Yup….it’s just a soft whooshing noise for the moment, nothing more than a soft whir perhaps, but it’s distinctly growing louder. Gold is dropping again this morning and back to the $1,333.30 range when I looked.
And then we have the weekly unemployment data to digest:
“In the week ending Jan. 22, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 454,000, an increase of 51,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 403,000. The 4-week moving average was 428,750, an increase of 15,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 413,000.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.2 percent for the week ending Jan. 15, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week’s unrevised rate of 3.1 percent.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending Jan. 15 was 3,991,000, an increase of 94,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,897,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,975,500, a decrease of 39,750 from the preceding week’s revised average of 4,015,250.
The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 482,399 in the week ending Jan. 22, a decrease of 67,491 from the previous week. There were 502,710 initial claims in the comparable week in 2010.
The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.7 percent during the week ending Jan. 15, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 4,593,535, a decrease of 58,900 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 4.3 percent and the volume was 5,602,357.
The total number of people claiming benefits in all programs for the week ending Jan. 8 was 9,410,977.
Repeat after me: “Double dip”.
New Orders New orders for manufactured durable goods in December decreased $5.0 billion or 2.5 percent to $191.0 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This decrease, down four of the last five months, followed a 0.1 percent November decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.5 percent. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 2.5 percent.
Transportation equipment, also down four of the last five months, had the largest decrease, $5.8 billion or 12.8 percent to $39.2 billion. This was due to nondefense aircraft and parts, which decreased $5.0 billion.
Shipments Shipments of manufactured durable goods in December, up three of the last four months, increased $2.8 billion or 1.4 percent to $200.4 billion. This followed a 0.5 percent November increase. Machinery, up four of the last five months, had the largest increase, $1.7 billion or 6.7 percent to $27.1 billion.
But, you know what’s really going to be gasoline on the second dip layoffs ahead? Inventory build:
Inventories of manufactured durable goods in December, up twelve consecutive months, increased $2.1 billion or 0.7 percent to $322.0 billion. This followed a 0.9 percent November increase.
(Inventories for) Transportation equipment, also up twelve consecutive months, had the largest increase, $1.6 billion or 1.9 percent to $86.3 billion.
Hmmm…rising inventory of UNSOLD GOODS means what to hiring prospects? I mean just thinking ahead and all…. And so, class, this probably sets in concrete what? (“Double Dip, George!”)
Mass Layoffs are due to be reported today when the Labor Department gets around to it. We’ll post an update when that little slider comes along.
Name That Municipal Bankruptcy Game
Well, while Meredith Whitney is waiting for the implosion of the muni bond market, things seem to be leaning her way a bit. Specifically there’s the NY Times report that “New York State Seizes Finances of Nassau County“.
Still, it’s not a bankruptcy per se, which leads to my invention of a couple of new words which add a whole new depth to the fixed income world:
FEDRUPTCY: When the Federal Reserve prints its last possible dollar/bond/scrip and China calls us on it.
STATERUPTCY: When a State’s assets are seized by the federales. Example: California is on the brink of stateruptcy.
COUNTRUPTCY: When a country or borough’s assets are seized by a state. For example, Nassau County is going through countruptcy in New York…
CITIRUPTCY: When a State or County/Borough seizes the financial assets of a City. Philadelphia recently faced citruptcy.
MUNRUPTCY: When the financial assets of a Municipality are seized by a superior unit of government.
This joins our private lingo which includes Betruptcy (financial ruin from playing options) and Georgeruptcy which is running out of clever ideas for columns…
At least I’m not the guy I heard about in NYC who’s a V-level type (of the not corner office sort) who works a Big Unnamed Brokerage who’s office is on the route to the john, who reports seeing an increasing parade of colleagues using the…er… facilities.
And he’s struck by the increasing number of gastro-intestinal health leaves popping up, since long term disability is way better paying than waiting for the other crap to force more mass layoffs in the (financial printing) business…
This this could be specified as an increase in the number and severity of personal crapruptcies.
1,234 Mean Anything To You?
If not, click over to the Bloomberg page on the Baltic Dry Index and look at how that correlated to the decline from 2007 to March of 2009.
Word “sucks!” mean anything?
Our Next Italian Bond Mystery
Pardon me while I cheat in figuring out what “Sequestrati 20 miliardi di dollari in titoli di Stato falsi” means in Italian…
“Seized $ 20 billion in government bonds forged”
So, lemme see here: Troubles for Vatican bank, rumors that government officials including some key folks in Washington have accounts racking up dough in those secret accounts, Berlusconi in trouble and now $20-billion shows up. Tied to the ‘mob’ busts in NYC as a cat & mouse? Wonderful area of speculation, is it not?
Yeah…explains perfectly why the US CorpGov Media aren’t all over this like white on rice. Is it just too hot? Or, simply too crooked and going all the way to the top?
Wonder if the next WikiLeaks release will shed light over thisaway?
Remember earlier this week, I was telling you how the ratde of foreclosures would start picking up again this year? Well, not to say “Told you so!” but I did…
RealtyTrac® (www.realtytrac.com), the leading online marketplace for foreclosure properties, today released its 2010 Year-End Metropolitan Foreclosure Market Report, which shows that while foreclosure activity increased from 2009 in 149 of the nation’s 206 metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more, the metro areas with the 10 highest foreclosure rates all posted decreasing foreclosure activity from 2009 and six of the top 10 also posted decreasing foreclosure activity from 2008.
California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona cities accounted for 19 of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates, with Boise City-Nampa, Idaho the lone exception at No. 20. Boise also was one of only three metros in the top 20 where foreclosure activity increased from 2009, along with the Florida metro areas of Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach at No. 13 and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater at No. 17.
“Foreclosure floodwaters receded somewhat in 2010 in the nation’s hardest-hit housing markets,” said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac. “Even so, foreclosure levels remained five to 10 times higher than historic norms in most of those hard-hit markets, where deep fault lines of risk remain and could potentially trigger more waves of foreclosure activity in 2011 and beyond. Meanwhile foreclosures became more widespread in 2010 as high unemployment drove activity up in 72 percent of the nation’s metro areas — many of which were relatively insulated from the initial foreclosure tsunami.”
And no, I haven’t started to look for a cheap rental to buy – yet. If there’s one more leg down, I can only assume prices will keep falling for a while.
Elaine & I keep eyeing moving back to the Pacific Northwest to be near the kids and we got a flyer the other day from a real estate outfit up there offering us a $250-thousand discount on a waterfront home. That means it’s only prices at 3-times what we can afford, instead of four times, but the market is coming to us…
Basis of Trade Wars
Look for the special interest checks to fly over this one: Reuters reports that a new Chinese currency bill is being floated in DC.
Idea is simple enough: If China undervalues its Yuan, so that their goods are priced at pennies on the dollar, the bill says “Hold it, that’s really a subsidy and those are subject to tariffs coming into the USA…”
I’ve mentioned this who knows how often, but it bears repeating (repeating): The 1930′s Depression ended up in an international tariff battle (See: Smoot Hawley, et al). THIS time around, the same thing is being fought only the globalistas are doing it upstream at the currency level and so far, they’ve been able to hold things together.
But at what cost? Ask someone living an underpass about jobjacking: There’s a whole mindset in the Northeast I’ve run into lately that says i8t’s logically consistent to believe in “free trade” on the one hand – shunning all governmental interference while on the other being in favor of TARPS and Quantitative Easings.
If these were pigs, or goats, they’d be trying to eat out of both ends of the trough. But wrap it up with a flag, attach a check to it, and everyone in Washington salutes.
I think it’s akin to bargain-hunting for our own coffins, but that’s just me I suppose.
We noticed the BLS is out with a report on volunteering for this & that here in America. Before I ask The Big Question of the morning, consider the data:
“The volunteer rate declined by 0.5 percentage point to 26.3 percent for the year ending in September 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. About 62.8 million people volunteered through or for an organization at least once be- tween September 2009 and September 2010. The volunteer rate in 2010 was similar to the rates observed in 2007 and 2008.
These data on volunteering were collected through a supplement to the September 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS) . The supplement was sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the na- tion’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. Volunteers are defined as persons who did unpaid work (except for expenses) through or for an organization. “
Labor Department seems willing to weight all their other data at the drop of an email from ‘upstairs’, so we have to ask if they weighted these results to reflect more volunteering in food banks and soup kitchens? Or, is that just for containing Consumer Prices to keep Social Security from going up? I suppose I could read the technical notes…
I wonder if my offer to volunteer at Anheuser-Busch would count?
Say What? Dept.
KSL News up in Salt Lake City reports the US Army Dugway Proving Ground is on lockdown and no one was telling anyone why.
Theory: Be interesting to look for dead birds or wildlife in Utah… Someone got gas?
GlobalRev – Egypt
Debka is reporting the Egyptian defense minister is asking for some kind of military assistance as that country stares GlobalRev in the face.
Like we don’t have our hands full?
One thing to ponder, though: What IF the PowerThatBe/ PowersThatWere have given up on their plans (See Club of Rome reports) to reduce the world population to 500-million? What IF, instead, the plan was to divide the world into two groups: Chaos and Order, instead?
Let the dieoff happen first in Chaos regions (helped along with a little revolutionary seed money, don’tcha know) and then at least settle for a half-win on population reduction?
No idea what the numeric is for something to be painted as a massacre in that part of the world. The general definition is a “large number of people” but seems to me that’d be more than six. Or, have I been hanging around the radical linguistics too much?
(Trust me, you wouldn’t want to play Scrabble with either of us. Bring your own OED and if you had to click on that link, you’re not even in the ballpark yet.)
Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of jurisdictions around the country are moving to put laws in place which would make it illegal for regular, ordinary folks (like you and me) to video police.
Know why? Take a look at this case up in Washington (the state) where a $10-million dollar settlement has just been reached.
Key piece of evidence? Video.
This is going around the country like a virus, taking hold here and there. Being going on for more than a year. See the Fox 31- Denver piece around how “State make it illegal to video tape police“.
Gee, lemme think here: “Why would cops not want themselves being videoed — if they’re not doing something wrong?”
Remember the Oakland BART shooting video a while back? Video’s are getting more and more prevalent and, as a result, it’s ending up in more and more trials.
You bet: Got to keep people from having evidence, seems to be what’s going on. Seems to me that video is a kind of personal last bastion of defense against a police state, but remember: I’m a crazy man who thinks there should actually be limits to papers please and unreasonable searches.
Spying on Civilians
Speaking of the northwest – which is sounding more like a mini-police state lately, I see where the Olympian is reporting “Ex-worker at JBLM collectyed activist data – Records: Law agencies still store addresses, names, other information“.
Shades of my time as a reporter on the steps of the local federal courthouse back during the Vietnam war. First time I saw cops video civilians was 1972 or 1973, as I recall. Things were hazy from the tear gas…
But that kind of thing (spy on those dangerous civilians) is still going on and there’s even a ‘cloak’ mode, I hear for ‘special’ users of the National Crime Information Center’s database…been there for years.
But you knew all that, right? Long as we’re at it, gotta pass out the kudos to Pursuit Magazine which offers excellent information if you’re trying to figure out how the surveillance world works. Try their “Infidelity in the Digital Age – Facebook Often Sets the Stage” article.
Clearly, if you don’t self-censor what’s going on with your Facebook and other social media sites, you really don’t understand that anything on such sites can (and may be) used against you…
And yes – they really are out to social map all of us….
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