Barack Obama’s Jobs Council hit a notable milestone on Thursday: one year without an official meeting. The 26-member panel is also set to expire at the end of the month, unless Obama extends its tenure.
The Egyptian pound is down to its lowest level against the dollar in eight years and Egyptians are scrambling to convert pounds into dollars. Currency reserves are at 15 billion, just enough to cover three months of food imports, as Egypt is a food importer. And Egyptian banks are bringing in dollars from abroad while stocks are falling.
Consumer spending is down to its lowest point since May. Consumer confidence is at its lowest point since June. The media is shouting about the “fiscal cliff” but most people aren’t following the topic. What they do know is that they can expect another 4 years of the same and they’re hanging on to their money over the next 4 years, preparing to ride through the storm.
It takes a live birth rate of 2.1 children per woman to maintain a stable population. Birth rates across Southern Europe have plunged below 1.5, and are expected to drop even further as Euro Zone economies continue to contract. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan are converging on birth rates closer to 1.0, literally halving their population each generation. Even the Black Plague didn’t do that.
The preliminary University of Michigan-Thomson Reuters consumer sentiment index fell to 74.5 from 82.7 in November. Consumer spending already faltered months ago. The third-quarter report on gross domestic product revised an already weak original annualized estimate of 2.0% in personal consumption growth down to a pathetic 1.4%. Personal consumption expenditures decreased by 0.2% in November.