RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — IBM is hiring 18,000 workers this year, at least 3,000 more than planned. Good news, correct?
Not if you take your cue from the major media — print, TV and cable. Good news is simply not much news.
I happened to be watching The CBS Evening News last night when the substitute anchor for Dan Rather mentioned the IBM story. He noted the hiring announcement then quickly added that two thirds of the jobs will be created overseas.
Hey, unless I missed something, 6,000 jobs created by Big Blue in the United States is nothing to sneeze at. The hiring overseas also reflects IBM’s continued growth as a global company, not necessarily outsourcing.
Friday’s New York Times includes a major story on a shakeup at HP where three vice presidents were fired after HP botched a software installation and its storage/server sector lost sales. As a result, HP missed analysts’ expectations and the stock was hammered. That’s news, no doubt.
But not until the very end of the story do you find the news about IBM’s hiring. And IBM’s headquarters are in New York!
The story also barely makes mention of Dell’s good news.
The Wall Street Journal reports today that its survey of 55 economist found that growth is expected to hit 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter, down a bit from earlier projections of 4.2 percent. Growth will be 3.8 percent in the third, up from 3 percent in the second quarter as the economy hit what the Fed described as a “soft patch”. Oil prices are a major factor here, something that even Saudi Arabia can no longer control due to increasing world demand. Most stories never put oil and gasoline prices in the context of real prices — the crushing hit the economy took in previous oil embargos – and how much taxes have increased on fuel.
Cynicism run amok
What gives here? Might it have something to do with the election? Or is it the media’s continued cynicism run amok?
IBM said Thursday that it has hired 13,000 people this year, including 3,000 in July. Its workforce will hit 330,000 by the end of the year, its highest total in more than a decade.
Now if IBM had announced layoffs — 10 in the Triangle, 100 here, 100 there — and the media would have been screaming bloody murder.
We talked earlier this week about how analysts kissed off Cisco’s strong quarterly and annual report, continuing the fascination they and the Street have with next quarter’s outlook rather than taking a longer term view.
Economic reports were good yesterday, including fewer new unemployment claims and an increase in consumer spending. But the market dropped big time again with oil topping $45 a barrel.
James Glassman, a noted syndicated columnist, wrote earlier this week a scathing indictment of the press and some economic analysts:
“I don’t want to overwhelm you with numbers, but I am sick and tired of the biased bleating that passes for economic analysis these days.”
He referred to The New York Times comment on the July jobs report (32,000 created, far fewer than expected but not explained in broader context of other job indicators) which cited the news as “sputtering, tepid month.”
“Yes, the number of people employed in July rose only slightly, by 32,000,” he wrote. “But the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent — down from 6.3 percent a year ago and the lowest since October 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks.”
As I’ve written many times before, I am concerned about the outsourcing of jobs. I don’t necessarily agree with Glassman’s contention that outsourcing is a “figment of Lou Dobbs’ imagination”. But I also have to say I’ve stopped watching Lou. His nightly program on CNN is agenda-driven, and I don’t need indoctrination. I’d prefer news.
Thankfully, Kudlow and Cramer are still on the air at CNBC.
Rick Smith is managing editor of Local Tech Wire.