Telling the Tale

ZH preaches:

While the Achilles heel to the endless “economic data” BS coming out of China may be its electric production and demand, both of which show a vastly different picture than what the Beijing politburo’s very wide brush strokes paint, the US itself is not immune from indicators that confirm that anything the BEA dishes out should be taken with a grain of salt. One data set that we showed recently that paints a drastically different (read slowing) picture of the US economy which we noted recently is railcar loading of waste and scrap for the simple reason that “The more we demand, the more waste is generated by that production.” Of course, the propaganda manipulation machinery only focuses on the “entrance” of production, and completely ignore the “exit.” But an even far more important metric of the general health of the US economy may be none other than broad energy demand, in the form of petroleum deliveries and gasoline demand. If this is indeed the relevant metric to observe, then things are about to get far, far worse. As Dow Jones notes: “U.S. petroleum deliveries, a measure of demand, fell by 2.7% in July from a year earlier to the lowest level in any month since September 2008, the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, said Friday.” It gets worse: “Demand in the world’s biggest oil consumer, at 18.062 million barrels a day, was the weakest for the month of July since 1995, the API said. Year-to-date demand is down 2.3% from the same period in 2011.

Macro factors make a difference. Showing, yet again, that the ‘miracle of China’ is so much bovine excrement.

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The Dreaded D Word

From Zerohedge again:

One Sick Labor Market

There were so many disturbing elements to the May jobs data that we’re not sure we can do justice to the litany of disappointments (with some help from our friends at the Investor’s Business Daily):

  • The share of long-term unemployment is at its highest level since the Great Depression (42%).
  • Fully 54% of college degree graduates under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed.
  • 45 million Americans are on food stamps — one in seven residents.
  • 47% of Americans are on some form of government assistance.
  • The employment-to-population ratio for 25-54 year olds is now 75.7%, lower than it was when the recession supposedly ended in June 2009.
  • The number of people not in the labour force has swelled eight million since the recession ended; absent that effect, the unemployment rate would be 12% right now (about the same as President Obama’s election chances would be).
  • The number of people confident enough to leave their jobs fell 11% in May
    for the second month in a row to 891k, the lowest since November 2010.
  • The ranks of the unemployed who have been looking fruitlessly for work for at least 27 weeks jumped 310k in May, the sharpest increase since May 2011.
  • The unemployment rate for males aged 16-19 is 27% and for males between 20 and 24 it is 13%. Draw your own conclusions from a social (in)stability standpoint.
  • One in seven Americans are either unemployed or underemployed.
  • Only one in six of the youth are working full-time and three-in-five are living with their folks or another relative (as per the NYT).
  • A mere 16% of the 2009-2011 graduating class has found full-time work, while 22% are working part-time. Even those hired from 2006-08, just 23% are working full-time.
  • According to a poll cited in the NYT, just 14% of high-school grads today believe they will have a more successful financial future than their parents Line of the day, as depressing as it is, comes from an 18-year old: “Thank God I had a buddy at Burger King who could help me out”. Fast-food has emerged as the fast-growing industry in a country once led by technology. Even tech now is fuelled more by companies that produce nifty consumer gadgets and feed our narcissistic needs than those who focus on improving the nation’s capital stock which is the ultimate trailblazer for productivity growth and durable gains in our standard-of-living.

Something to think about on a Wednesday afternoon dear readers.