Santelli Exchange: We should be creating even more jobs

January 13, 2016

Rick Santelli: I can’t tell you how confused I get sometimes, Chip. Many guests, many politicos, many speeches given in Congress say the consumer is in the best shape he’s been in in years, yet the first chart you’re packing today was consumer credit to disposable income reaching 26%, a record. And that’s up 3.5% since the end of 2012. How can we square these two diametrically opposed supposed quantitative views?

Chip Dickson: Well I think some consumers are doing a lot better, but a lot aren’t. You still have 102 million people that are not working in this economy, 130 million that are not working or working part-time usually; and that’s over half the potential workforce. And real median and mean incomes are way down so there’s a lot of people that aren’t doing well we have an economy which can pay some people a lot more money, but we’re not getting enough of them engaged in the economy, Rick. And I would just add one other thing: I think we are at least 5 million full-time jobs short of where we should be at this point in the cycle.

Rick Santelli: Alright, since we are going down this unpopular road anyway: you saw the jobs report at the end of last week; we are creating a lot of jobs, but productivity and GDP don’t seem to cooperate. The President in The State of the Union address said, “Big green light! All is clear; we are just sailing along.” Reconcile a notion of exactly how healthy we are.

Chip Dickson: Well we are creating more jobs than we should be because the potential labor force is a lot bigger, and relative to the labor force it’s kind of in line where we should be. We should be creating a lot more jobs than we are today and our wages should be going up. And I think the reasons they aren’t is because there’s a lot of pressure on business, we aren’t creating enough new businesses; it’s hard because of the regulatory environment. So there’s a lot of pressure on people and I think that means less good wage growth and interest rates are abnormally low.

Rick Santelli: Now when I think about young people being the consumers of the future and the backbone of whatever type of economy we are going to look at, student loans are close to reaching 10% of disposable income. In the last half minute, can you equate, now that virtually its been nationalized with regard to how that debt gets handled, the rules of how it gets paid or doesn’t. In your final comment, what do we have to look forward to on that front?

Chip Dickson: I think you’re going to see slower student loan growth but it’s still too much of a household debt, and it takes a long time to pay off which means less financial flexibility for consumers going forward, and I think that’s an economic headwind.