Why Janet Ain’t Yellin’ “Higher Interest” Anymore: Jobs Worse than Expected and Far Worse than Reported

Plane made of burning dollar bills symbolizes price inflation and the Fed moving to digital currency

In the fall of 2015, I said the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates once in December then would not be able to fly any higher thereafter. The stock market would crash shortly after the Fed pulled up on the interest stick (which it did in what became the worst January in stock-market history), and then the Fed’s hopes of recovery would fade away.

I also said that, in spite of a continually degrading economic situation around the world, the Fed would badly want to lift its interest target again in order to prove its recovery had recovered from the first lift. The fact that it would not be able to without stalling the economy completely wouldn’t mean it wouldn’t try. If it did try, however, it would find out in hindsight that any additional pull back on the stick would crash the economy into the dust of the earth.

Here we are half a year later. The collapse did not continue down as quickly as I thought it would. The stock market and oil market stabilized and recovered after January, but the US and global economy remain on a downward flight path, evidenced by falling GDP stats and rapidly declining job numbers.

The Fed certainly appears to be trapped. Fed officials have pounded the pavement to talk about their intention to raise interest rates, but every month faces additional reasons that the Fed is unable to do so.


You can put a toe tag on the Fed’s fake recovery now


The Fed’s plane called Recovery is disintegrating slowly, rather than in one huge blow-up. Six months out from lift off, it is clear that the forces against another rate increase are growing worse month by month.

The Fed’s chances of pulling up any higher are getting rapidly smaller. Globally, there is talk of Brexit and Grexit, and China is looking like a mountainside that could slide any day now. Japan’s one-hundredth attempt at economic recovery through quantitative wheezing has failed completely. Much of the world had descended into Alice’s Wonderland of negative interest rates for the first time in world history, as a last-ditch attempt to recover from the Great Recession (and to recover from their central banks’ failed recovery attempts). Two major European banks are failing, and Venezuela and Brazil have collapsed into economic chaos. (And that’s just a sprinkling of current headlines.)

Yet, the worst news for the Fed is right at home. The Fed’s plane never made it more than a few feet above the runway when the illusory jobs recovery flew like a goose into the Fed’s left engine this week just as Captain Yellen was hoping to pull back on the stick for one more attempt to gain some interest altitude.

Yellen’s ground announcers had let the airshow crowd know they should watch her next trick, so the crowd was attentively watching for the much anticipated rate rise. Then down the plane’s nose dropped in what looked like a clumsily aborted take off, nearly skidding the nose cone back onto the runway. Whew! Many people must be asking, “Can she even fly that thing?”

Month after month, the Federal Reserve proves it is incapable of lifting off, though it keeps saying it will do so. It hinted at four rate increases in 2016, and so far has made exactly … none.

Morgan Stanley compares the Recovery’s present flight attitude to the Great Depression:


“We think that the current macroeconomic environment has a number of significant similarities with the 1930s…. The critical similarity between the 1930s and the 2008 cycle is that the financial shock and the relatively high levels of indebtedness changed the risk attitudes of the private sector and triggered them to repair their balance sheets….”

“In 1936-37, the premature and sharp pace of tightening of policies led to a double-dip in the U.S. economy, resulting in a relapse into recession and deflation in 1938,” the analysts wrote. “Similarly, in the current cycle, as growth recovered, policy-makers proceeded to tighten fiscal policy, which has contributed to a slowdown in growth in recent quarters.” (NewsMax)


In talking about 2016, I said the crash to come would be a second dip into the Great Recession. The Fed has shown that it fears even a mosquito-sized raise in interest altitude after half a year of skimming the runway could precipitate disaster.

No recovery is real if it can only exist under artificial life support, and this recovery has proved that it cannot exist outside of that artificial environment. At The Great Recession Blog, I have maintained for years that the Fed’s recovery would die the second all life support ended, and the following job figures will show you that it is, in fact, dying.

Lipstick ain’t gonna make this pig perdy. Says Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co., concerning the latest jobs report:


It’s definitely the most concerning signal we’ve got recently.



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Five indicators on the job market dashboard are red and there’s a bird in every engine


#1 Jobs report worse than expected and much worse than reported

The worst economic indicator of the past week was an abysmal jobs report — the measure of new jobs announced. It was by far the worst jobs report in almost six years, showing a paltry gain of only 38,000 new jobs added to the economy while the number of working-age adults rose by 205,000.

Moreover, the number of new jobs that had been reported positively in the two previous months also proved deceptive and was revised down significantly. (That, of course, was tucked away in the fine print.)

To put a positive spin on hideous numbers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, which should simply be BS) reported 484,000 formerly unemployed people are no longer unemployed. That’s fantastic! Well, except they omitted the banal explanation that this was simply because most of those people had been unemployed so long that their unemployment benefits expired. (Sighs. Just when you might have thought you felt some lift.)

Moreover, an all-time record of 94.5 million Americans are not part of the labor force. 180,000 more joined that number in May.

As Jim Quinn said on The Burning Platform,


We only need the other 7.4 million “officially” unemployed Americans to leave the work force and we’ll have 0% unemployment. At the current pace we should be there by election time…. Not one single full-time job has been added in 2016. There were 6,000 less full-time jobs in May than in January, while there are 572,000 more low paying, no benefits, part-time Obama service jobs. Sounds like a recovery to me.

It gets even better. The birth death excel spreadsheet “adjustment” added 224,000 phantom jobs into the May calculation. The lies – they burn…. IT’S ADJUSTMENT IS DEAD WRONG. In reality, jobs should be subtracted from the total. It added 231,000 phantom jobs in April too. The jobs numbers are much worse than the bad numbers being reported.


In other words, we would have actually had a report that said we had a net loss of jobs in May if not for some major “adjustments.” I commented last January on how the BLS reported a gain of 292,000 jobs for December, while only 11,000 of those were real jobs. The rest were upward statistical “adjustments” due to the unseasonably warm winter. Then I noted that the previous year, the BLS had adjusted jobs upward by about the same amount due to the unseasonably cold winter.

What is stunning is not the fact that BLS reports are complete fabrications, but that no one commented on how the upward revisions from actual to “adjusted” jobs was about the same amount each year for completely opposite reasons. What’s stunning is how many people in the financial industry and the financial media continue to put stock in these statistics, which are meaningless because of how arbitrary and inconsistent the adjustments are. Yet, these manipulated job numbers are routinely reported as if they are simple facts.

Apparently, even the Bureau of Lying Statistics was not able to find sufficient reasons to pump the numbers up enough this month to make May look good because they said there were no special factors related to the sharp fall in the jobs market. You know things must be bad when the BLS runs out of BS.

As Jim Quinn continued,


When you see lies, misinformation and deceitfulness at this level, you have to ask yourself whether this entire debt supported house of cards is about to fall. The smell of desperation is in the air. The MSM stories about a booming economy are rolled out on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the average family is being crushed by Obamacare, rising rents, rising food costs, and no interest on any savings they might have left.


Those dismal readings came in as the Fed reported that inflation is keeping its head down (because rising inflation would force the Fed to pull back hard on the interest stick and stall the Recovery. The Fed, however, formulates its inflation readings by factoring out most of the things households pay more for, such as health-care costs, and by having people guess at the rental value of the homes they are buying as a way of determining housing costs, even though most people have no educated basis for knowing the rental value of the home they are buying.

Economists — lately the worst people for seeing a recession when it is coming (or even after it is here) –expected jobs to rise by 164,000, so they were off by more than 400%, even with all the help from BLS adjustments. Not surprising. If you want to be guided forward those who couldn’t even see the Great Recession when it had already arrived, do so at your own peril.

Here are the basics: we need about 200,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth due to birth and immigration. The monthly average over the last three months has been barely over half that much at 116,000 jobs added to the economy per month. Last year’s pace was almost double that at 229,000 jobs a month, so you can see how much the jobs economy has fallen off this year. The very gauge Janet Yellen likely watches most on the “dashboard” she talks about has dropped by half since the Fed declared its first minuscule pull up in interest rates. That’s a severe drop in performance.

Keeping up with population growth is, however, a little different than keeping up with labor-force growth because it takes awhile for babies to enter the workforce. The Wall Street Journal recently calculated we need 145,000 jobs a month just to keep up with growth in the labor force as babies grow to working age, migrants enter, and retirees exit, leaving their jobs open for others. The monthly average in new jobs this year is clearly well below that, too.


#2 Unemployment benefit claims on the rise and also worse than expected

New jobless claims (unemployment-benefit claims) for May rose by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 277,000 new claims. Economists had expected claims to rise some, but not that much.

The number of people continuing on unemployment also rose by 45,000 to a total of 2.16 million, and the four-week moving average, which is the preferred measure, shifted from continued gradual improvement to a slight worsening, moving 1,000 people higher.

Belief that the Fed would raise rates in June or July was prevalent until the May jobs report punched a hole through one of the Recovery’s wings, changing everyone’s outlook, including the Fed’s.

Writes Joel Narroff on NewsMax,


Slowing job growth seems to have spooked the Fed and the members are becoming less certain about multiple rate hikes this year.


Instead of just one FOMC member expecting only one interest-rate hike this year, there are now six. So, the Recovery’s attitude has shifted considerably in just one week because of this bolide through its wing.

The “quits rate” also shifted from slowly rising to slowly falling. Seen as an indicator of how confident people are about the jobs market, the “quits rate” tracks how many people quit their jobs, perhaps because they got a better job offer or because they have decided to retire, or whatever. It has been moving up for years, but slumped this week into a marginal decline.


#3 Fed Labor Market Condition Index crashes

In 2014, Chairman Yellen, head of our central economic (or is that comic?) planners, said,


Federal Reserve Board staff developed a labor market conditions index from 19 labor market indicators…. This broadly based metric supports the conclusion that the labor market has improved significantly over the past year. (Zero Hedge)


Not wanting to admit the Fed’s recovery has failed, Yellen said this month that the Labor Market Conditions Index is “experimental.” It’s not saying what they want, so now it is relegated to the “experimental” box because it looks, frankly, horrible. It has moved rapidly from slightly positive at the start of the year to a -5 at present, its worst level in years.




As you can see, the last time the Fed’s LMCI dipped this low, we were just entering the Great Recession. The time before that, we were about to enter the dot-com bust. Drops to this level usually indicate we have just started a recession or are about to enter one. If you look closely at the chart above, you can see that the LMCI began to dive at the end of 2015 exactly when the Fed made its first minuscule tug back on the stick to raise interest rates.


#4 Wages are falling again, too

Lance Roberts writes on his Real Investment Advice that the Fed has found the end of the road:


Despite the rhetoric of stronger employment and economic growth – plunging imports and exports, falling corporate profits, collapsing manufacturing and falling wages all suggest the economy is in no shape to withstand tighter monetary policy at this juncture.

Of course, if the Fed openly suggested a “recession” could well be in the cards, the markets would sell off sharply, consumer confidence would drop and a recession would be pulled forward to the present


The Fed cannot come out and say we are entering a recession without its words becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Roberts also points out that the Fed has just released its lowest projections for future US GDP since 2012. To make matters worse, the Fed’s projections notoriously overshoot reality.

The Fed has said many times that the final sign of solid recovery they are looking for is a rise in wages. So, the fact that wages started dropping almost as soon as they appeared to be rising has to leave Fed’s Board of Governors feeling a little queasy about pitch and yaw in the Recovery’s flight.

Adjusted for inflation, wages dropped 0.1% in April and remained completely flat in May.


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#5 The jobs that have been added under Obama are worse than the jobs they replaced


As Zero Hedge reported, the US added a net 455,000 waiters and bartenders since the close of 2014 while it lost a net 10,000 manufacturing jobs.

A longer-term look at the change in employment demographics since the start of the Great Recession reveals that the number of waiters and bartenders has risen by 1.6 million while the number of manufacturing workers has dropped by 1.5 million — almost an equal displacement.

As I have reported a couple of times, the number of new immigrants during Obama’s reign is roughly equal to the number of new jobs added under Obama, so do the math as to where all of the new lower-paying jobs have gone as Americans who had better jobs have been continually exiting the work force (probably because they’re not willing to take the pay cuts necessary to compete for these new jobs). The peasant economy is recovering, as is the wealth of the top 10%. The American Middle Class, however, was kicked off the plane, disembarking through the tail door while immigrants boarded through the front door, whether they had tickets or not.

The problem got worse in May, which saw a broad decline in jobs across half of the job sectors measured. Most of the actual job gains that made up May’s paltry job gains came from Obamacare. 67,000 jobs were added under Education and Health. 13,000 were added under Government. 11,000 under Leisure and Hospitality, and the Finance world did OK with a gain of about 9,000 while Manufacturing, Wholesale, Mining and Logging, Construction and Temp Help all saw losses. Information, which would include the computer industry, also saw large losses. Healthcare jobs, however, gained enough to pull the net job figures from what would have been a loss in May to the meager reported gain of 38,000 jobs.

May saw a net loss of 59,000 full-time jobs and a net gain of 118,000 part-time jobs, which are counted with the same weight as full-time jobs.

This time it wasn’t the weather.

In every respect, when you dig through the details, the Fed’s job report card gave the Fed a grade “D” for “Dismal.” In the face of that, there was not a chance in the world the Fed’s flight crew would find themselves able to raise interest. They can crow all they want about how they’re going to in order to try to maintain the illusion of recovery, but their dashboard is blinking a lot of red lights. The stall buzzer is screaming, and the altimeter for jobs is rapidly falling now that growth has gone negative compared to the needs of the growing work force.

If Janet is yellin’ anything, it’s “Grab the golden parachutes!”


I would love to say “the Fed is dead,” but I’m afraid the monster at the helm lives on. Even though its recovery is falling out of the sky, hope dies hard. The failure of its fake recovery should bring about the Fed’s own execution since it brought all of this upon us with its policies of sloppy debt enticements and its bizarre notion that an economy can be built over an ever-expanding chasm of debt — a core idea so obviously stupid that it’s hard to believe the Fed can convince so many seemingly smart people to buy into it; but buy into it they still do … in spite of rampant signs of economic collapse everywhere in the world now and in spite of the fact that the Fed’s policy of saving the nation economically has only enriched the rich. We all know that, but we let them fumble on in the cockpit, blindfolded by their own ideas.


Not Fed-up yet, here’s more Fed folly:

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  1. Ping from Chris P:

    A great job of reporting the truth out there. If we could just find a way to put it on CNN’s telapromter tonight it would be stunning.

    I’m afraid Janet is going to turn Japanese with her controls soon and take a steep dive into main street as any good Kamakazi would

  2. Ping from SageOwexford:

    Very well-written piece. Having been a Registered Investment Adviser for over 20 years, I began exiting the stock market in 1999 because of the garbage data coming out of Washington and Corporation America. Kind of like measuring a log with a micrometer and cutting it with a chain saw. There was no logical or readily verifiable way to confirm any economic data or real earnings, so it was like throwing darts when it came to investing in stocks. My clients did very well in 2000 and 2001 with short index positions and gold mining stocks.

    We are already in the Second Phase of the Obama Greater Depression. The Collapse of 2008 was only the opening salvo in an adjustment period of Debt Repudiation that the Central Banksters have made only worse to date. I wager that increasing interest rates to 1% at the Fed Funds level before Xmas of 2016 would do more good for the economy, in the private sector, than the harm to Uncle Sam’s refinancing costs on Obama’s new mountain of Federal Debt. However, I think I will see pigs fly first, but that could just be a Congress Person on an airplane!

    The hollowing out of the Middle Class continues, but this is the demographic that is well-educated, mobile, and has fought for the 2nd Amendment at every turn. Outlawing AR-15’s will not stop illegal aliens of the criminal variety and other gangsters from getting them. Putin probably has a secure server that sells to them direct, fresh from his Siberian factory. Americans will rise up and do more than protest when they have had enough. They always do. The Federal Reserve will either be severely restricted in its activities going forward after the MEGA-RESET coming, or be abolished altogether. Americans work too hard to have the fruits of their labors stolen by banks and the Federal Reserve’s NON-PAYMENT OF INTEREST ON THEIR CASH BALANCES. If I borrow your car to commit a robbery, isn’t that a double felony.

    The stock market is hanging on vapors. Do not let the newsletter commentator “experts” discourage you from new purchases of gold and silver and diamonds even a day before Brexit fails. It probably will fail, but the citizens of the UK have dug their own financial graves long before this with embracing the something-for-nothing tenets of socialism for decades now. Just a pause in the eventual collapse of the European Union, a grossly flawed concept from the get-go.

    • Ping from Knave_Dave:

      Welcome to the blog, Wexford Sage. I hope you are right that people will rise in mass against the greed of banksters, but so far they are sitting silently even in countries where their savings are being skimmed monthly by banks that have started charging interest on savings and checking accounts. In places like Japan people seem to be saying, “Oh, well, I guess this is what needs to happen in order to save the economy. We need to let the banks slowly pilfer our savings.”

      In most countries, of course, the banks that are being charged interest on their reserve accounts by their own central banks are not passing on the new FEE because they are afraid depositors will rebel. Still, it is mind-boggling to me that people sit by silently as their politicians and central bankers tell them this is “negative interest” done for essential stimulus reasons. (See my article published yesterday on this subject.)

      Negative interest — always talked about in the context of the next move after zero-interest policy proved insufficient — would be the bank paying you to take a loan … or central banks paying their member banks to take more new fiat money to the extent that they are able to loan it out (thus encouraging banks to drop their interest even lower to push the loans).

      People are acting like zombies, saying, “Well, this is what needs to happen to save the economy.”

      I think you are right that the next plunge over the cliff will come with a lot of rebellion against central banks, but I’m not certain. The media accepts anything the “experts” tell them without even questioning it, and people keep accepting anything they are told is necessary.

      Thus, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that all the fear-mongering over on what I take to be your side of the pond about Brexit works and stops the masses from rebelling against the EU by pulling out. I haven’t heard a single positive argument for staying, only fear-raising argument about what chaos it will cause if they leave.

      Well, of course, it will cause chaos if we all start fleeing our banks or if we refuse to bail the big bastards out and let them fall on us; but facing that pain and working through it is the only thing that is going to strip power from the establishment.

      As for the assault rifles, many of the largest violent crimes over here in the US were committed with weapons that are already illegal. Yet, people are so dumb that, whenever the politicians say we need to make more weapons illegal to stop this kind of stuff, fifty percent of the population agrees. If making the weapon illegal didn’t stop that particular crime that got everyone upset from happening, why would making other weapons illegal stop anything from happening? Obviously, the criminal who committed the mass murder managed to get the illegal weapon that he used. He doesn’t need a different illegal weapon when the one he used apparently worked quite fine for him.

      It’s absurd.

      People let central banks create trillions in new money and give it all to banksters, and no one seems to have thought of saying, “Hold it! If you can create trillions of new dollars or pounds and not create hyper-inflation, why didn’t you let those massive banks fail and then create the trillions in new bank accounts in solid smaller banks, earmarked in the names of all the depositors in the banks that failed?” That wouldn’t have created hyperinflation either because it’s merely a ledger transaction that maintains the exact same money supply. Trillions are wiped out of the money supply where it is held by the greedy banks, and the same trillions are created in a solid, small, healthy banks. All you’ve done is put people in charge of holding the money who have proved they are up to the job.

      But that was apparently inconceivable. The only thing bankers and people could understand was that we have to save the rich by socializing the cost of their failures. No one was willing to brave seeing what would happen if we just let the banks collapse and saved the depositors by creating new money elsewhere. I think the risks would have been far lower than the risks from QE.

      I hope you’re right, and the anger that Donald Trump is able to pull into some focus is, at least, a sign that people are becoming less willing to go along with the establishment. Likewise with the anger Sanders has focused on the other side. We’ll find out tomorrow whether the anti-establishment politicians in the UK succeed in harnessing that anger against the entrenched establishment of the EU or if fear, once again, keeps people from rebelling. If they finally tear the EU apart, there will be hope, indeed.

      Let the chaos of restructuring begin.


  3. Ping from disqus_mma68NTtry:

    I hope the Liar in Chief is never ever given another job in this country public or private and added to the Unemployment rolls. Sadly this man needs to become a statistic…of the very real nightmares people are facing. Until we the peole take back over….were going to see the continued pilfering and plundering of our wealth and health. That ain’t how the system was designed you fools in Washington….which still don’t seem to get the message.

  4. Ping from Poke:

    OH WAIT !! YA mean de Liar and Thief is gonna have ta confess ta peoples being outta work. ???
    And here I THALT ever body wuz over employed and wages were gonna b cut cause times were too good. Hey……..And hear tell Obama’s poopulation has risen above de Richter scale. Hell…….
    they’re expectin a Tsunami at de Cub’s game tonite.

  5. Ping from Ranger:

    The First and Second Central Banks of the United States were found to be so filthy and corrupted that Andrew Jackson finally shut the Second Central Bank down and withdrew all the U.S. Money from it.
    Telling them that they were a den of vipers and thieves. The Central Bank(s) would profit from their successes and split the profits between themselves. When they lost money, the Central Bankers would socialize the loses to the public.
    Once Jackson shut down the Second Central Bank, the United States over the next 50+ years was the most and largest creditor nation on earth. We were prosperous. No debt, no interest paid to a privately owned for profit Central Bank.
    Today, since 1913 when the Central Bank came back by means of a corrupted and criminal Congress, we are indebted to the Central Bankers for over $21 Trillion Dollars!

    Maybe it’s time we stopped worrying about anything else in this nation, and focus fully on closing down the Federal Reserve Central Bank Corporation, and arrest every member of the Federal Reserve. Then, confiscate every account, piece of property, and prosecute them. Once prosecuted and found guilty, they should be hung from their necks until dead in a public event that is televised to the world.
    Let the next Central Bankers know what will happen next time!!

    • Ping from Knave_Dave:

      Thanks for the perspective with Jackson. Maybe, if Trump winds up getting in, he’ll become the next Andrew Jackson. It’s time to remind banksters and politicians that power descends from the people and just annul the debts owed to the banisters so the last laugh is on them, as they thing they’ve taken it all only to find they gave everyone free loans. Doubt we’ll see that happen, but it would be a just outcome.

      Welcome to the blog, Ranger.


  6. Ping from Auldenemy:

    ‘The collapse did not continue down as quickly as I thought it would. The stock market and oil market stabilized and recovered after January.’

    On 12 February, with stock markets tanking, it was noted that Yellen made phone calls to Mark Carney of the BOE, also the ECB and BOJ. All of sudden markets started to recover. The fat finger of the Fed and PPT is everywhere. My personal theory on the oil price recovery is down to massive PPT intervention. US banks are straddled with too many mega sized shale oil loans to stand back and watch that industry get wiped out.

    • Ping from Knave_Dave:

      I am inclined to believe you are right about it only being saved by direction intervention of the central banks. I cannot prove it, but the phone calls that timed with the market’s turnaround, the emergency meetings of the Fed’s Board of Governors and of the Fed Chair with the president and vice president at the same time that the oil market rebounded, all look like direct intervention by the Fed — no longer just front-running the market by creating money and announcing they will sop up all the US bonds banks want to buy, but probably buying the market through proxies at specific times to turn it around.

      We know the Chinese did this, and we know the Fed admits to intentionally front-running the US stock market, so why wouldn’t they get as involved as China has if that is what it takes to save their recovery. However, the further they play this out, the harder I think it will crash around them.


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  8. Ping from Craig Mouldey:

    Is my understanding correct that if a person has 3 low wage part time jobs the government calls that 3 jobs or 3 persons employed? They are using funny arithmatic but they are not fooling everyone. I still think at some point the financial system will suddenly enter a crisis. A big, unavoidable crisis. The sort that has martial law declared because it also brings down what is left of much of the economy, ie jobs and wages. I would not wish to live in a big city when this occurs.

  9. Ping from Creepy Pedro:

    Dave excellent piece as usual. I think you should include a small youtube video after though, because it sums up the dead economy in such a powerful way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsx2vdn7gpY

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