Entrepreneurship Series: Men With Hats

From time to time I write articles about the tenets of good entrepreneurship qualities and guidelines, and this article definitely fits within that category. In teaching entrepreneurship classes, one thing that often is discussed is the need for professionals to wear many hats. This is especially true with start-ups and very early-stage companies. Typically these firms just do not have the resources to attract and compensate a full compliment of…

Fed Window for Rate Hikes is Now, Officially Open!

The long awaiting Fed rate raising cycle is now, officially upon us. The question of whether or not the Fed will raise rates has long been answered in the affirmative, and so, it is not a question of if, but when will the Fed tighten. June was almost universally forecast to be the first Fed meeting at which Fed governors would possibly vote to raise rates. The June meeting occurs…

Sinking Gasoline Prices May Be Too Late to Rescue Holiday Retail Sales – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, December 8, 2014

Last week’s jobs report was amazing, plain and simple. The U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs, far exceeding consensus analyst estimates of 235,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.8 percent, from a high just above 10 percent at the trough of the Great Recession. The stock market continues to set new, all-time highs. So why isn’t the economy growing at a robust pace? The answer is simple, although the…

Has Black Friday Lost Its Significance? – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, December 1, 2014

Black Friday — the first official shopping day of the holiday season — has historically been the most important shopping day of the year for retailers. But with the emergence of Cyber Monday, and the loss of pricing pressure that has resulted, particularly since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, is Black Friday no longer relevant to retailers or to the economy and financial markets? Black Friday, so-called because in the past the…

Labor Market Improvements Include Increasing Quits, But Challenges Remain – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, November 17, 2014

Despite strong improvements in the unemployment rate, weekly jobless claims and quits, wage growth has been almost nonexistent so far in this 5½-year economic recovery. Still, recent data show coordinated improvement across multiple indicators, and the most recent wage numbers look promising. Rising quits — employees quitting their jobs voluntarily — rose sharply in September, jumping 243,000, the highest level since early 2008. Since layoffs have not changed significantly, the…

Economic Growth Is All About Wages – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, November 3, 2014

Although we witnessed the first glimpse of wage improvement last week, American workers are not seeing consistent pay increases. Until this changes, economic growth will remain lackluster, and as a result, earnings for U.S. companies will lag current stock valuations. The United States is adding jobs at the fastest pace since the end of the Great Recession, with the economy adding 248,000 jobs in September, and another strong month of…

Good News is Now Bad News for Financial Markets – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, September 29, 2014

Investors in both the stock and bond markets, throughout the recovery, beginning in mid-2009, have viewed positive economic data as positive for financial markets, and they have traded accordingly. With the clock ticking on the inevitable start to Fed interest rate increases, good news will become bad news for financial markets, and for investors. Despite the weak durable goods number this past week, which showed a larger than expected decline of 18.2…

Employment Stumbles Nationally, But Local Signs Encouraging for Long Term – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, September 8, 2014

The Commerce Department reported last week that U.S. job growth faltered somewhat, with the country adding just 142,000 jobs overall, versus the consensus estimate of 228,000.  Although the six-month trend of 200,000+ new jobs per month was broken, the jobs picture looks encouraging, especially on a local level, for the longer term. The U.S. economy had been adding more than 200,000 jobs each month since December 2013 — the best streak of…

Unreliable Government Data Drive Stock Market Bubble

For a long time now, we have seen outsized revisions of government data, including the first quarter 2014 GDP figures, which the government initially reported at 0.1% annualized growth, only to revise that number down dramatically to -2.9% annualized growth.  Today, the government reported that second quarter GDP grew at a 4% annualized rate, and they (once again) revised first quarter GDP growth to -2.1% annualized growth.  Further, they have…

Fed Meeting Could Trigger Stock Market Correction, Or Not – Published in Noozhawk on Monday, June 16, 2014

This week’s Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting has all the earmarks of a stock market correction trigger, just waiting to be pulled. Although it is widely expected that the Fed will reduce its bond buying by another $10 billion per month, which would be the fifth such reduction, investors may view this move as reason enough to begin selling. It is not simply another notch down in the Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) that is…