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Economy Adds 315,000 Jobs in August, but Unemployment Rises to 3.7 Percent

The index of aggregate hours fell by 0.1 percent in August.
The post Economy Adds 315,000 Jobs in August, but Unemployment Rises to 3.7 Percent appeared…

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The index of aggregate hours fell by 0.1 percent in August.

The August employment report gave a somewhat mixed picture as the establishment survey showed a strong gain of 315,000 jobs, while the household survey showed the unemployment rate rising by 0.2 percentage points to 3.7 percent. However, the picture given by both surveys is somewhat more complicated.

In the case of the establishment survey, the prior two months of jobs numbers were revised down by 107,000. This still left a very strong three-month average of 375,000, but slower than it would be without the downward revision.

More importantly, the length of the average workweek fell by 0.1 hours. This led to a fall of 0.1 percent in the index of aggregate hours worked. That indicates some weakening in demand for labor.

Household Survey Still Shows Strength

In the case of the household survey, the rise in the unemployment rate went along with a 442,000 increase in employment. The labor force participation rate (LFPR) rose 0.3 percentage points, while the employment-to-population ratio rose by 0.1 percentage points—tying previous peaks for the recovery.

There had been some concerns about the lack of employment growth in the household survey even as the establishment survey was showing large gains. This report should alleviate those concerns.

The LFPR for prime-age workers (ages 25 to 54) rose 0.4 percentage points. It is now 0.3 percentage points below its pre-pandemic peak. For prime-age women, the increase was 0.8 percentage points, putting their LFPR 0.3 percentage points above its pre-pandemic peak. The increase was 0.2 percentage points for prime-age men, leaving their LFPR 1.0 percentage point below its pre-pandemic peak.

This is impressive because 523,000 people still report being out of the workforce because of COVID-19, but only 213,000 are prime-age workers.

Unemployment Rises Most Among Disadvantaged Groups

As is generally the case when the unemployment rate rises, those most disadvantaged in the labor market are hit hardest. The unemployment rate for Black workers rose 0.4 percentage points to 6.4 percent. The unemployment rate for Hispanics rose 0.6 percentage points to 4.5 percent. The unemployment rate for Hispanic women rose from 1.1 percent to 4.3 percent, largely reversing a 1.3 percentage point drop in July.

The unemployment rate for high school grads rose 0.6 percentage points to 4.2 percentage points, while the unemployment rate for college grads fell 0.1 percentage points to 1.9 percent, a new low for the recovery.

Wage Growth Still Strong

The average hourly wage increased at a modest 0.3 percent rate in August, but it rose at an annual rate of 4.9 percent when comparing the last three months (June, July, August) with the prior three months (March, April, May). That’s higher than what is consistent with 2.0 percent inflation, but down from 6.1 percent at the end of 2021.

Wage growth continues to be more rapid for lower-paid workers. The annual rate for production and nonsupervisory workers when comparing the last three months with the prior three is 5.8 percent; in restaurants, it was 5.2 percent.

Employment Now Far Above Pre-Pandemic Level

Total jobs are now 240,000 above the pre-pandemic level, with private sector jobs up by 885,000. Adding in preliminary benchmark numbers the Bureau of Labor Statistics released last month, the total is up by 702,000, with private sector employment up by 1,456,000.

Construction Continues to Add Jobs Despite Fed Rate Hikes and Falling Housing Starts

Construction employment rose by 16,000 in August, with residential construction adding 10,900 despite the sharp drop in housing starts. Easing of supply chain problems is likely allowing for more work to be done even with fewer starts.

The biggest hit from Fed rate hikes to date has been on mortgage refinancing. Jobs in non-depository credit intermediation are down 14,200 from the May peak, a decline of 2.2 percent.

Most Sectors Saw Healthy Job Gains In August, but State and Local Government Still Lags

Manufacturing added 22,000 jobs in August, and employment is now 67,000 above pre-pandemic level. It would be up by 89,000 adding in the preliminary benchmark revision. Airline employment rose 2,200, it is now 48,400 above its pre-pandemic level.

Nursing homes added 2,300 jobs in August, while childcare added 2,800. These sectors, which have struggled to get workers, are now down 14.2 percent and 8.4 percent from pre-pandemic levels, respectively.

Job growth in restaurants slowed to 18,200 after rising 77,500 in July. Employment in the sector is still down 5.1 percent from pre-pandemic levels, even though sales are considerably higher. Jobs at Internet retailers were flat in August and are now down 4,600 from the peak last November.

State and local governments added 9,000 jobs in August, but employment is still 647,000 below pre-pandemic levels. This falloff will be close to 750,000 with the preliminary benchmark revision.

On the Whole, a Mostly Positive Jobs Report

This report is generally positive, with the establishment survey continuing to show large job gains. However, this does raise the concerns that the Federal Reserve Board will choose to raise rates more aggressively, which will mean a bigger hit to future employment.

The 0.2 percentage point rise in the overall unemployment rate to 3.7 percent is not too concerning since it was accompanied by big gains in employment and labor force participation. However, the much larger rises for Blacks, Hispanics, and high school grads bring home the point that the most disadvantaged will be the main victims of Fed rate hikes.

The decline in the length of the average workweek and the fall in the index of aggregate hours is very important and likely to be overlooked. Employers had been getting their existing workforce to put in more hours when they were unable to hire new workers. That no longer seems to be the case.

Also, hours worked is the measure of total demand for labor, which appears to be weakening as the Fed wants. With some evidence of moderation in wage growth, the Fed should be able to ease back on its pace of rate hikes.

CEPR produces same-day analyses of government data on employment, inflation, GDP and other topics.
Follow @DeanBaker13 on Twitter to get his quick-take analysis of government data immediately upon release.

The post Economy Adds 315,000 Jobs in August, but Unemployment Rises to 3.7 Percent appeared first on Center for Economic and Policy Research.

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Spread & Containment

License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald’s Bags To Stop Littering

License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald’s Bags To Stop Littering

There’s been talk about McDonald’s in southwest Great Britain could print…

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License Plates Could Be Printed On McDonald's Bags To Stop Littering

There's been talk about McDonald's in southwest Great Britain could print car license plates on drive-thru bags to prevent customers from littering. 

"It's not clear exactly how the number plate would be printed on packaging, but it could be scanned onto the brown bags that contain the food," Daily Mail noted. 

Chris Howell, Swansea Council's head of waste, parks and cleansing, told a climate change corporate delivery committee meeting: 

"The Welsh Government has explored with McDonald's, or their franchises, whether or not they could print number plates of cars collecting takeaways from their drive-throughs with a view that that would discourage people from discarding their materials (litter)."

Howell said one of the biggest hurdles with fast-food companies is that if one chain adopts the climate initiative, customers will go to competitors that don't print license plates on bags. 

"If McDonald's do it, then people will just go to Burger King instead of McDonald's, because nobody wants to have their private details printed on that packaging." He added: "I think it's a really good idea but at the minute it's fraught with some difficulties." 

The nationalist political party in Wales, Plaid Cymru, first proposed the idea more than two years ago during the pandemic lockdown when party leaders noticed a spike in fast-food trash along city streets and highways. 

Welsh Government spokesperson told MailOnline:

"There are no current plans to introduce a requirement for drive-through restaurants to add vehicle registration details to fast food drive-through packaging.

"We are continuing to support Keep Wales Tidy with other initiatives to tackle roadside litter including their No Regrets campaign and their Adopt a Highway initiative."

Now 'the cat is out of the bag'. It's only a matter of time before governments start forcing fast-food companies to print license plate numbers on drive-thru bags. The dangers of this could be more surveillance, and who knows what corporations would do with license plate data if such a system were implemented. 

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/26/2022 - 18:00

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Energy is the master resource but it could be Bitcoin that reigns supreme

Nothing shines a light on the importance of energy as much as a fast-approaching winter.
The post Energy is the master resource but it could be Bitcoin…

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Nothing shines a light on the importance of energy as much as a fast-approaching winter. When the temperature drops, the scarcity of energy becomes obvious and global efforts to preserve it begin.

This year, the fight for energy is more aggressive than it’s ever been.

The fiscal and monetary policies set in place during the COVID-19 pandemic caused dangerous inflation in almost every country in the world. The quantitative easing that set out to curb the consequences of the pandemic resulted in a historically unprecedented increase in the M2 money supply. This decision diluted the purchasing power and led to an increase in energy prices, sparking a crisis that is set to culminate this winter.

CryptoSlate analysis showed that the E.U. will most likely be the one hit the hardest by the energy crisis.

The European Central Bank (ECB) has been struggling to keep core inflation down this year. The Core Consumer Price Index (CPI) began to increase substantially in 2021 due to the pandemic both in the U.S. and the E.U.

The U.S. has seen its Core CPI decrease sharply since its culmination in February and posted better-than-expected results last month. However, Core CPI in the Eurozone has continued to increase throughout the year and currently shows no sign of stopping.

Graph showing the Core CPI in the U.S. and the Eurozone from 2017 to 2022 (Source: The Daily Shot)

A similar increase in Core CPI can also be seen in Japan and the U.K. One of the factors that may have contributed to their monetary instability is a lack of investment and support for commodities like oil and gas. Widespread efforts to switch to renewable sources of energy led to a decrease in oil and gas purchases in the E.U. and the U.K.

In contrast, the U.S. and Russia have been investing heavily in oil and gas and promoting innovation in the field.

Looking at the value of fiat currencies against the U.S. dollar further confirms this impact.

The Russian Ruble and the DXY have both increased in value in the past two years, while the euro, British Pound, and Japanese Yen have all seen their Dollar value decrease.

global fiat currencies
Graph showing DXY, GBP, EUR, JPY, and RUB and their value against the U.S. dollar (Source: TradingView)

With rising inflation and a seriously weakened currency, the E.U. will have a hard time competing for oil and gas on the global market. Natural gas producers warned that almost all long-term contracts for natural gas coming out of the U.S. have been sold out until 2026. Until then, when a new wave of natural gas supply is expected to come, the E.U. will have to compete with Asia for the limited supply and swallow the high gas price.

All of this uncertainty could have a positive effect on Bitcoin. While the broader crypto market struggles to remain afloat after the FTX fallout, Bitcoin has positioned itself as a pillar of stability in a market plagued with bad actors. Devalued fiat currencies could push retail investors away from safe-haven assets like gold and commodities and towards an asset like Bitcoin.

The post Energy is the master resource but it could be Bitcoin that reigns supreme appeared first on CryptoSlate.

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Government

‘Forgetful’ Fauci Could Not Recall Key Details Of COVID Crisis Response During Deposition: Louisiana AG

‘Forgetful’ Fauci Could Not Recall Key Details Of COVID Crisis Response During Deposition: Louisiana AG

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The…

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'Forgetful' Fauci Could Not Recall Key Details Of COVID Crisis Response During Deposition: Louisiana AG

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he could not recall key details about his actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to one of the officials who questioned him on Nov. 23.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks in Washington on May 11, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Fauci, the director National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984 and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, was deposed by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, both Republicans.

“It was amazing, literally, that we spent seven hours with Dr. Fauci—this is a man who single-handedly wrecked the U.S. economy based upon ‘the science, follow the science.’ And over the course of seven hours, we discovered that he can’t recall practically anything dealing with his COVID response,” Landry told The Epoch Times after leaving the deposition. “He just said, ‘I can’t recall, I haven’t seen that. And I think we need to put these documents into context,'” Landry added.

“It was extremely troubling to realize that this is a man who advises presidents of the United States and yet couldn’t recall information he put out, information he discussed, press conferences he held dealing with the COVID-19 response,” Landry added later.

Fauci and NIAID did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Landry declined to provide more details about the deposition until it is made public, which will happen at a future date. But he said officials would be able to take some of what they learned to advance their case.

Landry and Schmitt sued the U.S. government in May, alleging it violated people’s First Amendment rights by pressuring big tech companies to censor speech. Documents produced by the government in response bolstered the claims. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty, the Trump appointee overseeing the case, recently ordered Fauci and seven other officials to testify under oath about their knowledge of the censorship.

Doughty concluded that plaintiffs showed Fauci “has personal knowledge about the issue concerning censorship across social media as it related to COVID-19 and ancillary issues of COVID-19.”

While Fauci qualified as a high-ranking official, the burden of him being deposed was outweighed by the court’s need for information before ruling on a motion for a preliminary injunction, Doughty said.

Wednesday was the first time Fauci testified under oath about his interactions with big tech firms, including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Before the deposition, Landry said in a statement, “We all deserve to know how involved Dr. Fauci was in the censorship of the American people during the COVID pandemic; tomorrow, I hope to find out.”

“We’re going to follow the evidence everywhere it goes to get down to exactly what has happened, to get down to the fact that our government used private entities to suppress the speech of Americans,” Landry told The Epoch Times.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (C) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 22, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Great Barrington Declaration

Jenin Younes with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, another lawyer representing plaintiffs in the case, said that Fauci claimed he did not worry about a document called the Great Barrington Declaration.

Penned in October 2020, the document called for focused protection on people most at-risk from COVID-19 while rescinding the harsh restrictions that had been imposed on children and others at little risk from the disease. Two of its authors, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, are plaintiffs in the case.

I have a very busy day job running a six billion dollar institute. I don’t have time to worry about things like the Great Barrington Declaration,” Fauci said, according to Younes.

Fauci, though, has spoken multiple times about the declaration.

In internal emails that were later published, Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, Fauci’s former boss, both criticized the declaration. “There needs to be a quick and devastating published takedown of its premises,” Collins wrote, prompting Fauci to send him a Wired magazine article he claimed “debunks this theory.”

In another missive, obtained by The Epoch Times through a Freedom of Information Act request, Fauci said the declaration reminded him of AIDS denialism.

Fauci also talked about the declaration in public, including defending his criticism during a congressional hearing in May.

I have come out very strongly publicly against the Great Barrington Declaration,” Fauci wrote to Dr. Deborah Birx in another email.

Other Depositions

The government moved to block some of the depositions, but not Fauci’s. It just won an order blocking the depositions of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly, and Rob Flaherty, a deputy assistant to Biden.

Similar efforts to block the depositions of former White House press secretary Jen Psaki and FBI official Elvis Chan have been unsuccessful.

Chan is scheduled to answer questions next week. Psaki is scheduled to be deposed on Dec. 8.

Chan was involved in communicating with Facebook, LinkedIn, and other big tech firms about content moderation, according to evidence developed in the case and public statements he’s made. Psaki publicly said while still in the White House that platforms should step up against alleged mis- and disinformation.

Plaintiffs have already deposed several officials including Daniel Kimmage, an official at the State Department’s Global Engagement Center.

That center worked with Easterly’s agency to create a coalition of nonprofits called the Election Integrity Partnership, which pushed social media companies to censor speech.

Kimmage was also responsible for meetings during which censorship was discussed, with State Department official Samaruddin Stewart acting on his orders, according to documents produced by LinkedIn.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sat, 11/26/2022 - 13:30

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