Retail Holds Up
One thing about being at home: People are changing their lifestyles around to cope with the still spiraling Covid-19.
You can almost feel it around here: More “chair time” means a new chair. New chair? Well, you need a new chair mat, right? Long as we’re at it, new keyboard..new…well, you have the list.
By the time all the closed “entertainment out money” is reallocated into online entertainment, retail should have had a passable showing. But, did it? See for yourself….
“Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September 2020, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $549.3 billion, an increase of 1.9 percent (± 0.5 percent) from the previous month, and 5.4 percent (± 0.7 percent) above September 2019. Total sales for the July 2020 through September 2020 period were up 3.6 percent (± 0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The July 2020 to August 2020 percent change was unrevised at up 0.6 percent (± 0.2 percent). Retail trade sales were up 1.9 percent (± 0.5 percent) from August 2020, and 8.2 percent (± 0.7 percent) above last year. Nonstore retailers were up 23.8 percent (± 1.6 percent) from September 2019, while building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 19.1 percent (± 2.1 percent) from last year.
As the new paradigm (“Americans – Less Traveled”) sets in, there are many aspects of The Old Life that will dramatically change. Hotels, rental cars, airlines…they’re all trying to figure out how to operate with demand all over the place. On word of a vaccine, books rise – along with hopes. But, when surges are underway (read: now) then, not so much.
Some “Plane Speaking”
Contributor Linda in Houston noticed it as the CEO of United Airlines talked about having “turned the corner...” Sorry, been an airline VP. And the only way to make money is to fly a jet 10-hours (or more) per day. Otherwise, the fixed costs kill the P&L.
Even though airline fuel efficiency has increased since my time in jump seats, you can still eyeball 1,000 gallons per hour to hold 150 passenger seats in the sky.
If you know where to look (Energy Information Admin here) you will see that Jet A runs from $0.93 to $1.07…so lets take an even $1 dollar. Here’s the problem airlines have in a nutshell:
- At perfect load factors (100%) the jet fuel cost per passenger is $1,000 per hour divided by 150. $6.66 of fuel cost per passenge.
- But when the load factor is 50%, now the fuel cost is 13.32 per hour.
- And when you have a pandemic and are cancelling flight? The industry spends $110-billion less on fuel this year (IATA number).
People are still traveling, though. and this is where the economy is: Trying to sort out the “power curve” around CV-19. If we fall below it, the result will be a slow bleed-out of economic vitality. Imagine a Great Depression kind of multi-year decline. The ultimate financial “Help! We’ve fallen and we can’t get up!”
Is ‘Free Money’ the Answer?
Two democrat lawmakers are proposing an “emergency” 3% Social Security increase to be passed right away. Pardon our skepticism with the Election in 18-days.
Free Money to keep things afloat is also why the Fed is making up money to beat the band. Here’s the latest:
Working again – Dow futures up a hundred.
Life’s Perception Management” Crisis
Good news and bad in this: The good news is it SEEMS like normal continues. But, if we use the 6-months of M2 as a guide, all this “extra” dough sloshing around would argue that instead the S&P 500 closing at 3,483.34 Thursday, it would (with all this “free money” likely be around 2,246.
Same perception problem for the Dow. Instead of 28,494 and change? It pencils out as 18,378.
Even Gold is not immune: When you take this morning’s price – let’s call it $1,905 for giggles and grins – it would be $1,228.72.
The hip shot in all this? Well, thanks to being the only deep-thinking Depression scholar to run the Fed, Ben Bernanke’s “Lower for Longer” policies (we call it L4L) should ensure “The Herd” doesn’t all wake up at the same time. Should that happen – and a mass recognition moment were to take hold – then we would be in the Instant Depression and the Fed will be powerless. Since it’s now firing with very little ammunition left to go. Short of an outright devaluation.
You think China, or any other country holding U.S. debt is going to accept 50% of value for the “old face” bond values? Why, it’s the stuff wars are made of!
Useless Town Hall #1
Despite the plats in the press this morning, I thought Savanah Guthrie did a horrible job of “interviewing” Donald Trump last night.
Sure, sure...stories like this example – praised her for “keeping Trump in check” and what-not. But, that wasn’t the role. It seemed all about her – a common disease among ego-centric journo’s today. But, as a “back in the Day” old schooler, there was a time when reporters asked questions instead of presupposing they “know all” and then asking pseudo-questions with built-in assumptions. Most of which are wrong.
Frankly, I kept waiting for Trump to tell Guthrie “Would you shut up and listen?”
Then there was that (suspicious to me!) question from the black “guy who was
“stuck in traffic.” Lemme see here: A guy who was going to ask a question – happens to call in “I’m late – won’t make it in time!” and NBC happens to have his picture on file?
Wonder why I hold my nose and suspiciously watch with an old newsman’s eye for details?
Question for NBC: Who was the “late guy?” Seemed contrived – made up – to me.
Collapse of Journalism!
One of the deepest-seated of modern of America is the collision of Complexity-versus Time Compression. This circles back to the anti-fragile people getting Complexity wrong.
See, as complexity increases that results in more details and activities needing to occur. Which reduces available time. If you can imagine a chart: Because of the complexity escalations, an executive needs to define ever-larger problems (with increasingly layers of dependencies. Yet, the “Inquisitors” (Guthrie and other “child reporters”) squander too much time on opinion-based questions. And THEN to top it off, we’ve gone from 30-45 second sound bites and video clips when I was news directing down to 5-10 second clips today.
Seeing it yet? Eventually, the reporters spend their time opinionating, the newsmaker gets a useless 7-seconds to answer a single issue with 17 aspects involving nearly a hundred dependencies.
It blows up. Which happened to Babel, too, I ‘spose.
I wanted to hear a business plan. The Town Hall format doesn’t allow either candidate to really “put it all out there.” Only one with enough gumption to push back was Ross Perot, who I still think had the makings of a “Best-Ever” president. He was a planner – stayed focused – and managed outcomes.
Useless Town Hall #2
AYFKM? Biden skates with no Hunter Questions!!! ABC sold-out the voters last night by not even mentioning the NY Posts bombshell disclosures of how the “Biden crime family” supposedly operates.
For one, the foreign money goes to children and relatives who then shove the dough to Joe so he doesn’t have to report it. Two days of bombshells and no question. Come HOAX on the Voters.
Quite correctly, the Post nails it with their story “Biden doesn’t get ONE question on Hunter Biden expose at ABC News town hall.” ABC – in our view – simply GAVE Joe Biden a 90-minute block of prime time.
The good news? Truth is leaking fast, now:
You need to cancel all your social media accounts. Skype your friends – use the messaging tools. Social’s a con job of magnificent proportions.
I’m willing to bet a $2-dollar bill that both Twitter and FB did “get out the vote” emails to users. That move would have “plausible deniability” – “Just trying to make people aware…” would be the Big Lie.
But, in reality, we’d bet that because the Socialists know your every quirk…the get out to vote emails, tweets, and more, we selectively sent. To Biden-Harris people and not equally to Trump supporters.
Don’t hold your breath for this to come out in hearings. Just the old-school view.
“I want My Vote Back”
Two great questions out of cocktail hour with the Ure’s Thursday.
The first one: Let’s say someone is urged by socialist media to “vote early” and then out comes a potential decision-changer like the Hunter Biden emails. There isn’t a way to “recall your vote and redo it” – but is social media liable for your loss of franchise. Especially if they suppressed the information/game changer?
Second question even more nightmarish:
Let’s say the Huntergate story is real. The republican’s would try to impeach him before the election when they lose effective control.
Could we see a new legal tactic arise? PREpeachment? The mind reels. Ure swears off or promises to change brands…
Did you see – you crypto fan, you – that “Giant Chinese Crypto Exchange OkEX Suspends Withdrawals After Police Investigation?”
Everyone talks about the weather but…Only these states will get a colder than normal winter, NOAA predicts.
Reader Feedback Wanted
Take a look at the Peoplenomics.com site, when you get a sec. Updated the front end which should be blazingly fast on your phone, now.
Planning to work on the same process for Urban tomorrow – and our Ultra-Make.com 3D printing site has also been upgraded. (90%+ Good Page Speeds are what I’m after.)
More on that Sunday. Have a great weekend – First chapter of Peoplenomics: The Book on the subscriber side tomorrow. Cardboard furniture and 3D Build Plans Sunday.
Write when you get rich,