Every other aspect of the US economy may be going to hell in a handbasket, with an acute manufacturing recession starting to spill over into the services sector, but at least the US jobs number is "stellar", right?
We showed one way how the BLS fudges the number higher, when we reported on Friday that of the surge in December jobholders, a whopping 324,000 of these new "jobs" were by multiple jobholders, as in 1 person = 2 (or more) jobs, effectively cutting the job gain in half (or worse). Worse, the total number of jobholders surged to 7.738 million, just shy of an all time high, and the highest since August 2008.
And then there is this.
According to a Bloomberg report, a record number Americans who are retired (or are collecting Social Security) worked part-time last month.
In December, a record 2.6 million workers had either reached full retirement or restricted themselves to work-weeks of 34 hours or less due to Social Security income limitations. Individuals can collect Social Security and work with no limit on earnings once they reach full retirement age. However, if they receive Social Security before full retirement age they will lose some of their benefit if they exceed the annual earnings limit. For 2016, this cap is $15,720. The penalty is a $1 deduction in Social Security for every $2 earned above the limit.
What is most disturbing, is that this is the "data" the Fed uses to justify to the world that its decision to hike rates was the right one. Meanwhile, anyone who is not an economist will take on look at the above charts and realize why 7 years ino the "recovery" there has been no wage growth, and why the Fed is shooting itself both in the leg and in the head by hiking at this point.