If You Think The Employment Numbers Are Good, Then You Really Need To Read This Article

Homeless Bill Needs Rich Woman Photo By Josh SwieringaDo you actually believe that the employment numbers are getting better?  Do you actually believe that there is a bright future ahead for American workers?  If so, then you really need to read this article.  The truth is that we are in the midst of the worst employment crisis since the Great Depression, and there has been absolutely no employment recovery.  In fact, the percentage of working age Americans that are employed is just about exactly where it was during the darkest days of the last recession.  But the mainstream media is not telling you this.  The mainstream media is instead focusing on the fact that the official “unemployment rate” declined from 7.6% in June to 7.4% in July.  That sounds like great news, but when you take a deeper look at the employment numbers some very disturbing trends emerge.

Over the past several years, almost the entire decline in the unemployment rate can be accounted for by people “leaving the workforce”.  The “unemployment rate” has not been going down because people are actually getting jobs.  Rather, the “unemployment rate” has been going down because the government has been pretending that millions upon millions of American workers simply do not want jobs anymore.  This is extremely misleading.

We are being told that 162,000 jobs were created in July.  Okay, so that is just barely enough to keep up with population growth, and most of the jobs that were created last month were part-time jobs.

Meanwhile, the jobs numbers for the two previous months were both revised down

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +195,000 to +176,000, and the change for June was revised from +195,000 to +188,000. With these revisions, employment gains in May and June combined were 26,000 less than previously reported.

Will this month eventually be revised down too?

When it comes to measuring employment in the United States, I believe that a much more accurate measurement than the highly manipulated “unemployment rate” is the civilian employment-population ratio.  This ratio tells us what percentage of working age Americans actually have a job.

Just prior to the last recession, about 63 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  During the recession, that number plunged dramatically and ultimately fell below 59 percent, and it has stayed below 59 percent for 47 months in a row

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

This is the first time in the post-World War II era that the employment-population ratio has not bounced back after a recession.

So there has not been an employment recovery.  Anyone that tells you that there has been an employment recovery is lying to you.

Since the end of 2009, we have been treading water at best.  But during that time, another disturbing trend has emerged.  Good paying full-time jobs are rapidly being replaced by low paying part-time jobs.

And this trend has definitely accelerated this year.  If you can believe it, an astounding 76.7 percent of the jobs that have been “created” in 2013 have been part-time jobs.

As I wrote about last month, the employment landscape in this country is fundamentally changing.  At this point, the number one employer in this country is Wal-Mart, and the number two employer in this country is a temp agency (Kelly Services).

This is a huge reason why the middle class is dying.  You simply can’t raise a family on a part-time income.

Our young adults are being hit particularly hard.  According to Gallup, the percentage of working age Americans under the age of 30 with a job fell from 47.0% in June 2012 to 43.6% in June 2013…

Fewer Americans aged 18 to 29 worked full time for an employer in June 2013 (43.6%) than did so in June 2012 (47.0%), according to Gallup’s Payroll to Population employment rate. The P2P rate for young adults is also down from 45.8% in June 2011 and 46.3% in June 2010.

When our young people get out of school and enter the real world, they are finding that “good jobs” are few and far between.  But unless our young people can find “breadwinner jobs”, they are not going to be able to get married, buy homes and raise families.

A lot of young people are doing their best, but things are really tough out there right now.  The lack of good jobs is the primary reason why families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

A lot of young adults are coping with this employment crisis by moving back in with their parents.  According to one recent study, 36 percent of all young adults in the 18 to 31 age bracket are currently living with their folks.

Are you starting to understand that our system is broken?

The quality of jobs in this country continues to steadily decline.  Just consider the following numbers from one of my previous articles

-The number of part-time workers in the United States has just hit a brand new all-time high, but the number of full-time workers is still nearly 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.

-In America today, only 47 percent of adults have a full-time job.

-At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

-An astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

And as I mentioned yesterday, until we have a jobs recovery there will be no housing recovery no matter how much the Federal Reserve tries to manipulate the system.

The mainstream media continues to insist that “things are looking up” for the housing market, and yet the home ownership rate in the United States is the lowest that it has been in 18 years.

In order for the middle class to thrive, people have got to be able to get good jobs and people have got to be able to buy homes.

Instead, the percentage of good jobs in our economy continues to shrink, the level of home ownership continues to decline, and less than half of all Americans now consider themselves to be middle class.

The next wave of the economic crisis has not even hit us yet, but we continue to see poverty rates soar all over the nation.  In fact, just this week there was an article about the tent cities that are starting to pop up all over New Jersey

Tent cities have popped up across New Jersey including the state’s poorest city.

Meg Baker chased the story of Camden’s tent city.  Residing off Route 38 at Wilson Boulevard under an overpass, through woods and down a path of trash lays a community of people living in tents.  This particular community was relocated from Federal Street and it’s inhabited by an array of people: addicts, people who have fallen on hard times and some with mental illness.

Baker took a tour of this run down community and the pictures show just how heart-wrenching this situation really is.  Among the homes are decomposing food, broken furniture, and feral cats.

This is supposed to be “the economic recovery”.

If things were going to get “better” it should have happened by now.

But things didn’t get better, and now the next wave of the economic crisis is rapidly approaching.

As I tried to explain the other day, the most important number in our economy is the yield on 10 year U.S. Treasuries.  As that number goes up, interest rates all over our economic system go up.  And much higher interest rates would be absolutely devastating for our economy.

Unfortunately, many analysts now believe that interest rates are going to go much, much higher than they are right now.  Just check out this excerpt from a recent CNBC article

The Federal Reserve will lose control of interest rates as the “great rotation” out of bonds into equities takes off in full force, according to one market watcher, who sees U.S. 10-year Treasury yields hitting 5-6 percent in the next 18-24 months.

“It is our opinion that interest rates have begun their assent, that the Fed will eventually lose control of interest rates. The yield curve will first steepen and then will shift, moving rates significantly higher,” said Mike Crofton, President and CEO, Philadelphia Trust Company told CNBC on Wednesday.

If interest rates do go that high, our economy simply will not be able to handle that.  It would cripple the finances of state and local governments all over the nation, it would absolutely crush the housing market, and it would cause a derivatives crisis unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

The smart money knows that rising interest rates spell big trouble and they are already pulling their money out of the market as a Bloomberg article recently detailed…

Private-equity managers from Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG) to Blackstone Group LP (BX), which made billions by buying low and selling high, say now is the time to exit investments as stocks rally and interest rates start to rise.

And Apollo Global Management LLC Chief Executive Officer Leon Black said the following back in April

“It’s almost biblical: there is a time to reap and there’s a time to sow,” Apollo (APO)’s Black said at a conference in April. “We think it’s a fabulous environment to be selling. We’re selling everything that’s not nailed down in our portfolio.”

The smart money is getting out while the getting is good.

They know that a storm is coming.

They know what higher interest rates will do to the economy.

As bad as the employment picture is right now, this is NOTHING compared to what is coming.

This is about as good as things are going to get.  It is all downhill from here.

So enjoy this false bubble of pseudo-prosperity while you still can.

When the next great wave of the economic crisis strikes, millions upon millions of Americans are going to lose their jobs and the official unemployment rate is going to soar well up into the double digits.

Will The New Housing Bubble That Bernanke Is Creating End As Badly As The Last One Did?

Will The New Housing Bubble Lead To Another Housing Crash?Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has done it.  He has succeeded in creating a new housing bubble.  By driving mortgage rates down to the lowest level in 100 years and recklessly printing money with wild abandon, Bernanke has been able to get housing prices to rebound a bit.  In fact, in some of the more prosperous areas of the country you would be tempted to think that it is 2005 all over again.  If you can believe it, in some areas of the country builders are actually holding lotteries to see who will get the chance to buy their homes.  Wow – that sounds great, right?  Unfortunately, this “housing recovery” is not based on solid economic fundamentals.  As you will see below, this is a recovery that is being led by investors.  They are paying cash for cheap properties that they believe will appreciate rapidly in the coming years.  Meanwhile, the homeownership rate in the United States continues to decline.  It is now the lowest that it has been since 1995.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  Number one, there has not been a jobs recovery in the United States.  The percentage of working age Americans with a job has not rebounded at all and is still about the exact same place where it was at the end of the last recession.  Secondly, crippling levels of student loan debt continue to drive down the percentage of young people that are buying homes.  So no, this is not a real housing recovery.  It is an investor-led recovery that is mostly limited to the more prosperous areas of the country.  For example, the median sale price of a home in Washington D.C. just hit a new all-time record high.  But this bubble will not last, and when this new housing bubble does burst, will it end as badly as the last one did?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has stated over and over that one of his main goals is to “support the housing market” (i.e. get housing prices to go up).  It took a while, but it looks like he is finally getting his wish.  According to USA Today, U.S. home prices have been rising at the fastest rate in nearly seven years…

U.S. home prices in the USA’s 20 biggest cities rose 9.3% in the 12 months ending in February. It was the biggest annual growth rates in almost seven years, a closely watched housing index out Tuesday said.

In particular, home prices have been rising most rapidly in cities that experienced a boom during the last housing bubble…

Year over year, Phoenix continued to stand out with a gain of 23%, followed by San Francisco at almost 19% and Las Vegas at nearly 18%, the S&P/Case-Shiller index showed. Most of the cities seeing the biggest gains also fell hardest during the crash.

But is this really a reason for celebration?  Instead of addressing the fundamental problems in our economy that caused the last housing crash, Bernanke has been seemingly obsessed with reinflating the housing bubble.  As a recent article by Edward Pinto explained, the housing market is being greatly manipulated by the government and by the Fed…

While a housing recovery of sorts has developed, it is by no means a normal one. The government continues to go to extraordinary lengths to prop up sales by guaranteeing nearly 90% of new mortgage debt, financing half of all home purchase mortgages to buyers with zero equity at closing, driving mortgage interest rates to the lowest level in 100 years, and turning the Fed into the world’s largest buyer of new mortgage debt.

Thus, with real incomes essentially stagnant, this is a market recovery largely driven by low interest rates and plentiful government financing. This is eerily familiar to the previous government policy-induced boom that went bust in 2006, and from which the country is still struggling to recover. Creating over a trillion dollars in additional home value out of thin air does sound like a variant of dropping money out of helicopters.

And the Obama administration has been pushing very hard to get lenders to give mortgages to those with “weaker credit”.  In other words, the government is once again trying to get the banks to give home loans to people that cannot afford them.  The following is from the Washington Post

The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place.

President Obama’s economic advisers and outside experts say the nation’s much-celebrated housing rebound is leaving too many people behind, including young people looking to buy their first homes and individuals with credit records weakened by the recession.

We are repeating so many of the same mistakes that we made the last time.

But surely things will turn out differently this time, right?

I wouldn’t count on it.

Right now, an increasingly large percentage of homes are being purchased as investments.  The following is from a recent Washington Times article…

Much of the pickup in sales and prices has been powered by investors who, convinced that the market is bottoming, are scooping up bountiful supplies of distressed and foreclosed properties at bargain prices and often paying with cash.

With investors targeting lower-priced homes that they intend to purchase and rent out, they have been crowding out many first-time buyers who are having difficulty getting mortgage loans and are at a disadvantage when competing with well-heeled buyers. Cash sales to investors now account for about one-third of all home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors.

And as we have seen in the past, an investor-led boom can turn into an investor-led bust very rapidly.

If this truly was a real housing recovery, the percentage of Americans that own a home would be going up.

Instead, it is going down.

As I mentioned above, the U.S. Census Bureau is reporting that the homeownership rate in the United States is now the lowest that it has been since 1995.

In particular, homeownership among college-educated young people is way down.  They can’t afford to buy homes due to crippling levels of student loan debt

For the average homeowner, the worst news is that these overleveraged and defaulting young borrowers no longer qualify for other kinds of loans — particularly home loans. In 2005, nearly nine percent of 25- to 30-year-olds with student debt were granted a mortgage. By late last year, that percentage, as an annual rate, was down to just above four percent.

The most precipitous drop was among those who owe $100,000 or more. New mortgages among these more deeply indebted borrowers have declined 10 percentage points, from above 16 percent in 2005 to a little more than 6 percent today.

“These are the people you’d expect to buy big houses,” said student loan expert Heather Jarvis. “They owe a lot because they have a lot of education. They have been through professional and graduate schools, but their payments are so significant, they have trouble getting a mortgage. They have mortgage-sized loans already.”

And the truth is that there simply are not enough good jobs in this country to support a housing recovery.  In a previous article, I used the government’s own statistics to prove that there has not been a jobs recovery.  If we were having a jobs recovery, the percentage of working age Americans with a job would be going up.  Sadly, that is not happening…

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

And as I mentioned above, the “housing recovery” is mostly happening in the prosperous areas of the country.

In other areas of the United States, the devastating results of the last housing crash are still clearly apparent.

For example, the city of Dayton, Ohio is dealing with an estimated 7,000 abandoned properties.

As I wrote about the other day, there are approximately 70,000 abandoned buildings in Detroit, Michigan.

And all over the nation there are still “ghost towns” that were created when builders abruptly abandoned housing developments during the last recession.  You can see some pictures of some of these ghost towns right here.

So the truth is that this is an isolated housing recovery that is being led by investors and that is being fueled by very reckless behavior by the Federal Reserve.  It is not based on economic reality whatsoever.

In the end, will the collapse of this new housing bubble be as bad as the collapse of the last one was?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job

More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job - Photo by Sage RossThe jobs recovery is a complete and total myth.  The percentage of the working age population in the United States that had a job in March 2013 was exactly the same as it was all the way back in March 2010.  In addition, as you will see below, there are now more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job.  But even though the employment level in the United States has consistently remained very low over the past three years, the Obama administration keeps telling us that unemployment is actually going down.  In fact, they tell us that the unemployment rate has declined from a peak of 10.0% all the way down to 7.6%.  And they tell us that in March the unemployment rate fell by 0.1% even though only 88,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy.  But it takes at least 125,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth.  So how in the world are they coming up with these numbers?  Well, the reality is that the entire decline in the unemployment rate over the past three years can be accounted for by the reduction in size of the labor force.  In other words, the Obama administration is getting unemployment to go down by pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans simply do not want jobs anymore.  We saw this once again in March.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 600,000 Americans dropped out of the labor market during that month alone.  That pushed the labor force participation rate down  to 63.3%, which is the lowest it has been in more than 30 years.  So please don’t believe the hype.  The sad truth is that there has been no jobs recovery whatsoever.

If things were getting better, there would not be more than 101 million working age Americans without a job.

So exactly where does that statistic come from?  Well, the following explains where I got that number…

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed.

In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”.  That is a new all-time record, and that number increased by a whopping 663,000 during the month of March alone.

When you add 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed to the 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”, you come up with a grand total of 101,709,000 working age Americans that do not have a job.

When you stop and think about it, that is an absolutely staggering statistic.

And anyone that tells you that “a higher percentage of Americans are working today” is telling you a complete and total lie.  During the last recession the percentage of working age Americans with a job fell dramatically, and since then we have not seen that number bounce back at all.  In fact, this is the very first time in the post-World War II era that we have not seen the employment-population ratio bounce back after a recession.  At this point, the employment-population ratio has been under 60 percent for 49 months in a row…

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

Since the end of 2009, the employment-population ratio has been remarkably steady.  Just check out these numbers…

March 2008: 62.7 percent

March 2009: 59.9 percent

March 2010: 58.5 percent

March 2011: 58.4 percent

March 2012: 58.5 percent

March 2013: 58.5 percent

We should be thankful that the percentage of working age Americans with a job did not continue to decline, but we should also be quite alarmed that it has not bounced back at all.

If there was going to be a recovery, there would have been one by now.  The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching, and that is going to push the employment-population ratio down even farther.

So why is the U.S. economy not producing as many jobs as it used to?  Well, certainly the overall decline of the economy has a lot to do with it.  We are a nation that is drowning in debt and that is getting poorer by the day.

But since the end of the last recession, corporate profits have bounced back in a big way and are now at an all-time high.  So you would figure that the big corporations should be able to hire a lot more workers by now.

Unfortunately, that is not the way things work anymore.  Big corporations are trying to minimize the number of expensive American workers that they have on their payrolls as much as possible these days.

One way that they are doing this is through the use of technology.  Thanks to robots, computers and other forms of technology, big corporations simply do not need as many human workers as they used to.  In future years, this trend is only going to accelerate.  I wrote about how this is changing the world of employment in one of my previous articles entitled “Rise Of The Droids: Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs?

Another way that big corporations are replacing expensive American workers is by shipping their jobs off to the other side of the globe.  Big corporations know that they can make bigger profits by making stuff in foreign countries where they can pay workers less than a dollar an hour with no benefits.  How in the world are American workers supposed to compete with that?

For much more on how U.S. jobs are being killed by offshoring, please see this article: “55 Reasons Why You Should Buy Products That Are Made In America“.

And of course immigration is having a dramatic impact on the labor market in some areas of the country as well.  Cheap labor has dramatically driven down wages in a lot of professions.  For example, once upon a time you could live a very nice middle class lifestyle as a roofer.  But now many roofers really struggle to make a living.

When you add everything up, it paints a very bleak picture for the future of the American worker.

The cost of living keeps rising much faster than wages do, and the competition for good jobs has become incredibly fierce.

Meanwhile, the government continues to make things even easier for those that are not working.  This has caused some Americans to give up completely and to be content with letting the government take care of them.  The following is from a recent article by Monty Pelerin

As we make it easier to get unemployment benefits for longer time periods, more people take advantage of the system. So too with food stamps and disability. All programs are at or near record levels in what is supposed to be four years into an economic recovery. For many, the benefits of becoming a government dependent exceed what they can earn. One study reported that a family of four, collecting all the benefits for which they were entitled, would have to earn $65,000 per annum to have the same after-tax purchasing power.

If you are a product of the government schools and are legal to work (i.e., have skills enough that you are affordable at the minimum wage or higher), at what point do you realize that there is no need to go through the hassle of actual work. You can live pretty well by staying home and taking advantage of the entitlements available to you. That is exactly what a larger and larger percentage of the population are realizing. In many cases, it is economically irrational to work.

This behavior creates a social pathology that only worsens over time. Kids learn from their parents that work is not necessary and the many ways to game the system. In this regard, look for this problem to become worse over time unless these programs are cut back.

In some areas of the country, it actually pays not to work very hard.  According to Gary Alexander, the Secretary of Public Welfare for the state of Pennsylvania, a “single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”

But the truth is that most Americans still want to work hard and would gladly take a good job if they could just find one.  The following is one example that was featured in a recent Fox News article

After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.

She’d already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn’t land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.

Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she’ll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.

“I’m not proud of it,” says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. “The only way I’m able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on.”

And that is how most Americans feel.

Most Americans do not want to be dependent on the government.

Most Americans want to work hard and take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, our economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for everyone and it never will again.

So there will continue to be millions upon millions of Americans that find that they cannot take care of themselves and their families without government assistance no matter how hard they try.

And this is just the beginning – things are going to get much worse during the next major wave of the economic collapse.

Yes, at the moment there are more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job, but that number is actually going to go much higher in the years ahead.  The anger and frustration caused by a lack of employment opportunities is going to shake this nation.

That is why it is important to try to become less dependent on your own job.  In this economic environment, a job can disappear at literally any moment.  Anything that you can do to become less dependent on the system would be a good thing.

Homeless Bill Needs Rich Woman Photo By Josh Swieringa

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!