Breaking:  Challenger Jobs Cuts soar to an 11-month high:

Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers jumped 106%, from December’s total of 32,843 to 67,735, the highest monthly total since February 2019, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last month’s total is 27.8% higher than the 52,988 cuts announced in the same month last year. It is the highest total since February 2019, when employers announced 76,835 cuts.

Technology companies led in announced job cuts last month with 13,869, 1,828.9% higher than the 719 cuts announced in that sector in December 2019 and 2,073.4% higher than the 638 cuts from Technology firms announced in the same month last year. Technology companies cut 64,166 jobs in 2019, compared to 14,230 in 2018.

“We have seen large Technology companies shed workers as they pivot to new products or services. In some cases, long-standing, bellwether companies are reducing bureaucracy and removing layers of management to become nimbler,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Although the ADP number Wednesday was up big (+291,000) the Challenger data today casts some doubt on the unemployment rate outlook in tomorrow’s federal Job Report.

Productivity and Costs Data

Labor Department numbers just out on productivity (which we can improve by turning off web access at work, but that would be abuse in today’s world, lol…)

“Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 2.5 percent and hours worked increased 1.1 percent. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the fourth quarter of 2018 to the fourth quarter of 2019, productivity increased 1.8 percent, reflecting a 2.7-percent increase in output and a 0.9-percent increase in hours worked.

All of which fits the happy-talk on Blah Street.  But the real schiznit around here is manufacturing data sucked:

Manufacturing sector labor productivity decreased 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, as output decreased 1.0 percent and hours worked increased 0.2 percent. Total manufacturing sector productivity declined 0.7 percent over the last four quarters, as output decreased 1.2 percent and hours worked
decreased 0.5 percent.

Don’t tell the bulls, though:  Dow futures were up over a hundred points with an hour to the open.

Yes, Still President.  D’uh

OK, president Trump was acquitted. Despite this – and with no apologies for on-going bashing and far more column-inches for critics and “sources” than to the administration – we see the  NY FishWrap has a new buzz phrase to feed ‘Mercia’s two-bit digital revolutionaries.  I’d refer you to “In Trump Country, the Resistance Meets the Steel Curtain” for a modest admission that being anti-Trump is “...getting harder to sustain...”  A horrible spin on the Iron Curtain, dont’cha think?

Except for Mitt Romney – sealing his own fate as a  former senator from Utah by venting his RINO spleen –  actual republicans (as opposed to those in name only), voted down the sham impeachment effort last night.

Still to come are results of U.S. Attorney John Durham’s grand jury which is still investigating how the illegal surveillance of Donald Trump was not only wrangled through the FBI, but then glossed-over in the Inspector General’s report.

Meantime, little media attention was paid to Durham’s appointment of a new chief criminal depute in late January (Sarah Karwan) who we expect will be coming up to speed quickly as the grand jury continues.

From a “news judgment” perspective, our openly skeptical view of assertions and allegations against Trump has proven right.  Since my old “news nose knows news” I expect around April, or so, we might see a perp-walk which could include former and current FBI officials and – who knows? – maybe some leftover Obamanista loyalists.

Time will tell, but the digital revolutionaries have gotten it wrong so far although we don’t expect the paper tigers to change their stripes any time soon.  Let’s find something else to obstruct…that’s how they roll.

If I had an unlimited budget, I’d park a reporter on the steps out front of where the grand jury is sitting…because that’s how things were done back in the day.  Not particularly economical, though – and in part this type of change in news economics is why we’ve seen journalism degenerate into a press-release-driven shell of a once honorable profession.  Oy-vey.

Modern Plague Stats

More (or less) officially today, we roll with 28,344 confirmed cases and with 565 dead along with 1,339* “recovered.”  That asterisk is there because we really have no idea what’s left in the bodies of people who were infected and are now symptom-free.  But could they have after-effects that linger for decades?  (Think herpes, right?)  We won’t know that for (wait for it)  decades.

OK, the OTHER numbers making headlines are the ones that were put up on the Chinese website TENCENT last weekend.  Which, according to a Taiwanese report, showed 24,589 dead among 154,023 infected.

Since the Wuhan virus is still growing (using either set of numbers) we continue skeptical of “containment” talk as more speculative than statistical.  The happy-talk in the markets seems to us very much over-blown.

Free Money!!!

$76.75-billion worth of market-gas from the NY Fed Repo Depot.  We figured the market would pull back Wednesday, but they added more than $4-billion in an afternoon  infusion Wednesday.  Tisk, tisk….

But, Seriously, Let’s Talk Famine

While Business Insider shows some photo’s of how ugly a locust plague in Africa can be, we also note the plague is heading East.

Pakistan is now suffering its worst locust infestation in 20-years.  And ever-so-keen to “never let a good crisis go to waste” the purveyors of Global Government at the UN wrap it up as a result of “Climate Change.” GMAFB.

The climate change you really ought to be worrying about is the forward data predictions about sunspots.  The Sun is in what looks likely to turn into an extended cooling period now.  And if it persists, the climate change artists will have to do another flip to see global taxation schemes to low IQ people.

Repeat after me:  Climate has changed throughout Earth’s history and we somehow all got here without “global authorities” and without “global taxes.”  Come to think of it, we also had climate change prior to (mostly wrong) computer models and self-important “climate scientists.”

See here: I run a solar powered (since 2008) website and operate a tree farm, and write about runaway financialization so I try to “walk the talk.”  Climate is people driven not so much because of fossil fuel use, but because we have too many people.  We are cutting down everything to replant edibles.

You can thank competing religions whose growth models are based on out-screwing competitors.  More people – more converts = more dough.  Everything is a business model! Meantime, we keep cutting down forests.  Ever see burning in the Amazon?

All the climate-change crap is like bacteria in a dish of agar trying to tax one-another to buy the very last bit of food and spawn a survivor.  The real problem is too much bacteria and too little agar.  Come on, it’s not that hard, is it?  OK, apparently, it is.  We have more brain-damaged people than I thought.

An Apology to Iowa

In the past week, I have cast the Iowa caucuses as a statewide IQ contest.  While the results were not confidence inspiring, Buttigieg is better that the Bernunist, any day.  And since Biden didn’t get a single delegate, either, nor did Cashberg…perhaps – just maybe –  maybe Iowa’s not a total loss, after all.

Trends and “Told-Yah’s”

Remember when I said, on word of Rush Limbaugh having advanced cancer, how you’d be able to spot good people with style and bad people with none by how they handle coverage?  See how you judge this CBS piece: “Rush Limbaugh now has a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here are just 20 of the outrageous things he’s said.

In our “don’t try this at home” file: Breathing may change your mind about free will.

Ukraine cuts Crimea water? Crimea’s Capital Faces Water Shortage, Plans Daily Shutoffs.

And China To Slash Tariffs On Some U.S. Imports By 50%.  Which means (no whining by the online mob, please) guess who’s trade war is working…

Pigs and potatoes on the horizon…gotta bulk up for tomorrow’s column…

Write when you get rich,