Jun 4 2017

Those not in the labor force grew by 608,000 last month to 95 million: We’ve added more than 16 million people to this shadow army of non-workers over the last decade.

Another month and the army of “not in the labor force” Americans continues to grow in record fashion.  So of course, the employment rate looks fantastic when you yank out 95 million people from your analysis.  Last month a stunning 608,000 people were added to the not in the labor force category.  Sure, some of this is accounted from old Americans hitting retirement age but definitely not to this outsized level.  The labor force figures don’t really shed a great light on the employment situation in the United States.  For example, you also have millions of young Americans working in low paying jobs but are burdened by extremely high student debt.  Is it a problem that we added 608,000 people to the not in the labor force category?

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May 29 2017

The dollar store economy: Dollar General openings account for 80 percent of new stores in the US and largest occupation in US is in retail

The death of retail is a very real thing.  Amazon and other online retailers are simply shifting the way people shop in dramatic fashion.  Yet you have to realize that Amazon does have a minimum buy for free shipping and not everything is rock bottom cheap.  Also, food is still marked up on Amazon so if you are on a tight budget this will not work.  So what are Americans to do?  Many are opting to shop at rock bottom priced stores like Dollar General.  Really cheap items and food.  The basics.  What is telling is that Dollar General, the king of dollar stores accounted for a stunning 80 percent of new store openings in the US.  While other retail outlets are dropping like flies Dollar General is growing to fit a new niche:  the millions of broke Americans that still need food and need cheap goods.

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May 21 2017

The debt spending binge: Household debt has surpassed record levels reached during 2008 Great Recession.

Debt spending is once again keeping the economy afloat.  People are leveraging future income on buying items today on the basis that the economy is not going to have a hiccup.  On some reports you see pundits mentioning that delinquencies remain low.  Well things were fine too before the Great Recession hit.  Once again we are teetering on the brink of a solvency crisis should the economy have a slight turn.  People are living beyond their means and banks are gaming the system once again.  A recent report by the New York Fed shows that household debt has now reached a new record.  What is more problematic is much of the debt increase is coming from student loans, auto debt, and credit cards.

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May 15 2017

Amazon is annihilating the Department Store faster than you think with 80 million prime subscribers: 4 charts showing the destruction of the department store.

If you enjoy the process of shopping at department stores you may want to get it out of your system sooner rather than later.  Forget about the fact that the US has built a ridiculous amount of mall space thinking that Americans were perpetually going to only buy in-person in cavernous florescent light stores.  Amazon has set the new model of shopping and how can you beat shopping in your pajamas?  After recently purchasing a big piece of furniture online, I can see why department stores are in big trouble.  The recent list of retail bankruptcies are only going to grow larger.  People have made a conscious decision and are voting with their wallets online.  The word of the day is “disruption” and it is happening much more quickly than expected.  When you look at these three charts you can see that retail is in deep trouble.

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May 7 2017

Debt Apocalypse: US Student and Auto Loans Hit New Record of $2.6 Trillion.

American consumers are once again spending beyond their means.  Just a few months ago there was a startling headline reporting that US consumers now had over $1 trillion in credit card debt outstanding.  That seemed astonishing in itself but now looking at debt levels in other sectors we find that auto loans outstanding are also over $1 trillion.  Keep in mind this is for an item that will lose value once it is taken off the lot.  You also have student debt over $1.4 trillion which is amazing given many young Americans are working in jobs that really don’t require a college degree.  The debt apocalypse is once again upon us and we better hope the economy keeps on running on fumes or we will be confronted with another solvency crisis shortly.

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