So another Fourth has come and gone – sunburns, the odd hangover, stories to tell at work, and most people at this time of year can hardly wait for the weekend to do more of the same. In some places, though, the celebrations were a bit muted by the electrical problems from last week’s storms. As CBS News put it, many Americans had to party like it was 1776.
Seems appropriate to think of this as recovery day in another vein, too: A commission report it out today and (you gotta love genius) it calls the Fukushima mess a man-made disaster. ISYN Gotta wonder how much help they needed figuring that out.
Well, almost, anyway: The European Central Bank has cut interest rates to a record low 0.75%. Sure makes it easy for the bankster class to refinance national debts cheaply and for the longer term, huh?
All this global rush to lower rates is paying for both people with enough dough and credit scores to buy homes: Bankrate.com reports this morning that “Mortgage rates moved lower once again, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate setting a new record low of 3.87 percent, according to Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey. The average 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.43 discount and origination points.”
I keep waiting for someone invent the reverse-reverse mortgage so I can buy a home. The reverse-reverse idea is you buy a home and then someone pays you to live in it… I mean as weird as financial abstractions have become, why not?
Two Day Jobs Festival
This morning we have the first couple of installments in the monthly job number festival. Challenger and ADP numbers are out and tomorrow we get the “offishul” unemployment rate. But first the weekly Labor Department number:
“In the week ending June 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 374,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 388,000. The 4-week moving average was 385,750, a decrease of 1,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 387,250. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6 percent for the week ending June 23, unchanged from the prior week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending June 23 was 3,306,000, an increase of 4,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 3,302,000. The 4-week moving average was 3,304,250, a decrease of 3,000 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,307,250. ”
As for the Challenger numbers:
“CHICAGO, July 5, 2012 – Planned layoffs fell to a 13-month low in June, as U.S.-based employers announced job cuts totaling 37,551 during the month. That is down 39 percent from the 61,887 announced job cuts in May, according to the latest report on downsizing activity released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The June total is 9.4 percent lower than the 41,432 planned job cuts announced during the same month a year ago. It is the lowest monthly total since May 2011, when employers announced plans to eliminate 37,135 workers from their payrolls.
At the midway point of 2012, job cuts total 283,091, an increase of 15 percent from a 2011 six-month total of 245,806. The pace of downsizing has remained relatively steady throughout the year, with job cuts in the second quarter totaling 139,997, just two percent fewer than the 143,094 job cuts announced during the first three months of the year. Second quarter job cuts were up 22 percent from last year, when employers announced 115,057 layoffs from April through June.”
And ADP reports:
“ROSELAND, N.J. – July 5, 2012 – Private-sector employment increased by 176,000 from May to June on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the latest ADP National Employment Report® released today. The ADP National Employment Report, created by Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP®), in partnership with Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC, is derived from actual payroll data and measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month. The estimated gain from April to May was revised up slightly, from the initial estimate of 133,000 to a revised estimate of 136,000.
U.S. Nonfarm Private Employment Highlights – June 2012 Report:
? Total employment: +176,000
? Small businesses:* +93,000
? Medium businesses:** +72,000
? Large businesses:*** +11,000
? Goods-producing sector: +16,000
? Service-providing sector: +160,000 Addendum:
? Manufacturing industry: + 4,000 *
Bottom line seems to be neither a strong recovery, or an outright second flop/decline (yet, be patient). Instead it argues for a serious case of decent muddle-through. And muddle is better than some of the options, I suppose.
Something which has been at least a somewhat efficient leading indicator of what the markets will be doing is the Baltic Dry Index which tracks the cost of moving cargo around. This morning, Bloomberg is showing it at the 1,103 level, and that seems to mean an upward moving markets, often times…. But, suggests one report, keep an eye on how many Chinese cargo ships are sailing around looking for something to do…
Building another American Aristocracy
Word is that actor Alec Baldwin may run for Mayor of NYC. Like Mayor Media with his pop police isn’t laughable enough? Baldwin running for Hizzoner’s job would be like me entering the Miss Universe Pageant. Interesting news copy but…
New and Improved Police State
Now, TSA wants to test drinks people bring on airplanes at the gate. No, they aren’t saying why…My bet is they are looking for people sneaking in booze and getting rowdy.
Still, seems only a matter of time till you’ll be giving DNA swabs and stool samples at this rate.
More after this…