It's back...the jobs report, that is. The key economic calendar starts again this week as we review important data releases, culminating with the latest on employment in America. In the grand scheme of things, even a "good" report will not be anything like the kind of jobs growth that is long overdue in this nation -based on Economics 101.
|Key Economic Reports|
Thus, the resolve of business and its will to be great has made a huge difference in the face of government efforts to remake the nature and purpose of America's economy.
Now, there are glimmers that the same business economic DNA is now having to fend off the interest of environmentalists, unions, and the redistributionist crowd that are trying to grow. I think about our economy the same way I think about the aftermath of Chernobyl, which was supposed to be uninhabitable to most forms of life for hundreds of years.
Just a couple decades later, reports say that there are 66 different species of mammals, including 7,000 wild boar, 3,000 deer, 1,800 beavers, 1,200 foxes, and thousands of elk. No comment from Pripyat.com on whether or not any of these animals glow in the dark.
The point is, there is something about nature and something about nations. For all those that derive their fortune and power from talking about the end of the world, or about the end of the United States, need to understand that there are other forces, which they are ignoring, or refusing to acknowledge. Still, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the economy and about the various ticking time bombs from entitlements and obligations, to government debt. However, there is a fading belief in capitalism, and a growing call for confiscating the wealth of successful people.
This movement persists, and seems to be building for a massive campaign to coincide with midterm elections. After years of implementing their failed notions through policies and rhetoric, the anti-free market crowd is making the argument that taxes should be even higher, that regulations should be more draconian, and making that rhetoric loud enough to shame anyone looking to become successful and rich. (Exemptions exist for actors, athletes, current and former politicians, and the nerds of Silicon Valley; perhaps the biggest driving force of the expansion of wealth at the very top.)
Moreover, what might stop this movement is a modest improvement in the economy as regular people sense things are getting better.
The Baby Steps of Mobility
For the second week in a row, one of the tellers at my local bank branch told me they were leaving for a better job. For the last couple of years, I have developed a great friendly relationship with all three tellers, now only one is left, and it is unlikely she is moving on as she is expecting her first child. In addition to being happy for them, I wonder if I should be happy, or at least hopeful for the entire country. According to BLS, the average bank teller only makes $12.21 an hour, so it is wonderful and encouraging to watch someone move ahead.
According to Gallup, more and more people are feeling like it is a good time to find a quality job (see chart). Obviously, there is a long way to go, but even chipping away slowly redirects the urge for people to back so-called Robin Hood policies, and embrace the notion that they can move higher in this country.
However, this week we will get a look at just how wide those baby steps have become. When you go from crawling to walking, you have to believe at some point that you will be able to run.
Stocks are looking higher in general, but nothing is exploding, save Astrazeneca (NYSE:AZN) which could be bought by Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) but so much of this would-be deal has been leaked or discussed so the price pop is only 14%. Chinese internet stocks are looking compelling as Alibaba continues to throw money around in an attempt to be everything to everyone on the web. Today's beneficiary is Youku (NYSE:YOKU) which could be the top percentage gainer at the start of trading.
I said the PFE/AZN deal was dumb based on similar pipelines, but if the deal is motivated by lower taxes then maybe it makes more sense, but should be a wakeup call to politicians that want to "steal" more earnings from corporations and individuals.