If you’re like most Americans and are fortunate enough to have a 401(k), you probably noticed that it’s gone up by $2.6 million dollars for every hundred you have invested in it. The Czar exaggerates, of course, but returns right now are crazy-high. Some of you may be able to retire early enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The Czar isn’t sure, because the Gormogons don’t have 401(k)s; we simply give GorT a couple of bucks, and he travels back in time to 1740 and deposits our cash in a high-interest savings account at Drummonds in London.
Anyway, your investment strategy probably varies from ours.
The Czar knows a lot of people in all walks of life; for example, he happens to know a handful of professional recruiters—who do not (as far as he is aware) have any knowledge of the other. Two, in particular, say similar things: unemployment is ridiculously low.
One of these recruiters despises the economy; as a partner in a recruiting firm, he is seeing his revenues plummet to historic lows because he can’t find good candidates. Many of his clients are long-done with trying to find CEOs and CFOs: he’s desperately trying to find forklift drivers and mail-room workers. There are none to be found. He told us that he joked to a business owner that perhaps the candidates would need to be “active felons,” to which the owner shrugged and asked if he could manage that. The owner was serious.
Alas, when he is lucky to find a candidate for a client, there’s no guarantee the candidate will stay. He’s had some quit after a couple hours…because another recruiter call the candidate on his cell and offered more per hour.
Another recruiter we know said, at this point, if he calls a candidate at home and that candidate answers, he’s inclined to hang up immediately: if you can’t get a job in this economy, there’s probably a reason no one will hire you and he’ll quickly determine what you’re problem is.
That last one is not quite fair; as we said, we know a lot of people. Some of them are not working right now, and are hurting financially. The reasons are not because they’re ding-dongs, or drug-addled, or window-lickers; indeed, they seem to have some elements in common: they are in their 50s or 60s, worked in the financial sector, and became specialized in their jobs. Unless you can code a financial app in Python for a major website and are willing to work 60 hours a week without ever leaving the office, there’s not much room for you. Some of our acquaintances have been looking, actively, for months, but once you’re past 40, the financial world has little desire to meet you. The Czar will vouch for these folks: they’re trying incredibly hard to get back to work, but can’t get a second interview once the new Millennial bosses see candidates who could be their dad.
Despite these pains, overall the economy is running pretty smoothly despite media hopes, much as we predicted. And while the Dow is a terrible indicator on which to rely, it shows American industry is much stronger than it has been in years.
During the most-recent Democratic debates, we heard a lot of talk about “Economic Justice.” We had to research that phrase to find out what it means. And it means what you think it does: Democrat millionaires need taxes raised on the middle class to shift the burden away from, well, Democrat millionaires. Whatshisface Yang says, despite the increase in salaries and lowered taxes, Americans aren’t doing as well as they’d like in this economy.
True: if you’re a 50-something financial expert trying to find work in the world of Internet banking, or if you’re an executive recruiter trying to find a commission that will keep the doors open another week, things aren’t great.
But if you’re a forklift driver or mailroom worker, you might be enjoying opening your monthly 401(k) statement right now.