What does the economy wide staffing shortage look like?

Status of many restaurants. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

What does it look like from the customer side when businesses cannot find enough employees? My wife and I found out a few days ago.

After relaxing on Memorial Day, pondering the ultimate sacrifice by so many to provide the freedoms we enjoy, and exercising those freedoms, we decided to go out to eat. We went to Victoria Gardens, a large shopping center near our home.

Since the tradition for the day is cooking cheeseburgers on the grill but we don’t have a grill, we picked a ‘50s style café where we could get a cheeseburger and sweet potato fries. Yum!

Normally they would be open until 10 or 11 o’clock. Walking up to the restaurant we saw a paper sign taped to the door announcing they were only open until 8 PM.

Odd.

The door was locked. There were a few staff inside who appeared to be going through their end-of-day cleanup routine.

It was a few minutes after 6 p.m.

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Still more grim news from the lockdown.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The bad news caused by the government imposed shut down of the economy keeps rolling in.

Merely a few recent articles:

  • The “laptop class” did well, while the working class was delivering their stuff, taking on the risks of infection.
  • Rents in New York City are in freefall.
  • Record levels in discount off the posted tuition rate for private colleges, which is an indicator of collapsing demand and indicator of future financial distress.
  • Millions are unemployed while companies can’t find enough workers.

5/20/21 – Glenn Reynolds at New York Post – The rich and powerful thrived as the rest of us suffered in the year of lockdowns – Fourteen months of the “two weeks to slow the spread” has shown that the rich and powerful did quite well while working class and poor folk suffered.

The laptop class was able to stay at home, fully employed with no loss of income. In fact, with no commuting costs and not eating out for lunch many in the laptop class were left better off.

They stayed home and the working class delivered their stuff.

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Background on the inflation environment.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

(As with the previous discussion, this comment is cross-posted from my other blog, Attestation Update. This information is useful not just for CPAs interpreting the financial results of their clients, but also for readers of this blog, because the rapid run-up of inflation fears is a risk to economic freedom. If we return to the devastating inflation rates of the 1970s, we would see severely harm to economic freedom.)

Previous post suggested It’s time to start monitoring inflation. The dramatic increase in inflation rate in March and April 2021 suggests we need to be watching the inflation numbers more closely.

Not only does this help us generally understand what is going on around us, but specifically it helps us understand and interpret our clients’ financial results as we provide audit and review services.

A few articles I have found helpful in the recent weeks providing context on the inflation environment:

5/5/21 – Wall Street JournalEverything Screams Inflation – Columnist senses a possible shifting point from the low inflation we have seen for a very long time, going back to a sustained period of high inflation.

He cites five general trends which point towards years of high inflation:

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More indications of economic damage from shutdown.

Federal judge ruled the moratorium is a flagrantly illegal power grab. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A bit of good news to go with the ongoing indications of economic destruction.

  • Federal judge ruled the CDC can’t force landlords to provide no-cash-payment housing.
  • Black homeowners having more difficulty getting back on track with mortgage payments than other ethnic groups. Economic impact of shutdowns are falling disproportionately hard on minorities.
  • Rent prices in New York City continue in freefall.

5/6/21 – Foundation for Economic Education – A Federal Judge Just Struck Down One of the CDC’s Most Blatant Power Grabs – The Centers for Disease Control assumed for itself the power to prohibit evictions of renters because they were not paying rent.

No, although it may be your first reaction, that is not socialism. The government telling you what to do with your property, how much to produce, and controlling the price you can charge, thus converting the property into de facto government property, actually falls into the definition of the economic system of fascism.

Article reminds us that in 9/20, CDC issued an order that non-paying tenants cannot be evicted in most situations. Serious penalties involved.

The extreme rationalization to grab this power was shut down by a federal judge on 5/5/20.

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It’s time to start monitoring inflation.

(This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Attestation Update. The primary audience for this discussions is CPAs, so we can start to monitor the inflation data. This allows us CPAs to better understand what is going on with our clients when providing audit or review services. The information is also useful for readers of this blog, because the rapid run-up of inflation fears is a risk to economic freedom. A return to the devastating inflation rates of the 1970s would severely harm our economic freedom.)

As CPAs, we pay attention to economic trends because those have big impact on our client’s operations.  Understanding what is happening in terms of interest rates, growth or shrinkage in the GDP, unemployment trends, and real estate prices also helps us interpret financial statements during and audit or review.

It is time to start monitoring inflation rates.

Graph at the top of this post shows worrying information about inflation.

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More indications of health consequences caused by economic shutdown.

How many more advanced cancer cases and how many more cancer deaths will we see because of the economic shutdown? Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A few of the recent articles pointing to health consequences from shutting down the economy:

  • Flu bug has essentially disappeared.
  • Rapid increase in alcohol deaths in England and Wales during the lockdown.
  • One study finds being at home is more dangerous than being at work.
  • Three articles point to the harsh medical consequences of the drop in cancer screenings; people are dying because of lack of access to health care during the lockdown.

I hope someday there will be accountability for the politicians and public health officials who put us in this place.

4/29/21 – Scientific American – Flu Has Disappeared Worldwide during the Covid Pandemic – Since the Covid pandemic began the incidents of influenza have shrank to level of inconsequential. One expert is quoted as saying there is “no flu circulating.”

Tally of deaths in the United States from influenza:

  • 34,000 – 2018-2019 flu season
  • 22,000 – 2019-2020 flu season
  • 600 – 2020-2021 flu season, yes 600

Article has graph of influenza cases per week in North America. Graph of the previous eight flu seasons shows huge spike a couple months ago. The graph for the 2021 flu season is a flat line indistinguishable from zero. Looking at the graph you assume that flu has completely disappeared from North America.

“Experts” mentioned in the article unanimously attribute the disappearance to the same protocols used in an attempt to limit Covid infection – wearing masks, washing hands, frequent use of hand sanitizers, and social distancing.

Amusingly, missing from the article is even the mere possibility of considering that there might perhaps be the option of miscoding or erroneous diagnosis. There is no hint that could even possibly happen.

5/6/21 – Lockdown Skeptics – Alcohol Deaths Rise to Highest Level Since Records Began in England and Wales – Deaths from alcohol abuse have been rising for many years in England and Wales. However, there is a 20% increase in 2020 over 2019 with most of the acceleration happening after the lockdown began.

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Side-effects of lockdown: increasing suicides, higher unemployment.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The devastating side-effects from government-imposed lockdowns keeps growing. The lack of benefits and damage from lockdowns is becoming more obvious with every week that passes.

Merely a few of the recent articles in the news:

  • Suicide attempts amongst youth increasing.
  • Long-term care residents in Canada remain in solitary confinement in spite of 90% of them having been vaccinated.
  • Unemployment rate higher in states with harsh lockdowns, lower in states with freedom.

3/16/21 – Foundation for Economic Education – Child Suicide is Becoming an “International Epidemic” Amid Restricted Pandemic Life, Doctors Warn – Associated Press interviewed a British doctor who works in an ER.  Number of suicide attempts he is treating has gone from a couple a week before the pandemic started to several a day now.

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Cost of the devastation caused by closing schools.

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To the extent there was ever justification for closing schools, emerging research demonstrates it has been an extremely long time since any such justification evaporated. Research from Wharton shows the severe, lifelong cost of losing out on two or three semesters of education.

This is the fifth in a series of posts reminding us we have completed one year of “fifteen days to smooth the curve.” In California, we have started our second year of curve smoothing.

10/12/20 – Penn Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, Budget Model website Covid: Trade-offs in School Reopening – Detailed economic analysis is thoroughly devastating to any argument there is any value in keeping schools closed and in fact there are substantive questions whether there was any value to closing any schools.

Summary

There will be permanent damage to the education level of most students with a serious adverse impact on lifetime earnings with a disproportionate impact on kids who are poor kids, disadvantaged kids, and persons of color.

Read the full article. Please.

Recap of the highlights

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