The perils of pragmatism
US President Harry Truman once famously stated, “Give me a one-handed economist! All my economists say, ‘on one hand … on the other.’” Chairman of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen’s latest remarks on the labor market call Truman’s exhortation for a clearer picture to mind.
Speaking to the graduating class at the University of Baltimore, Yellen said that the graduates were “entering the strongest job market in nearly a decade,” with a low unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, equal to pre-recession numbers. While the picture isn’t as bleak as what new entrants into the labor market faced during the recession, the numbers aren’t quite the rosy picture that Yellen paints.
By the numbers
The U.S. unemployment rate is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They conduct a monthly survey of nearly 110,000 people, who are identified by geographic location and characteristics that are as representative as possible of the workforce.
These individuals are rotated quarterly so that no one is counted for more than four consecutive months. This leaves a monthly sample that is 75 percent stable with a 50 percent annual residual.
Participants in the survey are questioned about their job status and/or labor force activity during the week covered in the survey.
Seems simple, right?
Well, it depends on which unemployment rate you want to focus on. The 4.6 percent number Yellen stated in her speech is based on what’s known as the U-3 unemployment rate.
This rate doesn’t take into account individuals who are either working part-time because that’s the only type of job that the can find or those considered “marginally attached” to the labor force.
Marginally attached and missing workers
People considered “marginally attached” are those who want work, and have looked for work at some time in the past year, but are at the moment neither working or looking for work.
Workers in these situations are counted in the U-6 unemployment rate, which currently stands at 9.3 percent. This is significantly lower than the heights of the recession, but more than double the number that Yellen cited.
The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C. think tank, estimates that there are approximately 2.3 million such “missing workers” in the United States. This includes those working part time jobs because no other options are available for them, or who have stopped looking entering the holiday season.
The St. Louis branch of the Federal Reserve places the current labor force participation rate at 62.7 percent, the lowest since the recession. It’s also the lowest the United States has seen in any period, recession or non-recession, since December 1977.
A brave new world
As graduates enter the workforce, they face a recovering labor market. But it is one that is more fiercely competitive than ever before, without a place for many qualified people who want to work.
Expectations that seemed de rigeur even a generation ago for graduates entering the job market now no longer apply. Even entry-level jobs prefer that potential employees come to them with some form of experience, as well as impeccable grades. Jobs that are available are often part-time to avoid the vesting of benefits, spread across the world due to the globalization of the economy.
Congratulations on graduation, indeed, but perhaps married with condolences.
Supreme Court okays trademarking for ‘generic’ name URLs
(BUSINESS NEWS) Generic name trademarks have helped to stave off monopolies of broad products and services, but the Supreme Court just ruled that generic company names like Booking.com, can now be trademarked.
For years, The United States Patent and Trademark Office has denied rights to names termed as “generic.” This was previously used to prevent generic terms from monopolizing a section of the market. It has prevented many companies from doing that as well.
However, as we move into the 21st century we begin to see things that may not be so cut and dry. As usual life gets messy and things are far more grey than they previously have been.
Recently, the US Supreme Court ruled that website names are eligible for a change to the previous trademark rules. The website that pushed for this privilege first, Booking.com that is owned by Booking Holdings Inc., argued that they needed this ruling to stop consumers from following copycats down a rabbit hole and away from their business.
The decision, heavily weighted at 8-1, gives Booking.com, nationwide legal protection against competing companies trademarks.
A remark released later by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Supreme Court states, “We have no cause to deny Booking.com the same benefits Congress accorded other marks qualifying as nongeneric.” An argument quoted from the decision continues as since, “‘Booking.com’ is not a generic name to consumers, it is not generic.”
This stance, taken by the majority, exemplifies a firm position on the rights of the individual companies’ abilities to identify themselves as they see fit.
The lone dissenting vote coming from Justice Stephen Breyer who argued that he fears that this decision “will lead to a proliferation of ‘generic.com’ marks, granting their owners a monopoly over a zone of useful, easy-to-remember domains.”
Honestly, if you can’t come up with your own domain that either incorporates, but doesn’t copy, or gets your point across without being too generic, you may need to hire a PR person.
This move forward from the Supreme Court opens up a lot of possibilities for people to be creative with their businesses. If generic and simple names will be the norm, then people will have to think outside the box in the future. Bring on the challenges.
New company beats Amazon with next morning delivery?
(BUSINESS NEWS) Amazon has a new competitor in South Korea: Coupang, with faster shipping than Prime.
What if I told you Amazon Prime’s, 1-3 day guaranteed delivery time isn’t the fastest e-commerce service the world has to offer? You would think I’m lying right?
Coupang, one of the world’s fastest delivery services located in South Korea, allows you to order any item, anytime before midnight, promising that it will be at your doorstep by 7am! (I wasn’t lying!) With 70% of its employees living within a 10 minute radius of a Coupang center, 80% of residents residing in populated cities and 95% of it’s population owning a smartphone, South Korea has become the perfect e-commerce epicenter. Coupang employees over 10,000 people who together deliver 99.3% of all orders within 24 hours. Imagine it’s Tuesday night, you’re falling asleep and suddenly remember you forgot to get your wife a present for her 50th birthday tomorrow. You have two options: accept your fate of being put in the dog house for three long weeks, or quickly order a few great items off Coupang’s website that’ll be delivered BEFORE she even wakes up!
Like Amazon, Coupang allows its customers to create a profile, store desired products in a list, and check out using your saved payment method. Half of South Korea’s total population of 51.6 million has installed Coupang’s app with a surge of people trying Coupang for the first time during stay at home orders due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The company struggled to meet fulfillment demands, especially those including PPE, household cleaning products, and children’s necessities. While many companies are struggling to stay afloat, Coupang is quickly adapting to meet consumer demands. In March, the company opened a new logistics center to expand its overnight/same day delivery services and is currently working to reach an even broader population.
Believe it or not, right before Coupang received a $2 Billion investment from SoftBanks, its founder, Kim Bom debated walking away from it all. Bom founded the company in 2010, receiving the investment in 2018 and is expected to pursue an IPO by the end of 2020. So for all of you entrepreneurs wondering if you should give up on that decade long dream…DON’T. Coupang went from selling a few hundred items each day to 3.3 million. Now that’s what you call entrepreneurism!
Google plans to pay publishers for content (a little too late)?
(BUSINESS NEWS) Google will finally pay publishers for news, but only a few, and they have to meet Google standards.
I mean…could you get any greedier Google? (Chandler Bings voice).
After years and years of pressure and complaints from publishers that Google’s search feed doesn’t properly recognize them or the news they work so hard to report, Google has finally announced that they will begin to pay publishers for content. But only some.
WHAT A LOAD OF BS.
According to the News Media Alliance, Google profited 4.7 BILLION in 2019 as a search engine for the news industry. So now, not only is Google fleecing its content providers and the writers who are working to create material for them, but it’s quite likely that Google’s algorithm is pushing paid news to the top of its search feed. What does this mean for users? It means that for one, you will see what they want you to see, but most importantly, it means that Google HAS the money to pay its publishers but chooses not too!
Google’s announcement to start paying publishers excludes all publishers outside Brazil, Germany, and Australia. Even within the countries that Google closed a deal with, there are many that do not meet its “high quality content” requirement for a paid position. The problem with all this nonsense is that we stopped letting the news come from others like us, and instead, according to the U.S News Media Alliance, the news is entirely owned by a handful of companies. You may have 635 channels on your TV, but if you google…or maybe you should duck duck go it, you’ll find that all those channels lead back to one huge organization.
SO WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?
Google has definitely been pressured to make some big changes, and while paying publishers is a good first step in the right direction, is it enough to make up for years of damage?
Women-owned businesses make up 42% of all businesses – heck yeah!
Supreme Court okays trademarking for ‘generic’ name URLs
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Turns out a lot of people are in between introverted and extroverted
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Ladies and gentlemen, the U.S. National Anthem
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