Employment Costs Grow at Slowest-Ever Pace

Goods news for corporations, bad news for personal consumption.

Apr 30, 2014 at 4:36PM

Employment costs grew at the slowest rate in 32 years of data collection, according to a first-quarter 2014 Labor Department Employment Cost Index report released (link opens as PDF) today .

After increasing 0.5% for fourth-quarter 2013, this quarter's civilian workers employment costs edged up just 0.3%. Analysts had expected another 0.5% rise. Employment cost increases have only dipped to 0.3% twice before: first-quarter 2009 and once for third-quarter 2011. Civilian workers include private industry employees, as well as state and local government civil servants.


Source: BLS.gov. 

In the private sector, services managed to keep employment cost increases to 1.1% over the last 12 months, while management, professional, natural resource, construction, maintenance, production, transportation, and material moving industries all experienced a 1.9% jump in costs. 

From a more long-term perspective, employment costs increased 1.8% for the 12-month period ending March 2014. Diving deeper into components, wages and salaries have grown 1.6% over the past year, while benefit costs are up a larger 2.1%. 

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A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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