Thursday, June 26, 2008

Worker Shortages and Voting Yourself a Portion of the Treasury

The number of vacant jobs is falling. The cycle high in Jan 2007 (4,307,000) was lower than the historic high (4,580,000) in Dec 2000.

Consultants have been telling govt officials and private industry that the next few years will see an explosion of impossible to fill jobs. However, as the data shows the number is less now than it was 7.5 years ago.

The great coming worker shortage is slow in getting here.

Why then do we see all this "buzz" about the shortage? Perhaps there is money in it.

One state recently passed a bill giving a tax credit to firms hiring occupations where workers are seen to be in short supply. Think about that. The firms say that want to hire more workers and can't find them so the govt gives the firms a tax credit to do what they say that want to do anyway. Perhaps the firms have figured out that they can vote themselves a portion of state revenue by yelling about coming shortage.


Friday, June 20, 2008

May 2008 State Employment

BLS released the state CES data for May today.

There were fourteen states showing Y/Y declines in SA employment. These states are now nearly in all regions of the county with the exception of the Great Plains. They are as follows:

Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

States with Declining Employment: 14 (203 electoral votes)
States with growth under 1%: 22 (221 electoral votes)
States with growth of 1% or more: 15 (electoral votes)


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Royal Bank of Scotland: Beware of Coming Crash!

While I am surprised that economic conditions are not presently weaker than they seem to be right now, I am hopeful that this "alert" from the RBS will be seen in hindsight as much too fearful.

In any event the article makes for an interesting read and it may prompt me to make some changes in my own retirement accts.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Postcard Sending Deacon

Sam Rainer's post (hat tip to Timmy over at P&P) gave me the idea to contact our own members (esp those I don't know or have not seen in a few weeks).

Hope this starts a process of reclaiming some who have stopped attending our church.


PS. Sam's blog is new to me but is very good. Learned a lot.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

JOLTS: Better News on the Labor Market

This past week the BLS released the newest JOTLS data and for a change it was a little better.

Job openings (SA) increased for the first time in many months. Still showing a Y/Y decline.

Saw similar good news on the layoff and hiring results (if I recollect correctly).

One month of data of course is not a trend but not wanting to be a perma-bear (at least all the time) I must admit that it was better than I expected.


A small cloud the size of a man's fist...

I have a great deal of hope right now about things in my own church and the SBC as a whole.

When the Lord first opened my eyes to the doctrines of grace about 12-13 years ago I began to see problems with our almost mega-church. Ladies and men were engaging in church sponsored lite-gambling, fellowship socials were the main point of Sunday School, the teaching in our young adult class was largely centered upon having a good marriage and getting ahead in your workand our youth were dancing to rock music in the fellowship hall with the aid of a disco ball. We left.

It took a few years for both my wife and I to see all of this and to understand how it did not square with Scripture. But God is good and continued to grow us in grace until we did see.

It is only in the last year that I clearly see the Lord changing the SBC. Now we have a church home where our pastor is reformed in salvation doctrine. Now the convention as a whole is concerned with regenerate church membership (my pastor tells me he is planning on bringing the issue up at an upcoming deacon's meeting). Now me, a 5 pointer not only am ordained but get to preach in what I would have termed a "typical Southern Baptist Church". (The "C" word came up during my ordination. The DOM asked me about it and after I told him I was one of them he said he agreed with me!)

Said all this to say this. I see God moving us in the right direction. Let us be faithful to our Lord and His word. Let us do our duty to Him out of gratitude for all He has done for us.

By His Grace,

The Dismal Deacon

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Church Membership

The Southern Baptist Convention meeting today in Indy voted to repent for our lack of what I would call Biblical faithfulness in regards to church membership.

All too often we allow folks to remain members when they show no evidence of being born again. We have done great harm in calling them "brothers" and "sisters" when in fact they are not.

It is now up to each church to decide how to deal or not deal with this issue. Will we face the truth that people who have no interest in fellowship with believers and no interest in worshiping the Lord are not true converts?

May God grant us the grace to do so.


Retail Trade Employment

Saw newspaper article today talking about the tough time teens are having finding summer employment.
As a large portion of them typically find work in retail trade this graph gives a hint at why they not having great success in finding a summer job.

Oil:Supply/Demand or Bubble?

A lot of folks are asking the question. Is the current run-up in price a result of supply & demand (fundamentals) or a bubble fueled (sorry about the pun) by speculation.

The general thrust of the fundamental story does seem right to me. Increasing wealth in BRIC nations leading to shifts in the demand for oil leading to higher prices.

However, would we see such a huge increase in oil prices given the slower and gradual increase in BRIC wealth? Perhaps so. Markets are not perfectly efficient and can sometimes rally to catch up to real world facts they should have taken into account months and even years ago.

However one of the smartest guys I know (my dad) thinks it is speculation and the price is about to fall dramatically. He is not an economist but he is not wrong about much of anything very often.


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Preaching Deacon!

The Lord blessed me yesterday with the chance to preach in both our morning and evening services! My pastor was on vacation last week and this week is attending the SBC in Indy.

I think my church will have a copy of at least the morning service up on our website soon. If anyone would like a link just let me know in the comment section.

In the morning I preached about "fleeing the coming wrath" using Matt 3:7-12 as my main text. The evening was about how we as believers should eradicate sin from our lives (used various texts in Romans and the example of the Hebrews failure to completely subdue the Promised Land).

I hope the Lord will give me the chance to do it again. But doing two in one day is a bunch of work! PTL for my pastor.


Youth Not Singing?

I was shocked. Last night a visitor to our church took me aside to say that he was concerned about our youth. He said that he did not believe a single one of them had been singing during our worship service (the youth tend to all sit together on the first few pews).

I was sure he must be mistaken so I asked my wife about it when we got home. She agreed with the visitor and added that she did not think that most of them ever joined in the congregational singing.

Do any of you see this in your own bodies?


Looks like a trend...

This graph from the St. Louis Fed shows national number of unemployed as reported by the BLS last Friday.

As you can see we have a quite a large increase in the number of unemployed over the past few months. Wonder when/if we will get a grey line to match the clear uptick in the blue one?