Sunday, August 31, 2014

Atlantic City

I stumbled upon a couple articles on Atlantic City's current casino "contraction," here and here, and it sounds like the beach town is losing 5,000 jobs in three days. Which doesn't sound good. I suppose you could say that as a country, where gambling is increasingly legal everywhere citizens are taxed, we may be reaching our saturation point for blackjack tables and slot machines.

But I remember back when Vegas was the only option in town, so to speak, and my childhood neighbors' first cousins went to work as card dealers when the Atlantic City casinos first opened. This was the late seventies, and they were going directly from high school because the casinos offered good union jobs and working as a dealer was an opportunity to earn a decent wage, what is now commonly referred to as a "living wage" and not at all guaranteed for current card and dice workers in riverboat America. I was a kid, not even a teenager, and going to work for a new casino sounded very impressive at the time.

When I think of A.C. casinos, I also think of my father, when he was flush in the mid '80s coming back from Los Angeles with a wallet full of twenty dollar bills to drop on the tables after we ate at a swank Italian place in one of those first casinos. This was all before GMO gas ruined Caesar dressing. So it was mildly amusing that ten years later he trained to work in the "cage," counting chips and making change, at a riverboat casino in Florida for just a buck or two more than minimum wage. As best I remember, his casino career was cut short when some slightly better job showed up soon after.

Update from February 2016: "Report: A.C. jobs, housing in downward spiral"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Documenting China

Saturday, August 2, 2014

is the debt half full?

The fact that 35% of Americans owe debt that is delinquent, at least 180 days old, has been flying around the internet lately and included in the headline of this Lynn Stuart Parramore article: "Debtor Nation: 35 Percent of Americans Owe Bills to Collections Agencies.

At the same time, if one acts against the tweeting tendencies of our common era, and actually reads the article, we learn that the median debt of the 35% who owe a debt for more than 180 days is only $1349.

In other words, there are 65% of Americans with no delinquent debt and then another 17.5% with less than $1349. So 82.5% of us, or more than four out of five Americans, have less than $1349 in past-due debt, and frankly that is not so bad.

Among the other fifth, or 17.5%, I imagine, as anyone would who has had significant debt or a close relative with such problems, "the sleepless nights and anxiety that comes from an ability to meet debt obligations" could be very real, though.

Friday, August 1, 2014

worker participation July 2014

You can follow the link or read below to see that worker participation rose 1/10th of a percent to 62.9, so it is hovering very slightly above the lowest rate recorded in the past ten years. That would be 62.8%, which happens to be what was recorded for 5 of the last 10 months.

I believe this rate refers to the total percentage of Americans over 16 who are counted as being in the workforce, including part-time workers and those who work enough part-time jobs to be counted as working full-time.

So although unemployment rose from 6.1 to 6.2, worker participation also rose from 62.8 and 62.9, which seems to indicate that unemployment is rising because more people are looking for work, which is why we could still see job growth of over 200,000 for the most recent month. At present, I can't substantiate the rumor that every single newly hired worker is being hired in Washington, D.C. to make sure that nothing gets done.

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over


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