Morning Report: Job cuts at a 21 year low

Vital Statistics:

 LastChange
S&P futures4,2958.8
Oil (WTI)75.602.32
10 year government bond yield 1.48%
30 year fixed rate mortgage 3.16%

Stocks are higher as we start the second half of 2021. Bonds and MBS are down small.

Announced job cuts fell to a 21 year low last month, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. Job cuts fell 88% YOY to 20,476. Note that this statistic measures announced cuts (as in via a press release). “We’re seeing the rubber band snap back,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “Companies are holding on tight to their workers during a time of record job openings and very high job seeker confidence. We haven’t seen job cuts this low since the Dot-Com boom.” Energy and defense lead the sectors in job cuts.

Initial Jobless Claims fell to 364k, which is still elevated compared to pre-COVID where 225k was the norm. If you compare the last year to the Great Recession, the 2009 bust looks like a molehill compared to a mountain:

The Challenger and initial jobless numbers illustrate the conundrum of analyzing the labor market. Job openings are at record highs, yet initial claims are stubbornly high. Unemployment is elevated, but it seems like every fast food place and retail establishment has a “help wanted” sign. The Fed minutes don’t really shed any light on the situation; they just lay out the same contradictions I just did. I don’t think anyone really has a handle on it, and think tanks are interpreting it via their own ideological lenses. And with global bond markets under the firm control of central banks’ activist policies interest rates are a pretty useless indicator as well.

Lumber prices are finally falling back to earth. Lumber has done quite the round trip over the past year, rising from $438 to $1,670 and then falling back $783. Falling lumber costs will hopefully re-ignite the homebuilding sector which should help alleviate the acute housing shortage.

The manufacturing sector grew in June, according to the ISM Report. Shortages of all types continue to hamper manufacturing growth: ” “Business Survey Committee panelists reported that their companies and suppliers continue to struggle to meet increasing levels of demand. Record-long raw-material lead times, wide-scale shortages of critical basic materials, rising commodities prices and difficulties in transporting products are continuing to affect all segments of the manufacturing economy. Worker absenteeism, short-term shutdowns due to parts shortages, and difficulties in filling open positions continue to be issues that limit manufacturing-growth potential.” I found the worker absenteeism issue to be interesting. I wonder if it is simply COVID-19 driven, or is something else going on.

Construction spending fell 0.2% MOM but is up 7.5% YOY. Resi construction is up 28% YOY, but the lockdowns of a year ago are probably affecting the numbers.

28 Responses

    • The ruling reversed the findings of intentional discrimination and will make it much harder to block laws that have a discriminatory effect on voters of color, bringing America one major step closer to reviving the legal regime of Jim Crow.

      A fascinating and utterly ahistorical conclusion. I often feel the problem with so much of the left is not ideological or philosophical or the goals of their policy (as distinct from their actual policy) so much as their unshakeable belief that they are always the smartest people in the room and thus whatever the feel is true about history or data or statistics is in fact correct and no additional thought or education is necessary.

      I have less of a problem with most progressive programs in terms of goals than (a) their tendency to be more of the same which has demonstrably not worked but most of the advocates lack either historical knowledge or clarity of thought to know that, or self-honesty to acknowledge it And (b) they are “too smart to fail” so no policy initiative is designed to be shut down if ineffective or counterproductive, nothing is designed to be radically overhauled or reduced or abandoned–rarely are there even actual metrics to be met, after which the policy would be abandoned or tabled if it failed to meet the metrics. Not even a “three strikes and your out”–progressive policy is consciously allowed to fail, and sometimes spectacularly, indefinitely.

      Although I should say now that the progressives have gone full-circle and are back to racial-supremacy and a compassionate Eugenics approach to diversity I have to admit I have a problem with the policies they are advancing on their face, and don’t particular believe they should even be attempted (even if there was a system for removing them automatically if they failed to meet metrics).

      But I am sympathetic to the idea of progressivism when it is truly progressive–advancing new and perhaps scary ideas that are genuinely meant to improve the human condition (and haven’t demonstrably been tried again and again and met with failure). But present day progressivism is clearly regressive, the only thing knew being applied to their historically awful ideas is the fresh coat of paint.

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      • Leftism has a body count that makes the Vatican and the Brits look like mall cops.

        It amazes me how they simply memory-hole every failure, or manage to pin the blame on the right.

        but if you control the media, the flow of information, academia, hollywood, and the administrative state you can get away with it.

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        • The right side of history argument–which is always amazing to me–is built entirely around this narrative re-writing. (A) Of course you’re always on the right side of history when you re-write history to blame all the tragedies your ostensible side caused to the other side. (B) And you’re always on the right side of history because you change what the right side of history is–and then who is responsible.

          They were on the “right side of history” with, say, the founding when the principles espoused by the declaration of independence and embodied in the constitution, and ideas of self-governance, were concerned progressive. But then the lack of perfection makes all that happened to establish our country bad, so now the country is the product of a bunch of reactionary white men fighting desperate to preserve slavery and the subjugation of women . . . and so now the founding and its documents are not part of the progressive project.

          Nationalism was once part of the progressive project, and was advanced very aggressively. Now it’s globalism and so nationalism has always been a bad, right-wing, conservative thing. Populism was part of the progressive project and so was AWESOME. Now populism has become part of the right in many countries, and so it’s bad and reactionary and progressivism has NEVER been about populism.

          I think we’re seeing a similar thing now. Color-blindness, equal access, integration, intermarriage–all these things were cornerstones of progressive racial politics for the longest time. Now they are suddenly being recast as reactionary and right-wing.

          I have no doubt 100 years from now if, as I expect, anti-racism will be scene as racist and socially destructive and an abject failure, the popular perception will be that “the right” and “conservatives” were somehow responsible for what is currently a wholly progressive project. Folks like Richard Spencer might well be elevated in the narrative while Ibrim X. Kendi is diminished, and Robin DeAngelo will be recast (not unreasonable) as some kind of reactionary right-wing WASP.

          But it will always be the side who claims to forever be on the right side of history that will have the greatest body count, and carve out the largest path of destruction through the society.

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    • I love how they think SCOTUS is partisan, but the 9th is not…

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      • Especially now. The SCOTUS has been repeatedly coming up with rulings with strange bedfellows, where you can’t predict who will concur and who will dissent. I may not like a lot of the rulings and think some of them are basically dereliction of duty . . . but it’s hard to argue they are partisan. Certainly less partisan than the 9th. From what I’ve seen.

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      • She’s now a hero speaking truth to power.

        Ultimately, this is a sweet gig for “Republicans” and “Conservatives”. First: develop a minimum of conservative bonafides. Get elected as a Republican to some office, maybe become minorly prominent. Or majorly prominence but have your importance behind you.

        Once you’ve reached the top of what you can do with Republicans or in Conservative, Inc.–become a maverick. Start speaking truth to power. Focus all your criticism on what you claim is “your own side”.

        Instant hero on the left. You will get feted and praised and ultimately financially compensated in a way you never would had you not bravely become a maverick.

        Incentives matter. The Republicans and the conservatives have A WHOLE LOT of “mavericks”. There is a reason for that.

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    • At first glance I agree with Kagan’s dissent, but I expected [most of] this ruling based on the questioning at oral arguments. I thought they might have cut the Navajos some slack on one issue.

      The Majority opinion seems like legislative rewriting.

      The result should kill Garland’s Section 2 case in GA unless he has some sort of smoking gun evidence, which I doubt.

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      • Mark:

        Here’s the opinions.

        Click to access 19-1257_g204.pdf

        The Majority opinion seems like legislative rewriting

        Why do you think so?

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        • A quote from the dissent:

          Section 2, as drafted, is well-equipped to meet the chal-lenge. Congress meant to eliminate all “discriminatory election systems or practices which operate, designedly or otherwise, to minimize or cancel out the voting strength and political effectiveness of minority groups.” S. Rep. No. 97–417, p. 2 8 (1982) (S. Rep.). And that broad intent is manifest in the provision’s broad text. As always, this Court’s task is to read that language as Congress wrote it—to give the section all the scope and potency Congress drafted it to have. So I start by showing how Section 2’s text requires courts to eradicate voting practices that make it harder for members of some races than of others to cast a vote, unless such a practice is necessary to support a strong state interest. I then show how far from that text the majority strays. Its analysis permits exactly the kind of vote suppression that Section 2, by its terms, rules out of bounds.

          —-
          The AZ statute, while facially neutral, made it harder for reservation Navajos to vote than for anybody else. Kagan goes on to quote Scalia’s example of how a facially neutral statute can have the result of burdening one race more substantially. That was the part of the case I thought the Navajos had a chance of winning because I thought Gorsuch would see it that way.

          And it should not matter that most Navajos overcame the obstacles – even traveling on horseback for dozens of miles to deliver ballots. The majority thought that because no one testified that he or she was kept from voting that the evidence failed. But that is a rewrite of the statute. The statute is not about prohibitions, but only about differential hurdles as applied.

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        • Mark:

          The majority thought that because no one testified that he or she was kept from voting that the evidence failed. But that is a rewrite of the statute.

          I don’t see how. The relevant portion of statute reads as follows:

          A violation of subsection (a) is established if, based on the totality of circumstances, it is shown that the political processes leading to nomination or election in the State or political subdivision are not equally open to participation by members of a class of citizens protected by subsection (a) in that its members have less opportunity than other members of the electorate

          It seems to me that in order to demonstrate that members of a particular class have “less opportunity” to participate in an election than other members due to some law, the very least one would need to establish is that some of those members did not indeed participate. If they did participate, then by definition they were afforded an opportunity to vote. Surely “less opportunity” to participate for a given class of people must be manifested in the absence of participation among at least some of the people within that class.

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        • It’s impossible not to love this headline.

          Analysis: Tucker Carlson is in a credibility battle with the NSA — and so far he’s losing https://wapo.st/3juCGuS

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        • Analysis: Tucker Carlson is in a credibility battle with the NSA

          News: WaPo is in a credibility battle with reality

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        • But what follows may take the cake. McCaskill went on MSNBC to pronounce that her family had a new July 4th tradition — they are going to watch video of January 6th.

          I think it’s obvious they are desperate to keep January 6th at 9/11-levels of horror and outrage at least as long as we did 9/11–but I find it fascinating they are so concerned about the public moving on that they can’t wait until next Jan 6th to have their memorials and make a fresh effort to rewrite history, so they’ve got to replace July 4th celebration (which is bad anyway) with a January 6th condemnation.

          On January 6th, some unarmed protesters out of tens of thousands who had shown up went too far, entered the Capitol Building, and largely just walked around and tore stuff up.

          I listen more to NeverTrumpers than lefties these days, but I find it interesting how angry NeverTrump (and the left) they get over the above kind of statement–because it downplays what happened (which it does) and somehow that’s terrible. Yet I don’t hear much criticism of the people on the Left (including a lot of NeverTrumpers, who are supposedly not on the left) who talk about how Mike Pence was almost murdered and thank god this unarmed mob of tourists milling around didn’t get their hands on Pence or some people vote to certify the Biden win, or these people–who did mostly take selfies and mill around, staying within the velvet ropes–were going to kill all these people with their bare hands.

          I have so many other “whataboutisms” with January 6th. One the one hand, I get it: it’s highly unique for folks on the right to do this. The left has done things very similar or related things–both before and after January 6th, usually with bizarrely thin news coverage –but it’s right wing protestors who are protesting the election results and they entered the capitol and it was scary to a lot of people, some of them were almost certainly legitimate nutburgers, so–I get it. Unusual. Lots of attention. Constant coverage. Fine.

          But the election itself was extremely unusual, and that is part of the reason why the protestors were there in the first place. Here’s the “it was all fraud!” complaint list, although my position is Biden apparently won despite so many things that would normally point to a likely loss and that’s interesting. It represents a potential sea-change in American presidential elections and nobody is interested in revisiting all that, or visiting any of it in the first place. Yet I find that just as interesting as the oddity of the capitol riots.

          Another thing–Alex Jones was there on January 6th, begging people to behave and to not go into the capitol building and not fight or resist the police or anything. He really didn’t want them climbing walls or trying to get into the Capitol.

          This would seem counter-narrative as a position from Alex Jones (and there is video of him doing this). Being so unusual and weird, and part of the whole January 6th thing, surely *that* would get some attention. But nope.

          Eh, just a tangent. Main point still stands: their insistent promotion of January 6th as a critical moment in American history is beginning to come off as desperate. And a cynical ploy to keep voters motivated into the midterms.

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        • I don’t get how these people freaked out about the 1/6 “Insurrection” (snicker) that somehow came within a cunthair of overthrowing the government cannot understand why somebody would want an AR-15 to potentially protect themselves from the government when the government is so strong it could airstrafe and or nuke them and not even notice so owning an AR-15 makes no sense.

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        • AABFA…

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        • I’m thinking that to get rid of all the racism we should fire all the teachers and dissolve the unions.

          https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3424334

          It’s the only way to be sure.

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        • Well, the NSA wouldn’t lie about a thing like that. So case closed!

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        • This KOS post is fucking epic!

          https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/7/1/2037917/-Biden-Democrats-have-no-choice-Fight-the-Supreme-Court-or-consign-American-democracy-to-history

          A taste:

          Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans shrugged off their constitutional obligation to advise and consent on judicial nominations and blockaded Merrick Garland

          Apparantly the Senate’s role is to hold a vote and consent to the Executive.

          Among the many hilarious statements regarding Kavanaugh is this tasty morsel:
          During his rushed confirmation process

          It was a lightening speed confirmation. And here I thought the Senate’s job was to “advise and consent”. Hunh.

          Then there’s this about Barrett: And finally, Amy Coney Barrett with her extremely short and extremely extreme judicial career,

          I’m pretty sure Kagan was never even a judge. I don’t particularly care, since it’s all Will to Power but I thought these were the non hypocrites, the Real World people.

          This one I’ll just let stand by itself in all its majesty:

          Democrats, on the other hand, have held onto a moral superiority that is disastrously naïve and self-harming.

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        • It’s pathological narcissism made into a collective group identity.

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        • I’m not seeing it by I’m not a lawyer.

          As very much a non-lawyer I might have more sympathy for the plaintiffs if they had been the Navajo nation rather than the DNC. Doubt that has any legal relevance but it surely has emotional resonance for me!

          Like as not that the case is not brought in good faith, and this is the approach they thought would work best in court versus other provisions of the law they might in fact be more interested in dispensing with.

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      • Analysis: Tucker Carlson is in a credibility battle with the NSA — and so far he’s losing

        …..well, i never thought the left would side with Tucker in the first place.

        The left thinks they can argue credibility with the right, and they cannot. This isn’t a court of law.

        Sorry deep state and MSM. A big chunk of this country doesn’t trust you further than they can throw you.

        I think they preach something about not denying people’s lived experiences. Or something.

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    • The Post’s take:

      “The cases involved two voting regulations from Arizona that are in common use across the country. One throws out the ballots of those who vote in the wrong precinct. The other restricts who may collect ballots cast early for delivery to polling places, a practice then-President Donald Trump denounced as “ballot harvesting.”

      Even the Biden administration had concluded that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit had erred in condemning the Arizona laws. So the outcome was not a surprise.”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-arizona-voting-laws/2021/07/01/5fef7800-da6b-11eb-9bbb-37c30dcf9363_story.html

      Again, hard to argue it’s constitutional if another state does it, but not when Arizona does it.

      Like

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