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Economy Added 223,000 Jobs in April and Wages Increased

The main issue with voters remains jobs and wages. It was the dearth of jobs for young people that caused millennial voters to defect from the Democrat Party in the 2014 midterm elections. This lead to epic GOP majorities across the nation. Now, the US Labor Department reports that in April, jobs rebounded with 223,000 new employment positions filled. The news has been well-received by Wall Street after a disappointing economic performance in March that say a GDP increase of 0.1%. At the time, it was believed that cold weather accounted for part of the slowdown in economic activity. With warmer weather, economists opined more jobs would get created. Thus far, it appears that is the case. In fact, the unemployment rate now stands at 5.4% which is the best since May 2008, months before the banking crisis.

Jim Dondero says that also, wages appear to be recovering. Wages rose by an average of 2.2% which is an encouraging sign that consumers will be having more disposable income. Consumer spending accounts for 70% of the nation’s economic activity. Still, the effects of Saudi Arabia’s manipulation of world crude prices continues to ravage the domestic oil sector. April saw 15,000 jobs get shed from oil and natural gas companies. These jobs are typically high paying jobs. It was the worst performance for the sector since May of 2009. Still, it is unclear whether these new jobs figures are improving the labor force participation rate that has tens of millions of Americans chronically unemployed.

The Extraordinary Vijay Eswaran: Entrepreneur and Innovator

When it comes to Malaysian business owners and entrepreneurs it is hard to top the visionary Vijay Eswaran, chairman of the QI Group. Born in Penang, Vijay was able to move around Malaysia frequently due to his parents involvement with the Ministry of Labor. This gave Vijay a chance to meet new people and see many new things, broadening his horizons and expanding his mind at a young age. Later Vijay would go on to graduate from the London School of Economics with a socio-economic degree as well as the skill and knowledge that would serve him well later on.

After college Vijay decided to take a year off from the fast lane of business and economics to enjoy the simplicity of working jobs such as construction, grape picking, an cab driving. However, during this time he also learned of the binary system marketing and his ambition drove him to get professional qualifications from CIMA in the United Kingdom and later an MBA in the United States of America at the Southern University of Illinois. During his continuing education he became involved in multi level marketing, a strategy that would go on to influence future endeavors.

Initially MLM wasn’t Vijay’s main focus. However, upon returning to his homeland of Malaysia he became involved with the Cosway Group who approached him about starting their Philippians business. Using this experience he co-founded a MLM company years later which would eventually evolve into the powerful QI Group of today. The QI Group is a multinational conglomerate that owns many different products and brands in various industries. Travel, health and wellness, luxury, training, corporate investments, and telecommunications are just a few of the things that the QI Group has to offer. The company also has offices in various regions in Southeast Asia.

In addition to his business ventures, Vijay Eswaran (Twitter) is also a well known speaker and author. He regularly speaks at management and business forums, sharing his knowledge and expertise with those who come to partake of his wisdom. He has even had a chance to speak at the World Economic Forum. On top of these honors Vijay is also known for his dedication to helping others through philanthropy. In fact, in 2011 he was named one of the 48 “Heroes of Philanthropy” by Forbes Asia. In total he has founded two charitable organizations the RYTHM Foundation and the Vijayaratnam Foundation and regularly contributes to other charities.

Mental Issues Still Neglected in the United States

According to federal law, any insurance plan that covers mental health is required to offer benefits that are on the same level with medical and surgical benefits that are offered. In 23 states, some level of parity is required as well.

This law was approved in 2008, and most associated state laws make it illegal for insurers to charge higher deductibles and copayments for mental health services. They are supposed to treat mental health in the same regard as physical health. However, many states are not doing this.

While regulators can fairly easily keep track of deductibles and copayments, they can’t do so well with parity requirements. The actual delivery of services for mental health patients, as such, has suffered.

Among all 50 states, only New York and California are consistently enforcing the federal laws on this matter. Because of this, many Americans with mental health issues are suffering. Mikal Watts says that people with mental disorders and substance abuse problems are not getting the help promised to them by the federal government.

Mental health advocates hope that when the federal law becomes effective as applicable to insurance plans that were put into effect after July 1, 2014, the government can better regulate parity.

It is unclear whether the disparity between coverage of physical health and mental health is due to the mental illness stigma. Either way, it means that people are not getting treatment they desperately need.

The Disappearing Middle Class

The American middle class is traditionally visualized as a smiling nuclear family standing in front of their big house and nice cars. However, the definition of the middle class is now changing due to the growing gap between the rich and poor. More Americans who previously identified themselves as middle class now assign themselves to a lower socio-economic level.

Researchers traditionally focused on raw income data to create statistical reports. However, researchers are now incorporating more subjective analysis techniques into their research. Instead of just looking at finances and education, some researchers are now asking people how they identify their class.

Not surprisingly, a recent Gallup survey revealed that roughly half of all Americans consider themselves to be now working or lower class. Experts believe that obvious financial inequality results into increased self-perception of class differences. That is, more and more people see themselves at the bottom of the American economy, which still promises wealth and prosperity to anyone who simply works hard and plays by the rules.

More and more Americans are experiencing financial stress and it’s no surprise to users of Anastasia Date, with a gridlocked government that is controlled by corporations. In order to counterbalance this, Americans should become more civically involved and serious with their personal finances. Explore different financial tips through entertaining podcasts here: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/money-finance.

Marc Sparks Relocates Timber Creek Capital Offices to Increase Productivity

As originally reported on PR Newswire in January 2015, serial entrepreneur Marc Sparks has relocated his Dallas Timber Creek Capital, LP offices after 14 years at the former location. The new offices will optimize collaboration to focus on startup businesses.

With his private equity firm, Marc Sparks serves entrepreneurs in developing new businesses into revenue generating companies. The new facility enables the firm to host three separate companies and offer an extensive incubation period. Sparks believes that a quality, conducive and collaborative work environment is a critical ingredient for success.

The new offices will support Sparks’ belief, after 35 years of entrepreneurial experience, that there exists a special flow within an office that is required to maximize collaboration and output.

Sparks takes on a handful of companies at a time and offers them mentorship and access to resources like banking, marketing, capital, office space, etc. His team supports companies through the multiple stages of launching a sustainable business.

“Faith, passion, tenacity, focus, savvy of monetization, and an outrageous sense of urgency, or as my team calls it ‘spark speed’, are qualities that have helped me succeed and that I like to mentor,” Sparks said. “I have seen every level of entrepreneurial success and failure and this is why Timber Creek Capital, LP is so qualified to help take on entrepreneurs’ ideas and turn them into prosperous business models.”

Marc Sparks is the founder, owner, and CEO of Timber Creek, LP. He is also an author, philanthropist, and serial entrepreneur continually turning new ideas into businesses. His book, “They Can’t Eat You,” underlines Sparks’ tremulous road as an entrepreneur to help others create a path to success.

Timber Creek Capital, LP is a private equity firm, specializing in turning the dreams of passionate entrepreneurs into sought after, revenue generating products and services. In its Dallas, Texas office, Timber Creek Capital provides the necessary capital, office space, equipment, legal, accounting, graphic arts, web development, customer service expertise, intellectual capital, banking, merchant banking, marketing, networking, support staff and over 35 years of entrepreneurial experience to navigate businesses from inception to fruition.

Follow Marc on Twitter.

Charter Considering Time Warner Merger

Now that Comcast isn’t merging with Time Warner, another cable company is considering joining forces with the cable company instead. Charter has been eyeing Time Warner for a potential merger for some time now. Flavio Maluf (camarabarbacena.mg.gov.br) sees that, with Comcast out of the picture, the door is open once again for the company to make a bid.

Charter originally tried to buy Time Warner in 2014, placing a bid for the company that was ultimately rejected. Just because they were turned down didn’t mean they were no longer interested. Charter’s CEO has been quoted as saying that it wouldn’t be out of the question for the company to place another bid for the cable provider, perhaps a slightly higher one.

In general, Charter has a better chance of getting their bid approved by the FCC, in part due to their size. The Comcast and Time Warner merger was met with such a significant amount of opposition in part because the two companies were both so large to begin with. Had they been allowed to join forces they would have likely put people like Charter out of business. Charter however is small enough that the merger just might get government approval. It will be interesting to see f both companies decide to move forward with conversations in the future.

Android Urinates Over Google on Google Maps

Various users spotted an Easter egg on Google maps recently. It can be found just around Madison Street Capital, where the image of the Android bot pissing on Apple’s logo can be clearly seen. The bizarre picture is actually visible on the basic terrain. Google maps is largely editable but in order for the basic terrain to be edited, some advanced rights are required from Google. However, this image is not the only odd thing on the map. A bit to the east of the Android-Apple image lies another one that questions the review policy of Google.

The big question is – is Google responsible for this? Why have these pictures not been spotted and removed by Google even after the news has broken out? Google has, so far, not commented on the picture.

An important point people should remember is that Google maps is being edited regularly. There is something you don’t see on the map and you know it exists – perhaps something close to your house like a cafe or a library. So, you add the marker on Google maps and later, Google reviews the addition and okays it. After this approval, the marker would now be visible on the map. This could explain both the images, especially the second one.

Both the app and desktop versions of Google maps include the image but when satellite mode is chosen, the image disappears.

Brent Crude Prices Skid A Bit After Record High For the Year

The question of how to invest in oil became more complicated when just a day after hitting its high for the year of $63 a barrel, the price started to slip to close to $61 as the oil trading day begins to wind down. Crude oil prices have been tanking considerably in the =past few weeks. Once at a high in the past 52 weeks of $109 a barrel, crude dropped all the way down to $50 a barrel within recent weeks and at one point oil economist projected that oil price could seep into the $30 a barrel range. Other recent reports regarding production from the United States shale oil sector and OPEC has giver new bounce to the price of crude and hope to oil investors that crude prices are on their way back up. If U.S. shale production continues to lag in the next couple of months crude could be traded in the area of $80 a barrel before the end of summer. Crude Oil Prices Continue to Change

The pricing is still contingent on what the oil producing countries decide to do with new crude oil from Iran and Iraq which has not yet hit the open markets but is expected to be traded some time this year. Some oil economists, like Christian Broda (linkedin.com), view the U.S. production slow down as an initial step to make room for oil pricing when the new Iran and Iraq oil enters the market. This would drive prices back down to the range of $40 or $50 a barrel instead of $20 or $30 a barrel if no action by either OPEC or the United States is taken on current production.

A 70k Yearly Minimum Wage Implimented at a Seattle Company Is Making Employees Very Happy

One of the world’s largest pay gaps exists here in the United States. Some economists estimate that the average American worker earns a wage that is nearly 300 times lower than that of top executives. But Dan Price, founder of Gravity Payments says, “The market rate for me as a CEO compared to a regular person is ridiculous, it’s absurd,” and he aims to make a difference.

On Monday, Price gathered his staff of 120 and made an announcement that both floored and excited them all. Over the next three years, he intends to increase every one of his employee’s wages to a minimum of $70,000 a year. Bernardo Chua (facebook.com) has learned that, for some of the staff, that increase represents a doubling of their current income, and they all couldn’t be happier. The idea came to him after reading an article on happiness which explained that receiving extra money has a very positive affect on people who make less than $70,000 a year.

Raised in rural southwestern Idaho, the entrepreneur, at the ripe age of only 19, started the credit-card payment processing company which is now based in Seattle. In order to implement his 70K minimum wage plan, he intends on reducing his own salary of close to $1 million to the same amount he’s giving his employees. Twenty-four year old Haley Vogt, who currently makes $45,000 a year as a communications coordinator at Gravity says, “Everyone is talking about this $15 minimum wage in Seattle and it’s nice to work someplace where someone is actually doing something about it and not just talking about it.” The difference Dan Price is making for his staff is surely making them happier.

Link to language delays from TV watching found in toddlers

A South Korean study has revealed the first proven link between watching large amounts of TV and a delay in speech development for toddlers, PsyPost reports. For many years a link between TV watching and speech issues has been reported on an anecdotal basis without a large scale study taking place that has given any proof or otherwise of a link. The South Korean study has now proven that toddlers who watched less than one hour of TV per day were three times less likely to have a form of speech delay than those who watched more than two hours per day.

More than 1,700 toddlers were included in the study and a series of factors were included in the completed report, including marital status of parents, income and population size for each toddler. Despite a large number of companies now looking to prove their products aimed at toddlers could help learning this new evidence seems to show that toddlers language development can be harmed by prolonged periods watching the TV.