Seasonally Adjusted Data: Does It Make The Data More Useful?

The Data You Rely On Might As Well Be Picked From A Cloud

Employment Numbers Are A Driving Market Statistic

Twelve times a year the financial markets sit on the edge of their seats waiting for the release of the Non-Farm Payroll data. Stock prices can soar or sink, politicians can claim success or suffer negative headlines and in theory, businesses just might alter future business plans based on what they are seeing.

Earlier this month I asked if we live in a seasonally adjusted world:

https://ejmoosa.com/do-you-function-in-a-seasonally-adjusted-world/

What other aspects of our life are seasonally adjusted when we are given the data? Not many if any at all. You would not shop for a vehicle using seasonally adjusted pricing. Nor would you dress properly for winter with a seasonally adjusted forecast.

Magnitude of the Adjustments

Watching Fox Business News or CNBC and watching the guests discuss their estimates for the Non-Farm Payroll number, never did I imagine the magnitude of the adjustments being made. For example, if the estimates ranged from 175k to 250k, I thought the Seasonal adjustment might be 40-50,000. Not the magnitude I found. Let’s have a look:(remember that the Seasonally adjusted data released is the real number plus( or minus) the numbers for the month listed below):

Jan:  3,050,000

Feb:  (691,636)

March: (603,545)

April: (853,545)

May: (593,929)

June: (326,364)

July: 1,271,000

August: (156,700)

Sept.: (378,300)

October: (780,300)

Nov: (277,400)

Dec: 347,300

Seasonal Adjustments Leave False Impressions

Looking at just how large the adjustments are for each month is puzzling. Take a look at the average January adjustment listed :3,050,000. In reality, the economy could actually shrink by 2,000,000 jobs and the BLS will report that we added 1,050,000 jobs for the month of January. Does that make sense to you?

It makes no sense to be because what is reported and what is actually happening is not the same.

How do businesses make solid decisions on what is happening and what they should be doing to take advantage of the data if the data does not reflect the real world?

Is the American public too stupid to understand that lots of jobs are lost in January as the temporary Christmas jobs are terminated? Or do the seasonal adjustments mislead the Public because it is so easy to seasonally adjust giving people the perception of a more level and consistent economic environment?

What’s the Solution?

Because of the disconnect between Seasonally Adjusted Data and reality, I suggest we reduce the reliance on such misleading data. And to dump your investments in one sector and buy in another because of a blockbuster jobs number that is more a work of fiction than fact is likely a mistake.

But those that are profiting from this are those that make money when you buy and sell. They like this volatility created by the data because it causes knee-jerk reactions across the financial spectrum.

An obviously fictionalized number depicting economic activity that is anything but accurate is no way to manage your portfolio.

And that is the Naked Truth.

Inflation is Rising and Packaging is Shrinking

The Double Whammy of Inflation and Shrinkflation Are Just Getting Started

In a steep acceleration for prices where many people live, FRED is gracious enough to show us the rate of inflation for June 2021 along with a chart dating back well before 1970.

Source: https://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/page1-econ/2021/07/15/inflation-expectations-the-phillips-curve-and-the-feds-dual-mandate?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=202108%20Research%20Newsletter&utm_content=202108%20Research%20Newsletter+CID_921402a9d24e9c41b5beabca068bd6cc&utm_source=Research%20newsletter&utm_term=Page%20One%20Economics%20essay

Ironies

Ironically, the story linked above justifies higher inflation than zero to prevent deflation(prices falling) yet if you look at the chart image, deflation has rarely been an issue over the last fifty years(2010).

Shrinkflation: What You Think You See May Not Be What You Get

Pictured below are two Tillamook Ice Cream containers. The product on the store shelves offered both containers for the same price: $5.99. That translates to an increase of 14.2% in price. Because the containers shrank and the prices are the same we call this Shrinkflation. And it stinks.

It stinks because unless you look carefully you might not notice the differences.

Shrinkflation: Same Price but a smaller Container. At least it has the same great taste, right?

Have you looked closely at your shredded cheeses lately? Choose carefully. While many are still 8 ounces(Two Cups) more and more are down to 7 ounces (or less).

Packages across the board are shrinking and this hides the real inflation we are seeing every day as they hold prices the same but you get less.

Hiding the inflation does all consumers a disservice. If the inflation is hidden from us, then we as consumers are not getting a clear perception of what our currency can and cannot buy.

Your dollars are losing their purchasing power. And at 5% or higher inflation, they will be losing that purchasing power faster than anyone has witnessed since the 1980s.

Unless you are getting salary increases to keep up with inflation, you and your family are going to be falling behind economically.

“Adjusted for inflation, hourly compensation fell 2.7 percent in the second quarter, data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the nonfarm business sector showed Tuesday.” Source: Breitbart

Conclusion:

Choosing a rate of inflation at 2% or higher and calling your currency stable is simply false. Sooner or later the flames of inflation will jump the perceived control of the Fed and burh through the economy creating havoc and harm.

The US Dollar needs to be tied to a stable form of money such as gold, and interest rates need to be allowed to rise and fall as supply and demand dictate.

The damage we are doing to our economic well being will not be reversed any time soon and the cures for the damage are likely to accelerate the damage as we have seen in years past.

Do You Function In A Seasonally Adjusted World?

Seasonally Adjusted Data: Does it Help?

Last Friday (August 6,2021) the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their preliminary jobs data for July and it was a doozy. The BLS reported that 943,000 jobs were added to the economy in July. 2021.

Sounds pretty impressive right? Too good to be true? Well, it really is too good to be true. Worse, it’s a lie.

Work in The Real Economy

In the real world where people get up and go to work and get a check for their labors is not seasonally adjusted. Fortunately, the BLS also shares that data(but no one else seems to notice it). Without the seasonal adjustments, the economy lost 133,000 jobs in July.

Let me repeat that: There were 133,000 fewer jobs earning pay in July than in June.

Seasonal Adjustments

Trying to think of what other aspects of our lives have seasonal adjustments I simply could not come up with any. We have seen that gasoline prices tend to rise in the summer and fall towards winter, but I’ve yet to hear any seasonal adjustments applied to the gas price to make these changes seem more palatable for us.

How Much Is This Seasonal Adjustment?

Non-Farm Payroll For July
NSASAAdjustment
2016-9733711344
2017-11032281331
2018-11641491313
2019-10581931251
202060617261120
2021-1339431076
Comparison of Job Numbers Adjustment 2016-2021

Million Plus Jobs Added Every July

As you can see in the table above, the BLS adds more than 1 million jobs every July. The jobs must be taken away during other months when we actually have created jobs. Does this lead to better decisions made by those that use this data? It’s hard for me to see how that is possible when the whole objective is meant to gauge the health of the US economy.

In our situation for July, we would have to lose more than 1 million jobs in July to even get close to showing no job growth. I find that simply stunning. Even in a terribly July, we’d still find solace that we were still adding jobs to the economy with the Seasonally Adjusted NFP (although we’d be lying to ourselves).

Using Unadjusted Numbers Paints a Different Picture

Would you have a different picture of the economy if we used the real data? Let’s look at this potential headline if we used the real data:

“July NFP Loses 133,000 Jobs Despite Low Interest Rates and States Re-Opening”

I think it speaks for itself. Don’t you? Somewhere, George Orwell is smiling knowing that he was right.

Corporate Profit Growth Continues to Sink

Corporate profit growth is an excellent indicator of the health of an economy. After all, the reason one is in business is to generally grow profits.

As I have written in years past Know Profit No Growth (No Profits No Growth)

For the 10 years ending the first quarter of 2021, profit growth has fallen to 3.6% annually. Compare that to the ten years ending the first quarter of 2011 and you see just how poor we are doing: 10%.

Think about that. With all of the Fed easing, corporate tax cuts, ultra low interest rates and government giving out money, we have 1/3 of the growth of the previous decade.

So is the Fed keeping us afloat, or are they the cause of what ails us. I know what I believe. Below is an image of the rate of profit growth annually for the ten years ending in the year listed (first quarter each year). And for kicks, I’ve included the numbers of what the Fed balance sheet was along the way.

White County Wants To Raise Your Property Taxes

White County News Editorial Submission

I’ve been reviewing the Certified Audited Financial Results(CAFR) for White County for 2020. Total tax revenues have been increasing at an annual rate of 3.46% per year since 2011. 

Their argument for the tax increase is the increasing population.  But the population has only been increasing at a rate of 1.25% per year since 2011. The justification for a property tax increase is weak:

“The White County Board of Commissioners works diligently to keep White County’s millage rate as low as possible while providing the necessary services to the ever-growing population and want to stress that their intent is to maintain the current millage rate of 10.75.”

They are going to need a better and more comprehensive statement to convince me that they are not just taking the easy path for additional revenue, allowing people to think that they are not raising taxes as they emphasize that the millage rate is the same.

This process starts with an updated tax digest (sum value of all taxable properties).  A rollback rate is determined.  That is the millage rate that would generate the same revenues as last year from the taxable properties. 

Our tax commissioners should determine how much is needed and then determine what the millage rate to generate that amount of revenue is. 

Instead, they are using last year’s millage rate and multiplying it by the new digest to determine how much they can get and then where can they spend it.  That is a tax increase. 

Property taxes are only one source of funding for White County (51%).  Sales taxes are also a large contribution and they have also risen in the last year.

Please quit repeating that the millage rate is staying the same as if this is not a tax increase for our county.  The Georgia Taxpayer Bill of Rights states this is a tax increase.  Treat it as such and justify it accordingly or choose the Rollback rate for our next property tax bill. 

With the year many of us have had, we do not need a property tax due to inflated real estate values.

Here’s What We Do Know About the Trump-Biden Presidential Race

Difference in Support

Trump supporters were more enthusiastic than any Republican candidate over the last 50 years.

Biden support was non-existent.

The Campaign

Trump worked tirelessly campaigning most of the election year and had large crowds wherever he went.

Biden seemed to be staying out of sight as much as possible and his crowds were smaller than Hillary Clinton’s.

The Speeches

Trump could speak hours on end and off the cuff with few, if any gaffes.

Biden consistently misspoke and was incoherent at times.

Trump says America First.

Biden says the rest of the world first.

Campaign Promises

In addition, Trump cut taxes, gave conservatives three Supreme Court Justices, gave the names of others he would nominate if the need arises, and did not get the United States into one new war.

Biden campaigned on raising taxes, refused to discuss the candidates for Supreme Court openings, refused to comment on “packing the court”, and is itching to return to the previous diplomatic ways of the United States.

Election Results

Trump got more Black support, Latino support, Cuban support, and Asian support than he did in 2016.

Consequently, Biden had to get less support from those groups.

Trump got the support of nearly all Police groups in the US.

Biden did not.

Bizarre Results

In Georgia in counties where Trump won, Senator Perdue received even more support.

In counties where Trump lost, like Gwinnett County, liberal issues like mass transit did not pass.

With all of that in mind, Biden got more votes then any other candidate for President other than Trump did in this same race.

And with all of that in mind, Biden got more votes than Hillary Clinton, who was loved and embraced by the left, and was actually able to draw crowds and attract attention.

Conclusion?

When your grandchildren discuss this election in Civics class, if it still exists, will they look at this outcome and conclude that something was amiss.

Inquiring minds want to know.

Of Course the Election Process Is Corrupt

It’s hard to watch so many defend what many of us already know to be a corrupt election process. And most of us already know that it is corrupt from the start to the finish, and not just the finish with the counting of the votes.

In the state of Georgia, the election process is not open, honest and fair. The democrats and the republicans control the election process. I am not speaking about candidates who were elected as democrats and republicans that were elected by the Public and then control the process, either.

Instead I am talking about the parties through elected officials, who conspire to keep third party candidates off the ballots as much as possible. And they are successful and it harms all of us.

If these officials do not believe in competition for the election process, you can imagine how they make decisions for other aspects of our lives.

Anyone who has attended a City Council Meeting( my experience has been with the Johns Creek City Council) has seen the underhanded and corrupt processes at work. “Public” debates on issues where Council Members state false facts and both staff members and City Lawyers keep their mouths shut(it’s not their job to correct falsehoods).

So for those individuals, especially the ones who are elected, stating that they see no “widespread or systemic voter fraud? You should shut up.

Every rational voter knows that there is voter fraud. We have witnessed the call for it from elected officials for decades, and we have seen how officials will interpret the rules for their own desires EACH AND EVERY TIME.

The behavior we have seen on our local city councils is the same behavior we are seeing across the nation while counting votes.

None of us are surprised. What we are surprised at is the denial by elected officials, protecting THEIR system, who know better.

Vote for Socialism(and Enjoy the Outcome)

The great election face of 2020 is coming to an end. One can only wonder if the American people have fallen for that farce or are they going to reject it outright.

Joe Biden, while appearing to be the selection of the members of the Democratic Party, was not actually selected by the voting public. Instead, we was left standing by a process of elimination as one by one, the rest of the self-declared candidates dropped out of the democratic primaries before the electorate even had a chance to vote

The only reason it appears that many of the 29 or so candidates run in the first place is to shift the platform of the party, and not to actually win. That is what we see today. Kamala Harris was one of the first candidates to drop out, and yet she is as close to being POTUS as a Biden win and a resigation.

Think about that. For all of the arguments over the unfairness of the electoral college(which works exactly as it was intended), the most liberal Senator in the history of the US is as close to being POTUS as imaginable, yet could not manage more than 3% support in her own party’s primaries.

The rest of us, however, appear to have had enough of the bullshit. We are tired of the riots, the lockdowns, the forced indoctrinations on every feeling someone has that somehow we have to not only accept by support.

I’ve listened to many of Trump’s speeches. He appeals to people that just want to live their own lives.

To the media that has not mattered. Since before Trump took office there has been a concerted effort to cut him off at the knees. A biased media took it upon themselves to right the wrong that they felt occurred when Trump won in 2016 over the Clinton.

In 2016, Clinton was to have the support of nearly all women, every minority in the nation, and every other special interest group under the rainbow. And she lost.

The tears flowed freely on that election night and continue to flow today.

The full-fledged media attack has gone on non-stop. Meanwhile the same media turns a blind eye to a candidate who defends his son despite the evidence and who cannot string together s series of coherent statements that leaves great doubts as to his mental capabilities.

How is that possible?

Someone asked me how can people be so stupid as to believe that higher taxes, open borders, elimination of the Second Amendment, energy dependence on foreign nations, outsourcing our manufacturing to other countries, and elimination of the police will result in Americans being safer overall?

Mass hysteria is the only answer I came come up with.

Mass hysteria led by a media that has normalized and encouraged every sort of belief when there was clear evidence to the contrary.

Just think of the terms we hear everyday that we never heard before. Systemic racism? And that battle cry is coming from multimillionaire ballplayers who live better than 99% of the rest of us?

Black Lives Matter? And yet there are blacks being killed by other blacks in Chicago, Baltimore and other cities every day and no one lifts a finger to do anything?

White people screaming at black people for being white racists? Where does the idiocy end?

Talk of reparations to people who were never slaves paid for by people that never owned slaves? Stevie Wonder wants reparations? Seriously.

People crying over the death of a Supreme Court Justice? People crying that Trump filled a seat on the Supreme Court?

It ends with a resounding Trump victory. It will end when people quit getting participation awards for doing nothing. It will end when people are told if you want a certain outcome, you need to earn it. It is not going to be given to you.

We did not get here over night and it will not be resolved over night. But it will be resolved.

If the majority do not stand up and start challenging elected officials who then ignore the US and State constitutions, then a Constitutional Republic is doomed to failure.

Either way, a reset is coming. Socialism does not work. Communism fails. Only a free people with their individual rights protected can succeed.

No matter what the media says.

The Cure for “Defunding the Police”

Defund the Police!

As a libertarian, we are often asked how might things work in a libertarian world. The “Defund the Police” movement is an excellent example of what could be done.

Insurance Is the Solution

In today’s world, insurance is not an option for the majority of us. Insurance is a necessity that we use to manage our risks. Own a vehicle and you are required by law to have insurance to operate the vehicle. That protects us and others against the risk of operating motor vehicles.

Purchasing a home and you are going to have homeowner’s insurance. This protects us from losses with our home that we would not likely be able pay for out of our own cash reserves.

The Impact of Defunding the Police

The effort to defund the police, is going to have a negative impact on crime in those areas. Break-ins, fires, looting and other mayhem that are covered by insurance means that insurance costs will be rising.

The risks to property that is owned by the residents will be at a greater risk of loss than in other areas which still have adequate police protection.

Insurance Commissioners Need To Act

The insurance commissioners of those states that are most affected need to make sure that those cities that have defunded the police do not pass their costs on to the insured in other areas, but that those cities bear the full burden of premium increases needed to cover future claims.

Insurance Premiums Need to Rise For Defunded Cities

Once the residents begin receiving their updated costs for insurance, and are told the reasons why, they will rapidly be seeking to re-fund and reestablish police protection for their communities.

That’s how this problem should and could be addressed and addressed immediately as many of these problems have been going on for more than three months.

Approximately 1/12 of homeowners renew their policies every month. One sixth of all automobile owners do the same.

The growing chorus of residents who have had their rates rise dramatically because of the higher risks in those areas will shift the dialogue and do so rapidly.

It’s all fun and games until it costs you hard earned cash out of your own pocket. The fun and games will end and adults can resume addressing the real issues.

That’s what would happen in a libertarian world.

Slow Motion Economic Disaster is Accelerating

If You Blame Covid-19, Then Think Again

At some point, one has to believe the data over the hyperbole, and the facts over the fiction. But the people in the United States have become so short-sighted, it’s likely they could not even tell you where they were last New Year’s Eve without looking at their phone for visual proof, such as photos.

Ask those same people what happened to the “greatest US economy ever” and the responses will center around Covid-19-a flu that has garnered a response like none we have ever seen in the US.

But I believe that they are wrong, and that Covid-19 is being used by both parties for what they will believe can be political gain.

Third Quarter of 2019 the Slowdown Began In Earnest

The data is out there and you can prove it to yourself if you are willing to look. I have.

The third quarter of 2019 saw profit growth per share for the companies in the Value Line financial subscription fall from 15.35% growth to 1.81%. That sort of slowdown is very detrimental to the political party holding the White House.

In fact, it is slow enough that I would state that it would be likely that Trump lose in 2020 unless there was some incredible reversal, which would have needed some sort of catalyst to occur.

Fourth Quarter of 2019 Prior to Covid-19

Comparing the fourth quarter of 2019’s performance to 2018 is even more horrific. Profit growth per share was down 11.98%. Companies, on a per share basis, earned 11.98% less than the previous year.

Yet Trump and Company still kept touting this economy as the greatest ever. On the other hand, i knew we were heading towards a recession. Companies do not just stop generating profits.

Along Comes Covid-19

For years I have demonstrated how easy it is to forecast the Presidential Race by looking at just one number. Corporate profits after taxes has accurately predicted the outcome for every election since 1972 except for one-1976. And that was the only time we had a non-elected incumbent running for re-election.

I have to believe that both parties are aware of how important the economy is during an election year to the outcome. The question one must ask oneself is that if knowing the economic slowdown that was happening, would either party try to exploit Covid-19?

For instance, would the Republican Party use Covid-19 as cover for an economy that was clearly heading towards a recession, so that the flu would be blamed for the economy’s dismal performance?

And would the Democratic Party use Covid-19 to guarantee that the US Economy was in the tank as voters decide who to elect in November?

The Answer is Clearly Yes

Trump had nothing to lose by blaming Covid-19 for the sudden demise of the US economy. Without it, I feel he was certainly heading towards a loss even if Biden would ultimately be the nominee.

And the Democrats would have no problem sacrificing the economy in order to keep it in the tank as long as possible in order to help their agenda.

But rather than just stick to the economic impact, the Democrats have embraced the greatest move towards socialism we have ever witnessed. And this action just might move the mind of the voters off of the economic issues and onto the socialism issue, which will likely be their undoing.

Make No Mistake The Economy Was Grinding to A Halt

The economic damage that has happened and continues to happen all around us cannot be underestimated. It s worsening day by day.

Covid-19 will be the scapegoat for all of it. Yet I will know that Covid-19 was a political flu.

And the United States will NEVER be the same again.

Was it worth it?