Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: growth

U.S. Economy Adds Another 204,000 Jobs in April

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 2, 2018: 

The booming U.S. economy added another 204,000 jobs in April, down slightly from the (revised) 228,000 jobs it created in March, but still more than forecasters predicted. Those forecasters have consistently underestimated the health of the economy and their record remains unbroken. Economists polled by Econoday expected 190,000 new jobs in April.

This is the sixth straight month of job growth over 200,000 which continues to confound observers. “The labor market continues to maintain a steady pace of strong job growth with little sign of a slowdown,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.

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Job Market Remains Strong; Unemployment Rate at 50-year Low

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 26, 2018:  

Unemployment claims for the week ending April 21 fell to new lows, according to the Department of Labor. On Thursday it reported that new claims fell to 209,000, far below forecasters’ expectations of 230,000. It also was the 24th week of jobless claims fewer than 250,000 and the 164th straight week of claims below 300,000.

Even more remarkable is that the last time jobless claims were this low was during the first term of President Richard Nixon, nearly 50 years ago, when the country’s labor force was just 153 million, compared to today’s work force of 162 million. Translation:

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Conference Board Predicts Robust Economy for Rest of Year

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 20, 2018:

The report from the independent Conference Board released on Thursday confirmed what most already know: The U.S. economy is on a tear, and there appears to be nothing on the horizon to slow it down, at least for the next six to nine months. Said its Director Ataman Ozyildirim:

The U.S. LEI [Leading Economic Index] increased in March, and while the monthly gain [was] slower than in previous months, its six-month growth rate increased further and points to solid growth in the U.S. economy for the rest of the year.

 

The strengths among the components of the leading index have been very [robust] over the last six months.

The LEI, which bottomed out during the Great Recession in the middle of 2009, has rocketed from 73 to

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The Economy is Booming. Why Should Anyone be Surprised?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 13, 2018:

For a small fee, anyone can download the Harvard Business School’s case study on Apple, Inc. In a nutshell, Apple began in April, 1976 with three employees, no customers, and no revenues. Today it has 123,000 employees, millions of customers, and revenues approaching a quarter of a trillion dollars.

This confounds Keynesians who believe, steadfastly and in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that it is consumers who drive the economy. On just about every business news show on evening television, one can hear something like “consumers, which are responsible for 70 percent of the economy,…” etc., etc. How do they explain the growth of Apple?

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New Weekly Unemployment Claims Remain Below 300,000, Longest Streak Since 1967

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 12, 2018:

Unemployment claims fell last week to just 233,000, far below the historical average, cementing into place the longest streak below 300,000 jobless claims since 1967. A proxy for layoffs, those claims reflect not only an increasing reluctance on the part of employers to let their workers go, but an increasing need for them to bring more workers on in the face of an economic tsunami that’s just now starting to roll into the American economy.

This is just one of many indicators reflecting a growing economy, including an unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, the lowest level since 2000 (and expected to move much lower in the coming months) and employers adding to their payrolls for 90 straight months — the longest economic expansion in history.

Keynesian economists consider that consumers drive the economy, using their pay raises to drive spending on consumer goods and services. Common sense economics — aka Austrian School economics — claims that is putting the cart before the horse: It is capital investment that drives the economy, providing goods and services that consumers discover that they need and want and are willing to pay for.

The classic example is Apple’s iPhone, which

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How Do You Spell Apocalyptic? Don’t Ask the Congressional Budget Office

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 11, 2018: 

All one needs to do is view the first page of the CBO’s 166-page report on its 10-year outlook for the U.S. economy and government spending that was released on Monday to see why: it features a graph that shows better than words just where we’re headed. Two lines diverge: one, showing government revenues; the other, government outlays. The gap, instead of narrowing, widens dramatically into the future. Unfortunately, the graph cuts off in 2028, leaving one wondering: what happens next?

The CBO report reflected the new law, happily called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that was passed in December. Its previous projection, made by the CBO last June, showed a deficit of $563 billion for 2018, rising to $689 billion next year. Now, with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act behind them, the CBO now projects this year’s deficit to be $804 billion and next year’s to be just a touch below a trillion dollars, at $981 billion.

The CBO, considered by many to be less partisan than projections coming from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), covered itself with this disclaimer:

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CBO Update: Trillion-dollar Deficits to Arrive Two Years Sooner

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 10, 2018: 

According to the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), released on Monday, the U.S. economy is going great guns. But that growth, no matter how robust, will never catch up with government spending. Hence, despite that growth, annual deficits of a trillion dollars will arrive two years sooner than originally projected.

That previous projection, made by the CBO last June, showed a deficit of $563 billion for 2018, rising to $689 billion next year. Now, with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act behind them, the CBO projects this year’s deficit to be $804 billion and next year’s to be just a touch below a trillion dollars, at $981 billion.

The CBO is considered by many to be less partisan than most government entities and as likely to create more accurate projections than those coming from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It covered itself with this disclaimer:

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Jobs Report for March Beats Forecasters, Again

Private-sector employment jumped by 241,000 jobs in March, beating February’s numbers and forecasters once again. This is the fifth straight month that the U.S. economy has added 200,000 jobs or more, and is far ahead of the paltry jobs growth recorded last September — just 80,000 new jobs that month. Forecasters were expecting just 200,000 new jobs as they anticipated that demand by employers would exceed available supply.

According to ADP/Moody’s Analytics,

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313,000 New Jobs in February, Far Exceeding Expectations

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 9, 2018: 

Friday’s numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) were predicted a day earlier by ADP/Moody’s Analytics, which said that private payrolls in February jumped by 235,000. But few expected the BLS to report what one surprised forecaster called “unbelievably strong” new jobs numbers. Further, the Labor Department said that its jobs reports for December and January understated the reality, adjusting those two months’ reports upward by another 54,000 jobs.

The economy continues to gain strength.

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Trump’s Budget Won’t be Balanced, Just Restrained

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, February 13, 2018:

In his message to Congress describing “An American Budget,” the president started off accurately enough: “The current fiscal path is unsustainable, and future generations deserve better.” Translation: If this budget isn’t approved, wage earners will not only have to hide their wallets but their grandchildren as well.

He added: “Over the next decade, a steady rate of 3-percent economic growth will infuse trillions of additional dollars into our economy, fueling the dreams of the American people and sustaining a new era of American Greatness.” And, hopefully, enough vastly increased tax receipts to pay for it.

He left his Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Mick Mulvaney to fill in the gaps and pick up the pieces. The budget, apparently, won’t ever be balanced, so we’re changing the goal: grow the economy faster than the budget so that the deficit gap starts to shrink. Said Mulvaney, “As a nation, we face difficult times — challenged by a crumbling infrastructure, growing deficits, rogue nations, and irresponsible Washington spending….  Just like every American family, the budget makes hard choices: fund what we must, cut where we can, and reduce what we borrow.”

Here are the numbers:

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January Jobs Report: Is America Running Out of Workers?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 5, 2018: 

The headline numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs report released on Friday once again caught forecasters by surprise: Predicting job growth of 177,000 for January, they got instead 200,000 — the 88th month in a row of positive job growth, with many recent months where the economy outperformed forecasters.

The other number also caught them by surprise:

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Fracking Revolution Pushes U.S. Daily Crude Oil Production Over 10 Million Barrels

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 2, 2018:  

English: Logo of the U.S. Energy Information A...

November’s production of crude oil in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), not only exceeded October’s by four percent, but rose to a level not seen in nearly 50 years: 10 million barrels a day. The agency went even further: At this rate daily U.S. crude oil production will exceed that of both Russia and Saudi Arabia by the end of next year.

If not sooner. The EIA’s forecast is that crude oil production will grow by 10 percent this year, but that could turn out to be much too low. As Todd Staples, head of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, noted:

American crude oil [production] is a game-changer in international trade, global politics and domestic energy security. Crude oil imports are down 20 percent from 2006 and, today, we are competing with the Middle East in the export market.

 

These outcomes were unthinkable a decade ago.

Indeed. As recently as 2011 the United States was only producing about

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“What Hath God Wrought?” Tax Reform and Deregulation Unleashing an Economic Tsunami

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 31, 2018: 

When Samuel Morse asked for suggestions on what his first message over his telegraph should be on May 24, 1844, Annie Ellworth suggested a verse from Numbers 23:23: “There is no magic charm, no witchcraft, that can be used against the nation of Israel. Now people will say about Israel: Look what God has done!” [Good News Bible translation.]

The same might be said about the effect that the magic elixir of deregulation and cuts in tax rates is having not only in the United States, but globally as well. Economists at the International Monetary Fund just announced that, thanks to the combination of those two potent medicines, it has revised its global economic growth estimates for each of the next two years to 3.9 percent.

This is a staggering 70 percent improvement over the average global GDP growth experienced during the unlamented Obama years.

And it’s just getting started. Walmart, Boeing, Apple, Comcast, and more than 200 other companies have announced what they’re doing with their tax savings, impacting directly the paychecks of an estimated three million workers. Now comes ExxonMobil with its announcement: $35 billion of new money is going to be pumped into its operations in the United States. The company’s CEO, Darren Woods, gave credit where credit is due:

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ExxonMobil Announces $35 Billion in New Investments in U.S. Thanks to Tax Reform

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 30, 2018: 

The chief executive of ExxonMobil, the largest of the seven publicly traded “supermajor” oil companies known as “Big Oil,” Darren Woods, posted a blog on Monday announcing that his company would be redirecting $35 billion that would otherwise be headed for Washington, D.C., into much more potentially profitable projects. He gave credit to the new tax reform law just signed into law by President Trump:

These investments are underpinned by the unique strengths of our company and enhanced by the historic tax reform recently signed into law….

 

These positive developments will mean more jobs and economic expansion across the United States in a myriad of industries.

This $35 billion is on top of the $23 billion to $27 billion the company said last year that it would be investing globally over each of the next three years. And there’s more to come, said Wood: “We’re actively evaluating the impact of the lower tax rate on the economics of several other projects currently in the planning stages.”

Translation: Monday’s announcement is just the beginning for ExxonMobil. The company has 20 billion barrels of proven reserves of crude oil “equivalent” (oil and natural gas) and a refinery capacity of nearly five million barrels a day. Its 20 refineries are spread across 14 countries, and it operates 100 major exploration projects around the world. It recently purchased $6 billion worth of oil leases from the Bass family on top of the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, and is expected to expand further its operations in North Dakota above the Bakken Formation.

Wood praised tax reform for providing his company the opportunity to redirect its resources to more profitable opportunities:

These are quality investments for our shareholders that are made even better by tax reform. These are all possible because of the resource base developed by our industry along with sound tax and regulatory policies that create a pro-growth business climate here in the U.S.

Wood estimated that the new investments, once completed, will add an estimated 12,000 new workers to his company which already employs 73,500 people. The implications for the economy are obvious, and enormous: Exxon rarely misses an opportunity to move capital into profitable projects, adding to its already enormous $330 billion asset base. It will still pay taxes on those additional profits, just at a much lower level. Those nearly 90,000 people on the payroll will also be paying taxes, also at lower levels than before.

But what is often missed is that ExxonMobil is just one, although one of the largest, of the companies announcing such investments directly as a result of tax reform and its lower tax rates. Walmart, Apple, Boeing, Comcast, and hundreds of others have announced similar plans to reward their employees through bonuses and/or salary increases or through additional expanded employment opportunities. What also is often missed is the “ripple-effect” of monies being redirected from Washington to places where it is much more profitably employed. Every company does business with dozens if not hundreds of other companies that consider those investments as increased business revenue. That new flow encourages further investment at a micro level. It’s the unseen hand of Adam Smith that improves the standard of living for everyone, even as each individual and company seeks its own best opportunities.

All of this is highly annoying to far-left liberal Democrats, who seem to have a death wish, especially during this mid-term election year. California’s House Democrat Nancy Pelosi seems most skilled at self-immolation by calling those salary increases and bonuses “crumbs,” while former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) dismissed them as “chump change.” To this writer’s knowledge, not a single employee offered either a bonus or a salary increase has turned it down. And $35 billion from ExxonMobil alone is hardly “chump change.”

Not only are these new funds being redirected away from Washington, known for its extravagant wastefulness in spending other peoples’ money, it is very likely to be employed in highly profitable projects that have now become viable thanks to tax reform.

Why, even the International Money Fund (IMF) has been forced to admit that these new investments are of such a magnitude that the ripple effect worldwide will be to drive global GDP to close to four percent in 2018 and years following.

U.S. Oil Production Will Soon Overtake Saudi Arabia’s

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 22, 2018:

Fatih Birol, head of the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), told a congressional committee last week, “What we see is a result of the shale revolution [fracking]. The U.S. is becoming the undisputed leader of oil and gas production worldwide. [U.S.] oil production is growing very strongly and will continue to grow. We think that this growth is unprecedented [both in the] size of the growth and the pace of the growth.”

In 1973, Saudi Arabia punished U.S. citizens with an oil embargo in retaliation for the U.S. government’s support for Israel during the Yom Kippur War. It could do so because it held the biggest hammer: Saudi Arabia controlled the world’s largest reserves of crude oil and the kingdom. Within months, the price of oil quadrupled in the United States, resulting in shortages and rationing. Gas stations were closed, and when they reopened they were forced to restrict gasoline purchases to “odd” and “even” days depending upon their customers’ license plate numbers. The federal government imposed “double-nickel” (55 mph) speed limits on highways, and experimented with “daylight saving” time in order to reduce the impact of the embargo.

Those days are long gone and not likely ever to return. Saudi Arabia and its OPEC cartel are slowly being reduced to bit players in the global energy market. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman saw that coming more than two years ago when he announced

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Apple’s Repatriation of Its Profits: Talk About Stimulating the Economy!

English: Apple's headquarters at Infinite Loop...

Apple’s headquarters at Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, January 22, 2018:

After paying the world’s largest tax bill – $38 billion – Apple, Inc., the world’s largest company by market capitalization and now the government’s largest taxpayer, will have $214 billion left over.

It is making plans for that $214 billion. In its announcement on Wednesday, the company said it would be making “a new set of investments to build on its commitment to support the American economy and its workforce, concentrated in three areas where Apple has had the greatest impact on job creation: direct employment by Apple, spending and investment with Apple’s domestic suppliers and manufacturers, and fueling the fast-growing app economy that Apple created with iPhone® and the App Store®.”

It added:

Apple is already responsible for creating and supporting over 2 million jobs across the United States, and expects to generate even more jobs as a result of the initiatives being announced today.

The numbers are almost incomprehensibly large. Apple generates worldwide revenues of $230 billion, making profits of nearly $50 billion. It employs 124,000 people worldwide, 84,000 of them in the U.S. It has independent contractual arrangements with another 1.6 app designers, to whom it paid $5 billion last year. It operates 500 retail stores worldwide.

Apple’s biggest problem is that

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Apple to Repatriate Its Foreign Profits and Put Them to Work in America

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, January 18, 2018:  

Apple announced Wednesday that not only would it repatriate nearly all its foreign cash holdings under the new tax reform law, but it was going to put a lot of it to work right away. This puts the lie to anti-capitalists who predicted that such a plan would only further enrich the already rich.

Instead Apple is going to spread the repatriated funds around, announcing that it would not only be creating new jobs but would be building new facilities and expanding its financial commitment to the company’s “innovation” fund. It also is expanding its efforts to reach students in high school to teach them coding language (for free) so that many of them will be able to provide Apple with the coders and software developers it will need as it expands into the future.

In the process it will also pay the largest single tax bill in history:

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Credit Card Debt Hits $1 Trillion; Wall Street and Michael Snyder Yawn

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 10, 2018: 

Michael Snyder rivals only David Stockman in his pessimistic economic outlook, reflecting that outlook by naming his blog “The Economic Collapse.” On the first day of the New Year, Michael dug into his files for the most “crazy” numbers from 2017. He found 44, including these:

One out of every ten young adults in the United States has been homeless at some point over the past year;

 

The United States has lost more than 70,000 manufacturing facilities since China joined the WTO in 2001;

 

A total of 6,985 store locations were shut down last year, and we are expected to break the record again in 2018:

 

Only 25 percent of all Americans have more than $10,000 in savings right now; and

 

44 percent of all U.S. adults do not even have enough money “to cover an unexpected $400 expense,” according to the Federal Reserve.

What’s missing from Michael’s list? Credit card debt, student loan debt, and vehicle financing debt. Surely he was aware of these numbers, but for some reason didn’t include them in his list. For the first time in history, credit card debt last year hit $1 trillion, eclipsing the record set back in 2008 following the real estate collapse and the beginning of the Great Recession. Snyder didn’t mention the nearly $3 trillion in “non-revolving” debt (i.e., auto and student loans) either. Seeking Alpha called these numbers “scary” but Snyder ignored them.

A closer look behind the numbers reveals that these may not be such “scary” numbers after all. Perhaps that’s why Snyder ignored them, simply because, by his definition, they didn’t qualify as “crazy.” For one thing, fewer than 40 percent of all households carry any sort of credit card debt. Among millennials ages 18 to 29 only a third even have a credit card.

Next, the ratio of income to credit card debt at the end of 2017 (before the new tax cuts) was already declining with the ratio of credit card debt compared to the nation’s gross domestic economic output at about 5 percent, compared with 6.5 percent in 2008.

Also, credit card delinquencies remain way below the 9 percent historical average, at just 7.5 percent, and far below the rate of 15 percent touched following the 2008 financial crisis.

There’s another way to look at credit card debt: compare outstanding balances to incomes.ValuePenguin performed such a service, showing that households with annual incomes of between $25,000 and $100,000 have less than $7,000 in outstanding balances on their credit cards. Further, that analysis showed that the average has increased only slightly since 2013.

With almost two million more people working today than held jobs a year ago, and others enjoying wage and salary increases, that $1 trillion in credit card debt becomes far less “scary.” In a $20 trillion economy that is growing at three percent a year, $1 trillion in credit card debt may reflect that growth as banks are willing to issue more cards to more credit-worthy individuals and those individuals, having perhaps learned lessons from the Great Recession, are using them more prudently. That “trillion” dollar number may instead reflect a growing and increasingly healthy economy employing more people making more money who are using credit opportunities more wisely.

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Sources:

USATodayCredit card debt hits new record, raising warning sign

SeekingAlpha.comCredit card debt on watch

Michael Snyder: 44 Numbers From 2017 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

ValuePenguin.com:  Average Credit Card Debt in America: 2017 Facts & Figures

Credit Card Debt Hits $1 Trillion, Raising Alarms

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 9, 2018: 

For the first time in history credit card debt hit $1 trillion last year, reported the Federal Reserve on Monday. This eclipsed the previous record set almost 10 years ago, just before the housing and credit bubbles burst. In addition, “non-revolving” (i.e. auto and student loans) debt is approaching $3 trillion.

These numbers have put credit card debt on “watch” at Seeking Alpha, which said that that trillion dollar number is “scary.”

A closer look behind the numbers reveals that these may not be such “scary” numbers after all.

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What the Latest Jobs Reports Really Mean

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 8, 2018:

There were three jobs reports released last week: two from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (one based on its “household” survey, the other on its “establishment” survey), and one from ADP based upon its payroll data.

ADP’s numbers came in first on Thursday, showing job growth in December exceeding forecasters’ predictions at 250,000. This was followed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on Friday, showing 148,000 new jobs in December. They both said that the unemployment rate held steady at a record low 4.1 percent.

Mark Zandi, the establishment economist at Moody’s, was “disappointed” in Friday’s numbers from the BLS and thinks they’re going to get worse going into the New Year. First,

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann