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: Unemployment

Brazil Continues to Stagger as Economy Slows, Corruption Probe Expands

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 8, 2017:

Brazil’s economy, once Latin America’s largest and most prosperous, shrank again last year by 3.6 percent following a similar shrinkage in 2015 of 3.8 percent. This marks the country’s worst recessionary period since records started being kept. The best possible scenario for 2017 is an expansion of less than one percent.

The New American has been following the rolling and accelerating disaster since the onset of Operation Car Wash, the investigation into political corruption at the government’s highest levels, which began nearly three years ago. At the time the economy had fallen from a gain of more than 10 percent in 2010, placing Brazil at the top of the BRIC nations (Russia, India, China, South Africa, Brazil) which were touted as contenders to outproduce the Western economies by 2025. No one mentions BRIC any longer.

Instead it’s all about the failing economy and the Operation Car Wash corruption investigation.

Keep Reading…

Jobs Report: Across-the-board Growth, Except for Government

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 3, 2017:

Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for January surprised on the upside in almost every category with job growth of 227,000 new jobs, beating economists’ predictions by more than 50,000. The report reflected numbers from the week before President Donald Trump was inaugurated, and showed growth in every major category, including manufacturing. On the flip side, government employment dropped by 10,000 jobs.

This is the best jobs report in the last four months, and exceeds 2016’s average monthly jobs growth of 187,000. Construction added 36,000 jobs, retail trade added 46,000 jobs, financial services grew by 32,000 jobs, professional and business services increased by 39,000 jobs, education and health services jumped by 24,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality added 34,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 5,000 jobs.

The job market was attractive enough to entice those not in the work force to begin to look for work once again, increasing the workforce participation rate. The labor force increased by 584,000 in January while wages continued to increase, rising 2.5 percent over the past year, and long-term unemployment dropped.

The report reflected a positive change, especially in manufacturing versus government. Over the last year the manufacturing sector lost 46,000 jobs while government employment under the Obama administration jumped by 162,000 jobs. Future reports from the BLS will confirm whether the January reversal has legs.

The January report is merely a snapshot of an economy in transition, which makes it difficult to draw long-term conclusions. Part of its rosy tone may reflect anticipation of the fulfillment of Trump’s promises, such as repealing ObamaCare, cutting taxes and regulations, and removing executive-order impediments that flowed from Obama’s pen especially as he was making his exit.

A broader picture suggests that, as good as the report is, the underlying economy is doing even better. Baby Boomers are exiting the jobs market and retiring at an estimated 10,000 every day. That’s nearly four million leaving the workforce every year. And it could continue for years as the Baby Boomer cohort exceeds 75 million.

There’s also the factor of robotics increasingly replacing jobs as cost-cutting continues to drive automation, along with the push from minimum-wage laws. And yet the jobs report reflected a growing economy that is able to overcome those negatives.

In addition, there is the difficulty of measuring exactly how many people are working and for whom. The Wall Street Journal raised the issue in its recent report “The End of Employees,” which said, “Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people.” The problem, said the Journal, is that “no one knows how many Americans work as contractors, because they don’t fit neatly into the job categories tracked by government agencies [such as the BLS].”

For example, Southwest Airlines has about 53,000 real full-time, full-benefits employees, but another 10,000 outside employees. Google’s parent Alphabet uses contract staff from various outside staffing agencies such as Zenith Talent, Filter, and Adecco, running up an annual bill for those services in excess of $300 million. When Todd Gibbons, CEO of the Bank of New York, was quizzed on the matter, he responded, “It’s just too hard to tell exactly what’s going on with [our] head count and how people compute it and whether [we’ve] got contractors versus full-time employees.” If he doesn’t know how many people work for BNY, how would the BLS know?

What is clear is that January’s report, if it is sustained in the months ahead, reflects the new paradigm emanating from Washington: one of support and encouragement backed by real efforts to unleash the free market by removing some (many) of the impediments placed before it by previous administrations.

Will Mick Mulvaney Pull Trump’s Financial Fat Out of the Fire?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 19, 2016:  

English: Official portrait of US Rep. Mick Mul...

Michael “Mick” Mulvaney (shown) rode the Tea Party wave in 2010 into Congress, replacing a 14-term Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th District. He has been handily reelected ever since. He took his oath of office seriously, saying in 2010 that “If political reporters want to know what drives the Tea Partiers, it is their belief in the Constitution. That’s what has always driven me in politics and will guide me in Congress.”

He remained as true to his word as any of those riding the same wave,

Keep Reading…

Illinois Governor Vetoes Chicago Bailout Bill

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 5, 2016:  

English: Source: http://www.chicagob2b.net/lin...

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill on December 1 that would have provided a $215 million bailout of the Chicago public schools. So certain were school officials that he would sign it — allowing them to make a past-due payment to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund — that they made it a part of their budget for next year.

The original bill passed by Democrat supermajorities in both houses was for $700 million, but during negotiations Rauner, a Republican, agreed to $215 million instead, in exchange for a promise that the Democrats would institute real pension reform. Once the bill hit Rauner’s desk, however, all deals were off: Give us the money, said the Democrats, and forget pension reform.

Rauner’s veto message is instructive in several regards.

Keep Reading…

Chicago Dreaming

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 5, 2016:  

Chicago Public School Officials were so sure that they would get another bailout from the state that they actually put it into next years budget. The city is behind on making a $730 million pension payment due its teachers pension plan, and the $215 million they were expecting from the state would allow them to make it.

The bill that passed the state senate unanimously and the house overwhelmingly was headed for Governor Bruce Rauners desk for signing until Rauner (pictured) learned that the Democratic leadership had no intention of keeping their promise to institute significant pension reform in order to get the bailout.

Keep Reading…

Venezuelan Currency Lost Half Its Value in November

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 28, 2016:  

Português: Brasília - O chanceler da Venezuela...

Nicolas Maduro

Bloomberg reported last Thursday that Venezuela’s currency — the bolívar fuerte or “strong bolivar” — has lost 45 percent of its purchasing power so far this month, with six days to go. The underlying cause was put simply by Professor Milton Friedman, a member of the “Chicago School” of economic free market thinking and winner in 1976 of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon … and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

On the other hand, Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro,

Keep Reading…

McDonald’s Response to $15 Minimum Wage: Automation in Every Store

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, November 23, 2016: 

English: The mdonalds logo from the late 90s

It’s official: McDonald’s says that every one of its 14,000 stores nationwide will be replacing order takers with automated touch-screen kiosks. They’re starting with stores where minimum-wage laws mandate the highest rates, such as Florida, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Seattle.

According to CNNMoney:

Keep Reading…

Latest Jobs Report Masks Continuing Weakness


This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 4, 2016:  

English: Bureau of Labor Statistics logo RGB c...

English: Bureau of Labor Statistics logo RGB colors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The latest jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday morning was trumpeted as reflective of an improving economy. The Wall Street Journal said the report “signal[ed] solid momentum in the labor market just days before American voters elect a new president,” while Jeffry Bartash, writing for MarketWatch, said it “shows the seven-year-old economic recovery still has plenty of life despite a slowdown in growth earlier in the year.”

A hard look behind the headline numbers — 161,000 new jobs created in October and the unemployment rate at 4.9 percent — reveals

Keep Reading…

Tax Foundation Rates Tax Plans of Trump and Clinton: Trump’s Plan Wins

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, October 20, 2016:

Tax Foundation

Tax Foundation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Analysis by the Tax Foundation of all that is currently known about the tax plans proposed by presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton concludes that, if enacted, Clinton’s plan would expand government at the expense of a shrinking economy. On the other hand, Trump’s plan would grow the economy, shrink government’s revenues, raise wages, and expand employment.

But it’s not tax “reform,” claims the study’s author, Kyle Pomerleau,

Keep Reading…

What Does “Collapse” Look Like? See Venezuela.

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 19, 2016:

State flag of Venezuela.

State flag of Venezuela.

The term “economic collapse” has been bandied about for so long by so many that the phrase has largely lost its meaning. Michael Snyder has been able to make a living from his blog, “The Economic Collapse,” and there’s even a feeble attempt to define the term by contributors to Wikipedia:

Keep Reading…

Candidates Silent as Government Spending Jumps, Deficit Increases

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, October 17, 2016:  

On Friday, the Treasury Department published the final revenue and spending numbers for the federal government for Fiscal Year 2016, which ended on September 30. According to Treasury’s report, spending increased significantly (by nearly five percent) over the previous year, to more than $3.8 trillion, while revenues remained essentially flat from the year before, at $3.25 trillion. That left a shortfall of approximately $600 billion, forcing the government to borrow 15 cents of every dollar it spent last year. And the two presidential candidates have remained disturbingly silent about the issue.

Said Robert Bixby, the executive director of the Concord Coalition, a non-partisan group that favors reducing the deficit,

Keep Reading…

Behind the Jobs Report: Weakness in Manufacturing, Transportation

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, October 7, 2016:  

The headline number from Friday’s jobs report was a tepid 156,000 new jobs created in September. Not only did this number fall short of economists’ expectations of 170,000, it was 19-percent below the average job growth of the last three months and 22 percent below the level of monthly job growth of 229,000 in 2015.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency reporting from inside the Labor Department, was none too sanguine itself in reporting the results:

Keep Reading…

Would Trump’s Corporate Tax Cut Help the Economy?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, September 28, 2016:  

 Removing the noise and the histrionics from Monday night’s presidential debate, there is a clear division between the two major-party candidates on the state of the economy and what to do about it.

The Democrat candidate said that the economy is on the mend, that jobs are being created, that real incomes have just recently increased, and that the outlook for the economy is sanguine.

The Republican candidate held the opposite view: after seven years the economy is still struggling, the recovery is the weakest in recent memory, and the outlook is bleak.

The Wall Street Journal noted that Trump’s case is the stronger,

Keep Reading…

Michel Temer, Brazil’s New President, Faces Massive Challenges

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, September 1, 2016:  

English: The newly elected president of the Ch...

Brazil’s new president, Michel Temer

Just after being sworn in as Brazil’s new president, and just before jetting off to the G-20 meeting in China to hobnob with the global elites, Michel Temer took time on Wednesday to make a promise to Brazilians: “From today on, the expectations are much higher for the [new] government. I hope that in these two years and four months [when his term ends in 2018], we do what we have declared: put Brazil back on track.”

That’s an expression more of hope than reality: Little is likely to change except the name of Brazil’s president. Temer faces challenges that would stagger Godzilla:

Keep Reading…

Venezuelan Exodus Accelerates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 24, 2016:  

Prison 015

Since early July an estimated 300,000 Venezuelans have crossed the border into Colombia seeking to purchase basic necessities. Some decided to stay.

Eduardo (not his real name) used to make $18 a month as a systems engineer in Venezuela, but that wasn’t enough to feed his family. With inflation reducing the purchasing power of the Bolivar Fuerte by half nearly every month, he fled to Bogota to stay with a friend. Eduardo told the Financial Times: “At least I can find food here. Back in Venezuela we all lacked anything to eat. I’d rather stay here doing whatever [I can], rather than heading back while [Venezuela’s Marxist President Nicolas] Maduro and his cronies are there.”

An accountant who crossed the border into Colombia told the Times that he is going to stay even if “I have to stand at a corner all day selling arepas [a cheap food made from corn meal].”

Families of those who are staying in Colombia are hoping they will receive funds from the border-crossers in order to stay alive. Otherwise, they are likely to starve.

Most of those who can afford to leave the country have already left. The problems in Venezuela started with the takeover of the government by Marxist Hugo Chavez in 1999: First to feel the crunch were many of the 20,000 oil men that Chavez fired from their positions at the state-owned oil company. (Chavez replaced them with incompetent political cronies.) Then businessmen left the country to escape the currency controls imposed by Chavez. They were followed by students who saw the handwriting on the wall. In the last 17 years, an estimated 1.8 million Venezuelans have left the Chavez/Maduro socialist paradise.

Tebie Gonzalez and Ramiro Ramirez cashed out their emergency savings account in order to buy life’s essentials in Colombia in July. They returned home only to face the existential question: What happens when those staples — food and medicines — run out? What will they do?

Daya Silva, a native of Caracas, used a vacation in Buenos Aires to find a job. She found work and returned to Venezuela briefly, carrying a suitcase full of much-needed items for her friends and family: drugs to treat high blood pressure, essential kitchen supplies, and paper goods. But what happens to her friends and family when these run out?

The vast majority of Venezuelans are today facing the same question. Although the number of Venezuelans requesting refugee status has jumped from 127 in 2000 to 10,300 last year, according to the UN, that is a tiny fraction of the 30 million people remaining in the country. With unemployment at 17 percent (government figures are no longer available), with between 76 and 80 percent of the population living in poverty (again, no government numbers are available so these are estimates from independent sources), and with inflation destroying what’s left of the purchasing power of the local currency (inflation is expected to exceed 2,000 percent next year) the average Venezuelan has almost run out of options.

Relocating to nearby Colombia is an option, but Guyana, which borders Venezuela on the east, is having its own set of problems and is deporting Venezuelans back home as fast as they arrive. Brazil, on the south border, is no mecca either, with its own economy being wrecked by socialist policies.

In short, the average Venezuelan lives in a prison forged by the socialism imposed by Chavez and Maduro. The country more and more resembles a concentration camp where the guards are deliberately starving the inmates.

Brazil’s Senate Votes to Begin Impeachment Trial of President Rousseff

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 11, 2016:  

Português do Brasil: O presidente Lula partici...

Rousseff and Lula before they were exposed as crooks

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Brazil’s upper house, following 16 hours of speeches and rancorous debate, voted 59-21 to begin the impeachment trial of the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff (shown). The senate has 48 hours to prepare the impeachment papers, Rousseff has another 48 hours to prepare her defense, and then the actual date for the trial will be set, likely the week after the Rio 2016 Olympics have ended.

For all intents and purposes, however, the trial is already over.

Keep Reading…

What Would the Apostle Paul say About the Minimum Wage?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, August 5, 2016: 

One can surmise from his instructions to believers in the church in Thessalonica: “When we were with you, we gave you this rule: Whoever will not work should not be allowed to eat.” What’s less clear is: what if government mandates keep one from working, or keep employers from hiring those willing to work?

St. Paul assumed that people had the freedom to contract out their labor, to sell the one primary thing they possessed: their time and effort in exchange for money. He also assumed that employers, given the opportunity, were free to hire someone who could add value to their businesses.

Minimum wage laws abrogate that essential freedom, with all manner of negative results. One,

Keep Reading…

More Proof: Raising the Minimum Wage Increases Unemployment

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 4, 2016: 

If more proof were needed that raising the minimum wage would increase unemployment among lesser-skilled workers, the Heritage Foundation’s latest study provides it.

For one thing, the push for a national minimum wage of $15 an hour would actually cost employers $18.61 an hour, thanks to payroll taxes, unemployment insurance and ObamaCare taxes. The proposed increase, if passed into law, would, according to Heritage, impact one-third of all American workers, and hurt the most those working in lower-cost states.

The math is simple, and deadly.

Keep Reading…

Rio Gets $900M Emergency Disbursement From Gov’t for Olympics

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 20, 2016:  

Português: Placas promovendo a candidatura do ...

On Friday, just seven weeks before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are to begin, the governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Francisco Dornelles, declared a financial emergency, saying that his state has run out of money.

In his official statement, Dornelles said the state — which is helping the city of Rio prepare for the Games, which begin on August 5 — is facing a “public calamity,” adding:

Keep Reading…

Brazil’s Interim President Says “Trust Me,” Installs Corrupt Bureaucrats

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 16, 2016:  

Upon taking over Brazil’s presidency from disgraced former President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday, interim president Michel Temer asked his skeptical citizenry to “trust” him, saying that his new administration would be Brazil’s “salvation”:

Trust me. Trust the values of our people and our ability to recuperate the economy…. It is essential to rebuild the credibility of the country abroad to attract new investments and get the economy growing again…. It is urgent to restore peace and unite Brazil. We must form a government that will save the nation…. It’s urgent to seek the unity of Brazil. We urgently need a government of national salivation.

Even if he truly intended to do any of that, the challenges he faces almost defy description.

Keep Reading…

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.