Friday, January 26, 2018

This old earthquake...

Just because gold plated doors are popular these days.

I have had a good week - how about you?


ndspinelli said...

I worked on a continuing case this week. It is nice to work sporadically and not have to deal w/ clients. I work for an agency out of the DC area founded by a high level FBI. He ran the HRT[Hostaqe Rescue Team].

windbag said...

Just trying to make it to the time change. December through February are my lean months. The biggest headache for the small business? Labor. We are held to an artificially propped up minimum wage, but employees aren't required to meet an artificially inflated level of productivity. I thought lefties were all about fairness.

With a year behind us of making America great again, I'm about in the same condition I was last year at this time. Now, I think that things will improve, but history shows that some of the changes will take time before I feel them in this little town. Now my employees will feel the change this week, when they get their checks with the new withholding tables in place. We're pretty far off the beaten path, so many of the highs and lows of the economy are tempered before they affect us. The price of gas is one of the biggest factors for us, since we do a fair amount of business off the tourist and travelers.

One thing that I noticed immediately a year ago that signaled a recovery was optimism about the the economy. The day after Trump was elected I told my manager to expect an increase in prospective buyers for the business. Now, I get tire kickers all the time, and I usually can detect and deflect them with one conversation. I'm talking about serious inquiries, which are rarer. I'm not actively selling, but sure enough early into the year, I got a serious player nosing about. That hasn't happened since W left the White House.

Another sign of optimism is that beginning in 2017 I started getting calls from all over the US from people wanting to purchase my real estate. When I explain that my business is on my property, they excuse themselves. They are only interested in snapping up commercial real estate. Again, nobody was interested in my land during the Obama years. They're looking for bargains and are hoping to find a desperate seller, but they're looking now because they expect the values to go up.

So, back to labor. We could identify all the reasons for the demise of the Puritan work ethic in America, but what's the point? Suffice it to say that anyone running a business has noticed the decline. My wife managers computer programmers and frequently tells me about an employee with the same issues as my fast food workers. We used to start hiring and training for the summer season in February. Now, it's a year round endeavor, as we're fortunate to snag a good employee anytime we can find one. We rarely get applications anymore.

My industry hurts in the labor market when the economy is on the upswing, so I know it's going to be a rough ride for awhile. I have some excellent workers, so I do have a base to work off of, but it's exhausting to find and train good ones.

How's my week going? Well, that's the work end of it. The Bruins are on a tear right now, even with stupid Marchand catching a five-game suspension for a dirty elbow to the head of an opponent. And I have tickets to watch them play the Carolina Hurricanes in March, so some things are very good.

And Hillary still isn't President.

Sixty Grit said...

As a lapsed Puritan, currently a Shaker, and I hope never again to be a Mover, I agree - some young people don't know how to work or what is expected of them. Mercifully I am a one man shop and I blame management for my company's failure to thrive.

Actually, since it is tax time, a time to review the year that was, I notice that the first half of last year was 4 times as profitable than the second half. What the hey? How does one explain a 75% drop in sales?

Like you say, some things can be discussed but not explained. I am taking steps to increase my market visibility and we shall see if that helps.

So do you drive down to PNC Arena to watch the 'Canes? Let me know when you are going to drive by - I'll wave - you can't miss me - I am the one on the right in the picture:


windbag said...

I'll drive down. Five hour trip one way. My son stayed in Raleigh after graduating from NC State, so I'll take him to the game if my wife can't get away from work. When he was at State, we stayed at the Comfort Inn that's right across the street from the arena when we went to see him. The Backyard Bistro restaurant is right there, too, and it was a decent place to eat the few times we were there.

ndspinelli said...

windbag, Corporations are putting on huge parties this week for the Super Bowl. The unemployment rate locally is 2.4%. They are trying to hire bartenders, waitstaff, etc. for $11/hour but were striking out. Local restaurant people are telling these invaders you got to go $15 or more in this marketplace to get anyone w/ experience.

windbag said...

Nick, it's a tough labor market now. Especially here in the boondocks. When we moved here 30 years ago, a guy told me that the only people who didn't have a job were the people who didn't want a job. I thought that was kind of cold, but he was right. I know people who work two or three jobs to make ends meet, and they didn't just start doing that after Obamacare kicked everyone to part time. We pay above minimum wage, but I saw a sign advertising even higher than our starting pay, so we may have to go even higher. I refuse to hire illegals, although plenty of other places do that.

A guy I know hired illegals in this handyman business. Then he complained about the migrants taking away all the business in the area. I told him that it was people like him who gave them a toehold here and sustained them until they could compete against him and that I didn't have much sympathy for him. He doesn't talk to me anymore.

That link is a report of how much welfare money employers are competing against to attract workers.