Tag Archives: Unemployment Rate

5.9% and why it doesn’t matter

10/3/2014 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today the BLS reported that payrolls grew in September and that the stated unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%.  They also published the labor force participation at 62.7%.  The handy chart below from the folks at Business Insider shows how steeply labor force participation has dropped over the past five years.

Labor Participation Courtesy of BI
Labor Participation Courtesy of BI

Labor Market Participation aside, the 5.9% unemployment is exciting for banks.  On one hand, it can be seen as a sign that more people are working and theoretically becoming creditworthy.  This is big because consumers with deposits are cherished in the Basel III framework that they are painfully working their investment ladders into.

On the other hand, it is seen as just high enough that the Federal Reserve will not raise short term interest rates for fear of “derailing the recovery” or whatever phrase Janet Yellen chooses to employ in her latest effort to mask the brutal fact that they are continuing to provide money free of charge to a painfully inept banking cartel.

While much will be written about today’s “Goldilocks” job report, it matters not in terms of Fed policy.  The Fed will continue to offer money free to banks until they are certain that Basel policy reforms will not inadvertantly cause (rather than prevent, as they are designed to do) the financial crisis.  Meanwhile, in the real world, the cost of labor, meaning the cost of hiring someone who can actually perform a specific task, is about to skyrocket.

The reason for this is that there remain severe imbalances in the labor market caused by recent advances in technology, namely cloud based administrative services and logistics, which are now colliding with a relative decline in the recent productivity gain that said technology was providing.  While large productivity gains having been the norm, there is soon to be a lack of persons who have the requisite skills to run such systems efficiently, which means that those productivity gains will at a minimum not continue and may even be lost.

There is also another labor undercurrent that the BLS data does not capture.  This is the large scale disruption of entire industries that the cloud and logistics revolution is enabling.

Indeed, there is much more to the labor market than a tidy percentage point can express, as nearly five years of ZIRP is pushing the division of labor to new extremes.  Employers, Employees, and the BLS may soon become archaic terms, as American Society moves towards outsourcing on steroids.

Today’s 5.9% is little more than bad information, unless of course, you are a banker, in which case it means that the Goldilocks days are here again, and the Fed’s subsidy, a license to strip mine the earth that is provided on the backs of its inhabitants and nature herself, will continue until further notice.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Key Indicators for October 3, 2014

Copper Price per Lb: $3.04
Oil Price per Barrel (WTI):  $89.68

Corn Price per Bushel:  $3.23
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.45%
Bitcoin price in US:  $377.60
FED Target Rate:  0.09%
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,192

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  5.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):   -0.2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  17,015
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,833,300,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $11,418,000,000,000

The GDP and Unemployment Red Herrings

2/1/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

As we begin the month of February, it would appear that the US Economy has suffered from a couple of data shocks, which, taken at face value, would call into question the validity of the current rally in nearly every asset class (save bonds) and give rise to fears of the US slipping into another Recession or worse.

First, the Gross Domestic Product read came in at a negative 0.1% for the fourth quarter.  The GDP is mostly a bogus data point in an economy with a debt based currency.  At this point, the negative data, like most data that will appear this year, will give the Federal Reserve the statistical cover they need to continue QE and decimate the dollar.

The Unemployment rate, which inched up slightly, falls into the same category.  Given the paradigm shift that the US workforce is undergoing as the internet makes geography a non issue for anyone who works from a computer, and the demographic shift as the Baby Boomers ease into retirement make it hard to say what would constitute an appropriate amount of Unemployment at this time.

Full employment has always been a slippery concept, and at this point, the BLS statistics can be counted on to err on the side of covering the inflationary consequences of QE as well.

What has not changed is that people, when given the chance, will tend to spend more money than they have.  This tendency is again being allowed to manifest itself as credit restrictions are easing in the US and soon, even your cat will begin to receive credit card offers as they did in the good old days of 2005.

The Federal Reserve and every Central Bank on the planet have stuffed every orifice of the financial system with cash, so much so that they must lend gobs of it out to remain solvent.  The consumers are taking the bait, and the wave of inflation is now rolling through stocks and commodities.  It will not stop until QE stops.

And given the propaganda that passed as economic data prints this past week, QE will be with us for quite some time.  Plan and invest accordingly.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for February 1, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.75
Oil Price per Barrel:  $97.77
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.36
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.01%
FED Target Rate:  0.15%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,667 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,010
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,455,100,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,412,500,000,000

Exiting the work force, stage left

5/4/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today, a couple of things occured which, on the surface, seem to contradict each other.  First, the official unemployment rate ticked down slightly from 8.2% to 8.1%.  While nothing to write home about, this generally would be seen as good news.  However, in the parallel universe of government statistics, the number itself is decieving.

Why?  Quite simply, labor participation, which, for better or worse, is the denomenator of the Unemployment rate equation, dropped to a level not seen in the US for 30 years, as in, circa 1982.

In other words, people are leaving the labor force for good or are returning to school, effectively leaving the government’s unemployment dole and joining the government’s student loan program, or what we like to think of as “ultra extended unemployment.”

In other words, the productive economy is continuing to shrink. 

While a lower unemployment rate will give both the Obama campaign something to tout and the hacks at the FED academic ammunition to speak of raising short term rates, very few people outside of the ivory halls of Washington can count this jobs report as good news.

It should come as little surprise, then, that there was a widespread drop in most markets today, save US Treasury yields, which inversly correlate with broad market drops.

The M1 money supply is expanding rapidly.  Ben’s helicopters have arrived.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for May 4, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.75

Oil Price per Barrel:  $98.49

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.62

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.88%

FED Target Rate:  0.15%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,642

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25% AWAY WE GO!

Unemployment Rate:  8.1%

Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.3%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 13,038

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,275,100,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $9,832,700,000,000

However, this news came against the backdrop of

Don’t be Fooled! June Unemployment Numbers cooked to keep interest rates and wages down

7/8/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Sound the alarms!  The today the BLS took the pulse of the labor market today and market observers jumped back, aghast that the patient, the US labor market, should be so weak.  According to the charts, he was well on his way to recovery.  After being in a coma for the past three years, it appeared that he would be back to his old self and dancing in the halls in a matter of months.

Now, the prognosis has taken a turn, albeit a small one, for the worse.

Here at the Mint, we take numbers with a grain of salt.  We have nothing against numbers; on the contrary, we are rather fond of them.  They give one the ability to appear to make sense of extremely complex phenomena.  They make mankind appear intelligent, cunning, even clairvoyant at times.

It should come as no surprise, then, that mankind, specifically those bent on “improving the world,” should place so much faith in them.  To understand and interpret numbers and then act on the data gives man a power rush that is exhilarating.

It is a fatal conceit.

It is illogical, perhaps insane, to think that something as complex as creation and the countless phenomena that occur every nanosecond can be adequately expressed (much less understood) in numbers.

On a small scale, such as a family farm, a small town, or even a remote island, numbers can prove very useful.  They can provide accurate, timely information about productivity and relative scarcity.  In these instances, numbers can be invaluable.

Begin to aggregate theses numbers and try to use them to understand phenomena on a large scale and they become not only devoid of meaning but dangerous.

Why does this happen?  Simply because the farther removed that the decision maker reviewing the number is from the processes on the ground, both in space and time, the less able he or she is to react in a coherent manner.  This, in a nutshell, is why Socialism, Communism, and any other form of Centralized planning or “world improvement” does not work on a large scale.

With this in mind, we will interpret today’s BLS unemployment numbers for you.  Economic observers have been trained to understand that 9.2% unemployment is bad for the economy.  Why it is bad, few stop to wonder, but that is a rant for another day.

It is simply understood to be bad, and since the economy needs to be “good,” the world improvers must do something.  What will they do?  First, they will use this as an excuse for the FED to keep the short term rates insanely low for a longer period of time.  This will not create employment but will create hyperinflation.

Second, the US Congress will raise the debt ceiling and resort to the Bush era style of stimulus, they type where every taxpayer gets a check in the mail from the Treasury.

Third, and most importantly, this announcement is a desperate attempt to keep domestic inflation in check.  Inflation, and then hyperinflation, will begin once wages increase.  The rise in unemployment sends the subliminal message to the working classes that they cannot demand raises because they are just “lucky to have a job.”

Are you really lucky to have a job?  The not so subliminal truth is that YOU ARE IRREPLACEABLE AND ARE WORTH MUCH MORE THAN YOU ARE CURRENTLY MAKING!

Lives and economies were never meant to be measured in numbers.  Numbers used to make large scale policies generally do more harm than good.  Numbers produced by a central authority often are done so either with the intent to deceive or are so untimely and incompetently compiled that they become deceptive as they do not accurately reflect present circumstances.

“Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows!”

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

P.S.  If you enjoy or at least tolerate The Mint, please share us using the Facebook, Twitter, or other sharing options at the bottom of this post.  Thanks!

Key Indicators for July 8, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $4.36
Oil Price per Barrel:  $96.20

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.72
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  3.02%
FED Target Rate:  0.07% JAPAN HERE WE COME!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,544 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  9.2%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.2%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,657 TO THE MOON!!!
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,020,000,000,000 RED ALERT!!!
M2 Monetary Base:  $9,112,300,000,000 YIKES!!!!!!!

*See the MINT Perceived target Rate Chart.  This rate is the FED Target rate with a 39 month lag, representing the time it takes for the FED Target rate changes to affect the real economy.  This is a 39 months head start that the FED member banks have on the rest of us on using the new money that is created.