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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

June 22, 2009 at 10:30 AM

The wreck at the intersection of Wall and Main streets

Top of the News: The Dow’s swoon continues and what urbanist and social critic Jim Kunstler calls the “green shoots baby talk” seems ever more like just that. The proximate cause of the downturn is that rising commodity futures are proving unsustainable, and now those bets, along with the rise in shares of oil and raw material companies, are falling.

Yet the operable word here is “bets.” Until the market is connected with real, productive economic activity and the improving condition of average Americans, its rallies will be suspect. For example, a new study by Thomson Reuters shows that the recession is putting additional strain on the ability of Americans to pay for their healthcare. Washington, D.C., is in gridlock over reform.

Another issue that might weigh down the bets is a Wall Street Journal story showing a sharp increase in the welfare rolls. Washington state caseloads were up 18.3 percent for the year ending in May. Behind both these reports is the broad loss of jobs, as well as high foreclosures, loss of housing values and high indebtedness. On that last, corporate America is as underwater as the American consumer.

Here’s where Wall Street meets Main Street, and so far it’s a smashup.

The Back Story: Most American college graduates are too expensive to train and thus “unemployable,” or so says Vineet Nayar, the CEO of HCL Technologies.

Rob Preston of Information Week reported that the comments came during a Q&A in New York, when an educational official asked why HCL was not hiring more people in his state.

“Many American grads looking to enter the tech field are preoccupied with getting rich, Vineet said. They’re far less inclined than students from developing countries like India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and Ireland to spend their time learning the ‘boring’ details of tech process, methodology, and tools–ITIL, Six Sigma, and the like.”

Not a happy thought considering the hole of unemployment we must dig ourselves out of. I suspect readers might have different opinions. I’d love to hear them.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

A snapshot of change

Kodak will kill Kodachrome

Paul Simon still lives

Check out the winner of last week’s haiku poll here.

Comments | More in Stock market, Tech economy

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