If you’ve been following the news from Wall Street, you might assume that the economy is finally improving.  For example, in the July 11, 2013 issue of The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Kate Gibson reported:

U.S. stocks leapt Thursday, with the S&P 500 up for a sixth day and setting a record finish, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed would remain accommodative.

Whoopee Wall Street!

I.          Unemployment And Underemployment Are Growing

However, there are threatening clouds overshadowing the current economy.  One of them is the combination of growing unemployment and underemployment.  Indeed, in the very same Market Watch article Ms. Gibson reported:

Labor Department figures released Thursday showed first-time jobless claims rising last week by 16,000 to a two-month high of 360,000.

Moreover, in the May 3, 2013 issue of Market Watch Rex Nutting reported that although there were more jobs created, there were fewer hours worked:

The April employment report exceeded expectations, with 165,000 jobs created and a welcome drop in the unemployment rate to 7.5%.  But there was a dark side to the report:  Total hours worked fell sharply, and the total amount of money earned by U.S. workers actually declined from the month before.  “Aggregate weekly hours” is an obscure series of data in the jobs report, but it’s vital to understanding how strong the economy is performing. As the name implies, it measures the total number of hours worked, which is what matters for sizing up overall growth in the economy.

In fact, the reduction in hours worked translates into what is economically equivalent to a loss of 500,000 jobs.  As Mr. Nutting pointed out:
Continue Reading The Economy, Reduced Work Hours, Bankruptcy

In spite of the claims of some starry-eyed economic analysts that the recession ended in June 2009, and that we’ve been  in an “economic recovery” since then – sure had me fooled – unemployment has been stubbornly high, both at the national and at the California levels. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the national rate is 9.1% and the California rate is 12.1%.  Is this a temporary problem, or one that is a new, permanent structural problem?
Continue Reading Unemployed? Underemployed? File For Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an effective way of wiping out debt, and it can be an important tool in preparing for what some experts predict will be the next great depression. 

Thomas H. Kee Jr. is the president and CEO of Stock Traders DailyHe has accurately predicted market cycles in advance using his multi-tiered technical indicators since starting Stock Traders Daily in January 2000. 

On October 12, 2011, Mr. Kee wrote the following in the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch

The U.S. economy, and probably the global economy as a result, are headed towards a Greater Depression, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it now . . . [T]he only saving grace may be China, but China seems to have gotten so far ahead of itself that eventually it too will fall. . . . [T]he only solid promoting market based stability has been the demand from BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India, and China] countries, mostly China, and if that pares back the result will devastate the global economy as we know it today. . . . Eventually there will be a material hit to these BRIC economies, and the fragile nature of mature economies will not be able to offset that weakness. [I]f China were to suddenly experience an uncontrolled decline in GDP, global stock markets would collapse, corporate earnings would crumble, the unemployment rate would skyrocket . . .

But China is in no danger of economic collapse, right?  Hmmm. 
Continue Reading The Next Great Depression And Bankruptcy