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

Good Time to be a Tech Startup

“This is our decision – to live fast and die young.”

“We’re out looking for astronauts, looking for astronaunts”

These are lyrics from songs I like (Fated to Pretend by MGMT and Looking For Astronauts by The National), but they came to mind as I read an article on Fortune.com this week called The Implications of too Much VC Money and too Little Startup Talent by JS Cournoyer.

Cournoyer highlights the market for technology talent and focuses on the supply and demand curve is currently very much in favor of the worker. Evidence of this is Google giving 10% raises across the board. This was to prevent an ever escalating clash with other tech firms. But another tactic is underway as well – buying start ups for the engineers. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Oracle are flush with cash. They are looking for astronauts.

But here we sit with 9.6% unemployment. And remember we need about 2.5% GDP growth to generate jobs, so to lower the unemployment rate to 8.6% growth would need to be around 5%. Where is the innovation for this to happen?

Investors believe it’s in Startups. Investment is near the levels of 1999, the last gold rush. It’s a smart play really, invest in a potential target of a company like HP – a company with lots of cash – and work them to transfer some of that wealth in the form of a purchase. Knowing what companies fit the portfolio is important. This is our decision, to live fast and die young.

Although web development is always big, I think the next group of experts is in data. The growth of data is estimated to be increasing at a compounding rate of 60%. We won’t be hearing statements like “I need more data.” We’ll hear “Can I trust the data?” When a resource over a 5 year term is 10x more abundant you know money is to be made.

This is our decision
To live fast and die young
We’ve got the vision
Now lets have some fun

Yeah, it’s overwhelming
But what else can we do?
Get jobs in offices
And wake up for the morning commute?

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas everyone.

And if you don’t celebrate Christmas then I hope you have an extra helping of
happiness and healthiness.