A Nation of Goof-offs [The Daily Reckoning] August 12, 2022 [WEBSITE]( | [UNSUBSCRIBE]( Did Lockdowns Turn Americans Into Lazy Bums? - Labor productivity is crashing…
- Have we become a nation of goof-offs?…
- Strange times, sad times… [[Trade Alert] This Explosive Sector Is Primed To Deliver Huge Gainsâ¦ Fast!]( [Click here for more...]( Have a few hundred dollars and the desire to make huge gains? If so, this explosive stock market sector needs your attention right away. Iâm talking about biotech. And as one headline from late July reads, âinvestors back [biotech]â¦ as sector booms.â Point being, thereâs a lot of money up for grabs right now. Best of all, weâve identified what could be the No. 1 biotech stock pick in the world. It could deliver substantial gains over the coming weeks to those who act fast. And you can still buy shares for less than $5. [Click Here For The Urgent Details]( West Hartford, Connecticut
August 12, 2022 Editorâs note: Lockdowns changed the way many of us work, as we were no longer required to report to the office. All we needed was an internet connection. But was it for the better? Today, Jeffrey Tucker wonders if it made us a nation of âgoof-offs.â [Jeffrey Tucker] JEFFREY
TUCKER Dear Reader , It looks as if we can add another line to the long list of lockdown harms: sloth. This explains so much actually. For months, we’ve been watching working/population ratios and labor participation rates and have been stunned by how they both continue to plummet. We search for explanations. Early retirement. Women driven out due to child care shortages. Unemployment payments. All these factors contribute but there is still more to explain. In the midst of the astonishing hullabaloo over the raid of Donald Trump’s home — and the confiscation of a pro-freedom Republican congressman’s smartphone — the Bureau of Labor Statistics dropped a remarkable report on labor productivity. Here we see something we’ve never seen before. Crashing Labor Productivity It’s low and falling. Lower than it has been in the entire postwar period. It breaks all records. This chart is from 1948 to the present. It adjusts for all factors including participation, population, retirement and so on. It only looks at hours over output. Here is what we see: [IMG 1] [Man Who Predicted Bitcoin Warns: âDonât Buy Bitcoin!â]( [Click here for more...]( James Altucher first predicted Bitcoin all the way back in 2013â¦ And ever since, heâs been one of the biggest advocates for it. But now, heâs warning Americans that buying Bitcoin could be a big mistake… [Click Here To See Why]( What does this mean? The immediate response might be that Americans have gotten lazy. They got used to their Zoom lifestyles and pretending to work. They want to hang around on apps, tweet, chat it up with their friends on Facebook or Slack and otherwise fake out the boss who can’t fire them anyway for fear of lawsuits. They aren’t doing much anymore, at least not those in high-end employment in professional office suits. I resisted that conclusion and looked more deeply into how this number is calculated. It looks at total economic output compared with the number of labor hours from wage and salary employees involved in making that output. The result is a figure that estimates productivity per hour. And yes, it is probably widely inaccurate, as these sorts of macroeconomic magnitudes tend to be. We use them anyway because they are consistently inaccurate: The same method used to calculate in one quarter is used to calculate in all. It thereby becomes useful. A Nation of Goof-offs And what it reveals is probably what we might expect. American workers have dealt with lockdowns and shutdowns, plus vaccine mandate demoralization, plus inflation eating away at real wages, plus an existing or impending recession and you have the result. A nation of goof-offs. It might be more than that. Lockdowns kicked off a national substance abuse crisis: liquor, drugs, weed, you name it. And depression too. Even today, one cannot help but notice the smell of weed in large cities. This is not the smell of ambition and productivity. We can combine this with the sheer number of people who have left the workforce completely and you paint a grim picture. Economist and Brownstone Senior Fellow David Stockman has an interesting take on this. Rather than just fire people outright, companies are keeping unproductive employees on the payroll just in case. He [writes]( [The latest] Q2 productivity report… came in at -4.7%, on top of the -7.7% decline posted in Q1. Together they amount to the worst back-to-back productivity declines ever reported. Our point is that this development puts a whole new angle on the so-called “strong” labor market. To wit, owing to the labor market turmoil and disruptions of the COVID lockdowns and massive stimmy injections since 2020, employers are apparently hiring on a just-in-case basis like rarely before. This is otherwise known as top-of-the-cycle labor hoarding… Since Q4 2021, economic output, which is a close derivative of real GDP, has shrunk by -1.2%. By contrast, the U.S. nonfarm payroll has increased by 2.77 million jobs, or nearly +2.0%. [Federal Ruling does WHAT?]( [Click here for more...]( The Federal Government just passed an obscure new ruling. It could change your life in ways youâve never thought possible. And help some Americans make a small fortune in the process… [Click Here To Learn How]( Needless to say, with far more labor spread over contracting output, labor productivity took it on the chin. That is to say, bad Washington policies including $6 trillion of stimmies, massive money-pumping and the brutal lockdowns of the Virus Patrol have apparently left employers dazed and confused. At length, however, employers will wake up to the fact that bloated payrolls against declining sales will result in a severe profit margin squeeze. Then the labor-shedding and layoffs will commence big-time, even as the Keynesians in the Eccles Building are reduced to babbling about the “strong” labor market, which suddenly vanished. What he is getting at is what I’ve called (after Keynes) the coming euthanasia of the overclass. It won’t be the people actually doing real stuff who will face layoffs but the Zoom workers who stayed home because government said they could and their employers could not object. Employees gradually discovered that they could be anywhere — at the pool, in bed, on the road, climbing mountains — and so long as they had a Slack app running, no one could tell. Lockdowns acculturated an entire generation to believe that work is fake, productivity is a ruse, money comes for nothing, the boss is an idiot and many workers are privileged to be wealthy forever due to papers handed out for $200,000 by colleges and universities. Who needs productivity, much less ambition? Good News for Some, Bad News for Others In the old days, in an ethos formed from bourgeois experience over hundreds of years, the idea of working and doing one’s part was ingrained as a moral habit, part of the liturgy of life itself. When the government told everyone to stop in the name of virus control, something went haywire in people’s brains. If governments say that the work ethic amounts to nothing but pathogenic spread, and we can all contribute more by staying home and doing less, it’s hard to go back. It wrecked a generation. We are paying the price now. The good news for the productive few is that this means higher wages and job opportunities galore, especially if you have actual skill and a desire to work. The bad news for everyone else is that many companies will soon discover that you are useless. That’s when the unemployment numbers will start ticking up, making this recession look more like ones in the past except for the relentless decline in real wages. To answer the question about whether Americans have become lazy bums, the answer is many but not all. It’s sector specific. And individual specific. Strange times. Sad times. Regards, Jeffrey Tucker
for The Daily Reckoning Editor’s note: What if the biggest threat to your wealth right now is NOT inflation… NOT another Fed rate hike… NOT even a recession? Jim Rickards believes that Joe Biden’s [Executive Order 14067]( could actually be the biggest threat to your wealth — and your freedom.. Thanks to Biden’s new order, Jim warns we could soon see [America become a total surveillance state.]( If you’ve noticed how politicized the Department of Justice has become in recent years, and how eager it is to label dissenters “domestic terrorists,” you shouldn’t be surprised. Is Jim just being paranoid? Or is he prophetic? Decide for yourself after [clicking here]( to get the full story. Thank you for reading The Daily Reckoning! We greatly value your questions and comments. Please send all feedback to [email@example.com.](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) [Jeffrey Tucker] [Jeffrey Tucker]( is an independent editorial consultant who served as Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages, most recently Liberty or Lockdown. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. [Paradigm]( ☰ ⊗
[ARCHIVE]( [ABOUT]( [Contact Us]( The Daily Reckoning is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We do not rent or share your email address. By submitting your email address, you consent to Paradigm Press, LLC. delivering daily email issues and advertisements. To end your The Daily Reckoning e-mail subscription and associated external offers sent from The Daily Reckoning, feel free to [click here.]( Please read our [Privacy Statement](. For any further comments or concerns please [contact us.]( If you are having trouble receiving your The Daily Reckoning subscription, you can ensure its arrival in your mailbox [by whitelisting The Daily Reckoning.]( © 2022 Paradigm Press, LLC. 808 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore MD 21202. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized financial advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security they personally recommend to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication or 72 hours after the mailing of a printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended in this letter should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.