Tower Private Advisors
- Bloomberg boredom
- Brilliant economic insights
I’ve been busy, trying to justify my existence, trying to avoid becoming a recession statistic. Of the postings, below, I especially commend the Nonfarm Payrolls and Eye of the Storm postings, not because they’re worthy of some journalism award or represent cutting-edge insights (these are Obvious Insights, after all), but because I think they’re important to your understanding of what might be ahead. As usual, clicking on one will take you to a separate posting in the same internet browser window; the <back> button will bring you back, naturally.
You might recall, back in the Spring, when the authorities set out to determine which of the financials institutions should become roadkill and which were too big to fail, that one of the factors they included was the unemployment rate. In really putting the screws to the banks, they used a big, bad, nasty unemployment rate of . . . 10 gnarly percent. Yep, 10%!
In May I included a poll about what you–all six of you–thought of that.
Well, apparently the worst is behind us, since today’s Nonfarm Payrolls report printed an unemployment rate of 10.2%.
190K Jobs Lost as Unemployment Rate Rises to 10.2 Percent, Highest Since April 1983 [8:35 a.m. ET]
The U.S. unemployment rate rose by more than expected in October to 10.2%, its highest level in more than 26 years, and employers cut more jobs than forecast. Nonfarm payrolls fell by 190,000 last month, with the largest job losses in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade. Economists had expected a 175,000 decrease.
Not surprisingly, the newsies did miss a few bits of critical information in their soundbytes, including at least one good bit. (more…)
This week’s Railfax report offered a stunning comparison of rail traffic in 2009 versus 2008. If you thought that the biggest impact of the events in the fourth quarter of 2008 were primarily on your portfolio then check out these charts. You can see that railroad freight traffic fell off the proverbial cliff. This was especially true for intermodal traffic (upper righthand chart). Intermodal traffic represents the sea containers that get unloaded from ships and stuck on tractor-trailler frames. From an eyeball-ing of the charts, intermodal traffic accounted for 41.7% of total carloads. For lack of a better word picture, it’s the stuff headed to Walmart. It hit a peak for the year on 9/30 and plummeted. (more…)