05/11/20

Unemployment, A Few Words

Today we are facing monumental COVID19 unemployment that is initially tracked by the weekly number of new applications for unemployment payments — remember this is an insurance policy for which you have paid for years.

By that measure we are at 15% unemployment (those without jobs actively looking for a job which is known by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as U-3 Unemployment, the most common measure referred to by the media).

We are likely headed to 20-25% unemployment before the trend is reversed.

But, we are dealing with a situation that is entirely different than the traditional manner in which we assess these numbers over a long period of time.

Traditionally, we look at these numbers as a means of tracking a trend line to establish the expansion or contraction of the economy. They are trend numbers.

Before the advent of COVID19, the USA was at record high employment.

These numbers subsume — incorporate — people who technically meet the criteria, but who are really “furloughed” rather than classically unemployed.

By using the word furloughed, I am suggesting that their jobs are waiting for them whenever that business re-opens.

They are not “looking for a new job;” they are waiting for the business that formerly employed them to re-open.

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04/14/20

The Post COVID19 World Will Be Different?

I have been mulling the post COVID19 world as this matter continues to evolve. I have been reading a lot of others’ opinions, many of whom I respect and several of whom I despise — but one has to build a base of knowledge, right?

So, here are some thoughts.

This COVID19 Thing Will End

Just to be clear, there will be an end to this COVID19 affliction. Yes, there will.

There will be ingrained better hygiene practices (says the chap on his 16,393rd hand washing since 1 Mar 2020), some therapeutics, and a vaccine.

There will be multiple vaccines and the whole vaccine thing will be integrated with the flu vaccine of which 170MM Americans got the needle this flu season. [I got mine at Costco from a guy who had been to school to learn how to do it. Free.]

COVID19 will become like polio — something we figured out, but which was very dangerous. Dr Jonas Salk, University of Pittsburg, talking to you, amigo.

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12/20/19

The Economy, Darling

I am no fan of polls primarily because I find them to be statistical malpractice in the unscientific, haphazard manner with which the polling samples are constructed and the sponsorship.

There was a CNN poll on the economy completed a week ago that had some surprising outcomes.

76% of respondents agreed the “Economy is very or somewhat good.”

This is up from 67% last year.

97% of Republicans agree.

75% of Independents agree.

62% of Democrats agree, up from 47% in August. <<< this surprises me

The economy is the best economy since 1900 and the only reason that boundary exists is because we don’t have good numbers from before that date.

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12/6/19

The Numbers — The Trump Economy

It does not matter whether you love or hate President Trump, the economy is not influenced by your individual feelings or emotions.

Nancy Pelosi, who does not hate President Trump and who is a great Catholic, is praying for the economy and President Trump. [President Trump is praying for her also. The Big Red Car is praying for both of them though not at the same time.]

Here she is with that powerful pointer finger of hers. Looks great for 80, no?

The economy is impacted by policy coming out of Washington and since early 2017, that policy has been guided by President Trump.

Today, we learned that unemployment has dipped to the lowest level in half a century — 3.5%. The US created more than 266,000 jobs in November 2019. Hello, America!

This has to be the best labor market in a century.

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12/3/19

Medical Pricing Transparency

When we think of medical treatment, we rarely think of competitive bidding, but that concept is as applicable to medicine as it is to construction. Pricing transparency, anyone?

The Trump admin did something to make the price of medical treatment more competitive, by issuing new rules via an Executive Order.

Trump explains pricing transparency.

The new rule that impacts healthcare pricing transparency the most is:

Calendar Year 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public.

Who makes up these names?

By way of background, hospitals and healthcare providers do, in fact, publish lists of what they charge for various treatments and procedures. The problem is that they are not the same prices they charge to insurance companies. They are hugely inflated. They are difficult to obtain.

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09/19/19

Amazon Hiring

Big Red Car here on a rainy day along the Houston coast. They are saying Houston might get TWO FEET of rain. Wow!

So, Amazon has been holding a hiring extravaganza. They held a multi-city job fair on 17 September 2019 in Arlington, Boston, Nashville, Dallas, Chicago, and Seattle. This is where the job fair is being held, but the jobs are all over the country.

Young lady pointed out to me that the “a” and the “z” on the logo are connected by the arrow ’cause Amazon will sell you whatever the heck you want from A >>>> Z. OK?

You will note that they did not hold a job fair in Long Island City because the local Dem politicians ran Amazon and its proposed HQ2 off. That ended up with places like Austin By God Texas and the places noted above getting more of the hiring tasking.

You may credit the savant Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for that move. Well played, AOC. Who needs those stinking jobs, eh?

Yeah, I did that. Ran off those 25,000 Long Island City Amazon jobs. Me. Green New Deal rules! (Notice I have my “smart girl” glasses on.)

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09/6/19

Apple Bonds — Making Applesauce

Beautiful day in the lovely city of Atlanta enroute back to Savannah from whence I fled Dorian the Hurricane Monster. It was a pleasant diversion with one of the highlights being the Georgia Aquarium, a recommendation from a pal/reader. Great recommendation.

So, Apple has just sold some corporate bonds. Corporate bond yields are trending down with the general flight from equities into bonds. But, Apple doesn’t pay general corporate bond yield prices — about 6% for others.

No, sir.

Apple placed $7B of 3 to 30 year maturities at very tight spreads above Treasuries. They had intended to place $3-4B, but the book grew so quickly (more than $25B in offers to buy Apple bonds), they went with the bigger number.

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