participation problem

No Such Thing As An 80% Boom

By |2018-10-24T17:12:53+00:00October 24th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Many attribute the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats” to President John Kennedy. He may have been the man who brought it into the mainstream but as his former speechwriter Ted Sorenson long ago admitted it didn’t originate from his or the President’s imagination. Instead, according to Sorenson, it was a phrase borrowed from [...]

Tropical Labor Math

By |2018-10-05T12:00:35+00:00October 5th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

It was coming, it wasn’t coming. On again, off again. Voluntary evacuations, all clears, and then the rushed mandatory removals. When Hurricane Bonnie finally made landfall, it left people more angry than usual with these kinds of storms. Weather officials just didn’t know where it would end up. In eventually would smack right into Virginia’s [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Really Looking For Inflation, Part 2

By |2018-03-07T12:45:14+00:00March 7th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Continued from Part 1 What these unusually weak productivity estimates lean toward is, quite simply, the possibility the BLS has been overstating jobs gains for years. In early 2018, there is already the hint of just that problem in a 4.1% unemployment that doesn’t lead to any acceleration in wages and labor income. What it [...]

Really Looking For Inflation, Part 1

By |2018-03-07T12:45:48+00:00March 7th, 2018|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Most people have been looking at Jerome Powell’s Chairmanship of the Federal Reserve as continuity, a comprehensive extension of Janet Yellen’s (and therefore Bernanke’s). This would by nature include all the nasty habits Chairman Yellen had picked up during her one term. At the top of that list is the word “transitory”, particularly how it [...]

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 [...]

Hyping Lean

By |2017-07-31T19:25:08+00:00July 31st, 2017|Currencies, Economy, Federal Reserve/Monetary Policy, Markets|

Activist hedge fund manager Bill Ackman succeeded in 2013 in ousting Procter & Gamble’s CEO Bob McDonald. It was noteworthy at the time because the company issued a strange memo repeating often verbatim answers to questions it posed to itself. Among them was if Mr. McDonald was fired or, as had been relayed publicly, he [...]