Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Jobs

Bakken is OPEC’s Elephant in Its Living Room

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 15, 2017:

Setting the stage for the OPEC meeting on May 25, Saudi Arabias Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih, promised on Friday that OPEC will do whatever it takes to rebalance the global oil market. Whatever that means, and whatever comes out of that meeting, it wont be enough torebalance the oil market (rebalance: raise the price of oil sufficiently to reduce significantly the deficits the cartels members are currently running).

If the cartel repeats and extends the present agreement by six months, its likely to have the same impact: immeasurably small. The last agreement promised to cut 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from its overall production. It managed to cut production by less than half that, 800,000 bpd. In the grand scheme of things (world production of oil is just over 80 million bpd), this represents a one percent reduction in global production of crude. Wahoo.

What will be discussed in Vienna will no doubt include who is going to be doing the heavy lifting, and how much. Will there be exceptions to the extension as there is in the present one? Will there be failures to comply, as there were under the present one? Will there be sanctions applied to those who cheat? What about non-members? Will they somehow be persuaded to engage in the farcical extension? From here the meeting has all the makings of Shakespeares comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”

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Ruling for Big Taxi in Europe Could Spell End for Uber, Lyft, Airbnb

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 12, 2017:

In what could spell the end of Uber (and by inference other digital information providers such as Lyft and Airbnb) in Europe, an advisor to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recommended that the court treat Uber as a “transportation service” and not a digital information service.

Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, a Polish lawyer, whose opinion carries such great weight among the 15 judges making up the ECJ that they usually follow it, said on Thursday: “The Uber electronic platform, whilst innovative, falls within the field of transport. Uber can thus be required to obtain the necessary licenses and authorizations under national law.”

Translation: Uber must now look and act like Big Taxi. Drivers cannot be “amateurs” but

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Labor Department’s April Jobs Report Strong and Getting Stronger

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 5, 2017:  

The headline numbers from the Labor Department’s latest employment report for April were encouraging: 211,000 jobs were added last month (compared to economists’ expectations of less than 190,000), pushing the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent, the lowest seen in 10 years, while average wages grew, year-over-year, by 2.5 percent.

That’s exactly what one would expect from a healthy economy.

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GM Ceases Operations in Venezuela Following Government Seizure of its Plant

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 20, 2017:  

English: Logo of General Motors Corporation. S...

Following the government’s confiscation of its parts plant, General Motors announced on Wednesday it was ceasing all operations in Venezuela. The company said the seizure was illegal and that it would seek legal remedies.

The announcement puts 2,700 workers making replacement parts in the plant out of work, with small comfort coming from GM, which said it would make “separation payments” to those employees.

But what then? Another 3,900 people will likely find their jobs in jeopardy as the 79 car dealers that employ them will also shortly disappear in the aftermath of GM’s decision.

GM joins an ever-growing list of companies that can’t operate in the socialist paradise run by Marxist dictator Nicolás Maduro, including

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Jobs Numbers Come in Higher Once Again, Supporting Trump’s Policies

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 6, 2017:

Reporters used adjectives such as “torrid,” “solid,” “unexpected,” and “strong” to characterize March jobs growth of 263,000, as reported by ADP/Moody’s on Wednesday, which far exceeded professional economists’ estimates of 170,000 new jobs for the month.

Last month Mark Zandi was uncharacteristically buoyant when commenting on February’s jobs numbers: “February was a very good month for workers. Powering job growth were the construction, mining and manufacturing industries.… Near record high job openings and record low layoffs underpin the entire market.”

Today Zandi extended his comments as the jobs market continues its recovery: “Job growth is off to a strong start in 2017. The gains are broad-based but most notable in the goods-producing side of the economy, including construction, manufacturing and mining.”

During the past eight years economists such as Zandi had much less to be excited about as jobs growth under the previous administration was

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Baltimore Mayor Vetoes Minimum-wage Bill After Doing “Research”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 3, 2017:

During her election campaign for mayor of Baltimore last fall, Democrat Catherine Pugh (shown below), along with dozens of other Democratic politicians, supported the “Fight for 15” to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Last week, she had the opportunity to fulfill that promise when the Baltimore city council passed a bill doing just that. But, after doing “some research,” Pugh changed her mind and her position, saying instead that “I am vetoing this bill.”

One wonders just what her “research” uncovered that was persuasive enough to cause her to change her mind, go against the grain, veto the bill, and incur the wrath of the progressives on the city council. Perhaps she had a conversation with

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Keystone XL Pipeline Granted Approval by State Department

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 24, 2017: 

Keystone XL demonstration, White House,8-23-20...

With the signing of the cross-border permit by the State Department on Friday, the real work on completing Phase IV of the Keystone Pipeline from Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast begins. TransCanada, the owner and operator of the pipeline, still thinks the project is viable economically even though it has been stalled for 16 months by the previous administration. In a press release, TransCanada’s CEO Russ Girling said:

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Restaurants Add “Labor Surcharge” to Tabs to Cover Minimum-wage Increases

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 13, 2017:

English: This is actually Tom's Restaurant, NY...

Instead of increasing their menu prices in response to increased minimum-wage levels, restaurant owners are burying their increased labor costs at the bottom of each tab. The increase, between three and four percent, only comes after the customer has completed his meal. The increase also increases the tip customers leave behind as most customers leave a gratuity based on the check’s total. This is going to raise the average customer’s check, which has already increased by nearly 11 percent since 2012, close to five or six percent.

Some restaurant and fast-food owners aren’t burying the increase but are instead calling attention to it so that customers know that they’re the ones actually bearing the brunt of the forced increase in the minimum wage. Sami Ladeki, the owner of six Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza & Grill restaurants in San Diego and eight others across California, used to call it a “California mandate” but removed it after getting a call from the city attorney. Ladeki, who says he makes a profit of around one percent charging $12 to $14 a pizza, told the Wall Street Journal:

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Friday’s Jobs Report Confirms Wednesday’s Blowout Numbers

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 10, 2017:

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirmed the robust employment numbers reported by ADP/Moody’s on Wednesday: 235,000 new jobs were created in President Donald Trump’s first full month in office, with the unemployment rate dropping further, to 4.7 percent. Just as reported by ADP, the BLS report showed strong growth in construction, manufacturing, and mining, representing nearly a third of the jobs created in January.

Friday’s report also exceeded Wall Street economists’ expectations,

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February Jobs Numbers Explode, Blowing Past Economists’ Expectations

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 8, 2017: 

.jobs -- Cut To The Chase

The ADP/Moody’s jobs report released on Wednesday showed job growth 50-percent ahead of Wall Street’s expectations: 298,000 jobs were created in February versus expectations of less than 200,000 by economists polled by the Wall Street Journal. The job growth was all across the spectrum, with construction and manufacturing sectors adding 106,000 new jobs.

The report, sponsored by ADP, a human resources management company with more than 400,000 business clients, and aided by Moody’s Analytics, was based on performance reported during the month to both entities. Mark Zandi, Moody’s chief economist, commented on the remarkable February numbers:

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Samsung to Expand in United States, Bringing Back 500 Jobs From Mexico

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 8, 2017:

English: Samsung Logo Suomi: Samsungin logo

The South Korean behemoth maker of consumer electronics, semi-conductors, ships, and telecommunications equipment was reported by the Wall Street Journal (quoting unnamed inside sources) to be investing $300 million in facilities in South Carolina and simultaneously bringing 500 jobs back from Mexico to work there.

It’s a tentative decision, according to Samsung in a statement it made to the Journal, with the company noting that “this is a complex process that, like all strategic business decisions, will not be made final until it is determined through proper due diligence and planning that it is the best option for Samsung.”

In ordinary times such a modest investment, made under such indeterminate conditions with such disclaimers, would hardly rate a few column inches at the back of the business section. But these are hardly ordinary times,

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IEA’s “Oil 2017” Forecast: Crude Oil Shortages Coming by 2020

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, March 8, 2017:

English: Oil rig platform and stand-by vessel ...

The IEA (International Energy Agency) really ought to stick to its knitting. This intragovernmental agency was set up following the oil shock in the mid-1970s, allegedly to inform various governments as to the status of world crude oil supplies. It was to serve as an information resource on statistics about the global crude oil and other energy markets. In addition, it required its 29 government-members to maintain 90 days’ crude oil supplies on hand to meet another crisis.

It stepped outside its core area of expertise by issuing its Oil 2017 forecast for the next five years, combining a mixture of opinion, crystal-ball gazing, wet-finger in the air experimenting, tea-leaf analysis, naval gazing, and outright guessing that concluded that the world will no longer have a crude oil surplus but a shortage instead by 2020.

And it’s a crisis! Exclaimed Dr. Fatih Birol, the outfit’s director since 2015:

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AT&T Agrees to “Re-source” Jobs Back to United States

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, March 6, 2017:

The union representing AT&T workers in five southern states announced on Thursday that it had reached a tentative agreement with AT&T Southwest that includes a promise to hire 3,000 American workers to do jobs previously done overseas.

It’s a four-year deal that includes wage increases, paid parental leave, and sweetened healthcare benefits for some 20,000 AT&T workers. It’ll become effective after the union membership approves it.

There was some apparent reluctance on the part of the company to include the resourcing, as its statement didn’t mention it:

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Study: $15 Minimum Wage Would Force McDonald’s to Increase Prices 38 Percent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 20, 2017:

English: The official logo.

James Sherk, a Hillsdale graduate and now the Bradley Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, found that if a $15 minimum wage is enforced across the country, fast food prices will jump far more than initially thought. A 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, currently priced at $4.49, would jump to $6.20. A Starbucks Grande Mocha Frappuccino would increase from $4.56 to $6.29, while a 6-inch turkey sub at Subway would cost $5.87, up from $4.25. A Whopper Meal from Burger King would jump to $8.96 from $6.49.

A CrunchWrap Supreme, Crunchy Taco and large drink from Taco Bell would cost $8.27, up from $5.99; a Wendy’s Son of Baconator Combo, currently $6.69 would cost $9.23; a Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich Combo, priced at  $5.95, would cost $8.21; and a Pizza Hut Medium Hand-Tossed Cheese Pizza, on today’ menu at $11.95, would jump to $16.55.

That’s a 38-percent increase, far higher than many old-school economists have concluded, and it puts the lie to union claims that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would result in a transfer of wealth from rich business owners to low-paid workers. Sherk’s analysis concludes that there would be a transfer, but it wouldn’t be from the business owners: It would be from their customers.

First, those owners with a McDonald’s franchise aren’t rich and they’re not likely to become rich. Ed Rensi, who worked for McDonald’s for 30 years, ending up as the company’s CEO in 1991 and retiring in 2007, told Forbes:

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The Broken Promise of Minimum wage laws

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 20, 2017:

The promise is that by requiring businesses to pay their employees $15 an hour, the net result is that everyone will live better. The low-paid people will have more money to spend, the upward “ripple” effect on other higher-paid people in the organization will also have more money to spend, the economy will grow, there will be more jobs hiring people who will then have more money to spend, and so on into the woodwork.

This was the claim by that “poverty” expert, former Senator Teddy Kennedy whose family’s wealth extended backwards for generations, who said that

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Blowing Up the Globalists’ Plans

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 13, 2017:

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.

The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) grew out of failure. Known alternatively as Chatham House, it was conceived during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 (also called the Versailles Peace Conference). It was decided that, once the so-called “peace” terms were put in place to punish Germany and its allies after the War to end all wars, various insiders decided a one-world government was needed to keep such a catastrophe from occurring in the future. It birthed the

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Realtors in Vancouver Moving to Seattle Along with Investors

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 10, 2017:  

Vancouver on a rainy day

Vancouver on a rainy day

The collapse of the real estate market in Vancouver, BC, is forcing realtors there to “double-license” in Seattle (where home prices are half what they are in Vancouver) in order to stay in business. Some of them are representing sellers with property in Vancouver who are simultaneously buying in Seattle. The ripple effect in Vancouver is impacting builders and construction workers as well as those in related service industries.

Back in August, the tune was much different: home prices had increased by 50 percent over the previous three years thanks to foreign investors wanting property in Vancouver. “It’s a bubble!” was the cry and so do-gooder politicians in the local government decided to erect a tariff: starting on August 1 the “foreign buyer transfer tax” of 15 percent would be imposed on any foreign buyer of real estate in the city.

Within six weeks the high end of the market was off by 20 percent, and realtors were scrambling, builders were pulling back, and workers were being laid off.

The parallel with Trump’s plans to build a wall along the country’s southern border through tariffs of 35 percent is uncanny, with the results likely to be the same as Vancouver’s. Fred Floss, the chairman of the economics department at SUNY Buffalo State, says that imposing a tariff on Mexico will have a similar slowing effect in the United States. Because the US mainly imports auto parts and small engines from Mexico, “anything that has a small engine in it will start to cost more … the scary thing is that a lot of those motors go into things Americans make. So if all of a sudden it gets to be more expensive to make goods in the United States, then we’re going to start to see layoffs because our goods aren’t going to sell.” He added: “In other words, [Americans are] going to pay the cost of the wall” both directly and indirectly.

The ripple effect in Vancouver is just beginning to be felt as the slowdown starts to impact support jobs related to the real estate industry. Homeowners who have enjoyed seeing their paper profits escalate are now facing the new reality: their homes aren’t worth what they were as recently as last summer, and those who took advantage of low rates either to buy new or obtain a home equity loan are increasingly finding themselves underwater and unable to find a buyer to bail them out.

International trade unhampered by tariffs benefits consumers and sellers alike. Every trade results in each party being better off economically. Competition drives the prices of goods and services down, allowing purchasers to enjoy a higher standard of living. Those profiting from making the products consumers want, whether they be small motors, cell phones or automobiles, will be encouraged to expand their production, hiring new workers who then are able to increase their own purchasing power. Ad infinitim.

Adam Smith was right:

Every individual necessarily labors to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can….

 

He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention…. (emphasis added)

 

By pursuing his own interests, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.

And then Smith adds his warning for Mr. Trump:

I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.

Meddling always has its unintended consequences. Is Mr. Trump aware of what’s going on in Vancouver?


Sources:

The Wall Street Journal: For Chinese Home Buyers, Seattle Is the New Vancouver

Seattlepi.com:  Vancouver smacks Chinese with real estate tax, but will they head south?

Background on US tariffs

WGRZ.com: How the Trump Tariff Proposal may Impact your Budget

Investopedia:  The Basics Of Tariffs And Trade Barriers

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” quote

Is Vancouver Tax on Foreign Investors a Lesson for Trump?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, February 9, 2017:

View on Vancouver on October 1, 2005

Vancouver, B.C.

The impact of the 15-percent “foreign buyer transfer tax” — a real estate tax that is only applied on foreigners, not Canadians — levied by Vancouver, a West Coast city in the Canadian province of British Columbia, was felt almost immediately: Real estate prices began falling, realtor listings took longer to sell as buyers disappeared, and, consequently, revenues anticipated from instituting the tax aren’t likely to meet expectations.

Observers said the tax was levied to protect the local real estate market from becoming “overheated” thanks to increasing demand from foreign investors. “Remember the Great Recession” became the mantra. What goes up must come down, etc. Indeed, prices have increased by nearly 50 percent over just the last three years, driving the median cost of a home in Vancouver to $1.5 million.

Members of the city council imposed the 15-percent tariff on August 1, and by the end of September investment in the high end of the market had already dropped

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Intel’s Announcement of New Arizona Plant Negates Trade Deficit Concerns

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 8, 2017:

US-DeptOfCommerce-Seal

Brian Krzanich, head of Intel, probably didn’t know he was making the case for free trade, despite the fact that trade deficits happen, when he announced from the White House on Wednesday morning his company’s plans to build a new plant in Chandler, Arizona. In a microcosm, his announcement perfectly expressed just how free trade between nations and their citizens generally benefits everyone. Krzanich said his company was planning to build a $7 billion microchip plant in Chandler that would directly employ 3,000 people with “high-paying jobs,” and generate a total of 10,000 jobs when support services for those new jobs are factored in.

Krzanich said that most of Intel’s customers are overseas. Last year Intel’s gross revenues exceeded $10 billion, so, doing the math, it’s likely that Intel will sell $6 to 8 billion worth of chips to foreigners. That creates a trade “surplus” for the United States of between $6 and $8 billion. That will offset some of the trade “deficit” just announced by the Commerce Department the day before, of about $500 billion, an announcement that was met with much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth by economists claiming that that deficit put the United States at some type of unfair disadvantage to the rest of the world.

However, in the real world, trade deficits are not necessarily bad. When someone buys an automobile or a t-shirt or a cellphone, the money they spend winds up as revenues for manufacturers located overseas. Then those manufacturers have excess American dollars that are now available for investment. Many of those dollars get cycled back to the United States, either by buying U.S. goods and services, or U.S. treasuries, or real estate or businesses, which then generate more products to sell overseas.

In 2016, Americans bought from foreign countries $171 billion worth of automobiles, engines and auto parts, $94 billion worth of clothing, $80 billion of crude and refined oil products, $73 billion of cellphones and other household goods, $58 billion of pharmaceutical drugs, with the balance made up of telecommunications equipment, toys, games, sporting goods, televisions, and video games.

In return foreigners — individuals, companies and governments — bought from the United States $65 billion worth of civilian aircraft and engines, $86 billion on travel to the United States, $78 billion on “intellectual property rights” (mostly leases or patents that foreign companies pay to American companies), $70 billion on financial services, with the rest made up of soybeans, chemicals, and newsprint.

The difference is $502 billion. Americans spent $502 billion more abroad than foreigners bought from us. Is that a problem?

Not for companies such as Intel. Its highly regarded technology, in the form of microchips that outperform its competitors, is in great demand worldwide. Foreign companies will use some of those American dollars that Americans spent to buy them. Intel, for its part, will invest billions in new plants and in hiring new people, paying them good salaries, in order to supply that foreign demand. Intel certainly hopes that foreigners will continue to buy them in massive quantities so that it can continue to expand, build, and hire, and so forth.

As Dan Griswold, writing for Cato, put it: No one would do business with anyone else unless both were better off afterwards:

Nations do not trade with each other: people do. America’s trade deficit with the rest of the world is only the sum of the individual choices made by American citizens. Those choices, to buy an import or to sell an export, only take place if both parties to the transaction believe it will make them better off.

In this way, the “balance of trade,” is always positive.

However, Griswold is likely putting too kind a face on trade deficits, per se, for while free trade seems universally beneficial, the use of fiat money — money not backed by a valuable asset such as gold — in the process of trading could lead to hyperinflation in a country, causing widespread devastation. Whether one calls that a trade problem or a currency problem, it is still a problem inherent in trade, maybe especially for the United States. See the article “So I’m Told Trade Deficits Are Good.”

In general, though, if politicians made it even easier for companies here and abroad to do business, then everyone would be even better off, and concerns about trade “wars” and “tariffs” and “mercantilism” would fade back into the woodwork where they belong.

Jobs Report: Across-the-board Growth, Except for Government

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 3, 2017:

Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for January surprised on the upside in almost every category with job growth of 227,000 new jobs, beating economists’ predictions by more than 50,000. The report reflected numbers from the week before President Donald Trump was inaugurated, and showed growth in every major category, including manufacturing. On the flip side, government employment dropped by 10,000 jobs.

This is the best jobs report in the last four months, and exceeds 2016’s average monthly jobs growth of 187,000. Construction added 36,000 jobs, retail trade added 46,000 jobs, financial services grew by 32,000 jobs, professional and business services increased by 39,000 jobs, education and health services jumped by 24,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality added 34,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 5,000 jobs.

The job market was attractive enough to entice those not in the work force to begin to look for work once again, increasing the workforce participation rate. The labor force increased by 584,000 in January while wages continued to increase, rising 2.5 percent over the past year, and long-term unemployment dropped.

The report reflected a positive change, especially in manufacturing versus government. Over the last year the manufacturing sector lost 46,000 jobs while government employment under the Obama administration jumped by 162,000 jobs. Future reports from the BLS will confirm whether the January reversal has legs.

The January report is merely a snapshot of an economy in transition, which makes it difficult to draw long-term conclusions. Part of its rosy tone may reflect anticipation of the fulfillment of Trump’s promises, such as repealing ObamaCare, cutting taxes and regulations, and removing executive-order impediments that flowed from Obama’s pen especially as he was making his exit.

A broader picture suggests that, as good as the report is, the underlying economy is doing even better. Baby Boomers are exiting the jobs market and retiring at an estimated 10,000 every day. That’s nearly four million leaving the workforce every year. And it could continue for years as the Baby Boomer cohort exceeds 75 million.

There’s also the factor of robotics increasingly replacing jobs as cost-cutting continues to drive automation, along with the push from minimum-wage laws. And yet the jobs report reflected a growing economy that is able to overcome those negatives.

In addition, there is the difficulty of measuring exactly how many people are working and for whom. The Wall Street Journal raised the issue in its recent report “The End of Employees,” which said, “Never before have American companies tried so hard to employ so few people.” The problem, said the Journal, is that “no one knows how many Americans work as contractors, because they don’t fit neatly into the job categories tracked by government agencies [such as the BLS].”

For example, Southwest Airlines has about 53,000 real full-time, full-benefits employees, but another 10,000 outside employees. Google’s parent Alphabet uses contract staff from various outside staffing agencies such as Zenith Talent, Filter, and Adecco, running up an annual bill for those services in excess of $300 million. When Todd Gibbons, CEO of the Bank of New York, was quizzed on the matter, he responded, “It’s just too hard to tell exactly what’s going on with [our] head count and how people compute it and whether [we’ve] got contractors versus full-time employees.” If he doesn’t know how many people work for BNY, how would the BLS know?

What is clear is that January’s report, if it is sustained in the months ahead, reflects the new paradigm emanating from Washington: one of support and encouragement backed by real efforts to unleash the free market by removing some (many) of the impediments placed before it by previous administrations.

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.