The Fed Focuses on the Unemployed

federal reserve buildingThe FOMC just did a great thing. The Federal Reserve tied interest rates and quantitative easing to U.S. labor. The messaging alone is powerful. The Federal Reserve is saying, very clearly, U.S. workers matter. Businesses need to start hiring and increasing wages if they want to actually improve the overall economy.

About 5 million people—more than 40 percent of the unemployed—have been without a job for six months or more, and millions more who say they would like full-time work have been able to find only part-time employment or have stopped looking entirely. The conditions now prevailing in the job market represent an enormous waste of human and economic potential.

The FOMC set out specific parameters to the ongoing QE3.

Meet Feddie Mae

The QE3 has been officially launched today by the Federal Reserve, which has promised to buy $40 billion of asset-backed securities from the market each month, on top of $35 billion per month of Treasury securities it is already buying as part of its program to reinvest proceeds from securities which are maturing in its existing portfolio. If this isn’t enough to excite the animal spirits of the economy, the Fed has put no limit or end-date on QE3, and it has pushed out its promise to keep short term interest rates near zero for at least the next 2-1/2 years.

Why is the Fed buying mortgage-backed securities and not Treasuries, which it bought under QE1 and QE2? In the past fiscal year for the US government, the Fed purchased 77% of all the new debt issued by the Treasury, and because the Fed focused its purchases in the 10 year and beyond maturities, the Fed is bumping up against its self-imposed limit of not owning more than 70% of the outstanding paper in any maturity. The Fed is already close to this limit for maturities clustered around the 10 year mark, and the Fed owns on average 50% of all the outstanding paper in the 10 year to 30 year maturities. As Republicans have made clear in this election year, every Treasury purchased by the Fed is viewed as an attempt to influence the election of Obama, so this is a potent political reason to stay out of this market for the time being.

Bernanke Says We Don't Have Tools Strong Enough to Solve the Unemployment Problem Yet Does QE3

federal reserve buildingMore quantitative easing is here. The Federal Reserve will increase purchases of mortgage-backed securities and agency debt by $340 billion by December 31st, 2012. From the FOMC statement:

The Committee agreed today to increase policy accommodation by purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month.

The Committee also will continue through the end of the year its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of securities as announced in June, and it is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities in agency mortgage-backed securities. These actions, which together will increase the Committee’s holdings of longer-term securities by about $85 billion each month through the end of the year

More astounding is the promise to continue to make MBS purchases until the employment rate is acceptable.

If the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially, the Committee will continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities, undertake additional asset purchases, and employ its other policy tools as appropriate until such improvement is achieved in a context of price stability. In determining the size, pace, and composition of its asset purchases, the Committee will, as always, take appropriate account of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.

$2.6 Trillion for 2 Million Jobs

bernake say whatAnyone find these economic stimulus packages put out by the government and the Federal Reserve ridiculous at this point?  The reality is a direct jobs program would be much cheaper and much more effective to get the economy moving.   Yet, magically that idea has been dismissed and worse since 2008.

Fire in the Jackson Hole - Bombastic Stimulus Claims

Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke will do more quantitative easing. That's the consensus from his Jackson Hole speech.   As usual, the utterances on labor are ignored by Wall Street or in this case, used to justify Wall Street's crack addict quantitative easing fix.

The stagnation of the labor market in particular is a grave concern not only because of the enormous suffering and waste of human talent it entails, but also because persistently high levels of unemployment will wreak structural damage on our economy that could last for many years.

Taking due account of the uncertainties and limits of its policy tools, the Federal Reserve will provide additional policy accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability.

Bernanke is justifying this action through various studies claiming quantitative easing generated jobs.

Federal Reserve's Debbie Downer FOMC Statement

debbiedownerFor those once again thinking they were getting their crack cocaine, quantitative easing, once again they are disappointed.

The FOMC statement showed no change in policy from the Federal Reserve. For the rest of us, the FOMC statement acknowledges our crappy economy.

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in June suggests that economic activity decelerated somewhat over the first half of this year. Growth in employment has been slow in recent months, and the unemployment rate remains elevated. Business fixed investment has continued to advance. Household spending has been rising at a somewhat slower pace than earlier in the year. Despite some further signs of improvement, the housing sector remains depressed. Inflation has declined since earlier this year, mainly reflecting lower prices of crude oil and gasoline, and longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.

Additionally the Fed doesn't expect things to really improve:

European Bank Rescue Package May Be Announced This Coming Week

eurozoneThe planets are aligning for another round of debt monetization in Europe, backed up by the United States. Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, is reportedly looking at expanding the amount of Spanish government debt he can buy. He is also said to be considering another LTRO – Long Term Refinancing Operation, which is the mechanism the central bank uses to buy debt from private sector banks.

That Spain needs help is beyond doubt. The global bond market has been fleeing Spanish government debt as rapidly as it can, forcing yields to the 7.3% area, which is beyond the point where the Spanish government can continue to pay interest from its own revenues without severely cutting back on domestic expenditures. The same situation is playing out at the local level in Spain: Andalusia and other provinces have been besieging Madrid for help in meeting the interest burden on their own debts. There is also talk that medium to small size Spanish commercial banks are out of liquid collateral, and are unable to meet further collateral calls on the global markets.

Bernanke: No QE3 Wall Street, Congress Get it Together and We Need Jobs

bernakeFederal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke gave testimony before the Joint Economic Committee and the doves fell from the sky. Bernanke cut short Wall Street's addict like demand for more quantitative easing and instead suggested a host of policies to boost hiring and real economic output.

On the labor markets, Bernanke's testimony validated our analysis, that one cannot blame the pathetic jobs market on the weather.

More-rapid gains in economic activity will be required to achieve significant further improvement in labor market conditions.

In fact, Bernanke suggested the next FOMC meeting discussion question will ask: Will there be enough growth going forward to make material progress on the unemployment rate?  This is good, Bernanke realizes the #1 threat to the U.S. economy is the jobs crisis.

The Fed Chair also warned on the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone:

We Told Ya So - FOMC Minutes Confirm No Quantitative Easing

We told ya so, yet people don't listen. The Federal Reserve FOMC meeting minutes were released and showed no quantitative easing for you.

Here is the money shot from the FOMC minutes:

A couple of members indicated that the initiation of additional stimulus could become necessary if the economy lost momentum or if inflation seemed likely to remain below its mandate-consistent rate of 2 percent over the medium run.

The FOMC has 10 voting members. The news is clear, those in favor or more quantitative easing are now 8 to 2 and if and only if the economy goes further into the tank.

Nevertheless, the staff continued to forecast that real GDP growth would pick up only gradually in 2012 and 2013, supported by accommodative monetary policy, easing credit conditions, and improvements in consumer and business sentiment

We're sure some will hold out hope against hope that more quantitative easing will happen. After all there are two members of the FOMC leaving the door open on more quantitative easing if the unemployment situation gets worse. That said, the next time you see some major investment group claiming QE3 is sure to arrive, check their interests and why that group is making such a claim. Alternatively just read us, we sure knew QE3 was not gonna happen.

Wall Street's Selective Attention on Quantitative Easing Buzz

You've got to be kidding me. We have a strong case of what people say, what dogs hear. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gave a speech today on the labor market. Surprise, surprise, the jobs market still sucks. Yet Wall Street didn't hear about the plight of working America. Nope, they only heard what they want to hear, the possibility of QE3, otherwise known as quantitative easing.
what people say what dogs hear
Ben Bernanke's speech acknowledged the pain and suffering endured by the United States worker. One would think the below quote would bring tears to Wall Street's eyes:

Those who have experienced unemployment know the burdens that it creates, and a growing academic literature documents some dimensions of those burdens. For example, research has shown that workers who lose previously stable jobs experience sharp declines in earnings that may last for many years, even after they find new work. Surveys indicate that more than one-half of the households experiencing long unemployment spells since the onset of the recent recession withdrew money from savings and retirement accounts to cover expenses, one-half borrowed money from family and friends, and one-third struggled to meet housing expenses. Unemployment also takes a toll on people's health and may have long-term consequences for the families of the unemployed as well. For example, studies suggest that unemployed people suffer from a higher incidence of stress-related health problems such as depression, stroke, and heart disease, and they may have a lower life expectancy. The children of the unemployed achieve less in school and appear to have reduced long-term earnings prospects