“Great Job Opportunities” – 52% Of Walmart Workers Make Under $25,000 A Year, But There’s More…

On Tuesday, the BLS engrossed in the same frenzy of openly making up data like the Dept of Labor has been with the initial claims data ever since early September when it started upgrading its California “systems” and never finished, announced that while only 140K or so jobs were created in September, nearly 700K full-time jobs were added as over 500K part-time jobs were converted into full-timers. On the surface this is great news… until one actually looks for empirical evidence that this is happening anywhere besides the data manipulating, massaging and fabricating models used by the BLS. And one certainly won’t find it at the biggest private employer in the US – Walmart, which just announced that a whopping 475,000 of its employees earn at least $25,000 a year. Great news, right? Sure, until one considers that WMT has over 1 million employees, which means that well over 50% of Wal-Mart’s employees make a tiny $25,000 year.

From Bloomberg:

Wal-Mart has provided some new and useful information: More than 475,000 of its 1 million hourly store employees earn at least $25,000 a year for full-time work. This figure comes from Bill Simon, the president and chief executive officer of Walmart U.S., who presented (PDF) it at Goldman Sachs’s (GS) Global Retailing Conference last month. The statistic, which was listed under the heading “Great job opportunities,” means as many as 525,000 full-time hourly employees earn less than $25,000 a year.

 

 

OUR Walmart, the union-backed workers’ group that’s been staging protests and asking for higher wages, pointed this out during a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (The company’s presentation is also on its website.) Three store associates, as well as three Democratic members of the House of Representatives, called on the retail giant to pay all of its full-time workers at least $25,000 a year.

Wal-Mart is adamant: the pay is fair.

“We have hundreds of thousands of associates who are making $25,000 a year or more,” says Kory Lundberg, a Wal-Mart spokesman. “And the opportunity exists for those who aren’t to grow into the career they want. We promote 160,000 people a year.” Lundberg also explained how to parse some of Wal-Mart’s figures. The company has 1.3 million hourly workers, which led OUR Walmart to claim at the press conference that 825,000 of them made less than $25,000 a year. Lundberg points out that Simon’s presentation was referring to the 1 million who work in the stores. (The rest work as truck drivers and at the Bentonville (Ark.) headquarters, among other places.) So about 52 percent of its associates make less than $25,000 a year—not 63 percent.

The other side disagrees. As expected, the minimum wage workers demand – what else – higher wages.

“A decent wage is their demand—a livable wage, of all things,” said Representative George Miller (D-Calif.). The problem with companies like Wal-Mart is their “unwillingness, not their inability, to pay that wage,” he said. “They hand off the difference to taxpayers.” Miller was referring to a congressional report (PDF) released in May that calculated how much Walmart workers rely on public assistance. The study found that the 300 employees at one Supercenter in Wisconsin required some $900,000 worth of public assistance a year. Catherine Ruetschlin, an analyst at Demos, the progressive policy center, noted during the press conference that raising wages can be good for the overall economy. “Putting money into workers’ wallets puts cash in the registers of retailers, and with it the need for new employees,” she said. “We estimate that a raise to $25,000 a year would lead to at least $11 billion of new GDP and generate 100,000 new jobs.”

Trite platitudes aside – and if the workers are unhappy they sure can try to get a higher paying job elsewhere: surely their skillset is worth it – the reality as we pointed out in “When Work Is Punished: The Tragedy Of America’s Welfare State“, the comp more than half of WMT’s workers get is actually in the sweet spot for “middle class” equivalent cash flow. Recall: “the single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045.”

And that, incidentally, is precisely why the motivations of the lower and middle classes are so warped: because when those who think they are worse off making just below the magic cutoff level are in fact better than those who make $40,000 more in gross income, then the desire to work and be “aspirational”, upwardly mobile simply disappears, and with it the marginal productivity of the economy.

As for the angry minimum wage Wal-mart employees, we have one piece of advice – look at the chart below…

… and realize why it is in your interest to make just as much as you are making and not a dollar more.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/t1Hvx5GpBcE/story01.htm Tyler Durden

NQ Mobile Cut In Half In Minutes Following Muddy Waters “Strong Sell” Report

While the recent track record for Muddy Waters has been uninspiring, their “strong sell” report on NQ Mobile this morning has garnered attention since it has halved the stock’s market cap in minutes. NQ is now down 50% on the day having been halted numerous times. Still, if you feel like catching this knife, a full 5 out of 5 analysts that cover the stock have ‘buy’ recommendations with Topeka’s Fred Ziegel topping the list at $33.50 (a 200% rise from current levels). Full report below…

 

 

MW_NQ_10242013.pdf by zerohedge


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/jqVacj8Ts90/story01.htm Tyler Durden

NQ Mobile Cut In Half In Minutes Following Muddy Waters "Strong Sell" Report

While the recent track record for Muddy Waters has been uninspiring, their “strong sell” report on NQ Mobile this morning has garnered attention since it has halved the stock’s market cap in minutes. NQ is now down 50% on the day having been halted numerous times. Still, if you feel like catching this knife, a full 5 out of 5 analysts that cover the stock have ‘buy’ recommendations with Topeka’s Fred Ziegel topping the list at $33.50 (a 200% rise from current levels). Full report below…

 

 

MW_NQ_10242013.pdf by zerohedge


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/jqVacj8Ts90/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Switzerland’s Gold Exports Go Through The Roof

Today’s AM fix was USD 1,336.25, EUR 968.79 and GBP 825.76 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,333.00, EUR 968.68 and GBP 825.13 per ounce.

Gold fell $6.90 or 0.51% yesterday, closing at $1,333.30/oz. Silver slipped $0.12 or 0.53% closing at $22.56. Platinum rose $2.94 or 0.21% to $1,433.24/oz, while palladium fell $1.50 or 0.20% to $742.50/oz.

Gold inched up in London as the dollar fell to a two year low against the euro. The yellow metal is on track for a four week high, as investors buy precious metals on increased safe haven demand. Gold Krugerrands (1 oz) are trading at $1,403.75 or premiums between 4.75% and 5.5%  and Gold Kilo Bars (1 kilo) are trading at $44,354.53 or premiums between 3% and 3.5%. Premiums are holding steady.

The poor economic data published recently in the U.S. is signalling that the economic recovery is on shaky ground, and this has increased the allure of bullion.

Koos Jansen’s blog, “In Gold We Trust” explores the recent surge of bullion exports from Switzerland.

In it he notes that Switzerland holds four of the largest gold refineries on the planet – Metalor, Pamp, Argor-Heraeus and Valcambi. These refineries are estimated to be responsible for 70% of the world’s refining nestled in the Swiss Alps, and therefore a major amount of the world’s gold is distributed there.

If you look at 3Q, Switzerland has imported 808 tons of gold in 2013, and exported 680 tons.  Year to date the country has imported 2,420 tons and exported 2,184 tons.


Courtesy of Koos Jansen’s – “In Gold We Trust”

Jansen notes that this is a new record for exports for the small country with a yearly estimate of 2,912 tons for exports.  It is surmised that 1,100 tons of the gold bullion is set to flow East to China or Hong Kong.

In 2013 from January to August published figures list Hong Kong as having imported 598 tons from Switzerland. Jansen writes that although most of this is sent forward to Shanghai, however the Chinese are also importing directly from the Swiss.

This is verified from Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) physical deliveries and from Alex Stanzcyk, Chief Market Strategist at Anglo Far-East Bullion, who Jansen spoke with directly. Stanzcyk said, “China imports a lot that’s not going through Hong Kong (or through the SGE!)”. 

In the interview Stanczyk explained how one of their partners had lunch recently with the head of the largest global operations company in security transport. He said there is a lot of gold that they’re moving into China that’s not going through exchanges. If the gold is for the government they don’t have to declare where it’s going. They don’t have to declare where it’s going in, or where it’s heading. If you look at the way the Chinese do things, why would they tell?  

The People’s Republic Bank of China (The Chinese Central Bank), tend to shy away from routine reporting of their outright gold purchases to the IMF. A sensible strategy given their implied policy of reducing dollar reserve risk.

GoldCore’s 10th Anniversary Gold Sovereign & Storage Offer
Click For Details: Gold Sovereigns
@ 5% Premium Over Spot  (normally 8.5%-15% premium) & 1st Year’s Storage @ Half Price
Offer Closes October 25th


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/keMhELywDoo/story01.htm GoldCore

Biderman Blasts Barack Obama's Biggest Of The Big Lies

“Inherent in the nature of government itself is the fact that it is incapable of effectively providing services,” Biderman blasts, noting that “by ‘effective’, he means dollars and hours.” The TrimTabs CEO is breathless in his beration of “the biggest of the big lies,” that continues to be believed by most of America (“given their re-election of Barack Obama” he adds), that government can effectively provide services. The reality is “governments are not capable of getting anything done cost-effectively,” and Biderman, focused on Obamacare as a recent example, concludes “its all FUBAR.”

 

Some uncomfortable truths…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ICKh39otGUs/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Biderman Blasts Barack Obama’s Biggest Of The Big Lies

“Inherent in the nature of government itself is the fact that it is incapable of effectively providing services,” Biderman blasts, noting that “by ‘effective’, he means dollars and hours.” The TrimTabs CEO is breathless in his beration of “the biggest of the big lies,” that continues to be believed by most of America (“given their re-election of Barack Obama” he adds), that government can effectively provide services. The reality is “governments are not capable of getting anything done cost-effectively,” and Biderman, focused on Obamacare as a recent example, concludes “its all FUBAR.”

 

Some uncomfortable truths…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/ICKh39otGUs/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Guest Post: Is RV Nation at Risk?

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

A reduction in retirees' disposable income coupled with a global rise in the price of oil could crimp the assumptions underpinning RV Nation.

RV stands for "recreational vehicle," but it might also represent much of America's rural economy, which is heavily dependent on recreation and large low-mileage vehicles.

On a recent 10-day, 2,700 mile camping trip through a major chunk of the West (Northern California, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah), I noticed a great many empty buildings in the small towns of the West. (This does not include the favored recreational haunts of the top 5%, of course, such as Sun Valley and Jackson Hole, which are booming.)

I also observed that much of the local economy in many areas was based on recreation: fishing, housing and feeding visitors to state and national parks, boating, etc.

Nowadays, a mainstay of these recreation-dependent sectors is the large cohort of retirees with the time and disposable income to travel. While some travel in sedans and stay at motels and inns, a significant percentage travel in large RVs and stay in RV parks or campgrounds.

In less prosperous times, for example the 1960s, most families camped in tents, as this was the most affordable way to see the Great American West. Relatively few could afford a trailer (RVs were largely unknown at the time), and most trailers were of modest size and appointment.

Nowadays, RVs are often large and luxuriously appointed–at least when compared to the modest trailers of the old days (not to mention tent camping). Pickup trucks have also grown in size and power, and an entire new class of large vehicles–SUVs–are now more common than conventional sedans in many areas.

In the conventional view, this reliance on large, low-mileage vehicles and recreational pursuits of the retired class is welcomed. After all, America's new surge of energy production means energy for low-mileage vehicles will be both abundant and cheap for decades to come, and the burgeoning class of retiring Baby Boomers will fuel an expansion of recreational travel.

I am circumspect about these rosy assumptions for a number of reasons. One is that I recall smaller, less lavish vehicles of an earlier era that consumed less fuel per passenger than today's SUVs and oversized pickups, many of which generally have one occupant, and outsized RVs, many with only two occupants.

In other words, neither recreation nor travel require high energy consumption vehicles, yet we have collectively chosen costly, high energy consumption vehicles as the default setting for all but the poor or thrifty (a vanishing breed, by the look of it). One looks in vain for small pickups of the sort that were common in the 1970s in vehicle manufacturers' offerings.

Given that much of the new-found energy is natural gas and not oil, and given the dependence of the U.S. vehicle fleet on gasoline, it seems a bit premature to assume that the current surge in domestic energy production will guarantee an abundance of cheap gasoline for decades to come.

Domestic natural gas (natty) is priced much lower than natty on the global market, but oil is priced (with some variation) globally, which means that domestic oil production will be priced on the global market, not the domestic market.

That means that any global shortage or supply disruption of oil will push prices higher in the U.S., regardless of any relative abundance of oil domestically.

Lastly, as recent entries have shown, the notion that the number of full-time workers can continue stagnating while tens of millions of additional retirees draw benefits from pay-as-you-go Social Security and Medicare is financially impossible.

A reduction in retirees' disposable income coupled with a global rise in the price of oil could crimp the assumptions underpinning RV Nation.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/3GdHPyyYdQk/story01.htm Tyler Durden

French Unemployment Surges As Another "Technical Glitch" Crushes Hopes Of Recovery

When France released its August Jobseekers data in August, and it beat expectations dramatically reversing the trend of ongoing malaise with little to no supporting evidence of ‘why’, we were skeptical. Fast forward one month and we are almost speechless in that not only are European PMIs rolling over just as we warned but the French jobs data is totally screwed up as yet another technical glitch meant 20,000 ‘text’ messages that went unreplied were responsible for the entire improvement. French Labor Minister Michel Sapin is back tracking fast, admitting pre-emptively that “September’s data won’t be good… due to the ‘statistical incident’.” The 50k drop last month has been was bettered by a 60k rise to a new record high for French unemployment.

 

France reported a big “improvement” on unemployment in August. Now the labor minister Michel Sapin had to backtrack. Apparently a significant part of the improvement (20,000) was due to the fact that network provider SFR “forgot” to send 20 000 SMS messages. As these folks didn’t reply to the SMS, they assumed they were employed again

 

The minister is quoted :

 

“the numbers won´t be good for a very simple reason : as you know we had a statistical incident with SFR. This incident INCREASED THE DECREASE IN AUGUST BUT WILL INCREASE THE INCREASE in September”

Before…

 

August jobseekers dropped 50k to 3.2357 million… but

September entirely reverses that HOPE +60k to a new record high 3.2957 million

 

Source: Bloomberg and HuffPo

 

(h/t Nico)


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/dFgODSmpdZM/story01.htm Tyler Durden

French Unemployment Surges As Another “Technical Glitch” Crushes Hopes Of Recovery

When France released its August Jobseekers data in August, and it beat expectations dramatically reversing the trend of ongoing malaise with little to no supporting evidence of ‘why’, we were skeptical. Fast forward one month and we are almost speechless in that not only are European PMIs rolling over just as we warned but the French jobs data is totally screwed up as yet another technical glitch meant 20,000 ‘text’ messages that went unreplied were responsible for the entire improvement. French Labor Minister Michel Sapin is back tracking fast, admitting pre-emptively that “September’s data won’t be good… due to the ‘statistical incident’.” The 50k drop last month has been was bettered by a 60k rise to a new record high for French unemployment.

 

France reported a big “improvement” on unemployment in August. Now the labor minister Michel Sapin had to backtrack. Apparently a significant part of the improvement (20,000) was due to the fact that network provider SFR “forgot” to send 20 000 SMS messages. As these folks didn’t reply to the SMS, they assumed they were employed again

 

The minister is quoted :

 

“the numbers won´t be good for a very simple reason : as you know we had a statistical incident with SFR. This incident INCREASED THE DECREASE IN AUGUST BUT WILL INCREASE THE INCREASE in September”

Before…

 

August jobseekers dropped 50k to 3.2357 million… but

September entirely reverses that HOPE +60k to a new record high 3.2957 million

 

Source: Bloomberg and HuffPo

 

(h/t Nico)


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/dFgODSmpdZM/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Meanwhile, In Bitcoin…

Just last week we noted that the cryptocurrency was quietly surging towards record highs once again as the debacle in Washington, China’s comments on the USD, and Baidu’s acceptance of Bitcoins all interplayed to disrupt what many called he end of Bitcoin following the shuttering of Silk Road. Just yesterday, Bitcoin rose to almost USD235, within touching distance of April’s record high… but then this morning, it collapsed to under $175 (as its liquidity reflected NFLX not global FX). The last couple of hours have seen the price bounce back to $210, but if you like high-beta vol, then Bitcoin is the new TSLA…

The blip from Silk Road is almost invisible… as BTC rose to near record highs…

 

and then collapsed today…

 

 

Source: Bitcoin charts


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/1ksWqsd_UGI/story01.htm Tyler Durden