April Inflation Statistics

On Tuesday, CNN reported that according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday inflation in April was the highest it has been all year.

The article reports:

Wholesale inflation picked up in April to its highest rate in a year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday.

The Producer Price Index, which measures the change in prices that manufacturers pay to suppliers, was 2.2% for the 12 months ended in April, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday.

That gain is higher than what was seen in March, which was downwardly revised from 2.1% to 1.8%.

On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.5%, a faster pace than March’s 0.1% loss (also downwardly revised) and ran much hotter than what economists had anticipated. Economists were expecting a monthly gain of 0.3%, according to FactSet consensus estimates.

“The concern here is that we now have a trend, an upward trend in producer prices, which can only be passed through to consumers and result in upward pressure on consumer price inflation over the coming months,” Kurt Rankin, senior economist for the PNC Financial Services Group, told CNN in an interview.

And that means interest rates will stay higher for longer and could further delay the Federal Reserve’s plans for cuts on that front, he said.

…While higher energy costs (up 2% in April) helped to push goods prices higher, services inflation is what drove up the overall PPI last month. Nearly three-quarters of the April monthly gain was attributable to price hikes seen by producers of services, according to the report.

Services providers saw a 0.6% increase in prices for the month, the fastest pace seen for that category since March 2022, Rankin noted.

“Services has been the issue over the past year as consumers continue to spend money, and costs for services-oriented businesses is still stronger than goods inflation; but goods producer prices are now also rising after having fallen through most of 2023,” he said.

This is bad news for consumers and also bad news for the Biden administration that wants to get re-elected in November. The promise of cutting the interest rate before the election to bring consumer costs down will not be kept if inflation continues on its current path.

Unfortunately, The Jobs Report Tells The Story

The Biden administration has spent a lot of time trying to convince Americans that Bidenomics is working. Most Americans are not convinced because all of us buy groceries and gasoline on a regular basis. Now that the jobs numbers for April have been released, the true condition of the American economy is becoming obvious.

On Friday, Townhall reported the following:

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in April according to the latest employment situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday morning, the smallest job gain in some six months and significantly below Wall Street estimates for the month.

It was expected that April would bring 240,000 to 250,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate would remain at 3.8 percent. Instead, April was a big miss, and unemployment ticked up to 3.9 percent.

The article continued:

The labor force participation rate remained at 62.7 percent in April and the average workweek slipped down to 34.3 hours while average hourly wages rose 0.2 percent for a 12-month increase of 3.9 percent.

Comparing wage growth with inflation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed core inflation was still running at an annualized 3.8 percent in March, meaning Americans’ wages are barely keeping up with still-rising costs.

The hourly wage numbers are a tribute to creative math. If the number of hours worked is decreased, but the income remains the same, it appears to be an increase on paper. It is not an actual increase. If I work 15 hours and make a total of $150, I earn $10 an hour. If I work 10 hours and make $150, I am making $15 an hour. My income has not increased, but my hourly wage has. So scaling down the average workweek increase the average hourly wage.

The article concludes:

“Today’s jobs report confirms the economy is reentering stagflation,” said Alfredo Ortiz, CEO of Job Creators Network, of Friday’s report. “Only 175,000 jobs were created last month, well below the recent average and expectations,” he emphasized. “More than half of new jobs were created in the unproductive government and quasi-government healthcare and social services sectors that don’t provide growth,” explained Ortiz. “Combined with slow economic growth and resurgent inflation, these jobs numbers suggest stagflation has returned.”

Welcome to the results of Bidenomics.

The Impact Of Inflation

On Thursday, The Center Square posted an article about the impact of inflation on homebuyers.

The article reports:

(The Center Square) – The housing market is not immune from inflationary woes as buyer’s purchasing power has significantly diminished in four years. Home buyers in 2024 need 80% more income to purchase a home than they did in 2020, according to a new report by Zillow.

“The income needed to comfortably afford a home is up 80% since 2020, while median income has risen 23% in that time,” the report states. That equates to $47,000 more than four years ago.

“Home shoppers today need to make more than $106,000 to comfortably afford a home,” according to the report. “That is 80% more than in January 2020.”

A monthly mortgage payment for a typical U.S. home has nearly doubled since January 2020, the report notes, up 96.4% to $2,188. The calculations are based on a 10% down payment.

Home values also increased over 42% in the last four years, with the typical home nationwide worth roughly $343,000, according to Zillow’s January market report. Mortgage rates in January 2020 were 3%, the report notes. By February 2024, they are closer to 7%.

The article notes:

The report’s analysis was based on quarterly median household income from the American Community Survey, Moody’s Analytics, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index.

The findings were announced as total household debt reached a record $17.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report. Mortgage debt increased by $112 billion in Q4 2023 to reach $12.25 trillion. Balances on home equity lines of credit increased by $11 billion, the seventh consecutive quarterly increase after Q1 2022. There are currently $360 billion in aggregate outstanding balances, the Fed states.

The overspending of our government impacts all of us. There will eventually be a tipping point where the housing market crashes because people cannot afford to buy houses. We need to un-elect any Congressman or Senator that continues to vote for overspending.

The Numbers That Are Not Being Shared By The Mainstream Media

On Thursday, Fox Business posted the following headline:

Layoffs surged 136% in January to second-highest level on record

The article reports:

The pace of job cuts by U.S. employers accelerated at the start of 2024, a sign the labor market is starting to deteriorate in the face of ongoing inflation and high interest rates.

That is according to a new report published by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which found that companies planned 82,307 job cuts in January, a substantial 136% increase from the previous month. However, that is down about 20% from the same time one year ago. It marked the second-highest layoff total for the month of January in data going back to 2009.

“Waves of layoff announcements hit U.S.-based companies in January after a quiet fourth quarter,” said Andy Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The cuts were “driven by broader economic trends and a strategic shift towards increased automation and AI adoption in various sectors, though in most cases, companies point to cost-cutting as the main driver for layoffs.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the workforce participation rate has remained steady since December at 62.5, down from 62.8 in November. Generally hiring is up in November due to Christmas shoppers.

The article concludes:

Another source of layoffs in January was retail stores, which trimmed 5,364 positions in January, a significant increase from the 110 layoffs announced in December. 

The top reason cited for job cuts last month was restructuring; companies blamed stores closing and artificial intelligence for the layoffs, as well.

The labor market has remained historically tight over the past year, defying economists’ expectations for a slowdown. Although economists say it is beginning to normalize after last year’s blistering pace, it is nowhere near breaking. 

The findings precede the release of the more closely watched January jobs report from the Labor Department on Friday morning, which is expected to show that employers hired 180,000 workers, following a gain of 216,000 in December

The unemployment rate is expected to inch higher to 3.8%.

As more people are laid off, there will be less demand for consumer goods. This theoretically will slow inflation, but at the cost of the American people. If the government truly wanted to slow inflation without hurting the average American, they would cut government spending, but that is not likely to happen.

The Real Cost Of Living

Washington always finds a way to lie with statistics when it comes to the economy. Limiting the items included in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is one way to convince Americans that inflation isn’t as bad as it seems and also a way to limit the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of various federal disbursements. However, those fake numbers don’t help Americans deal with the rising cost of food and gasoline.

On Sunday, PJ Media posted an article about the rising cost of living in America.

The article reports:

Perhaps the most misleading government statistic of all is the Consumer Price Index. The CPI is an incredibly important statistic because so many government programs that benefit American citizens are tied to that number.

It’s usually cited as the inflation rate, but it’s not really. The CPI is the rate of increase in a subjective “market basket” of goods and services. The things that concern you and me the most as far as price increases have very little to do with the CPI. The CPI doesn’t track food or gas prices at the pump, so the CPI that we see every month doesn’t tell us anything useful.

Right now, the CPI stands at 3.1%. That’s down from a high of 9.1% in June 2022. But even that doesn’t tell us the whole inflation story because along with skyrocketing food and gas prices, real wages failed to keep pace with the price increases.

According to The New York Sun:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released jobs numbers this morning that show non-farm wages increased 4.1 percent in the past year, which is above the inflation rate of 3.1 percent. The problem is that inflation-adjusted real hourly wages — those of the average blue-collar or middle-class person — are down 4.7 percent today from when Mr. Biden took office. That’s a weekly earnings decline in real wages to $381 in November 2023 from $399 in January 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The reason Biden polls so badly is that there’s a decline in wages and an increase in prices,” a former economic adviser to President Trump, Larry Kudlow, tells the Sun. He calls this the “affordability crisis.”

Americans feel it when they walk into the grocery store. Food prices increased nearly 6 percent in 2023, according to the Department of Agriculture. In 2022, at-home food prices — what one buys in a grocery store — increased more than 11 percent. No matter one’s income, it’s hard not to notice the rising cost of food at the grocery store and at restaurants — even fast food.

Are voters going to believe what they are told or what they see?

Lied To Again

In an article posted Tuesday at Power Line Blog, John Hinderaker noted:

Joe Biden’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over a million jobs were created in the second quarter, a heartening statistic that no doubt helped the Democrats in November. But now, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve says that those million jobs were almost entirely fictitious:

The article at Power Line Blog quotes a Washington Times article from December 16th:

The Biden administration vastly overstated its estimate that employers created more than 1 million jobs in the second quarter of this year, claiming historic job growth when in fact hiring had stalled, according to a new estimate.

Job growth was “essentially flat” in the second quarter with only 10,500 jobs added, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said.

The Washington Times also noted:

The BLS, a division of the Department of Labor, estimated net job growth of 1,047,000 jobs in the second quarter. The Philadelphia Fed now says its data shows that 10,500 net jobs were created in that period.

Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida called the development “outrageous.”

“Wrong by a million jobs,” Mr. Scott tweeted Friday. “@JoeBiden’s admin has been lying to the American people about our economy to prop up his failed agenda & I won’t stand for it. I’m requesting an immediate meeting with the head of @BLS_gov. WE NEED ANSWERS NOW!”

President Biden had boasted about the second-quarter job numbers in the heat of the midterm election campaign, using the BLS report as proof that the nation wasn’t headed for a recession.

“In the second quarter of this year, we created more jobs than in any quarter under any of my predecessors in the nearly 40 years before the pandemic,” Mr. Biden said on July 8.

The White House repeated the theme a few weeks later.

The article at Power Line Blog concludes:

One of the problems with perverting the federal bureaucracy, as the Democrats have done, is that pretty much everyone loses faith in the integrity of government. At this point, there is no reason to assume that government numbers are accurate and unfudged. We have been lied to, too many times.

It is sad, but that is where we find ourselves. Trust has been destroyed.

It should also be noted that the Workforce Participation Rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been slowly dropping since August. It will be interesting to see what December’s numbers are.

 

The Numbers On Inflation

On Tuesday, Hot Air posted an article about the consumer price index report that was released.

The article reports:

So much for the second iteration of “inflation’s over!” Today’s consumer price index report shows year-on-year inflation still roaring at 8.3%, thanks in part to soaring food costs, which offset a plateau on gasoline prices.

However, even without food and energy, inflation picked up steam last month, as core CPI rose back above six percent year-on-year, and 0.6% month-on-month:

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after being unchanged in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the shelter, food, and medical care indexes were the largest of many contributors to the broad-based monthly all items increase. These increases were mostly offset by a 10.6-percent decline in the gasoline index. The food index continued to rise, increasing 0.8 percent over the month as the food at home index rose 0.7 percent. The energy index fell 5.0 percent over the month as the gasoline index declined, but the electricity and natural gas indexes increased.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in August, a larger increase than in July. The indexes for shelter, medical care, household furnishings and operations, new vehicles, motor vehicle insurance, and education were among those that increased over the month. There were some indexes that declined in August, including those for airline fares, communication, and used cars and trucks.

The article concludes:

Even before this report, we knew that real disposable personal income (real DPI) had fallen for five quarters in a row. That too is a compounding measure. The plight of the American worker has gotten worse every single month of Biden’s presidency — and there’s no spinning that.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It includes charts and further information on the impact of inflation on every American.

Looking Past The Obvious

On Friday, The Conservative Treehouse took a close look at the August jobs numbers. When you look past the obvious jobs increase, there are some troubling things hidden in those numbers.

The article reports:

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) released the August Jobs Report [DATA HERE].

The topline is a net gain of 315,000 jobs with an increase in unemployment to 3.7%.  However, the June and July jobs reports were revised down by 107,000 lower than previously reported, and if you look carefully at the data, you can see a serious problem.

Keep in mind, in the background is a release yesterday showing productivity within the economy dropping in the second quarter by 4.1%. [DATA]  Combine the drop in productivity with higher wages of 5.7% and total wage costs per unit of business output are up 10.1%.  Now we turn back to today’s employment release, and look at these three points of data:

(1) Unemployment for adult men and unemployment for Latinos increased in August.  Adult men and specifically adult Latino men are losing their jobs. (2) The average number of hours worked in August dropped 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours. (3) Total employment amid those aged 16 to 19-years of age increased by 363, 000 in August:

…A total of 363,000 more teenagers started working in August, yet the total net gain in employment overall was 315,000 jobs. That should be the headline of the August 2022 jobs report.

The good news is that the workforce participation rate did increase from 62.1 in July to 62.4 in August. At least it is moving in the right direction. During the Trump administration, the workforce participation rate hit 63.4 in January and February of 2020.

Welcome To The Biden Economy

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog reported on Wednesday that in June prices rose 9.1 percent above last year. That is a forty-year high.

The article reports:

Inflation hit a new four-decade high in June as prices rose 9.1 percent from last year — 1.3 percent from the prior month — according to the data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning. The BLS’s “all items index increased 9.1 percent for the 12 months ending June, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending November 1981.”

I put it this way: We see it everywhere and every day. The BLS puts it this way: “The increase was broad-based, with the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food being the largest contributors.”

If anyone tries to tell you it’s not as bad as it seems, note that the more plausible case belies it: “The energy index rose 41.6 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1980. The food index increased 10.4 percent for the 12-months ending June, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 1981.”

Every American is paying more to eat, travel, and have a place to live. This is the direct result of policies put in place by the Biden administration. There has been no move by the Biden administration to change any of the policies that caused this–if fact they are considering using the reconciliation process to pass a bill that will make things even worse–the increased taxes and increased spending in that bill will definitely move us from inflation to a recession.

If you want things to change, your only hope will be to change Congress so that the Biden administration cannot pass its economic policies. The economic policies of the Biden administration will bankrupt all of us.

 

The Biden Economy

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a statement generally attributed to T. Bert (Thomas Bertram) Lance, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in Jimmy Carter’s 1977 administration. It is a statement that the Biden administration would have done well to listen to when they took office.

On Wednesday, Breitbart posted an article about the latest inflation numbers.

The article reports:

The Department of Labor said Wednesday that the Consumer Price Index rose 8.3 percent compared with a year ago. Prices were up 0.3 percent compared with the prior month.

This is the eleventh straight month of inflation above 5 percent. Prices rose at an annual rate of 8.5 percent in March. This was the month since September 2021 that the year-over-year inflation figure was not higher than the month earlier.

Economists had forecast CPI to rise by 0.2 percent for the month and 8.1 percent compared with a year ago.

Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.6 percent, well above the 0.4 percent estimate. Compared with a year ago, core prices were up 6.2 percent, above the 6.0 percent expected.

After inflation average hourly earnings for all employees fell 0.1 percent from March to April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Real average hourly earnings decreased 2.6 percent, seasonally adjusted, from April 2021 to April 2022.

One of the main causes of the increased inflation is runaway government spending. Meanwhile on Tuesday night, The House of Representatives passed a $39.8 billion bill to aid Ukraine. Where do they think this money is going to come from?

 

 

The Real Numbers On How Americans Are Doing Economically

On Saturday, The Conservative Review reported that wage growth for Americans is falling behind the rate of inflation.

The article reports:

The average hourly earnings for fall employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by only 0.3% in April. This is lower than what was expected by economists, and according to data released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this past Friday, nominal earnings have increased 5.5% on an annual basis.

This earnings growth rate is far below the rate of inflation. Although April’s inflation numbers are not yet available, the Consumer Price Index grew by 8.5% in the year ending in March.

Real earnings appear to be falling by multiple percentage points.

The article notes:

Furman’s (Jason Furman, the chairman of former President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers) analysis presented an estimate of wage growth that adjusted for the fact that recently released hourly earnings figures released Friday are affected by hiring practices in the current workforce. For instance, wages might be artificially lowered if more low-income workers are hired back within a given month.

Essentially what this means is that pay rates are not growing fast enough to keep up with the rising costs of daily essentials and other expenses like gas, groceries, and rent.

Falling real wages help explain why voters continue to give President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris poor ratings on their handling of the economy.

The middle class is being negatively impacted under the Biden administration. During the Trump administration the middle class saw increases in wages and upward mobility. Under the Biden administration, the middle class is struggling to hold its own.

In April, the Workforce Participation Rate dropped to 62.2 from 62.4 in March. That indicates that few Americans are in the work force. The highest Workforce Participation Rate in recent history was in February 2020, when it hit 63.4.

The Tax On Everything

Inflation is a tax on everyone on everything. It has a negative impact on the economy and on the mood of the voters. It reared its head after the Biden administration made some key decisions (limiting drilling in America, shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline, reckless spending, etc.). Issues & Insights posted an article today explaining that the inflation we are seeing now was not only predictable, it was predicted.

The article reports:

We’re not big fans of economist Larry Summers, but in this case, he should be in line for a Nobel Prize for predicting exactly what is happening with inflation today … and who is to blame for it.

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that inflation climbed at an annual rate of 6.2%, the biggest such jump in three decades.

And that’s despite repeated predictions from other “experts” that the spike in prices earlier this year was “transitory.” Even now, they are flummoxed. As the Washington Post put it Wednesday, inflation is “lasting longer than policymakers at the Fed and White House anticipated.”

But no one, we repeat, no one, should be surprised by the latest turn of events.

Go back and listen to what Summers was saying at the start of the year, and it’s eerily prescient.

Summers publicly and repeatedly warned that President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion “rescue” plan —which was Biden’s first big “achievement” that passed without a single Republican vote — would spark an inflationary spiral.

The article includes the following graph:

The article concludes:

But Summers had the most to lose by so publicly sticking his neck out. He’s a die-hard liberal who’d served in the Obama administration. He knew that raising a stink threatened the new president’s big-spending agenda. And, unintentionally or not, he called the lie on Biden’s claim that “leading economists” all agreed on the need for another massive COVID stimulus.

Now that Summers’ prediction is coming true, will any of his detractors apologize? Will any admit that Biden’s $1.9 trillion spending spree — which is now being followed by a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and, quite possibly, a multi-trillion dollar welfare expansion — was a colossal mistake? Will they acknowledge that Biden is principally to blame for the inflationary spiral the economy appears to have entered?

Don’t count on it. Biden is running around the country claiming that still more deficit-financed spending will somehow cut prices. Everyone else is busy looking for other scapegoats. Anything so as not to hold Biden, or themselves, accountable for the damage being done.

Unfortunately inflation will probably be with us until we can either change Congress or change the administration.

 

I Guess The Truth Is Relative

On Monday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about a recent statement made by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

The article reports:

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said: “Median weekly earnings of the nation’s 113.6 million full-time wage and salary workers were $990 in the second quarter of 2021 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was 1.2 percent lower than a year earlier.” (Data)

On Monday the White House says: “Wages are up.”

The article includes a video of Jen Psaki making that statement.

The article notes:

The reality is when you combine 1.2% decrease in earned wages with a 5.4% inflation rate, real wages are down 7.6% from last year. {Go Deep}

Does the Biden administration really believe that Americans will not notice that their spending power is down considerably from last year? I know that politicians tend to exaggerate, but this is unbelievable. How many times was President Trump accused of lying with no examples given? Here you have a blatant lie, and I doubt that the media will report it. Hopefully American voters are paying attention to what the Biden administration is doing to their economic well being.

The Recovery Was Going Well Until We Started Paying People Not To Work

Yesterday Forbes posted an article about the May Jobs Report. The article notes that payroll jobs rose by 559,000 in May, better than April, but much slower than March.

The chart below shows the changes in the Workforce Participation Rate during the last year (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics):

As you can see, the coronavirus impacted the Workforce Participation Rate. The Workforce Participation Rate had been hovering at about 63 percent before the virus hit and the lockdowns occurred. Because of the additional money being paid in unemployment benefits, it may be a while before it goes back up to 63 percent.

The article at Forbes reports:

Perhaps the most important number in the jobs report was another notable increase in hourly wages: they rose by 6% on an annual basis, after also rising by 8% last month.

The combination of sluggish employment growth but rising wages tell a clear story: anecdotes about employers having difficulty hiring are true, and they are raising worker wages to attract or retain more of them. So labor demand (jobs) is rising faster than labor supply (workers).

What is holding workers back? The evidence here is less clear, but it is likely a range of factors: the $300 weekly bump-up in Unemployment Insurance payment likely plays a small role; it should matter most in leisure/hospitality where job growth was strongest, though perhaps slower than employers wanted. Recent news stories of workers refusing to go back to their old restaurant jobs suggests that workers there are tired of low wages, unstable hours and possible exposure to Covid.

Policies matter. I believe that if the Biden administration had just left the Trump economic policies alone, we would be in a much better place.

The Impact Of President Biden’s Executive Orders Is Already Being Felt

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the rapid increase in inflation in the past month.

The article reports:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights some alarming inflation numbers today [Link Here] that are unfortunately, not unexpected…. unless you are a liberally trained economist (most of them) and so the results are surprisingly “unexpected”.    But the actual JoeBama-nomic policy is even worse because wages increased less than inflation increased, so real wages (actual purchasing power) decreased.  That spells trouble, Trouble.

First, it is important to know that BLS price survey data lags actual prices as felt today.  The prices you are seeing today/tommorrow at the store and gas pump will not show up in the rolled-up data for over a month….  So the data released today is unfortunately far behind what you are witnessing in real time.

Gas prices rose last month by 9.1%.  The year-over-year inflation number is an alarming 2.6 percent last month.  Keep in mind that retail grocery prices are not in the inflation number, and they generally follow the same price index as fuel; so it is safe to say monthly grocery store price increases are in the 8 to 10 percent range.

Part of the reason gas and food track together is fuel and energy prices are the #2 cost within the food sector.  With packaging prices increasing; with fuel prices and distribution costs increasing; with energy prices increasing; all costs associated with food production, processing, delivery, warehousing and distribution, all end up in the final price at the grocery store.

This problem with inflation is only going to get worse as the FED gets more involved (that’s coming), because interest rates are already disconnected from the economic costs associated with business investment. [Note: the Fed said last year that it would hold its benchmark interest rate near zero, for some time, even if inflation were to rise above its preferred rate.]  JoeBama is returning us to a “service driven economy”, and that is a problem for inflation.

President Trump’s MAGAnomic (USA First) increased wages and lowered prices (deflation) {Go Deep} but hurt Wall Street.  JoeBama’s globalist policies lower U.S. wages and increase prices (inflation) but increase Wall Street (via multinationals).

Economic policies have consequences. Shutting down pipelines has consequences. Runaway spending has consequences. Unfortunately we are stuck with those actions and their consequences for the next three years. We had four reasonably good years economically because we had a President who understood business and free markets. We currently have President who is moving us toward tough economic times, government overreach, and eventually socialism. Hang on to your wallet.

 

Good News On The Economic Front

CNBC reported the following yesterday:

  • Nonfarm payrolls increased by 638,000 in October and the unemployment rate fell to 6.9%.
  • Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had forecast 530,000 and 7.7%, respectively.
  • Hospitality and professional and business services showed the biggest gains. Government job losses subtracted from the total.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Workforce Participation Rate went from 61.4 in September to 61.7 in October.

CNBC reports:

Employment growth was better than expected in October and the unemployment rate fell sharply even as the U.S. faces the challenge of surging coronavirus cases and the impact they could have on the nascent economic recovery.

The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased by 638,000 and the unemployment rate was at 6.9%. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a payroll gain of 530,000 and an unemployment rate of 7.7%, a touch lower than the September level of 7.9%.

October’s gain was just slightly off the September pace of 672,000.

I have asked this questions before. Why is growth always better than expected when a Republican is in the White House?

We are in an economic recovery. That recovery will continue if President Trump continues in office. That recovery will come to a screeching halt if Joe Biden becomes President.

 

Good News On The Jobs Market

Just the News posted an article today reporting that the U.S. added 4.8 million jobs during the month of June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. The unemployment rate fell to 11.1%. Economists had estimated that 3 million jobs would be added.

The article reports:

The increase in jobs comes as businesses begin rehiring following the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April and May.

The unemployment rate also dropped more than expected. The Dow Jones predicted that it would fall to 12.4% in June. It was 13.3% in May.

We are definitely moving in the right direction.

The article concludes:

Also released this morning were the weekly jobless claims, which showed that 1.43 million Americans filed for first time unemployment benefits last week. This number was slightly higher than the expected 1.38 million.

The new numbers will help inform Congress later this month as they debate the possibility of expanding benefits for unemployed Americans.

The expanded benefits system has been providing the unemployed with an additional $600 a week, and covering workers who are not typically included in the state benefit systems.

Sections of the country have begun pausing their economic reopening efforts as the coronavirus spikes sharply in the south west.

It is likely that Congress will ultimately agree to extend those benefits, but decrease the $600 addition.

The $600 addition has been cited by many business owners as the reason some of their employees are not in a hurry to return to work. Whatever Congress subsidizes we will see more of. When unemployment is no longer subsidized, we will see less of it.

Good News

It always amazes me that good economic news is always ‘unexpected’ when a Republican is in the White House. Well, last month’s economic news also fits that pattern. Breitbart reported yesterday that factory activity in the U.S. surged higher than expected in June. That always makes me wonder who expected what.

The article reports:

The Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity jumped 9.5 percentage points to 52.6 in June. The gauge of new orders rose 24.6 points to 56.4, the largest ever monthly increase. The production component of the index also rose by more than 24 points to 57.3.

…Economists had expected a reading of 49, with the highest estimate in those surveyed by Econoday 51.5. June’s score was the best since April of 2019.

“The manufacturing sector is reversing the heavy contraction of April, with the PMI increasing month-over-month at a rate not seen since August 1980, with several other indexes also posting gains not seen in modern times,” ISM’s Timothy Fiore said in a statement.

The article further reports:

“US manufacturers have reported a marked turnaround in business conditions through the second quarter, with collapsing production and demand in April at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown turning rapidly to stabilisation by June. The PMI posted a record 10-point rise in June amid unprecedented gains in the survey’s output, employment and order book gauges,” Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, said.

Williamson said:

“The record rise in the New Orders Index, coupled with low inventory holdings, bodes well for a further improvement in production momentum in July. A record upturn in business sentiment about the year ahead likewise hints that business spending and employment will start to revive. However, while the PMI currently points to a strong v-shaped recovery, concerns have risen that momentum could be lost if rising numbers of virus infections lead to renewed restrictions and cause demand to weaken again.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that the workforce participation rate for June was 61.5, up from 60.8 in May. In February the workforce participation rate was 63.4, so we have a ways to go to get back to where we were before the coronavirus shutdown.

I Totally Don’t Understand This

Yesterday Breitbart News reported a puzzling comment by House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat. Representative Clyburn was being interviewed on Fox Business Network by Neil Cavuto. The article includes part of the transcript of that interview.

The article reports:

NEIL CAVUTO: As you’ve been seeing with Michael Bloomberg, he’s been jumping in the polls on the heels of his very expensive, pricey ad buys if you include $125 million slated for Super Tuesday. Could you, would you back him?

REP. JAMES CLYBURN: I’m going to back whoever our nominee is — Absolutely.

CAVUTO: Even with the things he’s said about African-Americans? Does that bother you?

REP. CLYBURN: Not as much as what Trump has said about African-Americans. Anytime that I go to the polls, I’m considering positives and negatives on all candidates and I try to go with the one whose positives outweigh the negatives.

CAVUTO: Let’s leave the words aside, whether you like his style or not, tweets or not, or comments or not, he’s delivered the goods for a lot of African-Americans. Does he not with record-low unemployment levels?… You don’t think that’s something that’s constructive?

REP. CLYBURN: No, because it’s not true. I’m saying that the African American unemployment is not the lowest it’s ever been unless you count slavery… We were fully employed during slavery. So, it all depends how you measure this up.

This is how blind hatred affects judgement.

On February 7, 2020, CNS News reported:

Trump loves to boast and exaggerate, so it’s easy to throw out little “Pinocchio” ratings when Trump claims we have the lowest black unemployment rate in American history, since it’s only been measured since 1972. But it’s literally the lowest ever measured in American history. What the fact-checkers are doing is littering achievements with asterisks, trying to distract from the undeniable fact that unemployment is at record lows for blacks, Hispanics, women, the disabled and undoubtedly other groups Democrats claim to champion.

This is the link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website page that has all of the unemployment statistics. You can explore that page for pure numbers. We should all celebrate the fact that the Trump economy has been good to all Americans of all backgrounds.

The Trump Economy

The November jobs report was released this morning. CNS News posted an article this morning with the numbers.

The article reports:

The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says the economy added a whopping 266,000 jobs in November; and for the sixth month in a row, a record number of Americans were counted as employed.

158,593,000 Americans were working in November, the 24th record of Trump’s presidency.

The unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 3.5 percent, a 50-year low.

In November, the civilian non-institutional population in the United States was 260,020,000. That included all people 16 and older who did not live in an institution (such as a prison, nursing home or long-term care facility).

Of that civilian non-institutional population, 164,404,000 were participating in the labor force, meaning that they either had a job or were actively seeking one during the last month. This resulted in a labor force participation rate of 63.2 percent.

The labor force participation rate has never been higher than 67.3 percent, a level achieved in the early months of 2000. The Trump-era high was set last month at 63.3 percent. Economists say retiring baby boomers account for some of the decline since the turn of the century.

This report partially explains why the Democrats are in such a rush to impeach President Trump. Historically a President whose first term includes a booming economy is almost always re-elected. Unless the economy changes drastically in the next year, President Trump will serve two terms. There is also the matter of the electability of the Democrat candidates.

Why I Believe The Media’s Talk Of Recession Is Garbage

Breitbart posted an article today about September’s jobs numbers. There is a lot of good news in the report.

The article reports:

Economists had expected the economy to between 150,000 and 180,000 with the median consensus at 163,000, according to Econoday. Unemployment was expected to remain unchanged. Last month’s jobs figure was originally reported at 164,000, now revised down to 159,000, and unemployment was 3.7 percent.

Although the headline number was weaker than expected, wage growth was strong in August. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 11 cents to $28.11, or 0.4 percent, following 9-cent gains in both June and July. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent. In August, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 11 cents to $23.59.

Unemployment among African Americans fell to 5.5 percent, the lowest level on record.

The labor force participation rate edged up to 63.2 percent in August, indicating that the strong labor market has continued to draw Americans into the workforce.

The largest job gains came from professional and business services, which added 37,000.  Census hiring boosted the federal government’s hiring to 28,000 workers. Health care added 24,000 to the total while financial services increased by 15,000.

The article concludes:

Consumer spending and the labor market have been strong. Data released Thursday showed worker compensation rising strongly and well-above inflation. Rising labor costs can promote capital investment by businesses seeking to make workers more productive.
With unemployment near 50-year lows, job growth has slowed and many businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Employment growth has averaged 158,000 per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018.

This is the chart showing the Workforce Participation Rate since 2009 (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website):

We are not yet up to 2009 levels, but we are moving in the right direction. The economic indicators are positive. Hopefully the American public will be able to see past the media’s efforts to create a recession.

A Positive Economic Picture

CNS News is reporting today that the economy is doing better than predicted.

The article reports:

A record 157,005,000 people were employed in June, the most since February and the 19th record of Trump’s presidency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

And the economy added a strong 224,000 jobs in June, well above the estimate of 160,000.

The unemployment rate, the lowest in 50 years, ticked up a tenth of a point to 3.7 percent.

In June, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 259,037,000. Of those, 162,981,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 162,981,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 62.9 percent of the 259,037,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population. That’s up a tenth of a point from May’s 62.8 percent participation rate. The payroll taxes paid by people who participate in the labor force help support those who do not participate, so the higher this number, the better.

The participation rate reached a record high of 67.3 percent in early 2000; the highest it’s been under Trump is 63.2 percent.

In December 2016, the labor force participation rate was 62.7. It has moved between 62.7 and 63.1 since President Trump took office.

I love the fact that during a Republican administration, the estimates of jobs created is always low and economists are always surprised when the real numbers come out.

The article concludes:

And wages continue rising: In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.90, following a 9-cent gain in May. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1 percent.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, in a June 25 speech, said the economy has performed “reasonably well” so far this year, with continued growth and strong job creation keeping the unemployment rate near historic lows.

But Powell also mentioned “some ongoing cross-currents,” including trade uncertainty and incoming data about the strength of the global economy.

He said the Fed “will closely monitor the implications of incoming information for the economic outlook and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion…” That could mean lower interest rates — or not, if the employment and job numbers remain strong.

Economic policies impact the economy. It matters who is occupying the White House. President Trump has proved that.

Wrong Again

Remember when the talking heads on television told us that because of the tariffs President Trump had placed on China, the cost of imports would go up. Well, they misread the tea leaves again.

The Gateway Pundit posted the following from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Prices for U.S. imports declined 0.3 percent in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, following an increase of 0.1 percent the previous month. Lower fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the May decline in import prices. U.S. export prices fell 0.2 percent in May, after advancing 0.1 percent in April, 0.8 percent in March, and 0.6 percent in February.

Imports

U.S. Import prices fell 0.3 percent in May, the first monthly decline since a 1.4-percent drop in December. Import prices advanced 1.8 percent from December to April before the downturn in May. The price index for overall imports decreased 1.5 percent over the past 12 months, matching the drop in January. These were the largest over-the-year declines since the index fell 2.2 percent in August 2016.

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices declined 1.0 percent in May, after rising 25.4 percent over the previous 4 months. Lower prices for both petroleum and natural gas contributed to the May decline. Petroleum prices fell 0.9 percent in May, after a 4.7-percent advance in April. The May decrease was the first monthly decline since a 15.3-percent drop in December. Natural gas prices fell 6.8 percent in May following a 51.1-percent decline the previous month. Overall fuel prices decreased 1.1 percent over the past year. The decline was driven by a 1.9-percent drop in petroleum prices which more than offset a 2.5-percent rise in natural gas prices.

The Gateway Pundit article concludes:

The lower costs on fuel allowed the overall import costs to go down for the month.  This is in the face of tariffs the Trump Administration put on China as a result of inaction from the Chinese in coming together on a trade agreement with the US.

Despite what all the liberal naysayers said about increasing tariffs costing Americans millions, the costs of imports are actually down.

Overall the US economy is in very solid shape –

The experts seem to be having a very difficult time getting things right under the Trump administration.

How Is The Trump Economy Doing?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s economic policies on the economy during the past two years.

The article reports:

President Trump has had a tumultuous two years in office, but as he starts to ramp up his reelection campaign, he can boast of having presided over the lowest recorded average unemployment rate of any of his predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate had held steady at 3.8%. That brings the average unemployment rate for the first 26 months of Trump’s presidency, from February 2017 through March 2019, to 4.1%.

Starting with the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, there has never been a president who oversaw such a robust employment market at this point in his presidency. This is demonstrated in the chart below. The official BLS unemployment data go back to 1948, and thus is not available for the comparable period in the Harry S. Truman era or earlier.

Since the economy is a strong player in presidential elections, these numbers are important.

The article concludes:

The strong economic performance will also be a test of a lot of models predicting the outcome of elections. Many analysts rely heavily on the state of the economy when predicting whether an incumbent will get reelected. However, typically, when the economy is strong, it is also associated with a solid presidential approval rating. Yet Trump has polled consistently lower than other presidents, despite the strong economy.

For instance, take Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, whose unemployment rates came closest to Trump, at 4.4% and 4.5%, respectively. At the comparable points in their presidencies, according to Gallup, Eisenhower was polling at 71 percent and Nixon, while less popular, was still at 50%. In contrast, Trump is currently polling at 39%.

That’s why predicting the 2020 election is so perilous, especially with the Democratic nomination battle so wide open. It’s easy to come up with a scenario in which Trump loses reelection despite having the strongest presidential term for employment in recorded history, because he turns off voters in many other ways. On the other hand, it’s also possible to imagine an outcome in which the strength of the economy convinces voters to get past their objections with Trump and stay the course rather than risk radical change being promised by Democrats.

The strong economy may be the reason the Democrats are trying to get so much mileage out of the Mueller Report. It may be their only hope.

The Numbers On The Economy

On March 13th, CNBC posted at article about the impact of President Trump’s economic policies on wages.

The article reports:

The recent jump in paychecks has come with an unusual characteristic, as workers at the lower end of the pay scale are getting the greater benefit.

Average hourly earnings rose 3.4 percent in February from the same period a year ago, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report last week. That’s the biggest gain since April 2009 and seventh month in a row that compensation has been 3 percent or better.

What has set this rise apart is that it’s the first time during an economic recovery that began in mid-2009 that the bottom half of earners are benefiting more than the top half — in fact, about twice as much, according to calculations by Goldman Sachs. The trend began in 2018 and has continued into this year, and could be signaling a stronger economy than many experts think.

The article concludes:

“Taken together, our findings suggest a relatively optimistic consumption outlook given solid income growth across income levels,” Choi wrote. “Even if employment growth slows as labor supply constraints start to bind, this should be partially offset by the continued firming of wages, particularly among lower income workers with higher marginal propensities to consume.”

One danger is that higher wages could start to eat into corporate profits, which have doubled since the financial crisis.

However, it could take years for that to be a significant factor, according to an analysis by AB Bernstein.

“While pressure on capital share is likely to remain, that doesn’t mean that profits are going to fall – in fact profits can lose share at a rate up to about 100bps per year [1 percentage point] and still expect to have positive profit growth,” Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak, chief U.S. economist at AB Bernstein, said in a note. “In other words, overall expansion of net value add can be strong enough to protect profit growth even in the face of a rising labor share.”

Carlsson-Szlezak said wage pressures more likely would be felt at a sector level in industries where labor takes a bigger share of output. For example, information technology and extraction likely would feel the least effects, while hospitality and retail would be hit hardest.

The piece of the puzzle that is missing to ensure a continuing strong economy is getting the federal deficit under control. Unfortunately Congress has been unwilling to do this. If it is not done fairly quickly, all of the positive economic growth we have seen under President Trump will evaporate.