3/17/2015 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
A Happy early St. Patrick’s Day to our long-suffering readers of The Mint, who know we have an affinity for the color green, specifically the tone which can be found on the coin pictured to the left.
We have been buried deep in a classic accounting “busy season” of our own design, as, along with our regular duties, we have stumbled upon a vein persons ready to move their accounting systems into the cloud along with a cadre of brilliant entrepreneurs who need solid advice in terms of accounting and systems. This work has gone nicely with our goal of mastering the tax trade this winter and spring. We have also managed to produce our first audio version, What is Truth? On the Nature of Empire (check it out here).
Together, it has made little time for reflection. Alas, this is the life of a farmer. When the season to work comes over us, we work day and night, knowing a season of rest waits.
Due to our numbers related tarries, the last time we took a glance at the US economy for long enough to write about it was October 3rd of last year, according to our records.
At that time, when the stated Unemployment rate was 5.9%, we sensed back then that it did not matter as the FED was set on continuing its Zero Interest Rate Policy until its member banks were safely in the clear, and that the US Labor market was getting extremely tight.
In case you are wondering, ZIRP and tight labor markets, taken together, is a recipe for explosive economic growth. Five short months later, it appears that the feast is nearly ready, and the US economy is about to eat it.
First, let’s check in on Unemployment, which stands at 5.5%. According to the March 9th jobs report, US Job Creation has never been stronger:
And that momentum in the labor market is hotter than it was in 2005 – 2006:
And you have a labor market that has not been seen since the end of WWII.
But what about Wage Growth? It is tame, a 0.2% drop, in fact, if the BLS is to be believed. However, the NFIB Compensation Plans Indicator and the Employment cost Index are on the rise, meaning American workers are enjoying a rare (long overdue, we might add) post 1971 gain in real wages before the CPI, which clocked in at 0.7% (still well under the FED’s target), overtakes them.
And this chart seems to indicate that the tightening rental market may be the match that starts the Wage/Price spiral in motion:
We’re not sure about other metro areas, but rental and housing markets in Portland are ‘en fuego,’ with apologies to Dan Patrick.
What does it all mean? No one can be certain, but here are a couple of guesses:
1) The US Economy will once again become the envy of the world, despite itself. Yes, even with Obama care and other political and economic landmines strewn around it, the US economy is on pace to surpass the growth rates of developing nations, soon to be known as last decade’s darlings:
2) US Workers are likely to get healthy wages from healthy companies. Unhealthy companies will be gutted in this brain drain and fail.
3) Paradoxically, corporate profit margins will continue to increase as productivity gains continue.
4) Housing premiums, in terms of rent and home sales, are about to soar.
5) Interest rates will not go up until the markets yank them up by their shirt collar and hold them up against the wall, the FED will keep short-term rates low and allow the banks to recapitalize on the backs of the US economic miracle:
6) There will be no “Grexit” to spoil things. Despite European claims to clairvoyance, it was the US who established the Euro zone (and its predecessor treaties) as the vital space for a revitalized German industrial base in the wake of WWII (more on this in our upcoming review of “The Global Minotaur” which was ironically written by a Greek economist). Circa 2014, the Euro currency zone exists for the sole benefit of Germany and to an extent France. The rest of Europe would be better off without it, which is why Germany and the pan euro banks will hold it together with an iron fist, not matter how futile the effort, or how far they have to bend the rules.
7) The Chicago River will turn green, and a record amount of beer will be sold tomorrow in honor of St. Patrick
Be safe out there as the Luck of the Irish and the ignorance of the FED paints the US Economy green for the foreseeable future!
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for March 16, 2015
Copper Price per Lb: $2.65
Oil Price per Barrel: $43.68
MINT Perceived Target Rate*: 0.25%
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Inflation Rate (CPI): 0.7%