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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- February 16, 2014

Poll: Americans have little faith in government - Associated Press - CHARLES BABINGTON and JENNIFER AGIESTA — January 2, 2014 - Americans enter 2014 with a profoundly negative view of their government, expressing little hope that elected officials can or will solve the nation's biggest problems, a new poll finds.                          Half say America's system of democracy needs either "a lot of changes" or a complete overhaul, according to the poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 1 in 20 says it works well and needs no changes.                   Americans, who have a reputation for optimism, have a sharply pessimistic take on their government after years of disappointment in Washington.                        The percentage of Americans saying the nation is heading in the right direction hasn't topped 50 in about a decade. In the new poll, 70 percent lack confidence in the government's ability "to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014."...                   On the economy, an area historically driven by the private sector, the poll finds a clear public desire for active government. Fifty-seven percent of Americans say "we need a strong government to handle today's complex economic problems."
Even among those who say "the less government the better," 31 percent feel the nation needs a strong government to handle those complex problems.                      Americans don't feel terribly optimistic about their own economic opportunities. Although 49 percent say their standard of living surpasses their parents', most are broadly pessimistic about the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. And they are mixed on whether people like them have a good chance to improve their standard of living.                          Few are hopeful that the pieces are in place for the government to improve. About half are pessimistic about the country's ability to produce strong leaders generally. And 61 percent are pessimistic about the system of government overall and the way leaders are chosen...

The Return of Mercantilism - Azizonomics - John Aziz - January 10, 2013

David Stockman - King World News Interview - February 13, 2014 - David Stockman was the head of the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan Administration. In this interview he addresses the manipulation of the Money Markets by the Fed and how these artificial manipulations, such as Quantitative Easing, are going to have and will continue to have a resoundingly bad effect on World Money Markets. (King World News Interview)

Factory Production in U.S. Falls by Most Since 2009 - Bloomberg - Jeanna Smialek - February 14, 2014 - Factory production in the U.S. unexpectedly declined in January by the most since May 2009, adding to evidence severe winter weather weighed on the economy.                       The 0.8 percent decrease at manufacturers followed a revised 0.3 percent gain the prior month that was weaker than initially reported, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.1 percent advance. Total industrial production dropped 0.3 percent even as utility output climbed the most in almost a year.
Assembly lines slowed last month as colder weather tempered production, the Fed said, showing a pause in the momentum of an industry that’s helped bolster the economy. A pickup in capital spending and faster hiring that drives consumer purchases will be needed to spur production gains.

No Janet Yellen, The Economy Is NOT “Getting Better” - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder - February 11th, 2014 - On Tuesday, new Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen went before Congress and confidently declared that "the economic recovery gained greater traction in the second half of last year" and that "substantial progress has been made in restoring the economy to health".  This resulted in glowing headlines throughout the mainstream media such as this one from USA Today: "Yellen: Economy is improving at moderate pace".  Sadly, tens of millions of Americans are going to believe what the mainstream media is telling them.  But it isn't the truth.  As you will see below, there are all sorts of signs that the economy is taking a turn for the worse.  And when the next great economic crisis does strike, most Americans will be completely and totally unprepared because they trusted our "leaders" when they told us that everything would be just fine...
-Prominent retailers are closing hundreds of stores all over the United States.  Things have gotten so bad that some are calling this a "retail apocalypse"...
  • JC Penney, which lost $586 million in three months in 2013, is planning to close 33 stores in 19 states and lay off 2,000 people. JC Penney’s stock has lost 84 percent of its value since February 2012.
  • Sears has decided to shut down its flagship store in Downtown Chicago, and it has closed 300 stores in the United States since 2010. Stock analyst Brian Sozzi noted that Sear’s inventory levels have fallen by 23.7 percent since 2006. He also noted that Sears had $4.4 billion in cash and equivalents in 2005 but $609 million in cash and equivalents in 2012. Sozzi, who calls himself a guerrilla analyst, has a blog full of disturbing pictures of empty Sears stores.
  • Macy’s, one of the few retail success stories, is planning to close five stores and eliminate 2,500 jobs.
  • Radio Shack is preparing to close 500 stores, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Best Buy recently closed 50 stores and eliminated 950 jobs at stores in Canada.
  • Target announced plans to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 empty positions to reduce costs.
  • Aeropostale is planning to close 175 stores.
  • Blockbuster has closed down all of its stores.

The US Participation Rate Is At A 35 Year Low: This Is How It Looks Broken Down By State - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - February 14, 2014 - After years of being roundly ignored by the mainstream media, and certainly by self-important economists, the issue of labor force participation is suddenly up front and center, especially now that the Fed itself finds itself scrambling to explain the humiliation of hitting its 6.5% unemployment "forward guidance" threshold without proceeding to tighten as it said it would initially when it launched QEternity in December 2012.                    Incidentally, we predicted precisely this when we said in December 2012 that "using a simple forecast, based on LTM trends across all key employment metrics reveals something very troubling, for the Fed and stocks that is: the 6.5% unemployment rate will be breached in July 2013! Now granted that is simply idiotic, and there is no way that the US economy could possibly recover that fast, but that is precisely what is implied based on the ongoing collapse in the Labor Force Participation, and the concurrent plunge in the Labor Force Participation rate, which has been the biggest marginal driver for the unemployment rate, far more than the number of people who have jobs, or are unemployed (readers can recreate our calculation on their own in 10 minutes with excel)."
Granted, we were off by six months, but we were spot on about the reason why the unemployment threshold number was hit so quickly, instead of as the Fed has originally predicted, some time in 2015/2016.

We will see more Layoffs - X22 Report - Hickory Hound - February 13, 2014
X22 Report - Episode 289 - February 13, 2014

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