Jobs and Jobs Training Archive

Since I have written quite a few blog articles related to jobs and jobs training, I thought I would create an archive for your perusal. Jobs go along with “economics”, without an “economy” there are no jobs. So here it goes, hope you enjoy the Archive, I have enjoyed writing the articles and as you can see the theme is a “work in progress”:

Jobs Training
Part 1: Jobs in the Mono-economy
Part 2: Past prescriptions
Part 3: The job training dilemma
Part 4: Jobs training, the more things change, the more the stay the same
Part 5A: The Re-tooling of a titan: Chicago
Part 5B: Jobs training, search for solutions

Business
Signs of the Times #6: Peripheral Stuff
Signs of the Times #8: Thriving or/dying industries
Are Boomers causing a business bust?
Ghost Ship
Import-Export Bank
The Real cost of doing business

Getting a Job
Let’s talk about minimum wage
Idea of a resume` is so passe`
Immigration policy or illegal immigration policy
The American Dream
The Temp has gained Respect

Studs Terkel, a Chicago journalist and TV personality, wrote a book called “Working“. He interviewed the “common” man or woman and recorded their lives as they related to work. We are defined by our job or craft, or skill, or “calling.” We have pride in ourselves when we feel worthiness and “worth.” Perhaps that’s what’s missing right now in the American spirit, it’s our “worth.” Let’s restore it, re-write the recipe or create a new one.

By the way, don’t forget to VOTE! It’s your patriotic duty and contributes to a feeling of “worth.”

Barrick Gold’s Australian super pit stake sale draws interest from Kinross, Zijin — Financial Post – Top Stories

Barrick Gold Corp.’s stake in the Kalgoorlie Super Pit mine has drawn interest from Kinross Gold Corp. and Zijin Mining Group Co. in a sale that could fetch as much as US$1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. Australian producers Newcrest Mining Ltd., Northern Star Resources Ltd. and Evolution Mining Ltd. are also reviewing data…

via Barrick Gold’s Australian super pit stake sale draws interest from Kinross, Zijin — Financial Post – Top Stories

Is this a “study” in contrasts or what! As “they” say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, I say, this photo is surely speaking volumes. I have a question for you, the reader. What thought or thoughts first popped into your mind upon seeing the above photo? Let’s not try to get philosophical, I mean your “gut” reaction. Mine was one of contrasts. There are really two “photos” one might say, did someone use PhotoShop software to enhance this photo? Of, course, not. (At least I don’t think so.) The photo in one sense seems like the yin and yang symbol of the Chinese culture, representing opposite forces. There is the huge gaping hole of the humanly engineered-mine and the huge human civilization existing right along side it.

The mine represents “forces of an economy.” By that I mean in this case a “scarce” resource (gold) being used to support jobs, a capitalistic enterprise i.e., a mining company, and creating a “local” economy for the region where the mine is located. But it is still a gaping hole in the earth, a wound in the earth’s surface. I am discovering that I am writing not only about “human” economics but environmental economics as well. Here’s a quote from the article:

The Barrick asset, known as the Super Pit, is 3.5 kilometers long and ranks as Australia’s largest open-pit gold mine, its website shows. It’s located in Kalgoorlie, a city in Western Australia where the metal has been produced continuously since a late 19th-century gold rush.

I recently wrote another blog article motivated by another striking photo:
Saskatchewan water.

We are living in the “age of shock.” In order to get people’s attention, many times abrupt, jarring tactics are used by the media, or others to gain attention to an event, a product, a person, you name it.

So do we just get more numb in order to counter-act the shock? Have you seen any “yin and yang” contrasts? It creates food for thought and perhaps hopefully civil conversation.

The Hole dug by Wells Fargo Bank

Wow, what can I say about the chicanery at the Wells Fargo Bank! It is shocking us here in the States. Here’s one version of the fraud story as reported by Reuters.

The Bank is iconic “Americana.” The Wells Fargo Company dates way back (1852) to the “Wild West” days of the United States. Even the Wells Fargo logo reflects its western heritage with its stagecoach imagery. Funny thing about the illegal activities which employees performed at Wells Fargo, I don’t think even the Glass Steagell Act would have protected the Wells Fargo customers! You see Glass Steagall helped to put a “wall” between the retail and commercial activities that a bank could legally execute and perform. Glass Steagell was revoked by Congress and signed “out of law” by President Clinton around the year 1999.

The “magic” of the Glass Steagall Act was that it protected the retail bank customer from illegal bank activities that probably caused the stock market crash in 1929. The Dodd-Frank Act was enacted in 2008 to create protections and decrease risks in the financial and banking system in the United States after the housing crash in 2008/09. However, in the year 2016 there are still parts of the Dodd-Frank Act which have not been completely executed or installed within the financial/banking system of the U.S.

I don’t know if Dodd-Frank implementations would have prevented the dishonest activities performed by employees of Wells Fargo Bank. It seems to me that integrity, honesty, ethical behavior, and honest business practices are the “fall guys” in this debacle or should I call it a “too aggressively executed marketing program being used at the bank. It would appear that the illegal activities of the employees were driven by “incentives” and “market goals.”

What shocks me the most is the vast extent of the illegal activity and why it was not detected and stopped by management?

I don’t know what scares me more: the idea that bank employees can “play” with my money, or that negative interest rates will sap my money from my bank account. From news that I watch and articles that I read, the world’s financial and banking system is not as healthy as it should be. The repercussions from the financial and banking crash in 2008/09 are still being felt, the “war” in the Middle East still rages, and even container ships of commerce (Hanjin) and trade are adrift in the middle of the International waters of the World.

Guess what I’d like to say to the employees of Wells Fargo…what were you thinking!!! And, to the management of Wells Fargo…where were you when these illegal activities were happening, why didn’t you stop it!!! I worked in the business world and it’s all about bonuses. Wow, they had to flow up the ladder “a-ways”. Gee did it get to the Board Room?

We are worried about Identity Theft these days; I guess this is an example of it on a massive scale. What are the banks going to do to get our trust back? Maybe we will have to keep our savings “under the mattress” or “behind a loose brick” in the basement. Oh, wait, some of us don’t have a basement any more because a basement is part of a house!

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Stump
Generous

Recap of Financial Week: September 9, 2016

Well, I guess it’s time for a “recap” of the “week that was.” I have previously recapped the following financial “points in time” for my and my readers’ edification. Enjoy the “looking glass” view if you wish:
Recap of September, 2015 U.S. stock market
Market recap for week of January 8, 2016

Or, continue to the next paragraph for this week’s catalytic effects on the financial markets. Here’s my candidates “naughty actors” that contributed to the downward drop or behavior of the “DOW” (Dow Jones Industrial Average)

• The Hanjin container ships marooned at sea drama Hanjin. Also see my blog item: Ghost Ship
• Fear of a Fed interest rate increase Federal Reserve Rate Increase?
• “Bad” behavior of Wells Fargo Bank Banks behaving Badly
• North Korea “flexing” their military muscles North Korea
• End of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s financial conference at Jackson Hole Federal Reserve at Jackson Hole. Here’s another blog item I wrote regarding the conference Woodstock for Economists.

and, just for a “light” bit of humor:
• It was only a 4-day work week in the U.S.

I have read and heard on the news recently that the months of September and October are “tricky” or perhaps a better word is “dangerous” months for the “markets.” Well, who am I to argue with that, the 1929 stock market crash happened in October of 1929, the 1987 crash happened in August, 1987 (close enough to September for me). (Incidentally, I was watching a financial TV program the day of the “’87” crash, and yes, I can remember where I was and who was with me at that time.) I lost a couple of “bucks” in the Dot Com crash in 2001. Next came the housing bubble in 2009, seems to me that I starting hearing about “housing” credit problems in the summer of 2008 but anyway, I do know that there was no snow on the ground when the dominoes started to fall.

So, that’s my list of reasons for the U.S. stock market “readjusting” itself today and closing down around 2% or so.

Ghost Ship

I’ve been scanning the business headlines as I usually do to find my next blog topic. Bloomberg® the business news empire of Mr. Michael Bloomberg, has posted a timely article about the Hanjin container ships that ply the oceans of the world delivering trade goods from one nation to another around the world. Bloomberg’s article refers to “ghost ships.” Because of lack of money, legal issues, international trade laws, you name it, these vessels are stranded in International waters or perhaps at a destination port of call. There are rumors that food and water may be “short” in supply for the ship crews.

Again, today I encountered a homeless person on my travel through my home area. As I have seen before, this person was walking the median strip on the highway bridge with a sign. I don’t know the circumstances of this person but as I have mentioned before in my post “Encounter,” seeing homeless people is so troubling to me. The Bloomberg article, is another example of a “homeless” situation; of course, on a very grand scale but one could make a case for connecting the two circumstances. It’s all about “representation” you see. I could make it about “symbolism” or matter of perception.

Perhaps one could call the two situations “a dichotomy” of current economy conditions. On the one hand a “boat load” of “finished goods” manufactured, built, assembled, created, in one or more “foreign” countries and the “ready to purchase or use” product ready to be deliver to customers; on the other hand, people adrift in society with no home, no stable job, no dignity of life. The container ships are “adrift” on an ocean of water and the individual is adrift on an ocean of indignity.

I think the container ships represent the total dysfunction of our global economy. Here in the United States we have a Congress that won’t talk to each other or splinter groups have their own agenda certainly not the agenda of “the American people.” I live in the State of Illinois which still does not have budget and it’s been over a year! I have one cousin who fortunately was able to change jobs so she would be paid! She works in elderly care situations. I have a nephew who lost his job as a teacher! He fortunately has found another job. He got “lucky.”

Are we adrift? Wow, I’d say so. The U.S. stock market is hitting all-time highs again. It looks good, it sounds good. It’s good for a very tiny minority of people “with money.” The US is the place to put money because it seems money is “safe” here. Thanks to certain laws regarding real estate ownership, non-citizens can purchase real estate in the US and I mean million-dollar condos as well as single-family homes for “investment” purposes. At the same time, families are “priced out of the market” and can’t buy a home because of all the “cash” chasing the purchase of a house for sale.

Ah, CASH. Zero percent interest rates have not been introduced here in the States, YET. We are almost there because a “Saver” only earned maybe 0.5% interest on savings. Actually less than that, I think, down to 0.01% or 0.02%. Does accuracy matter with these miniscule rates?

Interestingly, the hullabaloo about the “goods” that are on these container ships consist of a large “inventory” of Christmas goods for retailers here in the States. Ah, Christmas, a time of sharing and cheer and gift-giving. Ah, “retail” which at one time meant going to a “brick-and-mortar” store to purchase your holiday items. Nothing wrong with on-line retailers or on-line buying, I buy on-line just like most other consumers, but I also patronize local stores and I do like to see and feel products that I wish to purchase.

Well, I’ve gone from the International oceans to a highway overpass in this blog entry. Guess I’m trying to “let off” some steam and sort out the situation as usual.

Our last summer holiday (Labor Day) is over and the next two months get real serious because of the Presidential election. There are three (3) Presidential debates scheduled and one (1) Vice President debate scheduled over this period spanning September and October. There is much “talk” about foreign entities “hacking” or influencing the US presidential elections. Politics is always interesting and sometimes “entertaining!” In fact, one of our “third” party candidates might get on the debate podium along side Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton. I wrote about that possibility here: Show me the Money.

Well, meet you all in the blogosphere and “stay tuned” for the next episode of one heck of a “soap opera.” Trouble is, whose writing the script, dialogue, and storyline?????
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Silence

“Show me the money!”

Author update, 8/15/2016: Here’s an update on the rules being enforced in order to choose the Presidential debate candidates. This update is courtesy of CNN.com: CNN debate update

After the Labor Day holiday, the Presidential debates will begin. There are three (3) presidential debates scheduled on September 26, October 9, and October 19, 2016. There is one vice-presidential debates scheduled for October 4, 2016.

Just as I created a blog entry to links for the multiple Republication and Democrat candidates’ economic platforms while seeking their party’s nomination, this time I’m focusing on the winners of those contests, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Hillary Clinton (Democratic nominee)
Official website: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/om-an-economy-that-works-for-everyone/
Factcheck.org analysis of Hillary Clinton’s economic speech: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/clintons-economic-speech/

Donald Trump (Republication nominee)
Official website: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/economic-vision
Factcheck.org analysis of Donald Trump’s economic speech: http://www.factcheck.org/2016/08/trumps-economic-speech/

Although the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, will probably not be participating in the Presidential debates, I’m including his Party’s web site: https://www.lp.org/platform

The Green Party also has a candidate, Jill Stein, planning to run for President. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.gp.org/

The criteria for inclusion in the Presidential debates is that each candidate must command at least 15% in five (5) mainstream polls. Here’s some information on that:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-gary-johnson-libertarian-debate-edit-20160805-story.html

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-welch-debates-johnson-stein-20160810-snap-story.html

In some of my blog posts, I make reference to a motion picture, or perhaps a TV or radio show, the film that comes to mind, relative to this posting, is the movie, Jerry McGuire. To me, one of the great lines in the movie is “show me the money”, which was uttered by Cuba Gooding Jr. Here’s a trailer clip from the movie that contains that scene: http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi878683161?ref_=ttvi_vi_imdb_1

The “economic” themes in the candidate’s platforms include tax treatment, infrastructure investment, military readiness, treatment of immigrants (legal or ortherwise), to name some of them. Each candidate has his or her way of “showing the money” or perhaps “stowing” the money through various taxation techniques.

Being an informed voter is more important than ever. Casting one’s vote is more important than ever. Making “the right” choice for our country is more important than ever. I hope that everyone who is a legal and registered voter, does vote. Unfortunately, the issue of being “registered” is rearing its ugly head again. We just can’t seem to “get it right!” Well, that’s a topic for another blog item.
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Confused

Are the “Boomers” causing a Business Bust?

I guess the “Boomers*” are now being blamed for the short-sightedness and “short-term” instead of “long-term” planning that Corporate America should have been doing all along. Here’s an article in the Chicago Tribune® written by Rex Huppke: As boomers leave workforce, transfer of knowledge is key. Basically as the Baby Boomers are retiring their “job-related” knowledge retires with them!

*Post WWII babies born between 1946 and 1964)

Here’s a very short story of mine about the value of “tacit knowledge” as it was named by Prof. Dorothy Leonard in Mr. Huppke’s above article:

We needed a plumber (ha, who doesn’t need a good plumber) and thus called one to our home. During his visit with us, the plumber commented how difficult it was to find new help for his business. He said that the men (in this case) came with the requisite “book” knowledge but did not have the “trouble-shooting” knowledge needed in order to “problem-solve” plumbing issues. Unfortunately, that “tacit knowledge” only comes with years of working the “plumber’s trade” and being presented with hundreds of flooding basements, leaky faucets, over-flowing toilets, plugged drains, and the milieu of plumbing problems that only a really handy husband, friend, or expert plumbing can solve.

Of course, apprenticeships and trade schools were common here in the States during the 40s, 50s, and 60s. During high school, there were courses called “shop” meaning those courses that introduced teenaged students to blue-collar-type skills such as carpentry or auto repair. Here’s an article from Forbes.com (a business magazine) written in 2012 that talks about California eliminating “shop classes”: The Death of Shop Class and America’s High Skilled Workforce.

Call these “unintended” consequences of “off-shoring”, H1-B visa permits, trade agreements, cost-cutting measures for financial/economic reasons… call it or point a physical or virtual finger at whatever one’s wishes to blame but… we “are” economically where we “are.” First, blue-collar jobs were “lost” in the US to lower-paying jobs in companies in other countries, then white-collar jobs started vanishing in the US, funny thing about some of those jobs, the “jobs” still might remain in the US but the guy or gal in the cubicle next to you was hired by a contractor agency who was not domiciled in the US and the co-worker might be working here with one of those H1-B work visas.

Now we can get into “lack” of skilled workers to fill the positions, etc.; but just like China’s One Child Policy has really come to slap them in the face, US citizens have been smacked in the face for several decades due to short-sighted policies, lack of proper training policies, or lack of long-range planning (to name a couple of reasons).

I have written a six-part blog series on the subject of jobs. Here are the links for your edification, enjoyment, amusement, or gain in “tacit knowledge”.

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Youth
Expert

Banks and Banking in Year 2016

Here’s what’s happened to the “big” banks and banking in general since the Great Recession. Bloomberg.com has published a piece by Yalman Onaran called “Citigroup, HSBC Jettison customers as Era of Global Empires Ends.”

Executive Summary of article

  • Citigroup®
    Since crisis has doubled derivatives contracts to $56 trillion dollars.
    Focuses on trading.
    Focuses on richest customers—high-net-worth individuals
  • HSBC Holdings PLC®
    Quits “retail” banking and stops serving 80 million customers
    Relys more on investment banking.
    Eliminated 1,600 U.S. locations in U.S.
    Closed 500+ branches in U.K.

“All this retrenchment hasn’t silenced calls to break up big banks. In the U.S., both the Republican and Democratic platforms call for reinstatement of the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act, which separated consumer and investment banking” writes Onaran.

Onaran mentions Internet banking in his article and “that near-zero interest rates have made traditional banking less profitable,” quoting KBW’s Cannon.

All in all, I guess using the U.S. Postal Office as a bank is a pretty good alternative. See my posting entitled “Back to the Future, using the USPO as a bank.” What do you think?

Author’s note, 9/24/16: Here’s a couple of articles on the Wells Fargo fiasco:
Hole dug by Wells Fargo Bank
How fragile is our Financial System?
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Panic
Value

It doesn’t really matter! (I guess)

What I’m referring to is the U.S. Presidential election and the U.S. stock market.

There is a saying “on Wall Street” that the stock market projects six (6) months “down the road.” This means that “the markets” are already anticipating the future or have “a forward looking view.” In other words, “the market” is probably not responding to the news which is happening now (e.g. July 20, 2016), or this week or perhaps even this last month, but rather “the markets” are acting positively or negatively towards “the future”.

The U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is bumping it’s head up against ANOTHER “all-time high.” To quote the New York Times, “The Dow Jones industrial average inched 25.96 points, or 0.1 percent, higher for its eighth consecutive gain to set another record at 18,559.01.”

Here’s how the Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail relates the U.S. stock market in relation to the U.S. presidential election.

CNBC has an interesting “take” on the stock market vs. presidential election phenomenon: History shows stocks rally

If you are interested in “market indicators”, here are two (2) blog posts which focus on this subject:

What are Economic Indicators?

U.S. Economic Indicators

Update to R2D2 where are you?

Here’s the latest news on U.S. Bill HR1599: Looks like it will be placed on the President’s desk for signature and enactment, see Chicago Tribune article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-genetically-modified-food-labels-20160714-story.html

Below is a copy of my original blog: —————————————————————————–

Well, I guess I have another reason to finally succumb to the purchase of a smartphone. Why? So I am able to read ingredient labels of products that are represented by QR codes! Oh, it’s not that I’m illiterate…far from it. It’s that I’m NOT the robot R2D2 from Star Wars.

If you are part of the “older” generation which grew up around “billboards” and “Burma Shave” roadside ads, QR codes are obviously “from outer space.”  QR codes are like the bar codes used on products so the item can be “digitally scanned by a computer. There is vital information stored “on” the barcode BUT only a computer-type device with specialized software can read the codes or “images” displayed. Well, my eyes and brain are programmed to read written language not “computer” language and…there’s the “rub”, a computer must intervene.

The Chicago Tribune article that I’ll refer you to is entitled: Will food shoppers really seek out GMO information using QR codes?  I read Nutrition labels. I look for sugar content, salt content, and fat content of the product. One issue raised by the news article is that GMOs  (genetically modified organism) information present in the product will not necessarily be mentioned on a printed ingredients label (if there is a human-readable label present to read!

There is a U.S. House of Representatives bill being “considered” for passage this week in the House. It is  H.R. 1599. There are “those” who do not want product labeling to specify whether GMO-type ingredients are in a product or in the case of meats (for example) if the live stock was fed GMO-type animal feed. I, for one, want to know these things because I’m trying to “clean up” my eating habits. It’s hard but one tries as well as one can.

My feeling is that if you want us to buy your product, tell us what’s in it. The thing about capitalism is that money “votes” yes or no on the success of a product. The obvious fear about the consumer knowing that GMOs are present in a product, maybe the consumer won’t buy the product. Guess what you are right! I vote with my wallet. I don’t want any GMOs or scientifically modified products, if I can avoid them. I have enough “health” issues and if avoided potential timebombs helps me eat better than I’d try to avoid them.

Unlike R2D2, my body parts aren’t so interchangeable and if they do need changing another human may have to donate that body part to me  (if I’m lucky).

Not only are GMOs a health issue, they are an economic issue, a financial issue (for the consumer and the manufacturer/producer), a monetary issue (affordability vs. safety perhaps), an ethics issue and perhaps a moral issue.

Now that I’m “issued” to death, how do you feel about eating GMO modified foods? Given a choice the consumer can vote “yes” or “no” to his/her purchase.