The Biggest American Layoff Queens in 2016 “So Far”

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The year isn’t over yet. More mass layoffs to come.

The most recent company to announce four-digit layoffs was Cisco on Wednesday with 5,500 people on its list. It followed numerous other announcements of mass layoffs this year – particularly in oil-and-gas, brick-and-mortar retail, and tech.

Since the oil bust began, there have been 195,000 job cuts in the US alone, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Of those, about 95,000 occurred in 2016. They were concentrated in just a few states, particularly Texas. And it’s not over: there was a “resurgence” of 17,725 job cuts in July.

Tech announced about 55,000 layoffs so far this year, including Cisco. The sector is getting clobbered by a sea change in technology, the shift to mobile, and the downward spiral of the entire PC ecosystem. And retail announced nearly 44,000, not including Macy’s still unspecified job cuts associated with shuttering 100 Macy’s stores.

So 24/7 Wall St. interviewed John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray. And digging into additional data, it came up with its list of the biggest layoff announcements in 2016 so far – “so far” because the year isn’t over yet.

Layoff announcements can cover the global workforce, as in Cisco’s case. So not all of Cisco’s 5,500 layoffs are likely to happen in the US. And they may not necessarily happen this year. These things can drag out. For example, retailers generally want to keep their stores open and fully staffed through the holiday selling season and not shut them down just before.

So here they are in reverse order of magnitude.

Macy’s: 4,350 job cuts, plus. In early 2016, it announced about 3,000 cuts at its 770 stores, plus 1,350 back-office employees and customer service reps. Execs don’t get laid off. But 165 got buyout packages. This does not include the jobs that will disappear when it shutters 100 stores in early 2017, after having shuttered 41 stores last year. Macy’s, with its 157,900 employees, is getting clobbered by online retailers, and it’s seriously shrinking [Profits Plunge, Sales Drop at Macy’s. Slashes Jobs, Closes Stores. Stock Jumps 18%].

Hancock Fabrics: 4,500 job cuts. A brick-and-mortar casualty. It first filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2007 and emerged in 2008. In February this year, it filed again. But this time, reorganization failed. It is now liquidating its 250 stores, and everyone goes.

Microsoft: 4,700 job cuts. Having botched its entry into mobile, and being stuck in the middle of the downward spiral of the PC ecosystem, it has been trying to get into the “cloud” business, like everyone else. To restructure, it has been on a veritable layoff binge over the past couple of years. With its 114,000 employees, there’s still some room left [some thought on its genius… After Losing $11 Billion on $9.4-billion Nokia Buy & Axing 27,650 Jobs, Microsoft Dumps Consumer Smartphones].

Cisco: 5,500 job cuts. Old tech, yes, but outside the PC ecosystem. Its router business is beset with competition from China. So it too wants to get into the “cloud.” On Tuesday, with its stock trading at a nine-year high, it leaked that it would let go up to 14,000 workers, or nearly 20% of its workforce. On Wednesday, as part of its earnings report, it announced that it would lay off only 5,500. Suspicions immediately arose that the leak was undertaken to butter up the markets and keep the damage to a minimum.

National Oilwell Varco: 6,000 job cuts. After having already axed 13,445 employees in 2015, the oilfield services and equipment provider with about 50,000 employees will also close 200 facilities.

DuPont Pioneer: 6,000 job cuts, plus. This product of a merger between DuPont and Dow Chemical is now looking for the promised synergies and efficiencies. The initial step is for DuPont to cut $700 million in annual costs and 6,000 employees. DuPont has been shrinking its headcount for years. Back in 2011, it employed 61,600. At the end of 2015, it was down to 52,000. More job cuts are on the way to live up to the promise of a further $3 billion in savings.

Weatherford International: 8,000 job cuts. The oil field services company with 39,500 employees hopes to save $446 million per year.

Bank of America: 8,000 job cuts, plus. Another well-greased layoff machine. Last year it shoved 10,000 people out the door. With 213,000 employees, it too has some room left to please the analysts. Since the Financial Crisis, it shrank its consumer division by 32% to 68,400 employees as of Q1 this year. It said in June that the number of employees in this division will drop “to the low 60s” soon. So more layoff announcements this year.

Seagate Technology: 8,100 job cuts. With revenues in free fall, the disk drive maker with 45,500 employees is restructuring, again, to diversify its products and get the heck out of the downward spiral of the PC ecosystem. It’s trying to get into – you guessed it – the “cloud.” So a year ago, it bought cloud storage company Dot Hill Systems.

Schlumberger: 10,000 job cuts. The oilfield services company had already cut 24,000 jobs since late 2014, but it wasn’t enough, and in January, with 95,000 people still on its payroll, and $1 billion in red ink, it announced another 10,000 layoffs, along with a good swig of financial engineering to make the results go down better.

Intel: 12,000 job cuts. With part of its business positioned at the center of the PC ecosystem’s downward spiral, it announced that it would slash its workforce by 11%. Yup, with its 107,300 employees, it too is seeking salvation in the “cloud.”

Halliburton: 15,200 job cuts. Back in late 2014, the oil-and-gas services company employed about 80,000 folks. A year later, it was down to 65,000. This year’s cuts will take its headcount down to around 50,000. Over the period of the oil bust, it has axed 38% of its workforce. I’m practically expecting an announcement that it too would seek salvation in the “cloud.”

And the winner – Wal-Mart Stores: 17,500 job cuts. OK, given its 2.3 million employees, those cuts don’t weigh as heavily as some of the other layoff queens. It will also close 260 stores, of which 154 in the US, mostly Walmart Express stores, and 115 stores in other countries – as I said at the time, “rubbing salt into the deepening brick-and-mortar retail wounds.”

What stands out among these announcements? They’re company or industry specific: oil-and-gas, brick-and-mortar retail, and tech – all three of them deeply troubled. Well, OK, a bank too. Smaller companies in these and other sectors often lay their workers off quietly, and unless you’re working there, or know some who is, you’ll never hear about it.

So here is a leading Indicator of big trouble, now fermenting in the banks. Read…  Business Loan Delinquencies Rock Past Lehman Moment Level

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  45 comments for “The Biggest American Layoff Queens in 2016 “So Far”

  1. michael
    August 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    The 4th quarter is certain to be lots of fun. I am sure all these layoffs are transient issues that are not pointing to a bigger trend.

    • OutLookingIn
      August 19, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      “pointing to a bigger trend”.

      The collection point of across the board negative fundamentals.

      A weak labor market is a lagging economic indicator. By the time layoffs roll around, the damage to the economy has been well underway for some time. In certain sectors, for years. In others, such as transportation, financial and retail, are among the last along with some segments of manufacturing.

      The “knock-on-effect” of layoffs takes up to six months for the consequences to start biting deeply into the economic base. As those who have become unemployed exhaust their reserves and become wards of the state. This portends greater social stress in society that crosses all boundaries. Bigger trouble coming.

      • kitten lopez
        August 20, 2016 at 10:37 am

        “As those who have become unemployed exhaust their reserves and become wards of the state.”

        “wards of the state” is an anachronistic term nowadays, as, my dear man, there are NO safety nets here in america any longer. i hear disability is the new welfare, but it’s like you have to cut off your own legs to be eligible. and homelessness is “illegal” as you cannot even sleep in your car and loitering on the sidewalk is illegal.

        we’re back to the days when you had to have a quarter in your pocket to not be considered indigent and put in jail. only now you’re worth much more in a privatized prison. and maybe you’ll be prison labor for a made-in-america label.

        • OutLookingIn
          August 20, 2016 at 10:43 am

          “anachronistic term”?

          As in “debtors prison”?

  2. Chip Javert
    August 19, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Gee. Imagine how much worse things would be if Obama’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious economic recovery had’t saved us from, well, something or other.

    This is what you get when you hire a guy who’s never run a lemonade stand to fix your broken lemon aide stand.

    • night-train
      August 20, 2016 at 2:34 am

      CJ: So, these all powerful, all knowing business leaders are worth their weight in gold, yet they are powerless against Obama’s incompetence, even though most on the list are global concerns. I appreciate that since the 80s it has been the popular meme that we needed government to run like a business and be run by a businessman.

      Like many things that sound good, that approach fails in application. The government, at all levels, are not businesses and only some business practices can be applied to government. Because, our Federal Government exists for actual reasons, one of which isn’t to turn a profit. All levels of government in this country exist to provide services people demand, as well as those required by Federal and state constitutions. So just responding to problems with bankruptcy, massive layoffs, or just shutting the doors isn’t the option they are in the business world.

      • The Finn
        August 22, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        Don’t forget the government providing services that the people don’t even want, like mandated obamacare. The point will come where people are either taxed to the point they want to leave the country, or dollars are printed to pay for these “necessities” that people use them to insulate their houses. Either way, the system cannot sustain the damage being forced upon it.

        • night-train
          August 23, 2016 at 3:24 am

          If people don’t want to pay taxes, they are free to leave. The only problem I have with the ACA is that the special interests made single payer unattainable. I’m old fashioned, in that I think people who do well benefitting from the security our government provides, as well as things like infrastructure provided by the common purse, should pay taxes for those benefits. I don’t believe government is the answer to every problem, but at times, it is the only answer some problems.

    • ChrisM
      August 21, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      The lemonade stand that Bush unfortunately broke. Memories seem to have faded on how the world looked in January 2009. Bush dug the hole that Obama and the Fed are certainly not helping to fix. Let’s not forget that the economy had fallen off a cliff when Bush was leaving office (from a republican who is willing to admit that conservatives don’t always have it figured out.)

      • I M
        August 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm


        Bush did not dig that hole my friend, but he reaped the benefits before the end and he certainly takes all the blame. Read about the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, both created by Congressional Republicans and signed into law by Clinton. Better yet, read The Great American Stickup by Robert Sheer for a great understanding of the collaboration between Greenspan, Summers, Weill, and a whole host of characters. If you’re not familiar with either of those pieces of legislation which unwound Glass-Steagall and handed OTC debt derivative self-regulation to banks and insurance companies which promptly built their reckless and unsustainable debt mountains the world over, then I’m sorry to say you have an enormous hole in your knowledge of the world of finance since 2000 and a very limited understanding of the malaise the continues to afflict us all.

        Bush didn’t create the mess, that dubious honor lies with Phil Gramm and Bill Clinton, but Bush was certainly an unwitting participant in the wild real estate and credit cycle that resulted, and he rode that wave of “prosperity” with rising home ownership and low unemployment through his two terms, right up until it ended. Pages could be written about how the Bush admin could have prevented what was coming, but it’s unknowable whether they realized it or would have even acted to stop it if they knew. So let’s assign credit where due and incompetence where deserved.

        • ChrisM
          August 22, 2016 at 2:49 pm

          I always thought that repealing Glass Steagall was a mistake by Clinton, though there are many that say that it had nothing to do with the collapse in 2008 and 2009. Personally, believe banks should make loans and have to hold them and not be in the repackaging or investment banking business. And I also would vote Greenspan as one of the worst Federal Reserve chairmans in his history. So I agree that a lot of the seeds were planted in the Clinton years.

          But it was during the Bush administration where home ownership was pushed as a major administration goal and regulation was not tightened on an increasingly loose lending environment. While derivatives certainly played a role in the crash, it was ignited by a crashing sub-prime loans that brought the system to its knees. For a good recap in Bush’s role in the debacle, here is a NY Times article that summarizes his admin’s role:

          As far as Obama, he invested in some misplaced initiatives like the shovel ready program, very reminiscent of FDR’s own initiatives at the start of the Depression. And Obamacare has certainly not helped to drive employment and has raised costs for healthy Americans (our broken healthcare system is a whole other argument).

          So while I agree with you that the seeds were laid in the 1990s, Bush had a major role in digging the hole that imploded in 2008. One that any president, whether it had been Obama or Romney, would have had a difficult time climbing out.

        • TheBloomIsOffTheRose
          August 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

          Bush was an “unwitting” participant? “It’s unknowable” if his administration realized the seeds they had sowed for the American public and the likely incoming Democratic administration?

          His treasury secretaries, O’Neil (from Alcoa and Rand Corp) , Snow (from CSX corp [real estate and railroads]) and Henry Paulson (Goldman Sachs) were clueless?

          How about David Duke. In your revisionist history, was he just confused?

          The Bush administration never saw a spending bill they did not like.

  3. Ehawk
    August 19, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    It’s No big deal these layoff in Tech… out here in Sillycon valley. Most of those laid off get offers at another company within a couple of weeks. the Big deal is in oil companies.

    It’s just re-arranging or shuffling of tech workers.

    *NetApp had major layoffs too in April 2016. then they hired new fresh H1bs…Indians..

    *HPE — lots of layoffs as well.

    and of course IBM…It’s ok they can all get hired at Twitter or Uber ;)

  4. Petunia
    August 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    The recent flood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana damaged or destroyed 60,000 homes. It is a real mess and those affected have lost everything. The cleanup will take a massive economic injection to restore the city. They will need to replace homes, cars, and personal items. I can already see that the businesses that survive may do very well as the city comes back.

    • Mary
      August 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      Spoken like a true Keynesian.

      • Robert P. Bailey
        August 24, 2016 at 6:59 am

        The heart and soul of all Globlist agenda is the one sided system of Keynesian Macro-Economics, with the insightlesness against the logical and truthfulness of Austrian Macro-Economics.

    • night-train
      August 20, 2016 at 2:48 am

      My hometown and other areas in the northern part of the state were hit by a major tornado in 2011. A lot of Federal money has come to town and it has definitely pumped up the economy. I haven’t looked, but Baton Rouge may have been doing pretty well already, if LSU has been growing like the state’s flagship university where I am located. Business here, as well as the university’s administration, have done well, what with mining the student debt sector and all.

      • Kasadour
        August 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm

        Broken glass/window fallacy:

        The broken window fallacy was first expressed by the great French economist, Frederic Bastiat. Bastiat used the parable of a broken window to point out why destruction doesn’t really benefit the economy.

      • Petunia
        August 20, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        Baton Rouge was doing well before this flood, even with the downturn in the oil patch. LSU is more of a sports franchise than a university and the way they concentrate on sports leads me to think it is a big money maker for them, more so than teaching.

    • tg
      August 25, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      Why not just build jets, tanks, and bullets and sell them to 3rd world dictators so they can murder people they do not like (such as people of “lesser” races and gays)?

      Oh wait, we already do that. I’m not sure how well that is working for us.

      Can you give us an analysis of those numbers and it’s impact on GDP and how that creates a “economic injection?”

  5. Kreditanstalt
    August 19, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Hmmm…wonder why there us so much overcapacity built for high-paying demand that isn’t there…? What led these dimwits to fail to see the future?

    Cough…CHEAP MONEY…Cough…

  6. Dave
    August 19, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    I think we will see everything unravel after the elections. The new President can deliver all the bad news and bogus job numbers and every other faux statistic. They can then blame thier predecessor for how bad the economy and finances are. That how it always goes.

  7. Lee
    August 19, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Don’t worry the unemployment rate will fall as people give up looking for work and as those full time employees will soon be working a couple of part time each the numbers will offset each other………..

    What a crock.

    Same thing happening here in Oz: layoffs and full time workers replaced by part time work or just plain giving up.

    Funny how the Land of the Rising Sun with all its economic problems doesn’t have an unemployment problem.

  8. michael
    August 19, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Frankly it will be refreshing to hear “it’s Obama’s fault” for the next four years.

  9. Jonathan
    August 19, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    But-but-but Supreme Leader Yellen said we are having the best job market in decades!

    Singapore, HK, Indonesia all reported double-digit drops in consumer confidence and job prospects last month, too.

  10. August 19, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    It’s hard to see how the petroleum business is going to ever keep up with depletion when its workforce is being fired.

    Who is going to turn the wrenches, run the platforms, work over older wells, complete new ones? The kind of talent being given the heave-ho cannot be replaced with software.

    Reducing rig counts, mothballing platforms, postponing maintenance is suicide for a business that aims to extract as much of its own capital as possible as fast as possible with as little regard to consequences as possible … so that others can burn that capital up for nothing.

    What’s holding the spectrum of fuel-dependent industries together right now are the remaining — and fast depleting — giant, low-cost conventional plays that don’t require fancy (expensive) extraction techniques. Some of these plays have been in service for decades. Once these are exhausted it’s game over.

  11. ML
    August 19, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    It’s a digital revolution!
    What did you expect? Full employment?

  12. Edward E
    August 20, 2016 at 12:07 am

    The folks who live around me that went to the oil patch have all been laid off and returned with their RV’s. Local saw mills aren’t doing much. There are ‘for sale’ signs up on a lot of homes and land in the Ozarks, probably because near everyone was laid off at the Fayetteville Shale. I’ve spoken with some, there are many acres of parked fracking equipment at various locations.

    I had to go take my DOT (2yr) physical this Tuesday in Ft Smith and folks saw me drive up in a big rig. A couple of the men in the clinic waiting room started asking me about driving for the pumpkin and what kind of money it pays. They were laid off tanker twuck dwivas and so I referred them to talk to a recruiter. The pumpkin tries to lasso me into tankers because I have the endorsement, but tankers cannot get me home so I don’t pull those.

    Anyway, I just flat out told them that last year I made seven thousand dollars less than the year before and this year is even slower. That the management is trying to force us all into new jellyfish automatic transmission trucks, as they may be preparing for self driving robots. The entire room of people were soon glued to what I was trying to tell them about the autonomous trucks running around Nevada and the Google-Apple-Tesla-Cruise Automation-etc engineers start up company named Otto.

    Thankfully God sent a talented health nut, gorgeous lady gardening expert and I am an experienced fisherman and hunter. Our place way out in the sticks is all paid for, country folks can survive like that.

    • night-train
      August 20, 2016 at 3:09 am

      Edward E. : “A country boy can survive”! A little Hank Jr. digression.

      Nice post, and it plays into a question I have. Our local TV news had a fluff piece tonight regarding best job possibilities in the state of Alabama. It listed the top two as nursing and truck drivers. I believe it was basically a survey of want-ads.

      With an aging population, I get the nursing – a combination of nurses retiring and the aging population needing more healthcare. But, from what I read here, it would appear that trucking would be getting hit by the drawdown in O&G, retail, and other sectors, as reported by Wolf and the commenters at this site.

      I would appreciate your take on the TV report I cited above.


      • Edward E
        August 21, 2016 at 11:08 am

        There’s money in trucking if you stick with it, just that for newbies it’s getting harder to stick with it. I used to own a truck, it turned my hair grey. The competition is fierce, rates get so low on any freight over a couple of hundred miles that you’re getting ripped to haul it. Most debt slaves have to stay around big cities like Dallas-Ft Worth in order to make a profit unless you have a contract, and someone can steal that.

        Go to code school instead of trucker school. Then you’ll be in high demand for programming the bots. Down in Albany, GA at one of the beer breweries I loaded at, the whole place was robots, a forklift driver did load my trailer but robots pulled and staged the product.

        Cost of doing business keeps going up, with freight rates languishing many carrier’s would have little choice but to use robots on longer runs when/if they become available.

        • night-train
          August 22, 2016 at 3:41 am

          Thanks for your reply. It is good to hear from the people in the trenches in the various industries. So much BS is being produced these days, finding a nugget of truth is like panning for gold.

    • Paulo
      August 20, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Great comment Edward E.

      On Thursday I went for breakfast with an old flying buddy. I got out of the business (except for part-time cash work) twenty years ago. He stuck with it and went into multi-engine helicopters IFR….(the big leagues for pay and shifts). As he used to say, “When I bring my machine into hover/land, everyone knows the big dog is in town”. For the last 10 years he has been on the top of his game earning approx $1,000/day with benefits, accomodations, travel; all taken care of. This year he was lucky to find a job, at all. He worked 90 days. People with more experience didn’t find any work. Many have gone back to other careers. There is real concern that conversions of machines to drones for hauling freight and fighting fires will really cut back on work and wages. He is fifty eight and trying to hold onto retirement, mostly because he spent the big bucks living large; thinking it would never end.

      The litany of aviation industry power houses going broke is the topic of every forum. Ericcson Skycrane going under, CHC close to bankruptcy; smaller operators even worse off are talking about selling machines and permenantly downsizing. Leased machines are parked or returned. It started before, but the oil collapse was the kick over the cliff.

      The only thing saving fixed-wing operators are lower fuel costs and the fact that passengers will not fly in a drone. (would you?) But, their days are numbered as vacationers stay home and nurse their credit cards.

      I got out of the business 20 years ago, built my pennies up and retired. I think the biggest mistake people fell for was forgetting about the past and living in the present with all the hype and propaganda. Yes, the Great Depression happened for reasons and can happen again. Yes, WW2 had many catalysts and could happen again. Yes, people lie, including politicians and financial planners. No, Human Nature has not changed. And yes, there are limits to growth, and constraints on our expectations. And yes, you can do all the ‘right things’ and work hard and still end up getting the shaft.

      The best to you all on this site. Regards.

      • kitten lopez
        August 20, 2016 at 11:13 am

        “No, Human Nature has not changed.”

        ah, Paulo… i fear that it HAS, and that’s what horrifies me being in the land of young zombie corporate drones.

        i remember there was a documentary, called “The Bridge,” i believe, about people jumping off the golden gate bridge. one survivor said that the moment his hands left the rails, he’d changed his mind. i saw it years ago and that stayed with me: THE NATURAL INSTINCT TO FIGHT TO LIVE.

        but after all the diabolical “dr evil” type of experiments governments, especially our own, have done to try and control the population, the human MIND and triumph over our NATURAL INSTINCT TO FIGHT TO LIVE…

        …all it took were these smartphones! and we track ourselves WILLINGLY. leave them on. give our personal information for FREE.

        but it was on well before the phones came along.

        i’m shocked at how the past 30-40 years this culture bred itself into increasingly irrelevant corporate drones. it’s BRILLIANT. all the acid tests in the military were just games next to what we all did to our own at home.

        i hear from all over how kids have been bred to be only their best-edited resumes.

        i used to be an author/performer. when i was supposed to pedal faster and CONSTANTLY promote myself and be short, pithy, and charming at any time, i thought “who’d do this for free on purpose???”

        being your own scruffy artist superstar was a killing as a living in the best of times, so i couldn’t imagine living in the constant state of filming yourself and mining your life for the stories. doing that as an artist for my meagre living, KILLED me and how i saw life. i couldn’t relax.

        but everyone’s their own movie star now. WILLINGLY. and there is no surviving somewhere in the woods alone. i never realized how connected we are even as americans are disconnected from each other and their past.

        i’m horrified that collectively, humanity has been bred to be able to let go of the railing and not even REGRET it. brilliant.

        cackling evil villians seem charmingly fuzzy and cute next to this kind of …there is no WORD for the existential wind being knocked out of me. i’m still catching my breath…

        yes, as Paulo says…and i felt it gravely…deeply when he signed off: “The best to you all on this site. Regards.”

        • Edward E
          August 21, 2016 at 4:47 pm

          Surely don’t see living in the deep woods as any kind of a negative, in fact quite the opposite… as I just text replied to our superstar that I am on a triple screamer hot sauce load to Atlanta from Battle Creek, “but my mind is still laying naked in the warm rain on the boulder in the middle of the Buffalo River with you my love.” There is something powerful and rejuvenating about this remote swimming hole, like the fountain of youth in the movie ‘Cocoon’

          What a wonderful place to lighten up and relax from the concrete jungle. Play with the pet gray fox and forget the world for a while.

        • TheBloomIsOffTheRose
          August 22, 2016 at 3:23 am

          “i’m horrified that collectively, humanity has been bred to be able to let go of the railing and not even REGRET it. brilliant. ”


      • Petunia
        August 20, 2016 at 1:51 pm

        For some time I have been expecting the uberization of air travel and even leisure boating. Your friend may be relying for work on companies that haven’t automated enough to capture the millennial’s “there’s an app for that” mentality.

        August 24, 2016 at 3:48 pm

        I read Thoreau in college and took his advice to live simply, despite the sham of vaunted “progress,” enriched by natural beauty and the wisdom of the ages.

  13. Colin
    August 20, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Retail sales are up 2.3% year over year, which is awful. I have a feeling the real number of job cuts is much higher than 195,000. Do some companies just not announce layoffs?

    • August 20, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      Colin, couple of things:

      – to clarify, the 195K layoffs were just in the energy sector since the oil bust started – not total layoffs across the economy.

      – in terms of retails sales being up 2.3%: correct, but it’s even worse. This included auto sales which have been strong, and sales by “non-store” retailers (Amazon, etc., but not including the e-commerce divisions of brick-and-mortar retailers) which jumped over 14%.

      Without those two categories, the rest of retail sales has been languishing at a growth rate below the rate of inflation. Here is more on that, including charts:

  14. jim wilson
    August 20, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    “Blame” is hard to place but here is a shot.
    1. Reagan/Stockman “deficits don’t matter”
    2. Putting SS on budget (as opposed to a separate deal), allowing deficits to be camouflaged.
    3. Ending Glass-Steagall
    4. Fed not raising rates when China started manipulating its currency, building up massive deficits. Also allowed housing bubble.
    5. Bush and Iraq (huge negative)
    6. Bush (and Obama) for bailing out the banks.
    7. Obama for trying to stave off the necessary recession to blow off 30 years of profligacy. Tough to blame him too much on that one – although he should have, not sure many of us if we were in his position would have had the guts to do it – especially as Obama does not have an economics/finance background.

    The inevitable will eventually happen, but Japan shows it can take a long bloody time. If there was ever a place at the edge of a cliff, it is there … and it has been for years. Amazing to see its currency appreciating as its fundamentals go into a nosedive.

    • Lee
      August 20, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      The negatives that Japan faces are really limited compared to other countries:

      1. Huge government debt

      2. A population that is getting older

      Compare that to the USA or what I now call Amerika:

      1. Huge government debt

      2. A growing population composed of many uneducated, poor immigrants

      3. A huge number of ‘dumb’ over educated politically correct young people that have huge student loans.

      4. A housing bubble in many places that still makes other places look like pikers

      5. A government that fails to control its borders

      6. A bunch of dumbed down people that are more interested in Kim’s butt than real world problems

      7. Unending foreign wars and a bunch of idiots in DC that keep making it worse

      8. Minorities at war with the rest of the population and a militarized, corrupt police force that is more interested in big boys toys and confiscating assets than the rule of law

      9. Drugs, gangs, and a failed primary education system in many big cities

      10. A health care system that is screwed up and costly and getting worse every year

      Yeah, I’ll take Japan with all its so called ‘problems’ over the USA any day of the week and if I had my choice I’d be living there instead of Australia.

      Australia has a great lifestyle, but every year longer I spend here it becomes more and more like Amerika.

    • Dick Jones
      August 20, 2016 at 7:42 pm

      How about a currency that has to be created as debt?

      A currency that requires infinite growth to sustain the infinite usury created by MAD (Money as Debt) money and fractional reserve lending?

      If the only blame you have is for the puppets that inhabit the oval office, you’re missing the forest for the trees, man.

  15. J P Frogbottom
    August 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Paulo, Kutten, Petunia, Colin, Wolf, and Jim,

    An interesting thread. As a transport guy for 35+years (steel & rubber) we will see self driving trains and trucks at some point. Timeline is unclear. That opens up a myriad of new jobs and development there as well as displacing hundreds (thousands) of others.

    Human nature has changed, not necessarily for the better, brighter ways either.

    it’s list of ‘blames’ is quite good. How to ‘undo’ the blames, right the wrongs (eliminate the tax payer as the bankers’ fall back guys), and reform the bad legislation pending (TTP TISA and others).

    Personally, I think it would have been far cleaner to let the big banks, and investment houses suffer through their own arrogance rather than have been bailed out, but we really can’t undo that error now. Nor can we pay for it, so there is the rub!

    Where does the future take us? Unknown, demography is destiny in large measure. We need decent politics with a vision for a sustainable future. We do not have that currently, and the military industrial security apparatus sees villains all around!!

    No talk about a debt moratorium, cancellations. Rentiers seem to be doing exceptionally well, but the rest of the 99% not so much. Banking might be viewed as a utility. Retail in the doldrums. The EU seems terminal to me.

    Not too hard to envision the future as being rather short – unfortunately!

    • Petunia
      August 20, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      Financial services will be the first industry to become a full fledged utility. They are already highly automated and can’t pretend they add value any longer. You can now get loans, credit cards, and do no branch banking, we are more than half way there.

      This will be followed by health care, also an industry that lends itself to commodification and is already highly automated.

      Self driving vehicles are down lower on the list. As a techie, I can tell you that the issues involved are not currently resolved.

  16. Merlin
    August 23, 2016 at 9:53 am

    This article has been linked on “Wall Street on Parade”, my other favorite daily read.

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