Friday, December 17, 2010

We're #58! We're #61!

Well, those are the sobering stats from the latest Department of Labor press release on November Unemployment figures in NYS. For those of you that have forgotten your 4th grade Social Studies class there are only 62 counties in NY State so for Jefferson County to be 58th in employment and St. Lawrence County at 61st (only the Bronx has a higher unemployment rate) is not a good thing. Just in case you thought it was specific to our area Franklin is #48, Lewis is #50, Fulton is #59, and Oswego is #59 (tie).

I've noted before that given our small population base a few job losses can really swing our unemployment rates wildly, but the November jump seemed to be fairly broad and pretty severe. I'm trying to find historical data and I'll let you know if I get any info that might provide a little context.

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It's just anecdotal right now but there are some crazy discounts coming out of the major retailers with a week to go before Xmas. I don't know what it says about the holiday shopping season but big ticket items seem to be the ones that are getting cut very aggressively.

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Congress passed the tax deal last night and you can now officially ignore any congressman in the future that promises to work on the national debt if he voted for the tax cut. That tax cut just added $800 billion to as much as $5 trillion to the national debt.

Some things are fact and are not open to ideological interpretation however, many of the pundits and politicians on TV have heard or said the lies so often that it is now taken as truth.

"Tax cuts spur growth". Try again Chachi. I love targeted tax cuts and incentives that spur job creation, but the carpet bombing style tax cuts passed last night will do little to incentivize new growth particularly when the rest of the world wakes up to see that we aren't serious about our debt situation and our interest rates keep moving up.

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Facebook officially jumped the shark when Zuckerberg was named Person of the Year. Remember the last time something like this happened - roaring tech stock market, booming new industry? That's right, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon in December of 1999. Then TIME missed the absolute market top by just 3 months :)

For the record though Amazon survived the dotcom crash and 10 years later was actually above it's 1999 stock price. Very, very few of their fellow dotcom companies were so lucky.

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