Posts Tagged ‘Great Recession’

Captain Rick : U.S. Labor Report disappoints those looking for a job and paints a stagnant image of the U.S. Economy as it continues its course toward Socialism.

The Labor Department reported the U.S. economy added only 151,000 jobs in January, well below expectations for 190,000 jobs. The unemployment rate ticked down to 4.9% from 5% the month prior, while forecasts called for it to remain unchanged. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate rose to 62.7% from 62.6%, despite expectations for it to hold steady. Its all a sign of America headed toward Socialism.

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This Labor Report sends a cold chill for the U.S. Economy …

The creation of only 151,000 jobs is very weak considering it is only 0.56 % of U.S. population (323 million). That does not even equal the U.S. population growth rate which is about 0.7% … which means that job growth is not only stagnant, but going in reverse. The U.S. still has not recovered millions of jobs lost during the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate of 4.9% is totally bogus … its meaningless. It only represents the minority of job seekers that are still receiving unemployment compensation. The real unemployment rate is more than twice as high. Most job seekers have exhausted their benefits, still looking for work with no income, are working a part-time job to make ends meet or have given up looking for work.

Perhaps the most important statistic in the labor  report is the drop in the Labor Force Participation Rate … to just 62.6%. It means that about 1/3 of eligible U.S. workers are not working. Some retired early and are living off of savings. Some have managed to work the system and are living off of welfare benefits, including many who have managed to acquire ‘Disability’ status and are collecting U.S. Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) and some who are being supported by friends or relatives and some who are homeless. The Labor Force Participation rate has been in steady decline since its peak of 67.3% in 2000. This trend is a vivid indicator of America’s march toward Socialism.

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Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

ANJ: Unemployment

ANJ: Economy

Captain Rick: U.S. Job Growth has crawled upward to pass the break-even rate with with population growth. The trend is in the right direction. The jobs being added are mostly low wage. There is little hope of regaining the 8.7 million medium to high wage jobs lost during the Great Recession any time soon.

The chart below shows the new jobs added during each month of the the past year. 

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GREEN LINE: an average of 214,000 new jobs have been created each month during the past year

BLUE LINE: an average of 185,000 new jobs need to be created each month to keep up with U.S. Population growth of 0.7%

REAL JOB GROWTH: is represented by the difference between the Green and Blue lines … 29,000 new jobs each month that exceed population growth.

How long will it take to recover the 8.7 million jobs lost during the Great Recession: At the ‘Real Job Growth Rate’ of 29,000 new jobs per month, it will require 300 months … or 25 years. That is a long time, during which many other significant concerns will come into play … like the U.S. Debt crisis … on track to explode during the next decade.

Wages remain stagnated: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has said she wants to see wages rise faster than inflation so American households will have more buying power. That has yet to happen. I personally think Janet and the entire Fed are living in a ‘dream cloud’.

New poll show majority rating the U.S. economy as ‘Poor’: Many Americans still think the economy is not fully recovered. According to the results of a CNN/ORC International poll released Friday, 41% of people surveyed rate the economy as "good", while 58% rate the economy as "poor."

Perceptions about the U.S. economy will be a key factor in November’s midterm elections: More than a third of the Senate and the entire House are up for grabs. Both sides of the aisle are blaming each other for holding back the recovery. I blame almost all of them. I hope the American voters will exercise their thoughts and register their voices in the upcoming elections and vote out of office the majority of those now in office.

Captain Rick’s Prognosis: America is traveling into uncharted territory, which if not handled properly by the U.S. Congress (which is very unlikely, based on performance in the past decade), has the potential to drive America over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’ and reduce America to a ‘third world nation’.

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Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Links:

Jobs

U.S. Debt Crisis

GDP

Economy

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

For lots of great topics … check the ‘Categories’ list and cloud in the left hand column.

Captain Rick: U.S. Job Growth is not keeping up with population growth. The 8.7 million jobs lost during the Great Recession will never return. Despite the ‘glory employment talk’ presented by the Obama Administration, America’s job situation qualifies among the worst since the Great Depression. I present the simple math to expose a monumental economic problem developing that will help deliver America to the edge of the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’.

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BLUE LINE: 185,000 jobs need to be created each year to keep up with U.S. Population growth of 0.7%

RED LINE: 177,000 jobs represents the average number of jobs created during the past year. This demonstrates a negative pattern that is not keeping up with population growth.

Great Recession Job Losses are Gone Forever

8.7 million jobs were lost during the Great Recession of the late 2000s. It has been stated that 8 million of those have been restored. Simple math proves this to be incorrect. In actuality, none of those jobs have been restored when considering the jobs needed to be added each year to keep pace with population growth. America is running a significant job deficit.

Captain Rick’s Job Numbers Math

317,725,000 U.S Population

0.7% growth rate (*.007)

2,224,075 people enter job market every year

/12

185,340 people enter job market every month

*12 months *5 years

11,120,375 jobs needed to be added in past 5 years since prior to great recession to keep up with population growth

-8.7 Million jobs lost

+8 Million jobs regained

.7 Million jobs still needed to be recovered

+11.1 Million jobs needed to be added to keep up with population growth

11.8 Million jobs short since prior to the Great recession 5 years ago.

At the current pace of job growth, which is not keeping up with population growth, the jobs lost during the ‘Great Recession’ will never be regained.

Where the new jobs were created

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs last month

Construction added 15,000 jobs, restaurants and bars added 20,100 jobs and education and health services added 33,000 jobs.

By far, the strongest hiring came from professional and business services industries, which include accountants, architects and technology workers. This sector alone added 79,000 jobs last month.

Wages are up: Average earnings ticked up 9 cents, to $24.31 an hour in February. It was the largest monthly wage gain in more than two years.

Long-term unemployment and underemployment remain high

Long-term unemployment remains high. As of February, 3.8 million Americans were unemployed for six months or more.

The underemployment rate — technically known as the U-6 — was 12.6%. That includes the unemployed, plus part-time workers who want to work full time, and people who want a job but haven’t searched for one in the last four weeks.

Labor Participation is lowest since 1978

Labor participation lowest since 1978; just over 63% of the population is engaged in the workforce, driven partly by Baby Boomers retiring, but also by workers who had simply given up hope after long and fruitless job searches. It means that a smaller chunk of the population is paying for promised entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. If a smaller share of the country is working, it will also act as a drag on economic growth.

What does this Employment data mean concerning the future of America?

America is stuck in a land of anemic growth…actually declining in real growth because its economy can not consistently produce enough jobs to keep pace with America’s 0.7% population growth. In reality, this means that America is declining in economic strength. In the coming few years America faces an astronomical increase in expenditures due to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and welfare programs like Medicaid and Obamacare. America’s relatively level revenue will not be able to cover the mushrooming expenditures. Congress will not be able to address this problem by simply ‘kicking the debt can down the road’ as it has in recent years. At some point soon, the fiscal mess that is brewing will explode as America plunges over the pending ‘real fiscal cliff’.  At the bottom lies America as a third world country.

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Interesting ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Jobs

GDP

U.S. Debt Crisis

Economy

Entitlement Reform

Social Security

Medicare

Medicaid

ObamaCare

Captain Rick’s Fiscal Cliff Course 101

Captain Rick: U.S. entitlement programs are going broke. Disability will be broke by 2016, followed by Medicare by 2024 and Social Security by 2035. These sobering projections were made by the U.S. Social Security Administration. This report presents an in-depth study of the U.S. Disability program.

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Disability recipients in jeopardy
Nearly 11 million people depend on federal disability payments.
Unless changes are made, beginning in 2016, the revenues coming in would not be sufficient to cover all of the disability payments.
Unless taxes are increased, disability benefits will have to be cut or the number of claimants reduced.

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Disability soared 27% since the beginning of the Great Recession
The number of people collecting federal disability has soared to nearly 11 million, up from 8.7 million in April 2007.
The federal government spent nearly $250 billion in 2011 paying more than 23 million Americans some type of disability claim. That’s about 7% of the overall population, and 16% of the workforce.

Causes for the Disability Program Increase
The Great Recession pushed many people into the disability program because it was a safety net to save them from economic disaster.
The aging of the baby boomer generation is one of the primary drivers. Workers typically enter the disability program in their 50s.
Disability claims among veterans are up 28% since 2008, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
With better surgical techniques and body armor, soldiers are ten times as likely to survive today’s wars, according to the Veterans Administration. But soldiers often come home with severe injuries. The recent decision to recognize post traumatic stress disorder as a disability has also lifted the number of benefits claims. The Veterans Administration noted that illnesses tied to the cancer-causing chemical defoliant Agent Orange used in Vietnam are also now viewed as a disability.  
More women have entered the workforce in recent decades, making them eligible for the program should they become disabled.

Americans are abusing the system because of the ease of entering the program. It’s morphed from a program that pays benefits to stroke victims and cancer patients to people with mental illness and chronic pain.

Prognosis for a Disability Program Solution
The disability program … the smallest of the three, will be the first that Congress has to deal with.
There is not much consensus about entitlement reform on Capitol Hill these days. Attempts to rein in Medicare spending have gone nowhere recently.

Disability Program Solution Possibilities

Solution 1
Congress could authorize increasing the amount of payroll tax supporting the disability program from its current 1.8%. An increase paid by workers and employers by 0.2% each would keep the program solvent for 75 years. But there’s little appetite among lawmakers to raise taxes these days.

Solution 2
Congress could authorize increasing the share of Social Security payroll tax going toward disability, instead of Social Security. Currently, the combined rate paid by employers and workers is 12.4%. The disability program’s rate is 1.8%, while the retirement system’s rate is 10.6%. Congress could authorize increasing the share going toward disability payments to 2.6% for two years and then slowly cut it back to 1.8% by 2030. This would keep the disability fund solvent until 2033, but it would shorten the retirement system’s predicted lifespan by two years, to 2033.

Solution 3
Congress could take the most controversial approach by raising the bar for eligibility for disability benefits.

Captain Rick’s Disability Solution Preference: I believe Solution 3 is the most intelligent solution … but considering how welfare-oriented the U.S. Congress is becoming, I do not hold much hope for this solution. I believe Congress will take the most cowardly path … Solution 2 … and rob money from Social Security to pay the rapidly expanding crowd who are abusing Disability. Do you agree/disagree? I welcome you to comment below.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Entitlement Reform: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/entitlement-reform/

Medicare: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/medicare/

Social Security: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/social-security/

Medicaid: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/medicaid/

Tax Reform: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/tax-reform/

Captain Rick: The S&P Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 major markets posted a 9.3% rise over the last 12 months. It was the biggest 12-month gain in the index since May 2006, which was just one month after the index showed record-high home prices.

Even with the strong improvement in prices over the last 12 months, the index is still down 28% from the 2006 peak. Perhaps there is more price gain to be made, but conditions for another housing bubble appear to be forming rapidly.

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U.S. housing prices increasing at near record pace

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Phoenix Arizona showed biggest increase in home prices

The Case-Shiller index showed the biggest increases came in Phoenix, a market hit hard by the bursting of the housing bubble, where prices were 23% higher than a year earlier.
Prices were up more than 10% in half of the markets — San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Miami, San Diego and Tampa all posted double-digit percentage gains, and Denver just missed that mark. New York posted the smallest gain, with only a 1.9% rise in prices.

Another housing bubble being fueled by speculation

The housing recovery has been driven by a number of factors, including near record-low mortgage rates, a drop in foreclosures and reduced unemployment, all of which have helped lift both new-home sales as well as sales of previously owned homes. But, most importantly, it has been driven by investors flooding into some markets to buy homes in order to rent them out, outbidding the potential homeowners who want to live in a home. There are a growing number of inexperienced ‘armchair investors’ now buying into the boom … a sign that demand may be peaking,

Where will this end?

Home values are rising at an unsustainable pace. The end of this round of speculation could end up being not much prettier than the last round …possibly worse, in view of the fact that the U.S. economy is crawling along on extremely shaky ground in comparison to its relatively robust health prior to the Great Recession.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Info from previous reports:

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

Fiscal Cliff 101: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

Captain Rick: The U.S. Legislature has failed to balance America’s budget almost forever. If it compromised by using the economic common sense rule of 20% of GDP for both revenue and spending, its budget crisis would end and a much brighter future would await the children of our world.

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Record Tax Revenue: I am glad to see we have hit a new record of $2.7T in revenues, just a tick above the previous record of $2.6T in 2007. As population grows, we better hope our tax revenue keeps going up every year. Things went far astray during the ‘Bush War and Tax Cut’ era, the Great Recession that followed and ‘Obamas Record Spending Spree’ to try to fix it, including a reckless 2 point payroll tax cut. Thankfully, it and some other irresponsible tax cuts vanished on Jan 1 as a result of the Fiscal Cliff and helped bring us closer to sanity. Unfortunately this new revenue record leaves America with a very anemic tax revenue of only 16.9% of GDP. The 40 year average is 18%. A healthy economy achieves revenue equal to 20% of GDP…so America is still far short of needed revenue…and part of the reason why America’s finances are in such terrible shape.

Record Spending: The other part of the reason America’s finances are in such terrible shape is because America’s spending is too high. America is currently spending $3.55T or 22.2% of GDP. That percentage is higher than almost every year since 1986. A healthy economy limits  spending equal to 20% of GDP…so America is still far over the limit for spending…the other part of the reason why America’s finances are in such terrible shape.

Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals debate: Republicans and conservatives argue that taxes are too high and do not agree to any further increases. They say the entire answer lies in cutting spending. Democrats and liberals argue that spending levels should be held. They say the entire answer lies in tax increases. Its easy for me to see why our legislature is in gridlock. Both sides are stubborn and illogical. Neither side possesses the the solution. The solution resides in compromise. 

Captain Rick’s proposal of compromise: I propose that the U.S. Legislature uses the economical common sense guideline of 20% of GDP as a target for revenue and spending to achieve a balanced budget. 20% has proven to be workable figure for successful governments in the past. The figure can be argued…19 v 21…but 20% is a good starting point. Diminishing America’s national debt is a story for another day. It would require the balance to shift to more revenue and less spending…perhaps 21% of GDP revenue and 19% of GDP spending. Real compromise needs to begin soon … in order to protect the future of our children.  

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Info from previous reports:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/

GDP: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/gdp/

Captain Rick: If the U.S. Federal Government was in control of your household budget, you would be in serious financial trouble!  I have prepared this simple comparison to show you why:

Annual Financial Statement of the United States of America:

U.S. Tax revenue: $ 2,170,000,000,000

Federal budget: $ 3,820,000,000,000

New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000

National debt: $ 16,571,000,000,000

Interest on the National debt: $ 222,800,000,000

Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s an annual household budget:

Annual family income: $ 21,700

Money the family spent: $ 38,200

New debt on the credit card: $ 16,500

Outstanding balance on the credit card: $ 165,710

Interest on the credit card: $ 2,228

Total budget cuts so far: $ 385

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What would happen if the bank froze your credit card, preventing more debt?

Can you imagine how bad your budget would be if you were spending $16,500 more each year than you received in income? The interest on your credit card balance would be $2,228 this year and would be added to your massive balance of $165,710. Each year your debt is growing larger at a rapid rate.

Now, suppose your bank lost faith in your ability to pay your balance. Its easy to guess that your bank will freeze your credit card, allowing no further debt. How will you pay the $16,500 in expenditures that were beyond your budget?  How will you make your loan payments, or even pay the $2,228 in interest on your credit balance? You would probably be left with one choice…declare bankruptcy. Luckily, you would have the U.S. Federal Government (Uncle Sam) to excuse your debt and allow you a new financial start.

What would happen if the bank froze Uncle Sam’s credit card, preventing more debt?

The situation with Uncle Sam’s budget is identical to yours, only exponentially larger. However, there is a large difference in who controls the credit. Uncle Sam’s debt is not held by a bank. It is held by a large number of investors, investing firms and countries all around the world. Japan and China hold a large portion of America’s debt. It is highly unlikely that all of the creditors would freeze Uncle Sam’s credit all at once. But, supposing one day China or Japan lost faith in Uncle Sam’s ability to repay their investment…or even the interest on it? Its easy to guess that they would stop further investments in the U.S. federal government.

When a large enough source of new investment is stopped, how will Uncle Sam finance America’s programs which count on $1.65 trillion of borrowed money each year? How will it repay its debt to investors…or even pay the $223 billion in interest on the balance? Unfortunately bankruptcy is not an alternative for Uncle Sam. There is no bigger entity to bail it out or give it a fresh financial start. Its only remaining option will be to reduce payments to various programs so that it stays within the limits of new debt which can be sourced. It could also mean that the U.S. would have to default on its debt owed. This in return would most certainly stop most, if not all of America’s creditors from making further investments. This would worsen the situation and virtually force America to live within its budget, drastically slashing its programs by $1.65 trillion per year. Programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Defense would most certainly be significantly affected, as they are the largest budget items. Such massive cuts would most certainly cast America into a deep recession, probably far worse than the Great Recession a few years ago.

Captain Rick’s Solution Scenarios

Maintain Current Course of Deficit Spending with only small, token reductions:

This is not an acceptable solution. It will lead to failure of America’s financial system within a few years. The cost of America’s entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are growing in size at an astronomical rate. In a very short time these three programs will consume 100% of all Federal Tax Income, leaving nothing to support the entire balance of the government without deficit spending. With this course, its not a matter of IF the world’s creditors will cut off America’s credit…but WHEN.

Balance the U.S. budget within 10 years:

This is the course America must take if it is to survive. The Fiscal Cliff had a goal of cutting half of the deficit spending 10 years. That was a good start, but congress cant even achieve it. Congress continues kicking America’s debt can down the road, agreeing on allowing only token spending reductions and tax increases. America must do better…soon!

It will require major spending reductions affecting all programs and tax revenue increases across the board. It will also require significant entitlement and grant program reform. The days of Uncle Sam handing out money with a blindfold on must end soon.

Does America have the ‘guts’ to make these sacrifices? Time will tell…but time is running out quickly. I hope for our children’s sake that America gets its act together soon or our kids will likely find themselves living one day in a third world country.

I welcome your comment and hope you will share this with your friends via one of the means I have provided. Together, our voice can make a difference.

More Info:

Fiscal Cliff: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/fiscal-cliff-course-101/

U.S. Debt Crisis: https://atridim.wordpress.com/category/u-s-debt-crisis/