...but I'll accept the version of someone who was actually there to the governments version any day.

Your mileage will vary.

otto skorzeny's picture

so they couldn't have hightailed his ass out of there and put him on trial? you are an idiot for thinking all this was not  too perfectly staged. just like the feigned outrage from the Pentagon over this SEAL book that they probably wrote. What about how the majority of the SEALS just happened to all die in a "freak" accident. I suppose you think that a mope like Lee Harvey Oswald single-handedly killed the most powerful man on earth. Or that a "community activist" could rise form nowhere to become president and not be a hand-picked puppet by the powers that run this country. luckily-my 3 and 4 year olds are not as naive as you.

disabledvet's picture

it is interesting according to the book written by the Seal guy "the story is different from the official version." obviously there is no justice for the folks of 9/11...nor the American people as a whole. This was the most wanted guy on the Planet...the idea that the President didn't want this guy alive is rather odd actually. Of course that is why we come here--to at least acknowledge there is something call truth...let alone reality...left in this crazy world. Obviously we all here have paid an enormous price for doing that as well i might add. What's the guy to girl ratio again?

lakecity55's picture

Ben left Tora Bora for a cia retirement home for AQ vets in Pakistan, near a army medical facility. Had Barry honored the deal, he would still be OK, but he needed some "balls" so he double-crossed the agreement and had Ben knocked off. Then, as we know since everything was leaked by Jarett, Barry flew the chopper himself and fired on Ben only after Ben had fired at his offer to surrender. Or maybe it was a kung-fu death match between Ben and Barry.

Anyway, we all know Barry is the hero who pulled trigger himself.

USA people will believe anything.

AQ descended from the muslim brotherhood who had fallen under British control from the Germans after WW2. Then the CIA joined in. AQ was invented and has always been a 'secret army' for Great Game purposes. They can be used against Russia, recalcitrant arab sultans who prefer Gold to fiat, or Alawaites who won't leave Damascus when ordered to. They can even be used against USA people if need be.

But the Russians have their own secret army, called 'democrats' socialists or communists in the USA. Long ago they groomed Barry to get revenge on the USA thru their agent Davis, in 'Hawayer,' who thought he was going to organize unions, but his paymasters had another job for him: indoctrination of a young lad whose mom was a Red Queen, a CIA operator who went 'native' and flipped.

Sometimes one spends an entire career and only sees one glimpse, but it's enough to never believe the 'news media' ever again.

Despite their cool RT TV shows, Russia is a Player, and they plan for their agent to have more flexibility after the election.

KGB is the Sword and Shield of the Party. To think it no longer exists is to think no Gladio operations still exist in Europa or that Au isn't what makes the world go 'round.

nmewn's picture

What the president "may have or may have not wanted" are as relevant as any generals plan before above all others should know that.

SanOvaBeach's picture

Your what I'm talk'in about.  An uneducated conspearo nut blaming everything on POTUS and last but not least 'them'.  Go back to your keyboard, in you underwear, and pound on it.  Oh! Make sure you look under the bed fuck head, 'them' might be there or listening. 

nmewn's picture


Can you fit anymore more bullshit into one post?

Sure, what we needed to do is put him on trial in NYC like what Holder & O'Bammy wanted...ROTFL!!! If not, where and under what pretense of law? A world court or American law after they kidnapped him on foreign soil?

Its not a fucking arrest warrant when the SEALS are there you friggin idiot. O'Barry could have said purty please with sugar on top and it wouldn't have mattered.

You have a lot to learn.

AnAnonymous's picture

Its not a fucking arrest warrant when the SEALS are there you friggin idiot. O'Barry could have said purty please with sugar on top and it wouldn't have mattered.


Ah, point of interest to tell about 'Americanism'.

So military personal would not care about an order received from the commander in chief...

Tell about 'americanism'...

nmewn's picture

And then we have...AnAnus, who will now instruct me on the finer points of law enforcement vs a military operation.

If you're sittin around thinking that the SEALS went in there to read Bin Hidin "his" Miranda Rights at any and all costs to themselves you're even loonier than you've already proven youself to be elsewhere.

monad's picture

Now now, AnAnus is more familiar with the gestapo disappearing people than we are. You can tell by the monotonic repetition of her dull posts, she expects the State to repo her body at any moment, for bad punctuation or something Clintonesque. She said it herself: the Party never admit to anything, so all reports must be false. Conform or die, round eye.

The psyop guys figured out that the most efficient way to discredit leaks is to just present a reasonable doubt that they are true, then shove them under a deluge of vacuous bullshit. If you watch the way Fox & MSNBC bat a leak around, the contrast between their reports illustrates this perfectly. So you have to discern the truth on your own, its just like reading Pravda: get the news from a better source than the msm whenever one is available.

Free Trade agreements with communist states are not only treason, they underwrite and encourage Statist slavery. They don't make mistakes.

otto skorzeny's picture

bullshit huh- these sociopaths will do anything to stay in power- a few thousand people in some towers or a few dozen special forces in a chopper- to them this is nothing. it is the small price to pay to control everything. the world is a chessboard to the guys at the top. the myth of bin laden has served them well and he was a loose end that needed to be tied up. nothing more or less. it seems that the MSM has found another chump in yourself to peddle its scripted bullshit to. someone that was "actually there" -give me a break. were you "there" to know this guy was actually "there". and they left some "top secret silent chopper" behind to prove it-please. kind of like the perfectly intact passport of the hijacker that just happened to be laying on the sidewalk in lower Manhattan after 9-11.

nmewn's picture

Well, heres that "lost thread" from last night.

Incoherent rambling until..."it seems that the MSM has found another chump in yourself to peddle its scripted bullshit to. someone that was "actually there" -give me a break. were you "there" to know this guy was actually "there"...

>>>Were you?<<<

So tell me, how or why is it more believable (judging by accumulated up/down arrows) to say he was killed over ten years ago? Where are the facts of this? Don't give me the "the myth to keep the boogie man alive" MIC bullshit...give me facts that back up your assertion (which is what you're saying) that he was already dead.

SanOvaBeach's picture

Your a complete idiot pounding on a keyboard, in your underwear, in your bedroom.  U need to get together w/ the other conspearo nut and write a book!  You both obviously shit ice cream and have it all figured out for the rest of us.  Sure glad we have people like u.

Colonial Intent's picture

"Your a complete idiot pounding on a keyboard, in your underwear, in your bedroom."

Dude, that sentence is so gay.

dexter_morgan's picture

Well, I have heard things like that, but likely we'll never know for sure. It does seem possible that it was an inside job, or 'allowed' to happen so some piece of desirous legislation by both parties (Patriot Act???) which was sitting there needing a reason to be passed, would get passed. Geez, I'm starting to sound like Dave Mustaine now........

lakecity55's picture

It's hard to read this while reloading. I hope I got the right amount of powder. Anyway, DHS is buying these loads.  Are they in for a suprise.

Clever Name's picture

+1 for the Dave Mustaine mention.

Randall Cabot's picture

New 9/11 truth documentary among 'most watched' on PBS this week


Sep 3, 2012

"9/11: Explosive Evidence - Experts Speak Out" is getting public attention and casting doubt on the scientific validity of the U.S. government's investigation into the WTC tragedy. PBS is the first major network to air the program.

Just days away from the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy and months away from the U.S. presidential election, a game-changing 9/11 documentary is ranking number three among "most watched" documentaries on PBS and number one among "most shared." Available for free online August 18th - September 4th, the documentary could have a significant effect on public opinion. [Update: PBS has extended viewing indefinitely.] Both the Republicans and Democrats, as equally staunch defenders of the official story, stand to be affected if the public's suspicion of government corruption grows deeper.

An earlier report on Digital Journal found that the claims made in the documentary can be verified by reading the government reports themselves. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the government agency charged with the investigation, did not provide any data -- no measurements or estimates -- of the mass or energy that would be required to bring down the buildings in about ten seconds. Normally a scientific report would present all the data that is used to construct a theory. The omission of data is a red flag to anyone familiar with scientific procedure. It appears that the investigators may have intentionally produced reports that the scientific community would reject.

According to the experts appearing in Explosive Evidence, the scientific community did reject the reports immediately, but it has taken a very long time for this message to reach the public. Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the producers of the documentary, have been trying to educate the public for a number of years. The PBS broadcast of their work represents a major step forward for them.

While most people have probably heard that a scientific investigation has been conducted and that the building collapses were explained, few have probably looked at the NIST reports themselves. Links to the NIST reports can be found in the above mentioned Digital Journalarticle. NIST provides no data whatsoever on the actual collapse sequence itself.

The new attention to the issue could be significant for the U.S. presidential election. Prior to the publication of the reports in 2005 and 2008, almost half the population was suspicious of the official story of 9/11, according to several opinion polls. Since then the 9/11 tragedy has been used to direct the policies that have led to the enormous increases in military spending and to a loss of civil liberties in the U.S. and worldwide.

lakecity55's picture

Well, gee, how could anyone believe not one, but two hi-rises fell down after being engineered to resist a direct aircraft strike and earthquake?

news media testimony isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I actually lit and candle and hung out with a large group after 9/11, wanting someone to get a missle on their head.   I was happy when we started fucking with Afghanistan.   I was never happy about Iraq, but I figured it was just opportunism at the time.   It took me the better part of 10 years to be convinced the whole thing was all a lie.   I started with "maybe they let it happen," and eventually I became convinced they [still not sure who "they" are, but it wasn't guys in caves] made it happen.  It sounds absurd because it is.  If you set aside your normalcy bias and look at the evidence out there, you will become convinced too.

disabledvet's picture

"kill the comedians." also known as "standing orders." trying to "learn people abnormalcy" is a hard thing to express. People think its funnnnnny. Of course funnnnny is the idea of "normal."

Ahmeexnal's picture

Busted: Occuppy "cosmetic" faux movement exposed as nothing more than Bildergerg MUPPETS.

Soros and other leftist powerplayers pulling the strings.

“Whenever we screened this, the people’s reaction was the same. They had no idea what was behind this movement,” said Stephen Bannon, Director of 'Occupy Unmasked'. “This was not done spontaneously. This was community organized,” Breitbart intones as the film opens; citing emails he said show the powerful Service Employees International Union played a big role in the effort.

nmewn's picture


Soros and some old communist nutcase named Kalle Lasn.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Soros is a just a rich asshole who plays both sides.  Next.

Chuck Walla's picture

Soros is a just a rich asshole who plays both sides.  Next.


Good God, you are a fool. He plays with people's lives and he can get them killed. That includes us here. Or did you think the coming collapse was just going to be Woodstock with numbers? He doesn't really care about who dies as long as there is a payoff.  You don't mind dying for this fuck and his muppet, Braack?


“It is sort of a disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.”

~ George Soros