Peter Schiff: It's The Same Economy; Nothing Has Changed
- According to the Labor Department, the economy added 263,000 jobs last month. That came in well above the expectation of 180,000 jobs.
- The unemployment rate dropped to 3.6%, the lowest level since December 1969.
- Average hourly earnings were only up 0.2. This is a non-inflation adjusted number. The average workweek ticked down from 34.5 hours to 34.4 hours.
April's jobs report came out better than expected. According to the Labor Department, the economy added 263,000 jobs last month. That came in well above the expectation of 180,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.6%, the lowest level since December 1969.
But in his most recent podcast, Peter Schiff said the job headlines actually mask the real story.
Of course, Donald Trump tweeted about how great the job numbers were. Peter tweeted out a little reminder in response.
"But I thought the official unemployment rate is a fraud, scam, hoax, etc. You said so many times yourself when campaigned against Obama's phony economy. Do you no longer care about discouraged workers who have left the labor force, or those involuntarily working part-time?"
Many people are pointing to the jobs numbers as proof of a strong economy. But as Peter pointed out, there have been plenty of strong jobs reports over the last several years. In fact, there were many months during the Obama years when we saw more than 200k new jobs added to the economy. So, while Trump has pointed to these numbers as proof that he's fixed the economy…
"It's the same economy. Nothing has actually changed."
Peter pointed out some numbers hidden within the jobs report that weren't so encouraging. Average hourly earnings were only up 0.2. This is a non-inflation adjusted number. The average workweek ticked down from 34.5 hours to 34.4 hours.
And consider the labor force participation number. When Trump took office, it stood at 62.9. It is now 62.8.
"There has not been an increase. Despite all the talk about all of these workers coming off the sidelines that are now in the game - all these workers who are taking advantage of the opportunities in a booming economy - none of it's true. The labor force participation rate has not moved up at all since Donald Trump has become president."
Peter also looked at the type of jobs that are being created. Trump promised a manufacturing renaissance. But the economy only added 4,000 manufacturing jobs out of the 280,000 jobs created last month.
"This is another myth - that we have this vibrant manufacturing sector, that this protectionism is working, that the tariffs are working. They're not working. Manufacturing has not been revived. It is simply a matter of PR."
There was also a loss of 12,000 retail jobs. It was the third consecutive month of job losses in the retail sector. Peter said it is a more ominous sign. It is not only bad for employment in that sector; it is also going to be a problem for commercial real estate.
"This is going to be part of the coming real estate collapse that's going to be particularly hard felt in the commercial sector."
Peter talked about some of the other economic data that came out Friday that got lost in the jobs headlines.
The US continues to run tremendous trade deficits. The ISM manufacturing index also came in lower. It was projected to be rise from last month to 57.3, but it instead fell to 55.5. That's the lowest number in about 2 years. April auto sales were down 6.1%. It was the biggest month-on-month drop in eight years. Luxury home prices saw their biggest declines since 2010.
"These jobs numbers are much more of a lagging indicator. Most of the forward-looking indicators are showing economic weakness."
Peter also talked about the stock markets' reaction to the job numbers and the impact of the Federal Reserve.
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