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Corporate earnings up again

Discussions about the economic and financial ramifications of PEAK OIL

Re: Corporate earnings up again

Unread postby asg70 » Sun 04 Aug 2019, 11:04:43

The_Toecutter wrote:Most of my efforts have been sending online applications.

In my experience, direct applications tend to go nowhere these days, even if you're qualified. It has to do with how overly-aggressive the screening process has become, oftentimes done via algorithms rather than people. You really should try to work through a recruiting agency. A lot of jobs these days are contract-based and they are staffed through recruiters rather than being listed on sites like Monster. So not all jobs are even listed anymore. That's why being on LinkedIn is important. I get lots of unsolicited contacts by recruiters based purely on my exposure on LinkedIn.

-Billions are on the verge of starvation as the lockdown continues. (yoshua, 5/20/20)

-Short welched on a bet and should be shunned.
-Frequent-flyers should not cry crocodile-tears over climate-change.
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Re: Corporate earnings up again

Unread postby The_Toecutter » Fri 20 Sep 2019, 04:08:30

Outcast_Searcher wrote:You can't reasonably just make flat statements like that.

There are many things that are WAY cheaper than they were several decades ago, in real dollar terms. Others, like medical care and education have had high rates of inflation.

I'm talking about the necessities of living or working in today's society. Shelter, healthcare, education, food, transportation.

Sure, entertainment and plastic pumpkins are much cheaper than they used to be. So are computers, and we have smart phones that didn't exist not too long ago. None of that matters when most people can't afford rent on a 2 bedroom apartment in a safe neighborhood or a college education on a median income, when one used to be able to afford those things on a minimum wage.

It is quite accurate, even in the small towns, to say that when it comes to accessing these things, median wage today pays LESS than minimum wage of 50 years ago. While the government statistics will suggest otherwise, I did post the numbers to back up my claim. You can choose to ignore them if you wish, but it won't change the reality.

It takes a two income household mired in debt to raise a family today. 50 years ago, a one income household could do the same and build up a nest egg and maintain a positive net worth.

Just because outfits like "Shadowstats" make wild claims, it doesn't mean they're true. There are SEVERAL ways to measure unemployment, such as U3 or U6. Guess what -- they're not all the same, and it's not a conspiracy.

From what I'm seeing on the street, Shadowstats' claims seem less wild than the official claims. I see a lot of broke people where I live who want jobs, and in spite of all the help wanted signs, cannot find them no matter how hard they try. I've been trying to find a job for 18 months now, with very little success. Those who do have jobs, even those responsible with their money, live paycheck to paycheck and never have anything to show for their hard work, as it all goes to rent, food, transportation, medicine, student loans, ect.

Last month I got hired for an engineering position where I got to work from home. Right when I was about to get my second job assignment, the firm who hired me got their contract pulled. I made a little bit of money watching some training videos and doing my first job, but now I'm jobless again. Over 1,100 applications/resumes sent, and that's been the best degree of success I've had thus far.

People who I know who are running small businesses like restaurants are having trouble finding reliable help -- because there are so many places hiring.

I can't get any of them to hire me. Most of the time I never get an explanation. When I do, it's because I'm "overqualified" that I'm not chosen, and the help wanted sign stays up. Friends of mine without my education or expertise have tried to get these jobs too, and can't get them. We often find after the fact that they end up going to people who don't even speak English and are probably here illegally.

I live in a pretty humdrum top 100 city in the US. So, are the stats all "a conspiracy", or do top engineering jobs perhaps require modern educations, and do most corporations perhaps ignore middle aged folks more than is optimal?

My education is 10 years old, but my experience is up to date, and I've kept gaining knowledge along the way. I just got out of student loan debt hell and had to live in a rathole in the hood split with roommates to pay them off. I'm not about to go into that trap again, having just clawed my way out of it, having spent enough in interest to have bought a house, without the house to show for it. This, AFTER my scholarships covered most of my tuition, scholarships that were of a sufficiently high tier that I'd have had to have been Valedictorian of my high school to have done better.

I may be approaching middle age, but any employer who looks at me will not ever guess that. I can't even date women my own age because they think I'm too young or they think I'm lying when I tell them how old I am, and high school girls flirt with me and have asked me what school I go to, only for me to turn them away because of the age difference. So I'm probably not being discriminated against due to being middle age, although potential employers could think it is strange that someone who looks the way I do is out of college, let alone having close to 10 years engineering experience.

One thing I certainly don't envy working age people for these days is how relatively tough the job market is for well paying jobs in corporations, and how fast the employment market changes.

Today's "well paying" job, with its wages priced in terms of the cost of the necessities listed above, is often a "working class" wage of 50 years ago. Those households who want to raise a family with two kids in the kind of lower middle class lifestyle depicted in ye olde' Norman Rockwell Americana need to be pulling in about $100k/yr to afford that without piling on a lifetime of debt. This means both parents working decent jobs.

Basically, the upper quartile can truly afford that. Those below that income percentile who try to live "middle class" end up living beyond their means. This is one of the reasons my generation is so frustrated and pissed off. Cost of living has been going up much faster than wages, and that effect compounds over the decades. The CPI is a very dishonest measure of inflation as well, which has also added up over the decades, and people who were once middle class have used increased debt burdens to still pretend that they are. When the next economic decline hits, it's going to bite them in the ass hard.

I'm so glad to be debt free. I just need to avoid ending up homeless.
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the old growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder. ~Thomas Jefferson
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Re: Corporate earnings up again

Unread postby The_Toecutter » Fri 20 Sep 2019, 04:35:24

asg70 wrote:Toecutter, you just missed the boat on this.

I had the education, I had the knowledge, I had the desire to work in the field, and I tried to get into it. It's more their loss than it is mine for not hiring me.

People used to convert old cars to electric because there weren't any mass-produced EVs. These conversions acted as ambassadors for electric car advocacy which is why organizations would sometimes award grants. This was during the whole "Who Killed the Electric Car" era.

But even a first gen Volt has as much all-electric range as most of these lead-sled conversions, with far better safety and creature-comforts. So the cost-benefit analysis simply doesn't work anymore. The cheapest way to go all-electric is to buy a second hand Volt or Leaf. Over time the used market will get more and more attractive to those on the cheap who don't mind planning their life around BEVs with limited range. Plenty of "compliance cars" (eGolf, Fiat 500e, etc...) will trickle down that still offer an experience that, back in the day, would have amazed those who were in love with their EV1 leases.

There is still a small niche for converting old cars but it's more a case of well-heeled classic car collectors who want to absolve themselves of eco-guilt hence they stick in an AC motor with lithium and all the goodies. But lead-sled shade-tree conversions are relegated to eccentrics who are in it for the DIY aspect.

I had an old car myself that I was planning to convert. But that was back when I thought 2008 was "the big one" and the idea of rolling around in an antique lead-sled was more appealing than ponying up to $10+/gallon gasoline. Well, we know how everything played out, don't we? The sky didn't fall and BEVs started ramping up the adoption curve. So I gave my old car away to a collector/mechanic who has given it one last lease on life as a gas car.

There is one appeal with regard to the old conversions. The newer cars are much too bloated in mass/frontal area and are compromised regarding both efficiency and performance as a result.

The potential to make a 2-seater sports car that can cruise at 70 mph on only 120 Wh/mile exists, but the newer OEM EVs won't come close to that. What's nice about the old sports cars is that they were built to be sports cars, not luxury cars posing as sports cars. With the proper re-design of the body panels and attention to aerodynamics, coupled with the reduced mass over modern cars combined with the new technology available, beating the OEM EVs in areas outside of safety/comfort/amenities is easy. Of course, such a vehicle will be for a niche market.

The awesome thing about all these old used EVs on the road is that there are better parts available than there used to be, for cheaper. Once funding permits, I plan to strip a wrecked Model 3 of its Panasonic 2170s, and use them in both my electric velomobile and my Triumph GT6. I may even be able to use a Tesla motor/inverter for the GT6 as well. My car would end up at roughly half the mass of a Model 3 in the process, and the velomobile would be on a whole different level regarding efficiency than any of them(possibly < 15 Wh/mi @ 60 mph, and able to be pedaled with the motor off).

The CALBs in the GT6 could then be repurposed as an energy storage system for the off grid residence I'm going to build. I have 21 kWh for that purpose currently sitting in that car.

Life is nothing but a series of decisions and dealing with their consequences.

Mine has been a series of dealing with other people's consequences, even moreso than my own. The lesson I've learned is that I'd have been a lot more successful if I were a sociopath. The old saying "nice guys finish last" rings more and more true...

The other thing I learned from this whole exercise is that gas bills are NOT as big a factor on personal finances as peakers once suggested.

That said, by using bicycles for most of my transport and avoiding as much as possible the use of oil-based fuels, I've saved tens of thousands of dollars. It made the difference between me being debt free by now, or still being stuck in it.

Rent, groceries, and especially health insurance, are the biggies, and these are not really impacted by gas prices that much (yes even groceries). We didn't see food prices skyrocket when oil was $100+ a gallon. The closest we saw to a real peak oil impact was the airlines teetering towards bankruptcy but most air travel is unnecessary (like Plant's).

We did get the economic collapse of 2008, at least in part as a result of oil reaching that price. It may not have been as big of a factor as the various financial bubbles bursting, but many of those were caused by spending tomorrows resources before they were even extracted, in aggregate.

With all of the financial games and obfuscations that have occurred since, I don't think we've yet seen the full effects of the 2008 collapse, because it has not been allowed to fully occur, nor has the recovery been real for the average Joe and Jane Sixpack. Endless money printing and debt accumulation has been used to delay the consequences as long as possible. Eventually the bill comes due, however...

So while I'm happy to be off gasoline, I don't simplistically view myself as being "home free" from peak oil doom. I still have to pay the damn car off, for instance. And I have a mortgage, etc...

I hope you don't lose it. Being constantly in debt sucks, and the truth of the matter is that long-term job security is an illusion. Couple this with the fact that most Americans are one missed paycheck, one job loss, one arrest, one accident, or one medical emergency away from that downward spiral right now. 2/3 of Americans can't even come up with $500 in an emergency. I'm nearly broke living in my mom's basement, and I've got more money and more net positive fluid assets than most people, and I'm not rich, or even middle class. And that scares the hell out of me to think that I'm better off than most, while in this situation. I've missed well over a year in paychecks, and still am not homeless, and very few people could ever do that... Do keep in mind that my money kept the house out of foreclosure.

The whole EV fad reflected a gross oversimplification of peak oil vulnerability and what cosntitutes necessary preps. It's something peakers should do, but it is not the be all end all.

I've always seen it as a part of a solution, a major part of a solution at that, but not THE solution. And it is making an impact already, albeit much later than it should have thanks to the auto industry dragging their feet. The effects are cumulative over time.

In the long run, assuming civilization doesn't collapse, EVs will be more than a fad. The technology simply makes sense. Imagine the impact it would have had if the auto industry embraced it 2 decades earlier.
The unnecessary felling of a tree, perhaps the old growth of centuries, seems to me a crime little short of murder. ~Thomas Jefferson
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