Friday, February 25, 2011

Evil Black Economist Expands

Over the past year, we have noticed several gaps in our coverage that did not quite fit on this blog, The Evil Black Economist. So we have expanded to cover these other, related topics.

1. The news stories and references I write about really belong on a different site, so here it is: Black Business and Economic News.

2. I have always wanted to start a business, but, I don't like working hard. Instead, I will just sit my big butt down and write a blog instead. This blog is about employment opportunities for self-employment.

The US still has the most opportunity of any large economy. We take the most immigrants. We have the most millionaires. I still see tons of opportunities. Here are some: Businesses you can start.

3. Black economic research topics. We always have loads of a research ideas going on but not enough time or money to follow through. And here is the Link.

4. Black economic research. Here is a list of academic articles, websites and researchers we like. Link.

Please check out our sister blogs.

Morehouse College and Jobs and outsourcing

Well, I had to burn a vacation day to handle some personal business. I have a job interview this afternoon, but it gives me some un interuppted time to work on the Blog. Today I was trying to get my transcript from from Morehouse to apply here in NJ to teach math and business technology. What the heck "business technology is" is another perfect blog posting topic.

N-knee-way, on any corporate website, I always hit the job button and there were two computer jobs. One was for UNIX system administrator and the other was for network system administrator. I could not believe that Morehouse could not fill there jobs from within. They have an abundant resource of smart talent. In fact, a college, is one of the few institutional that should be able to supply almost all of it's own labor needs. Morehouse should be educating and training students for every single opening that have.

Or if they are not educating people for the job market, then they need to check their programs.

Working by the book

Have you noticed how many people these days are working by the book. They do only the acceptable minimum. Then they happily add some irrelevant task or information that is a waste of time but acceptable to their employer.

They are always and seeking the lowest trouble route. There is no more above an beyond. I was in line at the store and an older, maybe 70, lady presented a $5 roll of dimes. The lady at the registrar opened the roll and counted out the dimes one by one.

I could not believe she didn't trust the old lady not to be off more than a dime or so. But that was not the point. Counting out the dimes was a nice easy job without any risk of thinking or messing up.

Or customer service, when they ask if I want an extra insurance policy on the BOOK I have just purchase.

Or the guy at the airport who rejects 50.5 pound bag.

Or the cop who writes up every infraction rather than give a warning.

Anyway, you got the idea. No one wants to mess-up any more, so everyone wroks by the book. They can't fire you for "following orders."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Times must be tough. Begging disguised as tipping.

I was recetly down in Western Virginia and staying at a Hampton Inn. Gone are the Mexican women house keepers; they have been replace by young Whites including a man !!! And there was one Chinese. The sad part was when I left some pocket change on table, like 57 cents or something, I found a note thanking me for my tip and wishing me a happy stay. I don't know if they were being sarcastic, or trying to get a better tip. The note was on official Hampton Inn guest thank you stationary.

I know you are supposed to tip the house keeper and many people don't. I also know that Hampton Inn and the hotel industry is one of the few places with the rich and middle class interact with the poor.

However, what struck me how the note just stopped short of begging for a tip. The tip jar is out every where now. Naturally, I left a tip, but the real cure is to pay people a decent minimum wage where they don't have to beg.

Well looking for a job again

I have been busy in the past two weeks looking for a job again. My current consulting contract ends in June. So I a being P-R-O- Active. Luckily the job market in IT consulting is getting a little better. Also, I am pretty flexible and can do a lot of different things in the technical world so I am better off than most. Anyway, It seems like there are two trends going on: one, anyone working is sitting tight. You almost never hear of anyone leaving for a better job. I have to check BLS JOLTS, but turnover must be near zero. And they are doing almost anything to keep there job.

Two, employers are very slow to hire and asking for extra qualifications. They are really asking for the impossible for new positions.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Corporate profit near all time high

Corporate profits are near an all time high.

Quarterly corporate profits have reached 1.6401 trillion dollars or 5500 per person in the US. Corporate profits have grown for 7 consecutive quarters since 2008 Q4.

The large amount of corporate profits can make you question the rising inequality in the United States that goes with it.

Also, if you begin to think about investments open to corporations: dividends, capital investment, or job creating hiring. Obviously the return on people is lower than the return on other investments. So the questions is how to alter the equation.

The Evil Black Economist proposes a job subsidy similar to the R&D subsidy that corporations enjoy. Perhaps not a 100% write off but something similar.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wanted: Mind Reader, X-ray vision and ability to fly

Maybe it is just me, but has anyone noticed that some of the want ads are asking for stuff that is darn near impossible. Some of the requirements far exceeds what is required or they asked for in the past. People with jobs are exploiting the market to get the beyond perfect candidate. They won't train or develop anyone internally or a smart new hire. Career development is dead. Instead they prefer to go to the open market and buy what they need. In a buyers market, I guess it works. But it doesn't seem like a good way to build employee loyalty.

It is also a little bit funny when people are asking for 7-10 years experience in the same job as a qualification, large team leadership ability for an analyst position or master degree and multiple professional certification for entry level postions. The people in the jobs doing the interviewing have none the same qualifications but have to ask the questions from the team interview guide with a straight face. Again buyers market.

I also think some companies with a lot of "churn" are also "fishing". They have permanent ads on monster, hotjobs, careerbuilder and dice looking for something better. Again a buyers market.


You have to wonder where it is all headed. In the short-term, employers are raising their hiring qualifications. In the long-term, hopefully employees will ask for more stability, training and career development in exchange for lower pay, innovation and long-term productivity.

January Unemployment drops because people are leaving the labor force

January Unemployment drops because people are leaving the labor force

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Friday, February 4th, 2011, that the US unemployment rate (U-3) dropped to 9.0%. The 0.4% drop in the rate, which on the surface, may increase business and consumer confidence, is the results of people leaving the labor market.

The lower rate was really due to a drop of 2.29 million people between Jan 2010 and Jan 2011 who are not in the labor force. (See BLS data here.) . Obviously the drop is due to the poor labor economy, but no is quite sure of the specific reasons why people leave the market. Some reasons include early retirement, lack of work, unable to retrain, geographic limits or being discouraged. The labor participation dropped from 64.3% in December to 64.2% in January 2011.

There were some statistical changes by the BLS starting in the month of January. There was a statistical reduction of civilian labor force by 504,000 (0.3%) and a large reduction in the unemployed by 622,000 (4.5% drop). The labor force dropped a tiny bit but the number of unemployed dropped by 14 times as much. They dropped off the unemployment rolls and are no longer counted thus reducing the rate.

In a more realistic job reports, the Non-Farm payroll grew by only 36,000 jobs. The biggest gains were in manufacturing (+49,000) and retail sales (+27,000) however courier and messengers lost 44,000. Government lost 14,000 jobs. Education as flat and healthcare added 13,000. Construction lost 32,000. One bright spot was durable goods manufacturing which added 62,000 jobs.

As mentioned earlier, the number of people “Not in the Labor Force” increased from 83.876 million in January 2010 to 86.168 million in January 2011 and increase of 2.29 million workers. That’s a huge number of people who are no longer participating in the labor market. The figure includes 6.643 million who want work and 993,000 who are “discouraged”.

While the general unemployment rate (U-3) dropped 0.4% to 9%, the Black Unemployment rate was little changed at 15.7%. The rate for Hispanics was 11.9% and teenage unemployment was 26%. Black teenage unemployment was 45%. U-6, the widest measure of unemployment, was 16.1 percent. Basically 16% of the labor force wants to work and cannot.

Average unemployment duration also increased. The new average duration was 36.9 weeks. However, the old figure from December 2010, 34.2 weeks, is not directly comparable. The BLS will now collect unemployment duration for 5 years rather than two years. The median (half under / half over) decreased to 21.8 weeks. 6.2 Million people (44% of the total) were out of work for more than 27 weeks.
The number of people working part time for economic reasons was approximately 8.4 million. The number of discouraged workers remained at about 1 million. Discouraged workers are people who have not looked in the past 4 weeks because they believe no work is available, could not find work, lack training or employer discrimination.

The ADP employment report on Feb 2nd, 2011 which showed an increase of 187,000 jobs created in January. The December number of 297,000 was revised downward to 247,000. Economist believe employment must grow by 130K to 150K to keep up with population growth.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Black - White happiness gap is narrowing

Two professors at the University of Pennsylvania have found the gap in happiness between Blacks and Whites has narrowed in the US. The gap has narrow because of a decrease in happiness by Whites and and significant increase in happiness of Blacks. The gains in Black happiness exceed expected gains due only to income. Gains were also concentrated in Women and people living in the South.

The researchers used data from the General Social Survey. They looked at data from 1972 to 2008. The survey asked respondents to answer the question: "Taken all together, how would you say things are these days, would you say you are very happy, pretty happy or not too happy ?" The responses were coded to "Not to Happy" = 1; "Pretty Happy" = 2; and "Very Happy" = 3. The results were standardized by subtracting the mean and dividing by the standard deviation(STD). So, the results are reported in units of standard deviations. (Whew!). So, basically, to make the comparison, the researchers had to rank and standardize their measure.

The results show that in 1972 Blacks were 0.45 standard deviations less happy than whites, but by 2008 the gap has closed to 0.27 STD. The gap is continuing to close because of increases in Black happiness and small decreases in White happiness. In addition, the change in happiness is more than can explained by changes in income over the same period. The Black - White income gap has closed little over the period.

The paper also tried to account for other factors that might influence Black happiness during the study period such as region, gender, income, age, health, job, and marital status.

"In 1972 the racial gap in happiness was largest among women, the young, Southerners, college graduates, the unemployed, married people, and the top half of the income distribution." By 2008, the gaps for women was eliminated. There were also larges gain in the South. Those with more education and higher incomes still and had large happiness gaps as did 18-29 year olds.

You can read the report details here. They used data from the General Social survey which measures reported happiness in different groups since 1972.

Harvard Study Says College is not for Everyone

The Harvard University Graduate School of Education released a report calling for more attention on non-college bound high school students. The report also suggest college may not be the best path for everyone.

Harvard Report is Here.

Christian Science Monitor's story is here.

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