Tag Archives: employment

What Happens When Work Doesn’t Pay, by MN Gordon

The U.S. economy is sick and getting sicker. From MN Gordon at economicprism.com:

Now there comes a time
In every man’s life,
Where decisions have to be made
Whether to toil, to labor,
Or just plain piss
Your days away, away, away!

Caught in a Jar, Dropkick Murphys

Flat Out Wrong

Jobs data reported this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that, as of the last business day of June, there are 10.7 million job openings.  Hence, according to the numbers, there are many more available jobs than willing workers.

At the same time, the U.S. unemployment rate’s just 3.6 percent – near a five-decade low.  So, by the numbers, the economy is at full employment and still overflowing with jobs to be filled.

The U.S. economy couldn’t possibly be in a recession, given this robust and healthy jobs market, could it?

Not in the eyes of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who recently stated the economy isn’t in a recession because, “job creation is continuing, household finances remain strong, consumers are spending and businesses are growing.”

Quite frankly, Yellen is flat out wrong.  Remember, the jobs numbers are only as good as the data that goes into them.  And with a scratch below the surface, it quickly becomes clear that the jobs numbers are not a sign of economic strength.  But rather, of economic sickness.

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Are Students Awakening to the Pitfalls of a ‘Woke’ American Education? By Robert Bridge

Students are discovering that an extensive knowledge of intersectionalism doesn’t take them too far in the real world. From Robert Bridge at strategic-culture.org:

‘Go woke, go broke’ is a lesson that many U.S. corporations and organizations have been hard-pressed to learn as identity politics tears a path through the country like another scourge.

‘Go woke, go broke’ is a lesson that many U.S. corporations and organizations have been hard-pressed to learn as identity politics tears a path through the country like another scourge. U.S. colleges and universities are not immune.

Forget about Covid and Monkeypox, America is facing a brain-eating virus of uncertain origin that threatens the very foundation of its once-envied ‘institutions of higher learning’ with intellectual paralysis. Yes, we are talking about the cult of wokeness that is progressively casting the ivory towers of academia into eternal darkness. If a cure to the malady is not soon found, hundreds of manicured college campuses around the country will simply go broke – the ultimate price for being ‘woke.’

Pronouncing it as an “enrollment crisis,” the New York Times reported that “662,000 fewer students enrolled in undergraduate programs in spring 2022 than a year earlier, a decline of 4.7 percent,” according to data tallied by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC). At the same time, the number of foreign students enrolled in U.S. universities also plunged some 15 percent since the 2019-2020 academic year. That drop has perplexed college officials who had been anticipating a surge of new applicants as fears over Covid begin to subside.

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Why It’s so Hard to Escape America’s “Anti-Poverty” Programs, by Justin Murray

Even those whose work ethic isn’t destroyed by poverty assistance often find it economically disadvantageous to  accept gainful employment, it costs them money. From Justin Murray at mises.org:

One of the most common debates that has occurred in the United States for the past six decades is the discussion of the poverty rate. As the narrative goes, the US has an unusually high poverty rate compared to equivalent nations in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Although it’s true that the measure of poverty is flawed, especially when compared cross-nationally, this piece addresses the reasons why the poverty rate in the US in particular has not improved.

If we look at the graph below, we see that official poverty rates fell 44 percent between 1960 and 1969 then spent the next fifty years fluctuating between an 11 and 15 percent poverty rate. It’s this lack of improvement over a five-decade period that is interesting, especially considering that poverty rates had consistently been dropping for over a century.

mur

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Six Months at an Amazon Fulfillment Center, by Christopher Knight

Amazon Fulfillment Centers have been portrayed as just this side of sweatshop, but someone who worked there says it was a valuable experience and nowhere near as bad as portrayed. From Christopher Knight at americanthinker.com:

Having spent half of a year experiencing firsthand the labyrinthine bowels of an Amazon Fulfillment Center, I must ask:

“What are all the complaints about?”

Employment at Amazon was not perfect.  Then again, no job will be.  But for those wanting to establish themselves with a job history or get back into the routine of full-time employment, being at Amazon isn’t the torturous ordeal some have described.  Coming off a year’s sabbatical and being a technical writer before that, work at an Amazon facility was a shining opportunity to regain some lost footing.

In retrospect, I can’t but be thankful for that.  It wasn’t just the financial boon, but also the chance to persevere that elicited and encouraged growth and strength in both physical and mental senses.

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The US Economy Is Failing, by Paul Craig Roberts

The “economy” that gets touted in the mainstream media has little resemblance to the real-life economy with which most Americans have to deal. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

Do the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page editors read their own newspaper?

The frontpage headline story for the Labor Day weekend was “Low Wage Growth Challenges Fed.” Despite an alleged 4.4% unemployment rate, which is full employment, there is no real growth in wages. The front page story pointed out correctly that an economy alleged to be expanding at full employment, but absent any wage growth or inflation, is “a puzzle that complicates Federal Reserve policy decisions.”

On the editorial page itself, under “letters to the editor,” Professor Tony Lima of California State University points out what I have stressed for years: “The labor-force participation rate remains at historic lows. Much of the decrease is in the 18-34 age group, while participation rates have increased for those 55 and older.” Professor Lima points out that more evidence that the American worker is not in good shape comes from the rising number of Americans who can only find part-time work, which leaves them with truncated incomes and no fringe benefits, such as health care.

Positioned right next to this factual letter is the lead editorial written by someone who read neither the front page story or the professor’s letter. The lead editorial declares: “The biggest labor story this Labor Day is the trouble that employers are having finding workers across the country.” The Journal’s editorial page editors believe the solution to the alleged labor shortage is Senator Ron Johnson’s (R.Wis.) bill to permit the states to give 500,000 work visas to foreigners.

In my day as a Wall Street Journal editor and columnist, questions would have been asked that would have nixed the editorial. For example, how is there a labor shortage when there is no upward pressure on wages? In tight labor markets wages are bid up as employers compete for workers. For example, how is the labor market tight when the labor force participation rate is at historical lows. When jobs are available, the participation rate rises as people enter the work force to take the jobs.

To continue reading: The US Economy Is Failing

Harvey and Irma Won’t End Carmageddon, by Wolf Richter

As the auto industry goes, so goes the economy? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

GM cuts entire shift at factory for crossovers due to “moderating” sales, layoffs not temporary.

For the first eight months of the year, car sales by GM and Ford plunged 19%. Industry car sales fell 11%, despite record incentives. Sales of trucks – pickups, SUVs, crossovers, and vans – have been the big hope. Total truck sales are up 3% for the year, reducing the overall sales decline to 3%. Particularly crossovers have been red-hot. Every manufacturer has jumped into this booming segment. They’ve been the big hope. But now, even that hope is fading.

“Although crossovers now make up a larger share of the automotive industry, overall volumes are moderating,” General Motors told employees in a layoff notice at its Spring Hill, Tenn., assembly plant that makes the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5. These crossover models are among the very vehicles GM is counting on to pull it out of its sales funk.

“We believe the best way to react…is to reduce output,” the statement said.

GM will eliminate an entire overnight shift with about 1,000 workers. Some of the workers might be transferred to the engine or component manufacturing side of the plant, according to the GM spokesman.

The notice was sent on Friday. It was meticulously timed. By the time it was reported by the Wall Street Journal, the markets had already closed and no one was supposed to pay attention any longer.

Already in December 2016, GM announced that it would kick-start 2017 by temporarily closing five assembly plants, temporarily laying off 10,000 workers. But most of those employees were involved in making cars.

What GM told its employees on Friday was different: It would cut an entire shift, it would not be temporary, and the purpose would be to cut production of formerly hot crossovers.

Every automaker is pursuing the hot crossover segment with a vengeance. They’re still selling, but not as well as expected, and demand is “moderating,” as GM put it, and now overcapacity is setting in, the bane in auto manufacturing. It has been hounding plants that make cars. But now the problem is spreading the plants that make crossovers.

To continue reading: Harvey and Irma Won’t End Carmageddon

The US Jobs Market Is Much Worse Than The Official Data Suggest: The Full Story, by Morningside Hill

This is the best systematic review SLL has seen of the flaws and deficiencies in US employment statistics. From Morningside Hill via zerohedge.com:

Following Friday’s disappointing payrolls report, yesterday we showed another even more troubling fact about the state of the US labor market: since 2008, over 93% of the total 6.7 million net jobs “created” in the past decade, have been statistical, existing simply inside an excel model somewhere in the US Department of Labor, as a result of the BLS’ favorite fudge factor, the Birth/Death adjustment.

Unfortunately, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for why the US labor market “recovery” is perhaps the biggest ‘fake news’ of the US economic narrative, and as a comprehensive recent analysis issued by Morningside Hill reveals, the state of the US jobs market is far worse than the official data suggest.

Here is the real story.

The US jobs market has been described as the backbone of the recovery – 80 months of continuous jobs growth with unemployment hitting 4.3% – the lowest since 2001. However the perceived strength in jobs creation is at odds with other economic indicators. President Trump ran on a campaign that repeatedly touted “jobs, jobs, jobs.” His emphasis on jobs creation and bringing employment back to America struck a chord with voters. Trump’s election in itself contradicts the popular narrative that the US jobs market is tight and robust. Wages, disposable income and real earnings growth along with low productivity and overall slow economic growth all challenge the BLS’s jobs numbers and thus Wall Street’s perception that the jobs market is tight.

Since the monthly jobs report is eagerly awaited as the most important piece of economic data for financial markets, it warrants a deep dive in order to understand what is going on under the hood. Before we delve into the data, here are some highlights of our findings.

To continue reading: The US Jobs Market Is Much Worse Than The Official Data Suggest: The Full Story

It Starts: Hiring Falls in San Francisco Bay Area, Says LinkedIn, by Wolf Richter

What does it mean when one of strongest sectors of the US economy starts to falter? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Tech skills are suddenly “abundant” in San Francisco & Silicon Valley

Hiring dropped 4.1% in May year-over-year in the Bay Area, which includes Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and other cities, according to LinkedIn’s new Workforce Report. This contrasted with the US overall, where hiring rose 2.4%, “the strongest month for hiring since June 2015,” as the report put it.

On a seasonally-adjusted basis – this irons out large seasonal variations, such as the drop-off in December due to the holidays or the surge over the summer due to seasonal work and student internships – hiring plunged 11.1% in May from April.

This measure of hiring activity is based on the 138 million workers in the US who have profiles on LinkedIn. That would be 86% of what is deemed to be the “civilian labor force” of 160 million people and about 42% of the total US population.

So not everyone is part of this sample. It’s a sample of people interested in other jobs and in making themselves visible to recruiters and companies. The data may be skewed in that direction and away from people who are not looking or who have skills that are not very marketable on LinkedIn.

But it’s a huge sample, and May’s 4.1% year-over-year drop in hiring in the Bay Area – so this is not a drop in employment, but a drop in hiring activity – is significant.

There’s more. The report includes a section on the “skills gap” – the mismatch between the skills employers need (demand for skills) and the skills workers have (supply of skills). The report explains:

There is an abundance of skills when supply exceeds demand. There is a scarcity of skills when demand exceeds supply. A city with a scarcity of skills needs more workers with certain skills, while a city with an abundance of skills has too many workers with certain skills.

And the Bay Area has the largest mismatch of skills of any other area in the report (ahead of Washington DC, Austin, and Los Angeles).

To continue reading: It Starts: Hiring Falls in San Francisco Bay Area, Says LinkedIn

11 Reasons Why U.S. Economic Growth Is The Worst That It Has Been In 3 Years, by Michael Snyder

SLL has never met a tax cut it didn’t like, but it’s going to take more than tax cuts to propel an economy that’s cruising below stall speed and losing altitude. From Michael Snyder at theconomiccollapseblog.com:

Those that were predicting that the U.S. economy would be flying high by now have been proven wrong.  U.S. GDP grew at the worst rate in three years during the first quarter of 2017, and many are wondering if this is the beginning of a major economic slowdown.  Of course when we are dealing with the official numbers that the federal government puts out, it is important to acknowledge that they are highly manipulated.  There are many that have correctly pointed out to me that if the numbers were not being doctored that they would show that we are still in a recession.  In fact, John Williams of shadowstats.com has shown that if honest numbers were being used that U.S. GDP growth would have been consistently negative going all the way back to 2005.  So I definitely don’t have any argument with those that claim that we are actually in a recession right now.  But even if we take the official numbers that the federal government puts out at face value, they are definitely very ugly

Economic growth slowed in the first quarter to its slowest pace in three years as sluggish consumer spending and business stockpiling offset solid business investment. Many economists write off the weak performance as a byproduct of temporary blips and expect healthy growth in 2017.

The nation’s gross domestic product — the value of all goods and services produced in the USA — increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.7%, the Commerce Department said Friday, below the tepid 2.1% pace clocked both in the fourth quarter and as an average throughout the nearly 8-year-old recovery. Economists expected a 1% increase in output, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Even if you want to assume that it is a legitimate number, 0.7 percent economic growth is essentially stall speed, and this follows a year when the U.S. economy grew at a rate of just 1.6 percent.

So why is this happening?

To continue reading: 11 Reasons Why U.S. Economic Growth Is The Worst That It Has Been In 3 Years

Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Jim Quinn

Jim Quinn takes a hard look at the economy and markets, and dismisses President Obama’s claims that he’s leaving it in good shape. From Quinn at theburningplatform.com:

I stopped trying to predict markets back in 2008 when the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, Wall Street bankers, and their propaganda peddling media mouthpieces colluded to rig the markets to benefit the elite establishment players while screwing average Americans. I haven’t owned any stocks to speak of since 2006. I missed the the final blow-off, the 50% crash, and the subsequent engineered new bubble. But that doesn’t stop me from assessing our true economic situation, market valuations, and historical comparisons in order to prove the irrationality and idiocy of the current narrative.

The proof of this market being rigged and not based upon valuations, corporate earnings, discounted cash flows, or anything related to free market capitalism, was the reaction to Trump’s upset victory. The narrative was status quo Hillary was good for markets and Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric would unnerve the markets. When the Dow futures plummeted by 800 points on election night, left wingers like Krugman cackled and predicted imminent collapse. The collapse lasted about 30 minutes, as the Dow recovered all 800 points and has subsequently advanced another 1,500 points since election day. Krugman’s predictive abilities proven stellar once again.

It’s almost as if the Deep State oligarchs and their Wall Street co-conspirators are declaring to the world they are still running this show. Despite deteriorating economic conditions, skyrocketing debt, stagnant wages, and bubbles in the stock, bond, and real estate markets, the narrative being spun is a glorious future of tax cuts, less regulations, jobs coming back to America, and GDP growth so high, it will easily pay for all the tax cuts and spending increases. You would think those high frequency trading machines, programmed by Ivy League MBA geniuses, would be smart enough to determine when markets are extremely overvalued as fundamentals are deteriorating.

To continue reading: Something Wicked This Way Comes