Friday, June 6, 2014

Semiconductor Industry Markets in the Economic Hay Stack I'm known for publishing lengthy blog articles on the leading edge technologies unique to the semiconductor industry, I want to call your attention to an economic article which speaks to our nation's on-going job market concerns.
On June 5, 2014 the New York Times published an article by Jeremy Ashkenas and Alicia Parlapiano titled, "How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts".
The article graphically illustrates job market data and salary trends since 2004 and provides an extraordinary window on sector trends in our nation's economy. Although the US economy has recovered significantly since the bottom of the recent recession, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has correctly observed that resolving the on-going unemployment dilemma imposed upon millions of Americans is the most effective means of correcting the economy and restoring the fiscal health of our nation. The New York Times article features an interactive graph which plots trends over 255 segments of the US economy. The chart appears to be a scrambled vector map (perhaps a fitting description of our economy). Hovering a mouse pointer over a singular market trend line will reveal a chart and its respective economic data in greater detail. Dragging a mouse along an inset chart displays monthly job data and average salary scale for the selected industry segment from 2004 through January 2014.   A larger/higher resolution computer screen will further enhance the display of the charts. Clicking on the series of vertical dots to the right of the screen enables the selection and break out of specific sectors of the economy, while scrolling further downward in the article we are presented with a table of the individual graphs comprising the report.  In total, the report provides incredible detail on the employment and salary trends comprising our complex economy. 

From a semiconductor industry perspective, it is necessary to study the trend lines specific to end user markets of interest, as our complex economy consumes/reflects the many specialized industries and broader consumer base comprising our econosphere.  Closer examination of trends in three key electronics industry markets reveal that since 2004, the semiconductor electronic component manufacturing sector has lost 77,000 jobs and $1,233 per year in average salary.  Communications equipment manufacturing has lost 43,200 jobs, and the computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing sector lost 44,200 jobs and $17,676 per year in average salary.  Analysis of the New York Times article illustrates that in total, these three market sectors have shed 164,400 jobs since 2004 and have yet to recover.  In spite of these examples and similar declining trends in other business sectors, the stock markets are returning to pre-recession levels of capitalization.  

Whether you're preparing a safe harbor statement for your quarterly/annual financial review, or an unemployed student of the economy, I think you'll find great interest in this New York Times report.  While not as complex as a semiconductor wafer map and related statistical process control data (SPC), its an impressive representation of our economy.

Thomas D. Jay 
Semiconductor Industry Consultant

Corporate, private entities or publications referenced or linked in this article are the respective owners of their logos, trademarks, service marks, media content and intellectual property.  Unless otherwise disclosed, Thomas D. Jay has no financial interest in companies referenced in blog articles or other published media communications. No representation is made to either buy or sell securities. Opinions expressed by Thomas D. Jay are his own. Thomas D. Jay does not employ or otherwise utilize/authorize third party agents to express his opinions, represent his interests or conduct business on his behalf except where formally contractually designated.

Acknowledgements and Reference Links