Monday, February 13, 2012

Not so bad

To kill time at the airport the other day, I went to the bar to get a beer.  I was carded --in spite of the fact that I will soon be 70.  The guy next to me (my guess) was over 70 and he too was carded.

The woman tending bar looked to be humorless, not pulling a stunt, and just implementing what was probably the policy, "card everybody."

I see this in other venues.  Sales people and bank tellers and many telephone "help" people know about three things.  If they cannot pidgeon-hole your request into one of those, they are helpless.

Welcome to the world of labor market "churn."

The Economist (Feb 11, "Free exchange ... Go for the churn") highlights the Department of Labor's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) which tells us about job openings, hires and separations.  This is vastly more interesting than the widely reported "unemployment rate".

In a world of rapid job turnover, which can be a good thing as employees as well as employers have a chance to correct mistakes, training as well as experience are limited.  It is best to keep things simple.

Yes, there is always a downside.  Loyalties are not well established and service is spotty.  But old guys being carded is not so bad.  And error-correction opportunities are the best we can ask for in the world of second-best.