Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jobs? What jobs?

Greetings good citizen,

As is typical of the day before a long holiday weekend, the markets traded sideways for much of the day before dipping into negative territory at the close.

Not much in the news today either (on the economic front, anyway.) Just the usual psychobabble about imaginary consumer sentiment picking up and more yapping about ‘green shoots’ being in evidence all around.

There was a rather curious article that posited once again that the true cause of the ‘downturn’ was psychological. So apparently that charlatan thinks being broke is all in our heads!

Although such a mental incompetent would probably mock me for being foolish enough as to opine that anyone who wasn’t rich matters…only the attitude of the wealthy counts!

Which brings us to a bizarre question…why aren’t the rich ‘happy’?

I can come up with several reasons that have nothing to do with money and are indeed, um, ‘psychological problems’.

Which is to belabor the obvious, that anyone who thinks the ‘recession’ is purely psychological has some issues of their own that need attention.

But we knew that…so we arrive at tonight’s offering where we once again close the noose around the ‘green shoots’ crowd’s neck when we inquire, where are all of these jobs coming from?

California Led U.S. in Job Losses in April

Published: May 22, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) — Forty-four states lost jobs in April, led by California where employers slashed 63,700 positions, as the recession took a further toll on workers. [Understand good citizen that the US isn’t the only nation hemorrhaging jobs, we are actually behind most other ‘advanced’ nations in the job loss as percentage of workforce category…and no, this isn’t another ‘green shoot’!]

Trailing California in over-the-month job losses were Texas, where 39,500 jobs vanished; Michigan, which lost 38,400 jobs; and Ohio, where payrolls fell 25,200, according to a Labor Department report issued Friday.

California’s unemployment rate was 11 percent last month, fifth-highest in the country. Michigan’s jobless rate was the highest at 12.9 percent, followed by Oregon at 12 percent, South Carolina at 11.5 percent and Rhode Island at 11.1 percent.

As the recession eats into sales and profits, companies have laid off workers and turned to other cost-cutting measures, like holding down hours and freezing or trimming pay.

Since the recession began in December 2007, the United States has lost a net total of 5.7 million jobs. The nationwide unemployment rate now stands at 8.9 percent, a quarter-century high. [We will eventually have to ask the question nobody else is asking…where are the jobs to replace these (in many cases permanently) lost jobs going to come from?]

The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, and some economists hope the pace of layoffs will moderate as the recession eases its grip and probably ends later this year.

But even if employers reduce firings, the nationwide unemployment rate is expected to hit double digits by year-end. Employers will not be in any mood to ramp up hiring until they feel confident that any recovery has staying power, economists say.

In Friday’s state report, Arkansas and Montana tied for the biggest over-the-month payroll gains at 1,500 each. They were followed by Florida, where jobs increased by 1,300 —a dose of good news for a state that has been especially hard-hit by fallout from the housing collapse.

On the hiring front, North Dakota [The ‘defacto’ home of most credit card companies] again registered the nation’s lowest unemployment rate — 4 percent. It was followed by Nebraska with a 4.4 percent jobless rate, Wyoming at 4.5 percent and South Dakota with 4.8 percent. [Is there any irony in the fact that Wyoming and South Dakota are two of the least populous states in the nation? These four aren’t called ‘fly-over’ states for nothing…]

Layoffs in manufacturing, construction and retail are common threads running through the states with the highest unemployment rates. Other states, including South Carolina, Michigan and Rhode Island, are having difficulty luring new types of companies to help cushion the loss of manufacturing jobs and retraining laid-off factory workers for other kinds of employment.

Nearly 6.7 million people nationwide are drawing state unemployment insurance, the highest on records dating to 1967, the federal government reported Thursday. The crush has exhausted unemployment funds in California, New York and elsewhere, forcing them to tap the federal government for money to keep paying benefits.

While were on this rather ‘sensitive’ topic, let’s dispel a few ‘myths’ while we’re here.

After we’ve all gotten our advanced college degrees, we’re all going to work in the alternative energy sector, saving our economy while saving the planet in the process!

Currently Germany and China are the ‘leaders’ in solar and wind technology. Both of these ‘export oriented’ nations already have the necessary ‘infrastructure’ to press that advantage.

Worse, the WTO will ‘spank’ us if we attempt to close our borders to any imported technology. Still worse, our weak minded politicians aren’t of a mind to go there, even if they did (somehow) grow a pair.

So assuming we’d have to ‘compete’ for business in our own domestic energy market, this doesn’t inspire much confidence that these new ‘green collar’ jobs will pay anything approaching a ‘living wage’.

Worse, once the process is ‘perfected’, there are zero guarantees that the facilities/jobs will stay here.

Gotta be ‘competitive’ ya know!

Naturally, this stuff is expensive…if the jobs making this green technology don’t pay well, who the hell is going to buy it?

It’s the central problem facing employers across the nation (as well as around the world)…show me the customers!

It only makes sense that in a lower wage/lower price world there will be fewer customers for pretty much everything.

So where are the jobs that will replace the 6.7 million jobs that have been destroyed to date?

Worse, a majority of these jobs (and the equipment to do the job) has been ‘off-shored’, never to return.

The important thing here is to keep this issue in ‘perspective’, if you don’t have a job it’s not their problem, it’s yours!

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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