Alarm! US Productivity Declines For 3rd Straight Quarter While Unit Labor Costs Rose 7.60% YoY, Fastest Since 1982

Alarm!

Even Joe Biden’s hate speech towards Republicans can’t mask the horrid inflation on his watch. As if Biden watches anything other than ice cream cones.

On a YoY basis, US Productivity is down for the 3rd straight quarter (and 4th quarter of the last 5).

On the mirror image of productivity, unit labor costs rose 3.5% QoQ (a notable slowing from the 8.9% QoQ growth in Q2). This was the 6th quarter in a row of rising unit labor costs (but was less than the +4.0% QoQ expected)…

However, on a YoY basis, that is the fastest growth since Q3 1982.

Yikes! The 2s10s Yield Curve Inversion Is the worst since the 1980s.

The Fed’s Tighten Up! Housing Market Suffers A Stroke (While C&I Lending Still Strong At 14.1% YoY In September)

One of my friends on Wall Street wrote my yesterday claiming “The 10-year Treasury yield is set to crash. Brace for impact!” Then I logged into Bloomberg this AM and saw the 10-year Treasury yield up almost 10 basis points (although it is down -2 BPS at 10:20am). Did markets not read his comments?? Maybe they did!

Well, The Fed is doing the Tighten Up. That is, The Fed is FINALLY removing their excessive monetary stimulus left over from the Bernanke Blowout (2008 adopting Japan’s print ’till you drop model).

But as The Fed removes their monetary stimulus (rate increases), we are seeing negative effects in the housing market. I call this chart “The X Factor.”

The US Treasury 10-year yield is up to 4.3% this morning, a far cry from 1.804% when Biden was crowned as President on January 20, 2021. The 30-year mortgage rate is up from 3.67% on Coronation Day to 7.32% yesterday, an increase of … 100% (that is, the 30-year mortgage rate has doubled under Biden). At the same time, Existing Home Sales YoY have gone from -2.41% in January 2021 to -23.79% in September 2022. THAT is a HUGE decline!

University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment for housing for 77 in January 2021 to 39 in November 2022. That is a -49% decline in consumer confidence. Also a big decline.

But going back to my pal’s email, he also said that The Fed is unwinding its balance sheet at a dangerously rapid rate (orange line). Relative to just increasing it, I would agree with him. But The Fed’s balance sheet is barely declining to my eyes. The troubling thing for housing is that inflation is so hot that REAL average hourly earnings YoY (yellow line) has fallen from +0.24% growth YoY on January 25, 2021 to a horrific -2.80% YoY rate in September 2022.

While I will not reveal my friend’s name (who works at a famous hedge fund), I will recommend Bill Carson, my former colleague at Deutsche Bank. While we might agree on everything, his site is worthy of a good read.

Bill’s point to me is that lending is still hot (at least commercial and industrial lending or C&I) while The Fed’s balance sheet remains in force (green line).

The Fed has a lot more work to do if they want to cool the commercial lending market. They have successfully slowed down the residential mortgage market.

Movin’ On Up To The Dark Side! US Core Inflation Rises To Highest Level (6.6% YoY) Since 1982, Bond Volatility Now Highest Since Covid Lockdown (REAL Weekly Wage Growth Declines To -3.8% YoY)

The US is movin’ on up, to the dark side, while DC elites live in deluxe apartments in the sky. The US is movin’ on up to the dark side, we finally got a piece of the Banana Republic pie. … And its tastes horrible!

Today, the BLS released its inflation data. And it was terrible.

To begin with, headline inflation remains high at 8.2% YoY while CORE inflation (headline less food and energy) rose to 6.6% YoY.

Meanwhile, REAL average weekly earnings growth YoY further declined to -3.8% YoY.

On the bond front, the Bank of America ICE bond volatility index rose to Great Recession/banking crisis levels (also achieved during the Covid government shutdowns).

But back to the low-ball BLS inflation data. The biggest gain in price is … fuel oil at 33.1% YoY. Food at home rose 13.0% while gasoline rose 18.2%. Rent, according to the BLS, rose 6.6%.

Biden has probably been told by Ron Klain and Susan Rice that this is a good report.

Powell Channels Mr T As Dow Drops 1,000 Points, Home Builder Index Plummets (UMich Buying Conditions For Houses Remains Near 1982 Levels)

‘‘We will keep at it until we are confident the job (i.e. killing inflation) is done.’’

Jerome Powell, Jackson Hole speech

Interviewer : What’s your prediction for the market?

Clubber Lang (Mr T) : My prediction?

Interviewer : Yes, your prediction.

[Clubber looks into camera] 

Clubber Lang : Pain!

Of course, Friday was one of those “Black Fridays” for investors. And pension funds.

The Dow Jone Industrial Average fell -1008.38 points after Powell’s “Mr T” remarks on pain. That was a whopping -3%. The NASDAQ composite index fell almost -4%.

Equity markets struggled in Europe as well, particularly the German DAX index.

The UMich Buying conditions for houses rose slightly, but remains near the lowest level since 1982.

Clubber Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman.

The Case-Shiller house price numbers are due out Tuesday for June and it is expected that they will show a significant slowing in home prices. Biden and Clubber Powell could then take “credit” for slowing “inflation.”

Q2 US GDP 2nd Reading Improves … To Just Plain Bad (GDP Price Worsens To 8.9% QoQ As Consumption Growth Dwindles To 1.5% QoQ)

The elite class “economists” (aka, cheerleaders) are meeting at Jackson Hole, Wyoming this week. But while they are planning our future, the revision to the miserable Q2 Real GDP report came out this morning.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2022, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 1.6 percent.

So, the second pass at measuring Real GDP produced a slightly better number (-0.6% vs -0.9%).

But the GDP PRICE index revision worsened from 8.7% to 8.9%. Look at REAL personal consumption (yellow line) as M2 Money growth slows.

Let’s see how things go at The Fed party at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It is appropriate for The Fed to hold their party/meeting at Jackson Hole (Teton County) since it has the highest concentration of wealth per household than any other county in the nation.

Yee-haw!