Our future has been outsourced.
Talking Points: Unemployment is up to 9.8%. Real un/under-employment (U6) is at 17%. Labor force participation is steady at 64.5% (so the upward bump in unemployment was not caused by people jumping back into the job market). Nine million are “employed part time for economic reasons” (involuntary part-timers). Employment growth was a measly 39,000 (and it takes about 120,000 a month to break even). Average hourly pay rose 1 cent, to $22.75, the average workweek remained stuck at 34.3 hours. The average duration of unemployment is 33.9 weeks – longer than the 26 week maximum duration of unemployment benefits. And factory orders fell 0.9%. Summary: There are 15 million out of work and 9 million more under-employed. Enjoy the weekend.
No Fly Zone: Air traffic controllers in Spain suffered a sudden epidemic of austerity aversion, shutting down the country's air space until the Air Force controllers took over. This is how it stated in Greece, too.
Crocodile Tears: Will raising the capital gains tax from 15% to 20% cause a stock market crash? Maybe, but why do you care? For most of us, 5% of nothing is nothing.
Shocking! GM hopes to sell enough Volts too look green but not enough to go broke. At $10,000 to $12,000 each it cannot afford the batteries. Neither can the public when it comes time to replace them. Back to the drawing board.
Against the Grain: Yes, peak oil is a threat, as is runaway consumption of many resources. But the current and growing shortage of water does not get much attention. It should, for there is not enough to go around. The next wars in the Middle East may well be over water. Hunger in the world depends of rainfall in the grain fields – it takes 1000 tons of water to grow a ton of grain. Wheat prices are moving higher again, better watch the weather reports for Russia, Canada, the US grain belt.
Is there an Echo In Here? French President Sarkozy is on his way to India seeking to get in on the same military and energy sector opportunities that Obama recently made a pitch for.
Action This Day: China, while not losing a step from its effort to corral all the oil and all the coal it possibly can, is looking beyond fossil fuels as they get ready to put $500 billion into nearly 250 nuclear reactors. I don't know what technology they are buying, but $2 billion apiece for nukes is pretty cheap.
Good Idea: The FTC is considering a “Do Not Track” registry for Internet users, similar to the Do Not Call Registry. Considering their track record, subdued excitement is advised.
Quoted: “Very few analysts, even the greatest euro-skeptics, are wondering about of the changes in electoral politics that are likely to take place in Europe over the next few years as a consequence of the euro adjustment. ...Political radicalism in these countries will rise inexorably as a consequence of rising class conflict. ” Michael Pettis
Facts Don't Matter: Freezing federal wages just feels right, doesn't it. Until you think about it.
Footnote: While we watch the wringing of hands and pleading voices of the GOP as they try to make the Bush tax cuts for those with incomes over a million dollars permanent, remember that the cost of those tax cuts over the next 75 years is equal to the entire Social Security shortfall over the same period.
Asked & Answered: Is the Eurozone’s debt crisis finally nearing a conclusion? No. Ken Rogoff thinks we might be halfway there and that in the end there will be a massive debt write-down similar to the 30 cents on the dollar it took to resolve the Latin American debt crisis in the 1980s. In polite circles this is called 'restructuring'. My dad called it getting blood out of a stone.
Secret Stash: An unreported catastrophe is unfolding in the US housing market. While the media plays up whatever positives it can find – like the latest Case Shiller index which is only down a little in quarter ended in September – real-time data that portrays a housing market drowning in inventory that is likely to experience steep declines in prices and sales in the near future.
Porn O'Graph: Recovery, what recovery?