Chart-worshipers, part-swappers, and inequality

The whispers on Wall Street lately have been the feared "double-dip".
There is a much louder chorus of people proclaiming that we are only looking at a "slow-down". Of course they were the same people who were telling us as recently as April that we were in a "V-shaped" recovery.

Generally speaking, Liz Ann Sonders agrees.
"I'm amazed people still say it's not a 'V'-shaped recovery, which to means they're simply not looking at the charts," says Charles Schwab's chief investment strategist...

Ah, yes. The charts. I have several issues with people who say things like this.

We Don't Have Jobs, Fed Will Raise Rates Anyway

We can’t wait until unemployment is where we’d like it to be” or inflation gets “out of control” to tighten credit

The above is a quote from Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke.

Gets worse, Bernanke believes the economy will not dip into another recession, yet of course, unemployment will remain at high levels.

While the Fed will raise interest rates from a record low before the economy returns to “full employment,” Bernanke said officials don’t know when that process will start. The banking system isn’t fully healthy and lenders are “cautious” in providing credit, he said.

“The unemployment rate is still going to be high for a while, and that means that a lot of people are going to be under financial stress,” Bernanke said at the event, part of a dinner hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Bernanke’s stance is consistent with that of several Fed colleagues. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said June 3 that the central bank may need to raise rates even with “unacceptable levels of unemployment,” while Eric Rosengren of the Boston Fed said last month it wouldn’t be “appropriate” to have rates close to zero with the economy at full employment.

Unemployment 9.7% for May 2010

The May 2010 monthly unemployment figures are out. The rate decreased to 9.7% and the number of jobs gained is 431,000. 411,000 of those jobs were temporary Census workers. Only 41,000 private sector jobs were added. The official unemployment rate dropped due to the temporary Census hiring and people plain fell off the count.

Total nonfarm payroll employment grew by 431,000 in May, reflecting the hiring of 411,000 temporary employees to work on Census 2010. Private-sector employment changed little (+41,000). The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent



Below is the nonfarm payroll, seasonally adjusted:


Unemployment 9.9% for April 2010

The April 2010 monthly unemployment figures are out. The rate increased to 9.9% and the number of jobs gained is 290,000. How the rate can increase when the U.S. gained that many jobs will be answered below.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 290,000 in April, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent



Below is the nonfarm payroll, seasonally adjusted:



The Collapse of Manufacturing and the Spread of the Blight

In 2008, while the Recession was still a-brewing some of us tried in vanity and naivete to link the collapse of Manufacturing with the increase in unemployment and the Housing Crisis and then the Financial Crisis. Happily, we can move beyond the anecdotal to the empirical now for data on unemployment over the last decade. Many of us just sort of knew that when you put folks out of good jobs, they lose their houses, then they lose their Banksters.