There is an old saying about those who forget history. I don’t remember it, but it’s good. – Stephen Colbert
Sorry I’ve not been writing this week but I’ve been very busy and what do you want for free, anyway?? Congress has been making noise about belt tightening – more on that later in this story.
Yesterday the market was way up, today it’s way down so far. The market ran up yesterday as it appeared unemployment numbers are showing some real improvement – more on that later in this story. Today was going to be an ordinary ‘sell the news’ kind of day so the market was down and sort of flat this morning. It took a downward turn this afternoon partly because 1) demonstrations in Saudi and troops firing on protestors in Libya, but mainly because 2) no one wants to be long going into a weekend, except in oil that is. Odds are pretty high that bad stuff can happen and that being long oil will probably be the right play.
When a bunch of GOP candidates were elected in the last election, they mistook it for a mandate of some sort. It was actually the voters saying once again, “We want someting else“. Recent polls have shown that what people want is not the same as what the GOP/Tea Party wants. For the first time since Obama took office, a majority of people now think the government should do more not less. When asked what could be cut back, the answers were ‘aid to the states, transportation and the EPA’. When asked one by one to say Yes or No to cuts in specific programs a majority said NO to cuts in each specific program, including Transportation, Education, Defense, Commerce, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And THAT is the conundrum for GOP/Tea folks.
The market doesn’t like suggestions put forth in the recent House vote because if passed (they won’t be) it would lead to the loss of an estimated 650,000 government jobs which, while public, are still JOBS. Cuts that severe are what prolonged the Great Depression and the lesson learned was WE WON’T MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN. Obviously, House members have forgotten that (if they ever knew it). Traders are banking on cooler Senate heads prevailing.
Employment numbers out today for February showed another large jump in employment. Well over 220,000 in the private sector with a loss of about 30,000 in government (fed/state) jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 8.9%. It was known this would be a good number which is what helped the market run up so much yesterday – enough so that today is a good day to take profits ahead of an uncertain weekend in the oil fields.
Companies are saying they are having difficulty finding highly skilled, well-educated workers to fill openings. They have been complaining that, due the drop off in fields like engineering and science, they need to hire workers from other countries who put more importance on that sort of thing. Many times, students come here from other countries to get these degrees and then are forced to go back home when their visas expire.
There has been a lot of talk on the Street that this needs to change. Many of these graduates would like to stay here after getting their degrees and work in our industries or start new technology companies. Since we have fallen so far behind in our own emphasis on higher education, if our companies can’t bring in enough well-educationed, highly skilled people, they are talking about having to move operations overseas where it will be easier to find the right people.
This problem is exascerbated by the inability of some skilled workers in this country to move, due to the whole housing thing…
I’ll let you know what I hear!