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In Advance of Payroll Friday, ADP Payrolls Go Cold

This will be written off as a temporary setback, and only then will anyone care if it follows in Friday’s payroll report. Just when the FOMC was counting on corroboration among all labor market data for its taper/balance sheet runoff/rate hike justificati



This will be written off as a temporary setback, and only then will anyone care if it follows in Friday’s payroll report. Just when the FOMC was counting on corroboration among all labor market data for its taper/balance sheet runoff/rate hike justification, this morning ADP threw a whole sack of wrenches in those plans.

In the wake of the sack, analysts across Wall Street have already been busy further downgrading their expectations for the headline BLS coming up.

The private payroll processor ADP said that total private employment in the US economy fell sharply during January 2022. Thinking ahead to how the pandemic would create a negative impact, analysts had predicted this number would come in around +200,000. That would have been considerably less than the final few months of last year.

Instead, to begin this year employment may have declined by a bit more than 300,000 private jobs. This is the first drop since December 2020 and the steepest, by far, going back to the 2020 recession itself.

Is it really omicron?

That’s how the weakness will be characterized, assuming it isn’t completely forgotten by Friday depending on how the BLS surveys get chopped up (I still wonder, as I said yesterday with the colder JOLTS, if it won’t be a blowout). Assuming they come in weaker than already figured by analysts (yesterday the “consensus” was for the same as December, not good, and today the majority opinion has moved substantially lower still), then the latest pandemic variant (and the diseases’ obvious seasonality) will be all over the explanations.

After all, ADP’s resident Economist outright stated the pandemic was the reason:

“The labor market recovery took a step back at the start of 2022 due to the effect of the Omicron variant and its significant, though likely temporary, impact to job growth,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP.

The company’s underlying figures might at first seem consistent with this interpretation of them. Half the presumed job losses hit the leisure and hospitality industry, the ever-holding target of government pandemic strictures.

But those weren’t nearly as strict or widespread during January 2022 as they had been back at the height of the delta wave, or back in December 2020. So far as interruptive interference goes, delta’s were far and away more disruptive. Yet, ADP’s employment data shows only a slowdown last July and August, nothing at all like -300k. Even December 2020’s (unemployment cliff) change was “just” -75k (whereas the BLS’s Establishment Survey was itself -306k the same month).

Leisure and hospitality businesses, across all business sizes, weren’t laying off workers because of renewed lockdowns. And if they were experiencing a drop off in business as fewer people (in Northern states) traveled or sought vacation, given the purported labor shortage as well as how those same businesses are uniquely accustomed to the temporary effects of these pandemic waves, why didn’t they hold on to their employees and just wait out omicron (less disruptive than delta) given how hard, most claim, it is to find help?

But this same general pattern was repeated across most industries. One-fifth of the monthly job losses were thought to have been in trade, transportation, and utilities – though unclear (they don’t release that level of detail) how much might have been just trade given the disappointment at the end of the pushed-forward Christmas shopping season.

Manufacturer’s, for example, apparently cut 21,000 payrolls (total employment across all goods producing industries declined by 27,000) last month. This was the first decline since last February and also the steepest going back to April 2020. Why would omicron have been so much more disruptive to manufacturing (or trade) than delta or the serious weakness (pre-Helicopter #2) back in December 2020?

Several explanations are possible, beginning with vaccine policies and/or mandates. Another is that the economy really did soften though maybe a bit too much the last half of last year (inventory, too). Perhaps a combination of the two.

The latter would better explain why the low in ADP for January 2022 was so much lower than August or the prior December; omicron had some negative effect, but that does not account for the entire depth, or maybe even as much of it.

The pandemic alone just cannot explain why a “likely temporary” disruption showing up during a purportedly epic labor shortage would lead to such widespread, “significant” declines to general private employment. It will be interesting how the BLS sees it on Friday.

Either way, it’s another frigid dose of employment data for the FOMC almost completely depending upon an overheating labor situation.

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Moderna turns the spotlight on long Covid with new initiatives

Moderna’s latest Covid effort addresses the often-overlooked chronic condition of long Covid — and encourages vaccination to reduce risks. A digital…



Moderna’s latest Covid effort addresses the often-overlooked chronic condition of long Covid — and encourages vaccination to reduce risks. A digital campaign debuted Friday along with a co-sponsored event in Detroit offering free CT scans, which will also be used in ongoing long Covid research.

In a new video, a young woman describes her three-year battle with long Covid, which includes losing her job, coping with multiple debilitating symptoms and dealing with the negative effects on her family. She ends by saying, “The only way to prevent long Covid is to not get Covid” along with an on-screen message about where to find Covid-19 vaccines through the website.

Kate Cronin

“Last season we saw people would get a flu shot, but they didn’t always get a Covid shot,” said Moderna’s Chief Brand Officer Kate Cronin. “People should get their flu shot, but they should also get their Covid shot. There’s no risk of long flu, but there is the risk of long-term effects of Covid.”

It’s Moderna’s “first effort to really sound the alarm,” she said, and the debut coincides with the second annual Long Covid Awareness Day.

An estimated 17.6 million Americans are living with long Covid, according to the latest CDC data. About four million of them are out of work because of the condition, resulting in an estimated $170 billion in lost wages.

While HHS anted up $45 million in grants last year to expand long Covid support initiatives along with public health campaigns, the condition is still often ignored and underfunded.

“It’s not just about the initial infection of Covid, but also if you get it multiple times, your risks goes up significantly,” Cronin said. “It’s important that people understand that.”

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Consequences Minus Truth

Consequences Minus Truth

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

“People crave trust in others, because God is found there.”




Consequences Minus Truth

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

“People crave trust in others, because God is found there.”

- Dom de Bailleul

The rewards of civilization have come to seem rather trashy in these bleak days of late empire; so, why even bother pretending to be civilized? This appears to be the ethos driving our politics and culture now. But driving us where? Why, to a spectacular sort of crack-up, and at warp speed, compared to the more leisurely breakdown of past societies that arrived at a similar inflection point where Murphy’s Law replaced the rule of law.

The US Military Academy at West point decided to “upgrade” its mission statement this week by deleting the phrase Duty, Honor, Country that summarized its essential moral orientation. They replaced it with an oblique reference to “Army Values,” without spelling out what these values are, exactly, which could range from “embrace the suck” to “charlie foxtrot” to “FUBAR” — all neatly applicable to our country’s current state of perplexity and dread.

Are you feeling more confident that the US military can competently defend our country? Probably more like the opposite, because the manipulation of language is being used deliberately to turn our country inside-out and upside-down. At this point we probably could not successfully pacify a Caribbean island if we had to, and you’ve got to wonder what might happen if we have to contend with countless hostile subversive cadres who have slipped across the border with the estimated nine-million others ushered in by the government’s welcome wagon.

Momentous events await. This Monday, the Supreme Court will entertain oral arguments on the case Missouri, et al. v. Joseph R. Biden, Jr., et al. The integrity of the First Amendment hinges on the decision. Do we have freedom of speech as set forth in the Constitution? Or is it conditional on how government officials feel about some set of circumstances? At issue specifically is the government’s conduct in coercing social media companies to censor opinion in order to suppress so-called “vaccine hesitancy” and to manipulate public debate in the 2020 election. Government lawyers have argued that they were merely “communicating” with Twitter, Facebook, Google, and others about “public health disinformation and election conspiracies.”

You can reasonably suppose that this was our government’s effort to disable the truth, especially as it conflicted with its own policy and activities — from supporting BLM riots to enabling election fraud to mandating dubious vaccines. Former employees of the FBI and the CIA were directly implanted in social media companies to oversee the carrying-out of censorship orders from their old headquarters. The former general counsel (top lawyer) for the FBI, James Baker, slid unnoticed into the general counsel seat at Twitter until Elon Musk bought the company late in 2022 and flushed him out. The so-called Twitter Files uncovered by indy reporters Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, and others, produced reams of emails from FBI officials nagging Twitter execs to de-platform people and bury their dissent. You can be sure these were threats, not mere suggestions.

One of the plaintiffs joined to Missouri v. Biden is Dr. Martin Kulldorff, a biostatistician and professor at the Harvard Medical School, who opposed Covid-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates. He was one of the authors of the open letter called The Great Barrington Declaration (October, 2020) that articulated informed medical dissent for a bamboozled public. He was fired from his job at Harvard just this past week for continuing his refusal to take the vaccine. Harvard remains among a handful of institutions that still require it, despite massive evidence that it is ineffective and hazardous. Like West Point, maybe Harvard should ditch its motto, Veritas, Latin for “truth.”

A society hostile to truth can’t possibly remain civilized, because it will also be hostile to reality. That appears to be the disposition of the people running things in the USA these days. The problem, of course, is that this is not a reality-optional world, despite the wishes of many Americans (and other peoples of Western Civ) who wish it would be.

Next up for us will be “Joe Biden’s” attempt to complete the bankruptcy of our country with $7.3-trillion proposed budget, 20 percent over the previous years spending, based on a $5-billion tax increase. Good luck making that work. New York City alone is faced with paying $387 a day for food and shelter for each of an estimated 64,800 illegal immigrants, which amounts to $9.15-billion a year. The money doesn’t exist, of course. New York can thank “Joe Biden’s” executive agencies for sticking them with this unbearable burden. It will be the end of New York City. There will be no money left for public services or cultural institutions. That’s the reality and that’s the truth.

A financial crack-up is probably the only thing short of all-out war that will get the public’s attention at this point. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it happened next week. Historians of the future, stir-frying crickets and fiddleheads over their campfires will marvel at America’s terminal act of gluttony: managing to eat itself alive.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page or Substack

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/15/2024 - 14:05

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One city held a mass passport-getting event

A New Orleans congressman organized a way for people to apply for their passports en masse.



While the number of Americans who do not have a passport has dropped steadily from more than 80% in 1990 to just over 50% now, a lack of knowledge around passport requirements still keeps a significant portion of the population away from international travel.

Over the four years that passed since the start of covid-19, passport offices have also been dealing with significant backlog due to the high numbers of people who were looking to get a passport post-pandemic. 

Related: Here is why it is (still) taking forever to get a passport

To deal with these concurrent issues, the U.S. State Department recently held a mass passport-getting event in the city of New Orleans. Called the "Passport Acceptance Event," the gathering was held at a local auditorium and invited residents of Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District to complete a passport application on-site with the help of staff and government workers.

A passport case shows the seal featured on American passports.


'Come apply for your passport, no appointment is required'

"Hey #LA02," Rep. Troy A. Carter Sr. (D-LA), whose office co-hosted the event alongside the city of New Orleans, wrote to his followers on Instagram  (META) . "My office is providing passport services at our #PassportAcceptance event. Come apply for your passport, no appointment is required."

More Travel:

The event was held on March 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. While it was designed for those who are already eligible for U.S. citizenship rather than as a way to help non-citizens with immigration questions, it helped those completing the application for the first time fill out forms and make sure they have the photographs and identity documents they need. The passport offices in New Orleans where one would normally have to bring already-completed forms have also been dealing with lines and would require one to book spots weeks in advance.

These are the countries with the highest-ranking passports in 2024

According to Carter Sr.'s communications team, those who submitted their passport application at the event also received expedited processing of two to three weeks (according to the State Department's website, times for regular processing are currently six to eight weeks).

While Carter Sr.'s office has not released the numbers of people who applied for a passport on March 14, photos from the event show that many took advantage of the opportunity to apply for a passport in a group setting and get expedited processing.

Every couple of months, a new ranking agency puts together a list of the most and least powerful passports in the world based on factors such as visa-free travel and opportunities for cross-border business.

In January, global citizenship and financial advisory firm Arton Capital identified United Arab Emirates as having the most powerful passport in 2024. While the United States topped the list of one such ranking in 2014, worsening relations with a number of countries as well as stricter immigration rules even as other countries have taken strides to create opportunities for investors and digital nomads caused the American passport to slip in recent years.

A UAE passport grants holders visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 180 of the world’s 198 countries (this calculation includes disputed territories such as Kosovo and Western Sahara) while Americans currently have the same access to 151 countries.

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