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Time to Start Hedging?

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Is it too early to start saying “Please let it be Romney?”

The jobless rate rose to 9.2 percent in June from 9.1 percent in May, the Labor Department said, as the economy added a meager 18,000 jobs.

I, for one, welcome our new corporate-feudal overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted blog personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

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  • clever screen name

    This is the new normal, the Less Great Depression. all the jobs are in China, India, Brazil. The US as we know it is FINISHED.

    But don’t worry, Joe will be here soon to tell us its all just a bump in the road and we just have to trust Obama!

    • clever screen name

      BTW, if you look at the Scariest Chart in the World now, the jobs will never return at the current rate. That’s right, NEVER.

      • Malaclypse

        But, Joe told me that this chart said things were okay…

        And the “jobs are in China” meme is simply wrong. Net imports ex-oil are actually down from three years ago. This is all a problem of internal demand.

    • dangermouse

      Y’all really gotta learn to DNFTT

      • Walt

        Isn’t clever screen name an actual non-troll commenter?

  • Joshua

    NPR Marketplace was still talking up the “slow slog of a recovery”, something they have been saying with David Lereah-like consistency the past year. It’s embarrassing at this point – I realize the masters of the universe underwrite that show, but we desperately need some reality injected into the political debate.

  • Is it too early to start saying “Please let it be Romney?”

    Probably a bit, yes. Unless we expect oil prices to go back up and Japan to suffer another nuclear meltdown.

    But, Joe told me that this chart said things were okay…

    Actually, joe told you that the trend had been interrupted by the oil spike. But I do love how large I loom in your consciousness, that I’m the first thing you think of when you see a jobs report. Kiss kiss, fanboi.

    • clever screen name

      Ready to admit you were wrong? The economy has been permanently re-aliagned.

      • Wrong about this one report? Yep.

        About something being permanently realigned? You mean, since April? Um, no. That’s moronic.

        • clever screen name

          No, since 2007, and really since 1973. We haven’t had real wage growth in this country since 1973 and tried to paper it over with easy credit and phony financial bubbles, but that game ended in 2008. Welcome to the New Economy.

          • There’s an interesting discussion to be had about the changes in the economy since the early 70s, but trying to cram the ups and down of individual business cycles, and individual episodes within one of those business cycles, into the theory is pointless. Job migration to China didn’t make us lose 3/4 of a million jobs in January 2009; the recession did.

            BTW, it’s not quite right to say that there has been “no wage growth since 1973.” There was real wage growth during the 1990s, but we’ve given those gains back since 2001.

            • clever screen name

              It only came because of increased hours worked in the 90s and because of the phony Dot-Com bubble.

              • Hours worked increased from the trough of a recession as the economy recovered?

                Golly, Mr. Wizard, how does that work?

                and because of the phony Dot-Com bubble.

                The dot-com bubble didn’t begin until 98. Wage growth started at least five years earlier. The investment bubble was, like all bubbles, a result of an expanding economy, not the cause.

                • clever screen name

                  The Dot Com Bubble started in 1995 and everyone knows it.

                • clever screen name

                  BTW, there is a BIG difference between wage gains because of increased hours and wage gains due to ACTUAL RAISES for the SAME HOURS worked. The latter indicates a rising standard of living, the latter indicates trading water to mantain a standard of living.

                • Furious Jorge

                  I don’t know about ’98. I got my first job in programming – a job I was by all rights not qualified to hold – about two years earlier. I doubt very much I would have got that job if there hadn’t been a crazy hiring spree in that particular industry.

                  I know it’s just anecdata, but having been in the industry at the time, I feel pretty confident in stating that the bubble was there, or at the very least it was well on its way to forming.

                • I doubt very much I would have got that job if there hadn’t been a crazy hiring spree in that particular industry.

                  Remember, there were two different developments: the actual, technology- and dispersal-driven growth in the high-tech industry, and the speculative bubble exemplified by Pets.com.

                  The bubble has gone away, but clearly, there is a much bigger, value-generating IT sector today than in 1991.

                  or at the very least it was well on its way to forming.

                  But what is “on its way to forming,” if not actual strong growth in an industry during a period of overall economic growth? More people with more money in their accounts looking for an investment, and a particular sector that is showing strong growth.

            • Malaclypse

              Job migration to China didn’t make us lose 3/4 of a million jobs in January 2009; the recession did.

              This is very true. Blaming our lack of demand on the Chinese is a pernicious meme.

              BTW, it’s not quite right to say that there has been “no wage growth since 1973.” There was real wage growth during the 1990s, but we’ve given those gains back since 2001.

              This is true, and a good point.

              • Thank you.

                If I was picked to ask the presidential candidates a question at one of those town halls, it would be this:

                During the 1980s boom, there were no real gains in wages for workers, and only half a million people were lifted out of poverty. During the 1990s boom, there were real gains in wages, and 13 million people were lifted out of poverty. What was different?

                Although I’d probably only get “Blah blah blah, greatest nation on earth doop derp” back.

    • Jeebus, two of you.

      It’s time to rename this the LawyersGunsandJoeBlog. I’m clearly the most interesting topic in the world to the commentariat.

      • clever screen name

        Admit you were wrong. And remember, the double-dip is in its beginning stages even BEFORE the Obama Austerity Budget is passed.

        • Kiss kiss.

          The wonderful, little people – how I love them! And they love me!

          • dangermouse

            DNFTT

    • Malaclypse

      Unless we expect oil prices to go back up

      We do.

      And now would actually be a good time to admit being, you know, really really wrong about jobs.

      • Sorry, I don’t panic over individual reports and week-long blips.

        You don’t usually, either, except when you get your weird little internet grudge on.

        • clever screen name

          Bump in the road!

          Minor blip!

          Fluke!

          I bet you’ve seen saying this since January, 2009.

          • Actually, I’ve said it twice: Spring 2010 and Spring 2011.

            • Malaclypse

              So, while things are better than the horror of 2008, there have been exactly 4 months of Obama’s term where job growth kept pace with population growth.

              Yay.

              • there have been exactly 4 months of Obama’s term where job growth kept pace with population growth.

                Considering about the first half of his term consisted of steadily-declining job loss numbers, that wouldn’t be too surprising, even if it were true.

                But it’s not; it’s more like six. The BLS puts the population growth level at 125,000 these days. You don’t see unemployment drop by a point in a little over a year by falling short of population growth over 3/4 of the time.

                • Malaclypse

                  I’ve read 150K, not 125K, but this is all estimates.

                  The important thing is both U3 and U6 are rising, not declining. U6 is 16.2%. That is fucking horrendous.

                  You don’t see unemployment drop by a point in a little over a year by falling short of population growth over 3/4 of the time.

                  You do when people are dropping out of the labor market. Labor force participation has dropped by 2% since 2008.

                  Also, neither measure is down by a percent year over year. U3 went from 9.6 to 9.2, U6 from 16.7 to 16.2.

                • I’ve read 150K, not 125K, but this is all estimates.

                  The number has dropped, because immigration has fallen off sharply.

                  is acting like U3: it’s about a point lower than the peak, has been trending down for over a year, but ticked back up over the past couple of months. And, yes, they’re too high, nobody disputes that. The question is, what’s the trend?

                  You do when people are dropping out of the labor market. Labor force participation has dropped by 2% since 2008.

                  And more than that since 1999. Some of this is the recession, and some of it is the long-expected beginning of the baby boom retirement. It’s a real problem, but it doesn’t explain all or even most of the drop in unemployment.

                  Also, neither measure is down by a percent year over year. U3 went from 9.6 to 9.2, U6 from 16.7 to 16.2.

                  Kindly look at the red line on the chart you just linked to. The unemployment rate dropped sharply from early 2010 to early 2011.

                • Malaclypse

                  The unemployment rate dropped sharply from early 2010 to early 2011.

                  I’m not going to call a 0.5% drop “sharp.” At that pace, we would reach full employment 4 years out from now. And the pace seems to be declining.

                • I’m not going to call a 0.5% drop “sharp.”

                  Me, neither. <From April 2010 to March 2011, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 to 8.8. I’ll take that for the next four years, please, thank you.

                  And the pace seems to be declining.

                  Not just declining, but has reversed since the oil spike and the Japan crisis. Once again, the question is whether this reversal represents the secular trend in the economy, or is a result of those two temporary influences.

                • Malaclypse

                  Me, neither. <From April 2010 to March 2011, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 to 8.8. I’ll take that for the next four years, please, thank you.

                  And we gave up half that in three months. And even that pace, even if it had been uninterrupted, would get us to 5.0% in 2015. That’s horrible.

                  Once again, the question is whether this reversal represents the secular trend in the economy, or is a result of those two temporary influences.

                  Japan is certainly temporary. Whether energy and commodity prices are temporary is a very, very open question. Personally, I believe we have passed Peak Oil.

                • And we gave up half that in three months.

                  Yup, we hit a rough patch. I’ve said that several times now.

                  And even that pace, even if it had been uninterrupted, would get us to 5.0% in 2015.That’s horrible.

                  Yup, the recession was very deep, such that even steady, substantial job growth would take a long time to produce a low unemployment rate. No argument here.

                  Japan is certainly temporary. Whether energy and commodity prices are temporary is a very, very open question. Personally, I believe we have passed Peak Oil.

                  Agreed, mostly, but you’re talking about a rise in prices that will manifest itself over a longer period than we’ve been discussing. Peak oil didn’t cause the price spike, or the recent week-long rise.

                  IDK if we’ve actually reached peak oil or not, but we’ve certainly reached the point where China and India’s growing demand are having a meaningful effect on long-term oil price trends.

                • DrDick

                  Krugman just made the same point as Mal, that lower unemployment (U3) numbers are more likely the result of people dropping out of the labor force than people getting jobs.

  • “We do.”

    Isn’t it odd that a month-long trend of falling prices didn’t indicate anything whatsoever to you, but a week-long trend of rising prices does?

    Tell me, do you use any other methods of understanding data other than your burning desire to say I’m wrong?

    Very strange behavior.

    • Malaclypse

      a week-long trend of rising prices does?

      Those were three-month futures, and they have been rising. UPS is planning on $200/barrel.

      • From your link:

        Scott Davis, the chief executive of UPS, says the company is currently examining what the world would look like with oil at $200 a barrel.

        Not exactly “planning,” is it? Did you think no one would click the link?

      • Those were three-month futures

        You’re right; they’re not even real oil prices. We all know how immune oil futures prices are to short-term fluctuations unrelated to underlying fundamentals.

        You know better than to look at weekly fluctuations in futures prices and project like this. Try to regain some objectivity. Pretend I don’t exist, and that your goal in examining the data isn’t to find an excuse to shout gotcha at me.

        Actually, that’s probably pretty good advice across the board.

        • Malaclypse

          Pretend I don’t exist, and that your goal in examining the data isn’t to find an excuse to shout gotcha at me.

          I’m not shouting gotcha. I have agreed with you when I thought you are right, and disagreed when I thought you were wrong.

          And I do have a goal in examining this data. If you recall, I’m the CFO of an employment agency. Employment trends matter a whole lot to me.

          • I’m not shouting gotcha.

            Ahem.

            But, Joe told me that this chart said things were okay…

            And now would actually be a good time to admit being, you know, really really wrong about jobs.

            Poor form, old bean. I don’t do this. Pretty much you and the troll.

          • And I do have a goal in examining this data. If you recall, I’m the CFO of an employment agency. Employment trends matter a whole lot to me.

            I certainly hope you’re a bit more rigorous in your day job than you’re being on this thread.

            • Malaclypse

              Read, as they say, the whole thing:

              The unemployment rate increased from 9.1% to 9.2%, and the participation rate declined to 64.1%…The employment population ratio fell to 58.2%, matching the lowest level during the current employment recession…U-6, an alternate measure of labor underutilization that includes part time workers and marginally attached workers, increased to 16.2%, the highest level this year…There are a total of 14.1 million Americans unemployed and 6.3 million have been unemployed for more than 6 months.

              • And what, exactly, is that supposed to refute that I wrote? Quotes, please.

                • Malaclypse

                  Since you have made no empirically testable claims, it refutes nothing you wrote. I’m posting about employment in general, as that is what this thread is about.

                • I’m posting about employment in general, as that is what this thread is about.

                  Perhaps I was thrown off by your decision to post it as a “Reply” to my comment, several comments down in a subthread. That’s the sort of thing that leads one to believe that you are replying to something they wrote.

            • Malaclypse
            • Bill Murray

              also, the percent of unemployed people moving out of the work force over the last two years has been greater than the percent of unemployed getting jobs. This has not occurred since at least the 1960s when the data necessary for this was first collected.

              https://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/some-graphs-for-the-terrible-july-jobs-numbers/

  • Uncle Kvetch

    Is it too early to start saying “Please let it be Romney?”

    I dunno…Romney means we hunker down, grit our teeth, and hope for a single term.

    Bachmann or Perry, on the other hand, means that The Hubby will finally be amenable to the idea of packing our bags for either Montreal or Paris.

    I realize that “heightening the contradictions” doesn’t work on a national level, but personally, it could be just the thing.

    • clever screen name

      Sarkozy and Harper are just as bad and just as into Austerity as Obama.

      • MPAVictoria

        Well yes but even I wouldn’t say that Harper is as bad as Perry or Bachmann

        • clever screen name

          Oh, he is, he just hides his craziness better. And in Parliamentary system the ruling party can pretty much do whatever it wants. It’s getting scary in the developed world. It seems Germany is the only sane country left.

      • Uncle Kvetch

        Sarkozy and Harper are just as bad

        Let me know when either of them signs a pledge declaring that homosexuality is a choice (and therefore “reparable”) and that pornography should be outlawed.

        Mind you, Sarkozy is an nasty, bigoted little prick, I have no illusions about that. But he’s also looking increasingly likely to get his ass kicked next year.

        Besides, in case it wasn’t clear, I’m looking at this from a purely selfish (and self-defensive) perspective. Right-wing populism in France isn’t about teh gay, it’s almost entirely about teh mooslims.

        AFAICT, there’s no one in French or Canadian politics analogous to full-blown christocrats like Bachmann or Perry with an actual chance of gaining the presidency or PMship. The closest comparable figure in France is Christine Boutin, an old-school hardline Catholic, and she’s thoroughly marginal.

  • The Dot Com Bubble started in 1995 and everyone knows it.

    Nasdaq chart It’s pretty clear where the spike begins. Unless you think we had another dot com bubble between 2003 and 2008, which had the same price-growth rate as 1995-1998/99.

    Not all growth is bubble growth. That big spike in the middle? That’s what bubble looks like.

    BTW, there is a BIG difference between wage gains because of increased hours and wage gains due to ACTUAL RAISES for the SAME HOURS worked.

    And during the 1990s, we saw both increased wages per hour and increases hours.

    The latter indicates a rising standard of living, the latter indicates trading water to mantain a standard of living.

    That isn’t even true given your assumptions. If your income increases relative to inflation, your SoL has gone up. Would you seriously argue that someone whose hours increase from 20/week to 40/week, and whose income doubles, hasn’t seen an increase in his economic SoL?

  • KBNC

    Yes, it’s too early. When everybody looks at a single jobs report and starts extrapolating electoral outcomes based on that, it should be a reminder that November 2012 is a long ways away.

    And, of course, the biggest jobs loser in the report was government jobs, which the true austeritards should find a positive thing. Unfortunately for them, those government workers were real people who used to buy things from the magical and sacrosanct private sector.

    • Joshua

      And June 2011 was a long ways away in January 2010. In January 2010, long after the “recovery” began, nobody was saying that the economy would still be utter shit by 2011.

      Point is, November 2012 is a fixed date, and the economy isn’t improving. The ponies that were promised with the weak-ass stimulus didn’t come. The ponies that were promised with the Bush tax cut deal didn’t come.

      The ponies that will be promised when the “grand bargain” guts Medicare/SS to raise the debt ceiling won’t come either. The ponies ain’t coming. States are not going to pull back on austerity and by all accounts the federal government is going to do it too. Things are not going to get better by 2012. Obama is fucked.

      • jeer9

        No, he is not. If the alternative is Romney/Bachmann, he wins. That’s his gamble. We, however, are fucked – unless a left wing with some spine materializes out of somewhere.

        • Joshua

          With the way things are going, we might be looking at or around a 10% unemployment rate by November 2012, along with a double dip recession. Quite frankly I think Romney would destroy Obama in that case.

          I do agree that we all are fucked though. There’s really nothing we can do now except hunker down. Things aren’t going to get better for a looooong time.

          • jeer9

            The only thing Romney is capable of destroying is the family dog … and the sanity of anyone willing to listen to his drivel on consecutive days.

            • Malaclypse

              At 9% unemployment, if (a big if) Romney has gotten the Talibangicals to forget that he prays to the wrong Jesus, and gets the nomination, then Romney wins the general.

              • Agreed.

                Romney clears the “credible alternative” bar in a way that Bachman, Palin, McCotter, or Cain do not.

                If we’re in a “looking for a credible alternative” election, Romney could win it.

              • Uncle Kvetch

                if (a big if) Romney has gotten the Talibangicals to forget that he prays to the wrong Jesus

                A very big if, from what I’ve been hearing. I would have thought that the fundies could easily make common cause with the Mormons just as they’ve done with conservative Catholics, but apparently it’s not that simple.

                • I couldn’t believe the poll numbers about Mormon candidates from 2007-2008.

                  Far more people would refuse to vote for a Mormon than a Jew, for instance, or a woman.

                  I had no idea that there was this much hostility towards Mormons in this country.

  • Barack Obama

    Im pretty much a brown Romney in any event. Im competing for ca$h from the corporation$ like Goldmann the same way Romney is.

  • jeer9

    If Romney gets the nomination, I expect the Dems to be passing out Krakauer’s Under The Banner of Heaven on every street corner.

  • BKP

    You all are some mopey SOBs. I thought Joe from Lowell was clearly wrong on his opinion of the Plauffe quote, but he and Plauffe seem to be closer to a reasonable response to these unemployment numbers than most on here.

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