A roundup of what The Globe and Mail's market strategist Scott Barlow is reading this morning on the World Wide Web.
Essayist Fredrik DeBoer is making the most of his shot at the big time, subbing for Andrew Sullivan in the influential Daily Dish blog. I can't even imagine the oceans of bile in his inbox reacting to his Israel posts, but for our purposes his take on economics is more important.
In "We Are All Chumps Now: App Economy Edition," Mr. DeBoer argues that the shortage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics workers is a myth, "I've been arguing against the notion of a STEM shortage, the idea that our labor problems stem in part from a failure to produce enough graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields to meet demand. This idea is, well, just wrong, plainly wrong."
There are notions in this post that I disagree with completely, but the embedded links lead to some startling statistics that support his theory. One, only half of all STEM graduates find employment in their fields. Two, the fact that 94 per cent of all jobs offered by Microsoft Corp. are accepted suggests a severe lack of worker bargaining power and slow demand for skills.
"We are all chumps now: App economy edition " – Daily Dish
The Financial Times reports that debt-driven share buybacks, one of the primary drivers of positive U.S. equity performance, are declining rapidly in scale. Writer Michael Mackenzie asks the important question, " What drives prices higher should buybacks retreat further?," in a piece chock full of useful statistics on the trend.
"Equity bulls face slowing share buybacks" – Financial Times
The Wall Street Journal's China RealTime blog details the negative effects of China's corruption crackdown on global luxury goods. Sales of Remy Martin cognac, for instance, are lower by 30 per cent.
In 2012, Cie Financiere Richemont SA Chairman Johan Rupert made a statement, one that he probably regretted immediately, that highlights the growing risk in the luxury goods industries, " "I feel like I'm having a black tie party on the top of a volcano. The volcano is China …"
"Cognac makers are feeling the hangover from China's corruption crackdown" – China RealTime
Hedge fund manager Conor Sen is a terrific source of somewhat contrarian but really well considered economic views. Mr. Sen was the first person I saw arguing that the U.S. employment market was far tighter than most observers believed and that upward wage pressure will be a feature of the U.S. economy in the coming years.
His latest post argues that the housing market is holding back wage growth when most economists believe the causality works the other way. There are some surprising statistics: "Over the past 6 years, we've built far fewer single family houses than we have since at least the 1940's. We're undersupplied," he finds and that "the Millennial Generation is slightly bigger than the Baby Boomer generation, and the peak population cohorts of the Millennials are currently in their early 20s. The closer this cohort gets to its early 30s the more single family housing they'll demand."
"It's housing that's holding back employment " – Conor Sen
See also: "On wages and inflation: jeers for fears" – FT Alphaville
Diversion: No matter what your musical tastes, you're likely to find something good here. Personally, I was blown away by the alt-Gershwin stylings in the latest Fiona Apple.
"The 100 best albums of the decade so far " – Pitchfork Media
Follow Scott Barlow on Twitter @SBarlow_ROB