labor force

Payrolls: Deadly Low

By |2018-08-03T13:00:17+00:00August 3rd, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Economists say that the labor market is being restrained by secular factors, those outside of regular macro potential. These are opioid use, demographic changes toward an older population, and the downside effects of globalization as it alters the skills required by employers. Between drug addicts, retiring Baby Boomers, and lazy Americans who won’t go back [...]

The Unemployment Rate Is Useless, But That Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t Useful

By |2018-06-01T18:15:50+00:00June 1st, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

At a campaign rally in New Mexico in May 2016, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump returned to one of his favorite themes. It was a package deal. He first talked about NAFTA and what he considered the negative effects the trade agreement had had on American workers. That easily segued into what had by then become [...]

Three Point Nine, Still No Boundary For Sanity

By |2018-05-04T12:18:02+00:00May 4th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

For all its tortured economic history since 1989, Japan has never really had an unemployment problem. Going by its unemployment rate alone, conditions don’t ever appear to be all that out of line. At its worst, in both the dot-com recession as well as Japan’s experience during the Great “Recession”, the highest it ever got [...]

There Aren’t Two Labor Markets

By |2018-04-13T17:35:50+00:00April 13th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Allusions to a labor shortage continue to be ubiquitous. Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published yet another such story under the headline Iowa’s Employment Problem: Too Many Jobs, Not Enough People. Ostensibly about the experiences of companies trying to hire in the one state, the implication was clear enough. If Iowa, IOWA, has [...]

Payroll Time

By |2018-04-06T13:37:15+00:00April 6th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Never get hung up on one payroll report, good or bad. The Establishment Survey series, seasonally-adjusted and statistically smoothed as much as humanly possible, is still incredibly noisy. It didn’t used to be this way, which is an important clue that “something” has changed. The lack of consistency in the monthly measurement is as the [...]

The Return of The Perfect Payrolls

By |2018-03-09T12:23:24+00:00March 9th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Over the past two days, Chinese exports exploded, US payrolls bested 300k, and China’s CPI recorded the hottest inflation in 5 years. Globally synchronized growth? It’s times like these where remembering how nothing goes in a straight line helps settle and ground interpretations. In thinking that way already, you are never surprised when there are [...]

Where’s The Inflation? Average Weekly Earnings Flat, Focus on 200k Instead Which Isn’t Even A Good Number

By |2018-02-02T15:36:55+00:00February 2nd, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

The unemployment rate, I’m sorry to report, didn’t tumble all the way to zero. Pity. It did stay at 4.1% for the fourth straight month. Because of that, wage pressures should be exploding right now. That seems to be the verdict in markets this morning, a rumble of inflation shot right through everything at the [...]

Which One Really Belonged On Yellen’s Dashboard?

By |2018-01-10T17:19:32+00:00January 10th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

The latest JOLTS survey from the BLS suggests nothing much has changed from that particular view of the labor market. The level of estimated Job Openings (JO) while down slightly over the last few months remains exceedingly high. By contrast, the rate of monthly Hires (HI) continues to be subdued, if at the high end [...]