U.S. Economy Gained 126,000 Jobs in March, an Abrupt Slowdown in Hiring
By PATRICIA COHENAPRIL 3, 2015
The yearlong streak of robust monthly job creation was broken on Friday with the Labor Department’s report that employers added just 126,000 workers in March, a marked slowdown in hiring that echoed earlier signs that sluggish business investment and punishing weather were exacting a toll on the economy.
Analysts blamed the plunge in oil prices as well as the pall cast by a difficult winter across the Northeast and Midwest, a combination that put a crimp on spending in the energy patch and held back consumer spending and construction.
Still, this new report presents only a limited snapshot, and many said they expected the economy to regain at least some of its momentum later this year.
“The American energy industry is adjusting very quickly to low oil prices, and we’ve seen this in the counts of the number of rigs that are active,” said Carl R. Tannenbaum, chief economist at the Northern Trust Company. “The bad news is we’re losing some jobs. The good news is, we hope, that the average consumer is saving a tremendous amount of money in lower gasoline prices.”
The unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent. Hourly wages, in one of the few bright spots in the report, rose 0.3 percent for private sector workers in March, after a meager 0.1 percent rise in February. But hours worked were down slightly, so overall paychecks were left essentially flat.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
The Eastern economic power shift is obvious.
BRICS leadership passes to Russia, $100bn development bank ‘main priority’
Published time: April 01, 2015 13:21
Edited time: April 02, 2015 09:42
As Russia assumes the chairmanship of the BRICS business council, the launch of the New Development Bank for its members will begin as an alternative to the US-dominated International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Sergey Katyrin, President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce, took over the chairmanship of a business council of BRICS, an economic association made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, on Wednesday.
The seventh summit of BRICS will be held in the southern Russian city of Ufa in July.
Last month, Katyrin emphasized that Russia would concentrate its energy on the launch of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) in an effort to generate greater cooperation among the five emerging markets.
"The main priority for Russia will definitely be the launch of the BRICS bank. We will do our best to facilitate this process," Katyrin told RIA Novosti in an interview last month.
The bank will finance infrastructure projects in the BRICS countries and across other developing countries, and is expected to start functioning by the end of 2015.
Iran Accuses U.S. of Lying About New Nuke Agreement
Says White House misleading Congress, American people with fact sheet
BY: Adam Kredo
April 2, 2015 5:40 pm
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Just hours after the announcement of what the United States characterized as a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, the country’s leading negotiator lashed out at the Obama administration for lying about the details of a tentative framework.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of misleading the American people and Congress in a fact sheet it released following the culmination of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.
Zarif bragged in an earlier press conference with reporters that the United States had tentatively agreed to let it continue the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, as well as key nuclear research.
Zarif additionally said Iran would have all nuclear-related sanctions lifted once a final deal is signed and that the country would not be forced to shut down any of its currently operating nuclear installations.
Following a subsequent press conference by Secretary of State John Kerry—and release of a administration fact sheet on Iranian concessions—Zarif lashed out on Twitter over what he dubbed lies.
“The solutions are good for all, as they stand,” he tweeted. “There is no need to spin using ‘fact sheets’ so early on.”
Zarif went on to push back against claims by Kerry that the sanctions relief would be implemented in a phased fashion—and only after Iran verifies that it is not conducting any work on the nuclear weapons front.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
This is an answer to auto traffic problems. Maybe debtors prison is to follow.
These States Will Take Your License for Not Paying Student Loans
Legislators in two states are trying to repeal laws that let authorities revoke driver’s licenses or professional licenses when people fall severely behind on their student loan payments.
The Montana senate is considering a bill, which passed the state’s house in March, that would repeal a statute that made it possible for student debtors to lose their occupational and driver’s licenses if they defaulted on their student loans—meaning they had not made payments in at least 270 days. Iowa legislators introduced a similar bill in February, but it stalled in the state senate this month because of a procedural obstacle.
The little-known laws exist in at least 22 states and have been on the books in some states since as far back as 1990. Advocates for repealing them say they have real consequences for people who cannot make a dent in their student debt.
“It’s the most inappropriate consequence, because you are taking away their ability to eventually pay [their loans] back,” says Moffie Funk, the Montana state representative who sponsored the bill. In Montana, where there is little public transportation to speak of, driving is the only way most people can get to the jobs they need to repay their debt, Funk says.
Since 2007, Montana has suspended the driver’s licenses of 92 people for defaulting on their student loans, according to John Barnes, a spokesman for the Montana attorney general’s office. By 2012, Iowa had suspended more than 900 licenses because the license holders could not repay their student debt, according to Geoffrey Greenwood, a spokesman at the Iowa attorney general’s office. Those suspensions were reversed two years ago but not because the policy changed. The Iowa College Student Aid Commission, which once collected federal loans in the state, reserved the suspensions and stopped revoking licenses in 2012, because the commission transferred its student loan portfolio to the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, a Wisconsin guaranty agency.
Debt collectors say that the laws have been valuable tools for extracting long overdue payments and that they often stop short of issuing the most severe consequences for borrowers. "It’s more of a deterrent than something that goes all the way to license suspension," says Cheryl Poelman-Allen, who works in default prevention at the Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program, a guaranty agency that collects federal student loans in the state. Poelman-Allen says the program tries to get borrowers to enroll in repayment plans that tie payments to their income level, before threatening them with the loss of their license. In a fiscal note explaining the cost of repealing the law, the agency said that the ability to revoke professional or driver’s licenses helped generate more than $200,000 in debt collections per year.
China’s SWIFT Alternative and the Death of the Dollar
China is ready to launch its SWIFT alternative in the most significant move in the unfolding process of de-dollarization yet
Forget all the nonsense and hoopla about the Apple Watch or the GM stock buy-back. Far and away the most important economic story of the week is one you won’t find on the front page of Bloomberg or MarketWatch. New reports indicate that China is ready to launch its SWIFT alternative, and for those who have their ear to the ground this is the most significant move yet in the unfolding process of de-dollarization that is seeing the BRICS-led “resistance bloc” breaking away from the financial stranglehold of the US-led “Washington Consensus.”
For those who don’t know, SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication and is shorthand for the SWIFTNet Network that is used by over 10,500 financial institutions in 215 countries and territories to transmit financial transaction data around the world. SWIFT does not do any of the clearing or processing for these transactions itself, but instead sends the payment orders that are then settled by correspondent banks of the member institutions. Still, given the system’s near universality in the financial system, it means that virtually every international transaction between banking institutions goes through the SWIFT network.
This is why de-listing from the SWIFT network remains one of the primary financial weapons wielded by the US and its allies in their increasingly important financial warfare campaigns. In 2012, SWIFT agreed to de-list 30 Iranian financial institutions (including the central bank) from their network as part of the US/EU-led sanctions on Tehran, a move that was meant to stop billions of dollars’ worth of oil and export sales from being repatriated into the country and bring Iranian business to a standstill. Throughout the recent tensions between the US bloc and Russia over the civil war in Ukraine, the idea that SWIFT could similarly de-list Russian banks has been repeatedly floated as a potential next step for the US and its allies.
Of course, SWIFT is nominally “independent” from any government entity and thus does not have to follow the dictates of Washington or anyone else pursuing their own personal vendettas in the financial arena. In practice, however, SWIFT put up no resistance whatsoever and obligingly complied with the Iranian sanctions request despite the fact that the blockade was repeatedly ruled illegal by the EU’s own courts. Does anyone doubt that, despite their protestations to the contrary, they would do any different if push came to shove with Russia? This is precisely why Moscow, Beijing and other countries in the cross hairs have been floating ideas of their own, namely the creation of an alternative payment network that bypasses SWIFT.
Now it seems that talk is materializing into something very real. Called the China International Payment System, the CIPS network is meant to facilitate cross-border transactions specifically in yuan and the latest reports suggest that the system is already in place and could be launched as early as this September.
March Payrolls Huge Miss: Only 126,000 Jobs Added, Worst Since December 2013
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/03/2015 08:36 -0400
We warned yesterday that the "whisper expectation is for a NFP print that will be well below consensus, somewhere in the mid-100,000s if not worse now that the bartender hiring spree is over", and we were right: moments ago the BLS reported that in March a paltry 126K jobs were added, nearly 50% below the 245K expected, and the lowest monthly increase since March 2013.The unemployment rate was unchangned at 5.5%.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +239,000 to +201,000, and the change for February was revised from +295,000 to +264,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 69,000 less than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 197,000 per month.
Most importantly this ends any speculation about a rate hike in mid 2015, or ever for that matter, as virtually all Fed credibility is now lost.
And before you ask, no it wasn’t the weather:
More from the report:
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased in March (+126,000). Over the prior 12 months, employment growth had averaged 269,000 per month. In March, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade, while employment in mining declined. (See table B-1.)
Employment in professional and business services trended up in March (+40,000). Job growth in the first quarter of 2015 averaged 34,000 per month in this industry, below the average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. Within professional and business services, employment continued to trend up in architectural and engineering services (+4,000), computer systems design and related services (+4,000), and management and technical consulting services (+4,000).