We again confront the age-old Editor’s Paradox: Do we begin with what’s important or do we lead with what’s urgent?
Not that hard to answer, since I’ve been telling you what’s important all week. We’ll change-up a bit and lead with urgent instead.
We have three data points to consider: The Jobs Data, Fresh International Trade data, and a look at what could be a massive “goal line stand” that financial markets face today.
Just out from the Labor Department:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 273,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in health care and social assistance, food services and drinking places, government, construction, professional and technical services, and financial activities.
What matters most are the total number of people working. And how many jobs were simply “made up” (being estimated into existence in the CES-Birth Death Model). That figure was 143,000 jobs and (sorry, but almost laughably) the number of hospitality jobs jumped 70,000…pass the pipe, right?
Total number of people working in February? Only went up 45,000 month-on-month. And this after making up 143,000 in the CES BDM. Sheesh.
Second Number: Trade
First little glimpse of what’s going on with International Trade, but do remember this is a lagging indicator. A ship offloading in California today will not show up in data until the end of March, which means at this time in April we’ll see the current situation miles distant in the rearview mirror. Here’s what it looked like in February:
Exports, Imports, and Balance January exports were $208.6 billion, $0.9 billion less than December exports. January imports were $253.9 billion, $4.2 billion less than December imports. The January decrease in the goods and services deficit reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $2.6 billion to $67.0 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.6 billion to $21.7 billion. Year?over?year, the goods and services deficit decreased $8.5 billion, or 15.8 percent, from January 2019. Exports increased $2.3 billion or 1.1 percent. Imports decreased $6.2 billion or 2.4 percent.
There’s a related set of numbers – more current, but also with more intricacy to interpret: The bi-weekly Association of American Railroads report:
“U.S. railroads originated 927,084 carloads in February 2020, down 7.3 percent, or 73,058 carloads, from February 2019. U.S. railroads also originated 997,683 containers and trailers in February 2020, down 8.9 percent, or 96,897 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in February 2020 were 1,924,767, down 8.1 percent, or 169,955 carloads and intermodal units from February 2019.
“Total U.S. rail carloads in February were down 7.3% driven almost entirely by coal. Excluding coal, carloads in February were down just 0.8%, their best showing in a year,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. “In February, 10 of the 20 commodity categories we track saw year-over-year carload gains, the most in more than a year.”
Dow Futures Down 745 Earlier
That’s how much futures were down a few minutes after these numbers. In our Peoplenomics.com Aggregate Index work which throws multiple markets into the blender, here’s the technical problem in a nutshell:
In Elliott Wave terms, there’s an elevated risk of a downside breakout next week if the FedGov, IMF, G20, and whoever else, can’t staunch the bleeding by the close today. We don’t give investment advice, but scheduling shrink-time if you’ve got a compunction to “buy the dips” might be time and money well-spent.
C19: 2-Million Cases by July 4th?
We’ve been surprisingly close in our projections since January on this mess. So, as we roll into summer and cases continue to spread, what’s the potential global impact? Say “Not pretty!”
If you’re looking for an easy way to ball park cases (and deaths) we can take current day-over-day change rates (which are semi-stable now) and project these ahead 30 days. Like so…
As you can see, the numbers are growing a bit – that’s worrisome. On March 3, you could have taken cases times1.98 and projected 181,000 cases around April 3. But from today, a month out, it’s projecting closer to 245,822 cases by April 6, or thereabouts.
When you visualize the chart of this in your head, there are plenty of reasons for concern. And why keeping your larder stocked and ready for a month-long sequestration ain’t a bad thing to plan on.
Of course, consumer discretionary will implode with people forego all kinds of spending to make ends meet, but that or potential death seems a simple-enough choice.
The “Mengele Question” Lingers
We don’t often invoke the name of the memory of the “Angel of Death,” Josef Mengele, around here. But there is an odd, lingering data “swirl” – for lack of a better term – around the notion of the racial/ethnic selectivity of COVID-19.
As one reader posited in the comments section, we know there are two types now (it has mutated into L-type and S-type), but curiously the highest mortality rates are among Asian men with high ACE2 cell densities.
This was noted in a paper (not yet peer reviewed) “Single-cell RNA expression profiling of ACE2, the putative receptor of Wuhan 2019-nCov.”
Now, let me roll the clock back for you to the “pre-fame days” of the virus. In a January 23 UrbanSurvival post I asked whether this virus would turn into “Epicanthic Warfare (leading into) WW III.”
As we are seeing bio-selectivity, even though it’s ACE2 receptors instead of targeting based on epicanthal (Asian eye) genes, I think there’s a “great big OBVIOUS question” about the source of this virus. Come on, from the Wuhan-area bat population? Color me continuously skeptical and still collecting data.
But, sometimes – every once in a while – I look at the racial selectivity of the virus and wonder “Could there be differences in threat perceptions by U.S. leadership (like Trump) who may know more than is being said about the risk groups?
Going forward, keep your antennae up on the racial composition of victims. The odd linguistic and attitudinals suggest a data gradient may be known by some, but not all.
Over time, it should come to light, if such a gradient exists. Should that be the case, blame-placement could set off mushrooms globally as either cauterization or paybacks are delivered.
Again, not conclusive, and only barely discernable variances in concern. In the hyper-complexity of modern times, the small moves and positions of other players at the Big Poker Table of Life may be usefully studied.
Foreplay to the Blame Game may be showing in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says China not forthcoming initially on coronavirus, setting prevention efforts back.
Speaking of Not Understanding Politics…
Pay attention to the Washington Examiner story “Senate Intelligence Committee leaders ‘very concerned’ about John Durham review, Joe DiGenova says.” We figure they should be.
Also, if you know how to use Google Trend data sets: SHE’S BAACK… Hillary Clinton is coming up in our data studies:
The Deep State is hard at work positioning her. See stories like today’s “‘Not that I haven’t thought about it’: Hillary Clinton denies throwing lamp or book at Bill ” and “Will a ‘Hillary’ documentary change hearts and minds? Maybe not, but it will enlighten.” This last, appeared in USA Today, which you will remember was one of the cornerstone Hillary newspaper endorsements. Seems they still have a pipeline and are taking a most sympathetic approach.
The Biden-Clinton ticket idea – with Joe getting thrown under the bus after the election – is not a bad novel plot, you think?
Fed’s in with $89.607 billion in repo’s this morning. This puppy’s going down.>600 at the open, looks like.
Off to Peoplenomics research….more here Sunday.
Write when you get rich,