When all you read is gloom, turn here for a much different perspective.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Stress Tests Clear All Banks -- Most to Issue Payouts Above Expectations

Remember the panic back in 2009?  All the banks were going to fail, right?

Remember we reported that "Tarp was working?"

Remember the stress tests?

Big U.S. banks plan to increase dividend payouts and share buybacks to their highest levels in years after the Federal Reserve on Wednesday approved capital plans for all 34 firms taking part in its annual stress tests.

The paybacks announced by banks following the tests’ release Wednesday were in many cases *above* what investors had expected.

Fed governor Jerome Powell said the stress-test process, now in its seventh year, “has motivated all of the largest banks to achieve healthy capital levels.”

Because of the great recession and potential financial meltdown, the stress tests were put in place.  With the tests in mind banks develop risk-management systems each year to meet the Fed’s test expectations.
This year’s passing grades suggest that those efforts have paid off. Banks today are better capitalized and more conservatively managed than in the years before the financial crisis and have better insight into risks lurking in their own books.
So bottom line, TARP did work.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Boulder County Colorado now boasts historically low unemployment at 1.8%

Just 3,398 people were looking for work in Boulder County Colorado in April 2o17, giving it the lowest urban unemployment rate in the country -- a skinny 1.8 percent.
While many would consider this great news, it's giving employers, who have thousands of jobs to fill, heartburn.
"We keep thinking it's hit rock bottom," said Angela Spinelli, director of talent acquisition for UCHealth. "but it keeps going lower. We're all trying to figure out how to get out in front of it."

(Stephanie Swartz)
UCHealth is trying to fill 200 jobs at its new Longs Peak Hospital in Longmont. The competition for talent is so fierce that the minute a viable candidate pops into view, recruiters rush to bring them in for an interview.
"When the market crashed (during the Great Recession), you could find a candidate and interview them three weeks later. Now you have to do it within the week because they are being interviewed by multiple companies," she said.
Even economists have entered the how-low-can-it-go sweepstakes debate that is front and center in the region.
"It's never been lower here than it's been in March and April," said Brian Lewandowski, an economist with CU's Leeds School of Business. "These are historic lows."
Modern records on the region's unemployment date back a quarter century, to 1990. According to this data, the only time Boulder County's unemployment rate was lower was for a brief time in 2000, when it hit 2 percent right before the tech bubble burst, Lewandowski said. It came close again in 2007, right before the financial crash, when it hit 2.8 percent.
Unemployment rate numbers, like other economic indicators, are revised as data is checked and analyzed post-collection. These latest numbers are not seasonally adjusted, and when they are they may move upward, according to Ryan Gedney, senior economist at the Colorado Department of Labor.
"I would imagine if Boulder isn't the lowest, it will be pretty darned close when the revisions are done in a couple of months," he said.
Out on the street, companies are scrambling to find new ways to recruit workers and to keep those they've recently hired, on the job.
Claudia Quezada does drywall work on the third floor of UCHealth-Longs Peak Hospital, 1750 Ken Pratt Blvd., May 24, 2017.
Claudia Quezada does drywall work on the third floor of UCHealth-Longs Peak Hospital, 1750 Ken Pratt Blvd., May 24, 2017. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)
The University of Colorado Leeds School of Business has 900 graduates to place this summer. For the past several years the school has enjoyed a placement rate of 90 percent plus. Thanks to the shortage of workers, average salaries have risen 3.5 percent, according to Katie Connor, director of career development for the school. New grads, on average, command salaries of $53,000.
"The economy has been very good to us," Connor said, "and it's providing great opportunities for our students."
But the Leeds School is seeing employers arriving on its doorstep earlier and earlier in the education process.
"Employers have had to step up their game," Connor said. "They want freshman to know who they are so they can attract those top students for internships in their sophomore and junior years and then hire them. Employers are on campus a lot more often."
Charles Schwab is one of those employers who shows up early and stays late at the Leeds School. It has 400 openings at its Colorado operations center in Lonetree, south of Denver, according to Brian McDonald, who oversees the company's retail, stock plan, and stock compliance services.
"The war for talent is not lost on us," McDonald said. "Financial services wasn't and still isn't the most popular industry when it comes to hiring, especially when you think about the 2008 and 2009 financial crisis.
Pavement is layed down in the parking lot in front of UCHealth-Longs Peak Hospital, 1750 E. Ken Pratt Blvd., Wednesday. May 24, 2017
Pavement is layed down in the parking lot in front of UCHealth-Longs Peak Hospital, 1750 E. Ken Pratt Blvd., Wednesday. May 24, 2017 (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)
"We're finding that if you want top talent, you have to start in the career trajectory earlier. We did not have to do that 10 years ago."
McDonald said his company is able to fill most of its entry level jobs, but it has had to accelerate the pace at which it bumps salaries for those new hires because otherwise they loose them to other firms quickly.
"To retain talent is just as hard as to attract it. We have to stay incredibly competitive," he said.
UCHealth is also shifting its hiring stance, Spinelli said. "We find that we have to go out-of-state more often for our niche positions, and we would rather hire locally."
In response UCHealth has begun developing internal programs to train its own workers for some of its most demanding jobs.
"We're doing a lot of "grow-your-own" programs to develop our work force," she said.
Despite living with a chronically tight labor market and an overheated economy, no one is predicting crashes like those that occurred after the dot.com bust in 2001 and the housing collapse seven years later in 2008. Of course they're are not ruling them out entirely either, given the political uncertainty at home and abroad.
The economic expansion underway is 93 months old, according to Gedney, of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. That's younger than the 120-month expansion in the 1990s, he said.
Still the lack of workers is starting to slow the economy here and nationwide, he said. "The problem with low unemployment is that there are job openings and no one to fill them. This could cause businesses to say 'we can't find workers so let's figure out how to streamline things. It's natural for growth to slow," he said.
There is some comfort, however, for employers who are wringing their hands over unfilled jobs. Things could always be worse.

And for those looking for work -- guess what? -- this is just about as good as it gets.

Back just a few short years ago it was very hard to convince most folks that:  The Majority is always wrong! And here we are...
Thanks to: Jerd Smith: 303-473-1332, smithj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/jerd_smith

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