Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Unemployment and Easter Eggs

This is a great visualization of the changing labor market in the US over the past 3 years as the unemployment rate has gone from 4.7% to 9.7%.

It was pretty clear in the parking lots in Watertown this weekend that the Canadian dollar must be rallying. My daughters and I did an unscientific poll of the parking lot in one large retailer parking lot and found 32 out of 104 cars had Ontario license plates.

I think this might provide a small boost to local legislators that may be pleasantly surprised by sales tax data that rebounds this year. However, I'd caution that this is not principally due to local consumers but rather Canadians leveraging the strong loonie. Thus, these dollars could disappear just as quickly if the exchange rate reverses course.

"The Canadian dollar rose to one-for-one footing with the U.S. currency on Tuesday, hitting its strongest level since July 2008, boosted by rising commodity prices and expectations for higher domestic interest rates.

"It's been heading toward parity for weeks and it was inevitable. There's no surprise," said Jon Gencher, director of foreign exchange sales at BMO Capital Markets. Canada’s dollar, dubbed the loonie for the aquatic bird on the C$1 coin, last traded at par with the greenback on July 22, 2008, 11 days after crude, the country’s biggest export, reached a record $147.27 a barrel."

Hmmm, think this system might get abused?

"The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will soon implement a pilot that moves 400 agency employees into a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) -- where employees can work when and where they want, as long as they're meeting their predetermined goals and results.
ROWE is a management strategy in which employees are evaluated on performance, not presence."

I'd caution the employees to be careful what you wish for -- your employer might realize that you can do your job in 4 hours/day. Match your job with another person that can do their job in 4 hours and poof, one job goes bye-bye.

On a separate note: how does the US Office of Personnel Mgt even HAVE 400 employees?

Weird news of the day: 10,000 trample one another for plastic Easter eggs in New Hampshire.

"A Seacoast-area church held an Easter egg hunt Saturday in Rochester unlike any other, dropping 60,000 eggs from the sky with big prizes on the line.

Nearly 10,000 people showed up for the event, surprising organizers. The event began with the best of intentions, but huge crowds created a scramble that no one anticipated.

Thousands of children and their parents made a mad dash for Easter eggs dropped from a helicopter Saturday, turning the Rochester Fairgrounds into a free-for-all.

"I think it was like chaos," said Sarah Gallo, of Stratham. "I saw some people kneeing people, and it was really, really dangerous, I thought."

"I started getting elbowed in the head and stuff. So, I just started diving over moms," said Johnnie Plaisted, of Rochester.

"As soon as they said go, we were all in the front going 'whoomp,' getting trampled on top of each other," said Deborah Savage, of Rochester."

I don't blame the kids - word leaked that they were offering prizes like flat screen TVs and that probably led to a larger than usual response from the public. Easter in America - trampling kids to collect Chinese made plastic eggs for a chance at a Chinese flat screen so you can watch "Dancing With The Stars" in all it's glory :)



Anonymous said...

US Office of Personnel Management - don't you wonder what these trumped up departments actually do? Not too long ago I read of an engagement where the betroth's title was, kid-you-not - "Strategic Team Lead for the Office of the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Force Health Protection and Readiness." Imagine having to write that title after your name!

Anonymous said...

I personally liked the news today where the DEC warned that people should be aware they will be fined if they burn trash, and meanwhile in Oregon the union truck drivers for Waste Managment just rejected their new pay packaqe which would give them over $100,000- per year for driving the garbage trucks. Or has also eliminated personal burn barrels. I never thought about the lobbying efforts for issues like this until now. What a bunch of scum bags.

The Artful Blogger said...

Thx for the notice on the DEC warning. I wasn't aware that you can't burn brush from 3/15 - 5/15.

I'll have to break up my brush and call it a campfire :)

Thanks for the comment!