Some Common Cents for December 6th 2013

December 9, 2013, by John Norris

  This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced the US economy created 203K net, new non-farm payroll jobs during November 2013. While I would stop short of calling it an awesome release, or at least as awesome as the folks on TV are calling it, the Unemployment Rate fell; the Labor Force Participation rate went up; hours worked ticked up a little, as did hourly earnings; job growth was a little more evenly...

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Some Common Cents for November 22nd 2013

November 25, 2013, by John Norris

Yesterday, I made my annual speech to students at Samford University about resume writing, interviewing, and the whole interview process. Much, if not all, of what I said should be common sense to middle-aged business people. However, it isn’t to fresh, young faces in their late teens and early twenties. Let me tell you, they took a lot of notes. Here are some of the supposed pearls of wisdom: Although you might not want a...

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Some Common Cents for November 8th 2013

November 8, 2013, by John Norris

One of the more important business lessons I have learned happened in a casino. I am not a huge gambling fan, but I was in Atlantic City for a friend’s bachelor party, many moons ago, and ‘when in Rome do as the Romans do.’ Since I had some rudimentary knowledge of blackjack, I tried to find a table, but even ’back in the day’ all of the tables were $20/hand or higher. Even at this...

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Some Common Cents for October 25th 2013

October 28, 2013, by John Norris

  Today is such a beautiful day in central Alabama, it is hard to imagine anything wrong in the world at all. There isn’t a cloud in the sky; the air is a little crisp with a slight breeze, and the leaves have only just started to change. It is the type of day which lets you know there are far more important things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies....

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Some Common Cents for October 18 2013

October 21, 2013, by John Norris

  This month, the Federal Reserve introduce a new $100 note that was a decade in the making. By any measure, it is a impressive looking piece, even if it is starting to look increasingly like, um, foreign currency. Regardless, I think it safe to say the United States has never had such hi-tech paper currency.   In an article on finance.yahoo.com, Lisa Scherzer pointed out some of the new anti-counterfeiting details: “Two key security...

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Some Common Cents for October 4th 2013

October 7, 2013, by John Norris

This morning, a co-worker and I were having a conversation about the Federal government shutdown, and how that could be impacting investor confidence. He, I will call him, I don’t know, Jim Williams, asked me what I thought the single biggest concern of Oakworth clients is. To which I responded: “Jim, as an Oakworth associate, you are supposed to be taking care of our clients’ concerns for them. “ We both laughed, and he asked...

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John Norris: Shutdown’s real effect on the economy

October 7, 2013, by John Norris

  Have you ever seen the movie “The Truman Show,” in which Jim Carey plays a character whose life has been the subject of an ongoing reality television program since his birth? He just doesn’t know it, and that is part of the show’s immense popularity. In fact, it is the primary reason. Everyone else, from viewers to the other people in Truman’s life, is in on the secret. For the full article As previously published...

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Some Common Cents for September 27th 2013

October 1, 2013, by John Norris

A co-worker recently told me I have been a little too pessimistic about the economy recently. While he hasn’t disagreed with anything I have written, he thought some good news every now and again would be most welcome. After all, there is only so much realism one person can take. So, here goes nothing. There is a one hundred trillion dollar banknote from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on my desk. I bought it this...

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Some Common Cents for September 20th 2013

September 23, 2013, by John Norris

This week, the Federal Reserve announced it would continue with its $85 billion/month bond buying program, and the markets were positively giddy. Hooray! The Fed is going to flood the banking system with even more money that will slosh about in “cash assets” on bank balance sheets. Never mind banks haven’t lent out all but a few pennies of the first $2 trillion or so the Fed has created out of thin air over the...

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Some Common Cents for September 13th 2013

September 16, 2013, by John Norris

  This morning, I read an article on Bloomberg about the “fizzle” in manufacturing job growth in the United States. Over the last 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US economy has created 24,000 manufacturing jobs. Over the last 6 months, it has shed 24,000. Yes, it supposedly created 14,000 in August, but it cut 16,000 in July.   While these types of numbers aren't cause for pulling out your hair,...

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