Let’s get right to it this week …
Credits and Debits
Credit: With Labor Day behind us, it’s sad to know that some people will always be allergic to work. In South Korea, the desire of some people to avoid a job is growing so fast that there has been a drastic increase in the sale of fake casts there.
Debit: Speaking of jobs, the US economy created just 142,000 of them in August, which is far less than the 225,000 economists were expecting. It’s also not enough to keep pace with population growth.
Credit: Despite the sub-par jobs market, the official unemployment rate managed to fall 0.1% last month — if only because the government conveniently stops counting jobless workers who exhaust their unemployment benefits.
Debit: The number of Americans not in the labor force reached an all-time high last month: 92,269,000. In fact, 37.2% of all Americans do not have a job — that’s the worst national employment figure in 36 years. I wonder how many of them own fake casts.
Debit: Even more disturbing is a Wall Street Journal report that says one in three US workers — 53 million in all — are actually freelancers such as independent contractors, temps, and moonlighters. Yes, those freelance jobs tend to be far less stable than other forms of employment.
Debit: In California, there are currently 1.37 million unemployed Americans. I suspect a lot of them weren’t happy after learning that a recent USC report found illegal immigrants now make up 10% of the Golden State’s workforce. Yes, ten. Unbelievable.
Debit: Of course, cash-strapped California is a lost cause. Thanks to a rogue legislature that has completely lost touch with reality, American taxpayers there are now forced to cover college tuition for illegal aliens — up to $12,000 annually. I know.
Debit: Meanwhile, fast food workers across the country launched another coordinated series of protests. The disgruntled minimum-wage employees went on strike to demand their hourly pay be increased to $15. Right.
Credit: Apparently, the strikers are unaware that minimum wages are reserved for work that: A) requires very few skills; and B) can be done by almost anyone. I suspect they’re also oblivious to the fact that a robot now exists that can make 360 hamburgers every hour. Uh oh.
Credit: You can bet restaurant owners in the fast food industry are taking notice. After all, unlike those striking fry cooks and cashiers, robots don’t require 10-minute work breaks, won’t call in sick and — best of all — are incapable of demanding ridiculous wage hikes for unskilled labor.
By the Numbers
Facts on fast food industry salaries:
$47 billion Total employee wages paid by the fast food industry in 2013.
24.6 Percentage of industry costs attributed to wages.
$50,600 Revenue earned per employee in 2004.
$52,290 Revenue earned per employee in 2013.
$12,851 Average annual wage of fast food workers in 2004.
$12,870 Average annual wage of fast food workers in 2013.
Plutus Awards News
Hey! Yours truly was nominated for a Plutus award this year in the category for Most Humorous Personal Finance blog. Hooray! It’s the third time I’ve been nominated in that category; believe it or not, I actually won the award last year. (And, no, I’m not sure if that’s a reflection on my writing style, or all of the rotten advice I hand out here from week to week. I suspect it’s the latter.)
Also … Congratulations are in order to my friend, Joe Saul-Sehy, whose fantastic money show, Stacking Benjamins, just received a Plutus award nomination for best personal finance podcast! (Yes, yes … despite the fact that I’m a regular participant on the Stacking Benjamins’ Money Roundtable segment.)
Finally, congrats to my friend Paula Pant, from Afford Anything — she received a Plutus nominations for Blog of the Year! Come to think of it, Joe received one too for Stacking Benjamins. Their nominations are well-deserved.
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Results
How much do you spend on household groceries each month?
- $201 – $400 (35%)
- $401 – $600 (28%)
- Less than $200 (15%)
- $601 – $800 (14%)
- More than $800 (8%)
More than 200 Len Penzo dot Com readers weighed in for this week’s survey — and the answers were, predictably, all over the map. I can only hope that those of you who are spending more than $800 per month on vittles are not shopping for one.
Other Useless News
Programming note: Unlike most blogs, I’m always open for the weekend here at Len Penzo dot Com. There’s a fresh new article waiting for you every Saturday afternoon. At least there should be. If not, somebody call 9-1-1.
Hey! If you happen to enjoy what you’re reading — or not — please don’t forget to:
1. Click on that Like button in the sidebar to your right and become a fan of Len Penzo dot Com on Facebook!
2. Make sure you follow me on Twitter!
And last, but not least…
3. Don’t forget to subscribe via email too! Thank you.
Top 25 Referrers for August
It’s the first weekend of the month, which means it’s time once again to thank the top 25 referring websites to Len Penzo dot Com.
2. Business Insider
3. Rockstar Finance
5. Budgets Are Sexy
7. Art of Manliness
8. Money Talks News
9. Modest Money
10. Frugal Village
11. Deseret News
12. Afford Anything
13. Don’t Quit Your Day Job
14. Smart Asset
15. The Money Principle
16. Stacking Benjamins
17. Save Outside the Box
18. Canadian Personal Finance Blog
19. Creative Home Ideas
20. And Then We Saved
21. The Apartment Prepper
22. Money Crashers
23. Mega Ricos
24. Wealthy Turtle
25. Work to Not Work
Thank you to everyone who refers their readers to this little ol’ blog! It’s much appreciated.
Here’s Some Posts You Might Enjoy …
Frugalwoods – Travel Cheap by Eating Like a Local
Art of Being Cheap – Does a Freezer in the Garage Save You Money?
Coin Thrill – Two Cent Peculiarities
Red Debted Step Child – Do You Need Life Insurance In Your 20s?
Debt Debs – Cutting Cable: Will It Pay Off?
Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment — assuming I get one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not! You can reach out to me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
Michelle had this to say after reading about how much I paid for my recent bathroom remodel:
$23,000 is INSANE … (You) may have lost a little with me there, Len.
Yeah, but what’s even more insane is giving me free reign around the house with a saw, a hammer, a plumber’s wrench, and some power tools. Not pretty, Michelle. Not pretty at all.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
Photo Credit: brendan-c