The February jobs report came in significantly below expectations. First quarter GDP estimates are way down. And we’re seeing other numbers that indicate a rotting economic foundation.
But nobody is worried.
In fact, most of the attention continues to be focused on the trade deal as if it is going to push the economy to new heights. In his most recent podcast, Peter dug into some of the numbers and came to the conclusion that most of the analysts and pundits are utterly clueless about what’s really going on.
Last week, the Dow Transports wrapped up 11 straight days of declines. That hasn’t happened since 1971. And the last time the transports fell 10 straight days was in 2009 – during the great recession. Of course, we also got a bad February jobs report with just 20,000 jobs added. And Q1 GDP estimates remain below 1%. But by-and-large, pundits looked passed all of this bad news and continued to focus on the trade deal. As Peter pointed out, the trade deal seems to have become the economy’s white knight.
“Everybody is just ignoring these numbers because they are just blindly optimistic either they think it’s going to be this great trade deal or just because they’re so convinced. Everybody, Republicans, in particular, have convinced themselves that this is a great economy, this is a booming economy, and it’s their fault. It’s more wishful thinking.”
Peter said they are not looking at reality.
Speaking of reality, the February jobs report came in way below expectation. The estimate was for about 181,000 new jobs. It was the fewest job gains since September 2017 when major hurricanes temporarily curtailed employment.
Wage rates are up, but as Peter noted, there are two sides to that coin. From the employer’s perspective, this isn’t good news because it’s just another added cost. He pointed out that Whole Foods committed to paying all of its employees $15 per hour, but the company recently announced it was cutting hours. So, employees could actually end up taking home less pay despite the increase in their hourly wage.
Peter said he thinks the next step will be layoffs.
“Because as it becomes more expensive to keep your workers, well, then you fire your workers. I mean, employers will look for ways to reduce their overhead.”
Peter said this is a hint of stagflation. This is how it looks.
“Wages could be going up, but that doesn’t mean employment is going up. Employment can be going down as wages are going up, and so what good is a higher wage if you’re not earning it?”
Peter also talked about gold. The yellow metal has rallied after its recent correction. Peter said that it is going to go a lot higher.
“The reason it hasn’t already gone higher is because people still don’t understand the situation that we are in. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen people more clueless, more oblivious to a problem than they are now.”
Just because we haven’t had a crisis yet doesn’t mean one isn’t on the horizon. Sometimes you can underestimate how long it’s going to take. Peter used a dam as an analogy. What if you think it’s going to break so you don’t want to build your house under it. People may make fun of you and say, “It’s fine. Stop worrying.” And then they start building there. The community grows. Years go by and nothing happens. Then, 15, 20 years later, the dam breaks and the community gets wiped out.
“It turns out I was right. I was just early. But if I built my house someplace else, I didn’t get wiped out. Maybe it seemed like I was wrong because for a while what I was warning about didn’t happen because I underestimated how long it would take the dam to break. But the fact of the matter is it broke.”
We need to look beneath the surface. We have to take into account sound economic theory.
“We had an orgy on debt. We have destroyed the economic foundations of this country. We have hollowed out our industrial base. There have been real problems that have been growing beneath the surface as a result of these budget deficits and trade deficits that everybody have been ignoring because they are focusing on the wrong thing.”
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