The jobs report issued by the Department of Labor on Friday was unequivocally positive. Every sector of the economy, save one, saw robust gains in employment, with 312,000 new jobs created in December beating forecasters’ predictions by 30,000 jobs. In addition, the DOL revised October’s and November’s numbers upward by 58,000 jobs. Even the rise in the unemployment rate from a record low of 3.7 percent to 3.9 percent was explained by the number of new people entering the job market.
The number of unemployed workers dropped by 300,000 over the last 12 months, while the labor participation rate jumped. Wages improved as well as employers were forced to bid higher for a shrinking pool of workers to fulfill vacancies. Especially notable was the jump in the percentage of working-age Americans employed, which hit a five-year high.
Year-over-year, employers added 220,000 jobs a month in 2018, compared to just 182,000 jobs monthly in 2017. And this in a supposedly “tight” labor market. In December every private-sector industry except information technology added jobs, with some of the biggest gains coming from construction, education, and health services.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell (shown) commented on the jobs report at an economic conference in Atlanta on Friday morning, admitting that it reflected a growing economy. As for raising interest rates further in 2019, Powell backed off, saying, “With the muted inflation readings that we’ve seen coming in, we will be patient as we watch to see how the economy evolves.” But then he added that he and his board will be prepared to “shift” Fed policy over interest rate hikes and the continuing “runoff” of bonds from its balance sheet “significantly, if necessary” to pursue its goals.
As this writer has taken pains to show, those goals go far beyond its mandate to “maximize economic growth while keeping inflation in check” (source: the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank). As noted at The New American on Thursday, Powell is the handmaiden of the international banking establishment and has clearly been instructed to slow the Trump economy sufficiently to keep the president from winning reelection in 2020:
If, as we have surmised repeatedly, the Fed’s purpose is to slow and then eventually stop the Trump economic juggernaut just in time for the 2020 presidential election, then it is working. Goldman Sachs has just reduced its growth outlook for the first half of 2019 from 2.4 percent to two percent, and the bank expects growth to slow further in the second half of the year to 1.8 percent.
Morgan Stanley, another insider bank, expects the economy, thanks to the Fed’s interest-rate hikes and its continuing “autopilot” liquidation of its bonds, to slow to 1.7 percent this year, with quarterly growth declining to just one percent in the July to September quarter.
It’s helpful to remember that the Fed is the brainchild of the international banking establishment, as so carefully revealed by G. Edward Griffin in his tome The Creature from Jekyll Island. As part of the Deep State, why would globalists not direct Powell to slow Trump’s economic recovery and stall it just in time for his reelection campaign?
As for Powell’s words, they comforted investors on Wall Street, who jumped upon hearing what they wanted to hear: that he was going to back off on raising interest rates for the time being and that he might even consider slowing his ongoing “runoff” of maturing bonds that has been starving the economy of liquidity. But a look at what is happening to the Fed’s balance sheet reveals that Powell’s words are just that: words. The “runoff” on bonds has shrunk the Fed’s balance sheet by $435 billion in the last 12 months, from $4.5 trillion to just over $4 trillion. That’s 10 percent shrinkage as its policy of “quantitative tightening” continues into the New Year.
At 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, the president delivered his much anticipated speech from the Oval Office about the illegal immigration crisis at the southern border of the United States.
A few minutes later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, both of whom favor open borders to keep future Democrat voters flowing into the country, answered him.
Trump discussed facts and data about illegal aliens and the drugs and crime they cause.
Pelosi and Schumer blamed Trump for the government shutdown that began after they refused to fund a wall for border security.
The president did not declare the border a national emergency, as many thought he would. Instead, he calmly enumerated the facts about the illegal-alien invasion.
“Every day, customs and border patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country,” he accurately said. “We are out of space to hold them, and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country.”
Illegal immigration, he said, is bad for American blacks and American Hispanics job-wise. But beyond that, “Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.”
Trump detailed the data on border arrests: “In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged with or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country.”
And “last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the united States.” Ruthless smugglers use them as pawns, and 33 percent of illegal-alien women are sexually assaulted on their way to the border..
Trump noted the obvious: “This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year — vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress.”
And if walls don’t work, he asked, “why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside.”
Last, Trump discussed illegal-alien murderers, including the twice-deported illegal, protected by California’s sanctuary law, who murdered a good cop, police allege, the day after Christmas.
Then he offered off a list of the crimes committed by the savages who sneak across the border: the illegal alien in California who raped and beat to death an Air Force veteran with a hammer, the illegal alien who beheaded and dismembered someone in Georgia, the MS-13 gang members, “unaccompanied minors” when they cross the border, who stabbed and beat a 16-year-old girl in Maryland.
A month ago, bond investors were predicting that the Fed would be raising interest rates several times in 2019. As the economy is now clearly slowing, those same investors are predicting the Fed has now done its job and won’t be raising rates in the New Year. Said the Wall Street Journal:
Fed-funds futures, which investors use to bet on the direction of Fed policy, on Wednesday showed a 91% probability that the central bank’s policy makers will finish the year  with interest rates at or below their current levels.
That is a reversal from early November, when futures prices indicated a 90% probability that rates would end 2019 higher than they are now.
The latest report from the Institute of Supply Management merely confirmed that slowing economy, with its manufacturing survey published on Thursday coming in below forecasters’ expectations (which were below October’s).
The New American has been tracking and noting the slowing of the U.S. economy that has been established policy at the Fed for many months now. In November we noted that homebuilders were already feeling the pinch of higher interest rates, which the Fed had imposed on the economy earlier in the year. The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) monthly confidence index dropped a staggering eight points from October, providing an “early warning signal on the direction of the economy” and running the risk that the Fed “might just be steering the economy off the highway and into the weeds.”
A few days later The New American reported that our position that the Fed’s intervention was intentional and deliberate was confirmed by Jeremy Siegel, professor of finance at the Wharton School of Finance. He told CNBC’s Closing Bell on November 21 that “the market is saying that the pace [of the Fed’s interest rate hikes] is a little too fast.… The market is clearly worried about over-tightening by the Fed.” We noted remarks by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell made in October that the Fed was “a long way from ‘neutral,’” implying that more rate hikes were in the plan in order to slow the economy.
In December The New American warned its readers not to be fooled into focusing only on the proposed interest-rate hikes the Fed was using to slow the economy but to also focus on the “runoff” of billions of dollars of bonds it was holding as they matured. At the time we said:
Since September 2014, the Federal Reserve has been intentionally and deliberately shrinking the money supply — the capital that a capitalist system needs to thrive and prosper — from $4.15 trillion to $3.5 trillion as of November 21, 2018. That’s 15-percent shrinkage in the “oxygen supply” the capitalist system needs.
But it’s worse than that: Most of that shrinkage has taken place since last September. Since then the Fed has reduced the money supply (its “Adjusted Monetary Base” numbers are available from the St. Louis Fed’s website) from $4.0 trillion to $3.5 trillion, a reduction of 12.5 percent.
That money-supply shrinkage is now showing up in the various places pundits are looking to place the blame, i.e., anything that affects the financial well-being of the economy. As interest rates rise and the money supply shrinks (the two most powerful tools the Fed is using to slow the economy), housing starts slow, car sales dwindle, credit card payments increase, profit margins decline, and capital expenditure projects are taken off the board as they are no longer profitable enough to be justified….
It’s the Fed that stands athwart the economy’s startling growth trajectory.
A week later, we noted a reversal by bond investors who saw a slowing economy and changed its mind about the Fed’s continuing efforts to slow it further: “The Fed was expected to continue raising rates well into 2019 but now futures traders (those who bet real money and not just ink on Bloomberg’s website) are backing off. They are betting that the Fed might raise interest rates one more time next year (instead of the three to four times experts were predicting just a month ago) and some are putting large sums down on the bet that — ready? — the Fed will reduce interest rates by one notch next year instead.”