Tag Archives: Unemployment

40+ Million Americans Unemployed: Misery continues as 2.1 million new jobless claims filed last week

(Emily Craine) The unemployment toll caused by COVID-19 layoffs continues to rise with another 2.1 million American filing new jobless benefit claims last week – even as more businesses reopened and rehired some laid-off employees. 

More than 40 million new claims for unemployment benefits have been filed in the past two months ever since the coronavirus started paralyzing the US economy. 

It is the 10th straight week that new claims have been above 2 million, figures released by the Labor Department on Thursday show.  

While claims have declined steadily since hitting a record 6.867 million in late March, they have not registered below 2 million since then. 

Although the total figure for claims in more than 40 million, not all of them are still unemployed. The number of people currently receiving unemployment benefits is 21 million, which is a rough measure of the number of unemployed Americans. 

States are gradually restarting their economies by letting some businesses – from gyms, retail shops and restaurants to hair and nail salons – reopen with some restrictions. 

As some of these employers, including automakers, have recalled a portion of their laid-off employees, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits has fallen.

The unemployment toll caused by COVID-19 layoffs continues to rise with another 2.1 million American filing new jobless benefit claims last week. It is the 10th straight week that new claims have been above 2 million, figures released by the Labor Department on Thursday show.

More than 40 million new claims for unemployment benefits have been filed in the past two months when the coronavirus started paralyzing the US economy

The weekly jobless claims report, the most timely data on the economy’s health, is being watched to assess how quickly the economy rebounds after businesses shuttered in mid-March to control the spread of COVID-19 and almost ground the country to a halt. 

The number of claims – stuck at an astonishingly high level even as non-essential businesses are starting to reopen – suggest it could take a while for the economy to dig out of the coronavirus-induced slump despite signs from the housing market and manufacturing that the downturn was close to bottoming. 

Economists fear a second wave of private sector layoffs and job cuts by state and local governments whose budgets have been crushed contributed to last week’s unemployment claims.  

‘I am concerned that we are seeing a second round of private sector layoffs that, coupled with a rising number of public sector cut backs is driving up the number of people unemployed,’ said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economics in Holland, Pennsylvania.

‘If that is the case, given the pace of reopening, we could be in for an extended period of extraordinary high unemployment. And that means the recovery will be slower and will take a lot longer.’

The second wave of layoffs could grow bigger with Boeing announcing on Wednesday it was eliminating more than 12,000 US jobs and also disclosing it planned ‘several thousand remaining layoffs’ in the next few months.  

Meanwhile, Amazon.com Inc announced on Thursday it has plans to offer permanent jobs to about 70 percent of the workforce it has hired temporarily to meet consumer demand during the pandemic.

The world’s largest online retailer will begin telling 125,000 warehouse employees in June that they can keep their roles longer-term. The remaining 50,000 workers it has brought on will stay on seasonal contracts that last up to 11 months, a company spokeswoman said.

California, Washington, New York and Florida saw the biggest increases in new claims, according to the latest Labor Department report. 

In California, where claims increased by 31,764, layoffs were most prominent in the service industry.

Layoffs in insurance, educational services and public administration industries were most common in Washington state where claims rose by 29,288.

The majority of layoffs in New York, which saw its claims increase by 24,543, were felt in the transportation and warehousing, educational services, and information industries. 

Florida’s layoffs increased by 2,322 and impacted industries included agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade and service industries. 

Economists cautioned the 40 million figure does not represent the number of jobs lost due to the pandemic, citing technical difficulties and procedures at state unemployment offices.

The focus, instead, should be on the number of people still receiving unemployment benefits. These so-called continuing claims could shed light on the effectiveness of the government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

The PPP, part of a historic fiscal package worth nearly $3 trillion, offered businesses loans that could be partially forgiven if they were used for employee salaries.

The job cuts reflect an economy that was seized by the worst downturn since the Great Depression after the virus forced the widespread shutdown of businesses.  

‘Now is a good time to think how many of those people who lost their jobs are going to get them back, my sense is 25 percent will not and that’s what gives us the double digit unemployment rate well into 2021,’ said Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM in New York. 

‘The bankruptcies of small and medium enterprises will result in a much higher rate of permanent layoffs.’

While claims have declined steadily since hitting a record 6.867 million in late March, they have not registered below 2 million since then. Pictured above in an unemployment office in Arkansas in April

The economy shrank at an even faster pace than initially estimated in the first three months of this year with economists continuing to expect a far worse outcome in the current April-June quarter. 

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, fell at an annual rate of 5 percent in the first quarter, a bigger decline than the 4.8 percent drop first estimated a month ago. 

It was the biggest quarterly decline since an 8.4 percent fall in the fourth quarter of 2008 during the depths of the financial crisis. 

Analysts are monitoring incoming economic data to gauge how consumers are responding as many retail establishments gradually reopen.

Jobs won’t return in any significant way as long as Americans remain slow to resume spending at their previous levels. 

Data from Chase Bank credit and debit cards shows that consumers have slowly increased their spending since the government distributed stimulus checks in mid-April. 

Consumer spending had plunged 40 percent in March compared with a year earlier but has since rebounded to 20 percent below year-ago levels.

Most of that increase has occurred in online shopping, which has recovered to pre-virus levels after having tumbled about 20 percent. 

But offline spending, which makes up the vast majority of consumer spending, is still down 35 percent from a year ago, according to Chase, after having plummeted 50 percent at its lowest point.

Atlanta Fed Predicts A 50%+ GDP Collapse in 2Q20

Source: By EMILY CRANE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

“A V-Shaped Recovery Will Not Be Possible”: Today’s Job Losses Reflect A 40% GDP Crash

Now that the worst jobless print and unemployment rate in US history are in the record books, the next questions are i) what does this mean for the US economy and ii) how long before things revert back to normal. 

Addressing the second question first, Morgan Stanley earlier this week laid out three scenarios, a bull, base and bear case. What is notable is that even the bull case sees a full recovery only in 2021. The base case tacks on another year to the recovery while the bear case sees double-digit unemployment into 2022 and onward.

Goldman agrees with Morgan Stanley, and even in its optimistic report that the US has now moved past the bottom (assuming the is no second round of closures in late 2020), the bank expects labor market slack to remain substantial even in late 2021 and entering 2022.

The bottom line here is that contrary to expectations for a quick return to normal, it will take years (if ever) before the unemployment rate recorded in late 2019 is back.

As for the first question, namely what is the economic impact from today’s catastrophic jobs report, here is the answer from Bloomberg’s Economic team:

“The extent of job losses is consistent with Bloomberg Economics’ modeling of a near 40% contraction in real GDP for the quarter. While layoffs were concentrated in sectors such as restaurants, hospitality and leisure, losses occurred in nearly all subcategories.”

As Bloomberg concludes:

“the breadth of job losses is a jarring signal of the massive challenge of restarting vast swaths of the economy – not just a few sectors – and it therefore serves as a stark indication that a ‘V-shaped’ recovery will not be possible.”

Meanwhile, stocks are now higher than they were a year ago, when the unemployment rate was about 3.5%. Thanks Fed.

Source: ZeroHedge

A Tragic Record: For The First Time Ever, More Than Half Of The US Population Is Not Working

Today’s jobs report was, as expected and as previously discussed, absolutely horrific, although as Bank of America points out there was one silver lining which Larry Kudlow quickly latched on to: with 72% of jobs lost being reflected as temporary layoffs, workers should be able to be more seamlessly rehired as the economy reopens. However, the longer this pandemic goes on, the more likely that what was temporary becomes permanent, and as ZeroHedge pointed out in a previous post, even baseline cases see unemployment not returning back to normal until 2022 or later.

Offsetting this “good news”, however, there was one especially scary aspect of today’s jobs report that has not gotten enough publicity, namely that as BofA writes, the employment to population ratio plunged to a record low, with only 51.3% of the population working. Inversely, this means that in April, 49% of the US population was not working.

Worst Jobs Report In History: 20.5 Million Jobs Lost As Unemployment Rate Hits Record 14.7%

It gets worse.

As a reminder, the BLS said that if the workers who were recorded as employed but absent from work due to “other reasons” had been classified as unemployed on temporary layoff, the overall unemployment rate would have been almost 5 percentage points higher than reported, meaning that the true unemployment rate as of this moment is 20%

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett laid the groundwork for shocking the US population for this devastating reality, when he said in a CNN interview that next month’s jobs report “should be around 20%,” adding that the U-6, or the underemployment rate, will probably hit around 25% in the next report.

This means that the employment-to-population ratio is also under counted by about 4-5%, and that as of this moment (we will get the May jobs data in 1 month), the employment to population ratio is below 50%, indicating that for the first time in history, more than half of the US population is unemployed!

Which is great news for stocks: think of all the people who have nothing better to do than buy the fucking dip all day with all that helicopter money the Fed will be showering on them for the coming years.

Source: ZeroHedge

 

Here Come The Mass Layoffs: New York Unemployment Site Goes Down After “Tens Of Thousands” Lose Their Jobs

In many ways the US economy is currently in the eye of the coronavirus storm: cities and states are under quarantine lockdown, the CDC has prohibited any groupings of more than 50 people; stores, clubs, restaurants, bars and hotels are voluntarily shuttering indefinitely as the economy grinds to a halt and yet besides a tapestry of ghost cities across the nation, the immediate impact of the devastating viral storm on the service economy has yet to manifest itself.

But the hurricane is about to hit front and center, and the service-industry mecca of New York City is leading the way.

As the Daily News reports,New York’s unemployment website was overwhelmed Monday as the coronavirus pandemic put tens of thousands of people across the state out of work.

The flood of suddenly jobless workers hitting the Department of Labor website with applications for unemployment benefits was unleashed by a drastic move by Gov. Cuomo, who announced all of the state’s restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms and casinos would close by 8 p.m. Monday to contain the corona outbreak.

So many people tried to apply that the website crashed several times throughout the day, while the DOL’s hotline was so jammed up that callers seeking aid could not get through to someone who could handle their claim.

The unemployed can apply from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. DOL spokeswoman Deanna Cohen said the department saw a “spike in volume comparable to post 9/11,” adding there are more than 700 staffers assigned to handle the high demand.

Gabe Friedman, unemployed drag queen

“I’m completely unable to log in and apply” said 26-year-old Gabe Friedman, a drag queen who performs under the name Kiki Ball-Change. “Me and so many other drag queens are completely out of work for at least two months. If I pay rent at the end of April, I would be broke.”

It’s not just the drag queens that find themselves with zero demand for their unique “skills”: tens of thousands of workers across New York’s service industries have already been, or are about to be let go as their employers are forced to either shut down permanently or hibernate until the economy recovers.

The DOL on Sunday waived a seven-day waiting period on unemployment benefits for people out of work due to coronavirus — but that concession proved to be moot as many people could not apply at all.

Rita Lee, 57, who works in the film industry (hopefully not as a drag king), said she started to apply Sunday night after movie productions shut down across the city. She hit a wall once applications opened Monday.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lee tried and failed to apply on the website, saying she kept “getting either a system or server error message, or the page will never load.”

“I’ve called all the toll-free numbers, which are recordings that redirect you to a main menu or a message saying that all the operators are overloaded now and to call back,” said Lee. “Can’t reach a human to help.”

David Stollings, a sound engineer at a now-shuttered Broadway theater, called the situation a doozy. “I got the site to load once,” said Stollings. “Before this it was just not loading at all.”

Marnia Halasa, a Manhattan-based figure skating coach, said she was also unable to apply and became worried about paying rent. “What if I have to blow the New York popsicle joint and run back to Ohio to live with my father?,” asked Halasa, who’s lived in the city for 28 years.

* * *

While it is not clear how many New Yorkers will lose their jobs due to the pandemic, Empire Center founder E.J. McMahon told the NYDN the hit could be worse than the Great Recession of the late 2000s when roughly 370,000 people lost their jobs in a more than two-year span.

“The website crashed, that’s evidence that there has never been anything like this so quickly,” said McMahon. “You can fix a computer glitch. But I don’t think the problem is how the safety net operates. I think the problem is how the economy operates in the future for all these people.”

Incidentally, the chief economist of a multi-billion macro hedge fund advised us that they are now modeling approximately 10 million job losses over the next two to three months. We leave it up to readers to decide if that’s too little, too much or just right.

Source: ZeroHedge

Good Thing? US Treasury Curve Flattens To Zero As Unemployment Falls To Lowest Level Since 1969

Good thing! US unemployment has fallen to its lowest level since the 1960s.

The US Treasury 10-year – 3-month yield curve has flattened to zero as unemployment hits its 50 year low.

https://confoundedinterestnet.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/yc10u3.png

Is this signaling the end of a business cycle? Or is it signaling the excesses of central banking?

We are seeing turbulence in the US yield curve given the many economic uncertainties around the globe, like Brexit, China trade, etc.

https://confoundedinterestnet.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/usyc.png

At least devaluation of the US dollar Purchasing Power has slowed.

https://confoundedinterestnet.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/fed1913.png

Source: Confounded Interest

U.S. Jobless Claims Drop To 49 Year Low: Here Is One Reason Why

Another week, another near record low in initial jobless claims, which tumbled by 10,000 to 203K in the last week according to the BLS, below the consensus estimate of 213K, and down from 213K last week.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Initial%20Jobless%20Claims.jpg?itok=WGjp3cTy

As further indication of the vibrancy of the job market, continuing claims fell by 3k to 1.707m, the lowest since mid-June.

The data, which comes before tomorrow’s main jobs report, show employment continued to improve in late August although Jobless-claims figures tend to be more volatile around holidays, such as the U.S. Labor Day. Some doubt about tomorrow’s strong number crept in after today’s ADP Private Payrolls disappointed, sliding from 217K to 163K, far below the 200K expected, and the lowest print since last October.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Change-in-Nonfarm-Private-Employment-August-2018.gif?itok=7nuwBteg

Even so, the figures add to signs businesses are keeping existing staff and adding new workers to help meet demand being boosted by tax cuts in the 10th year of the economic expansion.

Then again, there may be another potential explanation, and as Southbay Research notes, the collapse in initial claims may be tied to Trump’s immigration policy.

According to Southbay, taking the year-over-year change in Initial Jobless Claims (inverse) and comparing it to the GDP y/y growth, the current pattern broadly matches historical patterns. But nominal Initial Jobless Claims are at ~50 year lows.  And that’s with a much larger working population. 

Compare this business cycle with the one in the 1990s:

  • Duration: ~10 years
  • GDP: 1990s GDP much stronger
  • Initial Jobless Claims Year 9 of recovery: 300K (2000) vs 210K (2018)

That is, the current cycle is strong but not as strong as the one in the 1990s.  But Jobless Claims have collapsed even lower. Why?

  • Not tied to duration: While Jobless Claims fall over time, both cycles have lasted roughly the same number of years
  • Not tied to GDP: If GDP were the sole determinant, then the 1990s would have had even lower Claims.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/claims%20change.png?itok=9SbDez5h

Trump Economy & Immigration Policy

Sudden drop in welfare applications: From 2015-2017, Initial Claims were dropping at a steady nominal level of ~15K per year. Suddenly, in 2018, the pace has tripled: claims have fallen (-30K). What about 2018 is pushing down claims at the fastest rate in 4 years?

Tighter State Eligibility Requirements: Most entitlement programs are seeing a sharp drop this year.  A key driver has been funding: the Federal government is shifting the cost burden to the States.  In response, States have tightened eligibility; for example, many States are requiring food stamp applicants to show proof that the applicant is trying to find a job.

Immigrant Fear

Last year, the Trump administration surfaced a plan to penalize legal immigrants who use welfare (public housing, food stamps, medicaid, etc).  Under this plan, legal immigrants could have their status revoked.  Fear of that plan is causing many immigrants to shy away from using these entitlements, and from filing Jobless Claims.

In addition, undocumented immigrants are finding themselves under pressure from ICE. Applying for Jobless Claims means visiting government offices. And that has risk.

KEY POINT: A strong and sustained period of economic growth is pushing down Jobless Claims.  But the drop may not be as awesome as it seems.

Source: ZeroHedge


ADP Employment Growth Slows To Weakest In 10 Months

Having beaten expectations in July (and printed notably higher than payrolls), ADP employment growth was expected to slow in August and it did – more than expected. ADP printed +163k against expectations of +200k (down from July’s revised +217k).

This is the weakest employment growth since Oct 2017…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-09-06_5-18-07.jpg?itok=-4p8Q9bO

Medium-sized firms dominated the job gains in August as did Service-providing roles…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-09-06.png?itok=D6ThDkCG

“Although we saw a small slowdown in job growth the market remains incredibly dynamic,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute.

“Midsized businesses continue to be the engine of growth, adding nearly 70 percent of all jobs this month, and remain resilient in the current economic climate.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said,

“The job market is hot. Employers are aggressively competing to hold onto their existing workers and to find new ones. Small businesses are struggling the most in this competition, as they increasingly can’t fill open positions.”

Full Breakdown:

https://i1.wp.com/www.adpemploymentreport.com/2018/August/NER/images/infographic/main/NERinfographic-August2018.gif

Job growth is very broad – as measured by the BLS Diffusion index, employment breadth is the highest since 1998…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-09-06_5-14-36.jpg?itok=oaojqakr

On average during President Trump’s tenure, ADP has – on average – had no bias in its reporting compared to BLS data, this is notably different from the systemic under-reporting that ADP did relative to BLS during Obama’s tenure…

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/2018-09-06_5-11-18.jpg?itok=gxIegrbz

Of course, with a 96.3% chance of a September rate-hike priced in, today’s ADP (and tomorrow’s payrolls) print likely have little to no impact on monetary policy (Dec odds for another hike is 67.4%).

Source: ZeroHedge

‘Ghosting’ On The Rise As Workers Blow Off Interviews

In a clear but perhaps unwelcome, for companies, sign that the US job market is at its hottest in decades, applicants are increasingly “ghosting” interviews, resulting in employers getting more creative in their hiring and retention efforts after frustration in attracting ideal candidates is on the rise, according to a new report.

“Ghosting” is a term coined by millennials denoting cutting off all communication with friends or a date, with zero warning or notice before hand, including blocking social media communications and avoiding them in public. Job candidates and employees are now “ghosting” their jobs by way of ditching scheduled job interviews, or even not showing up on the first day of work, or disappearing from existing positions without notice or reason.  

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Ghosting%20Office%20Space.jpg?itok=sER9fvup“Office Space” (1999) via Hollywood Reporter

That this is taking place at the same time as the quits rate hit an all time high, is probably not a surprise: we detailed the so-called “take this job and shove it” indicator from the latest JOLTS report earlier this month – it shows worker confidence that they can leave their current job and find a better paying job elsewhere. Well, according to the BLS, as of May, this number hit an all time high, rising from 3.349MM in April to 3.561MM in May, an increase of 212K in the month, the biggest monthly increase since December 2015.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/quits%20jun%202018_0_0.jpg?itok=XeUZPZBt

Meanwhile, unemployment has reached an 18-year low of nearly 3.8%, with more job openings than unemployed people in May of this year — only the second month in the past two decades this has happened.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/openings%20vs%20unemployed.jpg

As a result, employees increasingly find themselves holding all the cards as 2.4% of all those employed quitting their jobs, usually to take another preferred position, the largest share in 17 years.

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/Ghosting%20chart%201.png?itok=PH2QuxqH

One president of a major staffing firm in the New York City area, Dawn Fay, told USA Today that “up to 20 percent of white-collar workers” are no-shows at scheduled interviews as they find themselves with more options, and explained further:

To some extent, employees are giving employers a taste of their own medicine. During and after the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009, when unemployment reached 10 percent, many firms ignored job applicants and never followed up after interviews. “Candidates were very frustrated because they felt employers were ghosting on them,” Fay says.

Now it’s payback time as other staffing agencies recently profiled report that they see upwards of 60% of candidates with multiple offers in a market that’s now pit companies in a cut-throat race to attract talent. Some companies report experimenting with group interviews of 20 or 30 applicants or more, with the expectation that up to half may never show up. 

USA Today notes that “While no one formally tracks such antics, many businesses report that 20 to 50 percent of job applicants and workers are pulling no-shows in some form, forcing many firms to modify their hiring practices.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/unemployment%20NPR.png?itok=M1YmoktP

In one prominent online journal geared towards HR professionals and employers, company owners and headhunters rant over recent hiring frustrations

“Downright rude and unprofessional,” says Carl Schussler, managing principal of Mitigate Partners. “What happened to handwritten thank you notes and treating people with respect?”

Kathleen Downs, senior vice president with staffing and recruiting company Robert Half Finance & Accounting agrees with Bieler that candidates’ having multiple choices in today’s job market feeds into this new trend of professional ghosting. She explains that during the Great Recession, companies would receive 100 applications and choose to interview 15 of them. “Now they receive five or six resumes, and if they are fortunate enough to interview all, each of them would have had three or four previous interviews,” she says.

Leylek agrees. “We are now working with a candidate-driven market,” he says. “Candidates are in a position where they hold all the cards.”

For businesses all of this of course spells lost money, time, and wasted expenses as difficult to fill and skill set specific jobs stay vacant event longer. 

Some staffing firms speculate in recent reports that it could simply be a decline in manners among a younger generation more at home in a social media world of impersonal relations and the ease of “blocking” contact.

Employee Benefit News cites the reasons behind “ghosting” in the work world as that while “social media made reaching out to people easier, it also made it easier for candidates to just not reply back,” and that “the uncomfortable situation of delivering the rejection personally that plays into this.”

But more obviously, it’s not social media induced shyness that’s the culprit, but a natural confidence that comes with a robust and growing job market so perhaps ghosting is but the latest positive phenomenon in a resurgent economy. 

Source: ZeroHedge

California Gained Just 800 Jobs In June; Unemployment Remains At Record Low

http://www.latimes.com/resizer/Memjc0TDX_C-yMi6lC4IgOzjYlk=/1400x0/www.trbimg.com/img-5b520f9e/turbine/la-1532104602-2rb2nwgmwy-snap-image

Employers in California’s trade, transportation and utilities sector cut jobs in June. Above, the Port of Long Beach.

California’s economic engine paused in June, as employers added a meager 800 new jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at a record low of 4.2%, according to data released Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department.

The June numbers represent a pullback from May, when the Golden State added 7,200 jobs. And the gains in May were much smaller than April, when employers boosted payrolls by nearly 26,000.

The slowdown could signal that California is simply reaching full employment. Employers are struggling to find workers. Or it could be a sign of sagging confidence among executives. A growing trade war with China, for example, has unnerved companies in California’s logistics industry and beyond.

Economists, however, cautioned against reading too much into one or two months of data.

Lynn Reaser, chief economist of the Fermanian Business and Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University, said June’s disappointing figures “warrant attention” and could be a sign of uncertainty around trade. But they are not cause for “undue alarm at this point.”

“June’s weak performance could be temporary,” she said in an email.

Others said it was too early to see effects from the tariffs the Trump administration has placed on Chinese goods. An initial levy on $34 billion of Chinese goods, along with countermeasures by China, took effect in July following months of tariff threats and saber-rattling between the world’s two largest economies. More tariffs have been threatened.

Michael Bernick, an attorney with Duane Morris and a former director of the Employment Development Department, said the slowdown was expected after a sustained stretch of job growth, noting that the current economic expansion is now the second longest in the post-World War II period.

“California has a broad and diverse economy, and we’re now in our 99th month of employment expansion,” he said in an email.

Last month, employers in four of California’s 11 industry sectors added jobs.

The education and health services sector gained the most, growing by 8,000 jobs. The information sector, which includes tech companies and Hollywood studios, grew by 4,600 jobs.

http://www.latimes.com/resizer/EljcnTk6n2YBPJ9M-ux3pw3OZJ0=/1400x0/www.trbimg.com/img-5b5217e4/turbine/la-1532106721-1amvs38pm0-snap-image

Employers in the government sector and the professional and business services sector also added jobs.

The other seven sectors saw job losses. Leisure and hospitality cut 4,000 jobs. The construction sector shrank by 2,900. Trade, transportation and utilities lost 2,600 jobs. Employers in manufacturing, finance, mining and logging and “other services” also trimmed payrolls.

Wages, meanwhile, rose 2.6% in California from the previous year, to $30.42 an hour, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, barely keeping up with the national increase in consumer prices. (The agency does not publish consumer inflation data for individual states.)

The number of jobs in Los Angeles County rose by 8,800. Employers in San Bernardino and Riverside counties added 3,400 jobs, while San Diego County employers cut 5,400. The number of jobs in Ventura County fell by 300. Orange County lost 100 jobs.

Across Los Angeles and Orange counties, wages rose 4.8%, to $29.39 an hour, though inflation took out a chunk of those gains.

So-called core inflation — consumer prices minus volatile food and energy costs — rose 3.5% in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Sung Won Sohn, chief economist with Los Angeles consulting firm SS Economics, blamed June’s poor jobs figures partly on sky-high housing costs that make it difficult for employers to recruit and retain workers.

He noted that the number of people in the labor force — either those employed or looking for work — has been falling in recent months.

Dave Smith, an economist at the Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School, said that absent an increase in immigration, “we are just not at a capacity to add a lot more jobs.”

Bernick and others said that the economy appears mostly healthy despite the poor June numbers. But Bernick said federal trade policy could hamper further job growth.

“A widening trade war is the main threat to California’s continued employment expansion,” he said.

Source: by Andrew Khouri | Los Angeles Times

Mid-November Chart Check

Still no sign of a rebound:

https://i1.wp.com/moslereconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/111001.png

Home prices rising about 6% annually and loans now growing at under 4% annually looks in line with at best flat housing sales:

https://i0.wp.com/moslereconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/111002.png

https://i1.wp.com/moslereconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/111003.png

Looks like the blip up as hurricane destroyed vehicles were replaced has run its course:

https://i0.wp.com/moslereconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/111004.png

https://i1.wp.com/moslereconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/111005.png

https://i2.wp.com/moslereconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/111006.png

This had looked like it peaked a couple of years ago, but since went back up to new highs:

https://i1.wp.com/moslereconomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/111007.png

By Warren Mosler | Investment Watch Blog

 

LinkedIn Job Postings Plunge, “by far the Worst Month since January 2009”

Is the job market for professionals unraveling?

https://s17-us2.ixquick.com/cgi-bin/serveimage?url=http%3A%2F%2Fastro.ft.uam.es%2Fgustavo%2Flinkedin.png&sp=ec2e69c6e0522b28de1375a381a417d9

The jobs data in the US has recently taken a nasty spill. Last week it was an ugly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It could bounce off next month, and the current data could be revised higher, but we’re not seeing the signs of this sort of hiring momentum.

Instead, we’re confronted with a sharp and ongoing deterioration of a leading indicator of the labor market: temporary jobs. They rise and fall months ahead of the overall number of jobs. The sector peaked in December 2015 at 2.94 million. It shed 21,000 jobs in May, and 63,800 since December. This is also what happened in 2007 and 2000, at the eve of recessions.

This week, it was the Fed’s very own Labor Market Conditions Index which dropped to the worst level since the Financial Crisis, a level to which it typically drops shortly before the onset of a recession – and shortly before employment gives way altogether. It still could bounce off as it had done in early 2003, but it better do so in a hurry

So now comes LinkedIn, or rather MKM Partners, an equity and economics research firm, with a report in Barron’s about LinkedIn – “While we like LinkedIn’s long-term prospects and believe that sentiment on the company’s opportunity is overly negative, we remain at Neutral on the stock,” it says. Rather than disputing the deterioration in the labor market or throwing some uplifting tidbits into the mix, the report highlights yet another 2009-type super-ugly data point.

LinkedIn has some, let’s say, issues. Its stock has gotten hammered, including a dizzying plunge in February. It’s now down over 50% from its high in February 2015. The company lost money in 2014, 2015, and in the first quarter 2016 despite soaring revenues. And that revenue growth may now be at risk.

But we aren’t concerned about the stock or the company. We’re concerned about that 2009-type super-ugly employment data point.

MKM Partners discussed that data point because it’s worried that investors might misconstrue it as weakness at LinkedIn, rather than what’s happening in the labor market and the overall economy:

We believe that LinkedIn is a unique network, the de facto in Recruiting with promising opportunities in Sales and Learning. We are concerned that the jobs tailwind over the past six-years is becoming a headwind and that any further softness in Hiring revenue would incorrectly be perceived as a TAM (total addressable market) issue vs. a macro issue.

The online jobs data is getting “incrementally worse,” the report explained (emphasis added):

After 73 consecutive months of year-over-year growth, online jobs postings have been in decline since February. May was by far the worst month since January 2009, down 285k from April and down 552k from a year ago.

Online job postings are not a direct revenue driver for LinkedIn. We do however believe it is a reflection of overall hiring activity and should be considered a check on demand vibrancy.

And the report frets that “further deterioration” could trigger a “revenue shortfall” in the second half.

LinkedIn caters to professionals, people with well-paid jobs, or people looking for well-paid jobs. They’re software developers, program managers, petroleum engineers, executives of all kinds, marketing professionals, sales gurus…. They span the entire gamut. And companies use LinkedIn to recruit those folks.

So with online job postings on LinkedIn plunging since February, and with May clocking in as “by far the worst month since January 2009,” then by the looks of it, businesses are slashing their recruiting efforts in those professional categories.

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If that bears out, it would be another sign that not only the labor market but the overall US economy have taken a major hit recently, that businesses have started to respond to sales which have been falling since mid-2014 and to profits which have been falling since early 2015, and to productivity which declined in Q1 and has been weak for years – and that they’ve begun to look at their workforce for savings. And if this bears out, they will confront the possibility of a looming recession with even steeper cuts.

by Wolf Richter | Wolf Street

Why The US 10 Year Treasury Is Headed Below 1%

US GDP Output Gap Update – Q1 2016

Among our favorite indicators to write about is the GDP output gap. Today we update it with the latest Q1 2016 GDP data. We’ve written about it many times in the past (some recent examples: 09/30/201512/27/2014, and 06/06/2014). It is the standard for representing economic slack in most other developed countries but is usually overlooked in the United States in favor of the gap between the unemployment rate and full employment (also called NAIRU (link is external). This is partially because the US Federal Reserve’s FOMC has one half of its main goal to promote ‘full employment’ (along with price stability) but it is also partially because the unemployment rate makes the economy look better, which is always popular to promote. In past US business cycles, these two gaps had a close linear relationship (Okun’s law (link is external) and so normally they were interchangeable, yet, in this recovery, the unemployment rate suggests much more progression than the GDP output gap.

The unemployment gap now, looked at on its face, would imply that the US is at full employment; i.e., the unemployment rate is 5% and full employment is considered to be 5%. Thus, this implies that the US economy is right on the verge of generating inflation pressure. Yet, the unemployment rate almost certainly overstates the health of the economy because of a sharp increase over the last many years of unemployed surveys claiming they are not involved in the workforce (i.e. not looking for a job). From the beginning of the last recession, November 2007, the share of adults claiming to be in the workforce has fallen by 3.0% of the adult population, or 7.6 million people of today’s population! Those 7.6 million simply claiming to be looking for a job would send the unemployment rate up to 9.4%!. In other words, this metric’s strength is heavily reliant on whether people say they are looking for a job or not, and many could switch if the economy was better. Thinking about this in a very simplistic way; a diminishing share of the population working still has to support the entire population and without offsetting higher real wages, this pattern is regressive to the economy. The unemployment rate’s strength misses this.

Adding to the evidence that the unemployment rate is overstating the health of the economy is the mismatch between the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) household survey (unemployment rate) and the establishment survey (non-farm payroll number). Analyzing the growth in non-farm payrolls over the period of recovery (and adjusting for aging demographics) suggests that the US economy still has a gap to full employment of about 1.5 million jobs; this is the Hamilton Project’s Jobs Gap (link is external).

But, the labor market is a subset of the economy, and while its indicators are much more accessible and frequent than measurements on the entire economy, the comprehensive GDP output gap merits being part of the discussion on the economy. Even with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revising potential GDP lower each year, the GDP output gap (chart) continues to suggest a dis-inflationary economy, let alone a far away date when the Federal Reserve needs to raise rates to restrict growth. This analysis suggests a completely different path for the Fed funds rate than the day-to-day hysterics over which and how many meetings the Fed will raise rates this year. This analysis is the one that has worked, not the “aspirational” economics that most practice.

In an asset management context, US Treasury interest rates tend to trend lower when there is an output gap and trend higher when there is an output surplus. This simple, yet overlooked rule has helped to guide us to stay correctly long US Treasuries over the last several years while the Wall Street community came up with any reason why they were a losing asset class. We continue to think that US Treasury interest rates have significant appreciation ahead of them. As we have stated before, we think the 10yr US Treasury yield will fall to 1.00% or below.

by Kessler | ZeroHedge

The ‘new normal’ in America’s job market

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A job seeker yawns as he waits in front of the training offices of Local Union 46, a union representing metallic lathers and reinforcing iron workers, in the Queens borough of New York.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even after another month of strong hiring in June and a sinking unemployment rate, the U.S. job market just isn’t what it used to be.

Pay is sluggish. Many part-timers can’t find full-time work. And a diminished share of Americans either have a job or are looking for one.

Yet in the face of global and demographic shifts, this may be what a nearly healthy U.S. job market now looks like.

An aging population is sending an outsize proportion of Americans into retirement. Many younger adults, bruised by the Great Recession, are postponing work to remain in school to try to become more marketable. Global competition and the increasing automation of many jobs are holding down pay.

Many economists think these trends will persist for years despite steady job growth. It helps explain why the Federal Reserve is widely expected to start raising interest rates from record lows later this year even though many job measures remain far below their pre-recession peaks.

“The Fed may recognize that this is a new labor-market normal, and it will begin to normalize monetary policy,” said Patrick O’Keefe, an economist at accounting and consulting firm CohnReznick.

Thursday’s monthly jobs report from the government showed that employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in June and that the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in May. Even so, the generally improving job market still bears traits that have long been regarded as weaknesses. Among them:

— A shrunken labor force.

The unemployment rate didn’t fall in June because more people were hired. The rate fell solely because the number of people who had become dispirited and stopped looking for work far exceeded the number who found jobs.

The percentage of Americans in the workforce — defined as those who either have a job or are actively seeking one — dropped to 62.6 percent, a 38-year low, from 62.9 percent. (The figure was 66 percent when the recession began in 2007.) Fewer job holders typically means weaker growth for the economy. The growth of the labor force slowed to just 0.3 percent in 2014, compared with 1.1 percent in 2007.

“It is highly unlikely that we are going to see our (workforce) participation rate move anywhere near where it was in 2007,” O’Keefe says.

This marks a striking reversal. The share of Americans in the workforce had been steadily climbing through early 2000, and a big reason was that more women began working. But that influx plateaued in the late 1990s and has drifted downward since.

— The retirement of the vast baby boom generation.

The aging population is restraining the growth of the workforce. The pace of retirements accelerated in 2008, when the oldest boomers turned 62, when workers can start claiming some Social Security benefits. Economists estimate that retirements account for about half the decline in the share of Americans in the workforce since 2000.

From that perspective, the nation as a whole is beginning to resemble retirement havens such as Florida. Just 59.3 percent of Floridians are in the workforce.

— Younger workers are starting their careers later.

Employers are demanding college degrees and even postgraduate degrees for a higher proportion of jobs. Mindful of this trend, teens and young people in their 20’s are still reading textbooks when previous generations were punching time clocks.

The recession “basically told everybody that they need an education to get better jobs,” says John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. “So how would young people respond? They stayed in school.”

Fewer than 39 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds are employed, down from 56 percent in 2000. For people ages 20 to 24, the proportion has fallen to 64 percent from 72 percent.

— The number of part-timers who would prefer full-time work remains high.

About 6.5 million workers are working part time but want full-time jobs, up from 4.6 million before the recession began. This is partly a reflection of tepid economic growth. But economists also point to long-term factors: Industries such as hotels and restaurants that hire many part-timers are driving an increasing share of job growth, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco have found.

As more young adults put off working, some employers are turning to older workers to fill part-time jobs. Older workers are more likely to want full-time work, raising the level of so-called involuntary part-time employment.

Many economists also point to the Obama administration’s health care reforms for increasing part-time employment. The law requires companies with more than 100 employees to provide health insurance to those who work more than 30 hours.

Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, says this could account for as much as one-third of the increase in part-time jobs.

— Weak pay growth.

The average hourly U.S. wage was flat in June at $24.95 and has risen just 2 percent over the past year. The stagnant June figure dispelled hopes that strong job growth in May heralded a trend of steadily rising incomes.

In theory, steady hiring is supposed to reduce the number of qualified workers who are still seeking jobs. And a tight supply of workers tends to force wages up.

Yet a host of factors have complicated that theory. U.S. workers are competing against lower-paid foreigners. And automation has threatened everyone from assembly line workers to executive secretaries.

Still, economists at Goldman Sachs forecast that average hourly pay will grow at an annual pace of about 3.5 percent by the end of 2016. That is a healthy pace. But it will have taken much longer to reach than in previous recoveries.

One Third Of U.S. Companies’ Q1 Job Cuts Due To Oil Prices

https://i0.wp.com/www.jobcutnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/pink-slips.jpgby Olivia Pulsinelli

Oil prices caused one-third of the job cuts that U.S.-based companies announced in the first quarter, according to a new report. March was the fourth month in a row to record a year-over-year increase in job cuts, Chicago-based outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. reports. And 47,610 of the 140,214 job cuts announced between January and March were directly attributed to falling oil prices. Not surprisingly, the energy sector accounted for 37,811 of the job cuts — up a staggering 3,900 percent from the same quarter a year earlier, when 940 energy jobs were cut. However, U.S. energy firms only announced 1,279 job cuts in March, down about 92 percent from the 16,339 announced in February and down nearly 94 percent from the 20,193 announced in January. The trend held true in Houston, where several energy employers announced job cuts in January and February, while fewer cuts were announced in March. Overall job-cut announcements are declining, as well. U.S. employers announced 36,594 job cuts in March, down 27.6 percent from the 50,579 announced in February and down 31 percent from the 53,041 announced in January. In December, 32,640 job cuts were announced. “Without these oil related cuts, we could have been looking one of lowest quarters for job-cutting since the mid-90s when three-month tallies totaled fewer than 100,000. However, the drop in the price of oil has taken a significant toll on oil field services, energy providers, pipelines, and related manufacturing this year,” John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.

The U.S. Oil Boom Is Moving To A Level Not Seen In 45 Years

by Myra P. Saefong

Peak U.S. oil production is a ‘moving target’

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — U.S. oil production is on track to reach an annual all-time high by September of this year, according to Rystad Energy. If production does indeed top out, then supply levels may soon hit a peak as well. That, in turn, could lead to shrinking supplies. The oil-and-gas consulting-services firm estimates an average 2015 output of 9.65 million barrels a day will be reached in five months — topping the previous peak annual reading of 9.64 million barrels a day in 1970. Coincidentally, the nation’s crude inventories stand at a record 471.4 million barrels, based on data from U.S. Energy Information Administration, also going back to the 1970s. The staggering pace of production from shale drilling and hydraulic fracturing have been blamed for the 46% drop in crude prices CLK5, -1.08% last year. But reaching so-called peak production may translate into a return to higher oil prices as supplies begin to thin.

Rystad Energy’s estimate includes crude oil and lease condensate (liquid hydrocarbons that enter the crude-oil stream after production), and assumes an average price of $55 for West Texas Intermediate crude oil. May WTI crude settled at $49.14 a barrel on Friday. The forecast peak production level in September is also dependent on horizontal oil rig counts for Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian shale plays stabilizing at 400 rigs, notes Per Magnus Nysveen, senior partner and head of analysis at Rystad. Of course, in this case, hitting peak production isn’t assured. “Some will be debating whether the U.S. has reached its peak production for the current boom, without addressing the question of what level will U.S. production climb to in any future booms,” said Charles Perry, head of energy consultant Perry Management. “So one might also say U.S. peak production is a moving target.” James Williams, an energy economist at WTRG Economics, said that by his calculations, peak production may have already happened or may occur this month, since the market has seen a decline in North Dakota production, with Texas expected to follow.

Permian Basin Idles Five Rigs This Week

by Trevor Hawes

Drilling rig

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the Permian Basin decreased five this week to 285, according to the weekly rotary rig count released Thursday by Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes.

The North American rig count was released a day early this week because of the Good Friday holiday, according to the Baker Hughes website.

District 8 — which includes Midland and Ector counties — shed four rigs, bringing the total to 180. The district’s rig count is down 42.68 percent on the year. The Permian Basin is down 46.23 percent.

At this time last year, the Permian Basin had 524 rigs.

TEXAS

Texas’ count fell six this week, leaving 456 rigs statewide.

In other major Texas basins, there were 137 rigs in the Eagle Ford, unchanged; 29 in the Haynesville, down three; 23 in the Granite Wash, down one; and six in the Barnett, unchanged.

Texas had 877 rigs a year ago this week.

UNITED STATES

The number of rigs in the U.S. decreased 20 this week, bringing the nationwide total to 1,028.

There were 802 oil rigs, down 11; 222 natural gas rigs, down 11; and four rigs listed as miscellaneous, up two.

By trajectory, there were 136 vertical rigs, down eight; 799 horizontal rigs, down 13; and 93 directional rigs, up one. The last time the horizontal rig count fell below 800 was the week ending June 4, 2010, when Baker Hughes reported 798 rigs.

There were 993 rigs on land, down 17; four in inland waters, unchanged; and 31 offshore, down three. There were 29 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, down four.

The U.S. had 1,818 rigs at this time last year.

TOP 5s

The top five states by rig count this week were Texas; Oklahoma with 129, down four; North Dakota with 90, down six; Louisiana with 67, down five; and New Mexico with 51, unchanged.

The top five rig counts by basin were the Permian; the Eagle Ford; the Williston with 91, down six; the Marcellus with 70, unchanged; and the Cana Woodford and Mississippian with 40 each. The Mississippian idled three rigs, while the Cana Woodford was unchanged. The Cana Woodford shale play is located in central Oklahoma.

CANADA AND NORTH AMERICA

The number of rigs operating in Canada fell 20 this week to 100. There were 20 oil rigs, up two; 80 natural gas rigs, down 22; and zero rigs listed as miscellaneous, unchanged.

The last time Canada’s rig count dipped below 100 was the week ending May 29, 2009, when 90 rigs were reported.

Canada had 235 rigs at this time last year.

The total number of rigs in the North America region fell 40 this week to 1,128. North America had 2,083 rigs a year ago this week.

Another Dubious Jobs Report

Source: Prison Planet

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According to the payroll jobs report today (March 6) the economy created 295,000 new jobs in February, dropping the rate of unemployment to 5.5%. However, the BLS also reported that the labor force participation rate fell and the number of people not in the labor force rose by 354,000.

In other words, the unemployment rate dropped because the labor force shrunk.

If the economy was in recovery, the labor force would be growing and the labor force participation rate would be rising.

The 295,000 claimed new jobs are highly suspect. For example, the report claims 32,000 new retail jobs, but the Census Bureau reports that retail sales declined in December and January. Why would retailers experiencing declining sales hire more employees?

Construction spending declined 1.1% in January, but the payroll jobs report says 29,000 construction jobs were added in February.

Zero Hedge reports that the decline in the oil price has resulted in almost 40,000 laid off workers during January and February, but the payroll jobs report only finds 2,900 lost jobs in oil for the two months.http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-06/did-bls-once-again-forget-count-tens-thousands-energy-job-losses

There is no sign in the payroll jobs report of the large lay-offs by IBM and Hewlett Packard.

These and other inconsistencies do not inspire confidence.

By ignoring the inconsistencies the financial press does not inspire confidence.

Let’s now look at where the BLS says the payroll jobs are.

 photo JobBulletinBoard.jpg

All of the goods producing jobs are accounted for by the 29,000 claimed construction jobs. The remaining 259,000 new jobs–90%–of the total–are service sector jobs. Three categories account for 70% of these jobs. Wholesale and retail trade, transportation and utilities account. for 62,000 of the jobs. Education and health services account for 54,000 of which ambulatory health care services accounts for 19,900. Leisure and hospitality account for 66,000 jobs of which waitresses and bartenders account for 58,700 jobs.

These are the domestic service jobs of a turd world country.

John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports: “As of February, the level of full-time employment still was 1.0 million shy of its pre-recession peak.”

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.

 

Midland Texas Posts Largest Percentage Gain In Employment Again

Down town Midland TX, financial center of the Permian Basin.  Article Source: Midland Reporter – Telegram

For the second straight month, Midland showed the nation’s largest over-the-year percentage gain in employment, according to figures released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Midland reported a 6.2 percent increase in employment during the month of November. The number of employed increased from 95,200 to 96,000. Odessa (a drilling town next door to Midland) was second in the nation with a growth rate of 4.7 percent.

Midland also bettered its position among the metropolitan statistical areas with the lowest unemployment rates. In October, Midland was tied for fifth with a 2.5 percent jobless rate. In November, with the rate dropping to 2.3 percent, Midland was ranked fourth. Lincoln, Nebraska, took home the top spot with a 2.1 percent rate. Makato, Minnesota, and Fargo, North Dakota, tied for second at 2.2 percent.

There were 14 MSAs with unemployment rates at or below 3 percent during the month of November, including Odessa at 2.8 percent. There were 34 MSAs at 3.5 percent or below.

The following are the lowest unemployment rates in the nation during the month of November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Lincoln, Nebraska, 2.1
  • Mankato, Minnesota, 2.2
  • Fargo, North Dakota, 2.2
  • Midland 2.3
  • Bismarck, North Dakota, 2.5
  • Ames, Iowa, 2.5
  • Logan, Utah, 2.5
  • Iowa City, Iowa, 2.6
  • Rochester, Minnesota, 2.6
  • Grand Forks, North Dakota, 2.7
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2.7
  • Odessa 2.8
  • Minneapolis, St. Paul, 3.0
  • Omaha, Nebraska, 3.0

Lowest rates from October:

Bismarck, North Dakota, 2.0; Fargo, North Dakota, 2.2; Lincoln, Nebraska, 2.3. Also: Midland 2.5

Lowest rates from September:

Bismarck, North Dakota 2.1; Fargo, North Dakota 2.3; Midland 2.6

Lowest rates from August:

Bismarck, North Dakota 2.2, Fargo North Dakota 2.4; Midland 2.8.

Lowest rates from July:

Bismarck, North Dakota, 2.4; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2.7; Fargo, North Dakota, 2.8; Midland 2.9.

Lowest rates from June:

Bismarck, North Dakota, 2.6, Midland 2.9, Fargo, North Dakota, 3.0.

Lowest rates from May:

Bismarck, North Dakota, 2.2, Fargo, North Dakota, 2.5, Logan, Utah, 2.5, Midland 2.6.

Lowest rates from April:

Midland 2.3, Logan, Utah 2.5, Bismarck, North Dakota 2.6, Ames, Iowa 2.7.

Lowest rates from March:

Midland 2.7, Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La. 3.1, Bismarck, N.D. 3.1, Odessa 3.3, Fargo, N.D. 3.3, Ames, Iowa 3.3, Burlington, Vt. 3.3

Lowest rates from February:

Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La. 2.8; Midland 3.0; Lafayette, La. 3.1

Lowest rates from January:

Midland 2.9; Logan, Utah 3.3; Bismarck, N.D. 3.4

Lowest rates from December:

Bismarck, N.D. 2.8; Logan, Utah 2.8; Midland 2.8