Friday, January 7, 2011

The New Year - 2011

A year ago the DOW was 10618 and today it is trading at 11653.  Financially, 2008 was miserable. 2009 was grim.  2010 was a year that has proven ok for many and marks a good start for the future.  I blogged about the Promise of 2010 and I think that the year lived up to my expectations. 

It wasn't all good. How can we forget the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that killed 11 on April 20, and took 86 days to cap the gushing crude in the Gulf of Mexico.  We had trapped Chilean Miners, continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mexico's drug cartels grew violent, and we had earthquakes in Haiti, China, and Chile. The year 2010 had notable extremes in nature. Major snow storms, massive floodwaters, relentless heat waves, and lots of wildfires challenged us in ways that have never been seen in recorded history.

Yet, I'm optimistic about this new year 2011.  It has plenty of potential and I can't wait to see how it turns out! 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Entrepreneurship. How to hire on a shoe string budget

During the recession, how many laid off workers decided that they couldn't wait for a job offer to come in to get back to work?  Lots.  Out of work top talent went to work for themselves and some have realized some success.  Now those small business entrepreneurs need to hire staff.

To find the right talent the options include running ads and browsing résumés posted on agency Web sites or relevant job boards. At first glance, this seems like an inexpensive way to go. But after factoring in the time required to review résumés and the skill it takes to analyze the results of numinous applications, this can cost much more in the end.

Another other option is to contract with a recruiter, at least to find the immediately needed staff.  Again, the cost here is typically 20 to 30 percent of the hire’s first years salary which is justified for great talent but if the entrepreneur needs more than one hire it gets real expensive real fast.  Plus, the fee agreement means that the contract recruiter has an incentive in finding candidates that command larger salary's.

Another viable option is finding an agency that offers a retained search agreement. This option is best when hiring several new employees at the same time or over a period of time.  Typically, it is a flat monthly fee based on the number of positions, location, and the number of hiring managers involved.  Here talented professionals find candidates from many sources including industry focused resume databases, the major job board resume banks, competing companies, and other advertising.  They screen the people that apply providing a more targeted result.  Once a narrowed candidate pool is established, then any scheduling needs are accounted for interviews, they manage offer negotiations and any other vetting needs. No additional fee is collected upon hire.

Recruiting is tricky business that should be left up to professionals.  Good luck in your job search.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Dow Jones Industrial Average - As Volatile As Ever...

Today... we have 11,171.09. On the opening day of 2010 the DOW reached a 15 month high closing at 10,680.  April 29th the DOW closed at 11,167.  In August it dipped to 9,985.  And like I said today we are back to 11,171 or so.  This election needs to conclude before the market will stop jumping around like an equalizer at a techno club.

I'm going to follow the DOW to see what happens in the 4th QTR.

I forgot to blog in August that Rod Blagojevich's trial ended with the jury deadlocked on 23 of 24 counts.  But today, he won a delay of his retrial until April of 2011.  Blagojevich was convicted on a single count of lying to federal authorities about whether he kept track of campaign contributions and their sources.  Other politicians are not arrested for taking money for personal or political gain because it is legal to give money to support special interest in the US provided attorneys keep track of what money goes to what vote or something like that.  Blagojevich, 53, was arrested in December 2008 on charges that he tried to link official actions by his office to campaign contributions but the Jurors were unable to agree on  23 of 24 complicated counts. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Populism is Hot.

A couple of recent news stories have added fuel to the populist fire that has ignited over the past couple of years.  One, that is of particular interest for this blogger is the breaking story of Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who on Monday essentially quit his job when he told off a passenger, grabbed a couple of beers and then slid out of the plane on an emergency shoot feet first.  Only in an employer market this bad can a guy that has been arraigned on felony charges of reckless endangerment and criminal mischief become a champion of the common person.  The poor behavior of large employers and arrogant corporations seem to have established a bottled up anger in the US workforce.  Large Facebook groups and myspace networks have emerged in support of this new poster boy for "Take This Job and Shove it".  This event should serve as a clear warning that retention is going to be brutal tough once the labor market corrects and workers return to the drivers seat.

Next is former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the trial for his alleged corruption.  Everyone that watched the news of the governor being dismissed from his seat because of charges that ranged from attempting to trade an appointment to Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat to trying to shake down a construction company executive, knows that this was an open and shut case.  However, jurors have spent the last 11 days deliberating and looks like it is complex enough that maybe the governments case isn't a slam dunk after all.  It is difficult to say how the nation would react to an acquittal.  If this is a case about using gubernatorial decisions for personal gain, what governor in what state isn't trading their influence and power for campaign finance contributions and invitations to fancy events?  A case could be brought against each and every elected official in the US.  Until real campaign finance reform is passed and enacted into law, every elected official in the US is compromised and in the back pocket of special interest.  When money, not issues, determine election outcomes, the system can't be trusted.  It is possible that Rod Blagojevich, like every other politician, was just doing his job and the differences are just semantics.

This is day 98 for the oil spill and if populism is a movement where people ban together in opposing large business and financial interests, it is safe to say that target number one is BP.  The damage assessments are evolving and BP has increased the money set aside for spill-related costs.  Still, it is the worst environmental disaster on record and it is a tragedy that is the result of negligence on the part of BP and MSS regulators that did everything but regulate.  Vast right and left agreement can be found in disgust for BP.

Last, the jobs report on Friday was less than good news. Optimism, an American tradition, is fading away as 14.6 million remain unemployed for longer periods than expected.  There is an endless supply of bearish economists and each are debating if the government needs debt discipline or increased stimulus. It is time to see hopeful voices to mix in and contrast with the growing pessimism.  The one truth in all this blazing hot news is that people are fed up and they want out of the kitchen.  They want to grab a few brews and slide down the shoot!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Same ol' news

BP's broken well was leaking oil and gas again Monday for the first time since the company capped it last week, and Senate Democrats are preparing to restore jobless checks for 2.5 million people whose benefits ran out during a congressional standoff over deficit spending.

The oil spill and unemployment are still the top two news stories.  In my last blog, I wanted to know which was worse... I guess I still do. Oil prices are hovering around $77 a barrel as crude traders wait for clearer signals on the strength of the global economy and stock markets.  I think that we will be looking forward to an erratic stock market in the moths to come as politics and business activity push and pull the economy in a tug of war until the mid-term elections are final. 

I will be watching the BP oil situation and the employment numbers until my next blog.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Which is worse... Oil Spill or Unemployment Trends?

For five weeks now the BP pipe has gushed oil into the Gulf of Mexico and the US stock market has bounced around like a ping pong ball. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the number of people submitting first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 460,000 however, those that track these numbers suggest that anther 60,000 is required to show a strong employment trend.

Both the oil spill and the unemployment numbers are disappointing news headlines. I expect the unemployment trends to get better faster than the situation in the Gulf. Reckless off shore drilling monitored by a broken and compromised federal government have resulted in an accident that will damage way too much of our planet, our economy, and our human spirit. I expect unemployment numbers to improve in the next three months, lets hope the situation in the Gulf does as well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DJI discussions

10,428 is what the Dow Jones Industrial Average started off with at the conclusion of 2009. 11,167 is today's close.

Not too shabby.  In my last blog, I discussed the Promise of 2010 and I think that the results of the DOW (30 large, publicly owned companies based in the United States standard trading results) show that things have improved.  I'm not ready to declare victory over the Great Recession but I'm glad to see things moving in the right direction.  More companies are starting to hire and more organizations are planning to increase headcount.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed and looking forward to the results of the next quarter!

Keep it up USA!