By: Shmuel Shayowitz
Super Bowl LVII was remarkable. Advertisers spent a record $7 million on average, for a 30-second slot of airtime, according to USA Today Ad Meter. This was up over $500,000 from previous years. We don’t have the final tally for this year, but over 200 million viewers reportedly watched some portion of the Super Bowl in 2022. Undoubtedly, the numbers for this year’s Super Bowl LVII will be record-breaking again. To put that into context, approximately 150 million Americans voted in the highly contested 2020 presidential election, which was considered unprecedented.
Indeed many eyes were glued to the game, and much money was spent on advertising and gambling worldwide. But what if I were to tell you that the Super Bowl was rigged? Is it possible to conceive that one of the most popular games of all time, highly scrutinized by all, is fixed? Well, the good news is that I am not here to report any foul play regarding the super bowl.
Unfortunately, however, I have what might be even worse news for an even bigger “game” that impacts even more people and significantly more money. After two surprising reports, many are starting to speculate that some of the recent “BLS” government data are being manipulated. I think it’s fair to say that the findings from this organization have ramifications for billions in market trading and impacts the lives of every American as the Federal Reserve decisions hinge on this data.
According to Wikipedia, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics and serves as a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System. The BLS collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data to the American public, the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, business, and labor representatives.
The BLS serves as a statistical resource to the United States Department of Labor and conducts research measuring the income levels of families. It publishes results of these four main categories: Prices, Employment and unemployment, Compensation and working conditions, and Productivity. As far as we are concerned, they control the data for two key components that will directly impact how the Fed chooses to handle future rate hikes and cuts: employment and inflation.
This past Tuesday, we received the BLS “CPI” report about inflation. The numbers were favorable and showed that inflation continues to decline. Unfortunately, however, it didn’t fall as aggressively as many hoped, so it caused U.S. treasuries and mortgage rates with it to spike higher, given fears of continued Fed tightening. The week prior, the markets were caught off guard as over 500,000 new jobs were reported in the BLS Payroll Report, well above market expectations. It was a “huge” miss. Then too, treasuries and mortgage-backed securities sold off drastically.
While the media is reporting this information, with all of the surprise numbers, most are not mentioning that the BLS recently “adjusted” how their analysis would work for both jobs and employment data. While they make adjustments every year, the recent modifications were direct causes of the skewed data, which showed too many jobs and too high of inflation. To put this into perspective, if they were working off the old metrics for job reporting, only 80,000 new jobs would have been realized, which is a massive drop from previous reports.
Needless to say, it’s hard to know the motivation and intention of those manufacturing some of this data. What we do know is that Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has said that his decisions on further rate hikes will be heavily weighed on the upcoming market data. For those keeping score, the home team (“political manipulation”) is winning big-time, but there are many flags on the play! Stay informed.
Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well as specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at Shmuel@approvedfunding.com.
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