After doing what, 9,000 posts (plus or minus) it’s always the writing challenge to come up with new – and useful – ways to frame the daily data drone.
So, this morning, how’s about we approach things as though the world is crazy and insanity is contagious. Which, oh, bye-the-bye, it is…
Optimism Being Cured
Thanks Slo! NFIB Small business optimism was “cured” in the latest report:
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 10, 2021) – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased in July to 99.7, a decrease of 2.8 points, reversing June’s 2.9-point gain. Six of the 10 components declined, three improved, and one was unchanged. The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased seven points to 76, indicating owners’ views are held with more certainty than in earlier months.
“Small business owners are losing confidence in the strength of the economy and expect a slowdown in job creation,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “As owners look for qualified workers, they are also reporting that supply chain disruptions are having an impact on their businesses. Ultimately, owners could sell more if they could acquire more supplies and inventories from their supply chains.”
Our other economic data marker today?
Productivity and Costs
Wow – -what a pile of gobbledygook this one is:
Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased 2.3 percent in the second quarter of 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 7.9 percent and hours worked increased 5.5 percent. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the second quarter of 2020 to the second quarter of 2021, nonfarm business sector labor
productivity increased 1.9 percent.
Unit labor costs in the nonfarm business sector increased at an annual rate of 1.0 percent in the second quarter of 2021, the combined effect of a 3.3-percent increase in hourly compensation and a 2.3-percent increase in productivity. Unit labor costs increased 0.1 percent over the last four quarters, as hourly compensation increased 2.0 percent and productivity increased 1.9 percent. BLS calculates unit labor costs as the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity. Increases in hourly compensation tend to increase unit labor costs and increases in productivity tend to reduce them.”
On the surface, all seems well. Almost obediently, the financial press will host a group hug. But the two issues we have are 1) that things like unit labor costs are meaningless when the economy has money-dumping going on. The money of America is work about 3-1/2 cents on the dollar from where it was a hundred years ago.
But 2) the REAL gobbledygook is in the revisions. If you let me revise down previous periods, I can produce any Stalinesque numbers required to keep the illusion going. However, we are quick to point out this is not a bad joke. It’s a government report. But I repeat myself.
The Bond Prices continued to firm Monday – and somewhat paradoxically, the price of gold was down again. In fact, nearly a hunsky down from recent levels.
So we figure either A) another manipulation is underway. As our resident cynic in Oz notes all the “made up gold contracts” hitting the markets. Or, B) the market is filled with Fedlium (a federal reserve brand of helium) which makes trader voices high and squeaky and then pops in the fall come fall.
Meantime, though, open the slaughterhouse doors and let’s herd them in: Metals are doing a bounce (*sucker bounce? we shall see…) but Lumber is down to $537. I might scale my new deck project this fall up to 10,000 square feet, at this rate.
What Really Matters:
Mental epidemiology? Covid, China, and Cash (or finance).
As to what IS important, stories like Dem Budget Includes Green Card Giveaway, Mass Amnesty (freebeacon.com) should make your hair stand on end. Because they reveal a political agenda that was once unthinkable. Yet BOHICA (bend over, here it comes again…)
Stories like House Republicans demand answers from DHS on ‘appalling’ border numbers as crisis escalates are “more show than go…” Ain’t going anywhere. Fix is in. Keep them Covid cases coming into Texas to depopulate us deplorable rednecks, huh? We’re not all hillbillies and when riled up…. Send Austin back to L.A. and S.F.
Sent a note to George II first thing today. “Did you see where Texas Gov. Abbott seeks out-of-state help against COVID-19 (apnews.com)? Pop your Covid warrior resume down to the Guv’s office – or call them and find out where to send it. Get something within a county or two of the family homestead and… well, less smoky than going out on another big wildfire…”
To be sure, Texas is not particularly good at mask compliance. But that’s likely because the whole mask and shot thing has been politicized.
No, it’s NOT a political issue: It’s a medical judgment call. Austin warns of ‘catastrophe’ as Texas again becomes center of pandemic – The Guardian.
In the latest heat maps, our county is fairing better than most. Which is because there are 1,062 square miles here. The population 57,000 (2017 data).
A little math here: Call it 679,680 acres. And divide the population into that? That’s 11.9 acres per person.
Down in Austin Texas – in Travis County – Population 1.23-million people. Area? 991 square miles. Area in acres? 634,240. Which when you divide people into it?
Down to about half an acre of land for each person which is cramped by any measure. Well, except New York.
NYC is in Kings County. 70.8 square miles. 45,320 acres. 2.5 million people. Which we rough out to .18 acre per person which is so far into the unsustainable column as to be a joke.
You see, to someone who looked at UrbanSurvival 25-years ago – and came to obvious conclusions – you get much more dense than one person per 5-acres, or so and you’ve got an eventual “all blows up” because living past sustainable doesn’t work.
Climate’s just a strawman with mainly data-dazzlers sucking from the federal grant trough. The real issue with epidemiology is proximity to other people and general public health.
The Texas pandemic numbers seem to be drifting toward lows in spring and fall. When people aren’t indoors and go outside to get some sunshine vitamin D. Right now? Too damn hot. Which is why mask use is low. Picking up groceries this week, the Wal-Mart pickup schlepper and I were the only ones in sight with masks on.
Disease spreading here in my non-medical view, should chill with the weather.
And when suspicious aircraft activity decreases. Of course, the censors of Search and Social won’t make a big deal about this, but… Stars and Stripes reports – Mystery plane returns to Michigan airspace.
Pencil in 2-3 weeks and let me know if a new “variant” shows up. Gives us all a chance to pretend we’re Inspector Poirot from the Data Division, non?
Be interesting to visit Flightradar24 and pull some history…long shot, but…..
There’s more reason than ever to read the Seattle Times. Not just because the Blethen’s are a serious newspaper family (though they are). More because what you’re looking for are tips as to how compromised the backbone and sides of the U.S. Internet really are.
Canadian faces spy ruling as Huawei decision looms | The Seattle Times is just the tip of the iceberg.
Around here, it’s an article of faith that if the Government of the U.S. massages relations with big tech to include backdoors into their code, the least surprising thing would be the People’s Liberation coders being told to do the same thing on their side. Laughable, we think we’re so smart only the exceptions with the right Ivy league connections have any brainpower? Kidding, right?
Here’s a news drivel/who-cares? about the Lithuanian ambassador being recalled about some State offense involving Taiwan. But it pales compared to what’s going on in the pre-war background: Spying Gets Craftier as China, Taiwan Up Use of Cyber Tools | Voice of America – English (voanews.com).
Not to late to get into the office pool: Will China take Taiwan before or after the ‘Winter Games’ in Beijing. Formosa in February or the March in March, kind of thing. Assuming you remember Formosa became Taiwan in 1895, of course.
Couple of weeks back, Forbes had a piece that neatly summarizes a lot of what my consigliere and I have been debating. Their bottom line? ‘The Ultra Mega’: Taiwan Invasion Could Defy Comprehension (forbes.com).
We’re thinking instead of Blitzkrieg (lightning war if you missed Herr Casey’s 3rd year German class in 1966).
We’re thinking more like Dronekrieg with a side of hypersonic. I’ll leave out the concurrent attack on Anchorage to deny the U.S. air access to Asia for air freight. Also, let’s leave off the “dronepedoes” which could remove the Boomers.
No, the remnants of the strong America will be safely at home, recovering from mandatory political correctness after shots. Gender comfort and personal safety checks in the barracks at Of-dark-thirty lasting until noon doesn’t leave much time for fighting.
Besides, right after lunch, there will be sensitivity training and the “bullets are racist” training, as well.
We’ll be too busy to squawk. China will get a walk. And Biden will only talk. That much is in focus already here in the historical outfield.
Fried Brain Cells
If you’re looking for signs of sanity, here are some potholes to avoid:
“Quality Control is Falling Down,” maybe? London’s Tower Bridge stuck open due to a technical fault.
Hype, hype, and re-hype: 5 things to know about the new UN report on climate change.
They left “eat your car” out of it: What The U.S. Can Do About The Dire Climate Change Report.
Marketing of racism continues nonstop: Chamberlin Rock removed from University of Wisconsin campus over racist symbolism – CNN. Jeez. Don’t tell these people there’s a hedge fund call Blackrock…
Hey! Let’s fight racism by adding stupidity! Oregon governor signs bill suspending math, reading proficiency requirements for HS graduates | Fox News
Yet the insanity spreads: Rockies fan screamed for mascot ‘Dinger,’ didn’t yell racial slur, team confirmed.
Long Peoplenomics report tomorrow as my latest book nears completion.
Write when you get rich,