Sunday, March 29, 2009

Old Age is no fun for most

Many of us have an idealized concept of old age. Yet many older people will be alone, bored, in pain, and will die with little dignity. This is partly a function of money, but more importantly it is the result of a society which tries to ignore the existence of old people. The need for assisted living and homes for the aged is an accommodation to the fact that the family does not take on that role. Sadly, many older people could lead productive and interesting lives if attention were to be paid to the issue.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Marketers have no credibility because they play too much

The gravitation of marketers to online social media without equal focus on measurement leads to a perception of them as not serious business people. Too little emphasis is devoted to prediction and tracking of the effects of social media marketing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Isn't Wall Street about greed?

"A culture of excessive greed!" That is what President Obama said about Wall Street. While I agree that it is greedy, is that not what makes Wall Street what it is? Accusing Wall Street of excessive greed is like accusing the Pope or Dalai Lama of excessive piety.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Expect wild overreaction, posturing and unintended consequences, from politicians

While the USA and rest of the world goes through a crisis, we are seeing politicians use it to advance their careers. Many will vie with each other to show over-the-top rage, they will advance bills which will have the opposite effect to that which is claimed. The fact is that in any crisis, some people, or groups, will win or lose unfairly. No set of rules and regulations can be so finely nuanced as to create a fair and equitable world. We need to accept this and move on. So let's simply ignore much of what the politicians say.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Irrelevance of the "war for talent"

Over the past ten years we have heard much of the "war for talent." Yet now, in today's economy, new graduates from top schools and seasoned managers with 30 years of valuable experience struggle equally for any job at all. Perhaps this cycle is inevitable, but whenever the press and "experts" bemoan or proclaim something, it does not seem to last long.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The irony of it - Yahoo messes up!

In 1992 I finally migrated from my numeric CompuServe email address, which I had used since 1983, to an AOL one - convenient and with good parental controls as my son hit 7. While I have been steadily frustrated by it, all my friends knew it so I stayed with it since then. Finally, I decided a few weeks ago that I would migrate to a Yahoo hosted custom email address. After a brief period of time, last Sunday, Yahoo started to bounce back all incoming emails with a "this email address has been suspended message." I immediately reported it, with Yahoo promising a response in 12-24 hours. 26 hours later, on Monday, I received an email asking for the bounced message header. I sent this and have been waiting since then for the "all clear."

In the meanwhile I have gone back to AOl and had to explain to everyone that my "change of address" was premature. Since I have problems with Hotmail, and am unwilling to use a cable company's since I have moved a number of times in the past few years, I have learned that no email provider is really satisactory. Though perhaps a greater lesson is that life does not end with a failed email system!

Is unemployment now approaching 15%?

The 8.1% unemployment rate is deceptive. That is the U-3.

If one wishes to compare unemployment now to unemployment in the 1930s, the closest analagous data is the U-6. The U-6 includes the unemployed, the discouraged workers and the under-employed workers (those who want full -time but can only get part-time due to economic reasons.)

In the 1930s, data was not kept as it is now. The estimates of unemployment during the 1930s came from applications for relief (both to public agencies and private organizations) and later included the applications to work for the WPA and CCC. There were no distinctions made between 'unemployed', 'discouraged' or 'under-employed.' Anyone who did not have enough full-time work no matter for how long, no matter whether they had applied for a job or not within 4 weeks and no matter if they picked up a few hours of work here or there was considered 'unemployed.'

The U-6 is now 14.8. That means out of every 20 workers approximately 3 are unemployed or have given up or have had their hours cut. And the number is growing and growing and growing......

The U-6 does not include all those whose hours have stayed the same but whose wages have been cut; or whose health insurance has been cut; or whose 401ks have been cut.

700 people have applied for 1 janitorial job in Ohio. The photos of job fairs, if viewed in black and white, could have been taken 76 years ago.

Still, the U-6 at 14.8% is the closest to the 1930s data. And by way of comparison it is either 1930 -31 (unemployment 1930 was 8.9% and in 1931 15.9%) or 1936 - 37 (unemployment in 1936 was 16.9 and in 1937 14.3.)
- from a letter to the New York Times

Saturday, March 07, 2009

17th US bank nationalized this year - yesterday

There is such a lot of noise about whether or not banks in trouble should be nationalized. Yet it happens every day. Any bank which is truly on the brink of failure, in the normal course of events is taken over by the Federal Government so that depositors can be repaid. It occasions no outcry - in fact only approval. So it is clearly not nationalization itself which is the issue, but the size of the bank alone.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Job Boards in trouble? How to deal with it

With far fewer job vacancies, the job boards are suffering. Even though the number of seekers is up, most boards make their money from postings. There is evidence that many of the jobs on the boards are not real, but there to keep the appearance of numbers up. It is possible that some of the boards may close during the course of the year. However, job-seekers must remember that very few jobs are filled online, but most are filled through networking. So I expect to see a huge increase in networking.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

3 times the number of people chasing 1/3 the numbr of jobs

There are a number of clear issues which impact job hunting. What is not immediately obvious is that there is a multiplier effect. When companies lay people off and have hiring freezes, there are more people looking for fewer jobs. This is a situation which seems to be creating a downwards spiral in the job market.