Before we get into today’s Employment Situation report just out, a word or two about tomorrow’s column.  It has everything to do with “functional equivalents of famine.”

Which matters today why?  What tips a “recession” into a “Depression” is those “left field” something else’s that come along.  There’s a list, but we think its time to begin keeping our eyes out for a modern analog to the 1920’s period when farm incomes were falling and when milk was being dumped on the ground because farmers were not making enough money to live.

While it’s true that Crashes “never happen from the top,” we need to be circumspect when considering which “top” we are talking about.

For example, we saw Tuesday in the S&P Housing report that home prices are continuing to rise.  Curiously, though, the reports don’t go into the number of closes per month.  It’s like the stock market in this sense:  When there is a huge increase in both volume and price, that’s a market going higher.  Confidence is in the driver’s seat.  Joe Granville’s modified adoption of On-Balance Volume matters.

On  the other hand, when there’re only a few shares trading and prices are going dramatically higher, then you have  a lot more downside risk. The strong hands have sold and the gamblers are playing “all in.”

One example of a “top” that being missed by the Mainstream is farming.  The Farm Bureau News reported just this week that “Farm Loan Delinquencies and Bankruptcies Are Rising
Farm Bankruptcy Filings Rise 13%.”  You do get hungry, now and then, right?

A productive mental exercise is to consider whether a lack of food, due to the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1920’s and 30’s (where were the climate cry-babies???) is any different from an exceptionally wet year that we’re going through right now?  Both can cut food output.

What do countries fight over?  Food and energy.  Ask the Sudetenland.

Although our main crop here at Uretopia ranch is big Southern Pines (many over 100′ tall) we’re also running “test” survival gardening plot this year.  The weather this year hasn’t been good for veggies. In fact Thursday, I stooped to ordering (at the suggestion  of long-time subscriber Roger in Tucson) some tomato hormones to encourage some fruit-setting.

That is partly in response to the note we offered in a recent Peoplenomics report about why preppers need to be “bee attractants” on their list, if they plan to eat heartily in whatever’s coming.  Fine to buy “survival seeds” but if they don’t pollinate and no fruit?  You could be mighty hungry.

That just begins to scratch the surface of the global food production in Depression.  Power needs to be on and block signals on the railroads all need to work.  Loves and Pilot truck stops need to be open.  Online services, too…so dependent have we become on electro-chemical farming.

There’s something ugly going on just under the surface that has some of the world’s best strategic planners worried.  We hear that a certain semi-rural airport in Ohio – a really “out of the way” place with only a remnant of one of the (almost) oil majors in town – hosted almost half a dozen international oil big-wigs this week.

These weren’t the “little” Gulfstream IV’s.  No, these were the BIG continent-crossing 700 series – and up.  Seven Sisters CEO transport.  Normally, the Big Passenger on these kind of planes can even talk with their counterparts,because of anti-trust concerns.  But there are exceptions for things like national security and since we are in the early slog of what’s turning into a second round of the 1980’s Tanker Wars and The Majors may start to avoid Hormuz.  It would be useful for them to meet somewhere in Ohio and lay in some plans.  Who would be looking?  (Besides us, lol.) A reread of Operation Earnest Will circa 1987 is in order.

A lot of the “punk kid” reporters, who’ve never done real “beat reporting” may be mystified with a term like the Seven Sisters.  Here’s who and where it came from:  Enrico Mattei of the Italian oil company ENI popularized the term in the 1950’s.  Most reporters today, being under 40, can’t remember anything prior to high school, so anything pre-2000 is rumor and prehistoric to them. Yet these dynamics from the antiquarian legacy version of Earth are still rolling into the Future today with all humanity riding on it. I digress.

Today’s point of it all is that when major industry is holding big pow-wow’s in out of the way places, there is (*to borrow from Sherlock) “…something afoot.”.

Speaking “afoot” we expect Apple may feel a bit foolish,  being so wrapped up in cost cutting and customer “causes” that they miss the call to dinner being sounded. MAGA.

“Trump tariffs could hit the iPhone.” While even juicier and more on point.  As Shira Ovide wrote for Bloomberg: U.S.-China Trade War May Finally Be Coming for Apple: The iPhone maker has said little publicly about its potential hit or what steps it might take to mitigate the impact..”  Geniuses, right?

Apple can’t be entirely blamed.  Young technologists in their employ tend to be ultra-liberal and many are myopic due to their narrow tech focus.  They can’t always, (bad pun alert!) see sharp (C#).

Like that young democrat fool in the presidential charades who tried shock talk during the CNN circuses who claimed it’s already too late on climate change.  Fools and idiots are the same fraction of population, as always. OK, Maybe a bit higher.  But amplified by the radicalize left media?  Oh,boy.

The way to take Reality is with a double-shot of detachment and a side-order of data when figuring the outcome.  Europe was too hot to grow grapes just a few centuries ago. Lebanon used to have cedars, too. Where were the climate people then?  But to kids who live in instant-everything 0.175 +/- 0.003 mm PLA filament world, and have moved into online faux Second Lives, with it’s own fool’s gold like BTCs, we have to remind all – and in the strongest terms – that living in a 250 SF chicken coup is only one order of magnitude removed from a coffin.  And likely with a similar build end-point.

You kids don’t want to miss dinner…and neither do we geezers and our geezer-pleasers.  Which is why we’re pleased to hear of the oil majors are looking out for their customers, especially those of us who like to eat.  Those of us in the final round of America.

Oh, one other Ohio note: Trump threatens more China tariffs and attacks Democrats at Ohio rally.

OK, Jobs Report

We have to ask, though no one will tell, “Did the Fed get an advance of this data before their rate drop this week?  Biog Picture first:

“Unemployment rates were lower in June than a year earlier in 294 of the 389 metropolitan areas, higher in 67 areas, and unchanged in 28 areas, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. A total of 48 areas had jobless rates of less than 3.0 percent and 2 areas had rates of at least 10.0 percent. Nonfarm payroll employment increased over the year in 47 metropolitan areas, decreased in 1 area, and was essentially unchanged in 341 areas. The national unemployment rate in June was 3.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted, down from 4.2 percent a year earlier.

Regardless, here’s the press release part:

“Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 164,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in professional and technical services, health care, social assistance, and financial activities.

Our usual run-through, starting with the total number of people working because when you back out all the “so many jobs are available”: hype, the reality is how many people are actually working and thus paying taxes?

It was a great report on this front: Total people working was up 283,000 (table A line 4)  which is why the labor participation rate was up a 10-th on line 5.  Average hourly earnings were up 8-cents, too.

The CES Birth-Death Model (estimated jobs/made-up) was up 148,000 of those jobs with the biggest gains being in leisure/hospitality and business services.

Related to Employment:

Out of the Wall St. Journal:  “Lowe’s Lays Off Thousands of Store Workers: Home-improvement chain will outsource maintenance, assembly jobs as retailers scrutinize labor costs.”


Now, toss in the report that “Gauge of US manufacturing hits lowest since September 2009, raising concerns about the economy” and it begins to look like what’s coming could be the proverbial sh*t-sandwich.  No worries, though.  You should have time to finish your sandwich.  Dow futures are only down 44 due to the solid job numbers.

It was European, where the megalomaniacs of Brussels have been serving big, bigger, biggest socialist government that the blood is flowing in the streets.  Japan, China, France, and Germany were all down more than 2% earlier.  England, working on it, too, down 1.8% when we checked.  The world is “yielding” to market pressures as the “Entire German Curve Drops Below Zero For First Time Ever.”

Here, have another downer: CBIZ Small Business Employment Index Reveals Job Growth Slowdown in July.

And how about “Another Front Opens in the U.S.-China Trade War: CEO Daily“?

TGIF Headlines

Too little, too late: FCC passes new rules against “spoof” robocalls.  ( have my hang-ups….)

Copying costs:  Katy Perry and collaborators ordered to pay $2.78 million for copying Christian rap song.

Time to update your airplane?  Boeing is reportedly planning to change 737 Max flight-control software to address flaw.

Looking Ahead:  Prepping for Ebola on tap for subscribers to our reports (*which also have some dandy charts on our Aggregate Index and the parallels to 1929 work).  Sunday on Urban, “Does Creativity Come from the Future?”

Tell all your friends to visit, too.  And write when you get rich,

P.S. happy b/d to my buddy The Major – who’s been a pal for 67-years.  He turned 70 today.

Ideas: Are They From the Future?
Markets: Feeling Luck, Punk?