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Monday, November 09, 2015

Jobs Report Misinterpreted

Last week, the government reported that 271,000 new jobs were created in the month of October, much to the surprise of markets. Stocks and bonds tumbled on the belief that this would give the Fed permission to raise interest rates to slow an overheating economy.

Apparently, no one realized that the Employment Report is one of the most lagging indicators of the economy. The good news on jobs reflects the economy as it was several months ago. It's not unusual to see a high number of new jobs being reported just before the economy dips into recession. Other data series which are more up-to-date show the economy in a position which has led to recession shortly thereafter. That's not to say they are saying we're about to enter recession. But, they are saying that the Fed had better not take the most lagging indicator into consideration when hiking interest rates.

With corporate earnings sliding, many corporations are over-indebted today due to borrowing money to buy back their shares and artificially boost earnings. The JNK ETF reflects a strong downtrend that is a forecast of a falling economy. The last time the Fed hiked rates in 2007 they did so in a declining economy and that led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. Will they do it again?

Well, when you consider that most of the Fed members are lawyers and not economists, it doesn't look good for the economy or the country.