The stock market went off to bull heaven, yesterday: Up 191 Dow points and some fine gains by the other indices, as well.
In fact, there was so much joy and jubilation in the air that I couldn’t resist sitting in cash any longer and got back onto the short side of things, buying within a nickel of session lows into one of the “triple bear” ETF’s where I’m likely to hang out over the weekend.
“Why?” you might be asking. Fair enough.
For one, I think the jobs report this morning may be a tad-bit overdone. True, I told you how the Challenger (Gray & Christmas) jobs report this week was an upside surprise – and that certain paved the way for the improvement in the unemployment rate which came out this morning (keep your shirt on, we’re almost there), but there’s this ugly little problem which I call “QOJ” – Quality Of Jobs” and it’s something people don’t think too much about because it’ll make your head hurt.
But just a couple of things to ruminate on:
- The Koch Bros political aparatchik and the RRRR (rabid right radio ranters) have been fighting the wrong battle with unions. Unions are failing on their own, thank you, and it’s really little more than partisan grand-standing in Wisconsin when the governor takes them on. A US Labor Department report came out a while back that said…
- In 2010, the union membership rate–the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union–was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers be- longing to unions declined by 612,000 to 14.7 million. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 per- cent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.
Big Business and their well-contributed minions in office are simply keeping up an ages old business tradition of “kicking ‘em when they’re down. Which is why paid company medical and such bennies are going, going….
- The main reason that union membership if going down (the average teacher pay in Wisconsin is something like $47,000 and you wouldn’t find me trying to impart anything approaching wisdom to gun, knife, and drug-using kids, thanks) is that the KB, the RRR’s, TPTB soon PTW, and the RRR have completely “smoke screened you” with Mexico border fence hype. The real issue is the Internet which makes it possible for any half-literate Englisoid-speeching denizens in the Turd World to get on line and do most of your job for about 10-15% of what you get paid. Not saying we don’t have an obligation to “bring up” the world’s oppressed. We just don’t need to outsource the last 28 high-IQ software jobs to India…Oooops! Too late! The RRRR’s seem only to be interested in turning the Mexico border fence into the North American analog of the Wailing Wall. That battle’s already over – it was won in the telephone company central frame room a decade ago – and the whole reason why Big Corps are desperate to end the “all packets are created equal” direction of the FCC (by outright lying about it, of course) is so that the CorpGov alliance can power-broker through differential rates. Having failed at the carbon credit scam, this is the closest thing they can cook up to “tax air” for their own benefit, I suppose. Surely, you’re figuring out why you can’t afford your home, right?
- And the main feature of Fearless Leader’s role has been talking support of the worker-bee class while leading in December, wasn’t it?, 200+ businessmen to India to further the largest job-jack in history, since we all know they didn’t go their for the golf and fishing – they went to steal away more US jobs, that much is plain as the nose on your face, should you dare to engage on point. Granted, there’s enough tranks and fluoride to at least slow you down, and it’s fine with me because I “get it” and I’m happily trading the macro trend. Which includes what?
- Americans are stuck on the treadmill. Another Labor Department report I bet you didn’t read: “Volunteering in the United States — 2010“. Salient point:
- “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. “
I could go on – by reminding you that normally when productivity goes up and unit labor costs go down, it isn’t because workers are getting a bigger piece of the pie. Nope, they’re getting screwed more through being replaced by automation and jobjacks. Hello? Anyone home?
Now that my BP is up to a respectable 129/75, let me wheel out the 800-pound gorilla…the jobs report. (This assumes you don’t know that the Consumer Debt report due out next Monday is really what matters to the banksters and the PTB… Drum roll, please? (scratchy sound effects insert goes here)
“Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 192,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics re- ported today. Job gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services, health care, and transportation and warehousing.
Household Survey Data
The number of unemployed persons (13.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.9 percent) changed little in February. The labor force was about unchanged over the month. The jobless rate was down by 0.9 percentage point since November 2010. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.7 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (23.9 percent), whites (8.0 percent), blacks (15.3 percent), and Hispanics (11.6 percent) showed little or no change in February. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted.”
Lemme see: Civilian non-institutional population went up 147,000 while the number in the workforce only went up an (alleged) 60,000? Number of people not in the labor force went up 87,000? You bet! Maybe they all won lotteries?
Down in the fine print, we read that the Labor Dept. is phasing in reporting of unemployment longer than 2-years, but since the longer out of work are likely out of the system we get:
The new upper bound of 5 years for reported unemployment duration is being phased in over the first 4 months of 2011, as the duration question is only asked of a portion of those unemployed in any given month. (The question is asked of unemployed persons who were not interviewed in the prior month and the newly unemployed. Duration is updated automatically for unemployed respondents who remain unemployed the following month.) By April 2011, all households will have been able to report the new duration upper limit.
Impacts on published estimates Because of the previous upper limit on recorded values, BLS cannot determine the duration of unemployment for persons who had been unemployed for longer than 2 years for data prior to January 2011. Monthly estimates of average (mean) duration of unemployment for 2011 produced using the 5-year upper limit are higher than those using the 2-year upper limit. (See tables below.) Only the average (mean) duration of unemployment was affected by this change in data collection. The median duration of unemployment was not affected by this change, nor were distributions of unemployment by weeks unemployed.
This ought to be great fun watching, huh? I mean as your friends who have been out of work much longer than 2-years may get added back in. Call this candor in slow-motion. But, for now, this oughta to prove what we’ve said before about people falling into the statistical black hole when they hit 2-years.
Now let’s talk “QOJ” which is where we started going a few days back.
First, a little time with the CES Birth Death Model. These are the “statistically made up” jobs which are assumed to have been created but, like many migrant workers, aren’t too well documented.
Between April and December of 2010, these “estimated created jobs” contributed 537,000 jobs. Which would have been fine, until the annual confessional came around in January, when the CES Birth Death Model shed 339,000 jobs. So net, since April, going into this morning’s report, the CES/BD was responsible for only 198,000 jobs being created.
As I explained in my analysis of last month’s report, one reason the Unemployment report was do good last month (9%) was that a lot of the would-be workforce was simply disappeared. A guess that their UI benefits had run out so they were assumed not to be actively looking would be a ‘natchull’ conclusion.
In this morning’s report the CES-BD estimated that 112,000 jobs were created in February. Might be, too. Just wonder how many were inventory counters and all those other low-paying seasonal gigs…
And then we get to the Table U-6 report called Alternative Measures of Labor Under Utilization. Says the “Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force” went from 16.1% in January to 15.9% in February. More lotto winners, maybe?
Which leaves the market up – breathlessly waiting for more euphoria to be injected into the nation’s statistical bloodstream, while I’m loading the boat for more downside action which I expect sooner than later. Maybe even starting before today’s out…the headlines are pushing hard to rally more.
Mr. Bear bought in yesterday.
Pass the Kool-Aid
Bloomberg is reporting that former Fedster, Bubblemeister, and paper-peddler Alan Greenspan “...Says Government ‘Activism’ Hampering US Recovery...”
Why, I too and against those damnably high literacy rates. Seems to me that Greenspan’s hinting that participation in democracy is downright dangerous.
Which of course, everyone knows is it…especially since it gets in the way of throwing money and votes around in Washington on pork & schemes…
Now, take your tranks and doggie downers like a good little puppy, Citizen, and don’t question the drooling paradigm….and above all, trUSt US.
It’s Oil Over, of Course
While the carriers Vinson and Enterprise along with the ‘gator Kearsarge are making plans for what to do about Libya, Fearless Leader says all options are on the table.
But with oil nearing $103 earlier today, and the UK’s Telegraph reporting on how “Libya’s tribes will decide Gaddafi’s fate“, when the second lead on Google was how “American Idol’s top 13 finalists have been selected” and JLo is showing off here abs, I know it’s oil, but over for the Empire.
Triple A says the national average for gasoline is $3.471 for regular which is up from last year’s $2.706, a 28.2% increase, you might want to write that down and see how much less than that will be reported in the Feb. CPI numbers due out at mid-month.
“Zeus! Take a note to Greenspan: Send that last note along with this: That’s not activism, that’s numeric literacy at work. CC the Bernank, too…”
Quick! Another Literacy Problem!
Kinda hard to print up another couple of million ounces of gold, isn’t it? I mean if you don’t have tungsten bars, lol.
Foreclosure Sellout “Settlement” at Hand?
I noticed in the WaPo this morning that “Obama office, attorneys general closer to possible deal with banks in foreclosure mess” which means, if I follow the gist of things, that the Obamanistas will get something less than the $20-billion in fines which the Comptroller of the Currency (which ostensibly regulates banks, in this case, pleading poor on their behalf) figured might bust some.
In case you’re keeping score, the AG’s which went to Washington talking about putting bankers in jail seem to have been neutered, which means the banksters will likely get their way, more or less, and contract law which used to be somewhat uniform will be rewritten (and possibly applied retroactively) and the little guy which get – applause, please - BOHICA’ed again.
Still, while the AG’s are off singing Obamanista-orchestrated soprano roles in Washington, nice to see there’s still a bit of testosterone left in North Carolina where a county is thinking about suing MERS for recording fees.
What the hell ever happened to “show me the wet signature” on the original documents? Another relic for the land fill of history, along with black & white TV’s and buggy-whips, I suppose.
Along the way, guess we will soon be able to scrap a good part of those contract law classes we took in school…since they won’t mean anything if you’ve got a big enough lobbying corps and “the ear” of the PTB, huh?
Angry Earth Chronicles
Rogue wave struck a passenger ferry in New Zealand a couple of days ago. Forgot to mention it, but more of that “rogue wave” stuff which I don’t recall being much of a topic when I was living on my sailboat for a decade. Never heard of such things back then. Newish phenom?
No, not really – just a lot more humans on water in the last couple of centuries and such things even occur on the Great Lakes and that may have been what took down the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975…
Speaking of angry/earthy things, a couple ofx readers are asking “Could that recent earthquake activity in Arkansas be a new volcano trying to be born?”
Hmmm…don’t know. Check back with me in 100,000 years…..
And about that unusual weather that so inconvenienced my friend Howard Hill who was beset with ice dams on the roof, etc…we see that FEMA has declared that the snowstorm(s) were indeed a disaster. Wonder if he might be damage assistance for roof-work removing snow and ice? Likely not…which shows to go you that if you want aid (or in this case a new roof) don’t shovel off the snow or break those ice dams….
Madness on Bordering
A couple of readers wondered what happened to the CBS story about how an ATF agent was told to allow large gun sales to go into Mexico. Well, that CBS report is here, not the link readers were sending…
Speaking of Double Speak
Speaking of Double Speak…did’ja did’ja see see (sorry sorry…or nearly so) the fine AP story on how both the republicants and the democants are misleading everyone possible on their budgeteering? Quick! Fake shock and surprise!
Where’s the American Whig Party when we need it most? Hand me a Wikipedia, please…
“In particular, the Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the presidency and favored a program of modernization and economic protectionism. This name was chosen to echo the American Whigs of 1776, who fought for independence and because “Whig” was then a widely recognized label of choice for people who saw themselves as opposing tyranny.”
Oh…you mean like the corporate kind which has merged into government kind which is ruled by the uber rich of the globalist kind?
Thus we demonstrate conclusively that Washington has indeed, flipped its collective whig.
(more after this)