Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

The New York Stock Exchange reduces its listing requirements from $25 million in minimum market capitalization to $15 million. They call it temporary, but how long is “temporary”?

The new Secretary of the US Treasury Master Geithner and boss of the boss of the IRS intentionally underpaid his taxes for a series of 4 straight years, and when he was caught on two of the years, properly paid for only two of the four years. Only when he was in the nomination process to be Secretary did he make good to the IRS for the balance he underpaid. (Oh, by the way, he must have perjured himself under oath in saying “Oh, I forgot.” But that is a story for another day.)

Not to beat on Master Geithner but, Master Geithner, even before earning the Senate’s blessing to carry on the irrational and inconsistent policies of the Goldman Sachs Governmental Programs (aka Paulson and Friends), has begun a new WAR with China. He has explicitly stated verbally and in writing that China is manipulating their currency. Meaning that He and Our New Fearless Leader President Obama believe that the Yuan is undervalued relative to the dollar, as China has stepped in over the past year and stopped its long-term appreciation against the dollar. Any Econ 101 C grader or better knows that it China did not brindle its Yuan, then the value of their US $ investments would fall, their appetite for US Treasuries (at a time when we desperately need them to buy $3 trillion USD of our bonds) would collapse. Their banks would become troubled and their economy, rather than being on a growth mode and trying to stabilize would be thrown into a state of chaos, not dissimilar to that of out own. WHY WOULD HE TRY TO TAKE THEM DOWN WITH US? WHAT IS THE BENEFIT?

China is considered one of the global leaders in capitalism!!! With the recent and further steps in US Socialization and Nationalization of Companies, Industries and Spreading of Wealth, China is better looking than we are. (Unless the mirror we use is warped, fogged and scratched!)

NY State’s new Senator to the US Congress is a Democrat with Strong Republican traits (oh, I almost wrote “taints”.) A committed member of the NRA, advent opponent of gun control, an anti-fan of the GLBT and others groups, and an ardent “non-compromiser”. At least she we know she won’t be toeing any party lines as she goes in!

Russia can shut down its gas pipelines supplying Central and Western Europe and hold them at ransom, as we saw over the past two weeks.

Unofficial underemployment in the US is at an all time high in excess of 20% currently and projected to hit 28% before this thing turns.

Detroit will stop building and designing cars for car buyers but instead to please their political owners and our new industry/political czars or dictators.

After the worst year in the stock markets’ history, the US markets continue to plunge in the first three weeks of the new year. So much for the optimism from a new administration and “Hope and Change”.

Mortgage rates on the conforming 30 year have increased almost 0.5% even though Uncle Sam and his family members have been talking about moving it lower. (What, are they now powerless? Or are their capabilities limited or muted?)

Please help me out. Add some additional ideas, as I know I have only touched on the tip of an iceberg.

Also check out http://alphainventions.com/ a great website for all new posts!

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See layoffs for the month of January, by the largest US employers, at:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/09/january-layoffs-fires-lead-cx_kk_0109january09layoffs.html

Also check out http://alphainventions.com/ a great website for all new posts!

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Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and link to this blog for more great insight!

Amazingly, the US Department of labor reported only 524,000 jobs were lost in December. The market was almost overjoyed, as they had expected a number in the range of 650,000 to 750,000. The 524,000 did not include the “revision” to the prior months numbers downward by 154,000. Thus, adding the 154k to the 524k, one may come to a sum of 678,000, right in line with the nightmare expectations.

There is also further distortion due to a “birth-death” quotient applied by the Department of Labor, but we will not get into that here, except to say that it is currently making the reported numbers look better than they really are, rather than worse.

Other very weak numbers not reported in the headlines include:

Average workweek has declined to 33.3 hours among all employed workers in December. This is the lowest number of hours worked since Uncle Sam started watching these numbers in 1964. (Some economists anticipate that this number will correlate to another 500,000 job losses in the coming months.)

Since January 1, nine calendar days ago and 6 business days ago, major employers (those with 5,000 plus employees each) have announced job cuts of more than 30,000. On a daily basis this is an average run rate of 5,000 per day, or annualized rate of additional 1.1 million of job cuts!

Some may say that the run rate of 1.1 million is less than half of the newly unemployed of 2.5 million fellow Americans in the US during 2008, but there are numerous other facets as well.

Keep in mind, when an unemployed worker takes a job at because they must at 30%, 50% or 75% of their former compensation, they are no longer statistically unemployed.

Key numbers to continue to watch includes average compensation per hour, average numbers of hours worked, and the U6 unemployment numbers which reflect a much broader and economically relevant calculation of the unemployment levels.

Also check out http://alphainventions.com/ a great website for all new posts!

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Thanks for reading and feel free to comment and link to this blog for more great insight!

Today’s Wall Street Journal cites the anticipation of looming “mortgage cram-downs”, as a result of the failure of government’s steps to cease the increase in foreclosures.

The article notes that there are 7.5 million homes underwater currently and that foreclosures are expected to exceed 8.1 million over the next four years!!!! It also notes that Congress was hoping to help 400,000 homeowners through its latest program, “Hope for Homeowners”, but only 357 have applied for the program to date.

Sounds like one of the pillars we discussed yesterday on this blog is still not being secured!!! Unless action is taken, we will see the Red Plague sweep the homeowners and consumers downriver, like the banks and Wall Street firms were washed away this past year.

Unfortunately, the free market and refinancing will not solve the liquidity crunch paralyzing the homeowner/consumer pillar and the small business pillar.

Some insight and real hope are desperately needed. And fast!

On December 15, 2008, Peter Zeihan wrote “Falling Fortunes, Rising Hopes and the Price of Oil”. See it at:

Stratfor is the world’s leading online publisher of geopolitical intelligence. Thus, it is an amazing source of real news and analysis.

Mr. Zeihan’s article begins: Oil prices have now dipped — albeit only briefly — below US$40 a barrel, a precipitous plunge from their highs of more than US$147 a barrel in July. Just as high oil prices reworked the international economic order, low oil prices are now doing the same. Such a sudden onset of low prices impacts the international system just as severely as recent record highs.” Please see it at the link for the full article.

My thoughts:
I would emphasize the tremendous risk economically, politically, and globally that severe volatility (both on the upside and downside, of valuations for energy, currency, food, labor and more) can and will present to the US and all global economies and cultures.

Though economically, the US will benefit from significantly lower energy costs and many, many other commodities which have inflated over recent years due to the the rising energy costs and the great speculation/investing in “hard assets”, the risks to our way of life and our economic vitality are potentially greater.

The article describes the potential impact on governments and regimes, and the possible instability that will likely ensue, given human nature. Interestingly, I have been pounding the table with my equity investor clients on the reasons to purchase stocks in defense oriented companies, due to these very reasons. This article, plus the recently announced government spending plan, fully supports the strength of the sector and the essential need for continued development, irregardless of our incoming government’s timetable for Iraq.

Interestingly, our financial leaders are extremely concerned about the potential for spiraling deflation. They have defined deflation as the deferral of purchases in anticipation of lower prices. From my vantage point, the deflation that we are currently experiencing is more of the reversal and undoing of inflation of past years. Additionally, in the economic studies I have read recently, the decline in current consumer spending has not been due to “waiting for lower prices” but due to the lack of money to buy goods and services within neighborhoods and communities throughout our country and in many places in our interconnected world. The volatility economically and emotionally of having significant access to money (through savings or credit) to having little or no discretionary spending capability should be an area of focus for our national and global leadership.

In this holy season, as well as this season of new beginnings, we all must be optimistic about tomorrow and at the same time pray for political, economic and social stability locally, nationally, and globally .

All the best for the New Year!

The following was written by a friend. I thought it unfortunately appropriate for this holiday…………

Christmas eve… All the presents are wrapped and hidden from the kids. All, meaning one for each kid. For me, I hope I do not get anything. Not that I do not want anything, but because I know the money would be better spent on food or gas or books for the kids over the next week or two.

This is the first Christmas without money, without credit, without cash…. It feels horrible. I know we are not alone. That helps a bit, but still…. It is Christmas, a time for gifts and joy.

Holiday sales are a great opportunity to buy some gifts, but only if I had spare money. The money I have I need for food and necessities, not toys and games and things to throw away. As I look through our local paper this morning, I see many advertisements for 50% to 75% off. So what…. Even if it were 90% off, I would not buy do to the reasons noted above. Yeh, they can give it to me for free, but I am not a charity case, just someone impacted by the economic collapse of 2008 and the credit crunch.

I am sure tomorrow will be filled with joy and Love. The kids will really appreciate the few gifts they receive. Maybe even more than in past years, as they now understand how tight the money is.

We do have much to be thankful for, and that is really what we will focus on… Fortunately, good health, smart and good kids, a regular paycheck (though it is way too small), and health insurance…. plus much more, I am sure.

It has been a very different holiday season, and tomorrow will be a very different Christmas. It is all part of life. Struggles, success, failure, agony, money, no money, abundance and famine, etc… I am hopeful for the future, not necessarily tomorrow, but maybe the proverbial “day after tomorrow”. We can only be hopeful, and also thankful…..

God bless.

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New release this morning that the real unemployment, including actual unemployed, those off unemployment due to duration of being out of work and those taking part time jobs because full time is not available, has reached a post depression high of 12.5%!!!!!

Who told you this first in my earlier blogs???????????

Interestingly, my read of these new numbers leaves out another 5% or more. Thus I am now estimating that the current unemployment numbers (based on compensation being earned) is closer to 17.5%. This includes those folks employed, but facing significant cuts in compensation due to commissioned sales, compensation based on productivity and volume, etc.

Share your news and thoughts………………….

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported that the number of miles driven in America had fallen by 8.9 billion miles or 3.5% in October 2008 versus October 2007.  The Department of Transportation reported that this was the largest decline for the month of October since 1971.  They noted that this decline came despite the fact that gas prices have declined from above $4 per gallon to less than $2 over the past 4 months.

The Federal Tramsportation Secretary, Ms. Mary Peters, was quoted as follows:  “The fact that the trend persists even as gas prices are dropping confrims that American’s traveling habits are fundamentally changing.”

What??????????? Since when do a few months when the world is in a state of economic and social chaos make a “trend”?  What about other factors besides “Americans’ Passion to Drive”?

Does Ms. Peters know and understand that unemployment levels across the country are tremendously elevated?  Has she read or heard anywhere that many hundreds of thousands and more are threateden with job loss?  Has she been informed by her brilliant staff that the volume of new car purchased have crashed?  That the equivalent of more than 2 million cars are being retired off of the American roads?

Has she heard the pundits and “talking morons” saying “The American People have voted.  And, they have voted they do not want GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles?”

Has she thought about the connection between consumer credit and vehicle usage, whether for personal enjoyment purposes, business travel, or shopping?  With available credit lines being reduced cumulatively by hundreds of billions of dollars and interest rates on cards rising to up to 35% per year, might these things have an impact on driving patterns?

Would one (with any clue) conclude that with all these changes going on in the economic and cultural climate, that the use of one’s car and the miles driven may be impacted?  Would one consider these changes permanent (which in my mind is defined as “set forever”)?

I think not.  But then again, I am not in DC and nor am I a “leader”.

Maybe President-Elect Obama will select his DC Leaders based on intellect, ability, reading comprehension, and their understanding of the area they are to oversee?  Would that be asking too much?  Might that have a positive influence on the future of America?

May God help us!

There are some out there who have said, “The American people have spoken, and they have said they do not like GM, Chrysler and Ford autos.”

It is absolutely more accurate to say, “The American people have spoken, and during the past three months demand for new cars has dropped, like a rock.”

The current run rate of new car purchases calculates to the annual removal from the road of approximately 2 million cars per year.  This is the first time that there has been a net decline in autos on the road in the history of the auto!

America has run out of credit.  America has run out of cash.  America is unemployed.

The 2 million car number is very close to the 1.9 million of newly unemployed workers since the start of the year.

Mystery?

If 1.9 million less people are going to work each day, how many less cars are needed?

Please share your thoughts and comments…..

Remember hearing that our brains have 100 billion neurons when we are born, and that with every glass of wine or cigarette we kill 10,000?  Didn’t 100 billion sound like an amazing amount?  I always wondered how I could have 100 billion connections inside my little brain……

I just participated in a discussion with a leading neurologist who cited the 100 billion number.  The first thought that came to my mind when I heard him say it, was “huh, 100 billion is not so much.”  I then thought, if 100 billion is not so many, what would be an amazing number?  700 billion, 800 billion, 1 trillion??????????

When our dear Uncle Sam can throw around 35 billion $, or 350 billion $, or 700 billion $, or another 800 billion $, is it really not such an amazing number?

How our perspectives have changed!!!! When 100 billion is no longer an impressively large number, and our US deficit for 2009 may well be $2 trillion!!!

Six months ago the world was facing a tremndous threat of global inflation.  So much so, the EU Central Bank, in their wisdom, raised their Interest Rate for all of Europe!  This, at the same time, was when the US had already cut rates substantially to abate the market’s collapse.

With the global economy collapsing, demand for raw materials to finished goods has fallen flat.  The basic equation of price being set at the intersection of the supply curve and the demand curve has produced current prices. Demand dropped, supply increased and prices generally have plummeted.  Risk aversion in the markets (whether currency, commodities, securities, energy or eggs) has increased drastically.  Values per unit can change by 2-10% in any given day, either following the direction from the prior trading session or setting a new direction.  Thus, the number of players in these markets have declined.  Too much inventory is spead throughout the supply chain, with each sector of the chain trying to push it off to the next.

Prices have dropped and now the greatest threat is global deflation!  Deflation could spiral as less capital is available, values of assets held declines, and the buyers patiently wait for values to fall further.

The demand for stocks has dried up , as investors fear that valuations will be forever changed (to the downside.)  Retail sales are down as people wait until they truly need something before they buy it.  Unemployement numbers are skyrocketing and with that average labor costs will come down, as people price themselves competitively to enter back into the work place.  And last, and most important, housing values will continue to fall, as credit becomes scarcer, incomes lower, and supply of available units increase.

WATCH OUT FOR FALLING PRICES!!!! THEY COULD CRUSH US ALL!!!

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