Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan 3-11

I couldn’t help thinking, as I watched television this past Friday, that the date was reminiscent of 9-11. The pictures coming from Japan showed devastation and ruin that I knew would result in more than the 40 to 60 deaths that were being discussed at the time. To me, it was in some ways like watching the twin towers coming down all over again. This time, it was Mother Nature reminding us of how precious life is and how delicate the balance under which we all live. We have friends who have loved ones in Japan, we know of military personnel stationed there, and then there are all the people we don’t know who are scared and worried. The emotional impact is chilling! This destruction will have an economic impact for some time to come. Today I noted that the price of oil was receding, stock prices were dropping, and there was a sense that there was not enough information yet to determine what was really happening. This is the point where attitude and fortitude come into play. As bad as it is, we human beings gather ourselves back up, reorganize and move forward. This will happen in Japan. As difficult as it is, they will rebuild. We will help them rebuild. Ed Mallon

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

For quite some time, we have been waiting for the weekly new unemployment filings to go below 400,000. Even more important is to see the four-week average go below 400,000. For the week ending February 26th, the Labor Department reported the weekly new filings were 368,000 and the four-week average is 388,000. In addition, continuing jobless claims--people who have received benefits for more than a week--fell by 59,000 to 3.77 million. These are all positives on the job front. What we really want to see, however, is new job creation! Well, this too has been a positive. To absorb new workers entering the workforce, the economy needs to create about 100,000 jobs, on average, every month. Since November of 2010, the average is 120,000! The momentum is picking up, with 192,000 jobs added in February. The doom and gloom folks will point out that the number of people employed is still 7.5 million below the end of 2007, but I believe the trend is your friend and in this case the trend is going in the right direction. Hooray! Ed Mallon