A Job On Jobs: The latest jobs report was more confusing than usual, with good news being shouted and the blemishes hidden. Here are the basics: The labor force participation rate plunged from 63.2% to 62.8%. The number of people not in the labor force grew by 932,000 , to a record 91.5 million Americans. Over 623,000 full-time jobs lost after 691,000 had been gained in September (don't ask how this is possible - not even the BLS knows) DoL says that the Federal government shutdown had little, if any, impact on payrolls. The top job-gaining sectors were in minimum wage jobs - hotel workers, retail clerks and other temp help, amounted to roughly half of all job gains. Manufacturing increased by 19,000 and construction 11,000. Stir and bake.
Subject To Revision: Great Britain's MI5 chief now claims that 34terror attacks aimed at the UK have disrupted or prevented since 2005. Your results may vary, not valid where prohibited, do not try this at home.
Compassion: Over 2 million long-term unemployed Americans will lose their unemployment benefits on 12/31/13. After that date, jobless aid programs will revert to their pre-recession generosity of 26 weeks or less. Curently only about a third of the 4.1 million long - term unemployed are receiving benefits. The lapse in benefits is will cut 0.4% from 1Q14 GDP and cost the economy an additonal 310,000 jobs. There are still about 3 unemployed workers for every job opening. Congress has shown little interest in this issue, as they all have jobs.
Pay to Play: After the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) admitted Palestine as a member, Israel forced the United States to stop paying its dues to UNESCO. Friday, after missing a deadline to repay dues the countries had withheld, the organization expelled the US and Israel. "There has rarely been a clearer example of domestic politics—in this case influence of the pro-Israel lobbies—undermining national interests." Also, Brazil and Germany presented a resolution to the UN General Assembly urging all countries (nudge, nudge) to extend internationally guaranteed rights to privacy to the Internet and other electronic communications.
It's Only Business: Don't be shocked that the CIA has been paying AT&T $10 million a year for details on your telephone use. Remember, the Constitution only says that the government can't invade your privacy (etc, etc), it doesn't say that others can't collect the very same information and sell it to the government.
Home Team: Saudi Arabia has announced it will spend millions to train rebel forces in Syria. Not a surprise, for the rebels are mainly militant Sunni and al Qaeda fighters – both of which the Saudis have supported for decades. Thus the religious war between the Sunni and Shia continue. This is far more interesting than it first appears.
Dollar Down: The market for subprime borrowing is once again becoming frothy, this time in the car business, as questionable loans are made, bundled, chopped up and marketed to the proverbial unlimited supply of greater fools. In an economy where someone with good credit can get a car loan at 3%, over one in four new car buyers have “imperfect credit” and pay from 7.45 to 23% interest rates. Chrysler is big in sub-primery, with 58% of its sales being to borrowers paying over 4.2%, 23% of Dodge loans carry rates over 10%. This explains the strength of the car industry's recent sales.
Easy Does It: About $9 billion of JPMorgan's $13 billion 'settlement' (for which read fines and reparations) will be tax deductible as a business expense. Yep, getting caught cheating is a risk of doing business, the way JPMorgan does business.
Sweet Nothings: Republicans are calling for the National Science Foundation to justify every grant it awards as being in the “national interest”, defined as adressing economic competitiveness, health and welfare, scientific literacy, partnerships between academia and industry, promotion of scientific progress and national defense – especially projects that will lead to pork for their districts. This is based on the general Republican belief that basic science is dangerous to their idiotolgy.
The Parting Shot: