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Here's a brief overview of jobs and housing with regard to where our country was heading this year, through September 30th (i.e.: through Q3 '13), the day before the government shutdown commenced.

JOBS

A Discouraging Picture
By JARED BERNSTEIN
New York Times
October 22, 2013, 11:08 am

...Another weak jobs report has been released, with data on the September labor market.

The report is late because of the shutdown — since when is jobs day a Tuesday? Weird! — but it shows that payrolls were up a scant 148,000 last month, though the unemployment rate ticked down a touch, to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent (and not because people left the job market, which is why the jobless rate fell in earlier months).
And remember, this report doesn’t count the impact of all those furloughed government employees and other shutdown-related negative impacts from the first half of this month.

The monthly jobs data are notoriously noisy, so let’s take advantage of the fact that we now have data for the first three quarters of the year. We can thus smooth out the bips and bops of monthly changes over three months. That leads to the picture below, showing average monthly payroll gains over each quarter of the year for both the total job market and the private sector...

 
Average Monthly Payroll Gains, Last Three Quarters

Bernstein continues on to note that, "It’s just a very discouraging picture."

...What’s that? We’re in a recovery? Yes, and have been so for four years. But you just don’t see enough of it in the job market. Unemployment is still highly elevated, and job growth is once again decelerating....
"Paychecks are barely beating inflation," he states; but to far too many, even that is spin. (Just ask any fast food restaurant employee--if they're fortunate enough to even have a job--about that ugly reality.)

Bernstein also talks about our record-breaking income inequality and workers not being enabled to obtain their share of corporate growth. Then again, how's that going to happen given the uneven playing field of our corporatocracy? The stock market's hitting record highs now, so why should the rich give a rat's ass about the 99%?

He also discusses our country's overall political dysfunction. That reminds me of what's, possibly--other than the aforementioned record-breaking income inequality--the most dysfunctional indicator of all: our so-called "housing recovery..."

HOUSING

Nearly 50% Of All Home Sales Now Cash, As Institutional Investor Activity Hits New High
Morgan Brennan
Forbes
10/24/2013 @ 5:43PM

Nearly half of all home purchases in the month of September were paid for in cold hard cash, as tight lending conditions continue edge out traditional buyers and investors continue to scoop up inventory.

All-cash deals accounted for 49% of sales across the U.S., according to a new report from RealtyTrac. That’s up from 40% in August and 30% in September of 2012.

“The housing market continues to skew in favor of investors, particularly deep-pocketed institutional investors, and other buyers paying with cash,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac...

As I noted in a post here on September 18th, after our economy crashed in 2008, our government set aside $50 billion to aid distressed homeowners via the originally-established homeowner/mortgage bailout programs that were implemented that year and in 2009.

That amount was then quietly scaled back in Congress to $29.93 billion.

As of today, since 2008, our government has spent a paltry $6.05 billion to aid homeowners with mortgage modifications. Here's a link to more from ProPublica supporting these shameful statistics.

With the government shutdown providing plenty of cannon fodder for Democrats this quarter, it's easy to spin the story of America's 2013 economic fail on Main Street, more than five years after the economy tanked, and to blame "the other guys."

So, if I were to conclude this post by stating that our country's economic policies since September '08 have been a horrifying failure that has done little more than lay the groundwork for many years (since, and to come) of tragic waste, I'm sure many would comment that I was just acting out in my typical "Obama-bashing" style. But, the truth is that I don't hate our President. Not one bit. (I voted for him again, just last year.) And, I don't have to make statements like that to get my points across, since these are the exact things that Paul Krugman stated in the NY Times, just a couple of weeks before the entire U.S. economic and political narrative "magically" shifted to the October 1st government kabuki shutdown.

The point here is that you didn't need to be a Nobel Prize-winning economist to realize that our economy was already getting significantly worse, on a quarter-by-quarter basis as this year progressed, at least if you were part of the 93%+/- of the population that had little or no money in our securities markets.

And, the economic prognostications for the next few months leading into the 2014 midterm election cycle don't look very promising either.

But, not to worry, because Democrats have the "spin" on their side; or, so it would appear (if you looked at all the meaningless polls, considering the fact that we're still over a year away from the 2014 general election) if you were to believe everything you read here. And, as we all delude ourselves know, the public will believe anything our politicians tell them, because they're held in such high esteem on Main Street, and their credibility is beyond reproach.

Just one question about all of this: If we're supposed to look "forward," as our Party's leaders tell us, then we don't have to worry about the public remembering how bad our economy was immediately before the shutdown. But, what does that say about getting voters to remember the intransigent behavior of the GOP this month, 12 months from now, when they're voting in the midterm general election?


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Comment Preferences

  •  What am I missing here, in the early a.m.? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, DRo
    That leads to the picture below, showing average monthly payroll gains over each quarter of the year for both the total job market and the private sector...
    And the picture below is keyed with blue as 'total' and orange as 'private.' And two of the three 'private' are bigger than the 'total.'

    Even if it's a key color/lable mistake, then there'd be private exceeding total in 1 of the three pairs.

    So is there a special economy-speak for 'total' and 'private' I don't know?


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 12:46:46 AM PDT

  •  So basically we've got laissez-faire disease, (14+ / 0-)

    running through the government, both parties. Let business be business and everything will work out just fine.

    Except, of course, the pillars of this attitude: Trickle Down; Privatization; Deregulation; and Free Trade have been in practice to ever-increasing, and increasingly dominant, degrees for 30 years.

    And what we get is what we have. Which not only isn't good, there's no hint of how it's going to get better. What? Another "Trade Agreement?" Fucking tax credits to business for hiring? It's a joke.

    I think what people need to realize when the President, and Dems and Repubs, talk blithely about 'competing in the global marketplace' what that means for US folk is that we'll have to get down to where we can pull jobs back from slave-, child-, and poverty-wage-labor.

    thereisnospoon wrote an article worth reading related to this very topic, on the rec list earlier: The Dow hit another record high. So where are all the jobs?

    Well, there's no plan to create more jobs because, evidently, the plan is to let wages fall while making people afraid to criticize what happens in their workplace. Just as it is in China and India and Mexico.

    I don't see any other explanation for why the ONE THING -- Jobs Jobs Jobs Jobs -- that American voters have been clamoring for at least 8 years now! isn't THE major, almost exclusive, topic of discussion on the part of either our Party, nor the media.

    Except they are reconciled to "business is King, no matter who holds office."

    People act like it's a mystery how, or a challenge, or we have to hope the Repubs don't recover from their disasters, in order for Dems to sweep elections.

    It's absurd. Repudiate Reaganism -- really, acknowledge that Reality has repudiated Reaganism -- and go make a real Jobs Program. Win. But clearly winning is as big a priority with the politicians as it is with Democratic voters.


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:03:44 AM PDT

    •  How does one repudiate Reaganomics... (16+ / 0-)

      ...when the leaders of the Democratic Party openly endorse it? (Obviously, because BOTH parties are owned by the 1%.)

      There's been so much focus by hyperpartisan Dems on social policy, the reality is that the endorsed economic policies of the Party's leadership undermine the entire society. (And, health care "reform" will not have evolved to the point--assuming it does evolve--to where it'll make a serious impact upon the direction of our economy in just the next 8-9 months, either.)

      Sure, some leaders in the Party talk a good game, but just look at what's happened/happening with housing, to date, to see a great demonstration of the reality that our own Party's leadership's ACTIONS undermine their pandering talking points. (Of course, Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke were never Democrats...so, there's that.)

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:14:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've spent most of the last evening watching (13+ / 0-)

        people I once respected argue passionately that we really need is just the right 1%'ers running things.

        I found out that mega-millionaires are the true heart and soul of the progressive movement.

        I really wish that it was just the Party Machine and the Politicians themselves that were captured by the filthy rich.  

        I am coming more and more to believe that it's the entire upper middle class.  No matter what they call themselves, they truly believe that it is right, and just, and good that the wealthy should rule.

        Just, you know, the right sort of wealthy.

        We would have beaten this a long time ago if were just a couple thousand "villagers".   But it's ten million elitist degreed pricks making max donations every cycle who constitute at least half the problem.

        "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 01:44:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You're a buzzkill, bobswern. . (5+ / 0-)

    . . . and I thank you for the reality check.

  •  meanwhile (6+ / 0-)

    the stock market continues to soar. which kinda sorta undermines the whole trickle-down argument.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:14:07 AM PDT

    •  And how much of stock market (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobswern

      investment is pension funds and money markets, chasing after earnings to match up to promises about retirement money? Where do you think Calpers and Detroit are stashing their cash?

      •  Stuffed in pillow cases may turn out to have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobswern

        been a better choice; consider: Still Feel Confident About Collecting Your Pension?

        The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

        by Wolf10 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:01:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  To be clearer (0+ / 0-)

          My (small) point was that the stock market isn't any longer the preserve of the 1%.

          •  No, it's the preserve of the top 10%... (6+ / 0-)

            ...who own more than 90% of it.

            "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

            by bobswern on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:34:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  76% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck... (4+ / 0-)

              ...per CNN Money.

              Equity investments are lowest in this country since 1999. Gallup. And, Christian Science Monitor.

              People who point to the stock market's performance as an indicator of the overall economy, quite simply, don't know what they're talking about. In 2007, at the time and in the run-up to the crash, the markets were near their all-time highs. The markets are not an accurate economic indicator of the financial well-being of most in this country.

              Those that believe the market's performance indicates the state of the health of our overall economy are the ones that believe in trickle-down Reaganomics.

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:55:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Dude, Wall St = Main St. Goldman Sachs' quarterly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bobswern

                bonus structure directly helps Mom and Pop diner on 2nd and Elm in Podunk, IA.

                Duh.

                /painful snark

                As of 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able). Sarcasm for and Derision of Happy Clappy True Believers still available 24/7, you betcha!

                by JVolvo on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 10:51:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Actually it is. Stock ownership is still highly (4+ / 0-)

            concentrated. Sorry, this cut and paste is difficult to read. Go to the link.

            Table 6a: Concentration of stock ownership in the United States, 2001-2010

                                Percent of all stock owned:
            Wealth class    2001       2004    2007           2010
            Top 1%           33.5%       36.7%    38.3%      35.0%
            Next 19%         55.8%     53.9%   52.8%           56.6%
            Bottom 80%      10.7%    9.4%    8.9%             8.4%

            http://www2.ucsc.edu/...

            The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

            by Wolf10 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:35:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You'll find that the top 10% own most securities.. (6+ / 0-)

              ...in this country. The next 40%-50% of society has most of their net worth invested in their homes. The bottom half of America, for all intents and purposes, has no positive net worth.

              "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

              by bobswern on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 07:36:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wealth (0+ / 0-)

                So, my point stands: the stock market is no longer the preserve of the 1%. In fact, some $3T of overall $15T market capitalization is from just the top 100 public pension funds--i.e. the retirement funds for millions of teachers, firemen and secretaries. That says nothing of the trillions in the many non-public pension funds and plain old money market accounts.

                If that bottom 50% is expecting some source of wealth to tap to fund Social Security, Medicaid and SNaP, they had better hope for stable, prosperous stock markets.

                •  That would be the Reaganomic approach... (5+ / 0-)

                  ...to the solution. Trickle-down. Welcome to he "New Democrats" mentality.

                  "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

                  by bobswern on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 09:16:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No trickling involved (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    nextstep

                    If the markets do not produce adequate returns for, say, Calpers, where do you imagine pension benefits will come from? If the markets do not produce taxable dividends for other investors, where do you imagine that tax revenues will come from?

                    •  If workers were paid in full, commensurate (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bobswern, Orj ozeppi

                      with their productivity they would be much less dependent upon the growth of passively invested retirement savings. Their savings alone would be sufficient.

                      The growth imperative inherent in capitalist systems, to the extent that they rely on inputs of finite resources and environmentally damaging waste byproducts, is physically unsustainable.

                      Development of higher standards of living for the poor and resource-saving efficiencies, while highly desirable, are not necessarily profitable, particularly to entrenched and powerful commercial interests.

                      At the same time, too great a concentration of wealth and power is corrosive to democratic processes and will inevitably lead to avoidable human suffering and deadly conflict.

                       

                      The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

                      by Wolf10 on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 03:20:56 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Sure thing, Mr Friedman... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bobswern

                  As of 8/30/13: RETIRED Pie Warrior. Substance over Sh*t Flinging (as best as I am able). Sarcasm for and Derision of Happy Clappy True Believers still available 24/7, you betcha!

                  by JVolvo on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 10:57:01 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  That's the most inane comment I've... (5+ / 0-)

      ...ever seen you make in one of my posts. Unless you're being facetious. (I'm assuming you are.) If you're not, then perhaps you should read  Meteor Blades' post, from yesterday. The stock market has little to do with the economy; and, more than 90% of it is owned by less than the top 10% of our society. In fact, conflating the stock market's performance with the performance our economy is the most common mistake made by many; and typical of those refer to our "Leading Economic Indicators" to tell the rest of the population they have their heads up their ass. In other words, it's another way of saying: "The corporations and the top 10% are doing great, so you don't know what you're talking about!"

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 06:26:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think we can now conclude with some (8+ / 0-)

    certainty that Congress rationing the distribution of dollars is positively correlated to economic sluggishness and reducing the distribution from a drip to a full stop has the effect of inducing a virtual halt.
    The only reason the economy isn't stopped entirely is because the shadow economy is taking up the challenge and running on its own to the point where up to two trillion dollars annually are out of Congress' ability to control.

    The shadow economy, by the way, is a component of the real economy, the exchange of actual goods and services which, on the other hand, the financial sector playing on Wall Street is not. The dollars being played with on Wall Street are actually a form of hoarding. And hoarding is, as we all know, the natural expected response to rationing, regardless of whether the resulting scarcity is artificial.

    The question we have to ask is why the Congress would ration our currency, a figment of the imagination that is in infinite supply. Why is Congress creating scarcity where none need exist?

    "Dollars, dollars everywhere and nary a buck to spend."

    Has Congress hung an albatross around our necks?

  •  Meanwhile in Japan, a turnaround thru stimulus (4+ / 0-)

    Rogoff and rightwing company must be aghast!

    The economy expanded for a third straight quarter in April-June as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's stimulus policies boosted business sentiment and household spending.

    Manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace in more than three years and factory output grew at the fastest pace in almost four years in October, a survey showed, a sign of firm domestic demand ahead of the sales tax increase.

    The BOJ revised up growth for the 2014 fiscal year to 1.5 percent from the current 1.3 percent, reflecting the expected boost to the economy from a 5 trillion yen ($51 billion) package planned by Abe to cushion the impact of the tax hike.

    And it maintained its fiscal 2015 forecast for 1.5 percent growth.

  •  yeah but once obama's chained cpi entitlement cuts (5+ / 0-)

    go into action, everything is going to be wonderful.  we just have to get those freaking old, tired, worn out, formerly productive people to stop expecting to mooch off of society once they're too old or too sick to continue to provide an income stream to the 1%.  

    don't worry, once we take back their pensions, health care and social security everything will be smooth sailing again.

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 07:05:03 AM PDT

    •  I would bet that, without even realizing, not... (5+ / 0-)

      ...only would the majority of this community--at this point--support those sentiments, but most don't even realize that they already are doing just that. (And, then there are those here who know EXACTLY what they're doing, and they're the DINOs that freak me out me most of all.)

      It's truly quite surreal.

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Thu Oct 31, 2013 at 07:26:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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