January jobs report a positive mark for the Trump administration


“Reporters anti-Trump bias has spiraled out of control.” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders


Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its jobs report reflecting data compiled for January 2019. Great news for the 304,000 who are now employed. The report was also a positive shot in the arm for the Trump administration.

During the two-years the administration has been operating, they have accused the media of only focusing on negative news about the antics that Donald Trump belts out on almost a daily basis. Unfortunately, that is not true as over that period there is plenty of positive news the administration should be proud of.

The jobs report is just one marker. Eyebrows get raised when Trump and those who support him focus their retort primarily on African-American employment data as if they are some primitive group or the only group mentioned in the report. It is silly and many wonder why they don’t simply communicate an argument that includes everybody?

News such as the jobs report would lead media on a more frequent basis, if not for the self-inflicted wounds the administration consistently makes. Their blunders dampen the positive news they create resulting in them communicating a false narrative that “everybody is out to get them.’

The effects of the Government shutdown

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 28: Despite Friday’s end to the longest-ever partial government shutdown, federal employees continue to line up outside outside the World Central Kitchen for free food and coffee January 28, 2019 in Washington, DC. Founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres, World Central Kitchen is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters. The kitchen has been providing meals, non-perishable food and other services to workers affected by the shutdown since January 16. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The January report is positive news. However, in a more thorough analysis you will see the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.0 percent. Again, that is not alarming as it merely is a data point. It must also be noted the number of unemployed persons rose to 6.5 million. Among those, 175,000 are in the “temporary layout” category.

Despite the shutdown, the January report is good news and some political leaders can’t fathom why Donald Trump doesn’t spend more energy on building on positive reports instead of being obsessed with watching cable television or trying to figure out ways to continue to hold the taxpayers hostage on a wall he proudly stated and his supporters echoed that “Mexico would pay for?”

Mortgage rates jump to highest level of 2018


The news is not enough to create panic but mortgage rates reached their highest level of 2018 and now sit at 4.470%.  That is the rate reported by Freddie Mac from their weekly primary market rate survey, which is the industry standard for gauging consumer mortgages.  It represents the benchmark thirty-year mortgage.  The survey is compiled from a sampling of lenders who sell mortgages to them.

The increase represents a five-basis point increase from week over week reporting.  Among other things the rate increase is attributed to the uncertainty over the impact of tariffs which the Trump administration recently announced.

 

Most consumers understand mortgage rates are cyclical and even the five-point increase would be considered normal movement.  On the other hand, those in the market for a mortgage pay attention to trends as positioning is a big factor in determining when to apply for a loan.  Purchase transactions are driven by the close of escrow and refinance transactions take approximately sixty days to close.  So, if the assumption is that rates will further increase it is more prudent to lock in the rate at time of application.  Of course, if your analysis conclude rates might drop, then your strategy might be to submit your application but “float” the rate or lock in at a later time.


Tax Cuts

 

The financial projection for 2018 was that rates would increase from their 2017 level.   There was much fanfare about the historic tax bill which was passed in December 2017.  Hopefully you were lucky enough to receive bonuses touted by the majority political party as well as Donald Trump?

“Still, the vast majority of adults don’t seem to have sensed the effects of the tax cut on their personal finances.” Politico

Although the public still hasn’t been told of how the government plans to pay for the tax cuts which by 2020 will push the tax deficit pass the TRILLION-dollar mark, many have taken the position to support anything which puts a little money in their pocket, even on a temporary basis.

Donald Trump proclaims tax cuts will revolutionize economy. Some are still waiting on promised bonuses or larger paychecks.

Expect Mark Short to be taken to the woodshed

Perhaps he misspoke but later this week do not be surprised if Trump and his strong allies do not take one of their own directly to the woodshed.  Why?  There was so much hype in attempting the justify the tax cuts and/or more money in worker’s paychecks, one would surely assume the numbers would be more than five percent!!!!

However, contrary to what the Trump administration has been boasting their own Director of Legislative Affairs and Assistant to the President for U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Mark Short belted out on “Meet the Press” that there is good news as five million people have financially benefited from the tax bill passed in December.  The problem with Short’s assessment is while five million represents lots of folk, it represents less than five percent of the total workforce which is nearly 125 million, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Wasn’t it presented that nearly every worker would see an immediate gain?  Maybe you were one of the lucky five million?

Hear Short’s specific comment at the 40 second mark.


Cost of good increase

 

Everyone appreciates a good economy.  The result is consumer confidence has increased and that is a positive sign which doesn’t get much debate..  The impact for most consumers is even though they have more money in their pocket, the increased cost of goods has eaten away at those gains.

People take part in a protest against the Republican tax bill in Los Angeles, California on December 4, 2017. Democrats and many economists warn that the GOP tax plan gives large tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy and will hurt middle class families. (Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto)

On the mortgage front today’s rate represents a fifty-basis point increase from year over year reporting.  The result is the average consumer ($244,000) is paying an additional $102 per month over a tad over $1,200 for the year.  Based on those numbers you will need more than a tax cut or bonus to break even.

Current rates for popular programs**

April 19, 2018

30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 4.47 % 3.94 % 3.67 %
Fees & Points 0.5 0.4 0.3
Margin N/A N/A 2.76

** source – Freddie Mac rate survey

Trump finally thanks Obama – Jobs report beats expectations!


President Obama sharing with Trump not to worry because he will be leaving a positive economy and much less drama than we he took office

It may be daylight savings time but it surely isn’t April Fools!  So, the thought that Donald Trump finally thanked Barack Obama for anything is wishful thinking.  Trump has convinced himself and his supporters that any and everything of a positive nature which has occurred since he assumed office on January 20, 2017 is the result of his personal brilliance and superb business acumen.  As painful as it may seem for him to be humbler and demonstrate basic respect or acknowledgment of what he inherited, unfortunately in doing so it might go against the basic premise of his bombastic personality of giving others credit.  Particularly if he considered that person a political opponent!

Economic factors looking good!

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their monthly jobs report.  The data reflects activity for February 2018.  The numbers were better than expected as over 313,000 jobs were created.  No doubt those numbers are impressive and highlight the positive direction the overall U.S. economy is headed.  The core issue for Trump and to the chagrin of his supporters is that when you evaluate historic data you can’t pick what you like or dismiss what you don’t like.  Specifically, no doubt the economy has produced some impressive numbers since the Trump administration took over the reins.  What gets lost in his enthusiasm is acknowledging or admitting what he inherited?  As previously stated, some feel in doing so their anti-Obama argument get muddled because they have accepted the notion he is a Muslim, didn’t achieve anything or a person of absolute failure who did nothing to help the American people during his eight years as President.

“The recent tax cuts are a good sign but they don’t get much credit for this report because the synchronized global recovery has been strong since the middle of 2016” said Jonathan Golub, chief United States equity strategist at Credit Suisse.

The jobs report was a welcome change as it reversed the tough week the Trump administration was dealing with.

 

Nine years later some have forgotten or marginalized the condition of our economy when Obama took the oath of office?   It was in a tailspin most had never experienced.  Jobs were being lost to the tune of nearly 800,000 each month.  Yet with some fundamental economic discipline and solid leadership the economy regained it stability and charted month over month  improvement.  Remarkably, many criticized Obama for not achieving a higher level of success!  While those early years in the Obama administration required exceptional focus one thing is certain; positive numbers, even limited are much better than any negative numbers.  The result is as Obama was departing and Trump was coming into office there is little argument things were headed in the right direction.  Therefore, in fairness Trump has earned credit for keeping the economy on track and continue to move in the right direction.  Perhaps the day will come when he communicates gratitude that what he inherited was much better than what Obama inherited.

 

 

Trump administration comes up short on first jobs report of 2018


The Trump administration woke up this morning knowing many eyes and ears would be focused on Michael Wolff’s scathing new book “Fire and Fury.”  In the past several days regardless of how they have attempted to dismiss it as full of crap, fake news or otherwise unreliable, their strategy has backfired as even with the bitter cold in the east coast, the public is snatching up the book in record numbers.

Customer at book store in D.C. Photo credit ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Many supporters of Donald Trump and his administration cry foul that the media refuses to focus on all of the great things they are accomplishing.  The problem with that narrative is perhaps more focus would be given on accomplishments and positive news if Trump and his administration didn’t have so many self-inflicted issues which become newsworthy, thus journalist and reporters have an ethical obligation to report that, as well of other issues of the presidency!

 

The book Fire and Fury is just one example that is blocking great news such as the soaring stock market.  The other may be the January jobs report which was released this morning by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).   Unfortunately, the 148,000 jobs reported in December fell 42,000 short of projections.  While the news is not alarming or worthy of concern, it does present an awkward sign for a person such as Trump who likes to boast of his success

 

The reduction in numbers have been attributed to the decline of jobs in the retail sector.

 

“A little bit of a disappointment when you only get 2,000 jobs out of the government and get retail at the absolute busiest time of the year losing 20,000 jobs. It just goes to show the true struggle that traditional brick and mortar is having now,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.

 

Just today while discussing President Trump, nationally acclaimed journalist David Gregory reported on CNN, “He is his own worst enemy.”

One more critical point and indicative of Donald Trump’s communication style is this afternoon on his way to Camp David but taking time to have an impromptu chat with the media belted out, “the jobs report released this morning is good.”  A perflexing comment when you compare January 2016 data while President Obama was in office as the numbers were 151,000 but better than the 148,000!

“Never apologize, never back down, never admit you were wrong, use every means possible toward achieving your ends,” Donald Trump as private citizen

Read the full BLS report HERE

33,000+ jobs lost in September


Photo courtesy of Getty Images. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

[Washington, DC] To the chagrin and frustration of Donald Trump and his administration, today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released employment data for September.  The decline was expected but goes against the mantra Trump spouted about the HUGE success workers would see once he was running things.

 

No one can predict natural disasters.  Hurricane season is common for the Caribbean and states which buffer against the Gulf of Mexico.  It’s something you can never get use too, however the magic of those states, territories and countries is why people choose to call it home.   Harvey and Maria packed a punch not seen in years.  The result was pure devastation and many workers were sidelined as whatever job they previously performed disappeared.

Unemployment rate dips to 4.2%

Even though job numbers dipped, there was good news as the unemployment rate slid to 4.2%.  These numbers are important as they affect the psyche of those in the workforce and have a direct impact on consumer confidence.

Trump is known for his bombastic rhetoric and marginalization of anything which places him in a negative context.  Ever since taking over as the president, he coined a new phrase to counter such news as “fake.”  He was warned repeatedly that running government is different from a family held business.    Yet, he boasted tremendous improvement that has never been seen before would occur!  The big difference is accountability and factual public data which will contradict even the most confident-appearing person.  While the clock is ticking, reality is setting in for many and they are pleading for his critics, “just to give him a chance.”

 

As we move into the fall season, October is also projected to be down as the employment effects of hurricane Maria will be announced.