2012 March 01 | timiacono.com

ISM Manufacturing Index Declines

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the ISM manufacturing index came in well below expectations last month, falling from 54.1 in January to 52.4 in February, as prices paid was one of only a few categories to post an increase.

The important new orders index fell from 57.6 in January to 54.9 last month, still indicating solid growth as readings above and below 50 indicate expansion and contraction, respectively. Production fell from 55.7 to 55.3, employment fell from 54.3 to 53.2, and prices paid rose a full six points, from 55.5 to 61.5.

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How Wrong, Indeed

I don’t normally agree with Paul Krugman, the Nobel Laureate in economics and New York Times columnist, but the views on former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan that he shared in this recent Playboy interview seem to be spot on:

PLAYBOY: Speaking of high-profile economic voices, you were pretty harsh about former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and his role in the financial crisis. Should we be listening to him anymore?

KRUGMAN: No. I mean, how wrong do you have to be to get written out of the debate? He assured us that deregulation was making the system more stable. He was repeatedly wrong as the crisis unfolded. Look at Paul Volcker, whom I disagree with on some stuff but who is certainly an incredibly upstanding human being. When he left the Fed, he deliberately went silent to leave the field clear for Greenspan. Greenspan instead raced out to cash in personally on his role. He’s been so completely wrong at this point that the idea that some people still listen to him as a source of wisdom is awesome.

‘Ol Greenie is about due for another appearance on NBC (where his wife Andrea Mitchell works) or another Financial Times op-ed as some organizations still can’t seem to get enough of the guy who will surely not be treated kindly by history.

I Quit My Job Five Years Ago Today

It was five years ago today that I quit my job at semiconductor test equipment manufacturer Teradyne, Inc. in Southern California to head north and then further north before heading east to finally wind up as homeowners in Montana. We were nomadic renters all the while the housing bubble was bursting, but now we’re settled in.

After having read through this again, it brought back lots of memories and, after clicking on the link to “maps” at the end of the post, I can’t help but recall the scene in Top Secret when Val Kilmer was having a bad dream about not having studied for a test in high school, only to be relieved when he woke up and found himself being beaten by Nazis. I’m much happier worrying about how I’m going to get more ankle flex and less knee flex while skiing than wondering whether I really understand all that C++ containers can do.

Anyway, here’s that post I had all cued up prior to going into work on that last day in 2007.

***

After more than seven years, today is my last day at Teradyne, Inc. (NYSE: TER), a major manufacturer of test equipment for the semiconductor industry.

I’d like to thank all the great people I’ve worked with over the years and I wish you all the best of luck in the future.

Since joining the company in January of 2000, time spent here has been mostly enjoyable – writing software for a world-class semiconductor test platform has had more than its share of excitement and challenges.

I can’t say that the last year or two have been as enjoyable as some of the earlier ones. Maybe it was because I was distracted by other interests.

Maybe too it was because “perpetual fire drill” is no way to live and there’s been a steady stream of talented engineers out the front door. Despite assurances heard by employees, the attrition rate doesn’t look normal to me.

Yes, I know things are changing – good luck with that.

I really can’t complain – Teradyne has been pretty good to me. I’m just tired of software and tired of Southern California – it’s time to move on.

(more…)

Here’s a compilation of yesterday’s two exchanges between Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the semi-annual Humphrey-Hawkins testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. The first portion deals with the recent history of paper money and our growing “pyramid of debt” that – surprise! – Paul thinks will end badly, while the second part is a discussion of inflation.

Granted, it’s an extremely difficult job to discuss the failings of monetary policy at the central bank and Paul has done more in this regard than anyone else in modern history, however, it sure would be nice to have someone speak more eloquently at high profile hearings such as this. Maybe Jim Grant will run for public office someday.

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