After several poor months for job creation (adding well under 100,000 each month) we have some good news. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 163,000 in July, with the unemployment rate at 8.3%. Since the beginning of this year, employment growth has averaged 151,000 per month, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised from +77,000 to +87,000, and the change for June was revised from +80,000 to +64,000. Which means the total job gains for this report is 157,000 (163,000 +10,000 [for May] and -16,000 [for June]).
One of the continuing severe problems (since the credit crisis bubble burst) has been long term unemployment. In July, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was 5.2 million. These individuals accounted for 40.7% of the unemployed (a high figure historically).
Given all the problems created by the financial system failure (created over the last 15 years – in the USA and Europe) it is actually fairly amazing that we have been adding jobs nearly as much as we have. But climbing out of the huge whole we created for ourselves (by continually re-electing those that allowed the too-big-too-fail financial mess – and those we elect continue to reward their friends that created the mess instead of fixing it) is a huge task. It requires much better job creation than we have had this year.
Adding 150,000 jobs a month would be decent if we hadn’t created such a huge problem that digging out of it requires much better results. Moving back above that average is much better than being below it, but we really need to bring the new jobs created above 200,000 for a couple years to make a serious dent in the problems created earlier.
Related: USA add 117,000 Jobs in July 2011 and Adjusts Previous Growth in May and June Up 56,000 More – USA Unemployment Rate at 9.6% (Sept 2010) – Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly to 9.4% (Aug 2009) –
Over 500,000 Jobs Disappeared in November 2008
I do think there is merit to reducing yearly hours worked in the USA. The problem is this is all within a larger system. The USA’s broken health care system makes it extremely expensive to hire workers. One way to deal with the health care system failure is maximizing hours worked to spread out the massively expensive USA health care costs.
Also the USA standard of living is partially based on long hours (it is but one factor). We also have to work quite a few hours (about 5% of the total hours) to just bring us equal with other rich countries, in order to pay for our broken health care system.
Still reducing our purchases by cutting out some fancy coffee, a few pairs or shoes, a few cable channels (or all of them), text messages from overcharging phone companies… in order to have a couple more weeks of vacation would be a great tradeoff in my opinion. And one I have made with my career.
I have changed to part time in 2 of my full time jobs (to make my own sensible yearly hour model even if the bigger system can’t. Another time I bargained for more vacation time over more $. It isn’t easy to do though, most organizations are not willing to think and accommodate employees (hard to believe they respect people in this case, right?). The system is not setup to allow people to adjust total hours to maximize their well being.
Another option in the USA is to live within your means and then make your own sabbaticals during your career. Take a year off and travel the world, or hike the Appalachian Trail, or read trashy novels, or whatever you want.
The stock market capitalization by country gives some insight into how countries, and stocks, are doing. Looking at the total market capitalization by country doesn’t equate to the stock holdings by individuals in a country or the value of companies doing work in a specific country.
In the chart, I divided the world total by 3: just to make the chart look better. The USA was 32.5% of the total in 1990. The USA grew to 46.9% as the tech, finance and housing bubbles were all underway (also Japan was stagnating and the Chinese stock market hadn’t started booming to a significant extent). In 2010 the USA was back down to 31.4%. This will likely continue to decrease (at a much slower pace – I wouldn’t be surprised to see the USA at 25% in 2020) as the rest of the world’s markets continue to grow more quickly.
As with so much recent economic data China’s performance here is remarkable and Japan’s is distressing. China grew from nothing in 1990 to the 2nd largest country in 2010. Hong Kong add another $1 trillion to China’s $4.5 trillion. Canada is the only country above $2 trillion not included on this chart. China grew by $4 trillion from 2005 to 2010.
Related: Don’t Expect to Spend Over 4% of Your Retirement Investment Assets Annually – Top 10 Countries for Manufacturing Production from 1980 to 2010 -
Investment Risk Matters Most as Part of a Portfolio, Rather than in Isolation – Government Debt as Percent of GDP 1998-2010
When critics say that Europe is running out of time to deal with the financial crisis I wonder if they are not years too late. Both in Europe responding and those saying it is too late.
It feels to me similar to a situation where I have maxed out 8 credit cards and have a little bit left on my 9th. You can say that failing to approve my 10th credit card will lead to immediate pain. Not just to me, but all those I owe money to. That is true.
But wasn’t the time to intervene likely when I maxed out my 2nd credit card and get me to change my behavior of living beyond my means then? If you only look at how to avoid the crisis this month or year, yeah another credit card to buy more time is a decent “solution.”
But I am not at all sure that bailing out more bankers and politicians for bad financial decisions is a great long term strategy. It has been the primary strategy in the USA and Europe since the large financial institution caused great recession started. And, actually, for long before that the let-the-grandkids-pay-for-our-high-living-today has been the predominate economic “strategy” of the last 30 years in the USA and Europe.
That has not been the strategy in Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Brazil, Malaysia… The Japanese government has adopted that strategy (with more borrowing than even the USA and European government) but for the economy overall in Japan has not been so focused on living beyond what the economy produces (there has been huge personal savings in Japan). Today the risks of excessive government borrowing in Japan and borrowing in China are potentially very serious problems.
I can understand the very serious economic problems people are worried about if bankers and governments are not bailed out. I am very unclear on how those wanting more bailout now see the long term problem being fixed. Unless you have some system in place to change the long term situation I don’t see the huge benefit in delaying the huge problems by getting a few more credit cards to maintain the fiction that this is sustainable.
We have seen what bankers and politicians have done with the trillions of dollars they have been given (by governments and central banks). It hardly makes me think giving them more is a wonderful strategy. I would certainly consider it, if tied to some sensible long term strategy. But if not, just slapping on a few more credit cards to let the bankers and politicians continue their actions hardly seems a great idea.
Related: Is the Euro Going to Survive in the Long Run? (2010) – Which Currency is the Least Bad? – Let the Good Times Roll (using Credit) – The USA Economy Needs to Reduce Personal and Government Debt (2009 – in the last year this has actually been improved, quite surprisingly, given how huge the federal deficit is) – What Should You Do With Your Government “Stimulus” Check? – Americans are Drowning in Debt – Failure to Regulate Financial Markets Leads to Predictable Consequences
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.2%, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in manufacturing, food services, and health care, but was down in retail trade. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +284,000 to +275,000, and the change for February was revised from +227,000 to +240,000 (together this adds just 4,000 more jobs brining the total added jobs with this report to 124,000.
Adding 120,000 jobs in a month is mediocre in general for the USA economy. The biggest reason for disappointment is during recoveries jobs are normally added at a higher rate, and given how many jobs were lost in the during the credit crisis outsized job gains are needed. The other reason adding 120,000 jobs was disappointing is the consensus estimate was for over 200,000 jobs to be added.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in March and remains one of the biggest employment problems for the economy. These individuals accounted for 42.5% of the unemployed. Since April 2010, the number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 1.4 million.
In the prior 3 months, payroll employment had risen by an average of 246,000 per month. Private-sector employment grew by 121,000 in March, including gains in manufacturing, food services, and health care.
Manufacturing employment rose by 37,000 in March, with gains in motor vehicles and parts (+12,000), machinery (+7,000), fabricated metals (+5,000), and paper manufacturing (+3,000). Factory employment has risen by 470,000 since a recent low point in January 2010. Manufacturing continues providing some of the best employment news.
Related: Latest USA Jobs Report Adds 286,000 Jobs; Another Very Strong Month (Mar 2012) – USA Adds 216,00 Jobs in March 2011; the Unemployment Rate Stands at 8.8% – USA Added 162,000 Jobs in March 2010 – Another 663,000 Jobs Lost in March 2009 in the USA
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +203,000 to +223,000, and the change for January was revised from +243,000 to +284,000. Which brings the total new jobs for this report to 286,000 (227+20+39). This is very good news. There are other serious economic concerns (failure, after years, to take any meaningful action to prevent systemic too big to fail risk, policies harming savers to benefit too big to fail institutions, extremely large and dangerous budget deficits…) and the employment situation still has a long way to go to recover from the credit crisis crash but the recent job news is strongly positive.
The number of unemployed persons, at 12.8 million, was essentially unchanged in February. The unemployment rate held at 8.3%, 80 basis points below the August 2011 rate of 9.1%.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) remains at very damaging levels; it was little changed at 5.4 million in February. These individuals accounted for 42.6% of the unemployed.
Both the labor force and employment rose in February. The civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.9 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.6 percent, edged up over the month.
Private-sector employment grew by 233,000, with job gains in professional and business services, health care and
social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining. Government jobs declined by 6,000. In 2011,
government lost an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs in February. Just over half of the increase occurred in temporary help services (+45,000). Job gains also occurred in computer systems design (+10,000) and in management and technical consulting services (+7,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.4 million since a recent low point in September 2009.
Health care and social assistance employment rose by 61,000 over the month. Within health care, ambulatory care services added 28,000 jobs, and hospital employment increased by 15,000. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has risen by 360,000.
In February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000, with nearly all of the increase in food services and drinking places (+41,000). Since a recent low in February 2010, food services has added 531,000 jobs.
Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000 in February. All of the increase occurred in durable goods manufacturing, with job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000), transportation equipment (+8,000), machinery (+5,000), and furniture and related products (+3,000). Durable goods manufacturing has added 444,000 jobs since a recent trough in January 2010. Of all the good news the continued manufacturing gains may well be the best news.
2011 saw delinquency rates for loans fall across the board in the USA. Residential real estate delinquency rates fell just 25 basis points (to a still extremely large 9.86%). Commercial real estate delinquency rates fell an impressive 186 basis points (to a still high 6.12%). Credit card delinquency rates fell 86 basis points to a 17 year low, 3.27%.
The job market continues to struggle, though it is doing fairly well the last few months. The serious long term problems created by governments spending beyond their means (for decades) and allowing too big to fail institutions to destroy economic wealth and create great risk to the economy are not easy to solve: and we made no progress in doing so in 2011. The reduction in delinquency rates is a good sign for the economy. The residential real estate delinquency rates are still far too high as is government debt. And the failure to address the too big to fail (big donors to the politicians) is continuing to cause great damage to the economy.
We need to reduce consumer and government debt. Many corporations are actually flush with cash, so at least we don’t have a huge corporate debt problem. Reducing debt load will decrease risks to the economy and provide wealth for consumers to tap as they move into retirement. The too-big-to-fail big political donors like to keep policies in place that encourage too much debt and favor complex financial instruments that they take huge fees from and then let the government deal with the aftermath. The politicians continued favors to too-big-to-fail institutions is very damaging to out economic well being.
Across the board, the wealthy economies are facing a rapidly aging population (the USA is actually acing this at a much slower rate than most other rich countries – which is helpful).
I really can’t figure out which currency is something I would want to hold if I had the option. It doesn’t really matter, since I am not going to act on it in a very direct way (maybe if I felt very strongly I would do something but it would probably be pretty limited), but I still keep thinking about this issue out of curiosity.
The USA dollar seems lousy to me. Huge debt (both government and consumer). Government debt is huge on the books and huge off the books (state and local retirement – and federal medical care [social security is really in much better shape than people think, though it also has issues 30 + years out}).
The Euro seemed a bit lame 3 years ago. Today it seems crazy to think at least one Euro country won’t default in the next 3 years – and likely more. And if they take steps to avoid that it seems like it is going to make the case for the Euro worse).
The Japanese Yen is much stronger than makes any sense to me. I think it is mainly because of how lousy all the options are. The huge government debt (worse that almost anywhere) and lousy demographics (and the refusal to deal with demographics with immigration or something) are big problems. The biggest reason for strength is that the individuals have huge savings (when your citizens own the debt it is much less horrible than when others do – especially when you are looking at currency value).
The Chinese Yuan is the best looking at the economic data. The problem is economic data is questionable for the best cases (looking at the USA, Japan…). China’s economic data is far from transparent. Their is also great political and social risk. The current worries of a real estate bubble seems justified to me and China just this week took exactly the wrong action – trying to prop up the bubble (in order to decrease the economic slowdown). I can see either of these cases playing out 10 years from now: It was obvious the Yuan was the strongest currency you are an idiot for not being able to see that or It was obvious China was a bubble with unsustainable policies and likely social upheaval thinking that was anything but a sign to sell the Yuan was foolish.
Given all this I think I weakly come down on the side that the Yuan is likely to be the strongest.
The safest play I think is the US dollar (as lousy as it is on an absolute basis the options make it look almost good). It could get clobbered. But that seems less likely than the others getting clobbered.
Smaller currencies have some promise but they can be swamped by global moves. I really have no idea about the Brazilian Real. That might actually be a really good option. The Australian Dollar and Canadian Dollar may also. But those economies are really small. I don’t trust India: they have many good macro-economic factors but the climate for business leaves far too much to be desired (as does the pace of progress fixing those weaknesses). Many economist like them due to demographic factors. I understand that demographic factors will help, but without systemic reform I question how well India can do (it certainly has the potential to do amazingly well, but they seem to be significantly farther away from reaching their potential compared to many countries).
The Singapore Dollar seems good on many levels, but the economy is small. I am not really sure about emerging economies, there currencies can get swamped in a hurry. Thailand and Indonesia experienced this recently. Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are interesting to me in thinking about what their currencies may experience, I would like to read more on this.
This is more an intellectual and curiosity exercise than something I see directly tied to my investing strategy. But having clear answers of what I thought reasonable scenarios were for currencies going forward that would factor into my investing decisions. Right now, the confusing this causes me, leads me to favor companies that should be fine whatever happens: Apple, Google, Toyota, Intel (I don’t really like Facebook overall but in this way they fit). Lots of the stocks in my 12 stocks for 10 years portfolio, you might notice.
Just 6.4% of nondurable goods — things like food, clothing and toys — purchased in the U.S. are made in China; 76.2% are made in America. For durable goods — things like cars and furniture — 12% are made in China; 66.6% are made in America.
Those numbers are significantly less than I expected but the concept matches my understanding – that we greatly underestimate the purchasing of USA goods and services.
We have an inflated notion of how large the China macro economic numbers are for the USA (both debt and manufacturing exports to us). The China growth in both is still amazingly large: we just overestimate the totals today. We also forget that 25 years ago both numbers (imports from China and USA government debt owned by China) were close to 0.
We also greatly underestimate how much manufacturing the USA does, as I have been writing about for years. In fact, until 2010, the USA manufactured more than China.
Who owns the rest? The largest holder of U.S. debt is the federal government itself. Various government trust funds like the Social Security trust fund own about $4.4 trillion worth of Treasury securities. The Federal Reserve owns another $1.6 trillion.
Ok, this figure is a bit misleading. But even if you thrown out the accounting games 1.13/8.9 = 12.7%. That is a great deal. But it isn’t a majority of the debt or anything remotely close. Other foreign investors own $3.5 trillion trillion in federal debt (Japan $1 trillion, UK $500 billion). The $4.6 trillion of federal debt owned by foreigners is a huge problem. With investors getting paid so little for that debt though it isn’t one now. But it is a huge potential problem. If interest reates increase it will be a huge transfer of wealth from the USA to others.
The oil figure is a bit less meaningful, I think. Oil import are hugely fungible. The USA cutting back Middle East imports and pushing up imports from Canada, Mexico, Nigeria… doesn’t change the importance of Middle East oil to the USA in reality (the data might seem to suggest that but it is misleading due to the fungible nature of oil trading). Whether we get it directly from the Middle East or not our demand (and imports) creates more demand for Middle East oil. It is true the USA has greatly increased domestic production recently (and actually decreased the use of oil in 2009). So while I believe the data on Middle East oil I think that it is a bit misleading. If we had 0 direct imports from there we would still be greatly dependent on Middle East oil (because if France and China and India… were not getting their oil there they would buy it where we buy ours… Still the USA uses far more oil than any other country and is extremely dependent on imports. Several other countries are also extremely dependent on oil imports, including the next two top oil consuming countries: China, Japan.
Related: Oil Production by Country 1999-2009 – Government Debt as Percentage of GDP 1990-2009: USA, Japan, Germany, China… – Manufacturing Output as a Percent of GDP by Country – The Relative Economic Position of the USA is Likely to Decline
The national occupancy climbed 110 basis points during the year, and effective rents jumped 4.7% according MPF Research.
Occupancy rates increased to 94.6% at the end of 2011, up from 93.5% a year ago and from 91.8% when the occupancy rates bottomed in late 2009.
MPF Research predicts occupancy rates to increase another 50 basis points, and rents to rise 4.5%.
Northern California’s apartment markets ranked as the nation’s rent growth leaders during calendar 2011, despite the fact that some weakness registered in the performances recorded in parts of the Pacific Northwest specifically during the fourth quarter. Year-over-year, effective rents for new leases jumped 14.6% in San Francisco, 12.3% in San Jose, and 9% in Oakland. With rents down 0.4%, Las Vegas was the nation’s only major apartment market that lost pricing power during calendar 2011.
Rent Growth Leaders in Calendar 2011
|Rank||Metro Area||Annual Rent Growth|
Related: Apartment Vacancies Fall to Lowest in 3 Years in the USA (April 2011) – Top USA Markets for Buying Rental Property – Apartment Rents Rise, Slightly, for First Time in 5 Quarters – It’s Now a Renter’s Market