Flat Line Economy: Proof Again

But only if you’re willing to look with fresh eyes.

Last week I was busy pointing out to you how there were (mysteriously) 73,000 fewer people employed in the USA in the latest Labor Department jobs report, but somehow 288,000 new jobs had been created.  In the process, 806-thousand just raptured out of the stats and so forth.

By now, I’m sure you’re sick of me telling you there’s something rotten in Denmark, and being half of Danish background…hold it.  Let’s not go there.

imageInstead, let’s go to the Federal Reserve Consumer Debt report* released yesterday which shows what?  The economy hasn’t moved an inch this year, statistically speaking. Especially when you look at “not seasonally adjusted” numbers:

Give me a calculator and let me seasonally adjust numbers and I can turn mashed potatoes into a Fortune 500 rocket ship in no time at all.

So we look at the total consumer debt (credit cards and nonrevolving like mobile homes and student loans) and we surely should see something going on.  But….well…non-seasonally flipped, mind you…


Ures truly looks at the March data just out and says it’s down a tad from January, so why are the financial press sugar coating reality for us?  Can anyone stay “We’re at the financial stop light, it’s stuck on red for a while, so we’re just going to sit here until it changes?”

No can do, chum.  Instead we see reports with mind-numbing headlines like “U.S. Consumer Credit Posts Largest Gain in a year.”

Apparently, my discount MBA program was all screwed up.  It dared to instruct me that that because the data series is “noisy” you really need to look at the quarterly numbers and skip the press release crap and get out your trusty copy of Excel and push the numbers yourself…done:


So, OK, there was a gain last month, but look at that unadjusted Q3 of ‘13.

I’ll just file the consumer debt report press coverage in the same place with the “288,000 jobs were created” paperwork from last week.

And then – about 9:30 this morning – one of Allied Wastes trucks will be along to collect it all while I’m trying to sleep with ViceGrips on my arms.

* The report is called Consumer Credit if you’re a banker.  But they are our creditors which means the report reveals debt.  It5’s like calling your Electric Bill the “Darkness Abating Benefit Statement.”

Staging is Everything

President Obama was in Hollywood last night telling a group of 90 of tinsel towns deepest pockets that we need to move away from dysfunction in politics.  Yada yada yada

Talk of dysfunction in Hollywood is sort of like selling snow shoes in the Sahara, isn’t it?  I mean, what’s the point?

Putin’s Sicilian Defense

Whether the world blows up next week depends, I suppose, on how much the collective US State Department knows about chess.

Specifically, the Sicilian Defense which according to Wikipedia:

“…is the most popular and best-scoring response to White’s first move 1.e4. “Indeed, most statistical surveys suggest that 1.d4 is the most successful first move for White, but only because 1…c5 scores so highly against 1.e4.”[1] New in Chess stated in its 2000 Yearbook that of the games in its database, White scored 56.1% in 296,200 games beginning 1.d4, but a full two percentage points lower (54.1%) in 349,855 games beginning 1.e4, mainly due to the Sicilian, which held White to a 52.3% score in 145,996 games…”

“OK, Ure, what does this have to do with whether the whole planet is deep-fried by Nukes next week?”

Pro-Russian separatists are planning to go ahead with a referendum this weekend on whether to break from the coup government in Kiev and saddle up with the Putin Posse

Putin meantime, as gone Sicilian, putting his latest piece out called “Lo, di, do…nope, I don’t got no skin in the game…” which is crap.

Of course he has skin in the game.  He wants an overland access route into Crimea and so he’s being less than candid.  But, given that our side has been playing it dumb since Christmas and passing out cookies to the radicals to get the coup kicking, seems “smart” is not going to figure into anything.

Our forecast is that the referendum supporters will side with the Gremlins…er Kremlin’s agenda and will “ask for international help” which Putsy has warmed up and pre-drilled on the border. 

Oh, what a coincidence.  Like I’m so sure.  But the local councils are going through the motions of discussion whether to hold back on the referendum for now.

Right to Write

A man who wrote a negative product review has a legal problem with the company that made the product   coming after him for a negative review online.

Looking Ahead

Markets are looking to open up about 20 points (at least that was how it looked earlier).  No major data this morning except a weekly jobs number which won’t keep anyone awake.  Oil is still hanging around $100.

Was up all night, so I apologize for the short column…more on the all-nighter next…