Nearly three months ago, when tabulating real-time mass layoffs data…
… Piper Sandler chief economist Nancy Lazar concluded that “post-covid rightsizing means that lots more layoffs are coming” and added that “many companies overhired and overpaid during the Covid crisis.”
Since then, it’s only gotten worse for those who track corporate layoff announcements, such as the following:
- #1 Ultratec Inc. says that it will be laying off more than 600 workers.
- #2 Electric truck maker Rivian will be laying off approximately 840 workers.
- #3 7-Eleven has announced that it will be eliminating 880 corporate jobs.
- #4 Shopify is laying off about 1,000 people.
- #5 Vimeo says that it will be eliminating 6 percent of its current workforce.
- #6 Redfin will be reducing the size of its workforce by 8 percent.
- #7 Compass will be reducing the size of its workforce by 10 percent.
- #8 RE/MAX will be reducing the size of its workforce by 17 percent.
- #9 Robinhood will be reducing the size of its workforce by 23 percent.
- #10 It is being reported that Ford “is preparing to cut as many as 8,000 jobs in the coming weeks”.
- #11 Geico has closed every single one of their offices in the state of California, and that will result in vast numbers of workers losing their jobs.
- #12 Walmart is eliminating about 200 corporate jobs as it contends with rising costs, bloated inventories and weakening demand for general merchandise.
… and yet while initial jobless claims have indeed moved notably higher in recent months, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stubbornly refuses to report the true state of the US labor market, where despite continued softness in the Household Survey where no new jobs have been added since March, the far more politicized Establishment survey – which, after all, is what the Biden administration points toward as the only silver cloud in an otherwise recessionary and hyperinflating economy – has continued to show remarkable resilience and growth in recent months. So much so, that the differential between the Household and Establishment surveys has grown to a record 1.8 million jobs since March.
And while one possible explanation for this bizarre divergence is the record surge in multiple jobholders who now hold both a primary and secondary full-time job…
… even as full and part-time job gains have slumped…
… the truth is that there is no comprehensive explanation for the variation in data. Which, needless to say, is problematic because the “solid” jobs market is one of the very few things that is preventing the Fed from substantially easing back on its hawkish policies (now that peak inflation has clearly been reached… if only for the time being), and the Fed’s sharply higher rates are already wreaking havoc on the housing market not to mention various stock sectors that have also gotten walloped.
But what if the BLS data is not merely “off” due to benign factors such as “residual seasonality” or a post-covid hangover? What if it is intentionally manipulated to make Biden’s economy appear stronger than it is for midterm election purposes even if it means distortions across the entire market?
We bring up all these rhetorical questions because a new survey released by consultancy PwC confirms our previous observations about rampant mass layoffs in the US labor market, and suggests that the true state of the job market is far, far uglier than the alleged 528K job gain reported by the BLS in July would suggest.
In the PwC survey released last Thursday, which last month polled more than 700 US executives and board members across a range of industries, half of respondents said they’re reducing headcount or plan to, and 52% have implemented hiring freezes. At the same time, more than four in ten are rescinding job offers, and a similar amount are reducing or eliminating the sign-on bonuses that had become common to attract talent in a tight job market.
At the same time, though, about two-thirds of firms are boosting pay – for those who keep their jobs – or expanding “mental-health benefits”, because we now live in a liberal dystopia where a growing number of workers are batshit insane.
The findings, as even Bloomberg concludes, illustrate the contradictory nature of today’s labor market, where skilled workers can still largely name their terms amid talent shortages (in high demand sectors like line cooks and bartenders), even as companies look to let people go elsewhere, particularly in hard-hit industries like technology and real estate.
“Firms are playing offense and defense with their talent strategies,” said Bhushan Sethi, joint global leader of PwC’s people and organization practice, noting that employers have to weigh reputational damage and employee morale when planning layoffs. “People have long memories, and social media plays a much bigger role now.”
Of course, reputational damage won’t matter if a company is facing bankruptcy damage by having far too many workers and not enough cash flow.
One big reason for the ongoing crunch in the job market is the treatment of “work from home” – having become a staple during the Scamdemic courtesy of overpaid charlatans such as Anthony Fauci, corporations are increasingly seeking a return to the “old normal” which however is proving to be quite a challenge. As a result, the PwC survey found “contradictions” in companies’ approaches to remote work. While 70% of those surveyed said they’re expanding permanent remote-work options for roles that allow it, 61% said they’re requiring employees to be in the office or job site more often.
To be sure, some organizations could be doing both of those things at once: Roles that don’t require much in-person collaboration could go remote for good, while other staffers could be required to get back to their desks a few times a week. September is shaping up to be a line in the sand for many companies’ return-to-office plans, even though previous so-called RTO deadlines came and went.
One thing is certain: the coming labor shock will have dire and wide-raning consequences on the broader office market: with fewer employees in offices, organizations don’t need as many far-flung locations. As such, more than one in five respondents told PwC that they plan to decrease their investment in real estate, making it the most common area of cutbacks, and yes, fewer employees.
As for the divergence between the rosy official government labor “data” and the dire jobs picture painted by mass-terminating corporations on the ground, we are confident that the delta between the two data sets will promptly and magically resolve itself… right after the midterm elections.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Congressional Witness: Liberals Siding with Corporations to Keep Wages Down via Mass Immigration
Liberals are siding with corporate America over the nation’s workers.
Liberals are siding with corporate America over the nation’s workers in their promotion of mass immigration, a key tool in keeping wages down, Center for Immigration Studies Director of Research Steven Camarota told lawmakers this week.
During a hearing before the House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee, led by Chairman Bob Good (R-VA), Camarota said liberals — such as President Joe Biden — have broken with historical precedent in recent decades to defend the interests of corporations against American workers when it comes to national immigration policy.
“Historically, progressives from Eugene Debs to A. Philip Randolph, they got that if you have lots of immigration, you tend to push down wages,” Camarota said:
Unfortunately, a lot of progressives are lying with corporate America on this — they want low wages. And they’re perfectly happy to ignore this crisis of non-work among working-age people, particularly the U.S.-born. Immigrants haven’t suffered this same problem. It’s particularly U.S.-born men without a college degree and we know it’s a social disaster. [Emphasis added]
Even former President Obama, in his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, admitted that illegal immigration threatened the wages of America’s working class:
"The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century."— NumbersUSA (@NumbersUSA) August 30, 2020
— Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope pic.twitter.com/R10Np1r2m1
As Breitbart News reported, Camarota estimates that more than 44 million native-born Americans remain on the labor market sidelines — not including the millions of native-born Americans counted in monthly unemployment figures.
“If we curtailed immigration and enforced our law, we would be forced to draw these people back which will not be easy … less immigration would be enormously helpful but it is not the only issue,” Camarota said:
One of the things immigration is doing is holding down wages, there’s some crowding out … it’s letting us ignore this problem [of non-work]. If we didn’t have access to all this immigrant labor, employers and the American people … would demand that we try to reinstill the value of work. Raising wages would be one of the most important things to make work more attractive. Immigration lets us not do any of that, including the current flow of massive illegal immigration. [Emphasis added]
‘Bidenomics’ Fail: Food Stamp Bonanza Sends Grocery Bills Soaring 15%, Study Finds
In a classic move by those on the left — democrats, socialists, and everyone in between with seemingly no grasp of what sparks inflation — championed the Biden administration’s move in 2021 to increase food stamp spending by the most in history, hiking benefits by an average of 27%.
In 2022, the Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) spending hit a record high of $119 billion, a sixfold increase over the last two decades. In 2019, taxpayers were on the hook for $4.5 billion per month on food stamp benefits. By December 2022, monthly food stamp spending soared to $11 billion.
According to findings from the government watchdog Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), previewed by Fox News, the administration’s massive expansion of food stamp benefits could be responsible for a 15% spike in grocery store prices.
FGA called Biden’s rush to increase SNAP benefits an “unlawful expansion—which bypassed Congress—will cost taxpayers $250 billion over the next decade and has heavily contributed to soaring grocery prices.”
“Congress should repeal President Biden’s unlawful food stamp expansion and ensure this type of executive overreach cannot happen again. In doing so, Congress could save taxpayers more than $193 billion over the next decade,” it added.
The good news is the emergency allotments expired earlier this year, but food stamp spending remains $8.6 billion in March. The Congressional Budget Office estimates SNAP spending will cost taxpayers nearly $1.1 trillion over the next decade.
“USDA cooked their books to hike food stamp benefits by 27% — the largest permanent increase in program history. And they bypassed Congress to do it,” said Jonathan Ingram, Vice President of Policy and Research at the Foundation for Government Accountability.
Ingram noted, “Data show the Biden administration’s overreach led to massive spikes in grocery prices. They’re feeding inflation, not stopping hunger.”
The index for food at home (groceries) has skyrocketed ever since Biden increased SNAP benefits.
As food inflation soared, Biden’s officials, seemingly detached from economic reality, pointed the finger at food companies for raging food inflation.
If FGA is correct, this is another sign that ‘Bidenomics’ has been a disaster for low/mid-tier consumers drowning in inflation.
It’s one giant EBT party…This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Endgame: US Federal Debt Interest Payments About To Hit $1 Trillion
There was a shocking number in today’s latest monthly US Budget Deficit report. No, it wasn’t that US government outlays unexpectedly soared 15% to $646 billion in June, up almost $100 billion from a year ago…
… while tax receipts slumped 9.2% from $461 billion to $418 billion, resulting in a TTM government receipt drop of over 7.3%, the biggest since June 2020 when the US was reeling from the covid lockdown recession; in fact never have before tax receipts suffered such a big drop without the US entering a recession.
Needless to say, surging government outlays coupled with shrinking tax revenues meant that in June, the US budget deficit nearly tripled from $89 billion a year ago to $228 billion, far greater than the consensus estimate of $175 billion. One can only imagine which Ukrainian billionaire oligarch’s money laundering bank account is currently enjoying the benefits of that unexpected incremental $50 billion US deficit hole: we know for a fact that the FBI will never get to the bottom of that one, since they can’t even figure out who dumped a bunch of blow inside the White House – the most protected and surveilled structure in the entire world.
And with the monthly deficits coming in higher than expected and also far higher than a year ago, it is also not at all surprising that the cumulative deficit 9 months into the fiscal year is already the 3rd highest on record, surpassed only by the crisis years of 2020 and 2021: at $1.393 trillion, the fiscal 2022 YTD deficit is already up 170% compared to the same period last year.
Again, while sad, none of the above numbers are surprising: they merely confirm that the US is on an ever faster-track to fiscal death, but not before the Fed is forced to monetize the debt once again (one wonders what financial crisis the Jekyll Island folks will invoke this time to greenlight the next multi-trillion QE).
No, the one number that was truly shocking was found all the way on page 9, deep inside Table 3 of the latest Treasury Monthly Statement: the only highlighted below, and which shows that in the 9 months of the current fiscal year, the US has already accumulated a record $652 billion in gross debt interest.
This number was more than 25% higher compared to the Interest Expense payment for the comparable period a year ago, which amounted to $521 billion.
Soaring interest rates, driven by the panicked Fed’s scramble to undo its epic policy failure of 2020 and 2021 when the Fed kept rates at zero for far too long while injecting trillions into various asset bubbles, have been the key driver of the deficit, with the Federal Reserve boosting its benchmark rate by 5% since it began hiking in March last year. Five-year Treasury yields are now about 3.96%, versus 1.35% at the start of last year. As lower-yielding securities mature, the Treasury faces steady increases in the rates it pays on outstanding debt: that’s right – even when the Fed starts cutting rates, due to the delay of rolling over maturing debt, actual interest payments will keep rising for the foreseeable future.
For context, the weighted average interest for total outstanding debt at the end of June was only 2.76%, a level that’s not been surpassed since January 2012, according to the Treasury. That’s up from 1.80% a year before, the department’s data show, and if the Fed indeed keeps rates “higher for longer”, the blended rate on the debt will surpass 4% in one year.
That would be a complete disaster for the US, and it would mean that interest payments on total US debt of $32.3 trillion would hit $1.3 trillion within 12 months, potentially making interest on the debt the single biggest US government expenditure and surpassing social security!
But we don’t even have to wait that long until the exploding interest on US government debt becomes a major talking point ahead of the coming presidential elections. According to the St Louis Fed’s FRED and the BEA, the interest payments by the Federal Government have now surpassed $900 billion for the first time ever, and within a quarter will hit probably rise above $1 trillion, a historic benchmark that will probably begin the countdown to the US Minsky Moment.
One of the most incompetent puppets in the Biden admin (and there are countless), Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, has played down concerns about higher rates. She has instead flagged that the ratio of interest payments to GDP, after adjustment for inflation, remains historically low. The problem with Yellen’s argument is that GDP will crater after the next recession (which will also spark the next financial crisis, one which Yellen will not live to see), but US debt will never again drop in either absolute or relative terms, as the good folks at the CBO have been so kind to make clear to even such intellectual midgets as the former Fed chairwoman.
In short, the endgame has now arrived, and all the US can do now is rearrange the deck chairs.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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