Carpe Diem

Friday Morning Links

1. Chicago home sales were up by 26.6% in November over last year. That’s the 17th straight month of YoY increases in home sales  – the last 9 of which have been double digit.

2. Excluding coal shipments (which have been on the decline due to the shift to natural gas), rail shipments for the week ending December 1 were up by 7% over last year, and YTD carload shipments are up by 3%.  Intermodal shipments are up by 3.3% YTD. Lumber is up 12.8% YTD, petroleum products by 45.2% and motor vehicles by 16.7%.

3. The North Dakota oil fields have boosted Amtrak ridership by 4X, but Amtrak still can’t make money on the Empire Builder Line.

4. From today’s BLS report: 1) Temporary help employment (a leading indicator of labor demand) increased to 2.56 million in November, the highest level since November 2007 before the recession started. 2) Oil and gas jobs increased in November to 196,300, the highest level for those jobs since February 1988, almost 25 years ago.

5. Tough job market: Survey finds that fewer than 2/3 of new Ph.D.s in 2011 found academic jobs or post doc positions.  Unemployment rate for Ph.D. academic positions > 33%.

6. “You Can Give a Boy a Doll, but You Can’t Make Him Play With It.” Christina Sommers discusses the logistical and ethical problems with trying to make toys gender-neutral.

13 thoughts on “Friday Morning Links

  1. 5. Tough job market: Survey finds that fewer than 2/3 of new Ph.D.s in 2011 found academic jobs or post doc positions. Unemployment rate for Ph.D. academic positions > 33%.

    Hm…I guess I’ll take my time getting my PhD.

    6. “You Can Give a Boy a Doll, but You Can’t Make Him Play With It.” Christina Sommers discusses the logistical and ethical problems with trying to make toys gender-neutral.

    They’re not dolls, they’re action figures.

    • They don’t include business Ph.Ds in the survey, and economics gets mixed in with “Social Sciences,” so you’re probably OK with Econ/Finance/Business. Finance Ph.D.s are now getting $120k right out of grad school programs that only take 4 years.

      • I got to work on finishing my Masters in econ first, but I don’t think I’d want to be a Finance PhD.

        All my life I’ve wanted to be a moderately intelligent monkey who could wear a suit. That’s why I became an economist :-P

        • What I’d like to do with a PhD is teach and/or work in the research field. Ideally, I’d like to be a full-time researcher for a think-tank, and a part-time lecturer. Or vice versa.

        • I remember looking into a Ph.D. in finance after working on Wall Street for a few years. They wouldn’t even consider you unless you swore a blood oath that you’ll remain in academia (there’s a real disdain for industry in a lot of finance departments) and the industry wasn’t going to pay you for your Ph.D.

          Not pursuing a Ph.D. was the best choice I’ve ever made (besides going out on my own).

          Naomi Schaefer-Riley writes about the difficulties Ph.D.’s have in finding academic appointments.

  2. Without reading the rail report, is it possible that the lack of coal to ship has caused the rail lines to have more capacity and lower prices for the other good, leading to the increase? This would indicate more of an increase of opportunity than a boost in productivity. Of course, lower shipping costs will be good for consumption anyway.

  3. You can give a boy a doll.. he will just play with it by running it over with a toy tank or feeding it to the toy Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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