13 Aug Saturday Broadcast 11
✔️ ICYMI news, 8/8 – 8/12.
✔️ The push for RTO is getting more and more obvious.
✔️ More layoffs. Risk analysts are warning businesses that food shortages could lead to civil unrest.
✔️ Gas and food prices are expected to go up even more, but hey: transitory! 😒
Links I mention in this episode:
Transcription by Otter.ai. Please forgive any typos!
Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. I’m recording this portion of the broadcast on Monday, August 8, a bird’s eye view of what I’m seeing in the stores at the Dollar General that I went into. It was kind of depressing to be honest, because there were just stickers on top of stickers on top of stickers. In the beginning of all this supposedly transitory inflation, when they would have to up prices on a regular basis, they would try to scrape the old stickers off to make it maybe a little bit less obvious. But now I think they’ve just said to heck with it. And so you go and look at an item and there would be a price increase sticker over another over another over another. At that particular store, they were out of the $1 package, toilet paper and almost out of the smaller scale $1 A bottle of laundry detergent. Walmart was pretty similar to the way that it has been for the past few weeks, very little in the way of the cheap, economical $1 A bottle shampoo and conditioners. The only tampons on the shelf were the more expensive 789 $10 A box tampons. It was interesting because down the medicine aisle, things are reversed. So instead of being out completely of ibuprofen, but having plenty of acetaminophen it was the opposite. The ibuprofen was back in stock, and it was mostly like name brand. Advil, I only saw very few bottles of like generic or off brand ibuprofen on the shelf, no acetaminophen, to speak of which is weird, the aisle where they keep cat supplies, very sparse. And in fact, at my store, they had put up the signs that said if we don’t have what you need here, or if you need something and you’re not finding it, please don’t forget to go online and look there. And I’m like is that the way of the future is that what they’re just going to do? Whenever they don’t have something physically they’re in the store, they’re just going to put up a placard that says, hey, don’t forget, you can find it online. For a while the power aid had been a more economical alternative to Gatorade for a while it was like I think 498 a package. Now those are over $5. So the power train and the Gatorade are getting closer and closer to being the same price. Although I think the packages of Gatorade are getting close to $7. Now just crazy. But at the same time, if you need the electrolytes, if it helps you with hydration, I mean, it’s insane. In this heat dome, whether you’re dealing with the flash drought, or you’re dealing with a lot of rain, or we’re like a storm will break out in the afternoon and everything becomes a sauna. If you have to do any kind of work outdoors, it feels like you’re going to burst into flames. So even though I know people will argue with me and say we’ll just drink good old fashioned water, which I agree that’s important. But I also think at some level, rehydrating with electrolytes is a good idea. And it’s difficult to do that adequately when you go to the store. And these drinks are more expensive every time you go in the bread aisle was pretty sparse. And it didn’t even look like the effort had been made this time of turning the loaves of bread sideways to make it appear that there was more bread on the shelves, it was just pretty, pretty bare and Pretty Vacant. Except for again, the more expensive loaves of bread, if you were willing to pay six, seven or $8 for some specialty loaf of bread, then it was there and it was plentiful. But if you wanted the less expensive options, you didn’t have much to choose from. I would also encourage you honestly, in any economy. If you are budget minded, and you want to be sure you know what’s going on, check your receipt, I’m hearing more and more horror stories from people around the country of when you get to the register, the price that comes up doesn’t actually match what’s on the shelves, or there might be something that’s on a marked down or a clearance. But when you get it whether you’re using the self checkout and trying to do it on your own, or you’re going through an actual line with a cashier, the sale price doesn’t want to ring up instead it shows that it’s regular price. So just as as best as you can be aware, pay attention at the register and then pay attention to your receipt. I know some of the counties and areas around the country also have had like a tax free weekend to help out with school supplies, certain items for whether it was clothing or shoes, socks and underwear, school supplies, things of that nature were tax exempt over this past weekend. So there there may still be the opportunity again, depending where you live if you need to pick up clothes and shoes or school supply items, or even office supplies. You know sometimes school supplies can double as office supplies. And I’ll give you an example. I don’t buy the really expensive like day planner calendars. I just go and get like a $1 notebook and then I adapt it myself Delve to whatever I want it to be. You don’t have to be fancy in order to be organized and successful. And I think especially with the way that this inflation is going, choosing to get some ornate day planner for 20 or 30 bucks when you could have just DIY something with a $1 spiral notebook. Do you use the phrase du jour? Come on man. If we go over to CNBC, today we will find headlines such as s&p 500 gives up earlier gain and fall slightly as in video warning hits tech stocks. Consumer confidence in the housing market at lowest point in over a decade. Gee, I wonder why that would be. Galaxy digital loses $554 million Celsius won’t rehire CFO and US bands tornado cash. JP Morgan says cryptocurrencies have found a floor I guess we’ll see Axios to sell itself to Cox Enterprises for $525 million. More Human remains are found in receding reservoir near Las Vegas. Yikes. Over on Yahoo Finance we find 10 reasons to be bullish right now according to JP Morgan, and the byline reads, JP Morgan offers up some reasons to buy stocks despite swirling recession fears. Buy that dip, y’all. Just go ahead and buy that dip. Go ahead and buy it. That’s not me giving you that advice, because I’m not going to tell you to do that. Stocks waver amid busy week of inflation data quality stocks in tough times. That key to growing wealth strategist says if you go over to the side panel today and check out LinkedIn news, you will find Senate passes climate tax bill Gladwell is work from home slam sparks backlash, I will break in to say I actually released a bonus episode about that very article this morning. Because it’s like, really, really talk about tone deaf. Maybe he feels like the only way to give your life purpose and meaning. And to really feel that you’ve been part of something is to put on dress clothes and sit but in seat in an office somewhere. But I certainly don’t feel that way. And I dare say people who have experienced things like bigotry, sexism, sex, harassment, microaggressions, ableism, et cetera. The last thing they want to do is come home back to the office. Okay, not everybody has had some glorious, wonderful are to experience. I’ve talked before about this mythos of your rica moments happening around the watercooler or around the coffee pot. Or suddenly everybody in the meeting high fives and they come up to the most elegant solution to the client’s problem. Oh, that’s BS. I never once I have had a long career. You know, I’ve been in the office a lot more than I haven’t been over the span of my three year career. And I never want saw any of these eureka moments happening at the watercooler the coffee pot are in a boardroom. This is all a bunch of corporate hokum in my opinion. And it’s put out by people in the C suite who want to fantasize that that’s what happens. Now meanwhile, they leave and go play golf whenever they want to. They have long liquid lunches if they decide that they want to go meet up with Bob and play racquetball at two o’clock in the afternoon. That’s what they do. But now you you little pee on your little plan. You need to be sat there button seat you need to look nice too. You know because we don’t want to see you in casual clothes or khakis. You know, you need to go ahead and dress up and have some pride in your appearance so that you can be long. I’m glad there’s a backlash against that argument and or against that article that he made. There. There rightfully should be a backlash. Other headlines on the side panel include video games lose a life did hiring just get easier is us best or worst place? Neither social media could be changing us job requirements take a lot of PTO. Under the headline did hiring just get easier. We read frontline workers are getting easier to find so are some technology employees, companies from hospital chain HCA to ride Hale leader Uber and International Business Machines. IBM are reporting that hiring has been going faster and turnover is slowing. According to The Wall Street Journal. payrolls have been expanding rapidly. Hmm. More than half a million new jobs were created in July. As inflation and recession fears appear to be overtaking those created by the pandemic in quote. Yeah, so as the frontline workers that they’re talking about, are people that have been impacted by and large by layoffs, hiring freezes and resend it offers, you don’t have to be a subject matter expert in the job market to understand that this, this goes back to supply and demand. And it also goes back to one of the many alarm bells that I’ve been ringing about this weird propped up full of hot air in my opinion, jobs market. And it’s supposedly data that we’ve been seeing someone who’s been laid off, they’re up to their eyeballs and credit card debt, they don’t have any money put back in savings, they’re going to want the fastest job possible that they can find to be able to get money coming in again. And I also warned you that competition for some of these jobs that historically might not have been all of that, let’s say competitive all that vied for all of that wanted necessarily, that could ramp up. I mean, you wouldn’t think about rideshare at Uber or being an Uber driver being some highly competitive job where there’s going to be tons of people in line ahead of you, but that that may very well be the case. And that could continue to increase. Another sort of bird’s eye view that I want to give you is I’m noticing more and more people going on freelancing websites, not just in the more obvious way of hey, I lost my job and I need to start gigging until I find another one. But I’m talking about companies going on there trying to find employees like advertising full time type positions, but they’re wanting to freelance it, they don’t want to give any benefits and they only want to pay like $20 an hour. And I’m talking about a position that should probably be 60 to 75k with benefits, but they’re going on freelancing websites trying to find someone to gig for it for 20 bucks an hour. That’s disturbing. You I’ve said before that for me, the job market is the bellwether that I go by the most because it’s the one that I’m most familiar with. I’ve been in and out of the job market every day for over a decade. I know it I can read it very well. And it scares the hell out of me quite frankly, whenever I see people going to drastic weird measures like that. I don’t want to hire an actual employee a W two full time employee and pay them a salary and benefits. I’d rather see if we can outsource this to a freelancer and pay them 20 bucks an hour. That’s troublesome. Today it is Tuesday, August 9. If you go over to Yahoo Finance you see headlines such as crypto winter continues to shave billions from the stock market. Don’t be fooled by a drop in US headline inflation markets will be attuned to another figure on Wednesday. The byline reads the core CPI reading or measure which strips out volatile food and energy costs could have the propensity to jolt markets after Wednesday’s release. I am quite embarrassed and remorseful. Softbank CEO plans widespread cost cuts as tech investments suffer the byline there REITs when we were turning out big profits, I became somewhat delirious and looking back at myself now I’m quite embarrassed and remorseful. You know, I really hope that doesn’t become a trend across the markets. You know, and not long ago, I talked about Coinbase and how they had this huge hiring plan and everything was groovy until one day it wasn’t. Over on CNBC. It’s a similar situation. NASDAQ falls for third straight day as chip stocks way on market. Ford raises price of electric f150 Lightning due to significant battery cost increases. The IRS says it absolutely will not increase audit scrutiny on middle income Americans. Sure. As I went to take a look at the side panel for LinkedIn news, there was a post that came up that is very sad, although not shocking. I will omit the person’s name and location and all of that but I do want to read the text of this post to you as a warning more than anything. If you still have your head buried in the sand. If you still think everything is sunshine and roses, 3.5% unemployment rate, labor shortage and all of that it’s way past time to wake up in my opinion. So here’s what the Post says. I write this on what was supposed to be my first day of a new job I was very excited for however after working out my two week notice that my previous company the new company, I fully accepted an offer to pass background and filled out all required information I decided to rescind my offer the Friday before I started. I sit here now just in complete disbelief and without a job. I have a wonderful family and no way to support them at this time. I have never heard of a company doing something like this but this company did and it is the worst feeling in the world. I now ask for your help in my two as I begin my search for a new job and quote It is very sad and it is very depressing. But this is not an isolated incident. I understand what this person is saying that he had never heard of a company doing something like that. However, it’s been all over the news about rescinded offers, and I think we need to be careful about normalcy bias. I think we also need to be careful about well that might happen to the guy down the street or that might happen to Sally Sue, that might happen to Billy Bob, but it would never happen to me. Well, it could. That’s the thing it could it absolutely could. And I’m not saying that to fear monger I’m not saying that to victim blame. What I’m saying is if you haven’t if you’re if you’re not awake yet, okay, point blank. If you’re still putting your head in the sand thinking that everything is unicorns and lollipops and sugar gumdrops. What’s it going to take seriously, what is it going to take? On the side panel for LinkedIn news we find over 500 let go at Groupon. Dinner with a side of sticker shock Hootsuite to cut staff by 30% wage hikes concern economists. Is it still a home seller’s market, new Amazon deal spurs privacy fears? standard boilerplate here, I’m not an economist, I don’t sit on the World Economic Forum. I’m not a hedge fund manager for billionaires, a professional financial planner or advisor. I’m not at all seeing Oracle Blah, blah, blah. This is not advice of any kind. It’s just me opining for your entertainment only. No, in most parts of the country. It’s not still a home seller’s market, the tables have turned where I’m at in the Midwest, I still even though I’ve strategically quit my real estate search for the time being I still poke around every so often just to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on. There are still like single family homes like Okay, so if you’re looking for something that’s more along the lines of a starter home with a postage stamp yard, you can still find those things. And I have noticed that the prices to some degree are starting to come down here in the Midwest, people are getting at least somewhat more sensible. But if you’re looking for acreage, you’re looking for property, you are homesteading and you want to expand or you want to begin a farm and ranch operation. The inventory sucks. I mean, there’s not much of it to choose from. It seems to be riddled with problem children. I mean, for example, if you see people selling property, like they’re all in the same general area, something is usually up with that you want to use some good, common sense. You want to do some research. Why is everybody out there selling off? Are they about to do like a road widening project? Did some conglomerate buy a bunch of land out there? And they’re about to start pooping out factories? Like what’s what’s going on? It’s making these people want to wait, there’s not a lot of inventory, the inventory that’s there sucks and a lot of it is still overpriced. So I’m not ready to get out of strategic quitting mode on my real estate search. With that being said, is it still a home seller’s market not from what I’m seeing? No, the pendulum has definitely started to swing in favor of the buyers and some of these people who overloaded their butts or they bought a house that turned out to be a lemon and now they want out of it. The house is just sitting there. And even after they do multiple price reductions, the house is still just sitting there. The things lately that have gone off the market are homes that were already under contract. Before the pendulum started to swing, maybe there was a contingency offer, both parties had to sell their houses before the deal could go through. Maybe there was some kind of haggling, some kind of negotiation that had to go on behind the scenes. For example, there was a house that was I think it was originally priced at like 800k that people came down to 700, there was some kind of haggling, some kind of something that went on behind the scenes. And then when the dust settled, I think the place sold for 650. But there was already contract and a relationship established and all this negotiating was going on behind the scenes in terms of things that are on the market right now that are overpriced or that are problematic. I’m not seeing them fly off the market like they would have been this time last summer. This time last summer, you could sell basically anything, a shotgun shack on a little bit of acreage of burned out myth trailer. I mean, it really didn’t matter, the FOMO and the Yolo. Were at a fever pitch. But now, not so much. And why am I talking about this because I’m already seeing the same things begin to play out in the job market. In the same way that the pendulum has started to go back to the homebuyers side of the equation. The pendulum has started to go back to the employee years side of the equation. So don’t be caught off guard. I cannot give you advice. I am not giving you advice. The only thing that I can say is if it were me, if you and I were sitting around the kitchen table or we were we were out at a pub somewhere having a pint together and you asked me about the job market I would say I would not want to be caught off guard. I wouldn’t want to make any rash decisions. And I wouldn’t want to get FOMO or YOLO, I wouldn’t want to hop just a hop if it were me. That being said, it is important always to consider your career options and your future doing what’s best for you. And everyone listening to this broadcast is going to be in a different situation. So there’s no way that I can know individually what’s best for Bob and Sally and Cindy and Ray that I can’t know all of that. Generally speaking, if it were me, I would would just want to really do a lot of good research and look before I even thought about leaping, if it were me. We’ve made it now to Wednesday, August 10. And what a strange mixed bag of tricks we have today. Over on CNBC we have headlines such as stocks soar, s&p 500 hits highest level in three months after key report shows slowdown in inflation. Consumer prices rose 8.5% in July less than expected as inflation pressures ease a bit. Oh wow, they only rose by 8.5% I guess it’s time to break out the champagne and caviar and we all celebrate. Disney raises prices for Disney plus Hulu and ESPN plus as streaming services post big loss. Major travel costs fell in July. Here’s how you can score a good deal. Probably going to have to put that on your credit card. But hey, maybe you can score a good deal. The easing of inflation pressures is giving the economy some breathing room for now. Bitcoin rallies as inflation slows and coin bases CFO explains its $1.1 billion loss. Now tucked away in the midst of all of these wonderful glowing headlines about how happy we should all be that inflation is only 8.5% Wink wink nudge nudge we find sweet greens stock falls after salad chain lowers forecast announces layoffs and office downsizing. I want to read a little bit of this for you now. Shares of sweet green fell after the salad chain lowered its 2022 forecast. The restaurant company also said it laid off 5% of its support center workforce and will downsize to a smaller office building to lower its operating expenses. Now I’m gonna scroll down a little bit because there’s something else I want to highlight on the company’s conference call executives attributed the slowdown to a number of factors including unprecedented levels of summer travel, slow return to the office, and another wave of new COVID 19 cases in quote. So here we go. Again, this is just like what I talked about with Shake Shack saying, well, we just didn’t hit revenue the way we thought we were going to because people just didn’t want to RTO they want to come back and be button saying shame Shame, shame, shame, shame. And it’s like, Sure. So in another tidbit that sounds like workplace feudalism to me. Over on Yahoo Finance, there’s an article titled, companies continued to pay workers more to produce less in q2 data shows, and I’ll read from that now. The Federal Reserve has another problem on its hands as companies put another quarter in the books amid sky high inflation, falling productivity. US non farm labor productivity as measured by the Labor Department fell in the second quarter at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6%. That was the biggest year over year drop dating back to 1947. And the weakest back to back reading following a 7.7% drop in the first quarter. Meanwhile, employers spent more on wages and benefits analysis by Wells Fargo highlighted that unit labor costs the cost of labor adjusted for productivity grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 10.8%. In the second quarter, I’m gonna scroll down a little bit further and read some more because in my opinion, this is yet another telegraph of you being told in advance what’s coming. Now whether you choose to listen to that or not is up to you. But it’s out here on Front Street. This is in Yahoo Finance, I will drop a link to this article so that you can see it for yourself. And I want to read a paragraph again for you here. Since labor costs are many businesses largest expense. The economists caution that if labor costs continue to soar amid falling productivity, businesses will be forced to shed labor to protect the bottom line. They may also increasingly seek to invest in labor saving technology to boost productivity. I want to read that for you again, because I really, really want you to hear it. Businesses will be forced to shed labor to protect the bottom line. They may also increasingly seek to invest in labor saving technology to boost productivity in quote. So what does that mean? Well, it can be AI can be robots. You know, I saw something on social media not long ago about a restaurant chain, where they wanted to have a fully automated restaurant where it was basically like if you go there everything that you do is controlled by robotics and you don’t have to interact with another human being at all the the food that’s being prepared as made by robots, you’re ordering on a machine, you’re paying in a machine, and that’s that labor saving technology, and they’re going to have to shed labor. What does that mean layoffs, it means layoffs. Ignore this kind of information at your own risk. You know, this is like the post that I read in the segment I recorded for yesterday about the individual who said that he had never heard of rescinded offers. Meanwhile, it was all over the news in June. Now what happened to him is not right. And that’s not his fault. The part that leaves me scratching my head is like just don’t understand how somebody can say I’ve literally never ever, ever heard of a company anywhere ever resending an offer. Really wake up. Another article on Yahoo Finance is assume you’re laid off. Suze Orman likes these three simple techniques to prepare for the recession ahead. The TLDR summary here is assume you’re unemployed, eliminate your credit card debt, and don’t spend all of your nest egg. Okay, that’s all I would say. That’s all pretty common sense. financial advice. One of the things that I do want to highlight in this article as they point out in December 1969, the unemployment rate in the US was an equally low point weak, equally low 3.5%, you had an 11 month recession followed right afterward, when you were laid off paycheck stop coming in. So Orman highly recommends building an emergency savings fund, and quote, I’m not any economist, financial planner, or advisor, I cannot and will not give you any kind of advice. I would say thinking at it from an thinking about it from an HR and recruiting perspective. Having a game plan roughed out, what if what if I did get laid off? What if myself and my spouse or partner we were laid off at about the same time and there was zero income coming into this house? What would we do to stir up money again, as quickly as possible, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have some type of job loss Survival Plan roughed out. You don’t want to get into this mentality of well, it might happen to someone down the street, but it wouldn’t happen to me that it’s almost like you’re sending a monogrammed invitation out into the universe to give you a smackdown. When you get arrogant about things, I swear, it’s just like you’re saying, I’ve got a bullseye on my back, come and get me. So it better to be prepared than to be panic stricken and worried later on. Now, meanwhile, in the same way that we’re being told that this 8.5% Inflation is something that we’re supposed to all be turning cartwheels over, the gas prices are supposedly just lovely and wonderful, even though they’re still on average two bucks higher than they were this time a couple of years ago, we’re all supposed to be happy that they’ve gone down, you know, 60 or 70 cents per gallon wherever you’re at in the country. But here’s the deal. Goldman Sachs has already said gas is going to go back up, and is going to happen soon. I will drop a link to it so that you can see this for yourself. But they are saying that we will have higher oil prices and gas is going to go up again. I know some people have really been arguing that it’s all about demand. People just aren’t driving anywhere. They’re all shut ins. No, they’re not. No, they’re not have people cut back on unnecessary travel or trying to condense their trips as much as possible. Yeah. I mean, somebody may not be going to the store to get a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk the way that they did in the past. They may say, You know what, if we run out we’re gonna make do until the weekly shopping trip comes along. But in terms of people just not being out, you just be seeing stores vacant. Nobody’s driving anywhere. You don’t pass any other cars on the highway when you leave. No, no, let’s let’s be real here. We’re going through the petroleum that got released out of the strategic reserves. And as soon as all of that dries up, guess what? We’re going to be paying high gas prices again. I mean, this is not rocket science, folks. It’s really not. Also, noteworthy Tyson Foods has been warning people that chicken prices are gonna go up apparently because there’s been quite a demand shift away from the more expensive meats and the more expensive cuts of beef in particular. They are reportedly set to increase chicken prices by 20%. So whatever it is, you’re seeing about this glorious heavens partying and angels strumming their hearts 8.5% inflation. I personally would be cautious about believing that I personally would be cautious about turning cartwheels and acting like okay, Crisis averted. We’re all good now. No Big deal. It’s not what I’m really seeing on the horizon. Today it is Thursday, August 11, the same day as the full Moon. Maybe people are crazy from it. I don’t know. A notification popped up on my phone for an article on fortune. Naturally, I’ll drop a link to it so that you can see it for yourself. And wow, I definitely started humming Randy Travis, I told you so when I read this, the headline is everyone’s over remote work except for the workers themselves. I’ll read from this article now. The economy has a case of remote work. That’s the story corporate America told in second quarter earnings calls to some CEOs any ills their companies face inevitably come down to the fact of people logging on from home. As a result if their business hinges on a steady hum of commuters. They’ve struggled to adapt to the reality of prolonged telework. Bloomberg calls this the pret index which tracks transactions at Cafe chain press M O J, known for its Omni presence in the lunch scene of New York’s and London’s financial districts, but also with a sizable suburban presence pret is an ideal vehicle for measuring remote works, reshaping of daily commuting habits and the huge impact on business as a result. As of July 14 transactions at print locations in business districts were 20% below their pre pandemic rates suburban locations were up 120% Stanford economist and work from home research founder Nick Blum summed it up work from home office workers are lunching from home in the suburbs cutting city center spending tried to say that fast cutting city center spending and boosting suburban spending. Randy Rudy CEO of pret rival Shake Shack told analysts on Thursday that in midtown Manhattan 40% of our lunch guests just aren’t here yet. Whether it’s subway mobility, tourism and other things that just haven’t returned to where they were. While acknowledging that store traffic trends in Midtown, like the future of the workplace itself are impossible to pin down. Groody says he’s a believer in the urban ecosystem. Now I’m gonna scroll down and read a little bit more. It’s not just the fast casual spaces Bloomberg reports, net sales decreased 5% During the fourth quarter at early pandemic beneficiary Clorox is health and wellness division, which it said is due to several factors including normalizing demand for cleaning products as well as low office occupancy rates, and a tight labor market for cleaning professionals. The message is clear. remote work hurts the bottom line because too many businesses are still set up for a 2019 world and quote, yeah, and they want to blame that on workers. They are still set up for a 2019 world and instead of figuring out how to use their own corporate jargon to pivot, they’re gonna blame it on you until you to haul your butt back into the queue farm. If you don’t see that coming, I don’t know what to tell you. I’ll continue to read. CEOs want to turn back the clock workers aren’t on board. As with previous attempts, comments, like those from Shake Shack and Clorox are unlikely to sway happy remote workers. No duh. The number of employees interested in working fully in person has reached an all time low. Per slacks latest Future Forum poll survey of over 10,000 Global Knowledge Workers polled only about one in five was willing to head back in and quote, Mm hmm. Yeah, I think back to that garish article I read about the guy Oh, I hardly know anybody working from home on let’s go to Hot Yoga. Let’s listen to Winston Churchill’s biography in the car. And it’s like, Well, okay, you can do that if you want to. But it sounds like the vast majority of knowledge workers don’t want to do that. They’re happy at home. They’ve recreated a new life for themselves that doesn’t involve a long commute and loud extroverts that want to drag them to hot yoga and that’s how they like it. I’ll continue to read. Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways told Reuters last week, that remote work is to blame for a summer of extreme staffing shortages, delayed and canceled flights and lost luggage. Wow. So you know airlines have been losing people’s luggage since the dawn of time, it seems but yet, now even lost luggage is being blamed on up yawns and plebs that won’t go back to the cube farm. It is actually an epidemic in our industry, he fumed. This all happened because people learn to get easy money from working out of their homes and fewer people now want to come and do the jobs that they were doing in quote. Yeah, yep. Yep. Yep. The The article goes on to further quote, Mayor Eric Adams of New York City saying it’s time to get back to work. You can’t stay home and you’re Are pajamas all day, that’s not who we are as a city, you need to be out cross pollinating ideas interacting with humans in quote, but yet during the pandemic, everybody was told to be six feet apart. You weren’t supposed to be cross pollinating with other humans if you did, you could die. So it’s like, at what point did the pendulum swift away from stay the hell away from other human beings or you could get a global death flew into you need to be out, damn it. It’s not who we are as a city, you need to get out of your pajamas and come out and start interacting with other people. Like at what point I’m gonna scroll down. The recession could end remote work, or li workers to double down yet again, queue up Randy Travis, I told you so. Despite the enormous tailwinds co working spaces like we work have enjoyed this year, the recession does might bring offices back into the mainstream. At least that’s what folks with skin in the game think Stephen Ross, the billionaire real estate investor behind New York’s Hudson Yards said an economic slowdown can make people fear losing their jobs, the employees will recognize as we go into a recession, or as things get a little tighter, that you have to do what it takes to keep your job and to earn a living. He told Bloomberg in June suggesting that some workers think in person communication with their bosses may save them from a layoff. I’m going to interrupt here just to say no, that’s not what it’s about. It’s not about people are not going to go back to the office, because they think they have to kiss the boss’s booty in person in order to avoid a layoff. They’re going to do it because they need the salary and benefits. They need the salary and benefits. They’re going to do what they have to do in order to survive not because they want to and not because they’re trying to schmooze up the boss then improper they’re doing it because they need the money. Now I’ll continue to read. On the other hand, a recession may only lead remote workers to dig in their heels. There’s no question that a focus on profits over personal preferences will benefit remote work Gleb superski recently wrote for for Fortune, rather than trusting their gut executives will need to rely on the hard data of what makes the most financial sense for companies and quote, I’ve told you that too. It’s about profits. It’s about money. Companies exist to make money and they do not answer to us. They don’t answer to the average person out on the street they answer to the investors, the shareholders and the board of directors. Not to me not to you it’s one big club and you and I are not in it. Now continue to read when it comes to productivity as study after study proves flexible work wins every time and quote Yeah, it’s not about that. hasn’t ever been about that hasn’t ever really been about productivity and employee happiness. No, no, no. Some companies value control more than they value anything else. And if they feel that the best way to keep you under their thumb is to call you back into the office will be gone. That’s what they’re going to do. And if you think that they would not use a recession 1970s era stagflation Call it what you will call it what you will if you think that they would not use that to demand our to I don’t know what to tell you if you have not awoken from slumber at this point. If you think that everything’s just going to continue on peaches and cream. I don’t know what to tell you. I truly don’t. In terms of headlines for today. If we go over to Yahoo Finance, we will see mortgage rates surpass 5% again after hitting four month low. The rate on the 30 year fixed mortgage increased to 5.22%. This week up from 4.99. The week prior according to Freddie Mac rivian waivers as automaker sees wider loss for the year. Disney on path to profitability but won’t hit targets analysts say stocks finished mixed as tech fades, oil rises. Over on CNBC we find gas prices are falling. Here’s why it’s happening and whether it can continue. s&p 500 closes flat NASDAQ dips as market comeback rally takes a breather, takes a breather. Okay? Zoom investor, tell startup founders Forget the past three years and accept 50% valuation hit. One of the reasons why I want to point that out is because I feel like that fits with the current corporate America narrative of let’s just play pretend that COVID Didn’t happen or at the very least it’s over with and so now we need to go back to the before time. You need to come back to the urban areas. You need to take your lunch downtown. You need to get those butts back in those cubicles. Forget about the pandemic darlings. Okay, they had their moment in the sun, but all that’s over with now. I feel like if you ignore this data, you’re doing so at your own risk. Meanwhile, I’m not even going to go over To the side panel of LinkedIn, because everybody and their dog and their mom’s brothers uncle and their cousin and their neighbor down the road is losing their effing mind over this SEO crying selfie post. And I just don’t give a rip about any of that. It’s like, while you are all commenting about whether or not it was brave and wonderful that he cried on LinkedIn, or whether it was terrible, or whether we need to eat the rich, or whatever the case may be, what are we being distracted from? What else is actually going on that might be significantly more important than that. And you might say, okay, but isn’t that a bit hypocritical? Because you did an entire bonus episode about Malcolm Gladwell lambasted work from home. Why should any of us care about what that Joker has to say? fairpoint The reason why I wanted to dedicate some time and space to Malcolm Gladwell is because Okay, hand is in the air controversial opinion coming. And as Dennis Miller has always said, it’s just my opinion. And I could be wrong. I wanted to point out the increase in work from home hit pieces, slash RTO fluff pieces that I’m seeing in the media, and you are not going to convince me that that is not done by design, you are not going to convince me that there is not a narrative that is actively being pushed by corporate America. Now, am I saying that I think Malcolm Gladwell got on the podcast and said all of that stuff to be a corporate shill? No, I’m not I have no way of knowing if he shilling for corporate America if he got paid to say those things, or he didn’t. I have no idea. So I’m not going to go on a podcast and make that kind of assertion. What I am going to say is that I don’t think that the sudden increase in trying to make work from home terrible and are to fashionable. I don’t think that that’s a coincidence. As far as this dude that gets on LinkedIn and cries about heavy as the head that wears the crown, I couldn’t care less Sorry, I couldn’t that’s of no consequence. To me. It there’s an old saying in Hollywood, that even bad publicity is good publicity. And because everybody is feeding the beast here and giving this person attention. I don’t I don’t want to be part of that. So Meanwhile, back at the ranch, while everybody wants to have an opinion about the crying CEO, where we have some other important headlines such as Nutanix to layoff 270 employees, which is roughly 4% of its workforce. Snap is planning to lay off employees. The company recently said it was not satisfied with its business performance. Vedanta CEO blames challenging environment for biotech for laying off 20% of staff. So meanwhile, as LinkedIn is losing its mind over crying CEO, the layoffs are continuing. In fact, here’s another disturbing headline over on vice.com Business is booming for layoff specialists never seen anything like this. Underneath the byline we read unfamiliar with the layoff process overwhelmed tech firms are flooding experts with requests for help. HR departments are scrambling. One CEO said I’ll read from the article now. Coming into the year business was slow for the country’s layoff experts as it had been for much of the past decade. Outside of a short period of tumult in 2020. At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, the US economy had continued to roar along jobs were plentiful. Layoffs were at a 52 year low, and the great resignation had led to worker shortages. I’ll scroll down a little and continue to read. Then the tech industry started to collapse and the companies came knocking, rising interest rates had cut off the spigot of easy money that had long propped up the startup industry and tech firms that had been focused on growth found themselves needing to stop burning cash and make sure they had enough runway to survive the downturn. For many that meant layoffs, which led to a flood of inquiries to the layoff specialist unquote. Yep, orange all about that to the zombie companies, places that were propped up by hot air debt and VC money. We’re going to start saying bye bye. And unfortunately, it it does mean no, it does mean no pride. It does mean no happiness to sit here and say, well, there’s another prediction I was right on because they’re not predictions that are happy. I would really rather be getting on the airwaves talking about sunshine, roses and lollipops and we’re all going to get cotton candy and go walk around the fair tonight. But that’s just not what I’m seeing. It’s not what I’m saying. So for me instead of being worried about what’s happening with some crying CEO and what everybody and their dogs brothers mothers uncle thinks about on LinkedIn, I’m concerned about layoffs. I am still concerned about layoffs, hiring freezes and rescinded offers. There are things going on that I don’t report. If someone calls me or emails me incompetence, and they say hey, there’s a layoff at my company today. Please don’t say anything until it’s made public then I respect that. Or if I get intel from someone, hey, my brother in law just called and said that there was a layoff it This place I don’t report on any of that until it has been made common public knowledge or until there’s a headline about it somewhere. It can be independently verified and you can see it for yourself. And believe me, if I pull the curtain back and tell you I am getting that kind of messaging on a regular basis, people being furloughed, part time and temp getting cut in order to avoid having to cut full time staff layoffs at companies that haven’t been made public yet, you would be surprised. Let’s just leave it at that you would be surprised. So anything about sunshine, roses and lollipops? That’s just not something I can offer at this point in time. Ah, we’ve made it now to Friday August the 12th and I am so glad I want to process this episode and go to bed. Over on CNBC, we have headlines such as this was a good week for inflation numbers. But whether it can last is the big question. I think I have more big questions than just that. Dow closes up 400 points s&p 500 rises for fourth straight week. peloton slashing 780 jobs closing stores and hiking prices and push to turn profit. Over on the side panel for LinkedIn we find Gen Z embraces quiet quitting. And as of this recording, it has almost 96,000 readers. As I’ve said before, if you want to start racking up views all you have to do is publish something about quiet quitting. That’s the magic phrase right now. peloton cuts 800 In third layoff round, CDC loosens COVID guidance 75k signing bonuses for pharmacists, layoffs hit meditation app calm rivian posts 1.7 billion loss in EV flop, the pay transparency divide. Yep, so we’re still seeing layoffs. And we’re still seeing hiring freezes. I wish that that was not the case. But it is what I find intriguing about the relaxing of COVID restrictions is we have this article in fortune.com about everybody’s over remote work except for the remote workers themselves. And we have these mayor saying it’s time for people to come back to the urban areas they need to cross pollinate with one another. We need to be busy little bees and in our hives downtown, and then suddenly the COVID restrictions come off. You know, I find that interesting, because I was saying in the portion that I recorded earlier I think it was Thursday. Again my brain is a little bit like a scrambled egg. I’m quite tired right now. I think it was I think it was Thursday’s portion of the broadcast. Okay, well, we were told to be six feet apart. We could catch global death flew and then now that they want us back but in seat in an office. The restrictions are lifted. So Wow. While we will we well. On Reuters, we find the article us weekly jobless claims rise for second straight week. I want to read one particular paragraph from that for you now. The US economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter, with consumer spending growing at its slowest pace in two years and business spending declining. The second straight quarterly decline in gross domestic product largely reflected a more moderate pace of inventory accumulation by businesses as job gains overall have stayed strong and quote, what what was unexpected about it what what in any of this. If you’ve been consuming any content like mine, what What about any of that would be unexpected to you. In another little tidbit of fantastic news from the Wall Street Journal we find rising food prices could become a business risk. Analysts say the byline reads food shortages stemming from the Ukraine war could create trouble, including for businesses far from the battleground in quote. One of the paragraphs reads people can accept many kinds of scarcity but problems obtaining food in addition to causing hardship, have a capacity to drive rule breaking and upheaval, said Nick Robson, a London based global leader of the credit specialties practice at Marsh, a subsidiary of insurance broker, marsh and McLennan companies. Typically it takes a host of factors in addition to food shortages to trigger civil unrest. Still, risk analysts say they are keeping a close eye on global food prices. Food costs are higher now than in 2007 and 2008. When then record prices led to protests and riots in 48 countries, according to United Nations report in quote. Yep, yep, yep, yep. Yep. And I’ve talked before about the Great Recession and how there was a very clear feeling that whatever you needed to do to hang on to your job you did, and yes, prices were high. I remember the gas price was high and food costs. It was expensive. And I remember having to just calculate down to the penny. What My budget was going to be when I went and did my grocery shopping for the week. I mean, there just wasn’t, wasn’t any flex at all. It was awesome. If something was on sale, it was awesome. If I could clip coupons, I mean, I really kept track of everything down to the penny. And it was crucial for me to do that. I remember it well. But I don’t remember, like, things constantly being more expensive, like going to the grocery store, and everything’s higher than it was the week before. And then that happens again. And again. And again, the prices were high, but I just don’t remember it being like this where every single week when you go, the things are more expensive than they were the week before. And it’s to the point where in shops, the employees are just putting stickers on top of stickers on top of stickers, and they’re worn out from having to go and do price increases all the time. That part I don’t remember it being that bad in terms of going to the grocery store in being able to buy food. Yes, you had to be budget conscious. And you couldn’t just blow the box out at the store. But gosh, I don’t remember it being the way that it is now. And I bring that up to say, How bad could this get? I mean, not that I want to sit here and be a gloom and doom er, but as someone involved in agriculture, I mean, the shoe could drop in a really bad way. And I plan to do either an episode or a bonus episode about that very topic. What is it like to be a farmer right now the way that things are? And spoiler alert, it sucks. It’s expensive, and everything’s difficult. And then if you do like Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation, you’re trying to do like Animal Sanctuary type work, and take care of these poor animals that have essentially been thrown away by society. It’s even more expensive. I mean, it’s just Oh, Lord, it’s, it’s tough. So when we think about rising food prices could cause civil unrest? I think that’s a very real possibility. I hope not. I hope not. I pray not. But I that is a real possibility. And I think it would be wise, you know, I can’t give you advice. But just you know, if I were hanging out at the pub, and you were overhearing me talking to someone else over a pint, I would say, you know, I think I would be wanting to get prepared. I also need to record an episode or a bonus episode about how I think and again, the standard boilerplate, just my opinion. And I could be wrong, not an economist, financial planner, or advisor, none of that. I think it’s possible that whatever this poop storm is brewing up in the economy, I really wonder if it’s going to be like, What if 1982 and 2008 had a baby, and we’re gonna get kind of like the worst of all these possible situations coming at once. I hope I’m wrong on that. I really do. But I’m just in reading the tea leaves. I’m like, I feel like I’m caught in more than one time loop. Now. I feel like well, we’re in an early 80s time loop. We’re in a 1970 stagflation time loop, but then we’re also somehow in a 2008, great recession time loop. And, and you know, there’s the old phrase history may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme. And that seems to be the case. Okay, so then in another situation, another instance of me feeling like I’m caught in a time loop, somebody stabbed Salman Rushdie today, and apparently, he’s on a ventilator now, and he may lose one of his eyes and this is horrible. So Salman Rushdie was attacked today, which sort of sparked memories of when the fatwa was issued against him in whatever was 88 or 89, after the Satanic Verses was published, and I’m just like, I I’m in a time loop again. Like what what kind of bizarre world are we living in right now? I don’t know. I wouldn’t even try to speculate. I I don’t even know what’s happening. I don’t. I don’t maybe you know, hi, because I feel like I don’t. In any case, stay safe. Stay well stay sane as best you can. And I’ll see you in the next episode.