One of the biggest surprise stories of the past several months, in addition to economic activity skewing record warm weather, and the New Normal seasonal adjustments (which as Albert Edwards noted earlier are giving data an upward bias for each of the past three years), is the consistently "better than expected" jobs numbers. There is one problem: as discussed previously, the rising jobs are purely a quantity over quality trade off, as every month more and more temp jobs take the place of permanent ones, especially those of former professionals from the FIRE sector. In fact, in January temp jobs soared by the most on record, and the total number of temp workers was just shy of all time highs. Ironically, as this happened, discretionary online retail companies have seen their stock price soar to record highs. One of the primary drivers for this has been the increased "efficiency" at these companies' hubs - their warehouses. Which just happen to be staffed with temp workers. The following infographic presents the reality behind these American "sweatshops" - because this is the "quality" of job that is rising rapidly in the current economy (at the expense of traditional permanent jobs) to give the impression of an economic recovery. There is no point in making an ethical judgment - work conditions are as they are. Just as workers at FoxConn likely have far better conditions than their peers, at least in their view, so do these temp workers view their life as better than the alternative, which is unemployment. It is, as they say, what it is.
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