The biggest, and most ignored, trend in the U.S. economy is the ongoing divide between the wealthiest members of society and the average American worker.
Real wages are falling, while unemployment is stagnant. Politicians blame greed, but that's because class warfare is a valuable tool to gain power.
I argue instead that disruptive technologies have accelerated this divide.
Just recently, I noted that the U.S. wage-productivity gap has been driven heavily by the use of automation and technology in the U.S. economy, which is displacing workers at a faster pace than new jobs and job categories have been created.
Put a different way, robots are taking our jobs.Read More...
current u.s. economy
One Sure Winner as We Fight Deflation
The Library of Economics and Liberty defines the Law of Unintended Consequences as such: Actions of people-and especially of government-always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.
Our current economic state is a perfect example. Central banks have flooded the economies, and yet the world still inches toward deflation. But for savvy investors looking at the right stats, this is an opportunity to buy one sector in particular.
Here's a great bargain and why it's a great buy now...
- Symptoms Don't Lie If consumer inflation data were accurately reported, it would be revealed that much of the apparent growth is an illusion. Peter Schiff explains. Read more... Read More...
Has Sequestration Saved the U.S. Economy?
For all the griping about the sequestration, it may prove to be one of the best economic strategies we have going for the US economy.
A pair of "austerity" economists are in the news again for an oversight in their groundbreaking research but they may be on to something all the same.
Here's what I've uncovered... Read More...
The Most Dangerous Man in the World
When it comes to spending or saving, it's always a contentious debate.
But the risks are rarely as high as they are now for the US and most major industrial nations. Such fundamental economic decisions will move a country forward (or backward) for decades, not months, and can't be undone quickly.
Some think Paul Krugman won the debate this time around, but I disagree...
What America's $2 Trillion Underground Economy Says About Jobs
Doing what they can to survive in a dour job market, millions of Americans exist in an underground economy that has ballooned to $2 trillion annually.
By "underground economy," we're talking about all the business activity that is not reported to the government, which includes a growing number of people getting paid for their labor in cash.
That means the shadowy figures of the underground economy - the drug dealers and Mafia godfathers, for example - now have a lot more company.Read More...
Ending the War on Pot Would Add $20 Billion to the U.S. Economy
So much for the war on drugs. For the first time ever, a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana.
In a recent Pew Research Center poll, 52% of Americans favored full legalization, much higher than the 12% when polling on the issue began in 1969 and up considerably from 32% less than 10 years ago.
According a new report from the Cato Institute, that could inject $20 billion a year into the U.S. economy due to the tax revenue generated and savings in law enforcement costs.
So how big is the market for market for marijuana?Read More...
Can Wall Street Continue to Rally Without the U.S. Economy?
We haven't stepped into the Twilight Zone, but it certainly seems that way when stocks are hitting historic highs yet the economy is still so weak that the Federal Reserve is still printing money like a Third World nation.
Can we keep this up? Is this titanic battle going to last like the decades-long Japanese recovery?
Will stocks punch themselves out? Can slowing earnings keep stocks soaring?
Here's my take on what I call "The Great Discrepancy."
Five Reasons U.S. Economy Bears Have Turned Bullish
Recent data has silenced some of the loudest U.S. economy bears.
According to a new Bloomberg survey of 69 economists, gross domestic product likely grew at a 3% annualized clip in Q1. That compares with the 2% pace forecast in March and 1.6% in December.
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) Chief U.S. Economist Vincent Reinhart went from an estimate of 0.8% in December to 3%. Brain Kasman of JPMorgan & Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) upped his projection from 1% to 3.3%.
"We are surprised that there wasn't a bigger and more immediate hit to spending" by consumers, Reinhart told Bloomberg. "There is an underlying momentum in spending, which means that sequestration and the tax increase will only lead to a monetary pause."
Kasman shared that sentiment when he said on an April 5 conference call, "What happened at the beginning of the year was a genuine surprise in terms of how well the economy held up."
Expansion is expected to slow to 1.5% in the current quarter before picking up to an average 2.4% over the second half of 2013.
Here are five reasons these economists have raised their growth targets.Read More...
The Great American Rebound Has Just Begun
The American "manufacturing renaissance" is not some fantasy - it is actually happening.
Jobs that had been outsourced to China and elsewhere really are returning to the United States. Believe it or not, this "reshoring" already has reversed the long, steady decline of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. In fact, since 2010, America has added 500,000 manufacturing jobs, an increase of 4.3%.
The economic and investment implications of this reversal are considerable, to say the least.
Here are three reasons the great American rebound is happening... and how to profit from it today. Read More...
U.S. Economy: "Recovery" Doesn't Fool Struggling Americans
The government's numbers - primarily the monthly data on unemployment and inflation - tell the story of a slow but gradual recovery by the U.S. economy.
But the experience of millions of Americans tells a far different story.
According to a new national survey conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, many Americans continue to suffer from the impact of the Great Recession.
What's more, more than half of those surveyed believe the U.S. economy will not fully recover for another six years, and nearly one-third said the U.S. economy will never fully recover.
"Millions of households were affected to some extent by the layoffs that occurred four years ago," Mark Szeltner, the lead researcher for the Rutgers survey, told The Daily Ticker.
The Rutgers survey backs up what some other surveys have said.
Last August, in a Pew Research survey of middle-class Americans, 42% said they were worse off than they were in 2008.
A Rasmussen survey taken earlier this month showed that only 39% believed the U.S. economy would be stronger in five years - the first time, Rasmussen said, that figure had ever dipped below 40%.Read More...
The Frightening Financial Crisis Facing Young Americans
Young Americans are falling deeper and deeper into a financial crisis that will be nearly impossible to escape from in their lifetimes.
Unfortunately, the problems start at a very young age. Not only do a record number of school-age children live in poverty, but the number of homeless children in the public school system has reached an all-time high.
Even young adults who are able to attend college have trouble supporting themselves after graduation. Students take on mountains of debt to pay for school, but all too many of them can't find a decent job that covers their bills and their loans.
And those who do find jobs will likely be working for many more years than previous generations. That's because Social Security is expected to run out well before today's youngest workers retire. Those who have failed to save enough will end up working into their 60s, 70s and 80s.
"We don't know how the story ends, but we know how the story is beginning," Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, told CNN. "At the beginning, today's young people are not doing better than yesterday's young adults."
Here are 14 startling statistics painting a bleak financial picture for many young Americans.Read More...
Here's What a Jump in Pickup Sales Says About the U.S. Economy
The pickup sales growth is one of those unconventional economic indicators that can give investors a deeper insight into what's really happening in the U.S. economy.
That's because most pickup trucks are purchased by people working in the construction trades or agriculture.
So better pickup sales are a good indication of long-term confidence in construction activity by those working in the construction trades and, for farmers, a belief that crop prices will remain higher for another few years.
Along with Ford, GM and Chrysler also have reported growing pickup sales.
Sales of Ford's F-Series pickups in December 2012 totaled 68,787, the best December since 2006 and the 17th consecutive year-on-year increase in monthly F-Series pickup sales. (The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling pickup in North America since 1976 and the best-selling vehicle in North America since 1981.)Read More...
- Why the Spending Cuts Battle Looks Uglier Than Fiscal Cliff Fight President Barack Obama needs swift approval from the Republican-run Congress to raise the swollen $16.4 trillion debt ceiling next month in order to prevent the U.S. government from a default. But here's where the real battle will go down. Read More...
What the December U.S. Jobs Report Tells Us About 2013
The December U.S. jobs report released Friday showed the country's unemployment rate failed to improve in the last month of 2012, with the economy adding only 155,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate, originally reported as 7.7% for November, was revised upward for that month to 7.8%, and stayed the same for December.
The figure was roughly in line with expectations. Estimates for the number of jobs created in December ranged between 140,000 and 160,000.
Non-farm payroll hiring in December was most robust in health care, which created 45,000 jobs. Manufacturing, construction and hospitality also logged strong gains.
Oddly, employment dipped in retail during the holiday-sales month, which is usually the most active time for the sector.
The government also shed jobs, dropping 13,000.
After eliminating some 653,000 jobs from 2008 to 2011, state and local governments kept headcount mostly even in 2012. The decline in December could be attributed to the economic uncertainty hanging over Capitol Hill.
The Pentagon has warned that workers may have to be furloughed if the debate over raising the U.S. debt ceiling, set to be taken up in a few weeks, is dragged out past next month.
Also weighing on government hiring is the pack of problems that will challenge growth, like rising worker pension costs, steep spending cuts and reduced federal funding that will likely kick in during 2013.
As Moody's chief economists told USA Today, "The fiscal headwinds will be blowing hard in 2013."
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U.S. Jobs Report: What to Expect from December
The ADP employment report out today (Thursday) offered a glimpse of what to expect Friday in the December U.S. jobs report from the Labor Department.
The private sector created 215,000 new jobs in December, much more than the 133,000 jobs economists had expected, and a sharp increase from the previous month, according to the report.
The biggest gains were in the category of trade/transportation/utilities, which grew by 53,000.
Gains in construction hiring were also robust, with 39,000 positions added in December, the U.S. jobs report said.
The healthy showing in this struggling sector was attributed mostly to relief work after Hurricane Sandy. But the slow, yet steady recovery in the housing market also deserves some of the credit.
Medium-sized businesses led job creation, adding 102,000 new jobs. Large businesses followed with 87,000 new jobs.
Bucking the trend was manufacturing; the sector shed 11,000 positions while service providers increased headcount by 187,000, according to data from Moody's Analytics.
The strong showing was a surprise, given months of cautionary words from a bevy of analysts and the Congressional Budget Office.
The analysts and the CBO had warned the fiscal cliff saga would lead to massive job losses and cutbacks in business expansion, hiring and investment.
"The most surprising thing is that despite all the brinkmanship over the fiscal cliff drama and the debate about that, businesses didn't change their hiring plans. They seemed to slow up their investment spending but not on their hiring, so that's very, very encouraging," Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics chief economist, told CNBC.
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