11 October 2019

1) Social Security recipients will receive a 1.6% cost of living increase in 2020, up from the average of 1.4%. This is less than the pervious two years, 2.8% for 2019 and 2.0% for 2018, but still it’s better than the zero increases of 2010, 2011 and 2016.

2) Because of a pig killing disease in China, the U.S. could see tightening supplies of pork products this next year. With China’s supply of pork decreasing, the Chinese may be forced to import significant pork supplies from the U.S. because pork is a major source of protein in the Chinese diet. This is despite the high tariffs China has imposed on U.S. pork imports. American pork exports to China will see about a 12% increase for 2019 and 13% for 2020.

3) Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is causing concerns among businessmen with her promises to remake capitalism from the ground up. Now in the front ranks of Democratic contenders, her plans are now viewed with more concern. Warren would drastically cut back on the amount and influence of big business, push private companies from parts of the economy altogether and shift power to government and labor. The presidential contender has blamed big business for a wide range of social problems.

4) Stock market closings for – 10 OCT 19:

Dow             26,496.67    up    150.66
Nasdaq         7,950.78     up      47.04
S&P 500        2,938.13    up       18.73

10 Year Yield:    up   at    1.66%

Oil:    up   at    $53.94

7 October 2019

1) As part of its restructuring plan, HP announced they will cut about 7,000 to 9,000 jobs, resulting in an estimated savings of about $1 billion dollars. While HP expects to incur labor and non-labor cost of about $1 billion dollars, they expect to generate at lease $3 billion dollars of free cash flow. As of 31 October 2018, HP had world wide employment of about 55,000 workers.

2) Consumer spending has been the bright spot in an economy showing signs of weakening on multiple fronts, in particular manufacturing. Economists worry if consumer spending will continue to prop up the economy, saying that the up coming Christmas season will be a test. Issues such as trade, interest rates, global risk factors and political rhetoric are where confidence can be eroded by deterioration of these items.

3) The new Costco in Shanghai China reports membership of more than 200,000 as compared to an American average of 68,000 per store. Costco will open a second Shanghai location in early 2021. The first day opening, the store was so swamped with customers, that the doors had to be closed for four hours to limit the number of people inside to safe limits.

4) Stock market closings for – 4 OCT 19:

Dow                  26,573.72    up    372.68
Nasdaq               7,982.47    up    110.21
S&P 500              2,952.01    up      41.38

10 Year Yield:    down   at    1.52%

Oil:    up   at    $53.01


By: Economic & Finance Report

President Trump is not a happy camper. The president recently gave GM a scathing tweet on Friday, about their diminishing workforce presence in the United States.

General Motors (GM), the Detroit based automaker had once been the country’s biggest auto manufacturer, and it has been apparent since 2009, their workforce has constantly been decreasing.

GM has countered those claims of a diminishing workforce, and has insisted they have invested billions of dollars in U.S. based manufacturing operations for the past 10 years. -SB


Image Credit: DiscoveryJobNetwork.org

By: Economic & Finance Report

Certain studies have indicated there seems to be disparities between hourly wage jobs and workers who work on the clock hourly. Certain contributions can be urban development in metropolis cities, need for more experienced workers in certain job fields, and growth in urban environments.

In a study by Urban Institute and reported by Yahoo Finance. Affordable housing is hard to come by to hourly wage workers, and gentrification in major metropolis urban areas such as NYC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, are making it harder for hourly workers to make any sort of living, the Urban Institute provides.

Housing development in major cities tend to be way more in rentals, then in smaller cities or rural areas but conflicting accounts tend to point any one direction? As in regards to the root of the problem. Noone has figured it out yet, whether it’s local politicians to the the developers themselves… Answers have not been provided to address the problem as whole. So this “everybody for themselves mentality” is dictated for survival to many who work hourly wages. -SB

Credit: Urban Institute Study: https://www.urban.org/features/too-far-jobs-spatial-mismatch-and-hourly-workers

Credit: Yahoo Finance News: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/nyc-san-francisco-housing-crisis-impacting-job-market-190940308.html

30 January 2019

1) California produce prices are going up because of labor shortages and increasing cost for labor. Agriculture workers are now under California’s minimum wage and overtime laws, plus mandated medical care. In response, farmers are turning more to automation to reduce labor cost and requirements. In the mean time, farm production is down which can further drive prices of produce up nation wide. Also, farming is moving off shore.

2) Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) filed for bankruptcy, which puts pending lawsuits on hold and will consolidate them in bankruptcy court.

3) Insurance losses for California wildfires top $11.4 billion dollars, from 46,000 insurance claims. The fires destroyed 13,000 houses and businesses and left 89 dead.

4) 29 JAN 19    Stock market closings:

Dow              24,579.96          up       51.74
Nasdaq           7,028.29     down       57.40
S&P 500          2,640.00     down          3.85

10 Year Yield:    down   at    2.71%

Oil:    up   at    $53.37

7 December 2018

1) The arrest of a top Chinese executive of Huawei, a major Chinese high technology company, caused world markets, including the Dow, to fall.  The Dow dropped 777 points before news that the Feds planned to slow down on increasing the interest rate was announced.

2) Research finds that millennials don’t have the money to spend that previous generations had.  The assumption has been a shift in spending habits, but with a millennial male making $6,600 dollars less than 1978 men, it appears they just don’t have the disposable income.  Working women haven’t made up the difference, opening the question about the future viability of our hyper-consumerism economy.

3) The EPA is expected to rollback back emission standards allowing coal fire powerplants to operate again without having to remove the carbon dioxide from burning coal.

4) 6 DEC 18     Stock market closings:

Dow                24,947.67         down      79.40
Nasdaq             7,188.26               up      29.83
S&P 500            2,695.95          down        4.11

10 Year Yield:     down   at   2.88%

Oil:    up   at     $51.52

4 December 2018

1) Qatar announced they are dropping out of OPEC to focus on natural gas production, which is what their oil fields mostly produce.  Being a small producer of oil, Qatar considered itself too small to be a part of OPEC, despite being a member for 57 years.

2) For the best bets in the stock market during this next 90 days of trade war truce, experts are saying to watch where China spends money in the US that best strengthens it’s position with America.  Look for such things as agriculture products like pork and grains, and big ticket machinery such as construction equipment and aircraft.

3) Walmart is buying robots, autonomous floor scrubbing machines, and will have 360 units in stores by end of January.  Walmart is already using robots which scan for ‘out of stock’ items on shelves. Both robots operate by themselves on the store floor while customers are present.

4) 3 DEC 18      Stock market closings:    Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia and Russia agree to limit oil production.

Dow                  25,826.43    up    287.97
Nasdaq               7,441.51    up    110.98
S&P 500              2,790.37    up       30.20

10 Year Yield:     down   at    2.99%

Oil:    up   at    $53.22

28 November 2018

1) There are reports that Apple stock holds key to end market slide, that the markets can’t turn around until Apple is going up, because the markets are being driven by the tech stocks, and Apple is the lead technology stock.  In the last two months, Apple stock has lost 25% of its value.

2) While home values have continued rising, the gains have shrunk to their lowest amount in the last two years.

3) Economy tiny houses are being offered in Silicon Valley costing $280,000.  The houses are prefabricated units.

4) GM has spent $10 billion dollars in buying back its stock, but then cut jobs to save $4.5 billion dollars.

5) 27 NOV 18      Stock market closings:

Dow                24,748.73     up      108.49
Nasdaq             7,082.70     up          0.85
S&P 500            2,682.17     up          8.72

10 Year Yield:     down    at    3.06%

Oil:     up    at     $52.02

21 November 2018

New article posted below, titled “Recession Worries?”

1) Another major drop in the markets, with the Dow and S&P wiping out their 2018 gains. Oil is down, the biggest single day fall in 3 years.  Markets reacting to concerns of future higher interest rates and a slowing of international economics.

2) GM had offered salaried employees a buyout, but only a little over half the needed 7,000 employees have accepted, leading to fears of pending layoffs in January.

3) 20 NOV 18      Stock market closings:

Dow                   24,465.64        down        551.80
Nasdaq                6,908.82        down        119.65
S&P 500               2,641.89        down          48.84

10 Year Yield:     down   at    3.05%

Oil:            up   at    $53.57

The Monopoly Game for Millennials

The Democratic and Republican parties are both playing their own special game of monopoly leaving Millennials with the worst deal since the Indians sold Manhattan for only $24!

James Lyman BSAE, BSEE, MSSM

So how do the Democrats and Republicans play monopoly? Easy . . . taking their turn, each throws the dice, then moves their token piece those number of squares, pauses and looks at the token for a few seconds, then moves it back to square one. The other party does the same thing, returning to square one, then the process repeats, with no one playing any further around the board than that first throw. They stay on square one and don’t do anything else in playing the game. They accomplish absolutely nothing! There are frequent news reports and political commentaries about how the youth of America, the Millennials and Z-Generation, are disenfranchised with the two political parties, and this is why. Neither are doing anything about solving the problems of the youth, rather the parties are just farting around playing silly nonsensical games. Neither party is doing anything to help the young people to win the game!

Consequently, the young people of America are . . . most assuredly . . . getting the worst deal since the Indians sold Manhattan for just $24.

So no wonder the youth, the future of America, show no interest in either party . . . why should they when there’s nothing in the game for them? Why would a party’s nonsensical way of playing the Monopoly game hold any interest to the youth, when you’ve seen the whole game after just a few moves, and you know that nothing is being done to win the game? Now you may ask, ‘So just how are the two political parties playing this game in reality?’ Simple! For both parties, their only interest goes no further than campaigning to win elections, even when elections are two or more years away. They are fully absorbed in the mechanics and machinations of running political campaigns, their event horizon going no further than winning . . . or losing an election. Just that first move from square one, then start all over again.

That doesn’t win any games, because no problems are ever solved. And you don’t have to watch too many days of national news before one sees they are accomplishing absolutely nothing worth while. It’s just one big monkey-fight straight out of a Jane Goodall documentary film. Just a gaggle of hominids struggling to dominate and control the others for no other real reason than to dominate and control those of their species. You look at news reports and political commentaries and it’s all about polls, style, images and political strategies . . . where the news anchors have become little more than color announcers for some kind of political football game with their only dialogue being about the scores, points, touchdowns and fouls of the game, nothing of real substance or about the problems facing the Millennials and Z-Generation, let alone any real discussion about viable solutions to those problems. Nothing about obsolete people and displacement by technology, nothing about lost and limited opportunities, about how the young are slowly being squeezed out of the system . . . how for so many of them, there isn’t anything of a future to look forward too, to work towards. If you do see something like these items, it’s just a 2 minute 10 second filler because there’s nothing else to fill air time with. How do you seriously cover an important topic such as the availably of oil in just 2 minute 10 seconds, a topic that easily takes an hour to do any justice to understanding the problem. And without that understanding, you don’t have a prayer of successfully addressing a problem.

While the Democrats and Republicans play their silly little game of Monopoly, never getting past square one, and while the reporters, political pundits and newscasters have a wonderful fun filled time talking about the game and what individual politicians should do or not do to score a touchdown, the youth of America are being continually squeezed out of the social economic system. With 20 to 25% new college graduates unemployed or under employed, and 32% of young people still living at home because they can’t support themselves, the squeeze out is easy to see. And for my generation? Many feel and say that they’ve got their share of the pie, and therefore ‘so what’? What they don’t realize is we, the baby boomers, the Americans that are over forty, we are depending on all of the Millennials and Z-Generation to maintain a viable healthy economic system in America to support us. Because fix income people are the very first to suffer from the collapse of an economy, as we’ve seen many times in the last few decades.

Being squeezed out of the social-economic system by the three forces of: 1) technology displacement, 2) alienation and 3) the increasing cost to keep individuals in a high technology society, is why the young shun the two political parties. They feel they have nothing in the game, so why should they pay any attention. All the while we of the older generations, just blindly follow the goings on of the political scene, just as we do with any other sporting event, concerned only with seeing points scored by our team. So many of us don’t stop to consider that these ‘points’ have no real meaning in life, because they don’t solve any problems.

So the Monopoly game just goes on and on with nothing ever being accomplished.

And we never think anything about the absurdity of it all!