Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Recent "New High" in Stocks Is as Bogus as the Unemployment Rate

This is what happens when the Status Quo is incapable of reforming itself or recognizing reality: propaganda and bogus statistics are substituted for actual solutions.

The most heavily touted statistical "proofs" that the U.S. economy is "recovering" and "growing" are the unemployment rate and the stock market. Both are completely bogus. Yes, bogus, as in phony, wrong, rigged, misleading, carefully crafted propaganda.

Earlier this month, we showed that In Terms of Real Stuff, the Dow's "New High" Is Pure Illusion (January 6, 2014). Another way of adjusting the nominal new high to reality is to adjust it for inflation, as measured by the producer price index (PPI) or the consumer price index (CPI). If we adjust for inflation, we find that the recent new highs are considerably lower than the stock market peak reached in 2000:

Simply put, "new highs" in the stock market are statistical sleight-of-hand. By any practical, real-world measure, the SPX is worth significantly less adjusted dollars in 2014 compared to the real peak in 2000.

Equally bogus is the unemployment rate, which has magically declined for years.You probably know this already, but it bears repeating: the unemployment rate is calculated by counting the labor force and those with a job of some sort--temporary, part-time, whatever.

If you slash the labor force down to the number of people with a job of any kind, presto-magico, the unemployment rate goes to zero. This is precisely what the Status Quo is doing: the number of people counted as in the labor force is plummeting. Even if the number of people with jobs is declining, as long as the number of people in the labor force is declining at a faster rate, eventually you get "full employment," i.e. zero unemployment.

Gamed in such a fashion, an economy in a full-blown depression can sport an unemployment rate of near-zero. That's precisely where we're heading. Here are the three charts that show this. I've drawn in trendlines so the future decline in the unemployment rate is easily predictable.

Here's the unemployment rate. If the downtrend continues (and it will, as long as the participation rate keeps going down), the unemployment rate will soon be 3%, regardless of how many people have full-time jobs they can live on.

The participation rate (percentage of the population in the labor force) will soon be at levels last seen when the typical household only had one employed adult:

Those not in the labor force will soon equal the number of people with full-time jobs (around 115 million):

This is what happens when the Status Quo is incapable of reforming itself or recognizing reality: propaganda and bogus statistics are substituted for actual solutions.

A sincere thank-you to the 68 readers who responded to One Blogger's Story About Money (January 18, 2014) by subscribing or contributing to the site. Your kind support is greatly appreciated.

The Nearly Free University and The Emerging Economy:
The Revolution in Higher Education

Reconnecting higher education, livelihoods and the economyWith the soaring cost of higher education, has the value a college degree been turned upside down? College tuition and fees are up 1000% since 1980. Half of all recent college graduates are jobless or underemployed, revealing a deep disconnect between higher education and the job market.

It is no surprise everyone is asking: Where is the return on investment? Is the assumption that higher education returns greater prosperity no longer true? And if this is the case, how does this impact you, your children and grandchildren?

go to Kindle edition
We must thoroughly understand the twin revolutions now fundamentally changing our world: The true cost of higher education and an economy that seems to re-shape itself minute to minute.

The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy clearly describes the underlying dynamics at work - and, more importantly, lays out a new low-cost model for higher education: how digital technology is enabling a revolution in higher education that dramatically lowers costs while expanding the opportunities for students of all ages.

The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy provides clarity and optimism in a period of the greatest change our educational systems and society have seen, and offers everyone the tools needed to prosper in the Emerging Economy.

Read Chapter 1/Table of Contents

print ($20)       Kindle ($9.95) 

Things are falling apart--that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:

go to print edition1. Debt and financialization
2. Crony capitalism
3. Diminishing returns
4. Centralization
5. Technological, financial and demographic changes in our economy

Complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).

We are not powerless. Once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.

Read the Introduction/Table of Contents
Kindle: $9.95       print: $24 

 Thank you, Gregory U. ($50), for your superbly generous contribution to this site-- I am greatly honored by your ongoing support and readership. 

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