U.S. Businesses Reported 10.9 Million Job Openings, Far Outnumbering the 8.7 Million People Unemployed… Employers claim they can’t find qualified workers, even though millions remain on the unemployment rolls.
What it means— As we have reported earlier, we’re dealing with two related, structural issues. Many workers who left the job market and took their skills with them, including those who retired, aren’t coming back. Their houses are worth more and their retirement accounts have grown. This group leaves behind a vacuum that can’t be filled quickly by new, untrained workers. To get a sense of the problem, hop onto Indeed.com and search for entry-level jobs. Most of the results will ask for years of experience.
Employers will have to get comfortable with on-the-job training. Unfortunately, these programs kill productivity in the short run and cause inflation, as companies pay to employ and train workers who don’t immediately add to the bottom line.
European Central Bankers Cut Bond Purchases… Members of the European Central Bank (ECB) agreed to reduce their bond purchases by a small amount over the fourth quarter as the euro area’s economy improves.
What it means— ECB President Christine Lagarde told reporters, “The lady isn’t tapering.” She went on to say that it’s a “recalibration.” Hmm. She and the other bankers agreed to purchase fewer bonds under their emergency program. That’s tapering.
Her semantic game doesn’t matter. The bankers noted that GDP for the euro area is picking up and that inflation, while not near their target, has moved the right direction, so they are comfortable reducing their bond purchases from roughly $90 billion per month down to +/-$70 billion. But don’t think that they’re out of the market manipulation game. The ECB is still buying bonds through other programs and holding the large deposit rate at negative 0.50%. The bankers expect inflation to be 1.5% next year, which is still well below their 2% target. Investors expected the bankers to taper, so there wasn’t much of a reaction in the markets.
The U.S. Government Nears Its Debt Ceiling… The latest limit on U.S. debt expired on August 1. If congresspersons don’t agree to a higher limit or a suspension of the limit, then the government will run out of cash sometime this fall.
What it means— Who had “Congress will create its own crisis and then fail to solve it, causing inconvenience and pain for citizens” on their bingo card? Oh, that’s right, all of us have that square, because it happens so often.
The last time we went through a debt-ceiling crisis, the government shut down for a while, and then Congress closed national parks to make sure the rest of us felt some pain. When they finally agreed to a deal, they gave themselves and all federal workers back pay to cover the days they missed, so essentially taxpayers funded a multi-day federal worker holiday. Awesome.
The debt-ceiling issue is a shell game. The government decides at different times what it will spend and how much it can borrow, which leads to idiotic situations like this one. Janet Yellen brought up the issue this week and warned Congress to fix it. Mitch McConnell wants Democrats to pass it on their own through budget reconciliation. Nancy Pelosi said, “No way,” because she doesn’t want it to be a Democrats-only vote. In the end, it doesn’t matter. They will raise or suspend the debt ceiling. The spending has already been decided. Meanwhile, Treasury will borrow from Social Security, the Thrift Savings Plan and Railroad Retirement funds to pay bills until the charade is over.
Biden Orders Federal Employees To Get Vaccinated or Lose Their Jobs, Directs Department of Labor (DOL) To Require Vaccinations or Frequent Testing at Large Employers… To address rising COVID-19 infections, President Biden laid out a plan for increasing vaccinations among adults by putting pressure on workers and employers.
What it means— President Biden expressed exasperation with Americans who have chosen to remain unvaccinated, telling them that his patience has worn thin. It’s not clear how that will play with the 90 million Americans who haven’t been vaccinated. In the summer of 2020, before the vaccines were developed, 20% of Americans said they were very unlikely to get a shot if it were made available and another 15% said they were unlikely. The 20% against vaccines hasn’t changed and equates to 65 million people.
As for delineating between federal workers and everyone else, there is a caveat. The administration exempted U.S. postal workers from the federal mandate and directed the DOL to treat them as a private employer, even though the USPS is an agency of the U.S. government and under law postal workers must be treated like other federal workers. It probably helps to have robust union representation. It’s just another version of the government elite’s “good for thee but not for me” policies.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Puts Warning Label on U.S. Historical Documents… The NARA decided that our historical documents, including the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, and Bill of Rights, could be “harmful or difficult to view.” “Who’da thunk it?”
On the National Archives website, the NARA put a warning across the entire catalog that reads, in part, “…[S]ome of the materials presented here may reflect outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions. In addition, some of the materials may relate to violent or graphic events and are preserved for their historical significance.”
Data supplied by HS Dent Research
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What do you do?” ~ John Maynard Keynes
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