Are you Tall? Are you Happy?

Earlier this week I saw a puff piece on about a study that finds that taller people experience more positive emotions than short people, on average. At first I brushed this story aside as meaningless.But then I saw it a few other places, which made me think about it more. I found the study on the National Bureau of Economic Research(the same people who declare recessions), but you have to pay for it and I declined to do so. I guess my opinions on this will have to do.

Here is what the study abstract says though:

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index daily poll of the US population, taller people live better lives, at least on average.They evaluate their lives more favorably, and they are more likely to report a range of positive emotions such as enjoyment and happiness.They are also less likely to report a range of negative experiences, like sadness, and physical pain, though they are more likely to experience stress and anger, and if they are women, to worry. These findings cannot be attributed to different demographic or ethnic characteristics of taller people, but are almost entirely explained by the positive association between height and both income and education, both of which are positively linked to better lives.

I remember when I was younger 5 foot, 8 inches was average height for a man, just recently I saw that number move up to 5’9″, and now I see its 5’10”. I once was average, but now I’m two inches below it. But height is something I think about, especially if I’m with someone who is 6’2″ or above. I’m not exactly sure why, but it might have to do with looking dramatically up at someone to speak to them. But this doesn’t make me unhappy and I doubt it makes taller people more satisfied. The study must be finding a correlation and not a causation.

Personal appearance and the person’s feelings about it are shaped by their own self confidence and the culture of the society. Height is desirable just like being a blond is. However, most people would trade very little of value for either of them. What I’d like to see in a study is the comparative happiness of tall people and rich people. Or a study showing how much happier rich tall people are on the average through out time

Working Thoughts 07/31/08
Six Numbers

Donating IP to a Charity or Nonprofit

I really enjoy reading the Harvard Business Review Blogs. They have such a repertoire. Dan Pallotta writes one called Free the Nonprofits and as you can probably guess, the topic is charities and nonprofits. His latest entry is titled Why Charities Should Ask for Intellect, Not Just Funds and that led me to consider assets that are intellectual property based, such as a patent.

Well, the point of the article is about compensation levels for those that lead the charities. I’ll address my thoughts on this first. Just about everyone applies a certain level of altruism to those that work for a nonprofit or a charity. Perhaps the assumption is wrong, but the thought is that these people just want to better the world some how some way, so they’ll take less than market value to do it. The article talks about proportions and how the size of a budget can potentially warrant certain size pay packages. But that is failed logic too. To me,if someone builds the coffers up from say $50,000 to $5,000,000 then they should get a large pay package. If someone takes a charity from$5,000,000 to $10,000,000 then that is outstanding, but not quite worth the same compensation as the first person. Once a charity reaches a certain threshold it builds on itself. The rules start to not apply as they do in the for-profit space. For instance, getting access to corporate executives is much easier to do if you are a charity than if you are a for profit. And this type of influence is a currency. And these relationships have their own value, that goes beyond a pay package.

But I thought this blog entry was about how people can turn over their intellectual property to a charity. Perhaps this exists already, but suppose there was e a United Way that didn’t collect funding, it took in donated copyrights,  trademarks, and patents. And then it was up to the charity to monetize them or to collect the predetermined licensing fees. I suppose it would work like the Salvation Army or Good Will where most of the stuff turns up little profit, but occasionally something results in a boon.This type of clearing house charity group could extend great power with these assets can could get much needed resources because of them.

Working Thoughts 07/29/08
Fail SpectacularlyRandy Pausch

The Job Coach for Young Professionals – A Review

I’m at a point in my life where I’m no longer a young professional, but I’m not quite a weathered veteran either. I like to think I still accurately remember what it was like to be just out of school and figuring the real world out. For instance, a friend of mine has a soon to be senior in high school. He is taking the SATs and thinking about colleges, which means there are many questions. I’m trying to be as helpful as possible by recalling my own experience and discussing the pros and cons with them.

Which led me to think about what resources are available to someone who is trying to find their first career oriented job. One I ran across is called The Job Coach for Young Professionals: The Workbook for Landing the Right Job. It’s a workbook style book by Susan Kennedy and Karen Baker. Created in part by Career Treking and Intern Bridge. Its about 118 pages of directed material and another 25 or so of templates and forms.

I have two overall views of this book:

The more positive is that it has great nuggets of information and advice through out. There are templates and forms that will help organize the activities that are needed to land the most appropriate job for a young professional. The negative view is that I can’t bring myself to buy into the idea that a 21, 22, 23 year old is going to sit down with this book and go through it. Perhaps my skepticism is bordering on cynicism, but it feels like this book was made for a forty year old to give to a twenty-one year old as a graduation present or something. It would take a very mature and motivated recent graduate to have the proper perspective for this book to be used as intended.

Specific call outs:

–Early on I felt like this book is targeted mainly at recent grads that want to work in corporate America. It just feels that way. But what surveys and observation is telling us is that Gen Y isn’t as interested in corporate America. So in reading this book I felt like there is somewhat of a personality that this is perfectly suited for and other types that it isn’t.
— There is a good form for doing a skills inventory. The only change I would make though is to include personal characteristics as well. Skills are pretty raw at this point.
— I like the values inventory too.
–There is a section called All About Me and it encapsulates my negative opinion of this book. For many 22 year olds, they have no idea what”me” is. Creating an identity is something that comes with experience and since a recent grad has no real corporate identity then its hard to do. Its a transition period in the person’s life, being definitive is difficult.
— Because the book does a terrific job organizing the type of things a person should do, it can become too formal. For example, it outlines how a conversation should go with a contact. I know it is simply supportive and a guideline, but it comes off as cold. Establishing a rapport is probably more important than quizzing them on the likes and dislikes of their job and industry.
— Even though the contact part is cold, it does frame the questions very well. Here are a few that I like: what are your daily tasks? What are normal gaps between the knowledge base and skill set that is required for this job? What is the hiring outlook for the industry? What type of talent is need in this industry? and How does that translate to schooling?
–I never considered it, but doing a mind map for a resume is an outstanding idea. Often times people get wrapped up in resume format and the message gets lost in the process. But doing a mind map provides the opportunity to flush out unique skills and determine how you can separate yourself.
— I laughed, but also appreciated the list of “Action Verbs” on page 51. It is quite a list and one I can leverage.
–Its one thing to write out the process for how this should work, but this book illustrates it and across the board the visuals are on point. Each time they reinforce the subject.
— The interview chapter is marvelous. Here are some details:
— A preparation activity where you need to think about how you communicate, your technical job skills, and how you work with a manager/management.
— Having a story is vital. For the points of emphasis, a narrative describing why your are different and better is a must.
— I like the idea of having at the ready a story about how you dealt with a difficult situation and resolved it. That question is practically guaranteed. A few more of those are:

  • Describe a situation where you failed and what you did about it?
  • When you’re working on a team, what role do you typically play?
  • Why did you leave your last job?

— There will be several different interviews and one will probably be with a recruiter. Here is where you want to differentiate yourself as not only qualified, but the best fit for the job.
— Page 79 has good advice about how to position your resume depending on the medium. For instance with newspaper responses, its good to highlight your key words with a yellow highlighter.
— The attention this book gives to cover letters is above average. Cover letters are under served when you think about their value. This book does a good job of outlining how it should flow.
— Another area that made me cringe is the advice about how to follow up with someone even when you don’t get the job. Because the book is cold with contacts I felt that it didn’t do a good job with saying a certain amount of grace is need to do this well. Otherwise,its awkward.
— The book finishes with probably the best part – Its Keys to Success on page 112 and 113. For instance, it pulls out advice like Your colleagues know you are smart. Now show them you can learn. Most first jobs are not as glamorous or as challenging as we dream them to be.Quietly get the job done to the best of your ability. Learn to work in teams. Find out how people communicate; is it by email, IM, phone, or what?
And there is a tidbit I love. Its “Treat secretaries and other assistants with respect! They can make or break you.” That is absolutely true.

So to summarize. I got a lot out of the book (its filled with great advice, nuggets, and templates), but I doubt someone in their early 20s is going to have the perspective to get the most out of this resource.

Projected Compensation Stats, Large Companies are Employing a higher percentage, and What’s Next

Some stats I’ve encountered recently:

Via Yahoo and Watson Wyatt:

  • Anyone that got a 2% should actually see an improvement in buying power because of deflation. So a 2% raise is relative to a 3.5-4% raise. Not earth shattering, but not terrible
  • Companies are planning median merit increases of 3% for 2010
    • below the 3.5% raise workers received in both 2008 and 2007
  • A separate Watson Wyatt survey showed that only 10% of 900 companies polled are planning no pay raises for workers in 2010, compared with 25% this year
  • The survey showed that 2009 annual incentive awards are expected to be funded at 75%. That’s down from 82% in 2008 and 99% in 2007

Via NY Times and Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration:

  • From 1988 to 2006, the percentage of the private sector labor force working in large businesses (500 or more employees) increased to 49.8 percent from 45.5 percent

Via HBR and Melissa Raffoni:
Several CEOs told Raffoni these are their upcoming priorities (notice nothing about costs cutting):

  • Strategy to invest in web 2.0/social marketing to capture consumer market share
  • Sales channel strategy to ramp sales of new products while driving down long-term costs
  • New service positioning pitch to capture an emerging market in the telecom space
  • Opportunity analysis–which projects to accelerate, which to cut?
  • New “Software as a Service” product roadmap
  • Investments in Marketing–where to experiment, how to allocate funds?
  • Taking advantage of a “fire sale” acquisition and plan to leverage it
  • Financing strategy–which term sheet, if any, to take?

Math Education: Calculus or Statistics

For those that follow my education themed posts you’ll know that I’m a strong proponent of limiting the emphasis on tests as the deciding factor for a student. I believe tests are valuable, but they can’t be over weighted. Tests are great for showing comprehension of theory and book learning. Seldom does it align with applied learning. And that is what I think we should have more of, kids applying the material in the real world. It takes more time, but the effects are lasting.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Arthur Benjamin is a math teacher who in February of this year (2009) spoke briefly at TED. His speech is pasted below. He suggests a change in approach in math curriculum. Right now everything is additive to calculus. But what Mr. Benjamin suggests is that everything should be additive to Statistics. The reason is that statistics are entirely more useful in the average person’s day. He mentions risk and reward, trade offs, likelihoods, and several other times it would be useful.

Different States of Happiness

Over the last few days I’ve read a couple of different NY Times writings about the subject of Happiness. I’m not a philosopher or a behaviorist, but I like the topic. Those that seek happiness, regardless of the form, are highly motivated.

There are three different influences for this post. The first two, as I mentioned already, are writings I ran across in the NY Times and the third is a short film, audio visual graphic art type of thing.  Each one makes me look at happiness from a different angle.

The first one I read is an Op-Ed by Roger Cohen called The Meaning of Life. Its mainly about a picture of two monkeys. These  rhesus monkeys are part of an experiment to see what affect caloric intake has on life expectancy. The results suggest that on average restricting caloric intake does extend life. However, Cohen question is what is the point of living longer if you don’t enjoy that existence? And that is true. He goes on to intimate that a balance between discipline and reward is needed. And a trade off for it might be a few less years of life. Does one monkey look more satisfied in life than the other? You decide.

The second writing I liked this past week is by Daniel Goleman and its called Sitting Quietly, Doing Something. The topic of the writing is Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, the Happiest Man in the World. He’s a Tibetan Lama who recently wrote a book about how to increase your happiness. Although he has specific ways to improve your happiness level, perhaps the most important is what the piece ends with – humility. If you can’t laugh at yourself, well…
Anyway, he teaches a meditation style which quiets parts of the brain and amplies the parts that are more associated with happiness. Here’s an excerpt:

Richard Davidson, who heads the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, has found one distinct brain profile for happiness. As Davidson’s laboratory has reported, when we are in distress, the brain shows high activation levels in the right prefrontal area and the amygdala. But when we are in an upbeat mood, the right side quiets and the left prefrontal area stirs. When showing this brain pattern, people report feeling, as Davidson put it to me, “positively engaged, goal-directed, enthusiastic, and energetic.”

And this last part is what got me thinking about some statements I’ve said in the past. I think one of the greatest feelings someone has is that “Ah Ha!” moment of when a breakthrough happens. Its like a race in your head where all these thoughts are rushing around with quick trial and error, and logic, and self doubt is creeping in, but persistence is still dominating, and then it happens – a quiet singular focus. And the answer reveals itself to you. And the part that is most exceptional is that you know you did it, but at the same time you observed yourself figuring it out. Its as if the self aware part watched the parallel processing computer part go through its cryptic problem solving steps.

Entrepreneurs constantly have that “Ah Ha” moment since they are problem solving at such a high rate. And to me, that form of happiness is tremendous. So quiet the right side of your brain and don’t always restrict your reward.

The video below is less than a minute long, but to me it symbolizes the “Ah Ha!” moment very well.

Short Film / Onedreamrush / 42 Below Vodka / China from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Forest Fire Analogy

Adam Werbach over at Harvard Business Review wrote up a blog entry titled Surviving a Recession – And a Wildfire. It is along the same lines as an entry of mine from April called Recessions Can Clear the Dubris. Opportunities are There.

Both hit on how even though the method is devasting in its process, its great for those that can survive the ordeal.

Here are a few excerpts from his piece that I agree with:

A recession is like a forest fire — a rush of destruction that affects everything in its path. Andfor about the last hundred years, nations and companies have sought toprotect themselves from these catastrophic meltdowns through fiscal andmonetary policy at the national level, with similar effort at thecorporate level. The results have been unimpressive at best, andcatastrophic at worst. The U.S. and the world today face the worstrecession since the Great Depression, the equivalent of a super-firethat threatens the entire forest and the people in and around it. Atthe corporate level, the U.S. is experiencing an alarming three hundred and fifty commercial bankruptcies a day, including familiar names like GM and Crabtree & Evelyn.

1. Let fires burn regularly.

The U.S. economy never felt the full effects of the bursting of thedotcom boom because we were soon swept up in the housing boom, whichwas similarly propped up by the easy credit boom. Central banks need tobecome more practiced at letting economies take small dips regularlyrather than allowing a confluence of conditions that can create a deeprecession.

2. Be prepared to survive a fire.

Trees that are prepared to survive fires have some commoncharacteristics. They’re self-pruning; that is, their lower branchesfall off regularly. They also grow thick bark and deep roots. Companiescan hone these skills as well. The first rule is to be self-pruning, toconstantly readjust your staffing to ensure that you have the rightlevels of capacity and that you’re letting go of the dead weight. Manybusiness leaders find that the first round of cuts in a downturn areones that they should have made in happy times.

3. Require change — rather than resisting it.

Through the years, the most effective change guarantor is providingvalue-pricing. McDonald’s has thrived during this recession by usingefficiencies in their operations and supply chain to lower prices whenconsumers need it most. They have also used the opportunity toaccelerate their local sourcing of foods in preparation for emergingconsumer preferences. Another emerging model follows the thirdprinciple of natural capitalism,moving to a service-and-flow business model. In this model companiessell computing power rather than servers, light rather than lightbulbs, and, in the case of Shai Agassi’s “Better Place” and car-sharingcompanies like ZipCar, miles driven rather than cars. The ongoingrelationship with the consumer prepares these new service companies tochange rapidly as consumers change. When the traditional auto-industrystumbles, they stand ready to accelerate.

Tiger Woods is so Mentally Strong

One of the most amazing people to me is Tiger Woods. He won again this weekend. It’s the tournament where he is the host. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer also host PGA Tour stops as well.

Tiger Woods is amazing because of his mind. Most sports are played at a reactionary speed, meaning you practice for situations to arise and when they do you don’t really think, you just react. You’ve trained for this to happen. Golf is different. Its slow enough where there isn’t a reaction. So not only do you have to compete with different players, but you compete with your own head.

For instance, in the NY Times today Benedict Carey wrote an article called Why the Imp in Your Brain Gets Out. Its about how once you identify something you want to not think about you inevitable can’t stop it from entering your mind. Here is an excerpt:

The empirical evidence of this influence has been piling up in recent years, as Dr. Wegner documents in the new paper. In the lab,psychologists have people try to banish a thought from their minds — of a white bear, for example — and find that the thought keeps returning,about once a minute. Likewise, people trying not to think of a specific word continually blurt it out during rapid-fire word-association tests.

The same “ironic errors,” as Dr. Wegner calls them, are just easy to evoke in the real world. Golfers instructed to avoid a specific mistake, like overshooting, do it more often when under pressure, studies find.Soccer players told to shoot a penalty kick anywhere but at a certain spot of the net, like the lower right corner, look at that spot more often than any other.

If you’ve stood over a four foot putt to win a match you know the thoughts that go through your mind. The stress of this moment makes your mind race. Most of the time you just aren’t properly focused, which results in mistakes like a quickened stroke or a path that sends the ball to the left (a pull). But occasionally, it isn’t just a lack of focus that does you in, its because you are already thinking about missing. And once you start thinking about a miss, its all but guaranteed that will be the result.

Tiger Woods, however, rarely misses these chances for victory. He believes in his practice, his ability, and his preparation. He knows there is nothing more he could do to ensure success in this moment. And because of that, he doesn’t allow failure to creep into his mind. Its only focus, its only the ball falling into the cup.

Ultimately these are three extraordinary mental attributes that Tiger Woods possess. The first is his ability to envision success in the face of immense pressure. He isn’t competing with this own intrusive negative thoughts. The second is his regiment is so thorough that he is more prepared than anyone else, which makes him self assured in these moments. And the third is that he is so resilient that he can handle defeat, even though he gave it everything he has. Facing the fact that you simply aren’t good enough is crushing. Most people avoid this realization by building in excuses, such as not practicing for a month. This way, if you lose you can always say “I should have practiced during that month I took off, then I would have won.” This is a very different way of dealing with a loss than admitting you did everything you could and you still failed.

As you evaluate your own personal goals, consider what it takes to really achieve them. Then look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what it means to be successful.

*The NY Times ran a follow on article by Nicholas Bakalar called A Creature of Bad Habit: Why Mistakes Are Repeated. He mentions many of the same themes I do, but he isn’t as sure about the answer as I am. You can’t be afraid to lose.

Why Managers Should Care About Employee Loyalty

Why Managers Should Care About Employee Loyalty
By Timothy Keiningham and Lerzan Aksoy,
Authors of Why Loyalty Matters: The Groundbreaking Approach to Rediscovering Happiness, Meaning and Lasting Fulfillment in Your Life and Work

The landmark Ipsos Loyalty Study, the largest study of loyalty ever conducted, found less than 30 percent of US employees say they areloyal to their company. Only about 25 percent of US employees think their employer has earned their loyalty.

The long-term success of any company depends heavily upon the quality and loyalty of its people. Few corporate executives would disagree with this idea conceptually. But it is also true that most treat the economic value of employees in enhancing customer relationships and company profits as “soft” numbers, unlike the “hard” numbers they use to manage their operations, such as the cost of labor.

The problem with this is that when the going gets tough, managers focus on the hard numbers. And the reality is that at some point every company will go through tough times. That is the nature of business cycles.

The result is that today we are overwhelmed with down sizings and restructurings. Layoffs make the front pages of our newspapers regularly. And while Wall Street often rewards layoffs by treating them as a sign that management is serious about getting a company’s financial house in order, the reality is quite different. Most organizations that downsize fail to realize any long-term cost savings or efficiencies, which necessitates even more restructurings and layoffs.

Disloyalty Is a Two-Way Street

Although the cost benefits tend to be mirages, the corresponding pain to customers and employees is all too real. Research using the American customer Satisfaction Index found that those firms that engaged insubstantial downsizing experienced large declines in customer satisfaction. Unfortunatel for those firms, the index has proven to be a good predictor of future earnings. The study’s authors note that “the current trend toward downsizing in US firms may increase productivity in the short term, but the downsized firms’ future financial performance will suffer if repeat business is dependent on labor-intensive customized service.”

The impact on the organization’s culture is also severe. Down sizings result in a rumor-filled paranoia. When Coca-Cola instituted are structuring that resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs, the company became so awash in far-fetched stories that executives were forced to take the unusual step of intervening to quash them.
Worse still, employees that remain often find themselves jaded. It isn’t hard to find employees who feel exactly like Dan after his company’s layoffs in Mitchell Lee Marks’ Charging Back Up the Hill:

“There is no loyalty here; no one is going the extra mile after this. Two years ago, we worked sixty-five-hour weeks. People were willing to do it, because it was a great place to work and we were doing something that mattered.  . . . From here on in, it’s just a job for me. I’ll put in my forty hours and that’s it.”

Let’s be clear. No CEO relishes the thought of layoffs. It means that their companies are floundering. Furthermore, history has shown us that the pain often outweighs any long-term financial gains.

If companies are going to grow their way out of difficult times (and excel in good times), they need two things: (1) for their customers to stick with them, and (2) to improve their productivity. But this only happens through an organization of committed, loyal employees.

Finding the Link between Employee Loyalty and Profitability

Benjamin Schneider,professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, has shown conclusively that the employee’s loyalty-related attitudes precede a firm’s financial and market performance. And there is a much greater payoff in working on improving the human factor than people think.Researchers at University of Pennsylvania found that spending 10percent of a company’s revenue on capital improvements increased productivity by 3.9 percent. But investing that same amount in developing the employee capital more than doubles that amount, to a whopping 8.5 percent.

It is one thing to believe that employee loyalty results in positive financial outcomes, it is quite another to quantify those outcomes. But if we are going to be able to resist our natural inclinations to focus exclusively on the short-term in difficult times, then we need to get very good at understanding what the real implications to the long-term health of our business is of employee loyalty.

The place to begin at your company is by asking, “How loyal are our employees really?” Doing this requires that you meaningfully solicit feedback from all employees (management included). And you have to be willing to ask tough questions. For example:
  • How do our managers’ relationship styles impact the organization’s service climate and employee loyalty?
  • Does the company provide the necessary tools and training for employees to perform their jobs well?
  • Is a commitment to serve customers rewarded and encouraged by the organization?
  • Does the company demonstrate that it deserves the loyalty of its employees?
There will of course be other dimensions that are of concern for your particular organization or industry. The key is to identify those few,vital dimensions that are most essential for your success. Once you have identified these dimensions, you must measure them in a clear,objective, and rigorous manner.

Once you know where you stand vis-à-vis employee loyalty, next you need to tie this information to the performance drivers of your business.Typically, these come down to four things: productivity,employee turnover, customer loyalty, and revenue.

The ability to statistically link each of these measures to employee loyalty is relatively straightforward. The key is to aggregate employee data into groups that meaningfully link to turnover, customer loyalty,and revenue. For example, a retail chain might find store level analysis to be the most relevant unit, since customer loyalty and revenue are tracked at this level, and stores typically have semi-independent management.

The correlation between employee-loyalty-related attitudes and business outcomes is always meaningful from a practical, manager
ially relevant perspective, so it is worth the effort. In fact, a large-scale study conducted by researchers Harter, Schmidt, and Hayes presentedcompelling evidence that employee-loyalty-related attitudes were positively linked to each of these performance drivers.Furthermore,managers can learn a great deal by studying the performance of their most loyal business units, and how this is influenced by managers’ own relationship styles.

Despite the ability to pull this information together to gain invaluable managerial insight, most companies do nothing (or next to nothing) in this regard. The number one problem in making the link isn’t that this information doesn’t exist. It is simply a lack of management will to pull the data contained in various departments together.

Why?We don’t want to hear bad news. And without question, this kind of company internal examination always yields bad news. The reality is that employees are only as loyal to the company as they believe the company is loyal to them. This is true almost everywhere in the world!So in the end, building an organization of committed, loyalty employees ultimately comes down to demonstrating to employees that the company deserves their loyalty.

©2009 Timothy Keiningham and Lerzan Aksoy, authors of Why loyalty Matters: The Groundbreaking Approach to Rediscovering Happiness, Meaning and Lasting Fulfillment in Your Life and Work

Author Bios
Timothy Keiningham isa world-renowned authority in the field of loyalty measurement and management, and Global Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President for Ipsos Loyalty, one of the world’s largest businessresearch organizations. Lerzan Aksoy isan acclaimed expert in the science of loyal management, and Associate Professor of Marketing at Fordham University. They are coauthors of a new book, with Luke Williams, entitled Why Loyalty Matters (Ben Bella Books, 2009, , and creators Loyalty Advisor (,a web-based tool that analyzes your loyalty across multiple dimensions proven to link to your success. Loyalty Advisor is the product of a global effort, the most comprehensive study of loyalty ever conducted.

June 2009 Jobs Report and Wages

Here are the job market and compensation numbers for June 2009 (based on the job report):

loss of 467,000 jobs in the month (revised to a final loss of 504,000)

  • Analysts expected a loss of 365,000
  • Eighteen straight months of job losses
  • The total of unemployed person remained steady at 14.7 million
  • March was revised to loss of 652,000 jobs (revised to a final loss of 753,000)
  • April was revised to a final loss of 582,000
  • May was revised to a loss of 322,000 jobs (from 345,000, revised to a final loss of 347,000)
  • Long term unemployed increased 4.4 million persons (people out of work longer than 27 weeks)

Unemployment rate rose to 9.5%

  • Analysts predicted a rise to 9.6%
  • 26 year high (and the calculation for this was changed in the early 90s)
  • Since the recession began in December of 2007, the unemployment rate has risen 4.6%
  • Underemployment is at a high of 16.5% (this include those that have given up looking for a job)

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing lost 136,000 jobs
    • Declined 1.9 million during the recession

  • Construction lost 79,000 jobs
  • Retailers lost 21,000
  • Temporary Work lost 38,000 jobs
  • Leisure and Hospitality Services lost 18,000 jobs
  • Government sector lost 52,000
  • Health care grew by 21,000 jobs


  • The average weekly paycheck (seasonally adjusted) is $611.49
    • An decrease of $1.19
  • The average hourly earning (seasonally adjusted) is $18.53 – down a penny
  • The average hourly work week was down 0.1 to 33.0
    • This is the lowest on record (started in 1964)

  • Over the last 12 months, earnings are up 2.7%
    • it was 3.1% last month
    • Deflation is actually causing buying power to go up despite the small increase in compensation

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Report Stats Summary