Friday, May 22, 2015

LATEST TRANSPORTATION DATA REVEALS AN ECONOMY STILL STRUGGLING TO LEAVE BEHIND THE GREATEST DEPRESSION

Each month the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics of the Department of Transportation releases data collected about movement of people and goods conveyed by airplanes, trains, ships and pipelines. By putting that data into context, we can catch a glimpse of what is happening in the economy.



These charts reveal that perhaps we're in the early stages of lift off from the bottom.






It's getting worse for rail carriers.


And it's getting worse for sellers of scheduled passenger flights for domestic and international travel.


And it is clear that water haulers slipped between 2011 and 2014 after the 2009 lows.


When the poor aren't working, they can't travel hardly anywhere.


And when people are poorer, they don't fly and drive, they ride subsidized Amtrak.


As well, airline enterprisers have cut their flights, though this seems to be bettering.




And now let's look at the good. Natural gas consumption is up. Likely, this is a result of fracking for oil.


And intermodal traffic is way up.



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Thursday, May 21, 2015

EXISTING HOME SALES REVEALS OMINOUS BLACK CLOUD OVER THE U.S. ECONOMY. STILL THESE ARE THE BEST TIMES TO BUY RESIDENTIAL REALTY

While some await the Census Bureau workers' next release of New Residential Sales data on May 26, 2015, the National Assoication of Relators have released Existing Home Sales data. The story looks bleak.



Always, numbers without context lack meaning.

While Existing House Sales looked to be bettering from the low of Q4 2008, that bettering stopped August 2013. Since then the trend has been worsening.


In spite of the worsening state of existing house sales, if you have the income, likely these are among the best days to buy a house in decades.







However, far too many Americans cannot swing a mortgage to buy a house. That, my readers, is the biggest problem vexing the economy.



There are many could-be buyers, but few would-be buyers because so few have the means to swing a mortgage. And yet, True Dollar™ prices run near 50% off.




The inane policy of Quantitative Easing impaired extant capital. To restore returns to capital bought with credit, enterprisers had to cut labor.

After all, wages arise solely from capital. Absent capital, there can be no wages.

Not until all of the impaired capital has been written off, can enterprisers begin to undertake new capital on much lower interest rates. Yet, once enterprisers can, new capital formation will give rise to wages.

We're catching glimpses of this dynamic of capitalism expressed in the labor markets. First there was massive layoffs, unemployment and the need to collect SNAP food welfare from Congress. Of late, there has been a steady decline in True Unemployment in the working age population.

Enjoy one from one of my all-time faves, The Boys!



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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

THE TREND IN NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION LOOKS GOOD. AMERICANS STILL HAVE FAR TO GO.

I say it time and time again, data without context is meaningless. Why so many prognosticators get everything about the U.S. economy oh-so-wrong comes down to their looking at numbers without meaning.



Back on May 13, I published a piece, IS TRUE ECONOMIC GROWTH AT LONG LAST COMING SOON TO THE U.S. ECONOMY? MAYBE, in which I showed you charts of the much bettering employment situation along with a bettering S&P 500 in True Dollars™ terms.

Also on December 3, 2014 and December 4, 2014, I published two works along with charts that revealed my expectation of the economy and what I believed were the early stages of advance, and THE USA ECONOMY ADVANCE LIKELY HAS BEGUN AT LONG LAST and AT LONG LAST, BANKERS ARE ADVANCING CREDIT.

In between though, I published more than a few works with respective charts revealing the current depression state of the economy:
However, I published a slightly upbeat view on April 16, 2015, in CRAWLING FROM THE WRECKAGE INTO A BRAND NEW CAR, SLOWLY. AMERICAN CAR BUYING HAS COME BACK MUCH BUT NEEDS TO COME MORE.

And now I show you the state of New Residential Construction. The charts support both what likely was part of the early advance, the stall and now where we are today. Today, it looks like Americans still are struggling to get to the early stages of an advance.










This table shows it all.



There is far to go still to get to normalcy. The trend is heading toward normalcy, but likely it's more than a year off based on the slopes of those curves above. Perhaps the economy is two years off from normalcy based on the trends.

Ignore politicians. Ignore Yellen. Especially, ignore popular academician economists and their false dogma of economics.

Instead, listen to me.
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Monday, May 18, 2015

IGGY POP NEVER WAS THE GODFATHER OF PUNK. THAT IS YET ANOTHER BAD MYTH.

For years, the foolish have parroted a thoroughly wrong story that Iggy Pop was a punk rocker and thus "the godfather" of punk rockers. Claiming Iggy Pop was a punk rocker is little more than historical revisionism in the annuals of rock and roll journalism.



Punk rockers first appeared in New York City in 1972. Punk rockers created the great rock and roll revival. No band formed, signed and recorded before 1972 ever could be considered as being in the vanguard of the great rock and roll revival known as the New Wave and later by many as Punk Rock.

Punk rockers arose in backlash against the overblown, pretentious, pompousness of prog rock musicians in what became the first great rock and roll revival. The revival tossed away the need for virtuousity and all of its entrapments — instruments from symphonic music along with music synthesizers, music derived from orchestral music and jazz as well as music written with complex meter, contrapuntal bass, and extended musical passages.

Punk rockers played rock and roll. Rock and roll is a kind of music. It consists of these elements:

• simple meter (4/4)
• ostinato (riff)
• 3 chords or 4 chords resolving on the tonic with the 4-chord pattern adding the submediant to the tonic, subdominant, and dominant
• electric guitar, electric bass, drums, and often vocal accompaniment, and sometimes upright piano

Punk rocker sang songs with lyrics reflected the reality of the times. They eschewed the fantasy of Utopian ideals of prog rock lyrics.

Beginning with Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys (1966), musicians began to drift away from the rules of rock and roll. The Beatles, June 1, 1967, work, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band ushered in progressive rock, a kind of music that resembles rock and roll but it isn't. The progressive rock movement likely peaked March 1, 1973, with Pink Floyd's release of Dark Side of the Moon.

Those who were born around the birth of rock and roll (see: A COUPLE OF AMERICAN JEWS INVENTED ROCK AND ROLL IN 1952) and who were coming of age between 1970 and 1972 rejected the progressive rock sound and its demands of virtuosity. They longed to play the music they knew when that had between released before 1966.

Many took up instruments and began playing rock and roll again in defiance of the trend of progressive rock from the UK played by bands like Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, as well as the soft rock pop mostly coming from Los Angeles (The Eagles, Linda Rondstadt, others).

James Osterberg (aka Iggy Pop) formed the also-ran Psychedelic Stooges in 1967 after seeing the Doors play at the University of Michigan. Joining Osterberg were brothers Ron (guitar) and Scott Asheton (drums) and Dave Alexander (bass).

Osterberg sought to be a Jim Morrison clone. After a year, the band signed a deal with Elektra, the same label as the band he idolized, The Doors.

The entire first recording by The Stooges, released in 1969, titled The Stooges, is little more than the work of clones in love with psychedelia long-form prog rock. They tried hard to sound like Cream (No Fun, Real Cool Time) , The Doors (We Will Fall, Ann), Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett playing Interstellar Overdrive (I Wanna Be Your Dog, Not Right) or the Yardbirds (1969, Little Doll).

The entire second recording by The Stooges, Fun House released in 1970, is little more than yet another work of clones in love with psychedelia long-form prog rock. For this recording, The Stooges become a cover band of Steppenwolf (Down on the Street, Loose, TV Eye), The Doors (Dirt, Fun House) and Cream (1970). L.A. Blue is noise experimentation.

The Stooges were a bad also-ran who mimicked the prog rock sounds of Cream, The Doors, the later Yardbirds, Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett and Stepenwolf. The Stooges weren't reacting against progressive rock. Iggy and his bandmates embraced it! The Stooges were the anti-thesis of those who would become punk rockers.

After two lame L.P.s with little sales, and Iggy's bad heroin habit, Elektra execs dropped The Stooges in 1971. The Stooges became a bar band, adding James Williamson on guitar, kicking out drunk bassist Dave Alexander and adding bassist Jimmy Recca.

The band that kicked off the rock and roll revival were the New York Dolls. New York Dolls started the rock and roll revival in 1972. In 1972, New York Dolls became the must-see band in New York City.

New York Dolls were the first punk rockers. Everyone in NYC and the UK took their cues from New York Dolls.

When the Dolls hit, they were called punks. They were lambasted by music journalists and mocked by television presenters as "mock rock." And then everyone copied them.

Even Iggy Pop was hanging out in New York in 1972, watching the New York Dolls and learning from them as his handler and new friend David Bowie was doing. Like everyone else, in 1972, Bowie became swooped up into the New York Dolls gravity. Sable Starr, the infamous groupie and Iggy's girlfriend who came with Iggy, dumped Iggy and took up with Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls.

With his Mainman Productions firm, Bowie took on Iggy and Lou Reed and brought them to the UK to resurrect their failed careers. In 1972, while Iggy was in the UK with Bowie, the Dolls went to the UK and toured.

A bidding war among record labels broke out and then Dolls drummer Billy Murcia died from a drugs misadventure. Bowie wrote about this for his song, Time, which he released on his LP Aladdin Sane, April 13, 1973:
Time - In Quaaludes and red wine, demanding Billy Dolls and other friends of mine. Take your time.
In 1972, with David Bowie as producer, Iggy, Williamson and the Asheton brothers recorded a hard rock LP for Columbia, Raw Power, an LP that sounded nothing like the music that would come from the great rock and roll revival. Within a year, the renamed Iggy and the Stooges were dropped by Columbia records execs.

In early 1973, after the death of Murcia, the Dolls signed with Mercury, recorded again all their material already having been recorded once before in 1972 and released their debut L.P. on July 27, 1973. New York Dolls went back to the UK, appeared on BBC 2 Top of the Pops. The Dolls TV appearance truly launched the punk rocker movement in the UK.

And once D.J. John Peel aired The Ramones first LP on May 19, 1976, in the UK it was all over.

Meanwhile, The Dictators, guys from Queens borough, New York City, formed in 1973 while attending college in upstate New York (SUNY College at New Paltz). They began playing at The Coventry in Queens in 1974 and had a recording deal by 1975.



Epic execs released The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! (listen on YouTube) in 1975. They were the first NYC act to get a deal, record and release after New York Dolls. On their first release, they covered California Sun. Epic execs dropped The Dictators in 1976.

In 1976, The Ramones released Ramones. Both Dee Dee and Joey had been fan regulars of The Dictators. Joey and Andy Shernoff, the band leader of The Dicators became life-long friends. On the second LP by The Ramones, The Ramones also covered California Sun.

In 1977, The Dictators signed with Asylum and released their second LP released in Manifest Destiny (listen on YouTube). The Dictators already established themselves in 1975 and were in the vanguard of the great rock and roll revival. Andy Shernoff founded The Dictators for that exact purpose.

Countless guitarists in recordings from 1976, 1977 and 1978, copied the licks of Johnny Thunders of New York Dolls and after the Dolls broke up in 1975, his playing with his band The Heartbreakers. As well countless others copied licks played by Ross Friedman (aka Ross the Boss, aka Ross Funicello) from the The Dictators.

No guitarist copied his sound from either James Willamson or Ron Asheton. No band copied their sound from either The Stooges or from Iggy and The Stooges. However, Iggy copied Jim Morrison and Ron Asheton copied, badly, Clapton, Beck, Page, and Barrett.

All known covers of The Stooges, a sure-fire way of telling "influence" happened after 1976, four years after the great rock and roll revival was in full swing.
Here are the earliest covers of songs by The Stooges:

1970 (titled as I Feel Alright) by The Damned, February 18, 1977
T.V. Eye by Radio Birdman, June 1977
No Fun by Sex Pistols, July 2, 1977

Radio Birdman, an Australian band, featured an American ex-pat from Detroit, Deniz Tek, a med student in college in Australia, who led the band as the guitarist and main songwriter.

The Sex Pistols were a clone band created by Malcolm McClaren to help him sell clothes from his clothing shop. McClaren modeled the Sex Pistols from the New York Dolls (see: LISTEN UP BRITS. YOU DIDN'T INVENT PUNK ROCK, BUT YOUR DULL BANDS LIKE LED ZEPPELIN SPARKED A ROCK AND ROLL REVOLT)

Sid Vicious, the substitute bass player in Sex Pistols, a guy who couldn't play at all, covered one song by The Stooges (I Wanna Be Your Dog) and one by Iggy and Stooges (Search and Destroy), each for his December 1979 release Sid Sings. Notably, the already established punk rockers, The Dictators were the first band to cover Search and Destroy. The Dictators released their version on their second LP, Manifest Destiny.

The Stooges were a quite unoriginal psychedelic prog rock band, hence their original name, Psychedelic Stooges. Without doubt, The Stooges played a bad version of pschedelic prog rock. It's a big lie to say Iggy Pop, The Stooges or Iggy Pop and The Stooges had anything to do with the rock and roll revival. The Stooges didn't even try to play rock and roll.

Within the last 20 years, a wrong story has cropped up claiming there was such thing as proto-punk in a lame effort to try to connect Iggy Pop and his lame psychedelic prog rock with the great rock and roll revival. Sadly, many have parroted the false story. And even more have believed it.

Iggy Pop wasn't the godfather of anything.

Enjoy the band that kicked off the rock and roll revival, the quite original New York Dolls.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

IS TRUE ECONOMIC GROWTH AT LONG LAST COMING SOON TO THE U.S. ECONOMY? MAYBE.

The pessimists seem quite down on the U.S. economy. However, these pessimists rely on nominal GDP stats and the quite dubious real GDP stats from the Census bureau.

One well-known pessimist, a brokerage firm operator also who peddles gold believes a spate of bad numbers will translate into Q2 GDP numbers lower than Q1, a new round of quantitative easing and dollar that buys less than it does now, especially against cash from other banking systems. Another well-known pessimist, a stocks salesman who is a popular financial blogger has called for a recession.



The U.S economy can't go into recession because at least through Q1 2015, the economy has been shrinking since the last growth peak of Q4 2007. Likely, many disbelieve my claim. Yet, in true terms, after removing the effects of monetary accretion, the economy has been shrinking.



At a point sometime in the near future, the shrinking is going to stop. When it does, the economy is going to take off and along with it, the prices of stocks and commodities.

We might be nearing that point given these charts.

When Americans were in true hard times, there were slightly more than nine out-of-work Americans for every American hired. Have a look.



At the peak of hard times, there were almost 13 Americans clawing for every new job opening. Now, there are about four truly unemployed Americans for everyone new job opening.



During the peak of hard times, there were about 41 Americans working under supervision for every working American who found himself or herself laid off or fired. By the end of March 2015, that had grown by more than twice as much.



As a contrarian of sorts, I'd say now is the time to look at depressed commodities like timber and steel. Likely, now is the time to look at firms and industries that have been out of favor during the great dollar-figure run-up of the S&P 500.



The last time I looked, Americans were living in great times to buy houses. Low rates plus jobs equals house buying. I'd expect new construction to take off if present employment trends hold.

I look forward to the Q2 GDP numbers. For now, I say, let's go!





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Sunday, May 10, 2015

CONSTRUCTION SPENDING REPORT SHOWS THE DEPRESSION STATE OF THE U.S. ECONOMY

So a week ago this past Friday, on May 1, 2015, the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce released the Value of Construction Put in Place Survey (VIP). The VIP is a report of  provides monthly estimates of the total dollar outlay of construction work in the U.S.A.



The survey covers construction work done each month on new structures or improvements to existing structures for private and public sectors. Data estimates include the cost of labor and materials, cost of architectural and engineering work, overhead costs, interest and taxes paid during construction, and contractor’s profits.

After removing the effects of monetary accretion, chart after chart reveals the sorry state of construction in the USA.

Soon, I shall be releasing a special web service that has all of the charts derived from this survey, updated automatically. This service will have all of the key economic indicator surveys, price adjusted so you can understand reality.

For now, though, I want to share with you a few key charts from the VIP.















One of the few bright spots on construction spending can been seen in private enterprise spending on manufacturing.























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Friday, May 8, 2015

LABOR SECETARY PEREZ SPINS TALES ABOUT THE APRIL 2015 EMPLOYMENT SITUATION REPORT

Workers at the Bureau of Labor Statistics define the unemployment rate as the number unemployed as a percent of the labor force. Those at the BLS claim anyone can be counted as unemployed only if they meet all of the following criteria:
  • the would-be worker had no employment during the reference week
  • the would-be worker was available for work during that time
  • the would-be worker made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week
Those at the BLS also count those who have been laid off from their jobs but who expect to be recalled at a time in an undefined near future. Also, the BLS wizards define the civilian labor force as the sum of employed and unemployed persons, that is, those persons not classified as employed or unemployed are not in the labor force.

Of course, what the BLS workers call the unemployment rate in truth is the job seekers rate. A true unemployment rate would be the ratio of the true working potential to the true free Americans. To calculate this ratio, one would need to look at the sum of recent job seekers (unemployed), those who want to work but who are not recent job seekers and those who have looked for work but not in the last four weeks in ratio to the total civilian population, which are those not in the military, not in mental hospitals and not in prisons or county jails, less those who don't work and who are disabled and are aged at least 16.

Right now, the true unemployment rate stands at 7.15% which is quite higher than the job seekers rate, aka the ESS unemployment rate as reported, 5.4%.

Today, with the release of the April 2015 Employment Situation Report, Department of Labor Secretary, Thomas E. Perez, decided to lie and distort facts as any propaganda agent would.

Perez lied when he claimed, falsely, that private-sector employment has grown for 62 consecutive months claiming it to be longest streak on record. Meanwhile, since January 1939, for which Americans have data, the longest streak of private-sector job growth has been 11 months. This streak has been matched 10 times, ending on these dates: 12/1/1942, 12/1/1945, 12/1/1955, 12/1/1965, 12/1/1966, 12/1/1968, 12/1/1984, 12/1/1987, 12/1/1993, 12/1/1994.

Since January 1939, the longest streak of private-sector job loss happened between 7/1/2008 and 3/1/2009, lasting nine months. That alone should tell you how severe the Banking Crisis of 2008 was and that you lived through the Greatest Depression.

The second longest streak of private-sector job loss is seven months. That streak has been matched three times, between 9/1/1957 and 3/1/1958, between 9/1/1974 and 3/1/1975, and most recently between 7/1/2009 and 1/1/2010, during the Obama era.

The current streak of private-sector employment growth is a scant three months. It began back in February.

Secretary Perez bragged that private-sector employment has grown 12.3 million jobs since 3/1/2010, as if Congress or Obama has anything to do with capitalists putting cash and credit at risk to produce property in pursuit of profit. 

Meanwhile, private-sector employment has grown 13.7 million net jobs since 3/1/2010. However, there were whopper job losses during that span. 
  • 12/1/2010 to 1/1/2011, 2.385 million private-sector jobs were shed
  • 12/1/2011 to 1/1/2012, 2.112 million private-sector jobs were shed
  • 12/1/2012 and 1/1/2013, 2.351 million private-sector jobs were shed 
  • 12/1/2013 and 1/1/2014, 2.311 million private-sector jobs were shed
  • 12/1/2014 and 1/1/2015, 2.324 million private-sector jobs were shed 
Before the Banking Crisis of 2008, peak employment hit in Q4 2007, as 147.118 million had jobs. The low came in Q4 2009 when 137.599 million had jobs.

Since peak employment of Q4 2007, a scant 1.469 million jobs have been added. In Q4 2007, 63.12% of free Americans, age 16 and up were working . Today, the number of Americans working has dropped -5.9% to 59.37%. 

Free Americans of working age population have grown 7.44% since the peak and collapse. Meanwhile, total job growth has been lagging, having grown only 1%.

Back during the peak of Q4 2007, 50.07% of Americans held private-sector, capitalist jobs, the kind of jobs that make the economy work. Today, that number has fallen to 47.6%! Now that is scary. Less than half of the free working age population work private sector jobs.





All that said, the true unemployment picture has improved. 



And while the employment situation is much better than it was 48 months ago, it's not much better than it was three months ago or even 12 months ago, though the employment situation has bettered over the last six months.

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