It's that time of the week. Don't think about the markets or the economy. To that end....
Sham-Weimar --- made in Germany so you know its good
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The Job Market of 2045
12 minutes ago
Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in April (-539,000), and the unemployment rate rose from 8.5 to 8.9 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Since the recession began in December 2007, 5.7 million jobs have been lost. In April, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major private-sector industries. Overall, private-sector employment fell by 611,000.
Initial jobless claims showed improvement in the latest week but continuing claims set another record high. Continuing claims in the April 18 week jumped 133,000 to 6.271 million, another record level and the 15th straight increase. A month-to-month comparison, useful for a gauge on the April employment report, showed significant deterioration, up 704,000 from 5.567 million at mid-March. But initial claims appear to have peaked in March, suggesting that continuing claims may plateau within a few months. Initial claims for the April 25 week slipped 14,000 to 631,000, down from 645,000 the week before.
I can point to a number of specific factors in this recession that are likely to weaken recovery. First, despite signs that consumer spending is stabilizing, the chance of strong and sustained consumption growth appears low. For years prior to the recession, households went on a spending spree of major proportions. This occurred during what has come to be called the “great moderation,” a period of about two decades when recessions were infrequent and mild, and inflation was low and stable. This may have lulled households into a false sense of security. The personal saving rate fell from around 8 percent two decades ago to almost zero in recent years as households financed their lifestyles by drawing on increasing stock market and housing wealth, and taking on higher levels of debt.
Now, the era of such low saving may be over. Falling house and stock prices have vaporized trillions of dollars in household wealth. The destruction of their nest eggs is prompting households to rebuild savings. The deleveraging of household balance sheets could restrain spending for years. Indeed, the personal saving rate is finally on the rise, averaging more than 4 percent so far this year. It wouldn’t surprise me if this effect persists, as the shock of the financial crisis convinces many households that they need to save higher fractions of their incomes for the long term. Of course, ultimately this would be good for economic growth, channeling resources from consumption to investment. That said, the transition could be painful if subpar consumption growth restrains the pace of economic recovery.
Orbitz Worldwide Inc.'s first-quarter loss widened sharply on a write-down related to declines in the company's stock price.
The online travel agent has looked to aggressively cut costs as demand falls. Businesses and consumers have been scaling back travel amid the weak economy, and those cutbacks hurt companies like Orbitz, which allows customers to book hotels and flights at discount rates through its site.
The company posted a loss of $336 million, or $4.02 a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $15 million, or 18 cents a share. The latest results included a $332 million write-down because of the decline of the company's stock price during the quarter. Total operating costs more than doubled, although cost of revenue declined on lower volume.
A key measure of risk reached its lowest level since last fall as investors snapped up the biggest junk-bond issue of the year, further signs companies can now borrow to meet their cash needs but still have to pay above-normal rates.
"A few months ago, you couldn't give a bond away," said Mitch Stapley, chief fixed-income officer for Fifth Third Bank in Grand Rapids, Mich. "But now signs are coming into place that things are looking better, there becomes a scramble to get that credit exposure."
Credit markets are extending a rally that took hold in April -- tracking gains in stock markets -- as investors became more confident banks were recovering from the recent market turmoil and the housing market was showing signs of having hit a bottom. The reduction in Libor indicates liquidity is returning to the financial system, and the ability of companies to sell debt shows they can finance themselves, albeit at higher rates.
Momentum gathered in deals eligible for a federal program to boost consumer lending, and Bank of New York Mellon sold bonds without government backing.