The mainstream media is beholden to the standard definition of a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction. If it chose to feature another data series as its bellwether of economic health, then it would be forced to alter the recovery narrative that it has been touting for the last few years.
As it happens to be, the labor market reveals more about the experiences of the vast majority of taxpayers. Both the Eurozone and the United States remain in labor market recessions, even though GDP is growing modestly. Total jobs have decreased in the Eurozone, and there is no end in sight to the contraction. In the U.S., job creation is positive but is not maintaining pace with the number of new labor market entrants; hence, the employment participation rate continues to decline.
If you own stocks, bonds or real estate, then this is the economy for you. If you derive most of your wealth from the fruits of your labors, then the recession never ended.
From Friday’s Edition:
What goes up, must come down. Recessions are normal. These down periods give the economy time to reallocate resources so that productivity increases ultimately lead to rising GDP and employment levels.
Once politicians figured out that they will be blamed for the twists and turns of the business cycle, they began trying to prevent contractions. The two methods for accomplishing this objective are government spending and money printing. This has been occurring for years, but credit growth is reaching an important juncture. The diminishing marginal returns of stimulus are fast approaching zero. The U.S. has printed almost $3tr extra dollars and has added over $6tr to the government debt since Lehman, and this has only added $1.4tr to GDP. That’s over a six to one ratio.
China is nowhere near that poor ratio, yet, but it is well on its way. Chinese officials wish to maintain power, and they will create as much yuan as is necessary to accomplish their goal.
From Wednesday’s Edition:
New mortgage apps are plummeting, which does not bode well for home sales. Even though the budget “impasse” will end with a deal before too much long-term damage to the nation’s standing is done, the consequences of this political theater will drag on for months. Home sales will drop through October, but a November rebound will be touted by the mainstream media as a resurgence in the housing “recovery,” not the pent up demand from prior weeks.
From Tuesday’s Edition:
The printfest will continue because it cannot stop. Once the Fed stops creating dollars by monetizing federal and mortgage debt, the market will cease its rise shortly thereafter. Eventually, the policy of printing money to increase asset prices will lose its efficacy. First, additional QE will stop inflating market prices, but it will still be able to maintain some sort of stability. Next, well, no one knows what happens next.
From Monday’s Edition:
Asmussen must say things like this for two reasons. First, Germany needs to keep up the austerity pressure, or else the Greeks will stop “reforming” the economy. Second, Germany has not yet formed a government. With sensitive coalition negotiations, it is an inconvenient time to admit that Greece needs a 4th bailout even though this is inevitable. In order to preserve its export currency, the German government and the voters will continue denying that Greece needs more money until it does. Then, it will gladly do whatever is necessary to bail Greece out.