Baffle With BS

May 13, 2013

In keeping with the now constant trend of baffle with BS, since everyone was expecting a weaker advance retail sales print, just like with the BLS report, it was virtually assured that the data would prove everyone wrong. Sure enough, moments ago the Census department announced that headline retail sales rose by 0.1% in April, from a downward revised -0.5% in March, beating expectations of a second decline in a row of -0.3%. Retail sales ex autos were in line with expectations at -0.1%, on expectations of a -0.2% print, but it was the sales number ex-autos and gas which surprised the most, rising 0.6% on expectations of a +0.3% increase, up from a -0.1% decline.

Of note: gasoline stations saw a dramatic 4.7% drop in sales, following a 3.2% drop in March: are all US commuters now using Back to the Future type hoverboards or just driving to work in the Tesla Model S? What do you think they are doing.

Yes that’s it they are simply not driving anymore …

The truth is right here …

Gasoline sales april_0

The chart below shows the March to April change for the past decade on an Adjusted and Non-Adjusted basis. Perhaps there is something to the whole “seasonally adjusting” our way out of trouble in the third worst such monthly transition in the past decade.

Apri lRetail Sales SA vs NSA_0

It’s the adjustments man, don’t you see how it’s done. And they wonder why no one believes the Pressy anyMORE.

10,962,532: U.S. Disability Beneficiaries Exceed Population of Greece

May 8, 2013

( – The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,962,532 million in April, which exceeds the 10,815,197 people who live in the nation of Greece.

According to newly released datafrom the Social Security Administration, the record 10,962,532 total disability beneficiaries in April, included a record 8,865,586 disabled workers (up from 8,853,614 in March), 1,936,236 children of disabled workers, and 160,710 spouses of disabled workers.


Dark Side to Jobs Report: Big Drop in Hours Worked (Equivalent to 500,000 jobs lost!)

May 3, 2013

Well it had to sink in before they put it out. If you didn’t buy the myth of today’s jobs report, Yipee the unemployment rate went down, Oops —  this should wake you up.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The April employment report exceeded expectations, with 165,000 jobs created and a welcome drop in the unemployment rate to 7.5%.

But there was a dark side to the report: Total hours worked fell sharply, and the total amount of money earned by U.S. workers actually declined from the month before.

“Aggregate weekly hours”….  As the name implies, it measures the total number of hours worked, which is what matters for sizing up overall growth in the economy.

Usually, we focus just on the number of new jobs created and the unemployment rate, but the number of hours we work matters just as much, if not more, to our economic well-being.

Hours worked in April fell 0.4%, equivalent to the loss of more than 500,000 jobs.

Hours worked in April fell 0.4%, equivalent to the loss of more than 500,000 jobs.

Hours worked in April fell 0.4%, equivalent to the loss of more than 500,000 jobs.

Read more at …

Taking government numbers at face value is like telling yourself it looks and sounds like a rattlesnake, but it couldn’t really be one because it’s too friendly.


Artic Unloads on USA, On First Day Of Spring

March 20, 2013

Temps are about 20 degrees below normal averages …


Arctic unloads across US on first day of Spring…

The latest indications are that the weather pattern will continue to favor colder storms that bring snow, in part, from the Central states to the East into early April.

The pattern may translate to a longer heating season, higher heating bills and more time, money and effort into snow removal later into the season than usual in some communities. The pattern can also negatively influence some spring weather-related activities.

The long-range weather patterns from the Central states to the Appalachians and even the East Coast point toward additional storms and just enough cold air when they come calling to bring more snow and a wintry mix, despite the official arrival of spring on Wed., March 20.

Supreme Court Hits Bottm, Keeps Digging: Discontent With High Court Drives Down Its Poll Numbers

July 13, 2012

Negative opinions of the Supreme Court jumped in the wake of its ruling on the constitutionality of the 2010 health care law, according to a new Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday that shows the percentage who have an unfavorable opinion of the Court is higher than at any point since Pew began tracking it in 1985.

Fifty-one percent of all adults have a favorable opinion of the Court, statistically unchanged from April, when a Pew survey showed the Court’s favorability rating at 52 percent. But the percentage holding an unfavorable view jumped to 37 percent, an 8-point increase from April, and a new high for Pew surveys.

Democrats have a slightly-improved view of the Court: 64 percent view it favorably, compared to 52 percent in April. But the Court’s standing among Republicans has plummeted, accounting for the overall decline.

Now, 51 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of the Court, while just 38 percent have a favorable opinion. In April, 56 percent of Republicans viewed the Court favorably.

The percentage of independents who view the Supreme Court unfavorably ticked up, from 31 percent in April to 38 percent now. But the percentage who have a favorable opinion in the recent survey, 51 percent, is unchanged from April.

It’s what calling balls and strikes as a liberal does to you.

Does anybody think the deception used by the Democrats and our President was a good thing?

The Private Sector Is Doing Fine: Retail Sales Ex-autos Post Biggest Fall In Two Years

June 13, 2012

Retail sales fell for a second straight month in May as demand for building materials tumbled and declining gasoline prices weighed down on receipts at service stations, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Reuters reports:

Retail sales slipped 0.2 percent, the Commerce Department said, after easing by the same margin in April. Sales in April had previously been reported to have edged up 0.1 percent.

The drop last month was in line with expectations. Motor vehicle sales surprisingly rose 0.8 percent, although manufacturers reported weak unit sales during the month.

Excluding autos, sales fell 0.4 percent, the biggest decline in two years, after dropping 0.3 percent the prior month.

It Really Was The Big One: The World’s Biggest Disaster?

June 5, 2012

The 9.8 magnitude earthquake off the shore of Sendai in northeast Japan and the subsequent tsunami (with waves as high as 10 meters) brought indescribable anguish and casualty to the people of the Land of Rising Sun. The Japanese suffered a major blow in terms of human life (2414 confirmed deaths as of the latest count, with thousands injured or missing, and around 450000 people homeless and in evacuation sites). This disaster also inflicted damage to the world’s third largest economy. But by how much has the damage been done in Japan’s purse, and what would they do then?

Estimates of the costs of damage run up to around $ 171 billion, making the earthquake potentially the world’s costliest disaster ever. This scenario put extra strain on an economy that has been ailing for 20 years and has recently lost out to China. And we’re not yet considering the substantial humanitarian and production toll the earthquake took, and also the hysteria over nuclear meltdowns in reactors rendered derelict by the disaster. It has come to a point that the Japanese had to resort to rotational blackouts amid shortages in water, electricity, and other supplies.

The Nikkei Stock Maket took a major hit as it closed 6.18% lower on Monday, the first day the market reopened after the disaster. As a response, the Bank of Japan, the nation’s central bank, pumped 15 trillion yen (around $183 billion) into the economy to address the financial needs of the reconstruction and humanitarian effort. Foreign promises of assistance abound, but some analysts are positive that Japan can stand on its own and heal itself, therefore rendering aid as symbolic gestures. Even renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs is confident that Japan’s economy will bounce back right after restoration efforts have been done.

It certainly helped that Japan invested $1 billion on its early warning systems for earthquakes and tsunamis, therefore saving many lives in the process. And if history is any precedent, Japan has an extensive experience in bouncing back from the worst of scenarios, from being way behind before the Meiji Era to rising from the rubble of Nagasaki and Hiroshima of World War II.

Japan’s Debt Sustains a Deflationary Depression

Last year, Japan’s gross government debt was 220 percent of gross domestic product, according to the International Monetary Fund, by far the largest ratio of any Group of Seven country. All governments lend back and forth among official entities so that their gross debt is bigger than the net debt held by non-government investors, and Japan does this more than other developed countries. Still, on a net basis, Japan’s government-debt-to-GDP ratio is rivaled only by Italy’s and leaped to 113 percent in 2011 from 11.5 percent in 1991.
Ratings Downgrade

Standard & Poor’s has cut the Japanese government-debt rating to AA minus and Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating to Aa3. On May 22, Fitch Ratings reduced Japan’s sovereign grading to A+ and said the government is taking a “leisurely” approach to dealing with the nation’s debt. Meanwhile, loans from Japanese banks have dropped precipitously since the early 1990s. That was partly due to the write-offs of bad real-estate loans. Even so, the revival of borrowing in recent years has been minimal.

Japan’s traditionally low unemployment rate jumped from 2 percent in the early 1990s to 4.6 percent in April of this year. The male labor-force participation rate ceased its post- World War II decline in the bubble 1980s, though the downward trend has accelerated again since the early 1990s. The female participation rate rose from the late 1970s until the early 1990s as many women decided that working and remaining single were preferable to being confined to the home and rearing children in a male-dominated culture.

Despite aggressive monetary policy since the early 1990s, Japan has suffered bouts of deflation. The two decades of economic stagnation were compounded by the huge earthquake and devastating tsunami last year. The economic disruptions and loss of nuclear-power generation remain considerable. Rebuilding will create jobs and economic activity, but it will simply take things back to where they were, and at tremendous cost to the government, insurers and those who lost property, income and jobs, to say nothing of the thousands of lost lives.

Happy time is unlikely to return.


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