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Economics: Today's Jobs Report

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#221 LFC

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 01:04 PM

The current economy seems a bit soft.

Quote

U.S. personal income fell for the first time in more than three years in January as dividends and interest payments dropped, pointing to moderate growth in consumer spending after it fell by the most since 2009 in December.

The report from the Commerce Department on Friday also showed inflation pressures remaining tame, which together with slowing domestic and global economic growth gave more credence to the Federal Reserve’s “patient” stance towards raising interest rates further this year.

Personal income slipped 0.1 percent in January, the first decline since November 2015, after jumping 1.0 percent in December. Income was weighed down by decreases in dividend, farm proprietors’ and interest income. Wages increased by a moderate 0.3 percent in January after rising 0.5 percent in December.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast incomes rising 0.3 percent in January.

The Commerce Department did not publish the January consumer spending portion of the report as the collection and processing of retail sales data was delayed by a 35-day partial shutdown of the government that ended on Jan. 25.

It reported that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, dropped 0.5 percent in December. That was the biggest decline since September 2009 and followed a 0.6 percent increase in November.

Households cut back on purchases of motor vehicles and recreational goods in December, leading to a 1.9 percent plunge in spending on goods. Spending on goods increased 1.0 percent in November. Outlays on services edged up 0.1 percent, held back by a decline in spending on household electricity and gas. Spending on services advanced 0.4 percent in November.

When adjusted for inflation, consumer spending fell 0.6 percent in December, also the largest drop since September 2009, after rising 0.5 percent in November.

The December data was included in the fourth-quarter gross domestic product report published on Thursday, which showed consumer spending growing at a 2.8 percent annualized rate during that period, slower than the third quarter’s robust 3.5 percent pace. The economy grew at a 2.6 percent rate in the October-December quarter after notching a 3.4 percent pace in the third quarter.


Interestingly savings were up.

Quote

The sharp deceleration in consumer spending in December puts consumption on a lower growth trajectory in the first quarter and bolsters analysts’ expectations that the economy will slow down further in the first three months of the year.

Still, consumer spending likely remains supported by an accumulation of savings. In December, savings increased to $1.2 trillion, the highest level since December 2012, from $961.3 billion in November. The saving rate jumped to a three-year high of 7.6 percent.

The economy is losing momentum as the boost from a $1.5 trillion tax cut package and increased government spending fades.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#222 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 02:17 PM

View PostLFC, on 01 March 2019 - 01:04 PM, said:

The current economy seems a bit soft.

Interestingly savings were up.

People often do that when they think things are getting shaky.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
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"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
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"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
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#223 Beelzebuddy

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 03:57 PM

Quote

Outlays on services edged up 0.1 percent, held back by a decline in spending on household electricity and gas
New appliances amirite? ;)
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#224 LFC

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 11:46 AM

Trump policies bring us ... a record trade deficit! Josh Marshall breaks it down. I suspect Trump will be the only one surprised by this ... at which point he'll screech "FAKE NEWS!" and demand that the Commerce Dept. give him numbers he likes.

Quote

Here is a remarkable and yet entirely unremarkable story. The Commerce Department announced this morning that the country’s trade deficit last year was the biggest in US history. It’s $891 billion for merchandise, $621 billion when the service sector is added in, and $419 billion with China alone. Each is a record. The Post reports that the overall number tops the previous record of $838 billion in 2006, but it doesn’t seem like those numbers are adjusted for inflation or judged relative to the overall size of the economy. So possibly there should be an asterisk after biggest ever. (This Reuters article says biggest since 2008 when adjusted for inflation.) Still however you slice it, for all President Trump’s yakking and fairly disruptive trade wars, the problem has actually gotten worse.

As I said above, it’s remarkable and yet altogether unremarkable. But it’s first important to say that President Trump’s idea that this is like a trillion dollar loss on the part of the US is not right. It’s considerably more complicated than that. And there are good arguments that it’s at least not a problem in the way Trump describes, perhaps not really a problem at all.

But there are other problems that suggest the problems of Trump’s approach and even understanding of the issue. The US economy has been fairly strong. So Americans are buying a lot of stuff. That is a key, maybe the key contributor right there. So to a great extent the ‘problem’ is simply the flip side of a good thing, a fairly strong economy. If you’re buying a lot of stuff, the only way to shift the equation or bring it into balance is to sell a lot more stuff. But the US is already at near full employment. There are limits on how much stuff the economy can even produce: everyone’s already working.

The Post article notes that the deficit with the service sector included actually deteriorated by $100 billion since Obama’s last year in office. That certainly undermines Trump’s claims about his great success. But it seems possible to me that, again, that’s at least in large part an expression of the relative hot economy which Trump understandably brags about constantly.

If nothing else what we can draw from this is that for all the storm and chaos President Trump’s policies have entirely failed to accomplish the goal – or even move toward the goal – they are supposedly aimed to address.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#225 LFC

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 11:55 AM

Employers added 20,000 jobs for February. No, that's not a typo.

Quote

Hiring tumbled in February as U.S. employers added just 20,000 jobs, the fewest in nearly a year and a half.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent from 4 percent. Businesses stepped up their competition for workers and raised average hourly pay 3.4 percent from a year earlier, the largest gain in a decade.

The sharp slowdown in hiring, which may have been worsened by unseasonably cold weather, comes after employers added a blockbuster 311,000 jobs in January, the most in nearly a year. In the past three months, job gains have averaged 186,000.

Still, the pullback comes amid signs that growth is slowing because of a weaker global economy, a trade war between the United States and China, and signs of caution among consumers.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#226 LFC

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 03:48 PM

Big drops in all the major indices over recession concerns. If you though the projected deficits from the Trump/Ryan/Republican tax cuts looked bad wait until you see how ugly it gets in a recession.

Quote

The Dow fell 460 points Friday as a leading indicator of a US recession and concern about a global slowdown spooked investors.

The index shed 1.8%, while the S&P 500 closed down 1.9%. The Nasdaq plunged 2.5%. It was the worst performance for all three major indexes since January 3.

The yield on 3-month Treasuries rose above the rate on 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007 — a shift that scared Wall Street. Investors have piled back into stocks after a sell-off in late 2018.

The flattening yield curve, or the difference between short- and long-term rates, has worried investors for months. A narrowing spread is typically seen as sign that long-term confidence in the economy is waning, which could signal an eventual economic contraction.

Friday's flip added to pressure on the Dow that was building before US markets opened.

The index stumbled at the bell on poor manufacturing data from Germany, which also spelled trouble for the country's bond market. The yield on Germany's benchmark 10-year government bond fell below zero for the first time since October 2016.

All of that news is fueling Wall Street's ongoing concerns about slowing global growth.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#227 baw1064

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 07:43 PM

A few things to remember:

1. A recession is almost always preceded by an inverted yield curve, but an inverted yield curve isn't always followed by a recession (but most of the time, it is).

2. This expansion has been going on for 10 years--nothing lasts forever.

3. The most likely scenario for Trump getting voted out is through an economic downturn.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” --Dr. Seuss

#228 Traveler

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 11:17 AM

There is a lot of other stuff going on as well. EU growth, particularly Germany, has slowed down a lot. China is trying to keep up GDP, but running out of tools, except more debt-fueled infrastructure and housing. The trade war hasn't really hit yet, with eveyone thinking we are going to get a deal. I don't think we are going to get a deal. At least not this time around. China is playing cutesy. Which will really ramp things up if we don't get a deal. Securities are even more overvalued again.

So a lot of not very nice looking tea leaves to contemplate.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
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#229 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 12:00 PM

I feel guilty for feeling relieved that the long-anticipated recession appears to be imminent, but the timing is just about right for 2020.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#230 Traveler

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 12:43 PM

Sure looks that way. The change in confidence in the Fed since January is remarkable, especially considering the rise in equities.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#231 LFC

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 10:27 AM

Growth for Q4 2018 was revised down ... a lot. This is what a massive additional deficit bought us.

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The U.S. economy slowed more than initially thought in the fourth quarter, keeping growth in 2018 below the Trump administration’s 3 percent annual target, and corporate profits failed to rise for the first time in more than two years.

Gross domestic product increased at a 2.2 percent annualized rate, the Commerce Department said on Thursday in its third reading of fourth-quarter GDP growth. That was down from the 2.6 percent pace estimated in February.

The economy grew at a 3.4 percent pace in the third quarter. The expansion will be the longest on record in July.

The revisions to the fourth-quarter GDP reading reflected markdowns to consumer and business spending, as well as government outlays and investment in homebuilding.

For all of 2018, the economy grew 2.9 percent as previously reported, despite the White House’s fiscal stimulus of $1.5 trillion in tax cuts and more government spending. Growth last year was the strongest since 2015 and was an acceleration from the 2.2 percent logged in 2017.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#232 Practical Girl

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 11:01 AM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 23 March 2019 - 12:00 PM, said:

I feel guilty for feeling relieved that the long-anticipated recession appears to be imminent, but the timing is just about right for 2020.

I feel guilty for the relief, as well. I'm betting against personal/business interests, but I'm still hedging those bets. Bring it on. I'm ready- this time.
Every woman needs a blowtorch.
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--- On September 17, 1787, as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention, at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, a woman called out to him, saying, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” Franklin said, “if you can keep it.”


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#233 Traveler

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 03:37 PM

View PostLFC, on 28 March 2019 - 10:27 AM, said:

Growth for Q4 2018 was revised down ... a lot. This is what a massive additional deficit bought us.
Actually nothing to do with the deficit. Just the end of the sugar high.
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."-- Winston Churchill
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices" Voltaire

#234 baw1064

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 04:52 PM

View PostTraveler, on 28 March 2019 - 03:37 PM, said:

Actually nothing to do with the deficit. Just the end of the sugar high.

Well, we'd better enact a negative tax rate on capital gains--call it the "Unearned Income Credit"! :P
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” --Dr. Seuss

#235 LFC

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 03:37 PM

The U.S. consumer economy is slowing down. I don't understand. Where's all the money from the big infusion from Republicans' tinkle down economics? It's almost like it's raining nothing but ... tinkle.

Quote

U.S. consumer spending barely rose in January and income increased modestly in February, suggesting the economy was fast losing momentum after growth slowed in the fourth quarter.

The report from the Commerce Department on Friday also showed price pressures muted in January, with a measure of overall inflation posting its smallest annual increase in nearly 2-1/2 years. The Federal Reserve last week brought its three-year campaign to tighten monetary policy to an abrupt end.

The U.S. central bank abandoned projections for any interest rate hikes this year after increasing borrowing costs four times in 2018, in a nod to the slowing economy, low inflation and rising headwinds to growth. The economy is losing steam as the stimulus from $1.5 trillion in tax cuts as well as increased government spending dissipates.

“Unless some positive shock hits the economy, by the fall, we are likely to be back to where we were before the tax cut bill was passed,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, edged up 0.1 percent as households cut back on purchases of motor vehicles. Spending fell 0.6 percent in December.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#236 baw1064

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 04:38 PM

All of Trump's current threats to close the border, kill ACA, start a trade war, etc. are certainly shocks to the economy, but probably not the positive kind.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” --Dr. Seuss

#237 baw1064

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 01:27 PM

So now we'll be having Herman Cain and Steven Moore on the Fed. I feel better already...NOT!

https://www.cnbc.com...or-the-fed.html
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not.” --Dr. Seuss

#238 pnwguy

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Posted 04 April 2019 - 03:40 PM

View Postbaw1064, on 04 April 2019 - 01:27 PM, said:

So now we'll be having Herman Cain and Steven Moore on the Fed. I feel better already...NOT!

https://www.cnbc.com...or-the-fed.html
Certainly Jared must be getting ready to rise to the occasion.
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#239 LFC

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 02:54 PM

Trump wants the Fed to jam mo' money, mo' money, mo' money into the U.S. economy. It's "almost" as if he didn't believe what he tells everybody about how great the economy is.

Quote

On Friday, President Donald Trump continued his mounting attacks on the Federal Reserve.

“I personally think the Fed should drop rates, they’ve really slowed us down,” Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One. “There’s no inflation. In terms of quantitative tightening, it should be quantitative easing.”

Quantitative easing is a process in which the Fed buys financial assets to directly inject huge amounts of money into the economy. It’s meant as a last resort for softening recessions, not a quick way to inflate jobs numbers for political gain. Trump is basically calling for the Fed to let inflation run wild.

Trump’s remarks prompted horror on social media:


I liked this tweet.

Quote

Kevin
@Kevin_Bassett
Did anybody follow up and ask this moron to define “quantitative easing”?

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#240 LFC

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Posted 15 May 2019 - 04:49 PM

Here's another fine usage of the Republican tax cuts.

Quote

AT&T has cut more than 23,000 jobs since receiving a big tax cut at the end of 2017, despite lobbying heavily for the tax cut by claiming that it would create thousands of jobs.

AT&T in November 2017 pushed for the corporate tax cut by promising to invest an additional $1 billion in 2018, with CEO Randall Stephenson saying that "every billion dollars AT&T invests is 7,000 hard-hat jobs. These are not entry-level jobs. These are 7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year."

The corporate tax cut was subsequently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. The tax cut reportedly gave AT&T an extra $3 billion in cash in 2018.

But AT&T cut capital spending and kept laying people off after the tax cut. A union analysis of AT&T's publicly available financial statements "shows the telecom company eliminated 23,328 jobs since the Tax Cut and Jobs Act passed in late 2017, including nearly 6,000 in the first quarter of 2019," the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said yesterday.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer





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