Outside the Box, November 2017


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McKinsey: Automation may wipe out 1/3 of America’s workforce by 2030

November 29, 2017

As I’ve been working on my new book, The Age of Transformation, the chapter on the future of work has been the most challenging one to think and write about; and so I’m always on the lookout for good thinking and new data. Now, McKinsey & Co. has come out with a comprehensive report on the predicted near-future effects of automation on employment.

International in scope, the report, entitled “Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation,” takes us a big step closer...

Seeking Value in an Expensive World

November 22, 2017

I am in Milan Malpensa and beginning a 17-hour journey back to Dallas for Thanksgiving.

But deadlines loom. This afternoon I got this brief note from good friend David Rosenberg, chief econ at Gluskin Sheff, and find myself nodding firmly in agreement. Rosie throws in a quick head feint by telling us that he’s not investing around Trumponomics at all, but then he dives into a really helpful examination of what we have to do to find value in today’s overvalued world.

Rosie will of course be...

NFIB Small Business Economic Trends – October 2017

November 15, 2017

Today’s Outside the Box is a report that most of you have read about or seen quoted but have never actually seen directly. It is the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) Small Business Economic Trends monthly report, which they have done since 1973. It was at first a quarterly and then switched to a monthly in 1985. It is thus a continuous record of the ups and downs of small business trends and moods, and is a great barometer of the economy.

The man in charge of the index, my...

Saudi Arabia’s Saturday Night Massacre

November 8, 2017

This weekend, while we here in the US were focused on the upcoming election and President Trump’s visit to Asia, a powerful drama with vast geopolitical implications played out in Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad bin Salman, the king’s son, is the de facto ruler of the country and has been making increasingly aggressive moves in an attempt to shift Saudi Arabia from its status as an ultraconservative oil-producing nation to a 21st-century manufacturing superpower with social mores to match. In doing so...

What Will the Next Crisis Look Like?

November 3, 2017

One of the main topics of discussion everywhere I go is, what will the next crisis look like; along with: Where will it come from; what will the market response be; and what will be the source of the volatility? There is always volatility during a crisis.

I have been saying in writing for some time that I think the next crisis will reveal how little liquidity there is in the credit markets, especially in the high-yield, lower-rated space. Dodd–Frank has greatly limited the ability of banks to...