Thursday, June 4, 2009

Morning Update/ Market Thread 6/4

Good Morning,

Futures are up this morning, the /ES is currently around the 935 area which is a pivot point. The next higher pivot is at 961, and the next lower at 912:

The stochastics are positioned for upside, as yesterday's pullback was weak on price but internally a stronger decline. Bonds are down sharply and the dollar turned down as well.

More green shoots, what a great time to be an American hourly wage earner! Wal-Mart announced they are hiring 22,000 this year!! Of course that is down from 33,000 last year, but hey, just think of all those families dependent upon a real living wage who used to make automobiles and their parts, now a few of them can at least get greeter wages! Terrific!

And the media has spun the weekly employment numbers into a terrific thing, how, I just don’t know. I guess they are just even more talented at spin than even I can give them credit for… Hey, we ONLY had 621,000 initial new claims last week! And that’s DOWN only because they revised the week prior UP to 625,000! But what’s really being trumpeted is the first decline in continuing claims in the past 4 months… a whopping 15,000, bringing the grand total to ONLY 6.735 million!! This, according to Bloomberg, signals the worst is behind us! Sure it is, if you don’t mind being a greeter at Wal-Mart!

And, despite all the unemployed workers, it seems that those who are left were producing more in the first quarter, not less! And this is true both on a quarterly and yearly basis:
(Econoday) Productivity and labor costs in the first quarter were both revised and for the better. First quarter productivity actually was revised up to an increase of 1.6 percent annualized, compared to the initial estimate of a 0.8 percent rise. The first quarter revision was above the consensus projection for a 1.2 percent gain. Meanwhile, unit labor costs were revised down to a gain of 3.0 percent from an initial estimate of a 3.3 percent annualized increase. The number came in marginally stronger than the market forecast for a 2.8 percent boost.

Year-on-year, productivity rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter, following a 0.6 percent decline the prior quarter. Year-on-year, unit labor costs eased to up 3.0 percent from up 5.1 percent for the fourth quarter.

The first quarter revisions will be seen favorably in equity markets because the higher productivity number means businesses are trimming costs and are going to be better poised for profits when recovery arrives. Equities will also like the fact that in today's jobless claims report, continuing claims fell for the first time since January 3.

So, there you have it… the 666 bottom holds, everybody works at Wal-Mart and lives green shoot happily ever after… on $12 per hour!
The new 'good' job: 12 bucks an hour

In the Midwest, communities race to replace dwindling auto jobs with renewable energy ones, but workers will have to sacrifice on their pay.

NEW YORK ( -- Massive investment in renewable energy could ultimately create 4 million manufacturing jobs. But for the workers in the bottom rung of this movement, the shift to green jobs could very well mean a pay cut of nearly 60%, a trend spreading across the entire manufacturing sector.

Many of the entry-level jobs making green energy components start at $12 an hour, much less than the now extinct $28 an hour job that had allowed high school-educated workers in the auto sector to achieve middle class status.

"Particularly at the lower end, these are not very good jobs," said Philip Mattera, research director at Good Jobs First, a labor-friendly research group, also acknowledging that the renewable energy sector paid wages that were "all over the map."

Americans are betting that molding steel wind turbines, slicing silicon for solar panels and making batteries for electric cars will put them back on top of the manufacturing game. The 4 million new jobs, estimated by the University of California, Berkeley, would bring back more than half of all the manufacturing jobs lost in this country since the sector's heyday in the late 1970s.

At a battery plant just outside Indiana, job growth could boom. The plant is owned by EnerDel, the car battery division of Ener1. Here, the company is racing to build a cost competitive battery for an all-electric car. If it gets a government loan it's applying for, the company plans on hiring up to 3,000 people. That's roughly what a big auto plant employs.

But $12 an hour is the starting wage for a production worker.

Cut in pay of only 60%! Ever try to raise a family on $12 an hour? I haven’t, and I can’t imagine. That’s what’s happening to the middle class in America in a nutshell and has been for quite some time. Meanwhile our government is intentionally destroying the purchasing power of those $12, squeezing the life out of the debt saturated and over taxed consumer.

Enjoy the summer rally, if you’re happy about it then I’d say either you’ve had a frontal lobotomy, or I need a bottle in front of me! Hey, those $12 don’t come easy!

George Harrison - It Don't Come Easy: