Lately, anywhere we look, there seems to be a pattern emerging: those economic thinkers who actually construct and run their own macro models (not the glorified powerpoint presenter variety) and actually do independent analysis and tracing of the money flow, instead of relying on Wall Street forecasts that have as much credibility as a Moody’s home price hockey stick from 2006, almost inevitably end up having a very dire outlook on the economy. One such person is and has pretty much always been Shadowstats‘ John Williams, whose "shadow" economic recreation puts the BLS data fudging dilettantes to shame. That said any reader of Zero Hedge who has been with us for more than a few weeks, knows all too well our eagerness to ridicule the increasingly more incoherent lies coming out of the US department of truth, so no surprise there. Yet another aspect over which there is much agreement is that no matter how one slices the data, the outcome for the US currency is a very grim one. Which is why Williams over the past several years has become a major fan of the shiny metal. Below we recreate portions of his latest observations on the upcoming currency collapse, courtesy of King World News.
John Williams today was dispatching information regarding gold, silver, M3, nearby massive selling of dollars and inflation. Here is a portion from his commentary, “Despite November 9th’s historic high gold price of $1,421.00 per troy ounce (London afternoon fix) and the multi-decade high silver price of $30.50 per troy ounce (London fix) on December 7th, gold and silver prices have yet to approach their historic high levels, adjusted for inflation.”
Real Money Supply M3: The signal of the still unfolding double-dip recession, based on annual contraction in the real (inflation-adjusted) broad money supply (M3), continues and is graphed (above). Based on today’s CPI-U report and the latest estimate on the November SGS-Ongoing M3 Estimate, that annual contraction in November 2010 was 4.0%, narrower than October’s 4.5% contraction, and May’s post-World War II record annual decline of 7.9%.
Incidentally, if there is one thing we disagree with John on is that the broadest aggregate (M3 for Williams, Shadow Banking for Zero Hedge) is declining. That said, an expansion in the most critical broad money signal is merely the missing piece of the puzzle that we…
The August 2010 Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) is 218.312. The annualized inflation rate computed from this number is 1.15%, which marks the tenth month of mild inflation after a streak of eight consecutive months of deflation. The annualized inflation rate is well below the 3.99% average since the end of World War II.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has compiled CPI data since 1913 (BLS historic data). Our chart now shows inflation back to 1872 by adding Warren and Pearson’s price index for the earlier years. The spliced series is available at Yale Professor Robert Shiller’s website. This look further back into the past dramatically illustrates the extreme oscillation between inflation and deflation during the first 70 years of our timeline. Click here for additional perspectives on inflation and the shrinking value of the dollar.
As I’ve expressed elsewhere, my opinion is that the optimum method for calculating consumer prices is probably somewhere between the revised BLS method and the historic method preserved by Williams. However, government policy, the Federal Funds Rate, interest rates in general and decades of major business decisions have been fundamentally driven by the official BLS inflation data, not the alternate CPI. For this reason I think it best to take the alternate inflation data as a interesting, but not authoritative.
Just what is the true rate of unemployment in our country? Our headline U-3 rate is currently 9.5%. Our U-6 rate, more broadly defined, is 16.5%.
Many people are aware of the differences between U-3 and U-6; however, renowned economist John Williams takes our analysis to an entirely new level. Williams is far ahead of the curve in his work.
William is likely not a regular on the Washington cocktail circuit. Why’s that? He goes far deeper in his work and exposes inconsistencies, if not worse, in government statistics. Let’s learn more about Williams and his work at Shadow Government Statistics:
Walter J. “John” Williams was born in 1949. He received an A.B. in Economics, cum laude, from Dartmouth College in 1971, and was awarded a M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck School of Business Administration in 1972, where he was named an Edward Tuck Scholar. During his career as a consulting economist, John has worked with individuals as well as Fortune 500 companies.
Formally known as Walter J. Williams, my friends call me John. For nearly 30 years, I have been a private consulting economist and, out of necessity, had to become a specialist in government economic reporting.
One of my early clients was a large manufacturer of commercial airplanes, who had developed an econometric model for predicting revenue passenger miles. The level of revenue passenger miles was their primary sales forecasting tool, and the model was heavily dependent on the GNP (now GDP) as reported by the Department of Commerce.
Suddenly, their model stopped working, and they asked me if I could fix it. I realized the GNP numbers were faulty, corrected them for my client (official reporting was similarly revised a couple of years later) and the model worked again, at least for a while, until GNP methodological changes eventually made the underlying data worthless.
That began a lengthy process of exploring the history and nature of economic reporting and in interviewing key people involved in the process from the early days of government reporting through the present.
For a number of years I conducted surveys among business economists as to the quality of government statistics (the vast majority thought it was pretty bad), and my results led to front page stories in the New York
If large businesses are not hiring and small businesses do not increase hiring (or worse yet stop hiring), it’s quite hard to be optimistic about jobs.
Hiring Not Improving
One of the things in the ADP report that caught my eyes was this short paragraph:
"July’s rise in private employment was the sixth consecutive monthly gain. However, over those six months increases have averaged a modest 37,000, with no evidence of acceleration."
The key words in that paragraph are "no evidence of acceleration". It is consistent with the small business surveys mentioned above.
ADP vs. BLS Reports
Inquiring minds may be interested in seeing a comparison between ADP and the BLS (government) reports.
A direct number to number comparison using the standard BLS report is inaccurate because ADP reports private nonfarm jobs while the BLS reports all nonfarm jobs. The latter is tremendously skewed this year by census hiring and firing. It is also skewed by normal government hiring and firing.
Fortunately, the BLS does provide the private numbers in Excel format, so with minimal work an accurate comparison is possible.
Let’s go back to January and see what the data looks like year to date.
A shrinking number of jobs and a growing supply of apartments will continue to push the Puget Sound region’s rents down next year as vacancy rates climb, industry experts predict.
Job losses killed our market, and development buried it," Mike Scott, of Dupre + Scott Apartment Advisors, told landlords at an industry conference Tuesday.
The average monthly rent across all apartment types in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties fell from $988 to $959 during the 12 months ending in September, and a continuing decline through 2011 will further cut that figure to $889, Dupre + Scott projects.
While demand for apartments is falling, the supply is rising.
So far, 4,100 new units have opened this year, and more than 2,000 others are expected to become available by year-end, according to Dupre + Scott.
The firm estimates that about 20 percent of the 6,000 condos completed in the past three years are also on the rental market now.
The combination of job losses and new units has upped the region’s vacancy rates from 6.6 percent last spring to 7.2 percent now, and heading toward 9 percent next year, the firm said.
WASHINGTON D.C. – On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI and the SEC are investigating Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) for his lucrative stock trades of real estate investment giant CBL Associates Properties, a real estate company based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Federal officials...
The Latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for April was released yesterday, but we failed to post usual our update. Here it is ... a day late. The index increased 0.6 percent to 123.9 from March's downwardly revised 123.1 (previously 123.4) and small downward revisions were made to January 123.2 to 123.0) and December (123.4 to 123.3). The latest indicator value came in above the 0.4 percent forecast by Investing.com.
Here is an overview from the LEI technical press release:
The Conference Board LEI for the U.S. increased in April, wi...
Ed Rensi, an Ex-McD CEO, insists that a "$35,000 robotic arm" is cheaper than hiring and training employees. According to Rensi, replacing employees with robots is cheaper - for McDonald's. Of course, the move to robotics is not necessarily "cheaper" for everyone else - e.g., taxpayers - who will ultimately absorb the costs that McDonald's shifts off its books.
For purposes of argument, I'm accepting: 1) Robots are cheaper, and will probably continue to get cheaper. 2) Higher minimum wages will increase the incentive to replace human employees with robots. 3)...
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Do you remember when you were growing up and all your friends were allowed Atari game consoles but you weren’t?
Well, I do and the things seemed as foreign to me as Venus. Mostly because the little time I managed to spend on the gaming consoles when my friends weren’t hogging them I found it all a bit silly. I never “got” computer games, and to this day still have poor comprehension of things like Angry Birds.
I suspect that many people around the world view Bitcoin in the same way as I view Angry Birds: with mild amusement and a general lack of understanding as to what the hell all the fuss is about.
I was thinking of this since a buddy of mine recently started ...
After a three-year bull run that more than quadrupled its value by its peak last July, IBD’s Medical-Biomed/Biotech Industry Group plunged 50% by early February, hurt by backlashes against high drug prices and mergers that seek to lower corporate taxes.
Although we try to stay focused on finding and managing promising trade ideas, the comments in the comment section sometimes take a political turn (for access, try PSW — click here!). So today, Jean Luc writes,
The GOP debate last night was just unreal – are these people running to be president of the US or to lead a college fraternity! Comparing tool size? The only guy that looks semi-sane is Kasich. The other guys are just like 3 jackals right now.
And something else – if Trump is the candidate, that little Romney speech yesterday is probably already being made into a commercial. And all these little snippets from the debate will also make some nice ads! If you are a conservative, you have to be scared now.
Phil writes back,
I was expecting them to start throwing poop at each other &n...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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