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This Is What Employment In America Really Looks Like...

The level of employment in the United States has been declining since the year 2000.  There have been moments when things have appeared to have been getting better for a short period of time, and then the decline has resumed.  Thanks to the offshoring of millions of jobs, the replacement of millions of workers with technology and the overall weakness of the U.S. economy, the percentage of Americans that are actually working is significantly lower than it was when this century began.  And even though things have stabilized at a reduced level over the past few years, it is only a matter of time until the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes and the employment level goes even lower.  And the truth is that more good jobs are being lost every single day in America. 

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"The Cacophony Of Fed Confusion," David Stockman Warns Will Lead To "Economic Calamity"

"We never should have painted ourselves so deep in this QE corner in the first place," chides David Stockman, "because the whole predicate [of Fed policy] is false." The author of The Great Deformation holds nothing back in this brief 3-minute primer of everything is wrong with the American economic system (and the CNBC anchors definitely did not want to hear). "We are already at peak debt and forcing more into the economy didn't work," and won't work as is merely funds Wall Street's latest carry trade to nowhere and fiscal irresponsibility in Washington. Simply put, "the private credit channel of monetary transmission is busted," so the Fed is exploiting the only channel it has left - "the bubble channel."

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Frontrunning: March 17

Putin Is No Mad Man to Russians as Power Play Trumps Economy (BBG)
Alibaba picks U.S. for IPO; in talks with six banks for lead roles (Reuters)
Russia hearts selling German energy: Billionaire Fridman’s L1 Buys RWE Unit for $7.1 Billion (Bloomberg)
Malaysia plane search straddles continent as police focus on crew (Reuters)
Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to China set to bolster investment (Al-Awsat)
Bugatti-Driving 26-Year-Old Tied to Penny-Stock Website (BBG)
Vodafone agrees $10 billion deal to buy Spain's Ono (Reuters)
The Hidden Rot in the Jobs Numbers (WSJ)
SocGen Ex-Trader Kerviel Walks to Forget Loss as Judgment Looms (BBG)
U.S. Banks’ $75 Billion Payout at Stake in Fed Tests (BBG)

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20 Stunning Facts On The US Retail Apocalypse

If the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are major retail chains closing thousands of stores?  If we truly are in an "economic recovery", then why do sales figures continue to go down for large retailers all over the country?  Without a doubt, the rise of Internet retailing giants such as have had a huge impact.  Today, there are millions of Americans that actually prefer to shop online. But Internet shopping alone does not account for the great retail apocalypse that we are witnessing.  In fact, some retail experts estimate that the Internet has accounted for only about 20 percent of the decline that we are seeing.  Most of the rest of it can be accounted for by the slow, steady death of the middle class U.S. consumer.  Median household income has declined for five years in a row, but all of our bills just keep going up.  That means that the amount of disposable income that average Americans have continues to shrink, and that is really bad news for retailers.

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Frontrunning: February 27

  • European Bonds Surge on Slowing German Inflation, Ukraine Tumult  (BBG)
  • Ukraine tensions hit shares (Reuters)
  • Debating Geithner’s Appearances in 2008 Transcripts  (Hilsenrath)
  • Tensions in Asia Stoke Rising Nationalism in Japan (WSJ)
  • GM Investigated Over Ignition Recall Linked to 13 Deaths (BBG)
  • Smartphone wars shift from gadgetry to price (Reuters)
  • Some Companies Alter the Bonus Playbook (WSJ)
  • London’s Subterranean Luxury Manors Lure New Breed of Lenders (BBG)
  • Japan No Country for Old Farmers as 7-Eleven Takes Plow (BBG)
  • Dream of U.S. Oil Independence Slams Against Shale Costs (BBG)
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No Janet Yellen, The Economy Is Not "Getting Better"

On Tuesday, new Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen went before Congress and confidently declared that "the economic recovery gained greater traction in the second half of last year" and that "substantial progress has been made in restoring the economy to health".  This resulted in glowing headlines throughout the mainstream media such as this one from USA Today: "Yellen: Economy is improving at moderate pace".  Sadly, tens of millions of Americans are going to believe what the mainstream media is telling them.  But it isn't the truth.  As you will see below, there are all sorts of signs that the economy is taking a turn for the worse.

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28 Signs That The Middle Class Is Heading Towards Extinction

The death of the middle class in America has become so painfully obvious that now even the New York Times is doing stories about it.  Millions of middle class jobs have disappeared, incomes are steadily decreasing, the rate of homeownership has declined for eight years in a row and U.S. consumers have accumulated record-setting levels of debt.  Being independent is at the heart of what it means to be "middle class", and unfortunately the percentage of Americans that are able to take care of themselves without government assistance continues to decline.  In fact, the percentage of Americans that are receiving government assistance is now at an all-time record high.  This is not a good thing. Anyone that tries to tell you that the middle class is going to be "okay" simply has no idea what they are talking about.  The following are 28 signs that the middle class is heading toward extinction...

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You Can Buy A House For One Dollar Or Less In Economically Depressed Cities All Over America

Would you like to buy a house for one dollar? If someone came up to you on the street and asked you that question, you would probably respond by saying that it sounds too good to be true. But this is actually happening in economically-depressed cities all over America. Of course there are a number of reasons why you might want to think twice before buying any of these homes...

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Frontrunning: January 30

  • Only time will define Bernanke's crisis-era legacy at Fed (Reuters)
  • Record Cash Leaves Emerging Market ETFs (BBG)
  • Investors Look Toward Safer Options as Ground Shifts (WSJ)
  • Fed Policy Makers Rally Behind Tapering QE as Yellen Era Begins (BBG)
  • Rating agencies criticise China’s bailout of failed $500m trust (FT)
  • Russia to await new Ukraine government before fully implementing rescue (Reuters)
  • U.S. readies financial sanctions against Ukraine: congressional aides (Reuters)
  • Companies resist president’s call for minimum wage rise (FT)
  • Secret Swiss Funds at Risk as Italy’s Saccomanni Visits Bern (BBG)
  • Top Democrat puts Obama trade deals in doubt (FT)
  • Erdogan to Give Rate Increase Time Before Trying Other Plans (BBG)
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20 Early Warning Signs That We Are Approaching A Global Economic Meltdown

Have you been paying attention to what has been happening in Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Ukraine, Turkey and China?  If you are like most Americans, you have not been.  Most Americans don't seem to really care too much about what is happening in the rest of the world, but they should.  In major cities all over the globe right now, there is looting, violence, shortages of basic supplies, and runs on the banks.  We are not at a "global crisis" stage yet, but things are getting worse with each passing dayMany have felt that 2014 could turn out to be a major "turning point" for the global economy, and so far that is exactly what it is turning out to be.  The following are 20 early warning signs that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown...

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The Sad, But True, Human Story Behind The Dismantling Of Once Iconic Sears

"I am a former employee of Sears Holdings/K-Mart. I live in Streator, Illinois and our store was “liquidated” in early 2013. There are a lot of “ironies” affiliated with our particular store closure that I would like to make you aware of...

As for Eddie Lampert, I hope he enjoys his exclusive island mansion and all of the perks that he’s afforded off the backs of people like me. I just hope I can find another job soon because I’m clearly one of the “little people” in his world that would just like to know my light bill will get paid."

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What Recovery? Sears And J.C. Penney Are Dying

Two of the largest retailers in America are steamrolling toward bankruptcy.  Sears and J.C. Penney are both losing hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter, and both of them appear to be caught in the grip of a death spiral from which it will be impossible to escape.  Once upon a time, Sears was actually the largest retailer in the United States, and even today Sears and J.C. Penney are "anchor stores" in malls all over the country. They are both shutting down unprofitable stores and laying off employees in a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy, but everyone knows that they are just delaying the inevitableThese two great retail giants are dying, and they certainly won't be the last to fall.  This is just the beginning.

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After Seven Lean Years, Part 2: US Commercial Real Estate: The Present Position And Future Prospects

The first installment of our series on U.S. real estate by correspondent Mark G. focused on residential real estate. In Part 2, Mark explains why the commercial real estate (CRE) market is set to implode. The fundamentals of demographics, stagnant household income and an overbuilt retail sector eroded by eCommerce support only one conclusion: commercial real estate in the U.S. will implode as retail sales and profits weaken. 

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