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Empire Fed Misses For Fifth Time In A Row, Cites Weak Labor Market As Obamacare Concerns Get Louder

Tyler Durden's picture


After posting a surprising drop in November to -2.21, or only its first negative print since a freak first half of 2013 aberration, the spin was quick to explain away the drop with the government shutdown, which surprisingly affected precisely nothing else in the economy but just a few diffusion indices (and led to epic surges in various PMI prints). Moments ago, the December Empire Fed PMI print came out, and it was once again a dud, printing at 0.98 on expectations of a rise to 5.00 which also was the fifth consecutive miss to expectations in a row. The decline was driven by ongoing weakness in New Orders, which remained negative at -3.54, while Unfilled Orders tumbled deep into the red, from -17.11 to -24.10, while inventories supposedly cratered from -1.32 to -21.69. We say supposedly because other recent surveys have shown that the surge in inventory accumulation from Q3 into Q4 has continued.

The only actual good news was that corporate margins may be finally picking up, as priced Paid declined modestly from 17.11 to 15.66 while prices received rose from -3.95 to 3.61. However, the biggest surprise in the monthly update was not the average employee workweek which declined once again from -5.26 to -10.84, further confirmed by the US Labor Costs data released simultaneously by the BLS which showed a 1.4% decline Q/Q (so much for wage inflation), but the Number of Employees, which as if magically, were 0.00 in November and moved violently to... 0.00 in December. One wonders just whose Non-Random Number Generator the NY Fed is using for this particular time series.

Of course, this blurb may have been just what the market ordered, which rose to fresh pre-market highs on the report, especially since as the Survey announced, "Labor Market Conditions Remain Weak." It adds:

Price indexes pointed to a continued moderate increase in input prices and a small increase in selling prices. The prices paid index was little changed at 15.7, while the prices received index rose eight points to 3.6. Labor market conditions remained weak. The index for number of employees was 0.0 for a second month in a row, indicating that employment levels remained unchanged. The average workweek index was negative for a second month; with a six-point decline to -10.8, the index signaled that workers were working fewer hours, on average."

For the algos, this is the buy signal from god, since whatever is bad for the economy, and workers, is great for the markets, and taper delay.

One final point: as part of this month's survey, the supplementary questions asked manufacturers to assess how much of a problem certain business issues were for their firms and whether the issues were expected to become more or less of a problem in the year ahead. As in earlier surveys, the issue cited most frequently, by far, as a major problem was the cost of employee benefits. Read: Obamacare. Moreover, fully 80 percent of respondents expected that this would become even more of a problem a year from now. Finding qualified workers emerged as the second most widespread problem, eliciting a considerably larger degree of concern than in earlier surveys. This, too, was expected to become more of a problem in the year ahead by a wide margin. In contrast, the availability, cost, and terms of credit were seen as relatively minor problems that would become even less consequential over the next year.

Expect many more laments about Obamacare next year when the full impact on the bottom line is finally felt.

Source: NY Fed


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Mon, 12/16/2013 - 09:51 | Link to Comment kralizec
kralizec's picture

However, the manufacture of bullshit and lies is looking quite bullish.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:06 | Link to Comment BandGap
BandGap's picture

And they paper over the huge turd stuck to the wall - ObatherCare.

I really hope people realize that when the dawn of the New Year hits and people must convert to the ACA, the shit will be flying in bushel loads.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why middle class America is sitting on their collective asses while they are being senselessly beaten about the head and shoulders. And zero people are bitching about the workweek being trimmed to 29.5 hours due to this horrible law. I fucking sigh when I see the idiots marching for $15 an hour wages to work at Burger King or McFuckheads.

Here comes that tsunami backlash against those who are only in it for themselves.


Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:12 | Link to Comment Handful of Dust
Handful of Dust's picture

Job market looking good. My friend is mnoving so he placed an ad fro help packing and 82 people called for the 1 packing position.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:34 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



If it's over 29.5 hours.....I'm there.


Look like the the real number of unemployed....are fighting for the same job.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:26 | Link to Comment kralizec
kralizec's picture

They say ObamaCare was meant to give affordable health care to those who could not afford, those same people still cannot afford it and for their trouble the IRS will hunt them down and fine them...and then others are having their sub-standard (to ObamaCare) plans dropped and are left in the same position...

ObamaCare has been from the very start a means of destruction necessary to create a crisis that necessitates full state craddle-to-grave control, despite the fact that giving more power and control to the people that are doing the destroying is beyond insane.

Listen for the weeping and knashing of teeth...followed by screams and gunfire and explosions...

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:43 | Link to Comment i-dog
i-dog's picture


"...followed by screams and gunfire and explosions..."

THAT is what 'they' are REALLY hoping for.

'They' keep prodding and pushing, yet still no reaction from the slumbering masses. What the hell use are billions of rounds of hollow points, and thousands of tanks, if nobody in the herd is going to start something? Sheesh!

'They' can't be seen to have started it. YOU trrrrrsts have to storm the Bastille before they can react with "appropriate" force.

See the plan, now?

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:56 | Link to Comment Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

Yes just as when three American heroes were sent to kill Americans with US troops on American soil. Care to guess their names? ALL were well compensated in both money and power, and only one ever lamented enough to warn us of the MIC. Yes the first was Ike, and the second was MacArthur leaving Patton to bring up the rear. Trust me there are heroes just waiting to be made out there and they have hollow point bullets...

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 13:27 | Link to Comment SDShack
SDShack's picture

The USA is suffering from "Battered Citizen Syndrome". It's just the way the Feudal Masters want it. It's just like what Mel Gibson said in Braveheart... "You're satisfied with fighting over the scraps that fall from Longshank's table."

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:08 | Link to Comment krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

 "I cannae give it any more powerrr Barry!  I'm givin' it all she's got!"

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:23 | Link to Comment steveo77
steveo77's picture

Pitchforks very bullish!

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:38 | Link to Comment ZH Snob
ZH Snob's picture

it looks like we are still in the first stage of a currency crisis.  this is when currency is hoarded, basically because it is mistaken for money. most people, even corporate executives don't understand that their currency has no value whatsoever until they they pass these notes of debt to someone else.

in the next stage (coming very soon) prices will noticeably rise in all sectors and that currency will be spent in anticipation of its devaluation.  it will seem great at first.  robust.  but this increase in the velocity of currency is what will drive the uncontrollable inflation--and it will feed on itself. 

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:17 | Link to Comment Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Why are we waiting for others to see the obviousness of their delusion? We call them insane. Are we not just as insane to expect them to see the error of their ways?


<That's just crazy.>

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 09:53 | Link to Comment AU5K
AU5K's picture

Dont these companies know, criticizing Obamacare is considered racist.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 09:59 | Link to Comment adr
adr's picture

Considering the levels of inventory everywhere, I wonder who is actually producing anything anymore.

When you see billboards for Target exclaiming, "Buy any toy get a 2nd 50% off", is this supposed to be good? That doesn't instill too much confidence two weeks before Christmas.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:04 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

I can't see two feet in front of my face right now, 2 week till christmas and I can't afford glasses.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:11 | Link to Comment greatbeard
greatbeard's picture

>> I can't see two feet in front of my face right now,

In my case I consider that a good thing.  Waking up is bad enough, but getting a clear shot of what's in the bathroom mirror just adds insult to injury.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:00 | Link to Comment JenkinsLane
JenkinsLane's picture

Loving the drone ads ZH is now running, can't wait to get my hands on the Phantom 2 Vision.


Maybe I could combine my new purchase with the other ad I've just seen running - "Visit Galilee"

and ask the IDF to weaponize it for me so I too could murder some Palestinian children?

"Ahmed don't get no stinkin' trial!"

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:03 | Link to Comment SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

OH ok so this is why they sent futures soaring.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:07 | Link to Comment BandGap
BandGap's picture

Who the fuck knows anymore.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:12 | Link to Comment SheepDog-One
SheepDog-One's picture

I don't feel sorry for all these corporations who were on the ObaMao bandwagon and are now all bummed about it, serves them right, you should have made your concerns heard like 4 years ago.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:47 | Link to Comment Winston of Oceania
Winston of Oceania's picture

Wife works for JnJ and let me tell you they are EMBRACING this to the point that they hired one of the ACA cronies to help them through this. I fully expect to have my own coverage dumped next year as spouse coverage is flushed away.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 14:15 | Link to Comment Emergency Ward
Emergency Ward's picture

How about the Labor Union Bosses who are still in denial over the Unaffordable Scare Act?  "Ain't our fucking fault -- we were supposed to be exempt!"

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:21 | Link to Comment steveo77
steveo77's picture
Middle Class About to be Crushed

This is some pretty good original work.

Going direct to the source data, not just a he said, she said "conspiracy".

The data comes from the Social Security Administration

All the work by Hawaii Trading.     This may be reproduced, but ONLY when giving full credit to Hawaii Trading AND a link to this blog post


Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:26 | Link to Comment new game
new game's picture

i don't mind working 20- 25 hours MAX!.prefer 15-20 but 29.5 hours sounds like a complete bummer.fuck that noise...


40 hours for what??? new car-fuck that, check. fancey home-get fucking real 1000 sq ft is just about too much, check.

gadgets, truck haulingbig boy toys and china shit-fuck that too-check.  less is more...

debt free and mostly free. 

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:35 | Link to Comment greatbeard
greatbeard's picture

>> truck haulingbig boy toys

I'm a minimalist but my diesel truck, flatbed equipment hauler and cargo trailer are invaluable for picking up a few bucks out here in the sticks.  They easily pay for themselves just flipping farm and garden equipment off of craigslist.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:27 | Link to Comment Kaiser Sousa
Kaiser Sousa's picture

meanwhile in Lamestream Financial Propaanda universe..."

Stock futures higher after Empire State data

fucking ubelievable.....


Mon, 12/16/2013 - 10:51 | Link to Comment orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

who gives a flying fuck??????


markets are up over 1%


technical analysis = BTFD/BTFATH



Mon, 12/16/2013 - 11:31 | Link to Comment Miss anthrope
Miss anthrope's picture

I learn something every day here at Zero Hedge.  Certainly glad EMPIRE FED is feeling the Obamacare bite..... because we here in the Lone Star State are suffering BIG TIME.  Yankees go  home and take all your socialist ways with you.  Californians stay home and lie in the bed you made for yourself.  DON'T COME HERE and turn us into the degenerate society you just left.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 11:40 | Link to Comment Miss anthrope
Miss anthrope's picture

I'm with you GreatBeard.  Let the Beast die.  I used to work, worked hard and it was not worth it as the pay never kept up with inflation. The Fed can print all the money they want now.  When you buy local and raise your own you just need less.  No more NEW CAR, big house, China (communist and dog-eating slave)-made stuff.  We live in 780 sq. feet. Have a 60 dollar electric bill and we are looking ALWAYS with how we can live on LESS not more.  Let the depression begin, we decided to do it  voluntarily before the MAN made us





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