As Expected, Jobs Improve…But Not Too Much…

Hot off the pixels from the Labor Department:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 142,000 in August, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care. Household Survey Data In August, both the unemployment rate (6.1 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (9.6 million) changed little.

Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates in August showed little or no change for adult men (5.7 percent), adult women (5.7 percent), teenagers (19.6 percent), whites (5.3 percent), blacks (11.4 percent), and Hispanics (7.5 percent). The jobless rate for Asians was 4.5 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier

Sound good?  Well, hold on.  We need to drill down a bit.

First:  The labor participation rate actually dropped back to 62.8% from 62.9% last month.

What’s more, the labor force shrank by 64,000 people.  Was there a half-Rapture I missed?  (Not that I’d be surprised by that…)

Of these jobs, 142,000 new jobs fully  102,000 were “estimated into existence” by the CES/Birth-Death Model.

The number of people actually working was up a scant 16,000 and (is this fun, or what?) the U-6 long-term unemployment rate dropped from 12.2% last month to (just?) 12.0% this month.

Of course, what that means is that only the richest 10% of Americans have seen  their real incomes rise under the Changer’s regime.  The whole bloody-awful mess is over here, but check out this snip:

Real mean family wealth remained flat between 2010 and 2013. In 2013 mean wealth was $99,200 for the lowest income group, $380,600 for the middle income group and $3.3 million for the top income group. From 2007 to 2010 all groups experienced a decline in mean wealth. The lowest income group had the largest decline.

Sound like “The Rich get richer and the poor…well, that’s US…?”

Which means we’ve all been working our asses off to do what?  Maybe break even.  Average wages for the month were up 6-cents an hour.  Average work week is stuck at 34.5 hours, so the average increase in pay was  (you’ll love this) $2.07.  don’t spend it all in one place, sport.

Bet that makes you want to get up and go hump-it for 60-hours next week, on two or more jobs, doesn’t it?

Remember what researchers like Joseph Tainter have warned:  Complex civilizations (not sure we qualify, though) tend to disintegrate when the marginal rate of return on increased effort falls below zero.  now, go read that Fed report and tell me where you are…

Oh…don’t check your calendar:  The housing mess melted in 2008 and here are are (how many years later) and it’s still just talk about reforming LIBOR.

Can’t rush into change, now, can we?  Gotta keep them bankster fellows rich and rolling in it.

Quick – look surprised.

More after this…


Selling “Coalition”

The US has been the world’s “cop” for a long time – and it’s not an inexpensive project. 

By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, we could dramatically reduce the balance of trade problem by simply slapping a “US Defense Tariff” on all goods sold in the USA. 

Say you’re Europe, for example.

Most people don’t know that Germany didn’t pay off the last of its WW I debt until 2010.

Then there’s the matter of money due from Iraq following the Gulf War.  As Wikipedia reports:

After the Gulf War, Iraq accepted United Nations Security Council resolution 687, which declared Iraq’s financial liability for damage caused in its invasion of Kuwait. The United Nations Compensation Commission (“UNCC”) was established, and US$350 billion in claims were filed by governments, corporations, and individuals. Funds for these payments were to come from a 30% share of Iraq’s oil revenues from the oil for food program. It was not anticipated that US$350 billion would become available for total payment of all reparations claims, so several schedules of prioritization were created over the years. The UNCC says that its prioritization of claims by natural people, ahead of claims by governments and entities or corporations (legal persons), “marked a significant step in the evolution of international claims practice.”

Payments under this reparations program continue; as of July 2010, the UNCC stated that it had actually distributed US$18.4 billion to claimants.

This is an important piece of economic puzzle to think about now and then, particularly when the US is looking at building/selling another coalition to head back into Iraq to persecute a war which was never finished in the first place.

It would sure be nice if we could see the financial dealings of Wars on the front-end rather than after the fact.  A system of real-time recovery seems to me like it would make sense.

Some economists (notably Keynes) have argued that the the economic effects of exacting reparations from Germany immediately would have been catastrophic for Germany.

Maybe I’m a bit of an economic extremist here, but seems to me that the bankster class has a terrible double-standard here:  If you are behind on your car or home payment – ZAP!  There goes the asset.  But when a country wages a devastating war, the banksters trip all over themselves not to ‘punish the civilians.”

yet it is only with civilian assent that despots rule.  Wouldn’t war be a lot more unpopular if losing to the USA was a poison pill instead of a fine business model for countries like Germany and Japan?

It’s a foregone conclusion, when you look at the evidence, that some kind of coalition will be formed to fight ISIS.  They’re not exactly tossing rose petals around.

But wouldn’t the region be a lot more respectful of the infidel’s side if we didn’t have payment plans that were “four generations to pay?”

Could it be that we didn’t invent algebra and we really are idiots?

Obamacare Hackt

Here comes the finger-pointing and the name calling with subpoenas out for administration officials.

Well, enough of this fine and festive post-holiday week.

Looking Ahead:

If the S&P closes below the 2,000 level, it will mean all our discussions of the average annual high have been (as expected) about on track.

We may still get a screaming rally of a technical nature in coming weeks, but for the immediate future, caution is the word.

Retail was down 8,500 jobs nationally in the morning job report and that says people are pulling in their horns a bit so watch real estate and other big ticket items closely for directional wind changes.

Paradoxically, Dow futures are back to even after the jobs report:  Reason?  Could be that the soft jobs report will scare the Fed into keeping rates low and delay the day of financial reckoning when rates have to go up.

Good news if you’re a bankster, but not if you’re in the $2.07 a week increase working class…on average.