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Sometimes a chart is all you need

Figures Don't Lie. But Then Again, Liars Will Figure.

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 08/17/2014 - 12:04

 

So, I’m sitting here in front of my screen fooling around on Linkedin instead of paying the bills, when I see that Pulse has recommended a piece penned by some guy in the investment business, titled American’s Sour Mood on the Economy Doesn’t Square with the Fact. 

 

Sigh!

 

I know this has been the chronic theme proffered by the professional shills appearing on your TV set morning, noon and night for some time now. I had been getting pretty good at ignoring them.

 

At first I was doing a pretty good job of ignoring this guy as well.

 

But finally ….. I succombed ….. 

 

So in order to rebut this guy, I start to pull together some updated versions of charts I have collected in the past, and in so doing, I stumble across a Quartz piece titled Seven Charts That Leave You No Choice But To Feel Optimistic About The US Economy, and just that quick …..

 

We begin.

 

As almost always, clicking on the charts will link you up to the piece from which they were taken.

 

The Headline Unemployment Rate is hovering just above 6%. 

 

Pasted Graphic 1.tiff

 

The formula for calculating the rate of unemployment is as follows; 

 

Unemployment Rate = Number of Unemployed / Total Labor Force.

Total Labor Force = Number of Employed People +  Number of Unemployed People.

An unemployed person for purposes of the above calculation is defined by the Bureau of Labor Statisics as follows: person who had no employment during the reference week, was available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment some time during the 4 week-period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed. 

So, people are counted as unemployed for purposes of calculating the rate of unemployment only if they are in the labor force.  And as such, unemployed workers who have quit seeking work are no longer counted for purposes of calculating the unemployment rate.

Got that?

As you can see below, labor force participation is in decline, if not freefall. 

Pasted Graphic 3.tiff

 

"What do it mean?"

 

 

 

If you have quit looking for work in favor of going on disability, you no longer count in the calculation.

 

And the total number of them that have gone on disability is going nowhere but up.

 

People who have gone on disability are for the most part not looking for work and thus counted as part of the labor force.

 

Fewer people in the labor force means ..... lower unemployment for purposes of calculating the headline number.

 

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  Pasted Graphic 16.tif

 

 

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A significant percentage of the improvement in the rate of unemployment is directly attributable to the increase in "disabled" Americans.

 

Maybe there are more people on disability because we now provide help to people with honest disabilities that we have overlooked or ignored before.

 

But it strikes me that there might be more to it than just that.

 

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In case you were wondering how the unemployed are able to afford eating?

 

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Nope, that's old news.  

 

Food lines are passe' as they are very bad for the fiction that all is well with the economy.

 

Our modern food lines are much improved as they are far less obvious to the naked eye.

 

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But wait a minute. What about all those jobs the Obama Administration has created?

 

 

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I'm not impressed yet.

 

Mostly because ...

 

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But why so few full time jobs and so many part time jobs?

 

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To be crude about it, it's mostly because part time workers are cheaper, and sales suck.

 

But, there is some good news, car sales are back.

 

Pasted Graphic 19.tiff

 

 

Except .....

 

Car sales as reported in the press tend to be wholesale numbers.

 

Dealer inventories are also up dramatically.

 

GM channel stuffing.jpg

 

 

GM isn’t alone when it comes to this issue, as unsold inventory abounds all over the world regardless of manufacturer.

Definitely click on the photo below for a pretty quick, little piece on automobile manufacturers channel stuffing their supply system.

 

Pasted Graphic 23.tiff

 

 

Pasted Graphic 24.tif   Pasted Graphic 25.tiff

 

Oh well, that’s good news for me as I have to buy a car for a boy soon.

 

I’m thinking there should be some good deals on cars this fall.

 

 

Anyway, stocks are on fire, business must be good.

 

   Pasted Graphic 28.tiff

 

 

Except, the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve Bank has expanded nearly dollar for dollar with the increased value of the S&P 500.

 

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As has margin debt for NYSE member firms.

 

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And …

 

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Well, it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure this one out.

 

Corporate management is adding debt in order to buyback shares and in so doing are driving the surge in the stock market.

 

“But why would they do that?” You might well ask.

 

Management is compensated for increasing market cap rather than for running a profitable entity. 

 

All you need to know about “Corporate America” in one chart.

 

Pasted Graphic 34.tiff

 

 

Oh, and by the way, CEOs now earn on average, from 273 to 331 times the average worker’s pay depending on how you calculate stuff.

 

Pasted Graphic 35.tiff

 

Form your own opinion.

 

I got mine.

 

Gotta scoot.

 

 

Sometimes a map or some number of maps with a chart or two thrown in, is all you need

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 05/03/2014 - 09:37

 

Because we’re a mite out of practice, we’re gonna ease into this thing today with some simple stuff.

President Obama continues to block the Keystone Pipeline project.

 

And yet, Canadian oil exports to the United States continue to expand.

 

How’s it getting there?

Rail.

 

Wait a minute ..... where have I seen a chart like this before?

Of course, it looks just like Michael Mann/Al Gore's famed "Hockey Stick" chart!

Oh well, at least the profits were real ..... in both cases.

 

Silly political reporters spent a couple days arguing about “ugly politics”, the “Green” wing of the Democrat Party and how they are killing jobs all over the country.

Your Uncle Roany, cynic that he is, is inclined to consider a different possibility and wonders who owns the Rail Cars delivering all that oil. 

Mostly, it’s the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

 

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railways is 22% owned by Berkshire Hathaway since 2009.

You might have noticed that shipments of oil by rail took off big time in 2010.

Speaking of rich guys, Berkshire Hathaway’s largest shareholder is of course Warren Buffett.

 

Just sayin'.

 

Who, as an aside through Berkshire Hathaway, also bought a 1% interest in Suncor, a huge player in the Canadian Oil Sands just last summer.

In the interest of full disclosure, your Uncle Roany is about to get back into COS.

Speaking of oil, Russia is about to end up with about as much Ukraine as Putin feels like having despite the best efforts of the Neocon/Lib imbeciles running amok over at the CIA/State Department, as Europe will cave on the issue, leaving the pathetic little man in the White House with even more egg on his face than usual.

Here are the only two pieces of information you need in order to discern the fate of Ukraine.

 

 

If you’re wondering where the world’s proven oil reserves reside now days, here’s your answer.

Not much has changed in a while.

 

Not much has changed on the consumption side either, except that China continues to expand it's consumption.

 

Along with it's pollution problems.

 

That's all for now.

To quote Tony Kornheiser,

 

 

75% of active American military personnel oppose military action in Syria

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 09/14/2013 - 07:35

 

A Military Times survey of more than 750 active-duty troops this week found service members oppose military action in Syria by a margin of about three to one.

“I haven’t heard one single person be supportive of it,” said an Army staff sergeant at Fort Hood who asked not to be identified by name.

Click on the pie chart over there to the right for a series of three charts summarizing the opinions of the men and women in America's armed forces concerning air strikes on Syria, whether President Obama's proposed military intervention in Syria is in America's national interest, and whether or not Congress should pass a resolution on military action against Syria.

 

2013 Terrorism and World Violence Map

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 05/18/2013 - 07:23

 

From AON which provides insurance for all types of risk from Errors and Omissions to Terror.

Click on the map for a very well done and up to date Terrorism and Political Violence Interactive Map identifying specific risks within specific countries.

Take note of Uruguay, minions ... if you can find it ... and then reflect on both the broadness and the depth of the wisdom that resides within your Uncle Roany.

 

I just love Uruguay.

 

Since we were already on the subject.

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 05/12/2013 - 19:53

 

If you recall some time ago we took note of the fact that despite the relentless increase in America's yearly "investment" in education, results as measured by standardized test scores remain in decline.

You don't really have to recall, here's the stuff.

 

 

 

 

You may remember that at the time, we offered the following thought,

"As an aside, we think that issues having to do with K-12 education have far more to do with failing families than they do with failing schools."

Here's a better chart of the decline in the Verbal and Math mean SAT test scores for the period between 1951 and 1994.  You should be able to extend it in your mind's eye with/from the chart above without too much difficulty.

 

 

 

Then, in our last post we took note of a profound increase in women entering the labor force.

 

 

After which, we offered the following opinion, "We view this in and of itself as neither a good thing nor a bad thing."  although the remarkable visual similarity between declining test scores above and the Husbands Only working line below is ... well ..... remarkable.

So .....

We do view it as is a thing.

More important, we see this thing on a daily basis as this just is how things are nowadays.

 

 

This much bigger thing ..... IOHO ..... we also see on a daily basis, as this is also how things are.

 

 

 

As .....

 

 

And ...

 

 

And while we're on the subject, single parent families account for over half the total of America's welfare recipients, while two parent families accounted for around 5% in 2010.

 

 

And family income is the single most powerful predictor for success on standardized academic achievment tests.

Apologies for the fuzzy image, it is however worth the eye strain as there is some good stuff in there.

 

 

 

Our conclusion here is that you should now be in a position to draw your own set of conclusions.

But ......... What to do?  What to do?

Later for all of that, we're still bitching.

 

Charts ... We got em

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 05/12/2013 - 09:41

 

We've gone over much of this before, but it most certainly bears repeating.

Good news, the "headline" unemployment number is in decline as both the seasonally adjusted and unadjusted rates are well below 8%.

As an aside, you might not want to totally trust the "headline" unemployment number as it has been tinkered with over the last 5 or so administrations in order to make things appear more rosy than they are.

 

 

The unemployment rate is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals ... that would be the numerator ... by all individuals currently in the labor force  ... the denominator.

If you recall from fourth grade, both the numerator and denominator have something to do with establishing a ratio.

In this case a significant part of the "improved" unemployment rate has to do with people just flat out leaving the labor force ... the denominator.

 

 

Total labor force participation has declined to levels last seen in the early 80s with no sign in the chart of even an intermediate bottom being established.

As an aside, the average duration of unemployment presently blows the doors off any period since we started caring about such things.

 

 

Remembering here that numerator and denominator thing, an item that cannot be ignored is the increased participation of women in the labor force since the middle 60s.

You can see below that the percentage of men in the labor force has declined from the high 80s to 70%, while the percentage of women in the work force has increased from the low 30s in the early 1960s to the high 50s having topped out at 60% during the late 1990s.

That's some pretty serious pushing and pulling on the total labor force participation rate, not to mention the social fabric of the nation.

 

 

We view this in and of itself as neither a good thing nor a bad thing. But because at the very least we attempt to deal with whatever is around here, we take note of the fact and conclude that America damn well needs to create more jobs than it ever has before in order to accomodate an increased demand from women for employment regardless of total labor force participation.

Or ... and better yet ... America needs to somehow decrease labor's demand for employment without adding to the number of people on the dole.

While simultaneously increasing employer's demand for labor.

That one there is pretty much a definition for the word conundrum.

You should try dwelling on that some until the headache starts to develope.

And speaking of people on the dole.

If you haven't been hanging around here lately, you may be asking yourself, "Just what exactly is it that all of these people who are no longer in the labor force are doing for money?"

We've gone through this one before, but it also bears repeting, 

Lots of them are going on disability.  The first chart is old news as it extends only from 1970 to 2002.  This following is charting dollars spent rather than the number of people collecting and is measured in 2003 dollars in an attempt to take inflation out of the view.

 

 

These next two charts demonstrates the percentage of working age population receiving disability insurance benefits.

It extends through the present and projects increases well into the future.

 

 

 

They are also collecting food stamps.

 

 

SNAP is the acronym for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

It continues to set records for both total participants at over 43,000,000 people and rate of participation of just under 14%.

 

 

 

The Obama years have been a particular disaster but the trend was already in place.

 

 

Among the myriad of other federal benefits programs.

You might well be asking yourself here, "What to do?  What to do?"

Later for that ..... today we're just bitching.

 

Charts and stuff on a Saturday morning

Submitted by Roanman on Sat, 03/16/2013 - 07:37

 

Apologies again for being slow posting.

We've been deep thinking.

We've posted this one before in a different format and couldn't find it, so here it is again,

From Good Infographics, The Almighty Dollar Mapping Income Distribution By Religious Belief.

As always, you can click on the graphic below for a full screen image.

 

 

After top level bankers and CEOs of international corporations, the best faith to be practicing in America lately of course is government worship, as it's priests and accolytes are among the highest paid faithful in the nation.

 

   

 

From the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, America is #2 (not 32 as incorrectily posted previously ... thanks Carolyn) in K-12 spending per student as compared with the other nations making up the Orgaization of Economic Development and Cooperation.

 

While student performance continues to lag.

 

 

The argument in America from teachers unions is that lower class sizes will improve results.

Maybe not so much.

Click on the chart below for a thoughtful bit of work from Financial Sense.com.

 

 

As an aside, we think that issues having to do with K-12 education have far more to do with failing families than they do with failing schools.

Things gets worse as we consider the costs and performance of the fine colleges and universities of our fair land.

Again, from Financial Sense.com here's an inflation comparison of College Fees and Tuitions, Medical Care, Cost of a New Car, Food and Energy.

 

 

Students are paying for wildly inflated college costs by going into debt and are subsequently defaulting in huge numbers.

Student debt by the way is typically not discharged in bankruptcy.

 

 

Why are they defaulting, you might ask?

Increasingly, despite what the Powers That Be keep telling you, college ain't worth the money.

 

 

Speaking of college.

 

 

Everybody hates lobbyists, lying politicians excluded, and probably rightfully so.

Among the reasons that schools at all levels are killing us with costs while failing at their job is the $1.2 Billion dollars the education lobby has showered on public bodies since 1998.

Which of course pales in comparison to the $5.3 Billion Pharma/Healthcare etc. has shelled out on the same public bodies, which should serve as an explanation as to why our healthcare system and Obamacare have both turned out to be such ....... what is the word I am looking for here? ....... abortions.

 

 

Speaking of Lobbying, from Visual.ly money spent on public assemblies is the single greatest investment one can possibly make ..... probably of all time.

 

 

You may ask yourself, why is it that lobbying the government is such a great business?

That's where the money is.

 

 

That's all for today.

Happy TD?

 

You want maps? We got em.

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 03/03/2013 - 11:50

 

We've had some complaints.

No maps or charts for far too long.

It's true, we've been remiss mostly because maps and charts involve doing work, and we haven't been all that keen on doing work lately.

So ..... ok.

We begin with some old stuff.

Here are county by county election results for the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

The "mandate" Democrats want everyone to believe they have is for the most part limited to urban communities which as you will see below, have been and continue to grow.

 

       

 

 

Republicans have been methodically taking control of state governments lately.

 

 

Americans continue to get fatter, but then so does everybody else who keeps tabs on such things.

 

        

 

"Subjective Well Being" seems to be fair to middling with the exception of Russia, large swaths of Africa and of course, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq where seemingly nobody gives a rat's patootie one way or the other.

 

 

We particularly liked the part in this piece about the prominent UK politician who argued that "It’s time we admitted that there’s more to life than money, and it’s time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB – general well-being."  

Your habitually cynical Uncle Roany is of the opinion that there can be no finer goal for a politician than one that can't possible by measured.

The links to the map sources at Technovelgy.com have broken which was a disappointment as when we first went through them we thought the criteria to be even more obtuse than we had originally guessed it might be.  

Still, we thought it was an excercise worth attempting and we remain pretty sure that happier is better.

This next one from the CIA's World Factbook is also a bit tricky as it maps the percentage of a nation's population living below the poverty line of that nation.  It comes with the following qualifier,

"National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group. Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations."

 

 

The following is The Fraser Institute's Freedom of the World 2007 map. I couldn't pull the 2012 map from the site for some reason.  It's not like much has changed except for the U.S. going backwards.  Click on the map below for the entire report for which the criteria is somewhat less obtuse than that behind the "Subjective Well Being" map above.

 

 

A very simple explanation of global economics is next.

Apologies for the fuzzy text.

 

 

 

Here's a different kind of map.

Unicef's An Urban World offers percentages of each individuals country living in town.

Click on the map for a quick and informative presentation.

 

 

Speaking of the world, it is for the most part opposed to the Obama Administration's fondness for killing people via missile attacks launched from drone aircraft.

 

  

 

Americans are slowly coming around to a similar line of thinking.

Slowly being the operative word.

 

      

 

As financial costs and freedoms lost continue to add up.

 

     

 

Government spending continues to climb regardless of Administration.

 

 

The silliness of President Obama regarding his tax and fiscal policies can be demonstrated in the following two charts.

 

 

A high percentage of Americans pay no taxes at all and over half of U.S. households are now "on the dole" for at least a part of their income.

Middle class or former middle class households have been pouring onto U.S. entitlement roles adding to deficits and crowding out the poor in a scramble for benefits.

 

     

 

 

 

When they tell you that wages are in decline, they ain't kidding.

 

 

Almost finally, the Fibonacci number or ratio sometimes known as the "Golden Ratio" is forever showing up all around you.  

Among the better examples of it appearing in nature are shells.

 

    

 

In mathematics, Fibonacci numbers, Fibonacci series or Fibonacci sequence are numbers in the following sequence.

0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89 ......

Where the first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are 0 and 1, and each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two.

Or by formula Xn  =  X n -1 + X n-2.  

Got that?

 It doesn't matter.  Here's what it looks like.

 

          

 

Anyway, Fbonacci showed up again just recently off the coast of New York as Hurricane Sandy.

 

     

 

And finally, speaking of blowing hard.

From Investech Research via Zero Hedge, here's a series of comments from National Association of Realtors spokesman and Chief Economist David Lereah plotted on a chart of housing prices.

Remember this chart the next time one of the talking dolls at CNN/MSNBC or anywhere else for that matter start talking about the housing recovery.

 

 

 

Sometimes a map or some number of maps is all you need

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 12/09/2012 - 08:24

 

We've been collecting maps for the past month or so.

Many will link you up to the story from which they were taken should you wish to pursue it.

We'll start with the Heritage Foundation's 2012 Index of Economic Freedom.  

Since 1995, The Heritage Foundation has published this index, the criteria for which is based on the theories of Adam Smith concerning the relationship between freedom, personal liberty and prosperity exressed most notably in his famed book The Wealth of Nations first published in 1776. To quote The Heritage Foundation, "The Index has brought Smith's theories about liberty, prosperity and economic freedom to life by creating 10 benchmarks that gauge the economic success of 184 countries around the world."

 

 

 

The index dropped across the board in 2012 as the U.S. dropped out of the top five and ranks #10 for 2012. This is probably not a suprise to anyone paying any real attention to the world around us.

The US does however maintain it's status as the world leader in incarcerated ciizens.  

Again, you can click on the map for somebody's very nicely done infographic built from information taken from public prison administration records of 184 (I think) nations around the globe.  The original compiler is unclear.

 

 

It seems likely that Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and probably some others are fudging their numbers down some.

This may shock you, but governments sometimes lie about stuff. 

Inflation and unemployment being two items that quickly occur to us around here.

But I digress.

Here's a slightly different approach as this "map" from Unicef links to an outstanding interactive that demonstrates the rate of gtowth of "Urban" Population" in the nations of the world.  You really should click on the image as we found this one to be way interesting.

 

 

Getting back to that "Economic Freedom" thing, world per capita gross domestic product for the most part trends with economic freedom.

 

 

As does "happiness" or and thus "happiness" ..... take your pick.

 

 

 

Along with suicides.

 

 

They have their thinking on this issue at Suicide.org who created the map, we're blaming it on that "Urbanization" thing referenced above.

On a more cheerful note, people all over the world are getting fatter.

 

 

Saudi Arabia wasn't a suprise, but Jordan, Iraq, Iran and South Africa were ..... at least to us.

World literacy continues to improve.

 

 

Except for in the City of Detroit, although Forbes crunched some numbers and is no longer concerned.

That's it for today.

To quote Tony Kornheiser,

 

 

The Masters of the Eurozone

Submitted by Roanman on Thu, 11/29/2012 - 08:29

 

This one has been going around pretty good the past couple of days ..... as well it should.

Throw in all those good people who have moved through that "Revolving Door" between Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and the Treasury Department, The Federal Reserve Bank and the President's Council of Economic Advisors over the past 30 years, not to mention the CIA, and the hint of a question begins to develope.

Could it be that the problems in the United States and Europe have less to do with differences between Democrats/Republicans or Conservatives/Liberal/Progressives, but rather are a result of the policies forced on the people by parasitic bankers?

Click on the map for the original 2011 piece from from the Independent from which this map was originally taken detailing some history about the Goldman alumnae already in power throughout Europe.

Click on this little gear right here for the Zero Hedge piece regarding latest Goldman alumnus Mark Carney's ascension to Chairman of the Bank of England.

 

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