The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Employment]
2017-05-12 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Employment , 278 references
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I saw an interesting statistic the other day that put into stark relief what technology does.

Photographer 'day rates' at major publications have crashed -- from $3,000 or more a day to under $300.

And that's for the really good photographers.

Why?  Because print media is gone and digital media is increasingly "free" online - although there are traditional publishers trying to "monetize" their digital sites directly via subscription systems and everyone has a camera with them 24x7.

Newspapers and magazines, in short, simply don't pay any more because they don't have to.  Everyone and their brother will pull out their iPhoney and send in pictures hoping to get them in print for nothing more than bragging rights, and in addition damn near everyone has one -- so the need to dispatch a photographer to cover a "news" event disappears since odds are high that whatever the occasion someone already got the shot.  Yeah, 95% of them are crap but the paper only needs one that isn't and it no longer has to pay anything to get it.

So what does someone who loves imaging -- whether still or video -- to do?

First, don't go to college.  Seriously.  If you want to destroy yourself go ahead and waste $50,000 or more on something that has a career path for the top 10% that make under $100,000 a year.  The average shooter coming out of college will make a literal zero.

Instead look at where the market went: online.

Then cut all the middlemen out.

It's never been easier to tell a story and if someone's going to get advertising revenue why not make it you?

Think about the newspaper: Yes, they sell subscriptions but most of their revenue is from ads.  When you work for them you get a small piece of their revenue, because they have to pay for all the printing, distribution and overhead costs.  The editors.  The trucks.  The presses.  The ink, paper and distribution expenses.  That big building full of executives.  All that money comes out first before they can pay you.

Or look at Facesucker in all its forms (including Instagram), Snap and similar.  All of them sell ads that run on your content and they keep the money.

What sort of stupid are you to provide them with content for free and get no cut of the revenue they get from attaching advertising to your content?

Instead publish independently, you tell a story people want to read and see, and you keep at least some of the revenue from doing so.

The cost of doing this has never been lower.

You can put together a low-cost publishing system that works for $50 a month or so -- that's under $600 a year.  Yes, it's still work, all yours -- and the ad brokers, whether "Adsense" or otherwise will still take their cut.

But you get the rest.

If you're good at telling stories, and let's face it that's what media is about, whether in words or images -- then this path might well be viable for you provided you can find a niche that is underserved and thus you can stand out in some way against the morass of crap.

Trades rarely die but they often mutate, and those who get blown out are usually the ones who simply refuse to adapt; they instead watch what they believed was their "path" turn to dust.

Find the fork in the road instead and take it before the bridge goes out from under your feet.

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2017-05-05 09:00 by Karl Denninger
in Employment , 422 references
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Screams the headline:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 211,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and mining.

Gee, unlike last month when I said the headline number made no sense given the internals, this time it seems to match up...... smiley

The annualized number is, as you can see, the one that matters.  Monthly you got a lot of oscillation in the figures -- but annualized the so-called "seasonal adjustment" disappears and the Bee-Ess stops.  This month was an advance on the annualized figure from 1.890 million to 2.187.  This is not a "new high" or anything of the sort; in fact from October of 2015 all the way through December of 2016 the annualized figures were better.  Indeed, on a month-over-month basis last month scored higher -- +1.034 million .vs. 634 thousand this month.

But make no mistake -- this is a solid headline number and the internals look pretty good too.  The 4.4% unemployment rate speaks to labor tightness (the natural rate of unemployment is typically about 5%) and the employment:population ratio popped over 60% for the first time in a long time with the exception of one "false start" for a month last year.

The internals have some interesting data contained within the report: Teens lost jobs (by quite a bit, a 1% negative change.)  Part-time economic workers (that is, those who want a full-time job but can't find one) dropped quite materially -- about 5% on the month.  These sorts of figures would normally be associated with severe upward wage pressure, but they're not this time around and as I've pointed out for years now the reason for this is showing up in the employment cost and productivity indices -- and can be traced directly to the screw job that is called "health care" in this country.

You may think this is a "good report", and on the headline it is, but the lack of correlated internals is serious and there is simply no way to evade the message it is transmitting: The internal rot in our employment system caused by health care expense and its exponentially-exploding cost, driven by the outrageous practices of virtually every single firm involved in it, will eventually "fold back" and when it does it is going to result in the mother and father of all economic dislocation events.

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