Morning Report: More info on unemployment

Vital Statistics:


  Last Change
S&P futures 3842 14.3
Oil (WTI) 62.33 -1.14
10 year government bond yield   1.47%
30 year fixed rate mortgage   3.23%

Stocks are higher this morning after yesterday’s wild ride in the bond market. Bonds and MBS are up.


Yesterday was an absolutely incredible day in the bond market with the 10 year yield hitting 1.61% at one point. While there are some technical issues for the move, the punch line is that we are seeing a similar phenomenon to the 2016 Donald Trump “reflation trade” where bonds sold off and stocks rallied in response to his election. This time though, the sell-off is global. We have seen yields rise in the UK, Japan, Germany, and Australia.


Personal incomes rose 10% in January due to stimulus payments. Personal consumption rose 2.4%, while the personal consumption expenditure index (PCE – the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation) rose 0.3% MOM and 1.5% YOY. Two things jump out at me regarding this report: First, people are saving their stimulus payments, not spending them (10% increase in income versus 2.4% increase in spending). Second, inflation is still below the Fed’s target. So, while the bond market thinks the Great Reflation is happening, so far we aren’t seeing it in the data.


Just for fun, I decided to create a graph showing initial jobless claims by week in 2009 (the depth of the Great Recession) versus last year. I think this puts the shock into perspective:

While that chart does look dismal, the chart of continuing claims (meaning the cumulative number of people claiming benefits has been falling pretty steadily. Continuing claims are now about where they were in early 2010

Don’t forget, the recovery during the Great Recession was during the aftermath of a residential real estate bubble, which are the Hurricane Katrinas of economies. This time around, real estate prices are rising smartly, which is adding to people’s wealth, not subtracting from it.


Rocket announced earnings this morning, and the stock is up 10%. (See, all is not bleak for mortgage originators). For the year, volumes rose 121% to 320 billion. GAAP earnings per share came in at $1.76.

61 Responses

  1. Savings rate includes debt reduction for this analysis, correct? That can have a future effect. Paying down the car makes closer the day a new car purchase is viable, for example.


  2. I laughed.


  3. Apropos of nothing (other than providing a data point for Brent). . . I bought my house today! I’m no longer in the no-good, ne’er-do-well renter class; I’m a property owner again.

    Champagne for all!


  4. I never would have imagined that these words would ever be written by me, but Naomi Wolf is absolutely, 100% correct.


  5. The people Dowd is referring to here see the NYT more clearly for what it is than she does. And Sulzberger is just in denial or flat out lying.

    “When I went to the Vanity Fair Oscar party with A.G. Sulzberger in 2017, movie stars rushed up to thank him for fighting President Trump. Over and over again, he explained that it was not the mission of The New York Times to be part of the resistance. Rather, he said, the paper would be straight and combat lies with the truth.”


    • Dowd says:

      Believe me, you want us on that wall.

      What a completely blind, self-aggrandizing nitwit she is.


    • While your correct, I think Dowd has an interesting point—she and reporters of her generation saw Trump as a once-in-a-lifetime outlier and expected to return to traditional levels of politic bias and narrative shaping once “normality” was restored—that is, once Democrats were in power again.

      What she doesn’t touch on that I think is more relevant is how this isn’t true for not just a lot of their (mostly younger) audience but the new generation of reporters and employees at the NYT.

      I think columns like this are dangerous for Dowd or any of her generation. No matter how they conformed to the propaganda demands of the Trump years, to a non-trivial amount of people in her own industry any challenge or criticism of the left will be seen as a betrayal.

      It’s nice that some in the old guard want to be something more than a propaganda organ for the left but that return will not just be allowed—it’s going to be a bloody battle that may see folks like Dowd finding their entire history picked over for evidence of racism or other left wing sins, and this canceled.


      • That said I guess the media suddenly noticing the bad behaviors of The Lincoln Project and Andrew Cuomo doesn’t seem repugnantly convenient to them … does to me, though. It’s kind of an admission that they were intentionally giving people a temporary pass from culpability so long as they were opposed to Trump.


        • Also, the obligation Dowd felt the media had during Trump to call put all the lies (including differences of opinion and traditional political hyperbole) doesn’t explain why coverage of the unprecedented and historic Abraham Accords was thin to non-existent.

          The only explanation there is they didn’t want to give Trump anything that even looked like a win. Which has nothing to do with holding power to account.


        • The question I’ve been asking is how effective was the media at influencing public opinion against Trump? I have my own opinion but I’d love to hear everyone else’s.

          I’d say their ineffectiveness surpises even me considering that Trump’s vote totals were what, 15% higher for 2020? I’m pretty sure that’s unprecedented and really exposes the Right’s, and my own, obsession on the media’s hard left slant. It’s really a “so what” rather than a “holy shit.”


        • The media has a reinforcing effect that is probably less than the effect of Twitter and Facebook bubbles. It moves the needle a little, in the sense that they reinforce the narrative from friends and blue checkmark Twitter and what folks were taught in college.

          I think the impact on their effectiveness is the shrinking of their audience. They may be helping to keep people in the fold by becoming another layer of the bubble (and never challenging it) for some people–but I think there ability to influence anyone is gone. They can reinforce existing biases and beliefs so they become even more unshakable–but I don’t think they influence anybody who doesn’t already agree with them a priori.


        • “It’s kind of an admission that they were intentionally giving people a temporary pass from culpability so long as they were opposed to Trump.”

          Dan Froomkin defended exactly this proposition vs Greenwald when it came to social media blocking the NY Post story on Hunter Biden.

          He then naively (or dishonestly) argued that they would make up for it by aggressively covering him as president.

          We are about to see how well that prediction holds. Like Dowd, he seems to think that with Trump no longer president, the press will revert back to “normal”. But they won’t. They are now part of the #Resistance. As the Joker said in The Dark Knight:

          “The Joker : Those mob fools want you gone so they can get back to the way things were. But I know the truth: there’s no going back. You’ve changed things… forever. “


        • We are about to see how well that prediction holds. Like Dowd, he seems to think that with Trump no longer president, the press will revert back to “normal”. But they won’t.

          It’s my theory that those who did and still fully intend to go back to “normal”–that is, going easy on liberals and Democrats compared to Republicans (much, much easier) but still occasionally asking an actual and challenging question–will find themselves on the wrong end of the cancel stick. Glen Greenwald founded the Intercept and had to leave it.

          Either those pursuing an end to resistance “reporting” get pushed out, canceled, or self-censor and go along with the new paradigm.

          And really, when can resistance reporting really stop? Hard-nosed Reporting on Biden might cost him the house in 2022. Can they afford that? What if he lost and house and senate? No, can’t risk hardnosed reporting before that. And then after that, hard-nosed reporting might cost him or Harris the 2024 election! Can’t do hard reporting there, either. And then in 2026 . . .


      • KW:

        It’s nice that some in the old guard want to be something more than a propaganda organ for the left…

        I don’t give any credit to anyone who (like Dowd) waited until after Trump was gone to stand up and criticise this new form of “journalism”. Clearly she isn’t opposed to journalism as propaganda, provided the propaganda has a target she thinks deserves it. For me someone like Taibbi has infinitely more credibility on this front than people like Dowd.


        • Oh, I agree. Greenwald and Taibbi are intellectually consistent on their position about activist journalism, for example, whereas Dowd is clearly in opposition to it only when convenient. Also, not mention but clearly true, she’s seeing the cancel culture reach closer to people in her station and it doesn’t seem to be fading so she’s likely concerned.


      • “What she doesn’t touch on that I think is more relevant is how this isn’t true for not just a lot of their (mostly younger) audience but the new generation of reporters and employees at the NYT.”



  6. See if you can spot the difference. Pay particular attention to the graphic:

    This was CDC’s original Essential Public Health Services Framework.

    This is the CDC’s recently updated Essential Public Health Services Framework.


    • Diversity and social equity will become part of every government agency’s mandate if not their already.

      It’s a way to eliminate historical merit-based qualifications, homogenize ideological composition, restructure the bureaucracy around a progressive ideological mission, and limit the ability of voters to act as obstacles to the achievement of progressive utopia.


  7. What happens when you start interfering in the free market:


    • jnc:

      What happens when you start interfering in the free market:

      The bigger interferences in the free market are the legal mandates compelling people to wear masks in the first place.

      BTW, on this:

      He says he is especially irked by the company’s claims about needing to protect the public given Facebook’s reluctance to tackle misinformation surrounding political and pandemic-related content on its platforms.

      Reluctance? Where does this guy get his info?


      • Reluctance, in this case, means that Facebook did not censor and propagandize at the levels the author believes they should have.


      • It’s a backhanded attempt to call Facebook inconsistent hypocrites.


      • “The bigger interferences in the free market are the legal mandates compelling people to wear masks in the first place.”

        I think the misallocation of resources demonstrated here (masks sitting in warehouses while people aren’t allowed to buy them) makes the point about centralized planning. Whether it’s done directly through the government or by companies that are increasingly becoming government proxies due to their monopolistic nature.

        I think the mandate itself, while arguably an abrogation of individual freedom, isn’t a direct indictment of the free market in terms of efficient production and distribution.


    • While an individual mandate (or guidance) is market interference of a kind, as Scott notes—I like this because it’s an example of how centralized micromanagement begins to trip over itself so that as it expands the rules began to conflict with each other and the regulatory micromanagement becomes the biggest obstacle to the outcomes our benevolent leaders are trying to achieve through their micromanagement.

      Of course the answer is to give companies and consumers the freedom to make their own decisions and let the market set pricing but … well, can’t trust that.


      • This is the fatal blind spot of the left, and there is no way they can see it. They Just. Don’t Fucking. Get It. They figure that all they need to do is make a few tweaks and they will create their utopia. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences will need fixing, and the more they intervene, the worse the economy performs, which requires even more intervention. Ultimately, the government has to control everything.

        We are at that point already in the interest rate markets. The government pretty much controls where they go. We are at 100% central planning in the money and bond markets right now.

        The problem for governments is that shortages develop, and the people get pissed. That is when the military is brought in to maintain order, Eventually you need to shoot people who point the finger at the government, or put them in re-education camps. And that is how these things always create dystopias instead of utopias.


    • The modern left wouldn’t recognize “the free market” if it bit them in the begonias.

      Everything is highly influenced by the government right now. ESG funds are just the latest “free market” attempt to buffalo companies into doing the left’s bidding.


  8. Really good talk by Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS news.


    • That was good. Going to go get her books in audiobook form.

      Speaking of which I’m currently listening to Debunking Howard Zinn by Mary Grabar. I don’t much care for the narrator but the book itself is very good. I remember reading Zinn’s People’s History about 25 years ago and being underwhelmed and didn’t realize how influential it has become.


  9. The Post sort of cops to changing their approach here:

    Worth noting:

    “Other than crafting a new motto for The Post — “Democracy Dies in Darkness” — Bezos otherwise left editorial decisions up to Baron and other Post executives.”

    So Bezos is the one that dreamed it up.

    If Bezos and the Post were covered like they were in another country, it would be characterized as an opposition newspaper funded by an oligarch.


    • The MSM is desperately trying to get the right back into the fold. I don’t think they can; their credibility is shot.


      • My other question is when was the last time Republicans felt “in the fold” with the MSM?


        • They don’t need the Republicans to believe the media is unbiased, they just need Republicans to believe the media is mainly truthful.

          The second one is a much tougher lift.


        • I see your point. They think though that the Right is sub-human, are they really interested in regaining that trust?


        • “regaining trust”? No. Throw a few bones to shut them up? Maybe. But they only definition of “reaching across the aisle” or “compromise” or “regaining trust” is, for the most part: you renounce your opinions and beliefs, you agree to neither discuss nor think about unpopular facts, you have your conclusions assigned to you by us and . . . now we’re unified! Isn’t that great?

          “I think it’s important that we have an open dialog, so here’s a list of things you cannot say or bring up for discussion, which includes anything we don’t agree with or approve of. OPEN DIALOG! YAY!”


        • I think the first one would be a tougher lift, actually, but the second was is definitely the one they have lost. Definitely in my lifetime. As a teenage liberal I used to get angry at CNN for not explaining how evil Reagan was and how bad Republicans and conservatives were–even though, if anything, they tilted to the left even at the time. But it was a sign they were actually doing it right back then.

          There’s no situation where Republicans will think the MSM are unbiased. But it used to be we’d expect them to check their facts, not make up the news on the spot, not report stories they know to be false, and not refuse to issue retractions to stories that turned out to be mostly or entirely untrue. Now you can’t depend on any of that.


        • They want everyone agreeing on the same set of facts.

          That isn’t happening right now.

          And I don’t see that happening again.

          My 17-year old son sees through ALL of the media’s gambits to set the narrative. Him and members of his generation are probably lost forever to the mainstream media.


        • My 15 year old and even my 23 year old is just not into the news. News comes from Instagram or YouTube or alternative sources. Neither kid is particularly conservative and neither liked Trump and I expect the 23 year old voted for Biden, as the 15 year old would have, had she been able to vote.

          But neither have any real interest in the mainstream press, at all. And I don’t see that changing for either of them in 10 year or 20 years or 30 years. It might but I seriously doubt it. They may be affected by the mainstream narrative-shaping through osmosis–but they aren’t consuming any of the MSM product, and I don’t think they ever will.


        • “The year was 1954! The price of gasoline was .22 cents! The average price for a house was only 1-thousand and nine-hundred and seventy dollars! Father Knows best was at the top of the television ratings and a young actor named Marlon Brando was making his mark with ‘On The Waterfront’ and ‘The Wild One’!”


      • The right? They are trying to get the middle back into the fold, and to not lose the center-left. Their problems extend far beyond “the right”.


  10. All knees shall bend:

    “Opinion: Anti-vaccine extremism is akin to domestic terrorism

    Opinion by Richard Pan
    Feb. 28, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. EST

    Richard Pan is a pediatrician and California state senator. He is the honorary co-chair of”


    • The funny think is hippy california women are the worst offenders.


    • So. Many. Problems . . . with that.

      At what point is having a strong, if stupid or factually wrong, opinion about something akin to domestic terrorism? That’s idiotic.

      Second–the present selection of COVID vaccines are gene therapies never previously deployed on a mass scale. Ever. In history. A little caution seems warranted. It’s certainly not outrageous, and not domestic terrorism.

      And this whole thing: disagreeing with me about something is terrorism and makes you a Nazi. Now, let’s be unified! And you can totally trust me about vaccines after I just said you were a terrorist for having questions and concerns.


      • At what point is having a strong, if stupid or factually wrong, opinion about something akin to domestic terrorism? That’s idiotic.

        These morons think silence is violence. So it makes sense they will use brain-dead analogies like that. Soooooo edgy!


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