US In Long-term Economic Decline

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Measured by the common man, we’re on the road to ruin. The US has been in decline for decades, but you can’t see that by looking at stocks. You can’t tell it from those who lie about the economy to make their living, but look at long-term real numbers, and you see an empire in decline that just got its wobbly legs kicked out by COVID-19.

The clamor of false profits

Listen to the kinds of false narratives being spun to claim the economy is largely recovering. Call it the relentless and unrealistic belief in a V-shaped recovery narrative or whatever you want to call it, but the nonsense is still flourishing, though not the economy.

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What To Make Of The Bureau Of Lying Statistics’ Contradicting Jobs Reports

Employment has been the one stickler in my recession prediction for 2019, and finding a trustworthy measurement from the government’s statistics is like finding a virgin in a brothel. Depending on which official figures you look at, employment has refused to fall and new jobs are strong … or they stink.

We recently got two extremely conflicting reports from the same government agency that reveal, AGAIN, how dubious the official numbers from the government are. Because one report was stellar, the stock market blasted off like a rocket when it heard the news. Because the other report of the same item was abysmal, the stock market ignored it. The Fed, however, did not ignore it, and carries it in its official charts.

The Dangers of Investing Based on Phony Government Statistics

By Stefan Gleason – Re-Blogged From Money Metals Exchange

President Donald Trump recently took to Twitter to boast, “The U.S. has an increased economic value of more than 7 Trillion Dollars since the Election. May be the best economy in the history of our country. Record Jobs numbers. Nice!”

“We ran out of words to describe how good the jobs numbers are,” reported Neil Irwin of the New York Times, amplified in a Trump retweet. If you believe the headline numbers, joblessness is at a generational low with the economy booming.

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Jobs, Wages, and Growth

   By Bob Shapiro

I posted an article wondering why wages haven’t been going up faster, considering that the Jobs picture looks so good. Though many of you may agree with the article, I’d like to offer an alternative point of view.

Have jobs been increasing dramatically? No, the official numbers are being misreported in news stories. What IS happening is that the US jobs market continues to lose full time workers while gaining a larger number of part time positions.

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Continue To Beware The Job Numbers (Is it The Bureau Of Labor Statistics Or Bureau of Lying Statistics?)

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com

Alternative Unemployment Measurement

By John Williams – Re-Blogged From http://www.ShadowStats.com

Counting All Discouraged/Displaced Workers, May 2016 Unemployment Rose to About 23.0%. Discussed frequently in the regular ShadowStats Commentaries on monthly unemployment conditions, what removes headline-unemployment reporting from common experience and broad, underlying economic reality, simply is definitional. To be counted among the U.S. government’s headline unemployed (U.3), an individual has to have looked actively for work within the four weeks prior to the unemployment survey conducted for the Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS). If the active search for work was in the last year, but not in the last four weeks, the individual is considered a “discouraged worker” by the BLS, and not counted in the headline labor force.

ShadowStats defines that group as “short-term discouraged workers,” as opposed to those who, after one year, no longer are counted as “discouraged” by the government. Instead, they enter the realm of “long– term discouraged workers,” those displaced by extraordinary economic conditions, including regional/local businesses activity affected negatively by trade agreements or by other factors shifting U.S. productive assets offshore, as defined and counted by ShadowStats (see the extended comments in the ShadowStats Alternate Unemployment Measure).

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Another Election Year, Another Bunch Of Fake Growth Numbers

By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com

Some pretty good economic reports have energized various parts of the financial markets lately. Consumer spending is up, GDP is exceeding expectations and even factory orders, that perennial downer, popped this morning.

In response the dollar is soaring and interest rates are at breaking out of their multi-decade down-channel. The economy is clearly recovering, implying a return to normality. Right?

Nah, it’s just the usual election year illusion. When the presidency is at stake the party in power always pumps up spending in an attempt to put people back to work and create the impression of a well-run country whose leaders deserve more time in the spotlight. After the election, spending returns to trend and the resulting bad news gets buried in “political honeymoon” media coverage.

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Near-Record 94.6 Million Americans Aren’t in Workforce

Re-Blogged From http://www.newsmax.com

Behind the cheerful spin the Labor Department and government talking heads put on the official monthly jobs data is a sobering reality: a more-realistic unemployment rate is probably closer to 10 percent and a wide swatch of the American public remains out of work.

Friday’s report sketched a picture of a resilient job market that likely keeps the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates when it meets next month.

Yet the economy remains pocketed by weaknesses that have left many feeling left behind on the eve of Election Day. Job gains have been steady, but pay raises have only recently become widespread. And millions of Americans are working part time but would prefer full-time work.

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Statistical Shenanigans at BLS

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Non-farm private payrolls for July came in with a surprise 43,000 larger increase than expected. Including new government jobs, the number reported was 75,000 larger than expected.

But, can we really believe the numbers?

This is a Presidential election year, and it turns out that the numbers influence the election results. Good numbers – and a rising stock market – presage a continuation of the party in power, while bad numbers – and a falling market – seem to forecast a turnover to the opposite party.

There seems to be enough motive to fudge the numbers. But, how do you fudge the non-farm payrolls number? People either are working or they’re not working.

One way is through the so-called Birth-Death Model. As the bean counters collect their data, they don’t actually count every single person and business in the country. Instead, they survey a sample – in statistics, a survey of a thousand can come surprisingly close to the results you would get if you counted the whole population.

From the results they get using just the sample, they project what the whole economy is. But the US Economy changes constantly. People leave jobs, and others get jobs. Businesses go out of business, while others start up.

To account for the changing landscape of US businesses, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses its Birth Death Model – they pick a number out of thin air, hoping the number is close – or at least believable. Here are the numbers for the last year or so:

Birth Death 080816

Since April 2015, only three times has the BLS said the Birth-Death Model called for a reduction of the official number, for a total of 280,000 jobs. Against that, there were 13 months of upward adjustments (guesses) for a total of 1,839,000 extra jobs, over and above what their actual survey results said there should be.

If we remove the Birth-Death adjustment for July, instead of beating the estimate by 75,000, it would have fallen short by 37,000. In my book, the numbers are bogus – politically motivated.

After all the hard work of collecting the actual data that the rank and file BLS (and other agency) employees do, their bosses make them look like criminals because of all the phonying up that the bosses do.

It likely will not happen ever, but I can dream that someday a new President will have the good sense to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of fraud at the BLS.

Markets Are Misreading the Data

By Graham Summers – Re-Blogged From Gains, Pains & Capital

The US markets are in a quandary.

On the one hand, some of the data (GDP growth, unemployment, etc.) suggests the Fed should continue to hike rates. On the other hand, other data points (food stamp usage, labor participation rate) suggest the US never actually entered a real recovery.

More importantly, how can the jobs data suggest such a strong employment situation… when one in seven Americans are on food stamps?

Let us, consider how the Labor Department calculates the unemployment numbers… those same numbers that the ENTIRE stock market reacts to every few weeks.

Every month, the US Government conducts a “Current Population Survey” through which it calls or visits 60,000 US households and asks them questions about their current employment or lack thereof. This usually occurs on the week of the month containing the 12th.

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Why The Bulls Will Get Slaughtered

By David Stockman – Re-Blogged From http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com

Well, they got that right. Detecting that “parts of the U.S. jobs report for January seem fishy”, MarketWatch offered this pictorial summary:

Needless to say, none of that stink was detected by Steve Liesman and his band of Jobs Friday half-wits who bloviate on bubblevision after each release. This time the BLS report actually showed the US economy lost 2.989 million jobs between December and January. Yet Moody’s Keynesian pitchman, Mark Zandi described it as “perfect”

Yes, the BLS always uses a big seasonal adjustment (SA) in January——so that’s how they got the positive headline number. But the point is that the seasonal adjustment factor for the month is so huge that the resulting month-over-month delta is inherently just plain noise.

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Newsflash From The December ‘Jobs’ Report—–The US Economy Is Dead In The Water

By David Stockman – Re-Blogged From David Stockman’s Contra Corner

Here’s a newsflash that CNBC didn’t mention. According to the BLS, the US economy generated a miniscule 11,000 jobs in the month of December.

Yet notwithstanding the fact that almost nobody works outdoors any more, the BLS fiction writers added 281,000 to their headline number to cover the “seasonal adjustment.” This is done on the apparent truism that December is generally colder than November and that workers get holiday vacations.

Of course, this December was much warmer, not colder, than average.  And that’s not the only deviation from normal seasonal trends.

The Christmas selling season this year, for example, was absolutely not comparable to the ghosts of Christmas past. Bricks and mortar retail is in turmoil and in secular decline due to Amazon and its e-commerce ilk, and this trend is accelerating by the year.

So too, energy and export based sectors have been thrown for a loop in the last few months by a surging dollar and collapsing commodity prices. Likewise, construction activity has been so weak in this cycle—-and for the good reason that both commercial and residential stock is vastly overbuilt owing to two decades of cheap credit—–that its not remotely comparable to historic patterns.

Never mind. The BLS always adds the same big dollop of jobs to the December establishment survey come hell or high water. In fact, the seasonal adjustment has averaged 320,000 for the last 12 years!

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Happy New Employment

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

As we are about to ring in the new year, we can give thanks for the “Full Employment” Economy. That big Thank You needs to go to the manipulators of the official statistics over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and elsewhere in our government.

It should be remembered that the Participation Rate among working age Americans is at a multi-generation record low. 10 Million Americans or more burned through over a year’s worth of unemployment benefits, and still could not find a job which payed more than Welfare and Food Stamps.

These people, who have given up hope, were re-defined out of the ranks of the officially unemployed. Too bad for them, but they no longer count – or rather no longer are being counted.

However, some people were able to find full time jobs, even if the skill level – and pay level – was far below what the had become accustomed to. Too bad for them, but having to accept half of what they used to be paid, doesn’t mean they are unemployed. Under-employed people don’t count – or don’t get counted by the BLS.

Some formerly unemployed Americans have accepted part-time jobs. Checking the official numbers, part-time positions have skyrocketed while full-time openings have plunged. (The surge in part-time vs full-time jobs must be one of the hidden “Benefits!” of ObamaCare.) But again, a job is a job, so no use complaining about it. And, no use expecting to be counted as unemployed.

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China’s Release of Its Peg

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Last year, in May, the US Dollar began to strengthen against most of the other currencies around the world. More correctly phrased, I believe, is that the other currencies fell against the Dollar, since the US government – running massive Balance of Payments deficits – and the US Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, continued to print paper Dollars with wild abandon.

As the Dollar became relatively more expensive – on average by 20%! – than the currencies of our trading partners, US exports became less competitive than previously, so our exports have fallen. Similarly, other countries’ exports to us – our imports – have fallen in price, and US imports are up dramatically.

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The Warren Buffett Economy——Why Its Days Are Numbered (Part 4)

By David Stockman – Re-Blogged From http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com

….As reviewed in Part 3, the very idea that 12 people sitting on the FOMC can adroitly manipulate an economic ether called “aggregate demand” by means of falsifying market interest rates is a bad joke when in it comes to that part of “potential GDP” comprised of goods production capacity. In today’s world of open trade and massive excess industrial capacity, the Fed can do exactly nothing to cause the domestic steel industry’s capacity utilization rate to be 90% or 65%.

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Stop Government Statistical Fraud

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The US Federal Government continues to release reports to the American people that either mislead or falsify the underlying data. This sorry state of affairs has been going on for generations, although it appears to have gotten worse – and blatantly so – during the reign of the current Administration.

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The CPI and The Dollar

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The Year-Over-Year rise in the official CPI has turned negative, while the ShadowStats versions, using the BLS calculation methodologies used in 1990 and 1980, still show positive if lowered price increase rates. The 1990 methodology shows prices 3 1/2 % higher than a year earlier, down from a 5 1/2 % rise last year from the previous 12 months. The 1980 methodology shows a slowing of consumer price hikes to about 5% (YOY) compared to the previous year’s 10% (YOY) rate.

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US Economic Headwind

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

Economic numbers released today show the US Economy contracting. But some of these numbers understate the damage.

One of the most important statistic is Unemployment. Government figures show that Initial Claims for Unemployment, and Continuing Claims, both were up – to 320,000 and 2,421,000 respectively. While single week changes certainly can’t demonstrate a trend, there has been a significant increase from just a couple of months ago.

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$15 Minimum Wage – Now?

cropped-bob-shapiro.jpg   By Bob Shapiro

The current US economic environment of continuing Great Recession makes me wonder what those pushing the $15 Minimum Wage are thinking. Here are a few of the numbers I see:

The BLS reported 321,000 new jobs in November. That sounds like good news, but since 317,000 old jobs were lost, there were only 4,000 more Americans working than in October. (Private firm ADP shows

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Data Driven or Driven Data

Peter-Schiff   By Peter Schiff

There can be little doubt that data releases rather than experience or intuition are driving the economic conversation. This is perhaps a function of the disconnection that many people feel about an economy that they no longer understand. Rather than trusting their own eyes or their own gut to form an opinion, it’s much easier to grab a set of convenient numbers. The big question then becomes what numbers you choose to look at and which you choose to ignore.

While there are a great many types of economic data releases, issued by a myriad of public and private sources, two reports have risen above the rest in importance: the

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