Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Mauldin’

Automatic Job Storm Coming

Posted by hkarner - 10. Dezember 2017

The monthly jobs report isn’t like that. Yes, any single month doesn’t tell us much. Yes, the Labor Department’s methodology has some flaws, both major and minor. But imperfect as it is, the jobs report is our best look at the economy’s pulse. Jobs matter in a visceral way to almost all of us, as you know well if you’ve ever lost one. Almost any survey that asked questions around employment would reveal the angst that many Americans feel about the possibility of losing their jobs.

Right now, automation tops the list of things that might threaten our jobs. Artificial intelligence and robotics technology are rapidly learning to do what human workers do, but better, faster, and cheaper.

I’ve use the following chart before, but it’s a compelling illustration of how technology is reducing employment. It shows the rising rig count in the oil patch since mid-2016 – and yet the number of workers on those rigs is actually still falling. This is the impact of a new robot called an iron roughneck: Tasks that used to require 20 people now need only five. And the iron roughneck is not even that widely deployed in the oil and gas industry – the trend will hit hard in the coming decade. Roughneck jobs are relatively high-paying; it takes a great deal of training and skill to be able to do them. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Does Amazon Create Jobs? Well, It Hired 75,000 Robots in 2017

Posted by hkarner - 9. Dezember 2017

By Dave Edwards and Helen Edwards, gz.com
December 4, 2017
Originally published here

There are 170,000 fewer retail jobs in 2017 – and 75,000 more Amazon robots.

Amazon’s headcount is growing by 40% year-over-year. It was the eighth-largest private employer in the US at the end of 2016, and it’s poised to climb those ranks quickly. The online retailer also announced plans to build a second US headquarters that will employ 50,000 employees.

But Amazon’s growth comes at a cost. It has a well-earned reputation for overwhelming competitors. Even though Amazon represents a small portion of the overall retail industry, it dominates the industry’s sales growth.

We wondered: Does Amazon create more jobs than it destroys?

It depends – on whether you are a robot

We assembled employment data for the retail industry as a whole, and for Amazon in particular. We estimated year-end results for 2017, based on current trends. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Renovating the Fed

Posted by hkarner - 3. Dezember 2017

– Stan Druckenmiller (hat tip Steve Blumenthal)

The Federal Reserve will soon have a new chair, assuming the Senate confirms Jerome Powell as Janet Yellen’s successor. Yellen’s departure will reduce the nominally seven-member Board of Governors to only three. That may or may not be a good thing, depending on some other events.

In fact, in talking with some of my Fed-watching friends, it appears the world’s most important central bank is about to experience some potentially profound changes – not just in personnel but more importantly in the kind of people who lead it. Those changes could, in turn, have some serious economic impacts; so it’s worth taking a deeper look.

Nonmusical Chairs Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Bonfire Burns On

Posted by hkarner - 28. November 2017

November 25, 2017

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Compensation”

Bonfires are fun to watch, but they eventually burn out. Human folly apparently doesn’t, so we just keep adding to the absurdities. The volume of daily economic lunacy that lights up my various devices is truly stunning, and it seems to be increasing. I shared a little of it with you in last week’s “Bonfire of the Absurdities.” Since it’s a holiday weekend and I was traveling all week, today I’ll just give you a few more absurdities to ponder. And this shorter letter will lighten your weekend reading load.

 

Leverage, American Style

When I asked my “kitchen cabinet” of friends for instances of the absurd, Grant Williams sent a monumental slide deck. I guess I should have expected that, as the absurd is one of his specialties. My computer almost melted trying to download the deck, but it finally finished and was worth the wait. Here is just one example of craziness. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Bonfire of the Absurdities

Posted by hkarner - 20. November 2017

November 17, 2017

– Ecclesiastes 1:2, King James Version (attributed to King Solomon in his old age)

This week’s letter will take a look at the growing number of ridiculous, inane, and otherwise nonsensical absurdities that fill the daily economic headlines. I have gone from the occasional smile to scratching my head now and then to “WTF” moments several times a week.

Wondering if it was just me, I recently sent an appeal to a what became a large number of my friends and fellow writers and analysts, asking for their graphic examples of this paranormal economic activity. Suffice to say, it is not just me who sees absurdities. I received so many responses that I may have to extend this letter another week or two. (Note: This letter will print long, as there are lots of graphs.) Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Distribution of Pain

Posted by hkarner - 11. November 2017

November 10, 2017

But at the same time, the economy doesn’t work like a law of nature. Unlike gravity, for instance, the economy responds to human choices and preferences. We influence it, even if we don’t understand exactly how.

In last week’s “Fragmentation of Society” letter, I wrote about the coming technological changes that will replace many human jobs and disrupt society. Some of the disruption will be good and necessary. Much of it will be painful, too, and the pain won’t be evenly distributed.

That is a problem whether you personally feel any pain or not. People don’t like pain and will change their behavior to avoid or relieve it. Like the drowning who desperately seek something to hold onto, they will vote for politicians who say they can relieve that pain, regardless of whether they actually can. And if those who suffer see that you don’t share their pain, they will wonder why not and seek to gain whatever advantage you possess. And then it gets ugly. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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What Will the Next Crisis Look Like?

Posted by hkarner - 4. November 2017

One of the main topics of discussion everywhere I go is, what will the next crisis look like; along with: Where will it come from; what will the market response be; and what will be the source of the volatility? There is always volatility during a crisis.

I have been saying in writing for some time that I think the next crisis will reveal how little liquidity there is in the credit markets, especially in the high-yield, lower-rated space. Dodd–Frank has greatly limited the ability of banks to provide market-making opportunities and credit markets, a function that has been in their wheelhouse for well over a century. Given the massive amount of high-yield bonds that have been stuffed into mutual funds and ETFs, when the prices of those funds begin to fall, and the ETFs want to sell the underlying assets to generate liquidity, there will be no buyers except at extreme prices.

My friend Steve Blumenthal says we are coming up on one of the greatest buying opportunities in high-yield credit that he has ever seen – and he has 25 years of experience as a high-yield trader. There have been three times when you had to shut your eyes, hold your breath, and buy because the high-yield prices had fallen to such extreme levels. That is going to happen again. But it is going to unleash a great deal of volatility in every other market. As the saying goes, when you need money in a crisis, you sell what you can, not what you want to. And if you can’t sell your high-yield, you end up selling other assets (like equities), which puts strain on them. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Fragmentation of Society

Posted by hkarner - 30. Oktober 2017

October 29, 2017

 

The Fragmentation of Society

In the interest of brevity, let’s take it is a given that we’re going to see massive technological change in the next 20 years. In fact, we will see more change – and improvement – in the next 20 years than we’ve seen in the last hundred. Think where we were 100 years ago and how much has changed since then. That much and more is going to happen in the next two decades. Global society really is going to transform that fast.

Let’s start with some good news. In 1820 some 94% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. By 1990 the figure was 35%, and in 2015 it was just 9.6%. Forty percent of those who remain impoverished live in just two countries, Nigeria and India, both of which are growing rapidly and will see their extreme poverty significantly decrease in the next 20 years.

There is research to show that, on a global basis, the poor are getting richer faster than any other group. However, if you look around the US or Europe, that is not the conclusion you come to. But Africa or Asia? Absolutely. Let’s be clear: The Industrial Age and free-market capitalism, for all of its bumps and warts, has lifted more people out of poverty and extended more lives than has any other single development. The collapse of communism has been a great boon to humanity (even if it is still talked about favorably in Western universities). Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Is the Bubble Economy Set to Burst?

Posted by hkarner - 28. Oktober 2017

October 25, 2017

My friend Andy Xie, based in Shanghai, is a very independent-minded investment analyst and economist. With a PhD from MIT, he has been at the IMF and was a star economist for the Morgan Stanley Asia-Pacific group. His ofttimes bearish calls on various parts of the Chinese economy have elicited a lot of criticism from Chinese officials and retail investors. I have been on the stage with him several times, both on the same side of debates and on opposite sides – he is a formidable opponent! We do have one thing in common: While we may be often wrong, we are seldom in doubt and certainly not afraid of letting others know what we think. Forcefully.

This week Andy posted an essay in the South China Morning Post:The bubble economy is set to burst, and US elections may well be the trigger.” I find that interesting. Here I am looking at the problems in China as potentially triggering global problems, and he is looking at elections in the US.

Andy says of himself that he has a reasonably good record at calling bubbles: Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Rethinking Education

Posted by hkarner - 23. Oktober 2017

October 22, 2017

This week’s letter will be more like an Outside the Box than a Thoughts from the Frontline. I am feeling under the weather, and while I can read and move around somewhat, I am really not thinking all that well and am not up to wasting your time writing a letter that neither you nor I will be happy with.

Thankfully, my friend Peter Diamandis sent a letter detailing his vision of the future of education, and I want to share it with you. I have been struck by the number of times in the last year when, as I begin to talk about the problems our society will face in the coming years – especially as regards the future of work –someone says “The answer is more education.”

I don’t want to be glib, but our educational system is largely a failure in producing children and young adults ready for the future. Why we would think that more of that would be useful? What we need to do is completely rethink the whole concept of what we call education. I will admit to being somewhat at a loss, having read many treatises and essays on changing education, but finding nothing that really brings it together. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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