MasterClass Review

During the fall I saw advertisements for Master Class. It has quite the Rolodex of individuals ready to teach you. Steph Curry for basketball, Bob Iger for business, and Gary Kasparov for chess to name a few. A favorite of mine is Dan Pink. I’ve interviewed him and done reviews of his books before. He’s now on Master Class and its the basis for this review.

First Impressions: The list of teachers is long, impressive. The User Interface is clean and mostly easy to navigate. The main problem is there is a wealth of instructors to sort through and prioritize. Its like a buffet. So much looks appetizing.

Let’s start with Dan Pink.

Dan Pink Master Class

Lesson 1 – An introduction. They are mostly the same from one person to the next. Its a few minutes of the instructor introducing themself and what they plan to teach. This is Dan Pink.

Lesson 2 – Research shows 40% of a job is sales, sales in some form. When asked to visualize a person in sales its never a woman. Its typically a man with a suit. In the past a lot of sales were based on information asymmetry. The person selling the item knows more than the person buying it. Now, in the age of the internet and when information is plentiful, there is information parity. The person buying has close to or the same amount of information as the person selling.

Lesson 3 – Attunement. Taking someone else’s perspective. Draw an “E” on your forehead and how you draw it shows your perspective. The more powerful you feel the worse you are at perspective taking. Reduce your feeling of power to increase your perspective taking. Put an empty chair in the room to represent the “customer.” Empathy is about feelings, whereas perspective taking is about the mind. Use emotions from others as signals and to do your own “what if” on the person. Then ask them about your hypothesis.

A quick note: I tried changing the speed from 1x to 1.5x and it was too fast. But I like this feature for my podcast. I usually run them at 1.2x.

Lesson 4 – Serve your audience. Make it personal and make it purposeful. For making it personal put a face on it. For making it purposeful if the other person does what I want them to do will they be better off? Or will the world be better off? If yes to either then you’ve added purpose to your message.

Lesson 5 – Good persuaders are good observers of the context they are in. Dan teaches and demonstrates a tool to determine the context in a room i.e. who has power and who are you trying to influence. It is a discussion map. You draw a circle for each person. When that person speaks put an X next to their name and then an arrow to the circle of the person they are speaking to. Afterwards you can analyze the results.

Lesson 6 – Make your message count. Clarity by shinning a fresh light on the situation or by helping them see problems they didn’t realize they had. In the past if you had access to info you could use it to influence. Today, everybody has access. Now curating is more valuable. Making sense of it. Curating to sift through it, to finding what is meaningful. Make it coherent.

Now the value is from problem solving to problem finding. Dan talks about 5 Whys. Focus on the 1%, don’t get lost in the weeds. If you get bogged down, ask yourself what is the 1%?

Lesson 7 (or is it 6? starting to lose track) – Getting others to act. When people have their own reasons to act they are more likely to follow through. The best persuaders are not irritators. They are agitators. To be a good agitator, ask questions as to what they think or want to do. This makes them collaborators instead of being told what to do.

This is my favorite from the series. Ask two irrational questions. One is to get a response and the other is to get the person talking about their response in their terms. For instance, clean their room 1) On a scale of 1-10 how ready are you to clean your room. If its a 2 then you ask why weren’t you a 1? This then gets them to talk about the reasons they are ready in their terms. If they say 0, then you ask what can we do to get you to a 1? It may incite an action you can help with and satisfy a reason.

Lesson 8: Connecting through Mimicry. Step 1 – Watch. Pay attention to what they are doing. Step 2 – Wait. If they do something, wait 10 seconds then you do it too. Step 3 – Wane. Slide away from the behavior then come back to it and do it again. Also, use their phrases, don’t use lingo or your own way of speaking. Speak like they do.

Lesson 9: Bias and Frames. Potential Frame – People often overvalue potential compared to current. For example, in a job interview talk about experience and past performance, but really emphasize the potential you bring to the company and the future that will come. Sunk Cost Frame – If the money is already spent some are more apt to follow through on it simply because the money is spent. Anchoring Frame – The first thing, such as a number, will have greater weight on the rest simply because it was the first. This works similar to comparison frame.

Lesson 10: Pitching like a pro. Invite in as a collaborator. Have a conversation. Here are some pitch types:

  • The question pitch: Questions elicit a response. It makes the other person be involved and come up with their own reasons.
  • Rhyming the pitch makes it easier to process. The OJ example – if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.
  • The Pixar pitch: Once a upon a time… because of that… because of that…
  • One word pitch – Obama – Hope, Forward.
  • Rough number – use granular numbers because it makes people think you’re more precise. Use the three – know, feel, do.
  • Write emails that people want to open. Two ways, make it transactional, it solves a problem for them. Make it incite curiosity. They’ll want to know more.

Lesson 11: Exercise – Asking for a raise. Make the ask about the person you’re asking. How does granting the ask benefit them? Reframe the problem, not a raise, but as a good thing for them.

Persuasion Mindset

Lesson 12: Buoyancy – Develop a resilient mindset. Self talk: interrogative self talk – ask yourself can you do this and if so, how? What this does is it makes you engage with yourself. You will likely say yes and then you’ll rehearse and prepare.

Change your explanation style: De-catastrophize the rejection. Don’t make it the 3 Ps: Personal, Pervasive, and/or Permanent.

  • Have Self Compassion.

Lesson 13: Introvert, Extrovert, Ambivert. Extroverts are more likely to go into sales, be hired for sales, and so on. But they are not necessarily the best performers. If you’re on the one end of the spectrum then you need to listen more. The best sales performers are often ambiverts, those in the middle. Dan is a mild introvert. To practice extroversion he does things like ask someone on the plane what they are reading.

Lesson 14: Persuade Yourself.

Make it easy on yourself. Use these tools for your own work.

  • Create off ramps or exits from the work e.g. just do 5 more. This will create an out while pushing momentum, often resulting in 15 being done instead of the intended 5.
  • Set interim goals. Allow yourself to make progress and not get overwhelmed by the distant or difficult goal. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
  • Make the commitment public. Peer pressure, even if imaginary, will motivate.
  • Take breaks. There is much research showing the value of breaks. Keep in mind, the vast majority of what the brain does is in the background. Thinking is only a small portion. Breaks allow it to work without supervision.
  • Employ deadlines but do so cautiously. Allow creativity to not be capped, but also push for something to get done.

Lesson 15: Using Timing to become a Better Persuader. What order do you want to be when pitching? When you aren’t the default choice you want to go first. Same when there are not a lot of candidates. Also, when the other candidates are strong. When to go last? When you are the default candidate. When you’re in a situation where later means better. If the requirements are not clear. Other timing items: Give bad news first. Schedule tough decisions after breaks. People tire.

Lesson 15: Beginnings, Middles, Endings. There are temporal milestones which help such as the 1st of the month or a Monday.

  • Premortems are good; imagine one year from now and play out a scenario. Then discuss the reasons for that outcome. If negative, plan to address the causes, the reasons, for it.
  • Recognize midpoints and plan accordingly. They can drag on you or they can drive you.
  • When you see the end, people get motivated. They see the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • People prefer sequences that are improving, going up, versus down. They remember the experience as better. Ending the experience on a positive encodes the whole experience as such.

To recap the lesson – Context Matters. Autonomy, Do the Right Thing. Things aren’t always zero sum. Be positive, win win, and collaborate.

Besides Dan Pink I also watched one session of Paul Krugman and it was alright. It had more visuals than a typical Dan Pink session. Others I watched was Bob Iger and it was ok. Chris Voss is awesome. And Joyce Carol Oates was good.

To wrap, lets revisit my preconceived notions (I wrote this before anything else).

Its a website with a bunch of celebrities who have recorded themselves. Each one is famous for something and that is what the class is about. It looks pretty slick. I’m not sure of the value. At $180 for an annual subscription it seems pretty high. I did get a deal and got the BOGO. My interest is because I’m a big Dan Pink fan. He joined Master Class. Perhaps that’s the model. Get fans of the celebrities to join.

I’d say my initial reaction is mostly true. The cost is a bit high and it is certainly good. I’d recommend it for the learners out there, but perhaps not for everyone.

Master Class Home

June 2020 Jobs Report and Wages

We’re nearing the pivotal months of the Jobs Report. The forces of stimulus and the virus are both showing their wherewithal.

As a reminder the classification of jobs is weird. This may or may not have influenced the numbers. Furloughs and lay offs will get sorted out.

Keep in mind that March and April were unprecedented in terms of jobs loss. While the gains have been very impressive, we still have a long way to go. Usually job creation/destruction is cyclical or structural. Cyclical being normal recessions and recoveries. Structural being transitions such as away from agriculture or the employment of buggy whips when cars gained mass concentration. This feels like both.

Here are the job market and compensation numbers for June, 2020 (based on the job report):

Net gain of 4,800,000 jobs in the month (revisions show a gain of 2,700,000 in May after job losses of 20,800,000 in April, and 1,400,000 in March or a deficit of 14,700,000 jobs since February)

  • Analysts expected an overall gain of 3,000,000
  • Private sector payrolls increased by 2,370,000 (it was 128,362,000 in March, so a delta of 11,836,000 jobs)
  • Private service producing industries gained 4,263,000 (it was a whole number of 107,276,000 in March. There is still a deficit of 10,636,000 jobs)
  • Goods producing industries grew by 504,000 (it was a whole number of 21,086,000 in March. There is still a deficit of 1,200,000 workers from that period).
  • May was revised to an increase of 2,700,000 from 2,500,000
  • April was revised to a loss 20,800,000 from a revised number of 20,700,000 and an original reading of 20,500,000 loss jobs.
  • Payroll processor ADP reported an employment gain of 2,369,000 jobs
  • 1,900,000 people are considered long term unemployed (jobless for more than 6 months). It was 1,200,000 in May, 939,000 in April and 1,200,000 million people in March 2020
  • Employers announced plans to cut 170,219 jobs in June. An improvement from the 397,016 announced cuts in May. It was a record in April, 671,129.

*Unemployment rate dropped to 11.1%. It was 13.3% in May and was 14.7% in April and 4.4% in March, 2020.

  • The labor participation rate is 61.5%, up from 60.8% last month and 60.2% the month before. It was 62.7% in March, 2020
  • The employment to population ratio is 54.6%. It was 52.8% last month and 51.3% in April. It was 60.0% in March, 2020
  • The U-6 report, which is a broader group to count (workers who are part time but want to be full time and discouraged worker), moved down to 18.0%. It was 21.2% last month and 22.8% in April. It was 8.7% in March.
  • PMI, a measure of manufacturing pace, is 52.6% after declining months of 43.1% and 41.5%. Anything above 50% means and increase month over month in activity
  • Service sector activity was 47.6 after seeing 37.5 in May. It was an all time low of 26.7 in April. Although an improvement, it still shows the service sector is shrinking.

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing increased by 356,000.
  • Construction gained 158,000 jobs.
  • Retailers improved by 740,000 jobs.
  • Leisure and Hospitality Services gained 2,100,000 jobs. It had lost 7,700,000 jobs or 47% of the industry in April.
  • Government sector increased by 33,000.
  • Education and Health Services gained 568,000.
    • Health Care gained 358,000 jobs.
  • Professional and Business Services increased by 306,000.
    • A gain of 149,000 jobs in Temporary Help. This is often an indicator of improved economics.

Wage (can be revised):

  • The average weekly paycheck (seasonally adjusted) is $1,013.27.
  • The average hourly earnings (seasonally adjusted) is $29.37.
  • Average weekly hours and overtime of production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted is 33.9.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

May 2020 Jobs Report and Wages

I started doing the monthly Job Report again because this is unique. A pandemic of this magnitude is new to us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.

The first thing to learn is during a pandemic, the classification of jobs gets weird. This may or may not have influenced the numbers.

The second thing to learn is WOW. These numbers blew away expectations. Economists were using the weekly unemployment figures to forecast a loss of potentially 8 million jobs. But the report said 2.5 million jobs gained. A swing like this is historic. Everything about it is.

Here are the job market and compensation numbers for May, 2020 (based on the job report):

Net gain of 2,500,000 jobs in the month

  • Analysts expected an overall drop of 7,250,000
  • Private sector payrolls increased by 3,094,000
  • Private service producing industries gained 2,425,000
  • Goods producing industries grew by 669,000
  • April was revised to a loss 20,700,000 from an original reading of 20,500,000 loss jobs.
  • March was revised to a loss of 1,400,000 jobs from a revision of 870,000 from an original reading of 710,000
  • Payroll processor ADP reported an employment loss of 2,760,000 jobs
  • 1,200,000 people are considered long term unemployed (jobless for more than 6 months). It was 939,000 in April and 1.2 million people in March 2020
  • Employers announced plans to cut 397,016 jobs. It was a record in April, 671,129.

Unemployment rate dropped to 13.3%. It was 14.7% in April and 4.4% in March, 2020. There are some oddities with the reporting and the rate could be adjusted in the coming reporting cycles.

  • The labor participation rate is 60.8%, up from 60.2%. It was 62.7% in March, 2020
  • The employment to population ratio is 52.8%. It was 51.3% in April. It was 60.0% in March, 2020
  • The U-6 report, which is a broader group to count (workers who are part time but want to be full time and discouraged worker), moved down to 21.2% from 22.8% in April. It was 8.7% in March.
  • PMI, a measure of manufacturing pace, is 43.1%, up from 41.5%. It was 49.1% in March, 2020. Anything above 50% means the machines are running
  • Service sector activity increased to 37.5%. It was an all time low of 26.7% in April.

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing increased by 225,000. It was down 1,300,000 in April.
  • Construction gained 464,000 jobs. It was a loss of 975,000 jobs April.
  • Retailers improved by 367,000 jobs. It was a loss of 2,100,000 jobs in April.
  • Leisure and Hospitality Services gained 1,239,000 jobs. It had lost 7,700,000 jobs or 47% of the industry in April.
  • Government sector declined by 585,000. This follows a loss of 980,000 in April.
  • Education and Health Services gained 424,000. It had dropped by 2,500,000 jobs in April.
    • Health Care and Social Assistance gained 390,708 jobs. It loss 2,086,900 in April.
      • Health Care grew by 312,400 after gaining 14,000 in April
  • Professional and Business Services increased by 127,000. It was down by 2,165,000 in April.
    • A gain of 39,100 jobs in Temporary Help. It was a loss of 841,900 jobs in April.

Wage (can be revised):

  • The average weekly paycheck (seasonally adjusted) is $1,032.33.
  • The average hourly earnings (seasonally adjusted) is $29.75. Down from $30.01 in April and up from $28.62 in March, 2020
  • Average weekly hours and overtime of production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted is 34.7.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Claude Shannon – The Father of Information Theory

Claude Shannon, born on April 30th, 1916 in Petoskey, Michigan and died February 24th, 2001 in Medford, Massachusetts, was an American mathematician and he change the world.

I’d like to explain and to pay homage.

In 1948 he published “A Mathematical Theory of Communication.” This work is the underpinnings to Information Theory is more influential than another invention in 1948, the transistor.

His work is the underpinnings of the internet – email, facebook, netflix, and videos of cats playing piano.

What is Information Theory?

While I’m not a mathematician, what the formula above is expressing is a means to probabilistically codify messages from a sender to a receiver. Let me explain: “RICE, CHICKEN, and NOOO VEGETABLES!”

The other night I was getting takeout from an Asian restaurant. As I was entering a man and a woman were talking ahead of me. The man turned and walked away. The woman, annoyed, asks “What do you want?” The man equally annoyed replies while turning around “Rice, Chicken, and no plenaballs.” Which prompted a “Huh? Just tell me what you want.” At this point we get the loud, slow, deliberate answer “RICE… CHICKEN… AND NO VEGETABLES!”

In this case the information was exchanged a few times. Initially not all was received so it was sent again. But this time with redundancy to ensure transmission.

Think of Information as the resolution of uncertainty. If the data in the message reduces the uncertainty, then its information. If there’s no change in uncertainty, then its simply data.

The ultimate example of this is Wheel of Fortune.

I’ve got a good feeling about this

From it to bit – how all this is applied?

For a coin flip there are only two probabilities: heads or tails or said another way, zero (0) substituting for heads and one (1) substituting for tails. Each of these is 0.50 likely. In this case information, heads or tails, is one bit, a 0 or a 1. Now suppose I have a deck of cards. There are four suits with each having 13 cards in it. In a full deck the likeliness I get a club is 0.25 or 25%. I represent 0.25 as two bits or 00, 10, 01, or 11. Just like if I flipped a coin twice I could have heads/heads (00), tails/heads (10), heads/tails (01) or tails/tails (11).

Now think about the alphabet again. For the sake of simplicity we’ll say there are 26 letters in the alphabet (not counting capitals, punctuation, or blank spaces between words). To represent 26 symbols (each letter is a symbol) I need 5 bits.

1 bit = two symbols (0 or 1) or heads and tails
2 bits = 4 symbols (00, 10, 01, 11) or the suits in a deck of cards: clubs, spades, diamonds, and hearts
3 bits = 8 symbols (000, 001, 010, 100, 011, 101, 110, 111)
4 bits = 16 symbols (0000, 0001, 0010, 0100, 1000, 0011, 0101, 1001, 0110, 1100, 1110, 0111, 1101, 1011, 1010, 1111)
5 bits = 32 symbols (00000, 00001, 00010, 00100, 01000, 00011, 00101, 01001, 00110, 01100, 01110, 00111, 01101, 01011, 01010, 01111, 10000, 10001, 10010, 10100, 11000, 10011, 10101, 11001, 10110, 11100, 11110, 10111, 11101, 11011, 11010, 11111)

With 5 bits you can have 00000 equal “e” since we know “e” is the most frequent letter of the alphabet (actually, the English alphabet requires 8 bits and “e” is 01100101). What this means, I know it sounds weird, is that resolving the uncertainty of “e” requires at least 5 bits of information (8 bits in reality). Because there are 26 letters in the alphabet, you need more information to distinguish which letter is which. Luckily, communicating is one of the few times in life where the past truly dictates the future. If I know “q” is part of the message or puzzle, then I know “u” is highly likely to follow.

Pat, I’d like to solve the puzzle.

Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors – A Book Review

Summary: An easy to read business book using the fable style. While it mentions Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars, it really focuses on Silos. Perhaps the author sees them as the same, but I don’t believe that is the case. It is easy to read and provides a solution at the end. If you like fable style business books, this is worth a read.

Detail Review: Patrick Lencioni published Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors in 2006. It is one of his many (11+) best sellers.

Silos book

I normally start with aesthetics. The book is 211 pages with a blue/green cover. In the middle is a bottom up angled picture of three buildings i.e. silos. Its a somewhat nondescript cover. The writing is easy to read and chunked into small page increments. I can’t remember more than 5 pages being before a break. And often times a chapter was only 2 or 3 pages.

Before reading the book I jotted down my expectations. This is with little knowledge of the writer or the use of the fable style. Here is what I wrote:

  • Silos are built on authority, control, and decision rights
  • I’m not sure what the solution is other than to identify them
  • Some of it is driven by the need to execute
  • There is a need to collaborate
  • Its a fine line between execution and collaboration

Before I get to the fable, I really liked the introduction and the Use Cases and tools at the end. These portions of the book really framed the action for the reader.

The story follows Jude Cousins. He begins as a board level executive at Hatch, a software company. Early in the story he decides to go it alone. He begins with general consulting and has some success but he realizes that he needs a niche.

The story follows his path as Cousins Consulting. He has a family to care for and must navigate an economic downturn. He serves his clients well, too well. He works himself out of a job.

During the story are some subtleties I like. One of which was for Jude to learn from a client who said they didn’t have a problem with silos. Most business books unintentionally make it sound like there is some secret they know. Some insight, some magic. But the short anecdote about using JMJ as a learning opportunity was a nice curveball. It shows that sometimes you have to admit you don’t know. And to look in creative places for answers.

After some tribulations Cousins Consulting finds its footing with breaking down silos. The recipe for it is explained in the narrative at Batch Technologies, the aforementioned merged company. Jude creates a rallying cry called Thematic Goals. This and more detail is explained at the end of the book.

Ultimately, the lesson is one of shared goals. Lencioni believes in executive management establishing thematic goals. He then suggests creating definition (objectives). For example, at Batch Technologies, the company he was once a part of, the rallying cry was to Complete the Merger and Launch the New Company. This gave the executives a single mission. There were sub objectives to it. For example, eliminate redundant expenses and fill key roles. These were the defining objectives.

Toward the end of the book he transitions from the fable and to an instructional tone. He advises having a scorecard and allowing for debate. The debate centers around how the performance and priorities reinforce the thematic goals. He wants peer pressure and team building to enfold where everyone is in it together.

Does it meet my expectations? Somewhat, but it isn’t really that type of book. As fable style it is more about context. A journey to a solution the Table Group (Patrick Lencioni) has devised.

In a related piece, the Harvard Business Review published a story called How to Orchestrate Change from the Bottom Up by Katherine C. Kellogg. Its a story of change but aspects of it fit with how peer pressure and how shared goals drive lasting change. My favorite part of the article was how the medical assistants used particular phrasing to influence doctors who were reluctant to try new methods.

In my early career I built a program that addressed silos. It was at a large bank which had many mergers. There were different factions each had their way of doing things. Unfortunately our costs were too high. This program was a means to drive simplification across the technology organization. To be successful I used a few principles. One of which was make decisions as objectively as possible. Another was to enable the teams to come to their own conclusions. If I wanted sustainability, I needed them to buy in. Giving them a voice, a part of the decision making process, was part of it. I ensured it was fact based. While not the rallying cry that Lencioni endorses, it was effective. The silos, while present, were not destructive.

Conclusion: I read the book a couple of times. I’ve given it some time. It is easy to read and rather direct with its message. But ultimately this style isn’t for me. For those who like the narrative, or fable, style it is well done. And at the end it does give you an approach for breaking down silos. But as someone who has done it, I guess I wanted more.

April 2020 Jobs Report and Wages

I started doing the monthly Job Report again because this is unique. A pandemic of this magnitude is new to us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from it.

Below are the numbers. Also included are comparisons to last month’s initial run (March was revised down) and one of the worst month of the 2008 Financial Crises.

*Quick note about the 2008 Financial Crises. It was brewing for a few years and the recession actually started in 2007. The slowing due to the pending recession is what caused the glue and popsicle sticks to buckle in 2008. But like practically all downturns, the job losses were lagging. There were a string of months in 2009 which were ghastly. I’m using one for the comparison, but will revisit it once this health crisis has abated. One more note on 2009, the first job gain was in November of 2009… after 23 months of losses. The unemployment rate reached 10.2%

Here are the job market and compensation numbers for April, 2020 (based on the job report):

Net loss of 20,500,000 jobs in the month

  • Analysts expected an overall drop of 21,500,000
  • Private sector payrolls decreased by 19,520,000
  • Private service producing industries shed 17,165,000
  • Goods producing industries shrank by 2,355,000
  • For comparison, the months of January, February, and March of 2009 averaged well over 700,000 job losses a month. It was catastrophic and other than the Great Depression, unheard of. To put a fine point on it, April saw over 20 Million jobs lost.

 

  • March was revised to a loss of 870,000 from an original reading of 710,000
  • February was revised to a gain of 230,000 from an original reading of 275,000
  • Payroll processor ADP reported an employment loss of 20,200,000 jobs (it was a loss of 27,000 jobs in March 2020)

 

  • 939,000 people are considered long term unemployed (jobless for more than 6 months). It was 1.2 million people in March 2020 and it was 6.1 million in March of 2011
  • Employers announced plans to cut 671,129 jobs, the highest single-month total on record. Announced plans to cut were 222, 280 jobs in March. It was the most since January of 2009.

 

Unemployment rate rose to 14.7%. It was 4.4% in March, 2020, and 8.5% in March of 2009

  • The labor participation rate is 60.2%. It was 62.7% in March, 2020
  • The employment to population ratio is 51.3%. It was 60.0% in March, 2020
  • The U-6 report, which is a broader group to count (workers who are part time but want to be full time and discouraged worker), increased to 22.8%. It was 8.7% from 7.0% last month
  • PMI, a measure of manufacturing pace, is 41.5%. It was 49.1% in March, 2020. This was after a 131 months of expansion. Anything above 50% means the machines are running
  • Service sector activity dropped to 41.8%. It was 52.5% in March 2020.

 

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing down 1,300,000. It was down 18,000 jobs in March 2020, and lost 161,000 in March, 2009
  • Construction lost 975,000 jobs. It was a loss of 29,000 jobs (averaged an increase of 17,583 jobs a month over the last year), it was a loss of 126,000 jobs in March, 2009
  • Retailers lost 2,100,000 jobs. 46,000 jobs were lost in March, 2020, and a loss of 48,000 in March of 2009
  • Leisure and Hospitality Services lost 7,700,000 jobs or 47% of the industry. It was a loss of 459,000 jobs in March, 2020, and was a loss of 40,000 jobs in 2009
  • Government sector declined by 980,000. It rose 18,000 in March 2020, and a loss of 5,000 in March, 2009
  • Education and Health Services dropped by 2,500,000 jobs. It was a loss of 76,000 jobs in March, 2020Health Care and Social Assistance lost 2,086,900. It was a loss of 61,200 in March.
    • Health Care grew by 14,000 in March of 2009
  • Professional and Business Services down by 2,165,000. It was down by 52,000 in March, 2020.
    • 841,900 jobs lost in Temporary Help. It was 49,500 jobs lost in March, 2020

 

Wage (can be revised):

  • The average weekly paycheck (seasonally adjusted) is $1,026.34. It was $977.65 in March, 2020. It was $614.20 in March, 2009
  • The average hourly earnings (seasonally adjusted) is $30.01. It was $28.62 in March, 2020
  • Average weekly hours and overtime of production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted is 33.5. It was 33.4 hours in March, 2020. It was 33.2 in March, 2009.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

March 2020 Job Report and Wages

Its been years since I last did an analysis of the jobs report. I initially did them before the 2008 Financial Crisis and several years after. 2009 was an interesting year to watch the numbers. I was lucky. I had a job.

For the last 10 years the jobs report has shown steady improvements.

Now is a new time. The numbers for March 2020 were a mix, mostly bad. The COVID-19 virus had just started to influence American businesses when the survey was taken. I anticipate April 2020 will parallel some of the worst months of 2009.

Here are the job market and compensation numbers for March 2020 (based on the job report):
Net loss of 701,000 jobs in the month

  • Analysts expected an overall drop of 84,000
  • Private sector payrolls decreased by 713,000
  • Private service producing industries shed 659,000
  • Goods producing industries shrank by 54,000

 

  • February was revised to a gain of 275,000 from an original reading of 273,000
  • January was revised to a gain of 214,000 from a reading of a 273,000 gain
  • Payroll processor ADP reported an employment loss of 27,000 jobs

 

  • 1.2 million people have been jobless for more than 6 months (long term unemployed) – it was 6.1 million in March of 2011
  • Employers announced plans to cut 222, 280 jobs in March. It was the most since January of 2009

 

Unemployment rate rose to 4.4%

  • The labor participation rate is 62.7% – a decrease of 0.7% in the month
  • The employment to population ratio is 60.0% – a drop of 1.1%
  • The U-6 report, which is a broader group to count (workers who are part time but want to be full time and discouraged worker), increased to 8.7% from 7.0% last month
  • PMI, a measure of manufacturing pace, is 46.6%. Anything above 50% means the machines are running
  • Service sector activity dropped to 52.5%, down from 57.3% last month. Holding relatively positive. A reading in the low 40s was expected

 

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing down 18,000 jobs
  • Construction lost 29,000 jobs – averaged an increase of 17,583 jobs a month over the last year
  • Retailers lost 46,000 jobs
  • Leisure and Hospitality Services lost 459,000 jobs – this wiped out two years of gains
  • Government sector rose 18,000, 17,000 hired for census work
  • Education and Health Services dropped by 76,000 jobs
      • Health Care and Social Assistance lost 61,200
  • Professional and Business Services down by 52,000
      • 49,500 jobs lost in Temporary Help

 

Wage (can be revised):

  • The average weekly paycheck (seasonally adjusted) is $978.80
  • The average hourly earnings (seasonally adjusted) is $28.62 – an increase of 11 cents from last month (it was $19.30 in March of 2011)
  • Average weekly hours and overtime of production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted is 33.4 hours

 

Bureau of Labor Statistics

There are Two Rules for Success

Clever quotes. What can I say. They spin the mind. They’re like a playful toy to a youth. I ran across one a couple of months ago and it has stuck with me. It is by Roger H. Lincoln.

 

There are two rules for success:

1) Never tell everything you know.

 

At first you’re like yeah, where is number two? What’s the second rule? You’re interested. You want to know what the two rules are.

Its transactional. The deal is: you read the quote and you get the information. And this quote doesn’t complete the deal.

But then you read it again. And after a pause you realize that is the point.

Its experiential. Its a joke. Its clever wordplay. You get a little mental reward for switching how you see it.

Sometimes you have to sit back and ask yourself “how should I be thinking about this?”

Welcome Back

My name is Ben Leeson. I wrote this working thoughts blog for several years originally between 2007 and 2013. More posts are coming.

A few things about me:
I created this blog to excercise my critical thinking and writing skills. It worked.

I work in financial services. I advise start ups. I golf.

I have a family. Beautiful wife, kids, and a dog.

There are several posts missing due to hosting being cancelled. Pictures have been deleteted. The template is old.

I write this blog because I like the macro side of HR. This is people, jobs, the economy, and things like that.

Thank you.

December 2010 Jobs Report and Wages

Here are the job market and compensation numbers for December 2010 (based on the job report):


Net gain
of 103,000 jobs in the month
(revised to a gain of 152,000)

  • Analysts expected an overall gain of 146,000
  • Private sector payrolls increased by 113,000
    • Private service producing industries added 115,000
    • Goods producing industries lost 2,000


  • November was revised to a gain of 92,000 a revision of 71,000 and from an original reading of 39,000 gain
  • October was revised to a gain of 171,000, from a revised reading of 172,000 and an original reading of 151,000
  • Payroll processor ADP reported an employment gain of 297,000 jobs
  • Including population growth, the job market is 11 million jobs below the point of when the recession began 3 years ago
  • The US labor force is smaller now than when the recession began, by 4 million people
  • 6.4 million people have been jobless for more than 6 months (long term
    unemployed) – up significantly from the last four months

    • 44.3% of the unemployed are long term unemployed – ratcheted up up from 41.9% last month
  • The
    main type of hire for the past few months was for Temporary Help Service (+16,000) but this month the large gains were in Leisure and Hospitality (47,000) and Health Care (37,100)

Unemployment rate dropped to 9.4%

  • Analysts predicted it would be 9.6%
  • The unemployment rate has been over 9% for 20 months
  • 260,000 people dropped out of the employment count producing a labor force participation rate of 64.3% (66.5% is average to good)
  • The employment to population ratio is 58.3% – relatively unchanged
  • The
    U-6
    report, which is a broader group to count (workers who are part
    time but want to be full time and discouraged worker), dropped to 16.7%.
    This reflects the same decrease of unemployment rate to 9.4%
  • PMI,
    a measure of manufacturing pace, is 57% and the 20th consecutive
    month of readings over 50 percent. Anything above 50% means the
    machines are running

Specific Segment Job numbers:

  • Manufacturing gained 10,000 jobs
  • Construction lost 16,000 jobs
  • Retailers gained 12,000 jobs
  • Leisure and Hospitality Services gained 47,000 jobs
  • Government sector lost 10,000, Federal gained 10,000
  • Education and Health Services grew by 44,000 jobs
    • Health Care and Social Assistance grew by 37,000

  • Professional and Business Services grew by 7,000
    • 15,900 jobs added in Temporary Help

Wage (can be revised):

  • The average weekly paycheck (seasonally adjusted) is $645.46 – an increase of $2.59
  • The average hourly earning (seasonally adjusted) is $19.21
  • Average
    weekly hours and overtime of production and nonsupervisory employees on
    private nonfarm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted is
    33.6 hours

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Report Stats Summary