The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Employment]

So the market "liked" the employment report, then it didn't, and now it sort of does again.

Let's take the headline:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in September, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.

Little changed = up a tick (was 4.9% before.)

What's the data say?

The household survey says the monthly figure was +173, on the back of a -633 last month (unadjusted.)  Corrected for working-age population change we lost 64,000 jobs -- statistically identical to zero (last month was -867k.)

In terms of the employment:population ratio it was flat this month, while the "official" rate was up a tick.

Anything else interesting in here?

Yes - manufacturing has had two bad months in a row, especially durables.  That's not so good.  At the same time retail trade, bars and temps had a good month.  Is that net positive?  You decide.

Weekly hours ticked up one tenth, which is good, but remember that last month they ticked down one tenth, so that's a wash over a two-month period.  The trend is down slightly (one tick) over the last year -- statistically unchanged.  Hourly earnings wee up six cents, which is a better figure.  However, the diffusion index has been down for the lat three months both in total and in manufacturing, which isn't so good as it points to internal weakness.

Continuing a pattern that has bothered me for quite some time those with college degrees have made no progress over the last year in terms of employment rate, while those with lesser education have gained.  Does this matter?  You bet it does when it comes to the quality of the jobs being created and the monstrous education bubble, particularly with regard to debt and cost, we have blown.

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My God, millennials are really this dumb?  Or is that post-millennials?  I can't keep track any more...

I was able to get a summer internship at a company that does work in the industry I want to work in after I graduate. Even though the division I was hired to work in doesn’t deal with clients or customers, there still was a very strict dress code. I felt the dress code was overly strict but I wasn’t going to say anything, until I noticed one of the workers always wore flat shoes that were made from a fabric other than leather, or running shoes, even though both of these things were contrary to the dress code.

I spoke with my manager about being allowed some leeway under the dress code and was told this was not possible, despite the other person being allowed to do it. I soon found out that many of the other interns felt the same way, and the ones who asked their managers about it were told the same thing as me. We decided to write a proposal stating why we should be allowed someone leeway under the dress code. We accompanied the proposal with a petition, signed by all of the interns (except for one who declined to sign it) and gave it to our managers to consider.


They all got canned the next day.

I would have fired every one of them (except the one who didn't sign) and I wouldn't have waited for the next day!

Look buttercups, employment is not a democracy.

I pointed this out a couple of times to my daughter when she was growing up, and I said it in much cruder terms -- in fact, I said it exactly like this:

"There will be things your boss tells you to do that you think are stupid.  You may think certain policies are stupid, the way things are done are stupid in some fashion, or that some aspect of how the business is being run is stupid.  As a worker rather than a boss the successful way to think about this is that you have to figuratively blow some people you don't want to.  Not literally -- that's illegal -- but figuratively.  If you really believe you have a better idea you can try to ask your boss, but simply asking is likely to be ineffective because it shows you're reacting to a situation instead of thinking toward the furtherance of the firm's interests.  Instead, if you really believe you have a better way to accomplish something or a change that should be made, first take the time to do your damndest to understand why it currently is the way it is -- there is a reason.  Then figure out how and why you would change it, and if your change is accepted how that change will improve the company's efficiency, profitability or (even better) both.  Then, and only then, take the whole thing, including your analysis, to your direct supervisor in private.  If you get nowhere with that then see the first part of what I explained -- working for someone else sometimes means doing things that you think are dumb or worse, but unless they're criminal you're the subordinate and the other person is the boss!"

In short even when you're pretty sure you're right you won't always win.  In fact you'll probably lose more often than you'll win and some of the time even when you win your boss will steal the credit for it!

But if you try to foment any sort of uprising among the staff I supervise unless I'm legally barred from canning you for doing it (and there are only a few ways you can do it where that prohibition exists) you and everyone else involved are going to be instantly fired -- and I don't care if doing it means I have to call a temp agency and fill the damn building with temporary workers an hour later.




A workplace is not a democracy.  It is (at best) a benevolent dictatorship where ideas, properly formed and presented in a helpful, not threatening manner, will (if your boss has any brains) be analyzed, passed up the chain and perhaps implemented.  In a well-functioning company those who do pass up such ideas often get not only recognized they get promoted.  There was one person of particular note at my company who started at the very bottom and wound up running a department with a private office -- all because she had brains and even better, knew how to pass things up the chain of command in a way that made sense without threatening the stability of the company or its employees.

The minute you decide that you have the power in such an organization when you do not if the firm if functioning properly everyone involved in same is going to immediately be fired because that act by definition threatens the proper, legitimate and orderly functioning of the firm.

It's that simple.

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