Post Tagged with: "Labor Market"
According to the conventional wisdom, data released this morning should be taken as an encouraging sign for the labor market
The Federal Reserve’s FOMC Statement transcript, January 25,
Get Protected As A Slowing U.S. Economic Recovery Faces Strong Headwinds In 2011 (PSLV, TBT, TLT, AGQ, SPY, DIA, JNK, GLD, SLV, SU)
Kerri Shannon: The U.S. economic recovery has been heading upward, but high unemployment and rising energy prices will weigh heavily on consumers and slow U.S. growth.(…)Read the rest of Get Protected As A Slowing U.S. Economic Recovery Faces Strong Headwinds In 2011 (PSLV, TBT, TLT, AGQ, SPY, DIA, JNK, GLD, SLV, SU)
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Ping-Pong Seasonal Madness In Weekly Jobs Claims; How to Predict Whether the 4-Week Moving Average Will Rise or Fall
Courtesy of Mish
Weekly unemployment claims have been all over the map recently. Here are the seasonally-adjusted Weekly Unemployment Claims totals for the last 5 weeks.
Jan 27, 454,000
Jan 20, 403,000
Jan 13, 447,000
Jan 06, 411,000
Dec 30, 388,000
The first three numbers above are from the current report. I calculated the January 6, number. The December 30 number is from the archives.
The reported seasonally-adjusted number on January 6 reporting was 409,000. It was revised up but no one saw that revision.
The reason no one can easily spot revisions is the weekly report only gives the latest 3 weeks. I calculated January 6th number from the 4-week moving average, now reported as 428,750.
A similar calculation looking at the January 20 Weekly Claims Report shows that December 30, was revised up from 388,000 to 391,000. These are small revisions but even large ones would be hard to spot if you do did not do the math or go to the archives.
Computing the Missing Number and Hidden Revisions
The 4-week moving average is constructed from the current 4 weeks. However the report only shows 3 weeks. To compute the week not shown, take the 4-week moving average (SA) and multiply by 4. Subtract the last three weeks shown on the report. What remains is the hidden 4th week used to compute the 4-week moving average.
Moreover, the difference between that number and was was originally reported for that number is a hidden revision.
Gaming the 4-Week Moving Average
If you want to pace a bet on whether the 4-week moving average will rise or fall, you need to know the number to beat and how to calculate it.
The number to beat is the missing number (as described above), about to roll off. In this case, 411,000.
Assuming no revisions, a number higher than 411,000 will cause next week’s 4-week moving average to rise. A number below 411,000 will cause next week’s 4-week moving average to drop.
My guess is the 4-week moving average will rise next week and fall the following week when the January 13 of 447,000 rolls off the report.
Clearly, if you are attempting to predict such numbers, it is critical to look at the number about to roll off.
What’s With The Ping-Pong?
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
I wish I could say that I am surprised that Ben Bernanke’s policies are failing, but quite frankly nothing this Fed does ceases to amaze me any longer. His latest folly of QE2 is having profound effects already and it hasn’t even started yet! Unfortunately, it is having its impacts in all the wrong places. The other day, Richard Fisher remarked:
“In my darkest moments, I have begun to wonder if the monetary accommodation we have already engineered might even be working in the wrong places.”
Welcome to your darkest moments Mr. Fisher. The one thing we can positively confirm about QE2 is that it has not created one single job. But what has it done? It has caused commodities and input prices to skyrocket in recent months. Reference these 10 week moves that have resulted in the Fed already causing “mini bubbles” in various markets:
- Cotton +48%
- Sugar +48%
- Soybeans +20%
- Rice +27%
- Coffee +18%
- Oats +22%
- Copper +17%
Of course, these are all inputs costs for the corporations that have desperately cut costs to try to maintain their margins. With very weak end demand the likelihood that these costs will be passed along to the consumer is extremely low. What does this mean? It means the Fed is unintentionally hurting corporate margins. And that means the Fed is unintentionally hurting the likelihood of a recovery in the labor market.
Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY at CounterPunch
The economy has gone from bad to worse. On Friday the Commerce Department reported that GDP had slipped from 3.7% to 2.4% in one quarter. Now that depleted stockpiles have been rebuilt and fiscal stimulus is running out, activity will continue to sputter increasing the likelihood of a double dip recession. Consumer credit and spending have taken a sharp downturn and data released on Tuesday show that the personal savings rate has soared to 6.4%. Mushrooming savings indicate that household deleveraging is ongoing which will reduce spending and further exacerbate the second-half slowdown. The jobs situation is equally grim; 8 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of the recession, but policymakers on Capital Hill and at the Fed refuse to initiate government programs or provide funding that will put the country back to work. Long-term "structural" unemployment is here to stay.
The stock market has continued its highwire act due to corporate earnings reports that surprised to the upside. 75% of S&P companies beat analysts estimates which helped send shares higher on low volume. Corporate profits increased but revenues fell; companies laid off workers and trimmed expenses to fatten the bottom line. Profitability has been maintained even though the overall size of the pie has shrunk. Stocks rallied on what is essentially bad news.
This is from ABC News:
"Consumer confidence matched its low for the year this week, with the ABC News Consumer Comfort Index extending a steep 9-point, six-week drop from what had been its 2010 high….The weekly index, based on Americans’ views of the national economy, the buying climate and their personal finances, stands at -50 on its scale of +100 to -100, just 4 points from its lowest on record in nearly 25 years of weekly polls…It’s in effect the death zone for consumer sentiment."
Consumer confidence has plunged due to persistent high unemployment, flat-lining personal incomes, and falling home prices. Ordinary working people do not care about the budget deficits; that’s a myth propagated by the right wing think tanks. They care about jobs, wages, and providing for their families. Congress’s unwillingness to address the problems that face the middle class has led to an erosion of confidence in government. This is from the Wall Street Journal:
Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist
It’s becoming more and more clear that the government has failed in its efforts to create a sustainable private sector recovery. The monetarist bank bailout has failed to create the economic recovery that Ben & Co. said it would generate. This morning’s job’s data is just one more piece of evidence that shows the private sector remains weak at best. We’re now almost two years since the peak in the credit crisis and the greatest government intervention in US history and we can’t even generate 100K+ jobs at the private sector level per month. Via the AP:
“Private employers added new workers at a weak pace for the third straight month, making it more likely economic growth will slow in the coming months.The Labor Department says companies added a net total of 71,000 jobs in July, far below the roughly 200,000 needed each month to reduce the unemployment rate. The jobless rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent.
Overall, the economy lost a net total of 131,000 jobs last month, as 143,000 temporary census jobs ended.
The department also says businesses hired fewer workers in June than it previously estimated. July’s private sector job gains were revised down to 31,000 from 83,000. May was revised up slightly to show 51,000 net new jobs, from 33,000.”
It would be unwise to overreact to this news, but it’s certainly disheartening for those who are looking for a job or those who are looking for an economic recovery to actually materialize. The duration of this recession in the labor market is truly depressing.
(image via chart of the day)
Courtesy of MIKE WHITNEY writing at CounterPunch
On Tuesday, the 30-year fixed rate for mortgages plunged to an all-time low of 4.56 per cent. Rates are falling because investors are still moving into risk-free liquid assets, like Treasuries. It’s a sign of panic and the Fed’s lame policy response has done nothing to sooth the public’s fears. The flight-to-safety continues a full two years after Lehman Bros blew up.
Housing demand has fallen off a cliff in spite of the historic low rates. Purchases of new and existing homes are roughly 25 per cent of what they were at peak in 2006. Case/Schiller reported on Monday that June new homes sales were the "worst on record", but the media twisted the story to create the impression that sales were actually improving! Here are a few of Monday’s misleading headlines: "New Home Sales Bounce Back in June"–Los Angeles Times. "Builders Lifted by June New-home Sales", Marketwatch. "New Home Sales Rebound 24 per cent", CNN. "June Sales of New Homes Climb more than Forecast", Bloomberg.
The media’s lies are only adding to the sense of uncertainty. When uncertainty grows, long-term expectations change and investment nosedives. Lying has an adverse effect on consumer confidence and, thus, on demand. This is from Bloomberg:
The Conference Board’s confidence index dropped to a 5-month low of 50.4 from 54.3 in June. According to Bloomberg News:
"Sentiment may be slow to improve until companies start adding to payrolls at a faster rate, and the Federal Reserve projects unemployment will take time to decline. Today’s figures showed income expectations at their lowest point in more than a year, posing a risk for consumer spending that accounts for 70 per cent of the economy.
“Consumers’ faith in the economic recovery is failing,” said guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia, whose forecast of 50.3 for the confidence index was the closest among economists surveyed by Bloomberg. “The job market is slow and volatile, and it’ll be 2013 before we see any semblance of normality in the labor market." (Bloomberg)
Confidence is falling because unemployment is soaring, because the media is lying, and because the Fed’s monetary policy has failed. Notice that Bloomberg does not mention consumer worries over "curbing the deficits". In truth, the public has only a passing interest in the large deficits. It’s a fictitious problem invented by rich corporatists (and their think tanks) who want…
Courtesy of Mish
The 2009 college graduates still without a job are in deep trouble as a wave of 2010 grads is on the way. Please consider College Grads Flood U.S. Labor Market With Diminished Prospects
Ten months after graduating from Ohio State University with a civil-engineering degree and three internships, Matt Grant finally has a job — as a banquet waiter at a Clarion Inn near Akron, Ohio.
“It’s discouraging right now,” said the 24-year-old, who sent out more than 100 applications for engineering positions. “It’s getting closer to the Class of 2010, their graduation date. I’m starting to worry more.”
Schools from Grant’s alma mater to Harvard University will soon begin sending a wave of more than 1.6 million men and women with bachelor’s degrees into a labor market with a 9.9 percent jobless rate, according to the Education and Labor departments. While the economy is improving, unemployment is near a 26-year high, rising last month from 9.7 percent in January-March as more Americans entered the workforce.
The scramble for jobs may depress earnings of new and recent college graduates for years to come and handicap their future career opportunities, according to Lisa Kahn, an assistant professor of economics at Yale University’s School of Management in New Haven, Connecticut. It also might hurt Democrats in the November Congressional elections, as the young voters who helped propel the party to power in 2008 grow disenchanted with their economic prospects.
“More so in the last year to 18 months than at any time, we have seen applicants from prior graduating classes looking for the kind of entry-level jobs we’re recruiting for,” said Dan Black, director of campus recruiting for Ernst & Young LLP, a professional-services firm headquartered in New York. “There are a lot more cohorts competing with each other: ‘09 with ‘10, probably ‘10 with ‘11.”
Unemployment among people under 25 years old was 19.6 percent in April, the highest level since the Labor Department began tracking the data in 1948. Their economic travails may haunt Democrats in the November midterm elections. The youthful voters who helped propel the party to victory in the 2006 Congressional elections and gave the 2008 Obama campaign much of its vibrancy are showing signs of waning enthusiasm.