Cheat Sheet Q&A:
Today’s topic – Unlikely Job shortages:
The question entry:
I heard you list all the fields with supposed manpower shortages. I was not able to listen to the whole exchange with Jim, but how can this be with the unemployment rate where it is ? Sounds crazy on the surface.
Bottom Line: Today’s question stems from a Manpower report on the top ten professions with labor shortages I covered last week. With such high unemployment (more on the real unemployment rate in the next story) it can seem unlikely, if not implausible to have nationwide labor shortages but it is true.
First and foremost these are nationwide shortages which is to say that generally there are shortages in these fields – not that there are shortages in all areas all over the country. The next part of the story pertains to specialization. There are many job shortages in career paths that require specific education and certification. If the unemployed don’t have these skills naturally there isn’t a fit. Of the Manpower top ten several fit into this category. They are:
· Skilled Trade Workers
· Accounting and Finance Staff
· IT Staff
Then there are four that are economic in nature as certain aspects of the economy are improving. They include:
Laborers - As construction has improved the need for laborers has returned
Restaurant and Hotel Staff – This is very geo specific but in areas like ours (Florida has a record tourist season in 2013 – a strong season and pacing for this summer), the economy has improved in these businesses creating a need
Sales Representatives – As business to business activity has picked up, in part due to the economy and profits picking up but in part due to a technology upgrade cycle we’re in, many companies are in need of outside sales professionals
Drivers – This is a sign of the economy picking up a bit with consumer spending rising recently.
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What the real unemployment rate currently is:
Bottom Line: At this point you and just about everyone else know that the Government unemployment rate isn’t a real gauge of unemployment. So after a second month of the Government reporting a 6.3% unemployment rate, what’s the real unemployment rate?
The U-6 number that’s calculated from the Bureau of Labor Statistics data demonstrates nearly twice as much unemployment. The U-6 number factors in the agriculture sector and long term unemployed which aren’t accounted for in the “Official” Non-farm payroll report.
- The actual unemployment rate (U6) is 12.2%
Now there was marginal improvement in the recent month as it dropped from 12.3%. Over the last year it’s dropped from 13.8% to its current level. So yes we’re making slow incremental progress but the reason why there feels as if there’s a disconnect between the reality on the ground and what the Government is reporting… It’s because there is in the number they are reporting.
So how many people will have to pay the ACA tax this year?:
Bottom Line: So this is the first year of the individual mandate being in effect for us. That means that if you don’t have health insurance you have to pay a tax. So how many are affected and how much will it cost them?
According to information from the Congressional Budget office:
- It appears as though 3 to 3.2 million Americans will owe the tax this year
Now remember that in year one the tax is $95 or 1% of income, whichever is higher. So how much will it cost the average person?
- The average income of those who will be subjected to the cost earns between $49,500-$99,000 (about 77% of those who will be subjected to the tax)
That means that the real cost will range from $495 to $990 for those individuals when they file their taxes next April.
By 2016 when the tax is fully phased in a will be $695 or 2.5% of income, whichever is higher, the CBO estimates that 3.9 million will owe the tax and if the income bracket stays the same you’ll be talking about an annual tax increase of $1200 - $2400 for the average family in the category per year.
New sophisticated phishing scam - what to look for & what not to do:
Bottom Line: Many email scams can easily be identified. It’s likely that the UPS, USPS, Fed Ex scams, etc. don’t throw you anymore. But there is a new approach that may catch you. I know because it almost caught Ashley Saturday night.
If you buy something online you get an email confirmation from the business right? It confirms the purchase and the dollar amount. This is where this sophisticated scams comes into effect. This new phishing scam infiltrates the sent emails of affected businesses and entities. Let’s say that you used a credit card for the purchase. A scam email may be sent to you “confirming your purchase” for the actual dollar amount and the right company you made a purchase from. Instead of the credit card you used however it might say it was charged to your PayPal account. If you have a PayPal account you might think that a mistake took place in billing. The email then says for more information and transaction information click a link. The link looks legit. If you click it and put in your info – they’ve got you.
As is the case with all email information, never click a link in an email and put in any information. Instead go directly to the website yourself and login there if you have questions.
Ransomware hits Android devices:
Bottom Line: In yet another scam… The blessing and the curse of the Android platform is the open source nature of the software platform and app store. This means that all software developers can produce apps for Android devices without an up or down vote by Google (maker of Android). That’s different that Apple’s app store which vets all apps and can reject them for any reason.
The downside to open source apps are that they can contain malware. Cyrptolocker has been a big issue for computers in which your computer will lock up and be unusable unless you pay to “unlock” the malware. Well that’s now hitting Android devices.
Crypto ransomware is infecting Android devices via certain apps. If you’re unfortunate enough to obtain this malware it’ll attach itself to items stored on your device, like your pictures for example. It’ll say you can’t access them anymore until you’ve paid the ransom – which is the equivalent of $300. Now you can unlock the malware by rebooting in safe mode and deleting the infected items but this does mean you’ll lose the pictures and anything else affected.
In short – you need to stick with apps from vendors you’re familiar with and that have been vetted. Downloading the newest app from someone you’re not familiar with just isn’t safe right now.