Monday, January 31, 2011

Civil Unrest and Employment to Population Ratios

The civil unrest now unfolding in Egypt and Tunisia causes one to ponder causes. One indicator that may be a starting point for analysis is the employment to population ratios of these countries. The chart below provides a ranking of countries in accordance with their employment to population ratios.

Countries with employment to population ratios below 50.0% appear to be more susceptable to civil unrest, though the statistics above are insufficient to conclude causation. Many economists believe that a nation's employment to population ratio provides a more reliable indication of macroeconomic health than the unemployment rate given the confusion surrounding the definition of "unemployment" in the public domain.

Source: United Nations

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

The next time you are in Chicago, consider having dinner at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse. The steaks are wonderfully (and uniquely) char-grilled to perfection and the choices are incredible.

I had the WR's Chicago Cut (a ribeye cut on the bone) and loved it. The next time I go, I intend to add the giant lobster tail to my plate as well (pictured on the right above). If you love fine meats and wine, you really cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. Follow the link below to visit their website and to make reservations the next time you are in Chicago!

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On Luck and Flight Delays

This was the scene last week in State College, Pennsylvania as I boarded my flight to Chicago with a connection in Philadelphia. I later spent the night sleeping on a couch in the Philadelphia airport awaiting the next available flight to Chicago the following day.

I have been a frequent and regular flyer since my graduation from high school in 1973. However, this was the first time I ever had to spend the night in an airline terminal due to weather delays. I guess my luck finally ran out...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Well Said...

"When we travel, we travel not to see new places with new eyes; but that when we come home we see home with new eyes."

~ G K Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Well Said...

"Very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."

~ Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius (121-180)

I Go Among Trees and Sit Still

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
Around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle…

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

~ Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry (1934- )

Winterizing Your Dog

Brainiacs in Demand

According to Derek Thompson (2011) of the Atlantic:
The financial gains of a college education are increasing while college graduation rates have slowed. The bonus from a college education for men and women (called the "college premium") has doubled in 30 years, but graduation rates for the 20-25 age crowd increased slowly. We need the US workforce to catch up with the demand for brainiacs...
Apparently, "brainiacs" are in demand...

Source: Thomposon, D (2011, January 24), Does the White House Know How to Make a Job? Atlantic.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sad, But True...

"When capable people with good intentions meet bad processes, bad processes win 9 out of 10 times."

~ Gen James Mattis

Gen James N Mattis, USMC (1950- )

The Skills Imperative in America

According to Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, a research fellow at the Peter G Peterson Institute for International Economics:
It is the best educated and those with the highest skills that derive the most benefits from a globalizing economy. As the US workforce becomes relatively less skill-intensive vis-à-vis the entire world, the broader benefits of the global economy, both in terms of job creation (and national well-being), are going to decline.
The skills imperative in America is crucial to our nation’s future prosperity…

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard

Source: Tankersley, J (2011, January 21), What Really Happened to 15 Million Jobs? Atlantic.

Well Said...

"The real challenge we face is not how to resolve our differences — something that won’t happen any time soon — but how to keep the expression of those differences within bounds."

~ Prof Paul Krugman

Prof Paul Robin Krugman (1953- )

Friday, January 21, 2011

US Policy Makers Preparing for State Defaults (Bankruptcies)

According to Mary Williams Walsh of the NY Times (2011):
Policy makers are working behind the scenes to come up with a way to let states declare bankruptcy and get out from under crushing debts, including the pensions they have promised to retired public workers.
State defaults leading to some form of public bankruptcy will make the Wall Street crisis pale in comparison. Defaults in states such as California, Illinois, and New York would no doubt become the main events of the ongoing economic crisis in America.

Source: Walsh, M W (2011, January 20), Path Is Sought for States to Escape Debt Burdens, NY Times.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Well Said...

"The dollar has the soul of an an underlier but the body of a derivative. Being neither, it violates all financial logic."

~ Prof Emanuel Derman

Prof Emanuel Derman

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Value of Higher Education

For those seeking to evaluate the return of higher education (i.e., academic degrees) in terms of earnings, consider the chart below:

[Click image to enlarge]

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people with higher degrees earn significantly more than co-workers with less education. Moreover, employees with higher degrees appear to be less susceptible to unemployment. From an earnngs standpoint, the case for higher education is compelling.

Source: Thompson, D (2011, January 18), Is College Worth It? Atlantic.

Well Said...

"The Berlin Wall wasn't the only barrier to fall after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Traditional barriers to the flow of money, trade, people and ideas also fell."

~ Dr Fareed Zakaria

Dr Fareed Rafiq Zakaria (1964- )

Monday, January 17, 2011

On Blogging

This quote about blogging by Dr Andrew Sullivan (2008) made my day:
For centuries, writers have experimented with forms that evoke the imperfection of thought, the inconstancy of human affairs, and the chastening passage of time. But as blogging evolves as a literary form, it is generating a new and quintessentially postmodern idiom that’s enabling writers to express themselves in ways that have never been seen or understood before. Its truths are provisional, and its ethos collective and messy. Yet the interaction it enables between writer and reader is unprecedented, visceral, and sometimes brutal. And make no mistake: it heralds a golden era for journalism.

Dr Andrew M Sullivan (1963- )

Source: Sullivan, A (2010, November 2008), Why I Blog, Atlantic.

Well Said...

"Crooked is the back of fate."

~ Rex Holman

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2011 Index of Economic Freedom

The US has dropped to number nine on the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation. Countries with standing ahead of the US in economic freedom include: Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Ireland, and Denmark. Follow the link below to explore and visualize the data or download the full report:

Source: 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation.

Friday, January 14, 2011

On Monetary Morality

According to Prof Paul Krugman (2011):
If you’re the kind of person who views being taxed to pay for social insurance programs as tyranny, you’re also going to be the kind of person who sees the printing of fiat money by a government-sponsored central bank as confiscation. You may try to produce evidence about the terrible things that happen under fiat currencies; you may insist that hyperinflation is just around the corner; but ultimately the facts don’t matter, it’s the immorality of activist monetary policy that you hate.
Prof Krugman has previously used the term "paleomonetarism" to describe this phenomenon. I would suggest that "monetary imperiousness" may be useful as well (or how about "monetary impericism")...

Source: Krugman, P (2011, January 14), Monetary Morality, NY Times.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Well Said...

"We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path."

~ Paulo Coehlo

Gold Vending Machines

Buying gold may get easier very soon...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Well Said...

"Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others."

~ The Buddha

The Weeping Buddha in Suar Wood (personal collection)

Sunday, January 09, 2011

2011 "Lightning Calculation" Calendar

Ron Doerfler has released his 2011 "Lightning Calculation" Calendar, and I can tell you that this year's edition is intriguing. All "quants" will want to order and display Doerfler's creation in their offices or cubicles. Follow the links below to order a copy or download the free version for local printing...

Source: Doerfler, R (2010, November 22), 2011 "Lightning Calculation" Calendar, Dead Reckonings.

US Jobs Recovery Could Take Decade

The jobs recovery in the US could take a decade according to Prof Michael Greenstone and Dr Adam Looney (2011) of Brookings. The chart below illustrates their case:

Follow the link below to read the entire Brookings article...

Source: Greenstone, M & Looney, A (2011, January 9), New Decade, New Hopes for Job Growth, Brookings.

Related Posts:

US Jobs Recovery to take Years

Friday, January 07, 2011

US Employment to Population Ratio Slumbering

The latest employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the US employment to population ratio* stood at 58.3% for December 2010, down from 58.4% the previous month, but up slightly from 58.2% a year ago. The US employment to population ratio has been trending downwards since 2000.

Many economists believe that reporting the number employed as a percentage of the civilian population provides a more accurate description of the current state of employment than conjecturing the number of "unemployed" in a population. The US employment to population ratio reached a historical peak of 64.4% on an annual basis in 2000.

*The BLS defines employment and population (civilian noninstitutional) as follows:
Employment consists of all persons who, during the reference week (the calendar week including the twelfth day of the month), (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees, worked in their own business or profession or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family, or (b) were not working but had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs.

The civilian noninstitutional population consists of persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 States and the District of Columbia who are not inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities and homes for the aged) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Well Said...

"The Bluebird carries the sky on its back."

~ Henry David Thoreau

Eastern Bluebird

The 10 Best Jobs for 2011

The 10 Best Jobs of 2011, including average annual salaries, according to CareerCast:
  1. Software engineer: $87,140
  2. Mathematician: $94,178
  3. Actuary: $87,204
  4. Statistician: $73,208
  5. Computer systems analyst: $77,153
  6. Meteorologist: $85,210
  7. Biologist: $74,278
  8. Historian: $63,208
  9. Audiologist: $63,144
  10. Dental hygienist: $67,107
Rankings were based on such criteria as work environment, physical demands, income, stress, and hiring outlook. Follow the link below to find out which careers that CareerCast identified as the "worst jobs" for 2011 as well...

Source: Streiber, A (2010), The 10 Best Jobs of 2011, CareerCast.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Repeal Amendment

The so-called "Repeal Amendment" is a bold proposal by states' rights advocates to thwart the growth of Federalism and to protect the prerogatives of states through an amendment to the US Constitution. What is interesting about the proposed amendment however, is that the conservative Tea Party movement seems to be leading the initiative. Keep in mind that Republicans have generally been advocates of Federalism and the transfer of power from the states to the Federal government. Indeed, Abraham Lincoln was a moderate Republican throughout his political career, and eventually lead the US through the Civil War (1861-1865) as President, the result of which was the onslaught of radical Federalism at the expense of states' rights.

The proposed text for the Repeal Amendment follows:
Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed.
Follow the link below to learn more:

The Repeal Amendment