Wednesday, September 22, 2010

88% of Americans say "Now is a Bad Time to Find a Quality Job"

According to Mish, anyway.

Some policy implications of the interdependence of cyclical and structural unemployment

From Econobrowser.

Valuations of Unskilled Labor

So here's a question: how many climbs like this per year should a human have to make in order to make what YOU make clicking you little tippy-tappy mice and pads and pocket-protected whiney little smart phones every day? Could you even make that climb, once in your entire life? Probably not. Yet do you depend on the signals relayed from that tower for your cute little iPhone? Likely, every single moment of every single day.

So how many climbs per year should it take to justify the climber's existence and feed his kids? 1? 6? 12? 24? As many as you can push them to do just short of dying? Or do you subscribe to the "F them, they're expendable unskilled monkeys, theory?" Show of hands?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Jobs Lost Forever

The Big Picture, Chances of a Double Dip, Gary Shilling:
Despite the huge employment losses since the end of 2007, many of those jobs are unlikely to return. Of the 7.7 million net nonfarm jobs eliminated between December 2007 and July of this year, 86% were in construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, finance and leisure and hospitality. These six sectors accounted for 44.5% of nonfarm payrolls in July, only about half as much as their losses. Furthermore, job losses in those industries spawned employment losses in service and other sectors that depend on them. Home building, for example, spurs employment in the production of appliances, furniture, home furnishings and homeowner insurance and provides revenues that support state and local employment. Given the gigantic overhang of excess house inventories and resulting further price declines, it will be years before residential construction shows any meaningful revival, as we’ve explained in past Insights and will update next month. Similarly, financially troubled and massively vacant commercial real estate will inhibit new construction and jobs for many years.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Happy 50th Birthday from AARP! Here's Your Free "Will Work for Food" Sign

"After other recent downturns, older people who lost jobs fretted about how long it would take to return to the work force and worried that they might never recover their former incomes. But today, because it will take years to absorb the giant pool of unemployed at the economy’s recent pace, many of these older people may simply age out of the labor force before their luck changes.

For Ms. Reid, it has been four years of hunting — without a single job offer. She buzzes energetically as she describes the countless applications she has lobbed through the Internet, as well as the online courses she is taking to burnish her software skills.

Still, when she is pressed, her can-do spirit falters.

“There are these fears in the background, and they are suppressed,” said Ms. Reid, who is now selling some of her jewelry and clothes online and is late on some credit card payments. “I have had nightmares about becoming a bag lady,” she said. “It could happen to anyone. So many people are so close to it, and they don’t even realize it.”"
Growing numbers of people do realize this and even know the exact individuals responsible for willfully causing it. This is where things get very up close and personal, precisely as forecast in several of this blog's earliest entries.

The Angry Rich and Taxes

"Among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it."

"The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way. Never mind the $700 billion price tag for extending the high-end tax breaks: virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent."
Full Story by: Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman - The Angry Rich and Taxes -

FRBC: Normal Recovery, Elevated Unemployment Levels

This item was surfaced by My6Sense Digital Intuition, and shared by Pixelpipe on Android. The subject line was properly posted, but this link to the actual post didn't make it through. This entire entry is a post-edit to that mobile curation attempt. :-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Responsibility. Less Pay. More Risk. Less Reward.

"A statistical slaughterhouse of historic proportion. 30 percent of jobless people 55 or older have been out of work for a year or longer, a higher rate than any other age group; some may never find another job." Amplify’d from

Americans in their 50s especially hard-hit by recession

In this bloody free-for-all of a recession, Americans in their 50s are really taking it hard on the chin.
"Is it because we're in our 50s?'' Kahn wonders. "What else could it be? Someone on the other end is looking at our résumés, doing the math and thinking, this woman's a fuddy-duddy. I feel like we've been put out to pasture. It's like we're reaching retirement age, but we're not ready for retirement."
Peek inside this statistical slaughterhouse: As older Americans headed for retirement, the recession cut into their plans, sending retirement account balances down 32 percent from a peak of $8.7 trillion in September 2007 to $5.9 trillion in March 2009, according to AARP. As the recession kicked in, more than one of every four foreclosures and delinquencies involved Americans age 50 and older, this on top of the decade's already sharp increase in bankruptcy filings for the 55-and-above set.
Some may never find another job: A Pew Economic Policy Group report in April said nearly 30 percent of jobless people 55 or older have been out of work for a year or longer, a higher rate than any other age group.
It is a demographic squeeze play of historic proportion, with a jobless rate not seen since the Great Depression.
In a sign of the angst gripping many who see their retirement fading into the future, a poll this year of people ages 44 to 75 found that more than three in five fear depleting their assets more than they fear dying.
"Typically," he says, "they've been downsized out of a job or else put into another position with more responsibility for less pay, and that puts even more stress on their lives, financially and emotionally."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How Social Capitalism Can Hedge Market Capitalism

Daniel Robles, The Ingenesist Project:
Today, we have one of the most extraordinary opportunities in human history playing out before our eyes. Social Capitalism is no longer merely a band-aid for an amoral Market Capitalism, it is a new form of Capitalism in it’s own right. In the age of social media, many entrepreneurs no longer allocate land, labor, and financial capital as a primary means of production. Rather, they deploy social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to the production of a vast amount of “value” that is stored and exchanged in communities.

A new financial instrument is described which can be capitalized and securitized to form the basis of a fungible social currency to hedge the dollar. The net result could create a condition where Wall Street priorities are subservient to social priorities rather than social priorities being subservient to Wall Street priorities.

Percentage of U.S. Adults at Work is Lower Now, Than Six Months Ago

NPR Marketplace Commentator David Frum: Old assumptions equal a stagnant economy:
Supposedly, the recession ended last summer. Yet the percentage of adult Americans at work is lower now than it was six months ago. Businesses continue to shed jobs faster than they create them.

The risk that employment will decline further as the Obama Administration's fiscal stimulus ends is very real. Consumers are not spending, because they feel poor -- and getting poorer. They borrowed a lot of money in the 1990s and 2000s. Their equity in their homes has shrunk or disappeared.

These wretched figures should force us to rethink old assumptions.

The 2007-2008 economic collapse was a really, really big calamity. Yet, we have not taken that calamity's big lessons. Yes, we've tightened bank regulation a little. It will be tougher in the future for banks to bet 30 times their capital that uncredit-worthy borrowers will somehow find the money to repay huge loans. But the idea that home ownership is for everybody? That capital gains from housing will compensate ordinary Americans for stagnant wages? That we can raise living standards while importing a million low-wage workers every year?

On those fundamentals, Albert Einstein's old lament still holds: Everything has changed -- except our thinking.