April 2021

Neon sign advertising job opening outside of a business

When we leave here at day’s end, the most direct route home passes a steady array of business with signs announcing, We’re Hiring: anecdotal evidence that’s consistent with the national employment numbers.

So, the social constraints of Covid-19 are easing, as the number of vaccinated is growing steadily, signaling, we trust, that the end of the pandemic is in sight—still some not yet measurable distance away, but in sight. So, more folks are venturing out of their houses, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, while finally not being limited to meals at home and shopping on Amazon. Life is good getting better!

Which brings us to one of many politically contentious issues that both Democrats and Republicans need to act grown-up and face. The employment figures vary widely by state, in compliance with each state’s regulations. Limiting the growth of employed individuals is the compensation competition between regular job pay and unemployed individual’s enhanced Pandemic benefits. This competition is most obvious for those in lower skilled jobs, such as fast-food workers. Examples abound of individuals having more income from the government’s Pandemic benefits programs than by working, which is one of the political embroilments of the minimum wage arguments among our leaders(?) in Washington (and in our case, Springfield). (“I can get paid more to stay at home than I can working? Duh, that’s a no-brainer!”)

That is reflected in the market as the up and down battle of the optimists and the pessimists continues. At this point historic statistical measurements of the markets, i.e., price to sales, earnings, book value, et.al are at highs, indicating the markets are fully valued.

Mixed bag, isn’t it? Improving situation with employment, oh yes, and sales and earnings. I call those positives for the economy and investments—for all of us. We won’t call the political situation especially bad news, just a continuation of the self-inflicted imbroglio that has waxed and waned for most of our lifetimes.

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We just put the hummingbird feeders out. A scout has, without fail over the years, shown up at the deck at tax filing time. We’ll see how informed he is, what his ETA is this year, with the tax deadline having been extended until May 17th. Life really is getting better!

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