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What The Media Won't Tell You About Jobs, 'Frugal Nation' And Buybacks...

Christian Hudspeth
StreetAuthority Insider

August 6, 2014

Last month, I looked in disbelief at how quickly the media was to trumpet the "great" news of the job report for June.

Here's the first few lines of a CNN Money story I read when the news broke. The reporters seemed absolutely giddy:

 

 

 

The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in June, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Thursday. That number beats economists' expectations and comes along with other good news: Job growth was revised higher for both May and April.


Along with CNN Money, most in the news media rejoiced.

Hot on the heels of a reported 2.9% contraction in the economy for the first quarter of the year, it was welcome news. And after a seemingly endless stretch of false economic starts and mixed job reports since 2009, this was a seemingly good sign of traction for the economy.

But here's what the mainstream media didn't tell you about those 288,000 jobs added...

Dig a little deeper into the June BLS report and it tells a completely different story.

There were 799,000 part-time jobs added in June, but a staggering 523,000 full-time jobs were lost.

You can see for yourself in the table below...

The Numbers Behind June's Job Report Paints A Different Picture

              

May 2014

June 2014

Change

Full-Time Workers

118,727,000

118,204,000

-523,000

Part-Time Workers

27,219,000

28,018,000

799,000

Source: BLS.gov, Selected employment Indicators, Table A-9.


That means every single one of those 288,000 jobs added in June were part-time. On top of that, the BLS reported "there were 676,000 discouraged workers in June" -- in other words, for every person who got a "new" job, roughly 2 people left the workforce entirely.

The job report for July was a bit more rosy, but still not great. Of the 209,000 jobs added -- roughly 25%, or 52,000 of them, were part-time. And another 741,000 people quit looking for work.

Welcome to the "part-time recovery."

Right now, the economic outlook is muddled at best, as it has been for much of the past five years since the financial crisis. Depressed wages and a large amount of people collecting unemployment means there just isn't enough money around for most consumers to spend lavishly.

And thus continues the "Frugal Nation" trend...

The truth may not make headlines in news outlets, but our job is to tell it like it is and help you profit -- no matter what the macro-economic environment is. And luckily, our own analyst Amy Calistri has been spot-on with some of her recommendations, profiting from a phenomenon I like to call "Frugal Nation."

You see, everyone wants to save a buck these days.

As you know, during lean times consumers crave products from the "Wal-Marts" of every industry -- i.e. companies that provide goods and services at the absolute lowest cost to the consumer.

Amy's been watching this trend carefully -- and investing in many of these low-cost companies in her premium newsletter Stock Of The Month. And she's been happy to collect gains of 13%... 39%... and 58% from this trend along the way.

Amy has a nickname for companies that beat their competition by undercutting prices well below the norm. She calls them industry "disrupters."

In her November 2013 issue of Stock of the Month, Amy explained how disrupters have undercut competitors in the past, using the example of Charles Schwab (NYSE: SCHW):

 

 

 

In May 1975, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) deregulated brokerage fees.

Most brokerage houses didn't think it was a big deal. They just assumed the industry would maintain uniformly high fees to maximize profits. But Charles Schwab had another idea. On the very first day of deregulation, he lowered the commissions charged by his company. His peers were outraged.

The bigger brokerage firms maintained high commissions for a long time. But the revolution had begun. Charles Schwab steadily grew market share and a loyal -- and grateful -- customer base.

Charles Schwab's clients weren't the only ones to benefit from this industry disrupter. Its investors have made an enviable fortune.

Charles Schwab (NYSE:
SCHW) started trading publicly on June 30, 1989.

If you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500 Index on that day, your investment would be worth $55,679 today. If you invested $10,000 in SCHW, it would be worth $1,221,579 today.


Charles Schwab provides a great historical example of how disrupters can crush their competition and deliver stellar returns for shareholders.

Amy has pointed out numerous other companies that have been industry disrupters in more recent years... Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), T-Mobile (NYSE: TMUS) and Costco (NYSE: COST), just to name a few.

I think Amy is on to something. By following big trends like Frugal Nation and looking for disruptors within various industries, Amy's picks have made money for her Stock of the Month subscribers more than 85% of the time.

Put simply, with times as tight as these, it can be smart to bet on disrupters that are outsmarting competitors and breaking industry standards to serve consumers best.

These lean times have also led Corporate America to get creative with their finances.

The $3 Trillion Leveraged Buyback Frenzy

As my colleague, Austin Hatley pointed out a few weeks ago in Insider, low interest rates could be here to stay for a long time... especially if GDP growth stays sluggish.

While that's led to disappointment among those collecting next to nothing from their savings, it's also led to some interesting financial engineering by many of the largest U.S. corporations.

Our resident expert in all things related to dividends and buybacks, Nathan Slaughter recently pointed out that U.S. corporations have been borrowing trillions to buy back shares of their own stock and pay dividends to shareholders