Solar Jobs Have the Power; Michael Kors Sings the Retail Blues; GM Sets a Record, But Profit Disappoints

Sunshine days…

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Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The sun is where it’s at these days as the amount of jobs in the solar industry jumped 25% in the last year, now employing over 260,000 workers. According to The Solar Foundation, the reason for the job growth in this field has to do with a massive decrease in cost to install solar panels, combined with rising demand. A perfect fiscal storm – but in a good way.  The solar industry is projected to grow significantly  as solar capacity  continues to grow. It’s actually looking like solar power will end up becoming the most widely used power source.  The U.S. Department of Energy, in its own study, found that there are more Americans working in the solar power industry, compared to the 187,000 employees toiling away at natural gas and coal power plants. In fact, one out of every fifty new jobs in 2016 was in the solar industry, and the number of solar jobs increased in 44 out of 50 states.  Women represent 28% of the solar workforce and that number is expected to climb.  In case you were thinking of switching careers, the  industry is expecting to add about 51,000 jobs in 2017.  And with a median wage of $26 per hour, that might not be such a bad idea.

It’s in the bag…

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Image courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No matter how much Michael Kors wants to blame department stores for its dismal performance, it can’t. Because it just wasn’t their fault. Entirely. The fact is, there were just a lot less shoppers at both department stores and at Michael Kors stores.  Shares of the company fell almost 15% as it announced that it earned $1.64 per share. That should seem impressive, since analysts forecasted that the company would gain $1.63 per share. However, the 6.4%  drop in sales was just too much to bear, especially because a 5.4% drop was anticipated. So you can imagine the collective disappointed sigh on Wall Street. Revenue for the quarter dropped 3.2% to come in at $1.35 billion, when estimates were for $1.36.  For the full year, the company now expects to take in sales of $4.48 billion, when it previously had its sights set on $4.55 billion. As for the $4.71 billion in sales Michael Kors took in last year, well, that’s now a sweet distant memory, isn’t it? As part of a big plan, Michael Kors’ brass explained that it’s going to scale back on its offerings in wholesale stores. With too much inventory and major discounts eating substantial chunks into its margins, the company has even decided not to participate in friends and family sales.  The theory is that by ditching these deep discounts, the brand will somehow get reinvigorated and finally gain back some of its value and prestige. Too bad it’s taking so long to find out if this plan will actually work.

It’s a record…

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Image courtesy of sattva/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

General Motors just came out with its fourth quarter earnings bumming out Wall Street with news that its profit dropped $1.8 billion and earning $1.28 per share. Nothing says disappointing quite like a 71% year-over-year drop, which is exactly what this profit was. But apparently, that drop isn’t as tragic as it seems, since that figure was the result of a $4 billion tax gain from a one-time accounting change. Too bad that bit didn’t stop the stock from taking a 4.7% hit. Revenue for the quarter came in at $44 billion, an 11% increase over last year, even though estimates were for just over $40 billion and $1.17 per share. A year ago, revenues almost hit $40 billion, taking in $1.39 per share.  The big joyful news, though, is that GM scored a record $166.4 billion in revenues for 2016, a 9% increase from last year that brought in a profit of $9.4 billion and added about $6 per share. Estimates were for $163.5 billion. As for GM’s 52,000 hourly workers, they can look forward to a $12,000 bonus this year, up from last year’s $11,000. This little initiative will set GM back by $624 million, but hey, those folks deserve it, no? And while GM sold 10 million vehicles globally, Wall Street’s still uneasy about the company’s 845,000 ownerless cars that were sitting around at the end of 2016.

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