Job Numbers Are Worrying

Could all this “booming” economy be worrying news?

The job market is one that has “real” economists worried….that one in the White House only played an economist on TV…nothing about him is expert.

AXIOS has done some research that needs reporting more….

The U.S. jobs market, having long been the bedrock of the nation’s economic expansion, is starting to worry economists ahead of next week’s payroll data.

What’s happening: After years of remarkably smooth sailing, 2019 has brought market volatility and some concern about whether the economy can keep adding jobs at a fast enough pace to sustain the expansion.

What we’re hearing: Job gains don’t necessarily have to turn negative to signal trouble, Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told Axios at a labor market conference hosted by payroll processor ADP this week.

All that’s required is a strong slowdown in job growth. A 0.5% increase from a cyclical low on the unemployment rate has accurately predicted every recession in recent history and has never been a false positive, as Brookings economist Claudia Sahm noted recently.

  • “Once unemployment starts to rise, even from a very low level, it undermines confidence, and the only difference between an expanding economy and a recessionary one is faith,” Zandi said.
  • “A recession is a collective loss of faith, and people lose faith when they start seeing unemployment rise.”

Why now? A slowdown is not that unlikely, given the state of the labor market. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low — it was 3.6% in May — and employers are reporting more trouble finding people to hire.

  • In a poll of small business owners conducted in May, 25% said that finding qualified workers was their No. 1 problem, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
  • The trade war also is adding stress to the economy, but so far the effects have been concentrated in the trade and export sectors, which make up a small piece of overall employment.

What to watch: The all-important services side of the economy has been strong, but is beginning to feel the impact of the tight labor market, said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of ADP Research Institute. The number of job openings exceeded the number of unemployed Americans by the largest margin on record in April.

  • “Let’s remember you need approximately 100,000 net new jobs to keep the economy moving. We’re still above that level, however there are so many other factors,” she said.
  • “If you look at the last couple months, the jobs numbers were really, really volatile.”

The bottom line: Another blowout print like January’s, which showed 312,000 jobs added, will calm a lot of jitters.

Keep in mind that there is more to an economy than just the markets……but the MSM wants every American to believe all is good as long as the profits are being made by corporations…..not necessarily so.

Be Smart!

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

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Capitalism Has Failed!

I realize this post will not sit well with those individuals that have more money than brains…….but let’s look at it….capitalism has failed.

The truth is that the “economy” is booming according to some….then why are most Americans are overworked and underpaid and the future looks no brighter than now……

Let’s look shall we?

Some years ago, I faced up to the futility of reporting true things about America’s disastrous wars and so I left Afghanistan for another remote mountainous country far away. It was the polar opposite of Afghanistan: a peaceful, prosperous land where nearly everybody seemed to enjoy a good life, on the job and in the family.

It’s true that they didn’t work much, not by American standards anyway. In the U.S., full-time salaried workers supposedly laboring 40 hours a week actually average 49, with almost 20% clocking more than 60. These people, on the other hand, worked only about 37 hours a week, when they weren’t away on long paid vacations. At the end of the work day, about four in the afternoon (perhaps three in the summer), they had time to enjoy a hike in the forest or a swim with the kids or a beer with friends — which helps explain why, unlike so many Americans, they are pleased with their jobs.

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/01/american-capitalism-failed-us-overworked-underemployed-powerless-ever/

Now we see a debate taking hold should the US embrace socialism over the soul sucking capitalism we have today?

In 2016, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders ran on a platform that many thought would’ve ruined his political chances. He ran as a democratic socialist, disavowing America’s longtime capitalist consensus and proudly wrapping himself in a label pundits considered political poison. And it worked.

In American politics, and particularly in the Democratic Party, the primacy of capitalism is, for the first time in ages, an open question. Sanders is expected to run again in 2020, and to run with the support of a grassroots movement that thrills to his break with capitalist convention. He’ll face, among others, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who says one key difference between her and Sanders is that she’s “a capitalist to my bones.”

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2019/1/7/18167691/what-is-socialism-capitalism-sanders-warren

Personally I do not care what we call it…..as long as the children get educated, people make a living wage, health is for everyone, etc……so can a bit of socialism help capitalism?

Larry Fink, the chief executive and founder of BlackRock, published his annual letter to the chief executives of all the companies around the world in which it invests last week.

And Fink’s message was: don’t put profits first. Put “purpose” first. “Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits, but the animating force for achieving them,” Fink explained.

“Profits are in no way inconsistent with purpose – in fact, profits and purpose are inextricably linked.”

This corporate purpose, he went on, means investing for the long term, serving a community, developing the talents of a workforce. And so on. BlackRock also says that bosses’ pay should not rise faster than that of the firm’s workers and has threatened to vote against remuneration committees that agree to excessive awards.

It’s enough to make the libertarian epigoni of Milton Friedman, the economist who famously asserted “there is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits”, choke on their cornflakes.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/blackrock-socialism-capitalism-stock-market-sacha-romanovitch-grant-thornton-a8737131.html

We need some help……this deal is just not working the way it was intended…..reform NOW or face the consequences.

Labor Economics

MY friend and regular reader of IST Carl of “I Know I made You Smile”……https://carldagostino.wordpress.com/……ask a good question in one of his comments after reading one of my posts.

He had a problem with a statement made in post from last week…..”“Labor shortages are impeding job growth”….the statement is from this post…..https://lobotero.com/2019/06/07/closing-thought-07jun19/

His question fired me up to do what I truly enjoying doing…research…..so as promised here is the best answer that I could come up with since I am not an economist by trade it may get a bit techy…..

A common bit of confusion is between jobs and labor…..first what causes a labor shortage?

A labour shortage can be caused by a turn in economic conditions where there is a shortage of skilled workers for a given industry or overall job market. … Shortages can also be caused by a mismatch in skills, poor compensation, geographic location or ineffective recruitment by employers

Now the difference between Labor force and workers…..Employees are considered part of the labor force, but the terms “employees” and “labor force” don’t mean precisely the same thing. Not everyone in the labor force would fit the exact definition of an employee, since the labor force includes a much broader category of people. The labor force is a blanket term describing an entire collection of people either employed or seeking employment.

Is that confusing enough?

Maybe this short video will help…..

After writing this I realized that this may not answer the question Carl asked….I apologize if I made it more confusing.

Another reason I do not like economics…..too damn confusing and none of the “laws” seem to work without some sort of adjusting.

Tariffs–Winners And Losers And Economics

Our Trade War With China!  Who’s gonna win and who gonna lose?

With all the words flying around about this legal aspect or another…..the news on our trade war with China takes a back seat…..but I think it needs to be in the forefront……

I found an article that tells the winners and losers in this trade war (I am hoping that you will actually read the referenced article)…..areas of our economy like technology, agriculture, steel, etc……

U.S. companies in everything from computer chips to tractors have said President Donald Trump’s trade wars, including disputes with Beijing and global steel tariffs, have had an impact on them.

Even for some of the expected winners, such as steel companies, the benefits of the president’s tariffs are not entirely clear.

Trump said on May 5 he would raise tariffs on $200 billion (£159 billion) worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%, ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to agree to a deal.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-trade-china-winners-losers-factbo/winners-and-losers-in-trumps-trade-war-with-china-idUKKCN1TK1UM

And yet the markets have not tanked on the bad news for the bigger of our corporations…..

Is this a good thing…… these tariffs?

This “Booming Economy” that we hear about from Trump, the GOP and others is looking a lot like the economy……wait for it……under Obama…..

In some key ways, the Donald Trump economy, on fire last year but slowing this year, is starting to resemble the one he inherited from his predecessor .

There are the rock-bottom bond yields, plodding economic growth and, not to be understated, the Federal Reserve seemingly pulling all the strings, a role that was only exacerbated in the days since the financial crisis and Great Recession and continues to the present day.

Those similarities came into even sharper focus this week, when the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield fell below 2% for the first time since Trump became president, and the Fed’s indication, if something just short of an outright promise, that it soon will be cutting rates about half a year since its most recent hike.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way: The 2017 tax cut and aggressive moves toward deregulation were supposed to pull the U.S. economy out of its glacial move higher. That happened in 2018, but policymakers and Wall Street pros are growing increasingly fearful that a slowdown if not outright recession is on the horizon, and the Fed is being asked again to ride to the rescue.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/20/the-trump-economy-is-starting-to-look-more-and-more-like-the-obama-economy.html

Oh Snap!  All the comparisons to what Obama did…will this make the list for Supreme Beloved Leader?

Me thinks this news will not see the light of day.

There is other news that is missed by the MSM……some economists are predicting a crash is coming…..but can Trump hold it off until after the election…..

If he times it right, Donald Trump might set back the Democratic Party for a generation or more; if he misses, he’ll go down in history along with Herbert Hoover as the guy who brought the nation an economic disaster.

Back in 2007 and early 2008, many of us were convinced that an economic crash was coming, and that George W. Bush and his Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, and Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, knew it.

And we also thought that they were doing everything they could to hold it off so it would happen after the 2008 election, so if a Democrat was elected they could say the crash was because people were “worried about the incoming Democrats,” and if McCain won it would be his problem, not Bush’s.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/18/can-donald-trump-hold-economic-crash-until-election

What do you think?

Would a crash change your mind on voting this time around?

We Need An Economic Bill Of Rights

This election cycle there seems to be a call from the Left for a new idea they call the “Economic Bill of Rights”…….Bernie, Warren, Harris et al will call for this to be the law of the land….

I agree…there needs to be some sort of economic reset so that poverty does not become the “law of the land”….

The problem with this idea is that it is old hat…..this idea was floated by FDR back in 1944 just before he died….and the idea apparently died with him for Truman made no mention of it…..there were some of the same ideas being floated by Dems for 2020…..

Among these are:

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
  • The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
  • The right of every family to a decent home;
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
  • The right to a good education.

http://www.ushistory.org/documents/economic_bill_of_rights.htm

What was old is new again!

It’s time to think big. The rules that govern our economy are working best for far too few, at the expense of far too many. While Republicans have sought to dismantle the New Deal and the regulatory apparatus that was developed to protect Americans from an unfettered private sector, Democrats in recent decade have mustered no more than incremental changes to an increasingly unequal and unfair economy. The rise of Donald Trump provides a political lesson for both Democrats and Republicans: People are looking outside the box. Despite the vast gulf between the two major political parties on many issues, on fundamentals both have adhered to a neoliberal agenda of deregulation, reliance on market-based solutions to our social problems, and a devolution of the role of government in ensuring and enforcing Americans’ right to a decent standard of living, economic dignity and economic mobility. 

Direct government intervention for full employment, a cornerstone of the Democratic Party Platform for almost half a century, has been all but forgotten, replaced by a commitment to market liberalization or tax incentives and other subsidies for corporate America to cajole them into hiring more workers. Policies put forth by Hillary Clinton in 2016, which included raising the minimum wage and promoting equal pay for equal work for women, would have improvde the lives of many working Americans – but they do not go nearly far enough.  They do not address the fundamental problem of increasing risk and vulnerability—employment “precarity”—confronting the American workforce.

Let us be clear: Our economic reality is not mere circumstance; these are the result of policy choices.

https://prospect.org/article/economic-bill-rights-21st-century

Ask yourself why the Dem Party forgot this plan until recently.  In an age when Dems were extremely popular why did they abandon such a great program?

I know why…..do you?

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Now take what you ahe learned and….VOTE!

Closing Thought–07Jun19

We hear a lot by the conservs telling America about the “booming econ0omy” and the return of jobs under Trump…..

But the figures from last month are not showing that rosy or that optimistic….

Job creation skidded to a near-halt in May in another sign that the U.S. economic momentum is slowing.

Companies added just 27,000 new positions during the month, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP and Moody’s Analytics that was well below Dow Jones estimates of 173,000.

The reading was the worst since around the time the economic expansion began and the jobs market bottomed in March 2010 with a loss of 113,000. Since then, the private payrolls count has increased by 21.3 million.

“Job growth is moderating,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “Labor shortages are impeding job growth, particularly at small companies, and layoffs at brick-and-mortar retailers are hurting.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/05/job-growth-screeches-to-near-halt-in-mayprivate-payrolls-up-just-27k.html

The “economy” they speak of is the Wall St. econo0my not the Main Street economy……keep that in mind as you prepare for the search for a candidate in the 2020 election.

Since the pundits say the economy will be the main issue in the 2020 election……maybe the voter should keep a close eye on the facts not the political spin.

Learn Stuff!

Then VOTE!

It Is About “Rare Earth”……

Not the rock group from the 70s (Get Ready and Celebrate)….I am referring to those minerals that are a major component in some electronics….and guess who has control of much of these elements?   Wait for it……..China!

Rare Earth Minerals?  What the Hell is that all about?

Many applications of REE are characterized by high specificity and high unit value. For example, color cathode-ray tubes and liquid-crystal displays used in computer monitors and televisions employ europium as the red phosphor; no substitute is known. Owing to relatively low abundance and high demand, Eu is quite valuable—$250 to $1,700/kg (for Eu2O3) over the past decade.

Fiber-optic telecommunication cables provide much greater bandwidth than the copper wires and cables they have largely replaced. Fiber-optic cables can transmit signals over long distances because they incorporate periodically spaced lengths of erbium-doped fiber that function as laser amplifiers. Er is used in these laser repeaters, despite its high cost (~$700/kg), because it alone possesses the required optical properties.

Specificity is not limited to the more exotic REE, such as Eu or Er. Cerium, the most abundant and least expensive REE, has dozens of applications, some highly specific. For example, Ce oxide is uniquely suited as a polishing agent for glass. The polishing action of CeO2 depends on both its physical and chemical properties, including the two accessible oxidation states of cerium, Ce,3+ and Ce4+, in aqueous solution. Virtually all polished glass products, from ordinary mirrors and eyeglasses to precision lenses, are finished with CeO2.

https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2002/fs087-02/

Plus the Rare Earth Minerals are used in our military……

A lack of these minerals could force a national security risk……and that would increase the use of the military (cause and effect)…….

I would say the possibility of a war with China is more so than with Iran.

Thoughts?

And now they, China,  have issued a threat over the Trump tariffs……

Facing new trade sanctions and a US clampdown on its top telecommunications company, China issued a pointed reminder Wednesday that it has yet to unleash all its weapons in its trade war with the Trump administration. Chinese state media warned that Beijing could cut America off from exotic minerals that are widely used in electric cars and mobile phones. The threat to use China’s rich supply of so-called rare earths as leverage in the conflict has contributed to sharp losses in US stocks and sliding long-term bond yields, the AP reports. The nationalistic Chinese newspaper Global Times warned that China has plenty of ways to retaliate against the United States, including the threat of cutting off supplies of rare earth minerals. China last year produced 78% of the world’s rare earths, according to researchers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

If the US fails to exercise restraint, it will see that “China is far from running out of cards, and we have the will and determination to fight the US to the end,” the paper’s editorial said. China has used rare earths as a cudgel before. Five years ago, the World Trade Organization slapped down China’s attempt to restrict the export of rare earths during a dispute with Japan, rejecting its claim that it just wanted to conserve supplies. Scott Kennedy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, however, says the threat has lost much of its power. First, users of rare earths have stockpiled the minerals for a “rainy day,” he says. Second, they also have figured out how to “use less rare earth to achieve the same results” in products like lasers and magnets. And third, different minerals and chemicals are increasingly being used as rare earth substitutes.

Not to worry……we have troops in a country that is sitting on about $1 trillion (that is trillion with a “T”) worth of rare earth minerals……

Afghanistan, a country nearly the size of Texas, is loaded with minerals deposited by the violent collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began inspecting what mineral resources Afghanistan had after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power in the country in 2004. As it turns out, the Afghanistan Geological Survey staff had kept Soviet geological maps and reports up to 50 years old or more that hinted at a geological gold mine.

https://www.livescience.com/47682-rare-earth-minerals-found-under-afghanistan.html

That is right…out longest war EVER is in a country that is loaded with rare earth minerals……could that explain why we are hanging on in the spot?

It is not like we have never fought a war for a resource……think OIL……