Archives For Todd Burkhalter

Understanding the August Jobs Report

Weekly Update – September 5, 2011

The big news last week centered on the August jobs report, which was disappointing to say the least. Non-farm payrolls were unchanged in August but down 58,000 including revisions to June/July. The consensus expected a gain of 68,000. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1%.

U.S. stocks tumbled 2% on Friday in reaction to the news, as headlines showing zero jobs growth in August fueled investor concerns. And while the August numbers are certainly not attractive, there are a few underlying factors we would like to draw your attention to.

One of the reasons August’s numbers were so weak has to do with the Verizon strike, now over, that temporarily sidelined 46,000 workers. Were it not for that strike, private payrolls would have been up 62,000 including revisions. As it stands, workers on strike are counted as unemployed when they go on strike and are added as newly employed when they go back to work. Now that they have returned to work, a future employment report will show an increase of 46,000. It’s strange how the system works isn’t it?

There was also some positive news in Friday’s report. Civilian employment, an alternative measure of jobs that includes start ups, increased 331,000 in August, which is very encouraging. In general, when new businesses are starting up and hiring workers, it means the wheels of capitalism are turning in the right direction.

If you only look at the totals, it’s easy to say there was no employment growth in August, which is how most of the headlines read. But if you take time to look below the surface, a more balanced picture emerges. Much of August’s weakness can likely be attributed to financial turmoil in Europe, large swings in the stock market, and lawmaking that has brought much uncertainty to the hiring arena.

Although recession fears are still lingering, recent reports on auto sales, manufacturing and consumer spending suggest that the economy is still growing, albeit slowly. We believe future jobs reports will reflect that.


Monday – U.S. Holiday: Labor Day

Tuesday – ISM Non-Mfg Index

Wednesday – Beige Book

Thursday – BOE Announcement, ECB Announcement, International Trade, Jobless Claims, EIA Petroleum Status Report

Data as of 09/02/2011






Standard & Poor’s 500
























10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)






Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized.
Sources: Yahoo! Finance, MSCI Barra. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not available.

Terry Swanson, President of Results Realty Services, interviews Todd. They discuss some of the items that are important when considering either investing in Real Estate or upgrading your primary residence. Results Realty Services and terry swanson primarily focus on the real estate markets of North Atlanta including Forsyth, Gwinnett, Fulton and Dawson counties.

The Turnaround Artist

August 31, 2011 — Leave a comment


What can we learn about business from The Minnesota Twins?


I learned a few great business ideas from a recent article in Entrepreneuer Magazine. In the early 2000’s Jim Pohlad inherited The Minnesota Twins a major league baseball franchise that was failing. In the beginning of Pohlad’s tenure The Twins had poor attendance, were not winning and had a stadium that was one of the worst facilities in baseball. Pohlad, now touted as a hero, began running the team like a small business. He shared 5 ideas that could be guidelines for every small business owner. These are 5 ideas that saved the franchise. In the turn around Pohlad has made them one of the most successful franchises in baseball today.


1)    Identify Your Strengths


Pohlad knew that they did not have the luxury of a huge budget. Big market teams could spend their way out of their mistakes by acquiring big market, highly paid players. The Twins were going to have to be efficient and develop their talent from within. This is a slower but more sustainable strategy that could be managed and controlled.


2)    Offer A Unique Experience


Pohlad worked with the Minnesota State Legislature to get a new state of the art facility built. Target Field allows fans to have an experience that transcends the baseball game itself. He has focused on creating environments to enjoy local food, shopping venues and luxury boxes. He has created a unique experience that keeps people coming back and wanting to spend their money.


3)    Connect With Your Customers


The Twins have managed to keep their players accessible to their fans. Players are accessible to the fans through promotional days and fun events. Throughout this period they have continued to have numerous affordable seating options. These ideas have created one of the most loyal groups of fans in all of sports.



4)    Remain Loyal To Your Employees


The Twins have a startling number of employees who have been with the franchise for 20+ years. During tough times senior management has hung in there and not jumped ship to other franchises, thus sending a powerful message throughout the organizations ranks.


5)    Know When It’s Time To Act Like A Big Business


Over the years there have been numerous  franchise type players who were not resigned to larger contracts. However, Pohlad knew that when Joe Mauer’s contract was up for renegotiation that he could not let him slip away. Mauer is a local icon-a three sport star at a local high school and numerous professional awards. This was a moment that Pohlad couldn’t disappoint the fans. He had to retain this player to build his franchise around. This decision resulted in retaining Mauer to an eight year, $184 million deal (something that any small business owner couldn’t imagine) but the timing was right.


“Nothing is so successful that it can’t be mis-managed. If you lose sight of what you’re doing, it could be here today and gone tomorrow.” 


– Jim Pohlad, Owner of The Minnesota Twins



Jim Pohlad has turned the Twins franchise around leaving his mark on an organization, city and generations of fans.


Could your organization learn from these 5 Ideas? What are some other great small business ideas?


Thanks and credit to Bruce Schoenfeld for the original article in Entrepreneuer Magazine, August 2010.