Posts Tagged ‘job creation’
Core retail sales declined 0.1% in April—and that’s after they already fell 0.4% in the previous month! (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, May 13, 2013.)
When compared to the first four months of 2012, consumer spending in the U.S. economy declined in the first four months of 2013 at electronics and appliance stores, health and personal care stores, gasoline stations, and general merchandise stores.
And looking forward, consumer spending in the U.S. economy doesn’t appear to look very promising either.
If companies don’t spend or create better-quality/better-paying jobs, can consumer spending really pick up? It’s well documented in these pages: the job creation we have seen since the financial crisis started has been in low-wage-paying sectors.
Keeping all this in mind, with consumer spending still bleak and core retail sales constantly declining, the retailer must be suffering.
But that’s not so!
When you look at the stock market and, more specifically, at the retailers, it appears that consumer spending in the U.S. economy is booming! Consider the chart below of the S&P Retail Index. This index tracks the performance of some of the most well-known retailers in the U.S. economy.
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
Dear reader, the stock market isn’t portraying the real picture of the U.S. economy. The retail sales number actually shows how consumer spending—the biggest contributor to our gross domestic product (GDP)—is fairing, and those numbers look terrible.
Even with the printing of trillions of dollars of new money via quantitative easing, the Federal … Read More
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in February, the central bank of Mongolia increased its gold bullion reserves to its highest level since August of 2008. The country has been purchasing gold bullion for three consecutive months—its reserves have increased from 1.5 metric tons to 5.8 tons, or about 287%. (Source: Bloomberg, March 26, 2013.)
Similarly, the central bank of Russia has been purchasing gold bullion. It bought seven tons of the yellow metal in February to bring its total gold bullion holdings to 796.9 tons.
Turkey, the country which has started to use gold bullion as collateral, increased its reserves by 5.7 tons in February, bringing its total holdings to 375.7 tons.
According to the World Gold Council, central banks around the world purchased 534.6 tons of gold bullion in 2012, which was the highest amount since 1964.
How long can this buying spree by central banks continue in the gold bullion market? Consider China, for example. The country’s central bank holds only 1.7% of its reserves in gold bullion. (Source: “World Official Gold Holdings,” World Gold Council, March 2013.) And China has the biggest reserve in the world—worth more than $3.0 trillion.
But compared to the gold bullion holdings of other major central banks, China is still far behind. The U.S., Germany, and Italy hold more than 70% of their reserves in gold bullion. Imagine what would happen to gold bullion prices if China even just tried to double its gold reserves.
In the backdrop of the gold bullion buying spree, central banks around the world are printing paper money, working to depreciate their currencies to jumpstart … Read More
The so-called “recovery” in the jobs market isn’t sustainable. I don’t disagree that there has been job creation in the past few months, but when I look at the spectrum of the jobs created in the U.S. economy, I become skeptical. Jobs growth in the U.S. economy has been in the low-paying retail sector.
Consider this: in February, there were 1,422 mass layoffs in the U.S. economy, involving 135,468 workers. Looking closely at the layoffs, 295 of them occurred in the manufacturing sector, sending 39,407 individuals back to look for jobs and seek unemployment insurance benefits. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 22, 2013.)
There are more than five million Americans working part-time, not because they want to, but because they can’t find a full-time job. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed March 26, 2013.)
What’s ahead for the U.S. jobs market? As curt as it sounds, more misery is in store for the U.S. jobs market. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE/HPQ) says it will cut 15,000 more jobs—part of a three-year layoff plan that will decrease its workforce by 29,000. (Source: Business Insider, February 27, 2013.) And Hewlett-Packard (HP) is not the only company that’s downsizing and sending its employees back to the jobs market; some of the other major companies are doing the same.
Why is corporate America laying off workers? The answer is simple: its corporate earnings are suffering, and the only way companies can drastically make a difference when revenue is soft is to cut expenses; this will lead to more pressure on the U.S. jobs market. In the first quarter of … Read More
By looking at the stock market’s recent performance, one might think the U.S. economy has turned the corner and the worst is behind us. This is far from reality! The U.S. economy is fundamentally damaged, and since the financial crisis of 2008–2009, there really hasn’t been any real economic growth.
Even a novice economist will tell you: economic growth happens when general living conditions of citizens in a country improve; they are able to find jobs, they are able to maintain their standard of living, and they are able to spend and save.
Unfortunately, I see the opposite of this when I look at the state of the U.S. economy. Instead of economic growth, I actually see misery!
While politicians may rejoice over the recovery in the jobs market in the U.S. economy, it is still tormented. The job creation is unequal. During the financial crisis, 60% of the jobs lost were among the mid-wage earners. In the so-called “recovery,” 58% of all jobs created were in lower-wage sectors—retail and restaurant workers, mostly.
The year 2012 was the third year in a row that 40% of unemployed Americans were out of work for more than six months. (Source: National Employment Law Project, February 1, 2013.) In economic growth, there is equal job creation.
The middle class in the U.S. economy is suffering severely—its cost of living is going up, while income levels stay the same. Just look at the price of gasoline. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that Americans paid $3.71 per gallon of gasoline during the second week of March 2013. (Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, March … Read More
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