We have an economy that is weaker than the headline numbers claim with inflation that is higher than the headline numbers claim.
With US manufacturing jobs down almost 40% from their 1980s peak, proclaiming the last few years marginal increase a "manufacturing renaissance" is more statistical noise, smoke, and mirrors than fact. That is a problem for an administration (and entire genre of Keynesian dreamers) that rely on this sector to prove how effective they have been with stimulus (and not just pulling demand so colossally forward that the future is bleak). How to fix this apparent dilemma between policy talking points and factual data? Easy - as WSJ reports, change the definition of "manufacturing."
Where The Jobs Are: More Than Half Of All February Job Gains Are In Education, Leisure, Temp Help And GovernmentSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/07/2014 10:50 -0400
As we showed moments ago, the scariest chart of today's nonfarm payroll report was the plunge in average weekly earnings. For those curious why US workers are unable to make any headway in obtaining higher wages, the following breakdown of just where the 175,000 (seasonally adjusted, because apparently now seasonal adjustments work again) February job gains were should provide some color. Unfortunately, as has been the case for the past several months, well over half the total job gains in February were in industries that pay the least.
When civilians launched a suicidal attack on an armed force in Kyiv on February 20, their sense of representing “the nation” far outweighed their concern with their individual mortality. The result was to swing a deeply divided society from the verge of civil war to an unprecedented sense of unity. Whether that unity endures will depend on how Europe responds. We hope and trust that Europe under German leadership will rise to the occasion. We must, however, end with a word of caution. A replay of the Cold War would cause immense damage to both Russia and Europe, and most of all to Ukraine, which is situated between them.
Much as the 3rd grade Markit US Manufacturing PMI 'beat' was blamed for the furious rally last Thursday in stocks, it appears bad news in the form of today's 3rd grade Markit Services PMI 'miss' is (rightly) completely ignored by the market. While the Services segment of the economy is vastly larger and more important for 'guessers', it seems USDJPY would not provide the juice this morning as this is the weakest services performance in 4 months. Of course, "weather" is blamed and optimism for the future remains but what was odd to us is that economists claim that in February manufacturing returned to normal... but clearly services did not.
With inventories of unsold cars at or near record highs and the Big 3 up to their old tricks of channel-stuffing (as we have vociferously exposed), it seems time has run out for the US manufacturing renaissance. The 'if we build cars, they will come and buy them' mentality has hit a literal wall as not only are dealers bloated with stock, the buyers have dried up. As the following chart shows, the average number of days it takes to sell a car in the US has surged recently after 9 months of improvement. This is the worst (slowest) pace of sales since August 2009. Not what the 'recovery' faithful wanted to hear...
Our entire monetary system requires that we all trust the high priests of central banking and economics. Those that stray from the state’s message and spread economic heresy are cast down and vilified. Recall the case of Harvard professors Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart who wrote the seminal work: 'This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly' highlighting dozens of shocking historical patterns where once powerful nations accumulated too much debt and entered into terminal decline. The premise of their book was very simple: debt is bad. And when nations rack up too much of it, they get into serious trouble. This message was not terribly convenient for governments that have racked up unprecedented levels of debt. Not to worry, though, the IMF has now stepped up with a work of its own to fill the void. Translation: Keep racking up that debt, boys and girls, it’s nothing but smooth sailing ahead.
ADP Plunges In January To 175K; Biggest Miss Since August; December Revised Lower: "Cold, Storms" BlamedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/05/2014 09:32 -0400
Earlier today, we predicted with absolute accuracy what today's joke of an ADP print would be. And sure enough, the January ADP print missed as we expected, printing at 175K vs the expected 185K, while the December 238K was revised lower to 227K, confirming that ADP is nothing but an NDP trend follower and an absolutely worthless and meaningless data point that does nothing to add relevant data to the economic picture. For those who care, this was the biggest miss since August and the largest monthly drop since August 2012, and the weakest print since August as well.
What lies beyond the current failing, unsustainable versions of Capitalism and Socialism? The basic answer is coming into focus: since the current iterations of Capitalism and Socialism are both systems of increasing centralization (and thus of systemic fragility), the future belongs to the Web-enabled, localized but globally networked models of decentralized capital, currencies, ownership, production and distribution.
Rothschild has identified four different scenarios that, in their view, are the most likely to occur. The series of scenarios for GDP growth and inflation in the main western economies, Japan and China may guide investor thinking but their somewhat ominous conclusion is worth bearing in mind: "Further monetary 'experiments' are becoming less probable. However, significant imbalances and risks persist. This is the reason why we have left the size (probability) of our depression scenario unchanged," and while they remain exposed to equities they warn "valuation support is limited, exposing equities to a potentially sharp correction."
While joking about potential terrorist plots is below us, the fact that New Jersey police are investigating the appearance of suspicious white powder at several hotels near the site of the Superbowl was too close to an "Onion" headline for us to ignore. As AP reports, the FBI is investigating the substance (found in envelopes - which we suspect were not marked with player's names). No injuries or overnight bouts of unexplained euphoria have been reported.
What Will AAPL's Profit Margins Be? Just Ask Foxconn... And Discover A Stunning Development In China-US Wage ParitySubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2014 16:23 -0400
In just over an hour Apple will report earnings which are expected to be a sole silver lining among the otherwise dreary retail landscape of the fourth quarter. However, those curious for an advance glimpse of what AAPL's margins may be are advised to look no further than its chief supplier - Taiwanese mega contract manufacturer FoxConn, with over 1.2 million employees on the mainland. The reason Foxconn may be of interest is that as Reuters reports, as a result of soaring wages on the mainland, and in its ongoing strategy to keep worker compensation as razor thin as possible, the fabricator is now actively looking to expand outside of China. Among the places considered? Indonesia of course. And, drumroll, the United States! In other words, from the perspective of Foxconn, US labor now has greater wage competitiveness than China.
Like being sworn at? Then these are the jobs for you. As the myth of a manufacturing renaissance in America remains just that, the Services industries bear the brunt of an ever-increasingly entitle public's needs. As IB Times' Lisa Mahapatra notes, according to a study by Marchex that examined rates of crusing across 20 service industries, Satellite TV providers's customer service agents get the most abuse.
Let's see: do massive sinkholes next to the headquarters of other massive sinkholes, located in a bankrupt city that may soon become a massive sinkhole, qualify for Federal bailouts?
It would appear that the meteoric 300% rise of Best Buy's shares last year was promoted to the general investing public as the renaissance of the on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy warehouse store and sure enough, the world and his mom piled in to chase the momo higher and higher... until today. With a 30% tumble this morning, those momo-chasing moms and pops may be less enamored to buy-the-dip but there was one 'smart-money' insider who was selling as fast as retail was buying. Co-Founder Richard Schulze (who indicated in August he would be selling to 'diversify' his holdings) piled out of the stock through most of the fourth quarter (at a level well above this morning's opening print).