labor force

Payrolls Too; Inflation Hysteria Gives Way to Inversion Unease

By |2018-12-07T12:08:45+00:00December 7th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Unfortunately for Jay Powell, labor statistics are at best backward looking and often just plain misleading. Can you imagine if the wage data contained with November 2018’s payroll report had been released last December instead? Today, pretty much nobody cares anymore. We’ve flipped from inflation hysteria to inversion unease and that was always the appropriate [...]

Living With Nothing; Or, ‘If You Don’t Like This One Nothing Is Going To Make You Happy’

By |2018-11-02T12:25:28+00:00November 2nd, 2018|Bonds, Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

On December 5, 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in the month of November 2014 nonfarm private payrolls had surged by +321k. Typically bureaucratic, the introduction to the report was unusually blunt. “Job gains were widespread.” The text didn’t come right out and say it so the media did it all for [...]

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 [...]