Happy days are here again? On Friday, the mainstream media was buzzing with the news that the U.S. economy had added 255,000 jobs during the month of July. But as you will see below, the U.S. economy did not add 255,000 jobs during the month of July. In fact, without an extremely generous “seasonal adjustment”, the number of jobs added during the month of July would not have even kept up with population growth. But the pretend number sounds so much better than the real number, and so the pretend number is what is being promoted for public consumption.
Why doesn’t the government ever just tell us the plain facts? Unfortunately, we live at a time when “spin” is everything, and just about everyone in the mainstream media seemed quite pleased with the “good jobs report” on Friday. However, as Zero Hedge has pointed out, the truth is that the “unadjusted” numbers tell a very different story…
As Mitsubishi UFJ strategist John Herrmann wrote in a note shortly after the report, the “jobs headline overstates” strength of payrolls. He adds that the unadjusted data show a “middling report” that’s “nowhere as strong as the headline” and adds that private payrolls unadjusted +85k in July vs seasonally adjusted +217k.
In Herrmann’s view, the government applied a “very benign seasonal adjustment factor upon private payrolls to transform a soft private payroll gain into a strong gain.”
He did not provide a reason why the government would do that.
Every month, the U.S. economy must create at least 150,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth. According to the unadjusted numbers, we did not hit that threshold, and so the employment situation in this country actually got worse last month.
In America today, there are 7.8 million Americans that are considered to be officially unemployed, and another 94.3 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”.
When you add those two numbers together, you get a grand total of 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.
Rather than focusing on the headline “unemployment” figure, we get a much fairer look at the employment crisis in the United States when we examine the employment-population ratio. The following chart comes directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it shows that the percentage of Americans that are employed has never even come close to getting back to where it was just prior to the last recession…
Over the past couple of years we have seen a slight bump in this number, and that is good, but normally after a recession ends the employment-population ratio goes back to at least as high as it was before. Unfortunately, this has not happened after the last two recessions. The following comes from Wolf Richter…
The ratio always drops during recessions, but before 2001, it always climbed to higher highs during the recoveries. The 2001 recession and subsequent recovery changed this. For the first time, the ratio never fully recovered, never got even close to fully recovering. That was a new phenomenon: employment growth could no longer keep up with population growth.
When the Great Recession hit, the ratio plunged from its lower starting point at the fastest pace on record (going back to 1948). The Fed’s efforts were all focused exclusively on bailing out bondholders, re-inflating the stock market, re-inflating the housing market, and generally creating what had become the official Fed policy at the time, the Wealth Effect (here’s Bernanke himself explaining it). This has re-inflated asset prices – many of them way beyond their prior bubble peaks.
But the Fed’s astounding focus on capital accelerated the already changing dynamics of the economy, at the expense of labor.
Even the Wall Street Journal admits that we are in the weakest “economic recovery” since 1949, and now there are lots of signs that we have entered a brand new economic downturn. Here are just a few examples from Chad Shoop…
- Ford, GM and Chrysler — three of the U.S.’ largest auto companies — reported sales for July that missed estimates: down 3%, 1.9% and up 0.3%, respectively.
- Delta Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world, said revenue fell 7% in July as part of its monthly performance update.
- Macy’s, the biggest department store company, reported a decline in sales for July, leading to more aggressive markdowns and an industry-wide sell-off.
And lots of ominous signs continue to pop up on Wall Street as well. For one thing, the Libor rate has surged to the highest level since the last financial crisis. If you are not familiar with Libor, here is a pretty good explanation of it from Business Insider…
The Libor, or London Interbank Offered Rate, measures the interest rate at which banks lend to each other at different durations, and its sharp jump was a harbinger of the financial crisis.
And according to that same article, the Libor rate is now the highest that we have seen since early 2009…
In the past month, the Libor rate has spiked to rates not seen since the first quarter of 2009, the heart of the banking meltdown.
Not to mention, the spread between the Libor and the Overnight Index Swap rate, which tracks the lending rate from the Federal Reserve, has widened, another potentially worrying sign.
But of course I have been quoting facts and figures like this for months, and yet U.S. financial markets continue to hold it together.
There are literally dozens of parallels between the global financial crisis of 2008 and what is happening in 2016, but Wall Street continues to defy the laws of economics.
Of course it won’t last forever, but it certainly has been a sight to behold.
And I am certainly not alone in my analysis. As I noted the other day, DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach is entirely convinced that stocks “should be down massively”…
“The artist Christopher Wool has a word painting, ‘Sell the house, sell the car, sell the kids.’ That’s exactly how I feel – sell everything. Nothing here looks good,” Gundlach said in a telephone interview. “The stock markets should be down massively but investors seem to have been hypnotized that nothing can go wrong.”
For the moment, investors continue to pay extremely irrational prices for stocks, and the mainstream media is just giddy about the state of the economy.
So let us enjoy this very strange period of stability for however much longer it lasts, but let us also protect ourselves from the horrible crash that will inevitably follow.
If you were hungry enough, would you kill and eat zoo animals? To most of us such a notion sounds absolutely insane, but this is actually happening in Venezuela right now. This is a country where people are standing in lines for up to 12 hours hoping that there will be food to buy that day, and where rioting and looting have become commonplace. So even though the U.S. economy is in dreadful shape at this moment, we should be thankful for what we have, because at least we are not experiencing a full-blown economic collapse yet like Venezuela currently is.
Black stallions can be some of the most beautiful horses on the entire planet, but things are so desperate down in Venezuela this summer that everything looks like food to some people at this point. What happened at the Caricuao Zoo on Sunday is so horrible that I actually debated whether or not to share it with you. Desperate people do desperate things, and when people get hungry enough they will do things such as this…
Venezuela’s worsening food shortages had tragic consequences for a rare show horse last weekend, when a group of intruders broke into the zoo, pulled the black stallion from its cage, then slaughtered it for meat.
Prosecutors say the crime occurred in the small hours of Sunday morning at Caracas’ Caricuao Zoo, when “several people” sneaked into the state-run park under the cover of darkness and busted into the stallion’s pen. The horse, the only one of its kind in the zoo, was then led to a more secluded area and butchered on the spot. Only its head and ribs were left behind in a gruesome pile for zookeepers to find after sunrise.
Unfortunately, this precious animal was not even the first victim at that particular zoo.
A few weeks ago, pigs and sheep were the targets…
Sadly, this horse wasn’t the first zoo animal to suffer the effects of Venezuela’s crippling food shortages. Some Vietnamese pigs and sheep were reportedly stolen from the same zoo earlier this month.
Dozens of other zoo animals are slowing starving to death because there is no food available to give to them. In fact, it is being reported that at least 50 animals have died from lack of food at one zoo alone…
At least 50 animals have died in the last six months at the Caricuao zoo in Caracas, Venezuela, due to widespread food shortages that are affecting both man and beast in the socialist nation.
Marlene Sifontes, a union leader for employees of state parks agency Inparques which oversees zoos, told Reuters that the zoo lost Vietnamese pigs, tapirs, rabbits and birds after the animals went weeks without eating. Others animals at the zoo are in danger of severe malnutrition. Lions and tigers, which should be on a carnivorous diet, are being fed mango and pumpkin just to get something in their empty stomachs, while an elephant is being fed tropical fruit instead of its usual diet of hay, the union leader said. According to one report, the big cats are being fed slaughtered thoroughbred racehorses from a nearby race track.
If what you have just read hurts your heart, let us not forget that it is not just the animals that are suffering. There are millions of precious people down there that are living on the very edge of starvation as you read this article.
Earlier this year, one mayor came forward and admitted to the world that some people are so hungry that they are actually hunting “cats, dogs and pigeons” for food…
Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food.
Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a “painful reality” that people “hunt cats, dogs and pigeons” to ease their hunger. People are also reportedly gathering vegetables from the ground and trash to eat as well.
The crisis in Venezuela is worsening everyday due in part to shortages reaching 70 percent […] six Venezuelan military officials were arrested for stealing goats to ease their hunger, as there was no food at the Fort Manaure military base.
With each passing week, the situation in Venezuela keeps on getting worse.
And even though the United States has made many of the exact same mistakes that Venezuela has made, most of us just assume that what is happening down there could never happen up here.
After all, we have “the greatest economy in the world” and we are “the wealthiest nation on the entire planet”, right?
Well, actually our economic infrastructure has been systematically gutted by free trade deals and we consume far more wealth than we produce. We have artificially pumped up our standard of living by adding more than 1.1 trillion dollars a year to the national debt since Barack Obama has been in the White House, and one recent poll discovered that 62 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 saved up.
But don’t worry. Instead of turning out like Venezuela, the mainstream media insists that the best days for America are right around the corner.
In fact, just today I came across a Business Insider article that insisted that soon our biggest economic problem will be that we won’t be able to find enough workers.
And Barbra Streisand is so thrilled that Hillary Clinton is going to be our next president that she launched into a rousing rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again” as she kicked off her farewell tour in Los Angeles. The following account comes from the Drudge Report…
So long sad times
Go along bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again…
Streisand suddenly interrupted the lyric, realizing a Democrat was currently in the White House!
“By the way, I love Obama.”
Altogether shout it now
There’s no one
Who can doubt it now
So let’s tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again
So what is the truth?
Are we going to end up just like Venezuela, or are happy days here once more?
Unfortunately, I have a feeling that we are not going to have to wait too long to find out…
Most of us have never witnessed an economic “recovery” this bad. As you will see below, the average rate of economic growth since the last recession has been the lowest for any “recovery” in at least 67 years. And unfortunately, the economy appears to be slowing down even more here in 2016. On Friday, I talked about how the U.S. economy grew at a painfully slow rate of just 1.2 percent in the second quarter after only growing 0.8 percent during the first quarter. And last week we also learned that the homeownership rate in the United States has dropped to the lowest level ever. This is not what a recovery looks like. Instead, it very much appears that a new economic downturn has already begun.
But don’t just take my word for how painful this economic “recovery” has been. The following comes from a Wall Street Journal article that was just posted entitled “Seven Years Later, Recovery Remains the Weakest of the Post-World War II Era“…
Even seven years after the recession ended, the current stretch of economic gains has yielded less growth than much shorter business cycles.
In terms of average annual growth, the pace of this expansion has been by far the weakest of any since 1949. (And for which we have quarterly data.) The economy has grown at a 2.1% annual rate since the U.S. recovery began in mid-2009, according to gross-domestic-product data the Commerce Department released Friday.
The prior expansion, from 2001 through 2007, was the only other business cycle of the past 11 when the economy didn’t grow at least 3% a year, on average.
This entire seven year stretch has come while Barack Obama has been in the White House. After more than seven and a half years, he is solidly on track to be the only president in U.S. history to never have a single year when the U.S. economy grew by at least three percent.
And unlike many presidents, he has had two terms in which to try to accomplish that feat.
One of the industries that had been doing fairly well during this recovery was the auto industry, but now in early 2016 they have found themselves struggling too…
Now, the auto sector, which has propped up GDP growth for years, is slowing down. For the first six months, total car and light truck sales, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.5 million vehicles, are lagging behind last year by 100,000 units. Over the first half, fleet sales to rent-a-car companies and big fleet buyers were up industry wide. But retail sales fell 2%.
All over the corporate world, earnings are down.
In some cases, they are way down.
It is being projected that this will be the fifth quarter in a row when corporate earnings have declined, and even mainstream analysts are now admitting that it is “evident” that we have entered “a global slowdown”…
“Earnings season in the U.S. confirms the overall macro picture that we have. We have a global slowdown. It’s evident in all of the major economies,” said Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, on a Bloomberg podcast.
Of course I have been saying this exact thing for the past 12 months, but a lot of people have tuned me out because the stock market in the United States has been doing so well.
But the stock market is not an accurate barometer for the real economy. It never has been, and it never will be.
If stocks accurately reflected the health of the U.S. economy, they would have already crashed really hard a long time ago. At this moment, stock prices are completely disconnected from economic reality, and this has many of the most respected names on Wall Street scratching their heads. One of them is Jeffrey Gundlach, the chief executive of DoubleLine Capital. Just check out what he told Reuters on Friday…
Noting the recent run-up in the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index while economic growth remains weak and corporate earnings are stagnant, Gundlach said stock investors have entered a “world of uber complacency.”
The S&P 500 on Friday touched an all-time high of 2,177.09, while the government reported that U.S. gross domestic product in the second quarter grew at a meager 1.2 percent rate.
“The artist Christopher Wool has a word painting, ‘Sell the house, sell the car, sell the kids.’ That’s exactly how I feel – sell everything. Nothing here looks good,” Gundlach said in a telephone interview. “The stock markets should be down massively but investors seem to have been hypnotized that nothing can go wrong.”
If you follow Gundlach, you probably already know that he has been dead on accurate with regard to the financial markets over the past couple of years.
So when he says that the stock market “should be down massively” and that it is time to “sell everything”, we should all take him very, very seriously.
All throughout history, a huge decline in corporate earnings has almost always resulted in a huge decline in stock prices. As Jesse Felder has noted, “we have never seen a decline in earnings of this magnitude without at least a 20% fall in stock prices” during the last 50 years.
To any rational observer, it is quite obvious that stock prices should have already started collapsing quite some time ago.
And to a large extent this has already happened around the planet, but here in the United States stocks continue to defy the laws of economics.
But at this point it isn’t going to do much good to warn people about this. Those that could see the danger coming have already pulled their money out of stocks, and most of those that want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that things are somehow going to be different this time are not likely to be persuaded this late in the game.
In the end, we should all be grateful that this absurd financial bubble has lasted for as long as it has, because stability is much more pleasant than instability. The U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system have enjoyed a prolonged period of stability that has defied all the odds, and let us hope that it lasts for at least a little while longer…
We just got another extremely disappointing GDP number. It was being projected that U.S. GDP would grow by 2.5 percent during the second quarter of 2016, but instead it only grew by just 1.2 percent. In addition, the Census Bureau announced that GDP growth for the first quarter of 2016 had been revised down from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent. What this means is that the U.S. economy is just barely hanging on by its fingernails from falling into a recession. As Zero Hedge has pointed out, the “average annual growth rate during the current business cycle remains the weakest of any expansion since at least 1949″. This is not what a recovery looks like.
In addition, Barack Obama remains solidly on track to be the only president in all of U.S. history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent. Every other president in American history, even the really bad ones, had at least one year when U.S. GDP grew by at least 3 percent. But this has not happened under Obama even though he has had two terms in the White House.
The following are the yearly GDP growth numbers under Obama. They come directly from the official website of the World Bank…
2009: -2.8 percent
2010: 2.5 percent
2011: 1.6 percent
2012: 2.2 percent
2013: 1.5 percent
2014: 2.4 percent
2015: 2.4 percent
Does that look like a “recovery” to you?
Of course not.
And many are anticipating that this latest extremely disappointing GDP number will discourage the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates any time in the near future…
The disappointing report could keep the Federal Reserve on hold longer as it considers another interest rate hike. The Fed lifted its key rate in December for the first time in nine years but has held it steady since.
According to the pundits in the mainstream media, this was supposed to be the year when the U.S. economy finally returned to “normal”, but that has not happened at all. In fact, in recent days we have gotten a spate of bad news about the economy. We just learned that the homeownership rate in the United States has hit the lowest level ever, and Gallup’s U.S. economic confidence index has fallen to the lowest level so far this year.
With the election coming up rapidly, this is the kind of news that Hillary Clinton definitely does not need. She needs to be able to sell the American people on the idea that the Obama years have been very good for the U.S. economy. If things take a sharp turn down in the coming months, that may be enough to cost her the election.
So far, Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda has not received that much scrutiny, but the truth is that she hopes to increase taxes in a whole bunch of ways which would be very harmful for the economy. The following comes from an excellent piece by John Kartch and Alexander Hendrie…
Hillary has endorsed several tax increases on middle income Americans, despite her pledge not to raise taxes on any American making less than $250,000. She has said she would be fine with a payroll tax hike on all Americans, she has endorsed a steep soda tax, endorsed a 25% national gun tax, and most recently, her campaign manager John Podesta said she would be open to a carbon tax. It’s no wonder that when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if her pledge was a “rock-solid” promise, she slipped and said the pledge was merely a “goal.” In other words, she’s going to raise taxes on middle income Americans.
Hillary’s formally proposed $1 trillion net tax increase consists of the following:
Income Tax Increase – $350 Billion: Clinton has proposed a $350 billion income tax hike in the form of a 28 percent cap on itemized deductions.
Business Tax Increase — $275 Billion: Clinton has called for a tax hike of at least $275 billion through undefined business tax reform, as described in a Clinton campaign document.
“Fairness” Tax Increase — $400 Billion: According to her published plan, Clinton has called for a tax increase of “between $400 and $500 billion” by “restoring basic fairness to our tax code.” These proposals include a “fair share surcharge,” the taxing of carried interest capital gains as ordinary income, and a hike in the Death Tax.
Taxes tend to be a pet peeve of mine, so looking at that list of proposed taxes definitely makes me cringe.
If Donald Trump wants to hit the Democrats really hard on the economy, all he has to do is point out the fact that Barack Obama is going to be the only president in American history to never see 3 percent economic growth for an entire year, and he had two entire terms in which to try to turn things in a positive direction.
Sadly, things are very likely going to be worse for the economy no matter who wins the election. Under Obama, our national debt, our trade deficit, and most of our other long-term economic problems have gotten much, much worse, and so the table is set for a major economic disaster during the next presidential administration.
And if what I have to share about the future of America in my new book is correct, we are definitely moving into a “perfect storm” that will not just be economic in nature. The things that are coming are going to shake this nation to the very core, and I believe that we will soon face the consequences for decades of exceedingly foolish decisions.
So in the end, we may look back and long for the days of 1.2 percent economic growth, because what is on the horizon is going to make that look like a Sunday picnic.
This is exactly what we have been expecting to happen. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. economy only added 38,000 jobs in May. This was way below the 158,000 jobs that analysts were projecting, and it is also way below what is needed just to keep up with population growth. In addition, the number of jobs created in April was revised down by 37,000 and the number of jobs created in March was revised down by 22,000. This was the worst jobs report in almost six years, and the consensus on Wall Street is that it was an unmitigated disaster.
The funny thing is that the Obama administration says that the unemployment rate actually went down last month. Almost every month since Obama has been in the White House, large numbers of Americans that have been unemployed for a very long time are shifted from the “unemployment” category to the “not in the labor force” category. This has resulted in a steadily falling “unemployment rate” even though the percentage of the population that is actually working has not changed very much at all since the depths of the last recession.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the number of Americans “not in the labor force” increased by 664,000 from April to May. If you believe that, I have a giant bridge on the west coast that I would like to sell you. The labor force participation rate is now down to 62.6, and it is hovering just above a 38 year low.
When you add the number of working age Americans that are “officially unemployed” (7.4 million) to the number of working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force” (an all-time record high of 94.7 million), you get a grand total of 102.1 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.
This is not a game.
So far in 2016, three members of my own extended family have lost their jobs.
According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, layoffs at major firms are running 24 percent higher up to this point in 2016 than they were during the same time period in 2015.
It was only a matter of time before those layoffs started showing up in the official employment numbers, and I fully expect that this trend will accelerate in the months ahead.
And here are some other brand new numbers for you to consider…
-Since Barack Obama entered the White House, 14,179,000 Americans have “left the labor force” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
-The quality of our jobs continues to deteriorate. In May, 59,000 full-time jobs were lost, but 118,000 part-time jobs were gained.
-Since September 2014, 207,000 mining jobs have been lost.
-We just learned that U.S. factory orders have declined once again. This marks the 18th month in a row that this has taken place, and we have never seen such an extended decline outside of a major recession.
-JPMorgan’s “recession indicators” have just soared to the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.
Needless to say, the financial community is pretty horrified by all of this news. They were expecting a much better jobs report, and many of them are not hiding their disappointment. Here is one example from the Wall Street Journal…
“This was an unqualified dud of a jobs report,” said Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, noting “the unemployment rate fell, but for the wrong reason as labor force participation declined for the second consecutive month.”
And here is another example that comes from David Donabedian, the chief investment officer at Atlantic Trust Wealth Management…
“We can’t find a positive nugget in today’s job report. If we were looking for signs of strength in this report, there is nothing to hang onto here.”
But of course the mainstream media is doing their best to put a positive spin on these numbers. For instance, CNN just published a laughable article entitled “America’s economy is stronger than weak jobs report“.
And the White House insists that this new employment report really isn’t that big of a deal…
The White House doesn’t get “too disappointed” over the number of unemployed and underemployed Americans.
“I’ve been reacting to jobs numbers here at the White House for more than seven years, and what is true today has been true in the past, which is, we don’t get too excited when jobs numbers are better than expected and we don’t get too disappointed when jobs numbers one-month are lower than expected,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told CNBC.
But of course the truth is that it is a really big deal. We just received major confirmation that the U.S. economy has slipped into recession mode.
For months, I have been writing about how virtually every other indicator has been screaming that a new economic crisis had already begun.
But the employment numbers had remained fairly decent up until now. Employment is typically considered to be a “lagging indicator”, which means that it isn’t one of the first places we would expect to see signs of a recession show up. However, it is inevitable that the official unemployment numbers will reflect an economic downturn eventually, and that is what we are starting to see now.
What this means is that you probably have even less time to get prepared for what is ahead than you may have originally thought.
The U.S. economy has already entered the early chapters of the next great economic crisis, and most of the population is going to be caught totally off guard and will suffer tremendously.
If our leaders had made better decisions since the last crisis, things could have turned out differently. But instead, they continued to conduct business as usual, and now we will reap what they have sown.
*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*
We have seen this story before, and it never ends well. From mid-March until early May 2008, a vigorous stock market rally convinced many investors that the market turmoil of late 2007 and early 2008 was over and that happy days were ahead for the U.S. economy. But of course we all know what happened. It turned out that the market downturns of late 2007 and early 2008 were just “foreshocks” of a much greater crash in late 2008. The market surge in the spring of 2008 was just a mirage, and it masked rapidly declining economic fundamentals. Well, the exact same thing is happening right now. The Dow rose another 222 points on Tuesday, but meanwhile virtually every number that we are getting is just screaming that the overall U.S. economy is steadily falling apart. So don’t be fooled by a rising stock market. Just like in the spring of 2008, all of the signs are pointing to an avalanche of bad economic news in the months ahead. The following are 11 signs that the U.S. economy is rapidly deteriorating…
#1 Total business sales have been declining for nearly two years, and they are now about 15 percent lower than they were in late 2014.
#2 The inventory to sales ratio is now back to near where it was during the depths of the last recession. This means that there is lots and lots of unsold stuff just sitting around out there, and that is a sign of a very unhealthy economy.
#3 Corporate earnings have declined for four consecutive quarters. This never happens outside of a recession.
#4 Profits for companies listed on the S&P 500 were down 7.1 percent during the first quarter of 2016 when compared to the same time period a year ago.
#5 In April, commercial bankruptcies were up 32 percent on a year over year basis, and Chapter 11 filings were up 67 percent on a year over year basis. This is exactly the kind of spike that we witnessed during the initial stages of the last major financial crisis as well.
#6 U.S. rail traffic was 11 percent lower last month than it was during the same month in 2015. Right now there are 292 Union Pacific engines sitting idle in the middle of the Arizona desert because there is literally nothing for them to do.
#7 The U.S. economy has lost an astounding 191,000 mining jobs since September 2014. For areas of the country that are heavily dependent on mining, this has been absolutely devastating.
#8 According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, U.S. firms announced 35 percent more job cuts during April than they did in March. This indicates that our employment problems are accelerating.
#9 So far this year, job cut announcements are running 24 percent above the exact same period in 2015.
#10 U.S. GDP grew at just a 0.5 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2016. This was the third time in a row that the GDP number has declined compared to the previous quarter, and let us not forget that the formula for calculating GDP was changed last year specifically to make the first quarter of each year look better. Without that “adjustment”, it is quite possible that we would have had a negative number for the first quarter.
#11 Barack Obama is poised to become the first president in U.S. history to never have a single year during his time in office when the economy grew by more than 3 percent.
But you never hear Obama talk about that statistic, do you?
And the mainstream media loves to point the blame at just about anyone else. In fact, the Washington Post just came out with an article that is claiming that the big problem with the economy is the fact that U.S. consumers are saving too much money…
The surge in saving is the real drag on the economy. It has many causes. “People got a cruel lesson about [the dangers] of debt,” says economist Matthew Shapiro of the University of Michigan. Households also save more to replace the losses suffered on homes and stocks. But much saving is precautionary: Having once assumed that a financial crisis of the 2008-2009 variety could never happen, people now save to protect themselves against the unknown. Research by economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics finds higher saving at all income levels.
So even though half the country is flat broke, I guess we are all supposed to do our patriotic duty by going out and running up huge balances on our credit cards.
What a joke.
Of course the U.S. economy is actually doing significantly better at the moment than almost everywhere else on the planet. Many areas of South America have already plunged into an economic depression, major banks all over Europe are in the process of completely melting down, Japanese GDP has gone negative again despite all of their emergency measures, and Chinese stocks are down more than 40 percent since the peak of the market.
This is a global economic slowdown, and just like in 2008 it is only a matter of time before the financial markets catch up with reality. I really like how Andrew Lapthorne put it recently…
On the more bearish slant is Andrew Lapthorne, head of quantitative strategy at Societe Generale. To him this profit downturn is a sign that stocks are far too overvalued and the economy is weaker than you think.
“MSCI World EPS is now declining at the fastest pace since 2009, losing 4% in the last couple of months alone (this despite stronger oil prices),” wrote Lapthorne in a note. For the S&P 500 specifically, the year on year drop in profit drop was the most since third quarter of 2009.
“Global earnings are now 14% off the peak set in August 2014 and back to where they stood five years ago. Equity prices on the other hand are 25% higher. Gravity beckons!”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Look, this is not a game.
So far in 2016, three members of my own extended family have lost their jobs. Businesses are going under at a pace that we haven’t seen since 2008, and this means that more mass layoffs are on the way.
We can certainly be happy that U.S. stocks are doing okay for the moment. May it stay that way for as long as possible. But anyone that believes that this state of affairs can last indefinitely is just being delusional.
Gravity beckons, and the crash that is to come is going to be a great sight to behold.
Should we be alarmed that the number of job cuts announced by large U.S. companies was 35 percent higher in April than it was in March? This is definitely a case where the trend is not our friend. According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, U.S. firms announced 65,141 job cuts during April, which represented a massive 35 percent increase over the previous month. And so far this year overall, job cut announcements are running 24 percent higher than for the exact same period in 2015. Meanwhile, on Thursday we learned that initial claims for unemployment benefits shot up dramatically last week. In fact, the jump of 17,000 was the largest increase that we have seen in over a year. Of course the U.S. economy has been slowing down for quite a while now, and many have been wondering when we would begin to see that slowdown reflected in the employment numbers. Well, that day has now arrived.
At this point, U.S. firms are laying off people at a rate that we have not seen since the last financial crisis. Here is what Zero Hedge had to say about these latest numbers…
While one can debate the veracity of the BLS’ seasonally adjusted data, one thing is certain: when a company announces it will layoff thousands, it will. So for all those who suggest that all is well with the US jobs picture based on initial claims reports, here is the latest report from Challenger according to which the pace of downsizing increased in April jumped by 35% to 65,141 during the month of April, from the 48,207 layoff announcements in March.
Looking further back, in the first four months of 2016, employers have announced a total of 250,061 planned job cuts, up 24% from the 201,796 job cuts tracked during the same period a year ago. This represents the highest January-April total since 2009, when the opening four months of the year saw 695,100 job cuts in the aftermath of the biggest financial crisis in modern history.
So what is causing this?
Why are firms laying off so many people all of a sudden?
My readers are very well aware of the pain that the energy industry is experiencing at the moment, but surprisingly it was not the energy industry that announced the most job cuts in April…
Computer firms announced 16,923 job cuts during the month; the highest total among all industries. That total includes 12,000 from chipmaker Intel, which is shifting away from the traditional desktop and laptop market and toward the mobile market. To date, computer firms have announced 33,925 job cuts, up 262 percent from a year ago, when job cuts in the sector totaled just 9,368 through the first four months of the year.
Yes, the U.S. energy industry has lost well over 100,000 good paying jobs since the beginning of last year, but the downturn is so much broader than that. All over America corporate earnings are down, and when earnings fall it is inevitable that layoffs will follow.
As I have written about previously, earnings for companies listed on the S&P 500 have fallen a total of 18.5 percent from their peak in late 2014, and it was being projected that corporate earnings overall would be down 8.5 percent for the first quarter of 2016 compared to the same period a year ago.
And in the chart that I have posted below, you can see that corporate profits after tax have been falling precipitously since peaking in mid-2015…
As this new economic downturn intensifies, the layoffs will accelerate.
In plain English, that means that a whole lot more people will be losing their jobs.
Unfortunately, a very large percentage of Americans didn’t learn anything from the last crisis and are living on the financial edge. In fact, the Federal Reserve says that 47 percent of all Americans cannot even pay an unexpected $400 emergency room bill without borrowing the money or selling something.
So just like back in 2008, we are going to see huge numbers of people unable to pay their bills when they lose their jobs. Foreclosures are going to skyrocket, and lots and lots of families are going to be put out into the street.
This is why I have been preaching the importance of having an emergency fund for years. It is absolutely imperative to have an emergency fund that can cover your bills for at least six months in the event that there is a job loss or some other sort of major disaster strikes.
If you have not done this already, you are probably already too late.
The cold, hard reality of the matter is that it would take most families quite a while to save up a six month emergency fund if they are starting from zero.
So if you are in this position and you lose your job, you may have to move in with family or friends when your money runs out.
I don’t mean to be cold, but this is the situation that we are facing. The next employment crisis is already here, and it is going to get much, much worse. No matter who becomes “the next president”, job cuts are going to accelerate and good jobs are going to become exceedingly difficult to find.
I am certainly not advocating that anyone give up. If you still have a good job for the moment, tighten your belt and use this time to feverishly prepare the very best that you can.
Sadly, tens of millions of Americans believed that this bubble of false prosperity would keep on rolling, and so they wasted immense amounts of precious time and resources. Now the day of reckoning is here, and vast numbers of our fellow citizens are going to discover the horror of being unprepared.