Based on the headline from the latest Jobs Friday report you wouldn’t know that we are still mired in an economic emergency–one apparently so extreme that it might entail moving to the 81st straight month of zero interest rates at next week’s FOMC meeting. After all, the unemployment rate came in smack-dab on the Fed’s full-employment target at 5.1%.

But that’s not the half of it. The August unemployment rate was also in the lowest quintile of modern history.

That’s right. There have been 535 monthly jobs reports since 1970, yet in only 98 months or 18% of the time did the unemployment rate post at 5.1% or lower.

Monthly Unemployment Rate Below And Above 5.1% Since 1970

In a word, the official unemployment rate is now in what has been the macroeconomic end zone for the past 45 years. Might this suggest that the emergency is over and done?

Not at all. The talking heads have been out in force insisting on yet another deferral of “lift-off” on the grounds that the economy is allegedly still fragile and that the establishment survey number at 173,000 jobs came in on the light side. Even the so-called centrists on the Fed–Stanley Fischer and John Williams–have gone to full-bore, open-mouth, two-armed economist mode, jabbering incoherently while they await more “in-coming” economic data.

Self-evidently, the only “incoming” information that can matter between now and next Wednesday is the stock market averages. To wit, if last October’s Bullard Rip low on the S&P 500 holds at 1867, the FOMC will declare “one and done”, at least for the year; and if the market succumbs to another spot of vertigo, the Fed will concoct yet another lame excuse for delay.

Indeed, the Fed’s true Humphrey-Hawkins target is transparent. Namely, avoidance of a “risk-off” hissy fit at all hazards.

So let’s just call the whole thing a cosmic farce and dispense with the macroeconomic hair-splitting. Ordinary people everywhere on the planet are in grave danger because governments and their central banking branches have put the gamblers in charge of the economic show.

That’s self-evident in Europe where the Brussels/Frankfurt apparatchiks are deathly afraid of a stampede toward the exits by the front-running gamblers who “rented” (on repo) the sovereign bond market on Draghi’s “whatever it takes” ukase. So they have now turned Greece into an outright debtors’ prison, extinguishing the last remnants of democratic self-rule and imposing debt obligations that will approach $500 billion when Greece’s new bailout and existing massive ECB debits are reckoned.

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