Lombardi: Stock Market Commentary & Forecasts, Financial & Economic Analysis Since 1986

Dismal Fact Behind Today’s “Official” Unemployment Rate

Friday, March 8th, 2013
By for Profit Confidential

woman looking for a jobI’m sure the politicians will have a field day with this today…

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported this morning that the U.S. economy created 236,000 jobs in February 2013. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% in February, decreasing from 7.9% in January. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 8, 2013.)

I’m sure the stock market, backed by paper money printing, will rally on this “good” news. But there is something very important in the job numbers I want all my readers to know about…

The BLS reported that the underemployment rate (which includes people who have given up looking for work and people who want full-time jobs but who can only get part-time jobs) in the U.S. economy was at 14.3% in February—this number hasn’t really changed since October of 2012, when it was 14.5%. To me, this dismal fact shows absolutely no improvement in the unemployment situation in this country!

It’s obvious there are still many troubled spots in the U.S. jobs market. If they are not fixed soon, they will drive the U.S. economy into further deterioration. It is startling to know that 40.2% of all those unemployed in the U.S. economy have been without work for 27 weeks or more.

The tormented jobs market in the U.S. economy is the biggest hurdle to economic growth. For the year of 2012, the average monthly jobs growth was 181,000. But, as most economists will tell you, the U.S. economy needs consistent jobs growth of 250,000 per month for the economy to see any improvement.

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The truth is that we don’t have jobs in the U.S. economy. According to the “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary” (JOLTS) by BLS, on the last business day of December 2012, there were 3.6 million job openings in the U.S. economy. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 12, 2013.) With 12 million currently unemployed in the U.S. economy, this means there are 3.3 job seekers for every one job!

Looking forward, as I have already documented in these pages, I believe U.S. corporations will be reducing staff this year for cost-cutting purposes and to increase their corporate earnings. This will put added pressure on an already dismal unemployment situation.

My economic forecast for the U.S. economy in 2013 continues to be bleak at best.

Michael’s Personal Notes:

There’s a one-trillion-dollar student debt time bomb ticking in the U.S. economy. And it’s only matter of time before it implodes and takes the sovereignty and credit rating of our nation with it.

The majority of student debt in the U.S. economy is backed by the federal government. If students default on their loans, the government takes the loss.

According to New York Federal Reserve report, student debt has tripled over the past eight years in the U.S. economy. It stands at $966 billion. (Source: Huffington Post, February 28, 2013.)

As student debt increased, a troubling trend emerged. The student loan default rate has surged from 10% in 2004 to 17% in 2012—a 70% increase over eight years in student debt default rates.

What’s even more dangerous is that tuition costs are on the rise. According to a report by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, average tuition after grants and scholarship rose to $5,189 for the academic 2011 to 2012 period from $4,793 in the prior period, adjusted for inflation—an increase of 8.26%. (Source: Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2013.) As the default rate rises, and tuition continues to increase in the U.S. economy, the government will be liable for more student debt than ever before.

If this actually occurs, I won’t be surprised to see credit rating of the U.S. economy get slashed.

It may appear that the U.S. government can pay for its expenses by just issuing more T-bills and having the Fed buy them, but it will eventually get caught up. The creditors of U.S. economy will realize what’s really cooking in the books.

As I have said in past, there have to be fundamental changes in the U.S. economy, rather than quick fixes. Student debt can have a major impact on the U.S. economy if not handled properly. Some might say this is nowhere close to the mortgage crisis we had in 2008, but I’d like to ask them a question: Now that U.S. economy is exhausted, how will the looming student debt crisis be handled? It will be handled in the only way left—even more paper money printing.

What He Said:

“The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the other major stock market indices finished yesterday with the best two-day showing since 2002. I’m looking at the market rally of the past two days as a classic stock market bear trap. As the economy gets closer to contraction, 2008 will likely be a most challenging economic year for Americans.” Michael Lombardi, Profit Confidential, November 29, 2007. The Dow Jones Industrial peaked at 14,279 in October 2007. A “sucker’s rally” developed in November 2007, which Michael quickly classified as a bear trap for his readers. By mid-November 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 8,726.

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Michael Lombardi - Economist, Financial AdvisorMichael bought his first stock when he was 17 years old. He quickly saw $2,000 of savings from summer jobs turn into $1,000. Determined not to lose money again on a stock, Michael started researching the market intensely, reading every book he could find on the topic and taking every course he could afford. It didn’t take long for Michael to start making money with stocks, and that led Michael to launch a newsletter on the stock market. Some of the stock recommendations in Michael's various financial newsletters have posted gains in excess of 500%! Michael has authored and published over one thousand articles on investment and money management. Michael became an active investor in real estate, art, precious metals and various businesses. Readers of the daily Profit Confidential e-letter are offered the benefit of the expertise Michael has gained in these sectors. Michael believes in successful stock picking as an important wealth accumulation tool. Married with two children, Michael received his Chartered Financial Planner designation from the Financial Planners Standards Council of Canada and his MBA from the Graduate Business School, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Follow Michael and the latest from Profit Confidential on Twitter or Add Michael Lombardi to your Google+ circles

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