Monday, January 24, 2011

Job outlook rises?

I really wish that one day I could wake up and view the world through the same rose-colored glasses as everyone else. Today. while waiting for news on school closures (ot: it's already warmed up to -15 degrees here, is that really cold enough to close school for the day??) I was struck by the steady stream of news stories covering an obscure survey from NABE that said "US Jobs Outlook Hits Decade High!".

Well, that sounds pretty sweet and is no way correlated to tomorrow night's State of the Union that will focus on Jobs, Jobs and more Jobs.

Hidden way, way, way down at the bottom of the article on the suddenly resurgent US economy are the details of this "survey".

"Eighty-four NABE members responded to the survey, conducted between Dec. 17, 2010, and Jan. 5."

As Tina Fey would say "What the what?". 42% of respondents said they planned on adding staff in 2011, but to be clear this is 35 NABE member companies. I think they teach you in Stats 101 that this would not be considered a robust data set. However, apparently our role is not to question the quality of the information but to swallow it whole.....

Architect Billings jumped to their highest rates since 2007. "The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 54.2, up from a reading of 52.0 in November. This is the highest level since December 2007."

This is a measure of commercial activity and it seems to be centered on multi-family dwellings (people are broke and losing their homes so maybe there is demand for more affordable apartment complexes?), but it is a signal of some growth coming in the commercial construction industry. I also suspect that there is a growing proportion of US billings coming from foreign buyers (a weak dollar drives global firms to seek out US architects), but I can't confirm this with data.

While the news is just coming out about the bombing in Russia this has been my fear for some time. A bomber attacking a crowd prior to getting to the screening area. Get ready for the TSA to enact new pre-screening screening areas that will be located 20 miles from the airport. After your pre-screening screening, you will be screened again and board a bus which will take you to the airport where you will begin the regular TSA patdown process.

(sarcasm off).

I think this is kind of an interesting twist on the traditional gym membership business model. The more you miss the gym, the more you pay. Skip a day at the gym and you'll get billed $5, make all of your planned workouts and you're membership is free.

I see a couple of natural extensions of this model, but I think I'll keep them to myself for the time being :)


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