Monday, August 30, 2004


ESPN offers behind the scenes view of Audio/Video jobs.

During Saturday's USC vs. Virginia Tech college football game, ESPN offered a behind the scenes look at how a college football game is produced. This look gave insight into the jobs of camera operators, sound technicians, A/V techs and the myriad of other professions needed to produce a nationally televised game.

Although this coverage of the behind the scenes work still provided a 1/4 screen view of the game, I eventually returned to the full screen version of the game. Thanks ESPN for providing a look at the production of a televised college football game.

Friday, August 27, 2004


Unemployment up, oil prices down.

With economists claiming it couldn't happen, oil prices very nearly crossed the $50 per barrel threshold, only to slink back to the low $40s per barrel after some of the threats to oil production resolved themselves. The peace agreement reached in Najaf ends an oil production threat raised by the Medhi Army.

Alan Greenspan and the Fed are looking quite prophetic in claiming the oil price pressures were temporary and raising a key overnight lending rate by .25% earlier this month. However, they've got some explaining to do when it comes to jobs. New unemployment claims jumped yesterday to 343,000, up sharply from the previous week. Additionally, a new report showed 1.3 million Americans are officially living below the poverty line.

Today's GDP quarterly report came in a tad bit lower than last month's snapshot predicted and shows that 2nd quarter growth was less than 1st quarter. However, it was still growth.

All these figures will contribute to some very interesting claims by both presidential candidates. President Bush can say the economy is growing and he'll be right. John Kerry can say more people are out of work and poor and he'll be right too. Our first glimpse of interesting claims will be next week as the Republican National Convention kicks off on Monday.

This report brought to you by DegreeSource.

Monday, August 23, 2004


Energy prices finally go down...and take financial markets with them.

Oil prices finally dipped as production in Iraq resumed after several weeks of industrial sabotage. As a result, bond markets lost a bit, with the 10 year bond yields increasing 5 bps. Alan Greenspan delivers a speech later this week and several financial reports are due to be released.

The stock market also lost with the Dow closing down 37 points, while the NASDAQ edged up less the 1 point.

Week three of the unofficial classified jobs report.

Salt Lake City is down from last week at 1340 new jobs listed.
Richmond, VA is up with 96.
Davenport, IA is up barely to 154.
Winston-Salem is down slightly with 447.
Sacramento is also down with 1675.
Oklahoma City went down with 1410 new jobs listed.

This is not a good week with cities losing over 500 job listings. Will Thursday's unemployment report validate this theory? We'll see then.

This report brought to you by Top Colleges.

Thursday, August 19, 2004


Are we really in an economic recovery?

Economic reports released today had the financial community hoping for answers to the question of whether the American economy is actually in a recovery. The data was as ambiguous as the answer: we don't really know.

Oil prices are one of the biggest questions, impacting consumer prices, consumer spending, treasury markets and the stock market. Yesterday's news that defiant cleric Muqtada al-Sadr would lay down arms and participate in Iraq's political process turned to confusion today. Al-Sadr's mosque has turned into a fortress and his supporters have launched attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi security personnel.

Military instability in the region, along with a host of other factors, have driven oil prices to daily record highs. Today is no exception, with oil hitting $47.96 per barrel as an intraday high. The big concern is these prices have not been reflected at American gas pumps yet. When that happens, I believe we will see the highest gas prices in the history of our country.

Meanwhile, the Fed's Philadelphia manufacturing survey mirrored lower results published on Monday in another region. The results of the survey indicate demand for products has declined, which spells trouble for America's consumer driven economy.

Additionally, weekly unemployment jobless claims came out a bit lower for the third straight week. 331,000 new claims were logged last week, down 3000 from the previous week.

Today's data caused the stock market to decline sharply, despite a great debut from Google on the NASDAQ. The only silver lining to the American economic cloud is the bond market and housing. Mortgage rates are holding steady, houses are selling and home values are still increasing.

Will the American economy make a comeback as strong as Paul Hamm did in his quest for gymnastic all-around gold? Is unemployment simply a devastating vault landing in the apparatus of economic reports? We'll find out.

This report brought to you by Bryman College.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


Oil prices affect economy, but will that impact employment.

Oil prices soared to hit yet another record high, but fell back a touch on good news from Iraq. The final close was $47.27 per barrel. The stock market responded to the news from Iraq by closing up 110 points and closed above 10,000 composite for the first time since August 4th. Shares in companies that had dropped earlier are now a bargain.

No major financial reports were due out today and Treasuries were affected by some profit taking. The 10 year note had its' yields close up 4 basis points. This treasury affects mortgage rates. Thursday brings the weekly unemployment reports and July's manufacturing report, which based on Monday's regional report has low expectations. Tuesday brought the consumer price index survey, which actually showed prices going down a bit and bond traders anticipate the Fed will not raise rates as aggressively as had been planned.

These reports are a mixed bag that don't really show the economy improving one way or the other. We'll see whether Thursday's reports may help clear things up a bit.

This report brought to you by Full education and employment articles are available at

Monday, August 16, 2004


Monday answers Friday's questions.

The big news last week - oil, resolved itself a bit over the weekend with the completion of Venezuela's recall election. Incumbent President Hugo Chavez maintained his position. Since Venezuela is an OPEC nation, domestic turmoil in that country could lower oil production which would in turn raise prices even further. Oil prices instead backed off from previous record highs, closing at $45.69 per barrel.

The stock market rebounded from last weeks losses, posting a 129.20 gain for the day. Profit taking in the bond markets caused yields in the 10 year bond market to edge up 3 bps. Earlier in the day, a regional manufacturing report came in much lower than economists expectations.
The consumer price index report for July will be tomorrow's big economic news.

My informal employment survey of newspaper classifieds across the country shows some improvement.

Salt Lake City is up from last week at 1528 new jobs listed.
Richmond, VA is also up with 92.
Davenport, IA is up to 152.
Winston-Salem is down slightly with 467.
Sacramento is also down with 1703.
Oklahoma City edged up with 1410 new jobs listed.

We'll see on Thursday if unemployment figures have any correlation to this informal collection of new job listings.

Today's reports brought to you be Top Colleges...improve your life in less time.

Friday, August 13, 2004


Oil prices big story on economic front.

Oil prices continue to dominate financial markets. New per barrel highs are almost a daily occurrence, with the price per barrel closing at $46.03, almost a full dollar more than yesterday's closing.

One of the near term factors affecting oil prices is an election in Venezuela on Sunday. A poor outcome for the incumbent could cause violence that may affect oil production in the South American OPEC country.

A report on the U.S. trade deficit caused yields in the 10 year bond market to go down, while the stock market edged up with the Dow closing 10 points higher and the NASDAQ up four.

This economic brief brought to you by the business schools of

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