Sunday, April 29, 2012

InterPublic Group sued for Racial Discrimination

A long term employee of the InterPublic Group (IPG) has filed a racial discrimination suit accusing the firm of denying her promotion because she is Black and a visible minority. Joy C. Noel filed a $50 Million dollar lawsuit alledging discrimition in promotion and then subsequent retailation which is illegal under NY State law. The legal paperwrok was filed on her behalf by the plantiff by Eric Sanders of the Sanders Firm, PC.

You can read the full petition here. And here.

When you read the details in the position, you get a real feel for the day to day stress the plaintiff was under. Really very sad.

Advertising Age (Ad Age) also has an article on the topic. Here.

And finally, according to Ad Age, John Liu, has asked the four top companies to disclose personnel information by race, gender and position. The companies are IPG, Omnicom, Publicis and WPP. The advertising industry has long had a reputation for discriminating against Blacks and Hispanics.

Three reporters: Alexandra Bruell, Kunar Patel and Rupal Parekh at Advertising Age plus the editorial staff, have done a great job convering the topic. Here is one more story. Here.

The Navy is the easiest place to cut

The best place to cut the military is the Navy. They are the largest service. They have huge capital expenditures. They produce relatively few jobs for the money spent. And they have relatively little impact in a land warfare world.

Nine out of ten of the worlds navies are allies of the united states. And the tenth, China, is in love with the shipping container. The would rather have world trade than Taiwan.

The Navy, is currently looking for a mission. It is close to irrelevant in the global war on terror or the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

currently there are thirteen Battle Carrier Battle Groups and about 320,000 active personnel. There are an astounding 200,000 civilian employees. An probably another 200,000 contractors (20% of 500K personnel). That's an incredible 700,000 people.

Another huge waste of money is our submarine fleet. Especially our Nuclear submarine fleet. These sub are clearly left over from another age with no strategic purpose.

We should reduce our Carrier Battle groups to either while keeping the current ones on station longer. We should reduce out sub fleet by 50%-75% to approximately twice that of next largest sub fleet. Any we should consider closing some of the non strategic bases around the globe.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bidding for Labor on the Internet

When I was not working, I looked at some of the freelance web site. I guess the industry has continued to growth because several small job / task level web sites have appeared. Now, there are more popping up. I spent a little time going back and checking them out. These website let users post small jobs and tasks or find freelance positions. The small task sites use the internet to take competitive bids and the lowest price worker gets the job.

Most of the small job sites feature really low bids. I mean below minimuum wage level bids. But when you answer the ad, you are operating as an "independent contractor", which not subject to minimum wage laws, so we will see how that stands up to state regulators.

There was also a recent radio feature that started me writing on the subject. You can listen to it, to get an idea of how these sites work. Here, from the On Point Radio show, which spent some time discussing some of the implications.

As a amateur economist, I can see the efficiency of offering jobs over the internet. The advantage is greatly reduced transaction costs. But it seems like most of the benefits go the the person posting the job not the worker.

Here are some sites to check out:

Task Rabbit
and you must include Craigslist

Sunday, April 8, 2012

March Unemployment Report: Only 150,000 new jobs; National rate steady at 8.2%

March unemployment review

On April 6, 2012 the Labor department released it's March unemployment report. The report contained a small surprise: the US economy created only 150,000 jobs in March. Analysts had expected more than 200,000 new jobs. There is a consensus among economists that 150,000 jobs are need to stay even with population growth. The stock market indexes opened lower but then recovered to the same level by the end of the day.

It is important to note that the actual number of Non Farm Payroll jobs can vary by as much as 100,000 jobs, up or down, so the economy created between 50,000 and 250,000 jobs. We will probably see an upward revision in the following two months.

Almost every other unemployment indicator was the same or moving in a lower direction as compared to the previous month. Black unemployment, was unchanged at 14.0% reported however black employment totals increased by 74,000 workers.

The labor force participation rate was nearly unchanged at 63.8%. The national rate stayed at 8.2% the same as last month. U-6, the under employment rate dropped to 14.5 from 14.9% because of increase employment and decreases in discouraged and marginally attached workers. Discouraged workers dropped -141K and marginal workers: -256K.

There are also two other hopeful signs in the data on reasons for unemployment. The number job losers was down and both job leavers and new entrants were up as a percentage of the unemployed.

The black rate unemployment rate was 14.0%, the white rate was 7.3% and the Hispanic rate was 10.7%. The black teenage unemployment was reported at 40%.

The long-term unemployed dropped 100,000 people to 5.3 million people which represents 42.5% of the unemployed. The long-term unemployed is starting to slowly drop, a great sign for the economy.

Establishment Data / Non Farm Payroll

Private sector hiring added 121,000 jobs and government employment dropped only -1K. Hopefully we are seeing an end to government layoffs. Job growth came from manufacturing, business services, health care and eating and drinking places. Losers were retail trade -34K(department stores -21,000 jobs), construction and movies and music. Government employment was down -1K.

Non-farm payrolls were revised in January downward by -9K (from 282,000 to 275,000) and in February upward by +13,000(from 227K to 240K).

Average work week was unchanged at 33.8 hours and wages added 5 cents in March.

ADP reported an increase in payrolls of 209,000 positions. ADP uses actual payroll records and is more accurate than the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Monster Employment Index stayed at 143 in March, but was up 5% compared to last year.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Another Blog !!! Evil Black Economist Books and Papers

We have ust created a new site for books, papers and other references. This site just holds the references to books and journal articles. If you are looking for something good to read or reseach, then check this list. This site fits well with the other blog "Black Economic Research" which looks at individual journal articles with Black related themes and discusses the details.

The new blog is called Evil Black Economist Books and Papers. Here is the link.

What was the Black Economic Research Center ?

The Black Economic Research Center was a think tank found by economist Robert S. Browne in 1969. The goal of the center was to improve the economic condition of US Blacks. The centers principle publication was "The review of Black Political Economy". The center ceased operation in 1980. The archives are located at the New York Public Libraries's Schomberg branch.

Apologies for the March Unemployment Report: Phoned it in !!!

I really got sloppy on the editing. You can't "phone it in" in this business.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Companies know my birthday ?

I am not one of those over-the-top, corporate conspiracy types (except for the illuminati, of course). However when I got a "Birthday" card ad from an auto insurance company with a green lizard I was very suspicious. I got another add talking about the town where I live and the "benefits" I got from living here.

It got me thinking about how much corporations know about me. And by extension the government. I believe they know quite a lot: They know I am a Male, 40-50, who lives in Northern New Jersey. They know approximately how much I earn and approximately what I buy.

Unfortunately for them. I don't buy enough brand name stuff to really be interesting. I don't really shop at Macy's that often, I don't buy Tide from Proctor and Gamble", and I don't use my credit card that regular. In other words, I am a very poor target for marketing.

I am also a poor target for the government. Other than a little bit of travel for work, I lead a very uninteresting life. So I don't think I am actively monitored.

However, I do believe in some common sense things about government spying. I believe the government has the ability to monitor all domestic and international electronic communication. They also have the ability to compile all the information in one place quickly, if they have not done so already. The electronic eves dropping is carried out by the National Security Administration. The NSA has long been accused of domestic spying and bypassing FISA (federal secret search warrant and wire-tap court).

Here is a link to a related story on the new NSA data center in Bluffdale, UT. Here.

So there is a sort of unwritten privacy bargain, between the public, the NSA and local law enforcement. Domestic crime unrelated to terrorism is off limits to the NSA. But if they hear something they would turn it over to the FBI.

So, here is the catch, my private is protected by my boring life not by any specific law. I might have a file but I don't think anyone would bother to read it.

Version 2

Stop giving freebies !!! Your opinion is worth money.

No free marketing research.

Head's up. Do not give away your opinion for free. Companies have lots of smart people who sit around all day and try to get the consumer to buy stuff they don't need. One way to do that is called marketing research where they try to "understand" their customers. I used to get paid about $50 bucks to fill out surveys or sit in a room for a focus group.

Now they want a free pop-up survey or they offer some coupons. All those free giveaways or gift cards or pop-up surveys are a scam to get free marketing research. Right when you impression is the strongest. Do not give it away for free.

Refuse to answer any questions. Do not give your zip code or any personal information. Ask if they will pay you to fill out the survey or give you free merchandise.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March unemployment review

227,000 new jobs; Black unemployment at 14.1%; National rate steady at 8.3%

The biggest news in the monthly labor report was the increase in the labor force participation rate. The rate jumped up 0.2% as an additional 476,000 joined the labor force since February. There were 227,000 more jobs but the national rate stayed at 8.3% because of the increased labor pool.

Private sector hiring added 233,00 to the worker rolls and government employment dropped only 6,000 spots. Job growth was spread across important sectors of the economy like durable goods manufacturing, temp help, health care, and food and drinking establishments. The losers were construction., non durable goods, and retail trade. Federal government employment was down by -7K accounting for all of the decrease in public jobs.

The black rate bounced up to 14.1% because of the number of black workers looking for jobs increased by 111,000. In other words more black people were also returning to the labor market.

The white unemployment rate moved down 0.1% to 7.3% and the Hispanic rate was up 0.2% to 10.7%. The black teenage unemployment was reported at 35%.

The decrease in the employment continued to help President Obama. The Dow-Jones stock market index was above 13,200 while the Nasdaq index was over 3,000. Weekly unemployment claims were reported at 359,000.

The long-term unemployed stuck to the 5.4 million people which represents 43% of the unemployed. The figure for the long-term unemployed has not moved during the recession meaning a large number of people no longer “fit” in the tight job market. Many consider the long-term unemployed as representing the structurally unemployed. The economy has changed and these workers do not have a place anymore.
Non-Farm Payrolls

If we look at the establishment data we see that hiring was strong across some areas of the economy: 227,000 jobs added. Now let’s look at the details.

There were gains in business services(+82,000), health care(+49,000), leisure and hospitality(+44,000) and manufacturing(+31K). Retail employment at department stores dropped -25,000 and construction dropped by -13K.

Non-farm payrolls were revised in December upward by +20K (from 203,000 to 223,000) and in January by +41,000(from 243K to 284K).

Average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours and wages added 3 cents in February a $0.04 raise in January.

ADP and Monster also reported results. ADP reported an increase in payrolls of 216,000 positions.

Monster Employment Index moved up to 143 in February from 133 in January. Hiring was up 11% compared to same month last year but down 2% for the month.


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