A couple of days ago, I posted about the convergence of economic bellwethers that pointed to economic collapse in the near future.I have more detail on the unemployment situation. Two of my go-to sources have indicated that the BLS report on employment last month are ‘problematic’. As you may be aware, the ‘headline’ unemployment figure released by the BLS every month is not necessarily the whole story of unemployment. And the MSM, which has usually just passed on the headline numbers without comment, is getting tired of being gamed. Newsweek recently questioned the numbers. Anyway, I found the convergence on August unemployment that I was expecting–a personal contact in FB filled out the numbers, noting that the number of fulltime jobs continues to decline (as do the number of hours worked per week), and nobody takes the 4.9% unemployment rate seriously (because if we were at 4.9%, the demands for pay increases would be kicking in and income–and working hours–would be going up). And this article lays out the points that many haven’t looked at yet. The unemployment rate remained at 4.9%. The “U-6” alternative measure also remained steady at 9.7%. The labor participation rate remained at 62.8%, near a forty-year low. I should point out that the 9.7% unemployment rate is itself questionable–a hedge fund manager who recently sounded off about the gaming of employment stats stated that ‘real’ unemployment is 12.1%. Shadowstats states that an adjusted rate that includes involuntary part-timers would put total unemployment above 20%, with an adjusted U6 around 10%+.
I’m FB pals with a large number of people who are adherents to the idea of near-term human extinction— folks who expect the worst in coming months. After I published my article, we were bouncing the news around. The issues are when cash suddenly stops having value, whether the political leadership will just keep kicking the can down the road, etc. And my friend Pauline (who has been on my radio show), was participating. I opined that the leadership was trying to guide us in to a soft crash, a sort of Sully Sullenberger Hudson river landing, only with our money. And this was the answer from Pauline:
We are already in that controlled crash landing formation! Have been for years since 2007. And even before that. All the restraints they have placed on our ability to easily access our cash by withdrawing it and thereby making it REAL, are attempts to stave off the inevitable.
Don’t take my word that this is the case. Look up the stats I assembled from the Federal Reserve in advance of a cheery State of the Union report this past January. The numbers that flat line or continue to decline are things like jobs, people in the labor force, income for the 99%, etc. This decline dove-tails with other reported problems and indicators–things like shipping decline (the so-called Baltic Dry index), the fact that oil is still selling at prices that can’t sustain the companies bringing up the unconventional stuff (the shale, deep-sea oil, and tar sands).
I’ve done some soul-searching about that proposition. And it makes sense in a certain way. I’ve been getting predictions (and posting them) from all these people who should know what’s happening. And the economy has not stepped off the cliff again.
Or has it? With so many things wrong with the current economy, how are we able to pretend we’re not in a very deep hole?
Simple. If you’re in the finance economy, there are plenty of games you can play with the numbers. Remember that this year started with the worst Dow losses since the markets were organized in 1897–but somehow everything was gamed and made pretty. The revelation of the bad employment numbers for August actually BOOSTED the market because it meant that the Fed won’t raise interest rates anytime soon. Only in a broken economy does bad economic news drive a market rally.
Again, don’t go by me. I am the simple artist, etc.But those of us waiting for The Event may have missed the fact that the event already happened in late 2008. The fact that nothing has gotten notably better after eight years may mean that nothing will get much better.