Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Made in the USA

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Interesting article about manufacturing in the USA in this week’s Sunday Boston Globe: “Made in the USA“.

Key quote:

Americans make more “stuff” than any other nation on earth, and by a wide margin. According to the United Nations’ comprehensive database of international economic data, America’s manufacturing output in 2009 (expressed in constant 2005 dollars) was $2.15 trillion. That surpassed China’s output of $1.48 trillion by nearly 46 percent. China’s industries may be booming, but the United States still accounted for 20 percent of the world’s manufacturing output in 2009 – only a hair below its 1990 share of 21 percent.

“The decline, demise, and death of America’s manufacturing sector has been greatly exaggerated,” says economist Mark Perry, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. “America still makes a ton of stuff, and we make more of it now than ever before in history.” In fact, Americans manufactured more goods in 2009 than the Japanese, Germans, British, and Italians – combined.

Our move to a service economy from a manufacturing economy is clear, and maybe it’s not a bad thing …

$5 a Day

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Interesting blog post over at Harvard Business Review: “Time for a New Five-Dollar Day.”

The basic gist is we need a leader like Henry Ford who had the foresight to give his workers $5 a day so they could afford a Model T.

Key quote:

This is relevant now because we’re dealing with a new crisis in consumer demand. As many have pointed out, average pay in the United States has been stagnant or declining for decades. Consumers could keep buying because of cheap credit, mostly from rising housing prices, but now Americans have no more sources of easy money. From households to governments, everyone has big debts to pay off, so it’s going to be hard to emerge from the recession.

Everyone, that is, except companies. The flip side of stagnant worker pay has been above-average corporate profits. All the talk about highly competitive markets has hidden the fact that most companies have done quite well in the past two decades. Globalization may have heightened pressures in some industries, but it’s been far tougher on capital and especially labor. Companies that performed reasonably well — even if they didn’t move as fast as others in their industries — still thrived because financing and labor was cheap. Management was the relatively scarce resource, and executive pay has jumped accordingly.

Nice idea, but I think it’d be tough to convince companies to give up all of that profit.

Dubai Real Estate

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Did you see this article in Time Magazine? “The Rent Too Damn High in Dubai? Not So Much“.

Apparently 825 of the Burj Khalifa’s 900 ultra-luxury apartments remain unoccupied. (I assume that’s since the January opening).

Key quote:

But it’s the units that will be completed that are looming as a problem. The Dubai economy must still digest a flood of housing units coming on line or soon to be opened, which will further dampen prices. Through September, 27,000 residential units have been put on the market, and another 9,000 are expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle. For 2011, the firm forecasts that about 30,000 new units will come on line.

This is a whole new economic crisis!

More Jobs … Kinda

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Aw frigging hell: “Say goodbye to full-time jobs with benefits.”

James Stoeckmann, senior practice leader at WorldatWork, a professional association of human resource executives, believes that full-time employees could become the minority of the nation’s workforce within 20 to 30 years, leaving employees without traditional benefits such as health coverage, paid vacations and retirement plans, that most workers take for granted today.

Going to go cry now.

Vacations For All of Europe

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Again with the Freakonomics blog on the New York Times: “An Important Human Right.”

Subsidized vacations for citizens over 65, kids between the ages of 18 and 25, and families facing “difficult social, financial or personal” circumstances.

Lucky bastards.


Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Articles like this make me want to throw up: “Overqualified? Yes, but Happy to Have a Job.”

None Too Secure (part 3)

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I talked about Social Security’s woes back in January and August of last year (None Too Secure and None Too Secure (part 2)).

But it’s a whole lot worse now: “Social Security to See Payout Exceed Pay-In This Year.”

Key quote:

This year, the system will pay out more in benefits than it receives in payroll taxes, an important threshold it was not expected to cross until at least 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

It’s not quite clear when they’ll totally run out of money, I’ve seen 2035 and 2037, though I’m sure those’ll be revised soon.

Of course, I’ll reach my normal retirement age of 67 in 2043, much too late.


New Words From the Recession

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

The Christian Science Monitor has some new words from our current economic times. Check out: “Recession slang: 10 new terms for a new economy.”


2. Permatemp, n. The condition of being permanently employed as a temporary worker.

This could be due to lack of motivation to seek permanent employment, inability to find permanent employment, or the permatemp’s belief that a company will eventually hire him/her for the job s/he is currently doing for lower pay and without benefits.

Sample sentence: “Wake up, Joe. You’ve been here for six months, your cubicle is decorated better than your living room, and the hiring manager still doesn’t know your name. You’re officially a permatemp, my friend.”

Next week? My twenty-sixth in this job.

You do the math.

The “Thick” Economy

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Umair Haque has a good blog up at Harvard Business Review about economic recovery: “The Real Roots of the Recovery.”

In it he calls the economy “thin”, likening it to Paris Hilton.


Key quote:

Yes, tomorrow’s organizations must be engines of more than merely money and stuff. They must learn to contribute to — and become essential components of — a thriving thick economy. Some companies are making a thicker economics peripheral to what they do, taking baby steps, like Pepsi’s doing with Refresh, still trading stuff for money, but using some of that money to do slightly more meaningful things. Some companies are making thicker economics central to what they do, taking great leaps, like Wal-Mart’s doing with zero waste: no longer just trading money for stuff, but zapping unnecessary stuff in the first place.

Wonder if it’d work?

Country-Western Song Idea

Monday, March 8th, 2010

I’m not a fan of the Country or the Western, but I have a great title for a song: “Can I Borrow Some Rope For a Noose?”

Growing Citrus in Florida? Novel Idea!

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Apparently land prices in Florida are getting so low that citrus growers are buying land from developers instead of selling land to developers.

Check out the Orlando Sentinel on the topic: “Sign of the times? Fruit more profitable than grove land.”

Long-Term Unemployment Rises

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Stories like this are bad to read at five in the morning: “The New Poor: Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs.”

Of course, I never even got unemployment, so that means I’m even worse off.


New Jobless Era

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Just started reading this article from the March issue of The Atlantic: “How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America“. Might not be a good way to start my lazy Saturday …

Last Sardine Cannery to Close

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Apparently there’s only sardine cannery in the United States: in Prospect Harbor, Maine.

But in two months there’ll be none.

Got that fun fact from this Bangor Daily News article: “State plans aid for cannery workers.”

When one door closes … a window opens and I jump out of it

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Just found out that I didn’t get another job. This one a temp position. At a place where a co-worker / friend knows the president.


Guess I should have brought the Target-brand Tums to work with me today.

Time For Temps

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Oh joy: “Use of Temps May No Longer Signal Permanent Hiring.”