The day begins anew with Ure’s truly studying headlines, looking for signs of intelligent life on Earth.

The news that Bill Cosby is headed for “the box” and that a “Longtime prosecutor takes over Weinstein case in NYC” are nearly equally useless headlines, as we seek the actionable. Unless you’re a high-powered defense attorney, there’s no foreseeable way to monetize either of these events.

And with futures already down before the two morning data releases, it’s clear that peacewhich seems to be breaking out between the Korea’s – is not an easily monetized thing. In fact, pooled labor and friendlier relations could actually make appliances cheaper.

(Continues below)

 

That’s because the labor costs in North Korea are down more than a few standard deviations from the Rest of the World…so if they come on line, it could have a somewhat deflationary effect\.

The cost of labor (that goes into making goods) is the topic of this morning’s first data snip:  The Employment Cost Index.

Civilian Workers

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.7 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2018 compared with a compensation costs increase of 2.4 percent in March 2017. Wages and salaries increased 2.7
percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2018 and increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2017. Benefit costs increased 2.6 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2018. In March 2017, the increase was 2.2 percent.

Private Industry Workers

Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.8 percent over the year, a larger increase than the 2.3-percent increase in March 2017. Wages and salaries increased 2.9 percent for the current 12-month period and increased 2.6 percent in March 2017. The cost of benefits rose 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in March 2018 and increased 1.9 percent in March 2017. “

While the markets ponder this one, the GDP report just out gives slow-motion economists a recent rear-view mirror into life here in fly-over country.

“Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2018 (table 1), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.9 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the first-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see “Source Data for the Advance Estimate” on page 2). The “second” estimate for the first quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on May 30, 2018.

As a picture:

The thing about the GDP is we can use it for Ure’s End of the World Index.

To calculate the UEWI, simply take the current )most recent) Public Debt to the Penny.  Treasury keeps this online with a two-day lag.

As of two days ago (*4/25) it was $21,059,600,102,296.72.  Because such large numbers aggravate hangovers, we just call it $21.06 trillion and you can keep the rest to start a hedge fund.

After wading through the data tables that accompany the GDP press release, you’ll find the most recent GDP is: $19.965.2 trillion.

The GDP divided into Public Debt to the Penny gives us a useful number.  If the GDP is larger than Debt, everything is hunky-dory.  But, as we become a Nation of Debtor Wage Slaves (like now if you’re not functional, yet) then that is bad.

As of this morning the Federal debt is 1.054830130276029 times the GDP.

We can calculate this number backwards, and evolve a view of how various political types have orchestrated the decline, but the real fault lays with Congress.  The fools on the Hill set the budget and since it’s been a political hack’s club, no one can say “No!” to passing out free lunches.

In the end, these are not free, but don’t bother anyone with the facts.  This is ‘Merica, after all.

Border News Watch

Since the crooks in Congress have dispatched with financial responsibility, it’s rather a trivial thing to have also destroyed America’s borders, especially with a street corner activist in the mix for 8-years.

Times have changed, however, so this weekend be watching for headlines to see how state and federal enforcement of the border works as a couple of days ago the story was Showdown ahead as migrant caravan heads for US-Mexico border.

This morning a scan for “caravan” reveals stories like “Migrant ‘caravan‘ gathers on US-Mexico border” and others giving the idea that they will be politely asking for asylum.

It would be dandy if they stood around politely waiting.  But I doubt it.

Call me skeptical, but I expect what will happen will be a few will try the legal entry route, but when it doesn’t work, the harder entry method (storming) will be attempted.  And that could lead to confrontation…and that, in turn, is what the latter-day Bolsheviks hope for…martyrs for their cause.  (Which is power and them in charge, as these things go.)

We are hopeful as ever.  But, at the same time, “not so open-minded that our brains fall out.”

By the way, on free lunches, go read “The lapsing of Finland’s universal basic income trial.”

Is Socialviks a word, yet?

Useful Data

With the majority of the news flow focused on these kinds of stories, we can now open our heads up to what to expect today and forward.

To begin with, we will be looking at the Office of the Special Counsel’s site right after the market closes.  Late Friday is a dandy time for Big News without panicking markets.


Latest Fed money creation data reveals M1 was being swelled by 7.2% on a three month basis annualized as of the end of February.  In last night’s data for the week ending April 16, that rate of increase in M1 was down to 4.2%.

This tells us the market won’t have too much in the way of free money to jack things up, although with Amazon upping Prime membership 20%, the FAANG stocks may save the day…at least until later in the month.

Amazon ad sale boom could challenge Google-Facebook dominance, says one of our feeds.


The Obama administration’s slamming of the coal industry is being reversed.  You can see the results in Virginia’s ports continue to lead US in surging coal exports.


Are people brushing their teeth less?  We ask because Colgate’s sales disappoint, shares fall.

Remember, we’ve had this conversation many times:  What will companies do when expansions into “emerging markets” disappoint and the domestic markets are at saturation?

People will only brush after every meal, or so, no matter what the ads push.


While the US partisan politics can’t seem to get anything right, at least the megalomaniacs of the European Union actually do get a few things right.

Like banning neonicotinoids that kill bees.  See EU moves to full ban pesticides that harm bees for more.

Can we invest in Epipens?  More bees might mean more stings…and we’re always looking for an investment angle.

History Lessons

Archaeologists May Have Found the World’s Largest Known Child Sacrifice Site in Peru.

No doubt it was cheaper than Ritalin to fix behavior issues…

UNESCO against Colombia’s commercial recovery of a shipwreck.  Colombia could use the gold, and “heritage” that has melt value…save a few specimens, sure.  But sticking UN noses in?  Which is what the unelected world government does at every chance.

TUD: The Totally Useless Department

Overflowing today:

The Royal Baby’s Name Announcement Has Sent the Internet Into a Frenzy.

A State in India Was Struck by Lightning More Than 36,000 Times in 13 Hours.  And?

I can’t stand any more…so off to work on Peoplenomics for tomorrow:  Prepping for Falling Incomes.

More Monday, so like the Texas sailor said, “Yawl come on back…”