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21 September 2012


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Our government has, for decades, made sure that the cost of hiring and retaining a worker will be greater and greater every year. This, without any concurrent rise in value of the employee to the employer from the government. Added to that equation is the steady rise in a probability that said employee, once hired, will prove to be a detriment to the company or even financial ruin to the business through frivolous lawsuits or liability for the employees conduct or actions. Obama-Kare is pounding the final nail in that coffin. It has been shown in countries such as Spain and France that employers are loathe to hire, given that the employee is now a permanent millstone around the employer's neck. George's posting above is one of the major reasons I will not vote for Romney (although there are several others). This country is saddled with ruinous debt and a huge percentage of uneducated, greedy and bone-lazy non-producing citizens. As George has stated, it won't matter who wins the presidential election, we are toast. At least let's have the little boy who can only lie and blame others be the captain of this left-wing disaster. Let the whole world see who was at the helm when this Titanic of a country goes under.
As an apropos side note, please check out the latest Pew poll. Good grief!

Russ Steele

Even those that have a job and not doing that well

“The Atlantic has been on the Millennial beat for a long time, explaining why 20-somethings aren’t buying cars or houses or cable subscriptions, not getting married, not having children, and sometimes not even moving out of their parents’ basements. The answer, again and again, is the economy. Unemployment for adults between 20 and 24 is 14%, compared to the national average of 8.1%. But even those with jobs are facing something without modern precedent: Steadily falling annual earnings.”

Steven Frisch

Just for the record, and perhaps because I do not do so often enough, I believe that George's analysis of the coming employment crises in the US is pretty much spot on. I also think that his observation that we have declining basic job skills is also correct. I may disagree about preferred solutions; but this is a real issue that we are not addressing.

Russ Steele

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Center for Study of Income and Productivity has an interesting index call the Tech Pulse. This indicators has been declining since 1975.

The Tech Pulse Index is an index of coincident indicators of activity in the U.S. information technology sector. It can be interpreted as a summary statistic that tracks the health of the tech sector in a timely manner. The indicators used to compute the index are investment in IT goods, consumption of personal computers and software, employment in the IT sector, as well as industrial production of and shipments by the technology sector. The index extracts the common trend that drives these series.

The Tech Pulse Index grew 7.2% over the past 12 months.

More details HERE: http://www.frbsf.org/csip/pulse.php

George Rebane

SteveF 802am - a heartening response. I (all of us I think) would be interested in some specific thoughts you might have on this problem. Bouncing our various ideas could be very productive.

RussS 807am - I haven't heard of this index, and going there explains why. They announce - "The econometric model used to construct the Tech Pulse index is re-estimated every month. Consequently, every month the whole historical time-series of the index is revised.
The econometric specification of the model underlying the index as well as the source data have changed substantially compared to the versions of the index released before August 2008. Therefore, the current version of the Tech Pulse index is not directly comparable to previous versions of the index published before December 2008." (emphasis mine)

It seems like a work in process that is way too volatile for near-term decision making. Thoughts?

Steven Frisch

Russ, we used the Tech Pulse Index as part of the advance analysis of future industry trends in California for the CaEconomy Summit (it comes back around in about 12 months). There was quite a bit of debate about the methodology. Ultimately we decided that it was worth considering because the method used to construct the model merely compares deviations from historic average growth rates, meaning that even if the methodology in any given year changes, we were not comparing year to year, we were comparing a single year to the historic rate.

By the way, the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group does a similar measure for the Bay area.

Russ Steele


I agree that the index is not an effective near term term tool. I was most interested in the longer trend in the graphic accompany the article, even though the methodology had been revised. I stumbled across the Index when I was looking for an article on the impact of technology on productivity that I had read some time back. The SF Fed did a study on the impact of technology on productivity, but it was in 2005 and the world has changes since then, not sure it would be useful to our discussion.

George Rebane

RussS 940am - noting SteveF's 845am comment, I would agree that the longer term indicator is probably the best use of the TPI. But even then one has to consider that every year is essentially a new and revised view of what the past was like as they swap a new model for the old and run the raw data through it. Making decisions on the short term movement of the TPI is akin to tracking noise from an unknown distribution since that will also change as the next regression model changes - pros don't do it, but it creates sellable graphics.


Lets take a look from my prospective. Kids and young adults have been brainwashed that " manual labor" is beneath them. " Your nothing if you don't work indoors, have your own office,or boss other people around. You MUST have a collage education to be anyone these days". Hard work outside seems to be a bad thing these days.
No one wants to start at the bottom and work their way up. Now, the young think they know it all, and demand a place at the top just because "they have a degree in their hand" never mind the ink isn't dry yet.
We need people that are not afraid to get their hands dirty, break a sweat, follow orders from those with many more years of experience. Not backtalk and claim they know so much more, because they read it in a book somewhere.
Book smart is no replacement for the real knowledge of actually learning by doing, and listening to those that have been there, and done that.

The school of hard knocks has never failed a single student.

George Rebane

Walt 1009am - Points well taken. And thereon we have a full spectrum problem with our workforce. As you point out, no one wants to even enroll in the school of hard knocks.

Steven Frisch

Walt, I suspect the reality lies somewhere between "they don't know much of anything" because they don't have the experience and "they know everything" because the have the book-learnin'.

I spent many years building snow-fences, digging ditches, hauling crap around, cleaning offices, and working at the lowest rung of the ladder in kitchens. I agree with you that working is inherently not only its own reward, but some of the best training for doing more later in life.

But I have also learned some of the most valuable lessons from those that came from college, with fresh eyes and new ideas, and boldly critiqued my assumptions and methodologies.

I have come to the conclusion that it is this diversity of skills, abilities, perspectives, and gall that drives creative thought.

Michael Anderson

Did I somehow stumble upon the Kumbaya blog? My mistake...


Give me a collage grad who thinks he knows something and I will show you a guy that really knows nothing at all. " book learn'n" is no substitute for "hands on". This I know. Been there ,, done that.
Now we have all these "kids", fresh out of the classroom, who think they can be "the boss" because the have a piece of paper in their hand ( or hanging on the wall)that certifies their "smartness".
In my job 'world", I have had many an educated guy show up on a job site thinking he had the tiger by the tail just because he went to school, and the book "said so". And before the week is out is asking all the "old timers" what the hell to do,and how it should be done. They soon figure out, there is no school that will teach that real knowledge.


"The school of hard knocks has never failed a single student."

4609 were killed this year in your "school."


George Rebane

TomK 818pm - was there a conclusion about the 4609 killed?


Conclusion? Self evident. Sometimes the "hard knocks" are lethal, oe career ending, if you will. Or you get to join the 47% if you are not killed, but are instead badly injured. You know, you become one of those self identified "victims" who feels that someone (the government and the rest of the taxpayers) "owe" them something.

If that tape was obtained, how many more such incidents were missed? Possibly even worse incidents...

Russ Steele

Insight from the Instapundit: HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Hard Unemployment Truths About ‘Soft’ Skills: Finding qualified applicants for high-tech jobs would be great. So would finding someone who can answer the phone. “The skills shortage is not just an absence of workers who can write computer code, operate complex graphics software or manipulate cultures in a biotech lab—as real as that scarcity is. Many people lack what the writer R.R. Reno has called ‘forms of social discipline’ that are indispensable components of a person’s human capital and that are needed for economic success.”

80% of life is showing up. On Time. Properly dressed. Able to speak appropriately. A lot of people don’t get that. It’s the consequence of lacking the bourgeois virtues that used to be taken for granted, at least among the middle class.

George Rebane

TomK 833am - yes, there are mortality and morbidity statistics available on all kinds of endeavors and enterprises. Is there a general principle or something that we should draw from your citation that would help us make better decisions along the way? Otherwise what you have served up is more anecdotal mush.

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