Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not working again

So, I am not working again which leaves more time for Blog writing and research. It is tough without the discipline of a daily job to guide your routine. I enjoy working and get some intrinsic satisfaction from working and being measurably productive. So during this second bout of unemployment, I am going to be much more organized and productive.


The popsicle: Consumer Marketing Overload

Big company marketing folks are out of control

Where the heck is my popsicle ??

In the push to make more money, corporations over doing everything. They are trying to get consumers to spend more, consume more, up size more. This constant pressure to sell up; sell more; add more value to products is getting really annoying. It is ruining some basic products I use to like.

Here is what happened. I was at a park and I wanted a popsicle. A plain red Popsicle. or lemon. But the vendor did not have it. They had creamsicle cherry swirl, chocolate cover vanilla indulgance, super bubble gum candy sicle and klondike bars. No plain popsicle anything. He had nothing without milk or chocolate in it. Dag. Can't even get a plain Popsicle.

I see the same behavior at KFC: you want the value meal, right ?? Starbucks: "With this receipt, you can get $2 dollars off a tall beverage, the same day." And shoe retailers: "BOGO sale going on now !!!"

Everyone is trying to sell more even if it is not needed. Of course there is a lot going on with that missing popsicle. The vendors, distributors and manufacturers all make more profit from selling high end products. The vendor can only stock a certain amount of product. They have fixed costs to cover. Gas for the van and refrigeration for the popsicles, his labor all have to be covered. So why spend it on a low margin products. Distributor encourage volume buying. They try to squeeze out competitors products and provide incentives for their own higher margin products. Sames as manufacturers. They try to cover every niche and encourage distributors to carry the "full line" of products.

Of course, when I skipped the Popsicle I was not thinking all of that stuff. I got a Italian ice instead.

Corporate addiction to, rather US addiction to the quick fix like MBA marketing killed my popsicle. Hopefully flat and declining sales spur the vendors to offer a wider choice.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Downward trends stops cold

We could be cursed with high unemployment for years to come

Since December 1st, 2009, weekly unemployment claims have average about 460,000. A figure is is stubbornly high for a growing economy. You have to ask if we have reached a new bottom on unemployment and things won't get much better.

You can clearly see the flat trend from the past six months in this historical graph of claims since 1999

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dismal unemployment report; no new private sector jobs

The department of labor, bureau of labor statistics released the May unemployment situation report on Friday, June 4,2010. The report shows no significant change in private sector employment. The private sector added only 41,000. The non farm payrolls increased by 431,000 jobs but 411,000 were temporary census jobs.

There was a small increase in manufacturing jobs of 29,000 and temporary help (+31,000), but construction decline by 35,000.

Economists, policy makers and government officials are worried that the recovery related hiring is slowing down. Some have speculated that the reducing hiring is a structural change as employers fore go hiring and squeeze workers for additional hours and productivity.

The unemployment rate dropped to 9.7% nationally.

The unemployment rate for Blacks (Black U-3) dropped to 15.5%. But the under employment rate has been above 23% until recently. The teenage unemployment rate remain about 40 percent (38%).

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