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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Tea Leaves- Jobs in Your Stock Portfolio

Although the stock market might look like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow this week, the tricky leprechaun, hidden in a Republican slight of hand, is dancing with lecherous glee, as corporate profits are made off the backs of the unemployed.
Job searches are now as predictable as reading green tea leaves and just as mystifying, while corporate profits grow like weeds.

Reading the New York stock market indicators this week are pretty easy, especially when the graphs track upward. Investors might even welcome mystics to tell us when to buy and sell in this somewhat surprise bull market. Nevertheless,  job seekers need more than mystics to explain where to go for employment.  Among the 7.9 percent stubborn unemployment data are many who are now labeled "long term unemployed" or "extended unemployed",  like they have disabilities that stigmatize them to employers.

Although I'm not an economist, I tend to believe the reason our US Congress didn't act to eliminate the dreaded March 1st sequester cuts is because corporations wanted the curtailment.  In my opinion, corporations that pay lobbyists to prevent such disasters told Republicans about the unexpected bonus the sequester would bring to corporate profits.  In other words, companies could lay off workers by blaming the sequester, while their labor costs would be reduced, driving profit margins. This is what happened after the 2008 Great Recession, when the stock market crashed. Employers used the crash to lay off workers who they knew would never be rehired.  It's the same with the sequester.

So, now the rich  and richer are getting wealthier, because the stock market expects to see higher profit margins. Still, the unemployed are stuck in an economic dark hole.  They have no place to go except to work at low paying jobs, after their unemployment benefits expire. 

This impact isn't just for the here and the now.  As the unemployed take low paying jobs, their Social Security benefits will also be reduced by virtue of their lower income.  

Where are the jobs?  I suspect some employment opportunities will be available in health insurance sales, as 2014 begins the period when Americans will be looking for coverage to comply with the Obamacare regulations.  Likewise, I suspect health insurance carriers are a good place to put some stock dividend money right now.  Those are my tea leaf prognostications.

Those of us living on fixed incomes may justifiably welcome the current bull market as our new best friend.  Nevertheless,  it's a good idea to keep the memory of 2008 brewing in our minds. 

Every good tea leaf reader will tell you that our fortunes change with every fresh cup. 

Yet, if obstructionists Republicans in the US Congress passed President Barack Obama's jobs bill, the stock portfolios would continue to rise, while the unemployed could look at paychecks instead of tea leaves to predict their futures.

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