Posts Tagged ‘markets’

Misery Index HIGHEST EVER, Hiring Only 70% Of 2006 Levels, And Boy Do We Ever Need A New President

May 16, 2011

Economics statistics are well on their way to becoming a Department in the 1984-style “Ministry of Truth.”

We start with misery, and the real apples-to-apples misery index that we can compare to the misrule of Jimmy Carter.  From Economic Policy Journal:

John Williams, over at Shadow Stats, compiles economic data for inflation and unemployment the way it used to be calculated pre-1990. Based on that data, the CPI inflation rate is over 10%, and the unemployment rate is over 15% (see charts). The Misery Index is the sum of the current inflation rate and the unemployment rate.  If it were to be calculated using the older methods, the Index would now be over 25, a record high. It surpasses the old index high of 21.98, which occurred in June 1980, when Jimmy Carter was president. Most believe the height of the Index along with the Iranian hostage crisis is what caused Carter to lose his re-election bid.

 

 

Using current calculation methods, April unemployment came in at 9.0% and the annualized April CPI number came in at 4.8%, for a Misery Index reading of 13.8.

The last time the Index came in with a higher reading with this index reading was in March 1983, with a reading of 13.90.

Ronald Reagan, of course, was president in 1983.  Reagan had a monster that Jimmy Carter largely created called out-of-control inflation.

As I previously explained:

The numbers told the sad story of the Jimmy Carter presidency: interest rates of 21%; inflation at 13.5%, and an unemployment rate of 7%.  And a relatively new economic device called “the misery index” – the combination of the unemployment and inflation rates which Carter had himself used to great effect in his 1976 campaign to win election – was at a shocking 20.5%.

And those who went through those dark and difficult times may soon be looking back to that period as “the good old days.”

Welcome back, Carter.

When Ronald Reagan took office from Jimmy Carter, inflation was at a meteoric 13.3% and the country was in the throes of a fierce recession. There was a real question as to whether workers’ wages would keep up with the costs of living, which made people afraid to either spend or save. And nobody knew how to control inflation – which had risen from 1.4% in 1960 to the aforementioned 13.3% in 1980 – causing a real erosion of confidence in the future. Jimmy Carter answered a reporter’s question as to what he would do about the problem of inflation by answering, “It would be misleading for me to tell any of you that there is a solution to it.”

But Ronald Reagan had a solution.  And by the time he left office, he had solved the problem of creeping inflation increases and had actually reversed the trend: he left behind a healthy inflation rate of 4.1%.

Reagan’s policies set the trajectory for growth that would last for 20 years.

Jimmy Carter didn’t have an answer for the economy, so he just made it worse and worse and WORSE.  Reagan had an answer.  He not only made it better; he established a trajectory of economic success.

And of course, we’re heading right back to that time of shocking inflation.  The cost of EVERYTHING is going up.  And there is absolutely no indication whatsoever that Barack Obama has an answer that is working.  Which is only going to make the pain last longer and the solution more difficult.  Presuming there is another Reagan waiting in the wings for that time when the American people overwhelmingly abandon Democrats and revile them for the failures that they are and basically always have been.

So what does the mainstream media do with that?

They create the propaganda that somehow Obama is a new Reagan, despite the fact that Obama reviles everything Reagan stood for, just as Reagan would have reviled everything Obama stands for.

Then there’s the enemployment beast.  How’s THAT hope and change working out for you?

Here’s some new news about hopey changey from the Wall Street Journal:

 MAY 16, 2011
Why the Job Market Feels So Dismal
The number of hires is the same today as it was when we were shedding jobs at record rates.
By EDWARD P. LAZEAR

Why don’t American workers feel that the labor market is on the mend? After all, the May 6 jobs report could suggest that the labor market is improving. Nonfarm employment rose by 244,000 and employment growth over the last three months is averaging over 200,000 per month. With unemployment at 9%, employment is still down many millions from where it should be, but up from its recession lows.

The fact is the jobs numbers that create so much anticipation from the business press and so many pundit pronouncements do not give a clear picture of the labor market’s health.  A better understanding requires an examination of hires and separations, or what the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data. Here are some surprising facts:

First, the increase in job growth that occurred over the past two years results from a decline in the number of layoffs, not from increased hiring. In February 2009, a month during which the labor market lost more than 700,000 jobs, employers hired four million workers. In March 2011, employers hired four million workers. The number of hires is the same today as it was when we were shedding jobs at record rates.

We added jobs because hires exceeded separations, not because hiring increased. There were 4.7 million separations in February 2009. In March 2011 that number had fallen to 3.8 million. The fall in separations reflects a decline in layoffs, which went from 2.5 million per month in February 2009 to 1.6 million per month in March 2011. One small piece of good news is that the just-released April data showed hires up about 2% over last year’s average and 12% above the low reached in January 2010.

The decline in layoffs is not unexpected and does not necessarily reflect labor-market health. Layoffs tend to occur early in a recession. When an economy has reached bottom and has already shed much of its labor, layoffs slow. But that doesn’t mean that the labor force is recovering. We could have high unemployment and a stagnant labor force even when layoffs are low. Isn’t the fact that hires exceed separations indicative of a healthy labor market? Unfortunately, no.

At any point in the business cycle, even during a recession, American firms still hire a huge number of workers. That’s because most of the action in the labor market reflects “churn,” the continual process of replacing workers, not net expansion or contraction of employment. The lowest number hired in any month of the current recession was 3.6 million workers. Even during the dismal year of 2009 there were more than 45 million hires.

Bear in mind that the U.S. labor force has more than 150 million workers or job seekers. In a typical year, about one-third or more of the work force turns over, leaving their old jobs to take new ones. When the labor market creates 200,000 jobs, it is because five million are hired and 4.8 million are separated, not because there were 200,000 hires and no job losses. When we’re talking about numbers as large as five million, the net of 200,000 is small and may reflect minor, month-to-month variations in the number of hires or separations.

The third fact puts this in perspective. In a healthy labor market like the one that prevailed in 2006 and early 2007, American firms hire about 5.5 million workers per month. Recall that the current number of hires is four million and it has not moved much from where it was two years ago. The labor market does not feel like it is expanding if hiring is not occurring at a recovery-level pace—and that means at least a half million more hires per month than we are seeing now.

The combination of low hiring and a large stock of unemployed workers, now 13.7 million, means that the competition for jobs is fierce. Because there are now many more unemployed workers, and because hiring is only about 70% of 2006 levels, a worker is about one-third as likely to find a job today as he or she was in 2006. It is no wonder that workers do not feel that the labor market has recovered.

One final fact is worth noting. Healthy labor markets are characterized not only by high levels of hiring, but also by high levels of separations. Although it is true that the importance of quits relative to layoffs rises during good times, even the number of layoffs was greater in the strong labor market of 2006-07 than it is now. No one would suggest that layoffs are good for workers, but what is good is a fluid labor market, where workers and firms constantly seek to produce better products and to find more efficient ways to produce them. High labor market churn is a characteristic of a strong economy. It generally means that workers are moving to better jobs in growing sectors that pay higher wages and away from declining sectors that pay lower wages.

Allowing maximum flexibility encourages fluidity and means that employers are willing to hire workers who lose their jobs elsewhere. Many European countries have restricted mobility by imposing severance pay penalties on employers that lay workers off. More than reducing layoffs, these rigidities make employers reluctant to hire because of the penalties that they will later incur if a layoff is necessary. Such restrictions are in large part responsible for the chronically high rates of unemployment that have been prevalent in many European countries.

The prescription for the American labor market is simple: low taxes on capital investment, avoidance of excessively burdensome regulation, and open markets here and abroad. We must create a climate in which investment is profitable, productivity is rising, and employers find it profitable to increase their hiring rate. These are the mantras that economists have chanted in the past. But they are our best bet for ensuring a dynamic and growing labor market.

Mr. Lazear, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2006-2009, is a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a Hoover Institution fellow

Wait a minute.  What was that one sentence again?

Because there are now many more unemployed workers, and because hiring is only about 70% of 2006 levels, a worker is about one-third as likely to find a job today as he or she was in 2006.

Yeah, but George Bush was bad by mainstream media propagandist definition, and Obama is good by the same standard.

If you want welfare, vote for Obama.  You’ll get it until United States of America implodes into a failed banana republic.  And then you’ll get the Marxist-fascist hybrid the left has been dreaming of for the last fifty years.  You want a job?  Vote for a conservative Republican.

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Obama Bank Restructure Attacks Market, Terrifies Investors, Hamstrings Economy

January 22, 2010

Before I go any further, let me point out that what I’m going to say isn’t just my personal opinion: it has the backing of 77% of investors, who correctly view President Barack Obama as “anti-business.”

From Bloomberg:

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — U.S. investors overwhelmingly see President Barack Obama as anti-business and question his ability to manage a financial crisis, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The global quarterly poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers finds that 77 percent of U.S. respondents believe Obama is too anti-business and four-out-of-five are only somewhat confident or not confident of his ability to handle a financial emergency.

The poll also finds a decline in Obama’s overall favorability rating one year after taking office. He is viewed favorably by 27 percent of U.S. investors. In an October poll, 32 percent in the U.S. held a positive impression.

“Investors no longer feel they can trust their instincts to take risks,” said poll respondent David Young, a managing director for a broker dealer in New York. Young cited Obama’s efforts to trim bonuses and earnings, make health care his top priority over jobs and plans to tax “the rich or advantaged.”

So I’m not just some isolated nutjob. Rather,  Barack Obama is now the isolated nutjob.

President Obama demands that banks lend more money even as he massively over-regulates them, demonizes them, and undermines their ability to make any profit whatsoever from any loans they actually do make.

People want to invest and make money, no matter who is president, and no matter which party controls the government.  Investors aren’t ideologues, but opportunists.  Markets intend to improve on their own if they are just left alone, because individuals start making personal decisions with their own investments, with the net effect usually balancing out the big picture.

FDR wouldn’t or couldn’t allow the market to recover on its own; so he imposed on bureaucratic solution after another — and the economy remained in the Great Depression seven years longer than it would have if he hadn’t done anything at all.

And Barack Obama cannot leave well enough alone, either.  At his core, he is an elitist bureaucrat who truly believes he knows better than everyone else combined.  He believes he can push the buttons and pull the levers of market forces and human lives and run everything from the top.  He rewards losers by punishing winners as he tries to impose his warped philosophy of redistributionist “fairness” on the economy.  He will fail, and the country will fail along with him until he is gone.

From the AP via the Star Tribune:

Stocks set to continue sell-off after Obama’s new bank overhaul plans spook the market

By STEPHEN BERNARD , Associated Press
Last update: January 22, 2010 – 7:19 AM

NEW YORK – Stocks are set to extend their slide Friday, following the worst two-day stretch the market has seen since June.

Stock futures fell as better than expected earnings from General Electric and Google failed to inspire traders.

President Barack Obama spooked the market Thursday, after asking Congress for limits on how large big banks can be and to end some of the risky trading large financial companies have used in recent quarters to boost profits.

The market could be re-entering a period of uncertainty that defined the financial crisis and sent it cratering nearly a year ago before its 10-month rally.

Overseas, Asian markets overnight followed the U.S. sharply lower. European markets are also falling.

Not even the latest batch of upbeat earnings reports from major companies was able to provide some support for investors looking to limit the recent damage.

General Electric Co. reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analyst expectations. The conglomerate also said it is seeing an increase in orders and a growing backlog for products and services, sure signs that the economy is starting to improve.

Internet giant Google Inc. also provided an upbeat sign for the economy, posting robust fourth-quarter earnings that easily topped analyst estimates. The results were driven by a pickup in Internet advertising, which could be a sign companies are feeling more confident the economy will recovery and opting to spend more to draw in customers.

Credit card lender American Express Co. also beat expectations after it set aside less money for defaulting loans. Default and delinquency rates both fell from the previous quarter, another encouraging sign for the economy.

High loan losses have plagued the financial sector and any declines in defaults would be a welcome sign that the consumer is starting to recover.

Ahead of the opening bell, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 39, or 0.4 percent, to 10,299. Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures declined 3.20, or 0.3 percent, to 1,107.90, while Nasdaq 100 index futures dropped 1.75, or 0.1 percent, to 1,839.25.

The Dow is trying to bounce back after losing 213 points Thursday and 336 points, or 3.1 percent, during the past two trading sessions. The losses have erased all the early gains seen in 2010.

Large financial firms, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. all plummeted Thursday. The three big banks, which have prominent consumer and investment banking operations, would likely be the hardest hit by Obama’s new regulations. Shares of each all declined more than 5 percent.

Meanwhile, bond prices dipped Friday morning. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, rose to 3.60 percent from 3.59 percent late Thursday.

The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices declined.

Overseas, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 2.6 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 declined 1.2 percent, Germany’s DAX index fell 1.1 percent, and France’s CAC-40 dropped 1 percent.

No president and no Congress can make the economy improve.  All either can do is allow the markets to have an opportunity to improve on their own by creating an atmosphere that is friendly to the small businesses that create jobs and drive the economy.

But neither Obama nor the Democrats in Congress are willing to do that.

Which is why we’re going to just keep limping along until they are gone.