I Just Filled Out the Census Bureau Survey that Wolf Street Corp Got for the “2022 Economic Census”: Here’s what it was Like

Completing the survey is “required by law.” Four million businesses with employees received it, including Wolf Street Corp.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

On January 30, the Wolf Street media mogul empire, of which I’m the head honcho, received notice in the corporate email from the Census Bureau that the survey for the 2022 Economic Census would go out to 4 million business locations in the US that have employees. The Economic Census is done every five years, unlike the population census which is done every 10 years.

A snail-mail letter followed with the authentication code to set up a “Respondent Portal Account” on the Census.gov website, where the survey would have to be completed. March 15 is the deadline.

Completing the survey is “required by law.” And if you look a little deeper, you can find out what the penalty might be if you get caught not completing it or submitting false information. No, it’s not the firing squad.

So I just got through completing the survey online. In our comments, there has been a flood of questions over the years about Census Bureau surveys. At Wolf Street, we constantly discuss business and economic data. Data and the quality of data are important for us. So I’m going to share how the 2022 Economic Census worked in my case. So here we go.

First, some general stuff about the Economic Census.

What is the penalty for not responding? The Census Bureau explains: “The census law (Title 13, United States Code, Section 224), coupled with the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 (Title 18, Sections 3551, 3559, and 3571), allow for possible prosecution of responsible officials and provides for penalties of up to $5,000 for failure to report (and a response is still required), and $10,000 for intentionally providing false information.” So not exactly the firing squad. Not even a year in the hoosegow.

Why is it important? The Census Bureau explains: “The Economic Census is the official five-year measure of American business and the economy. Data provided by businesses fuels the most comprehensive economic statistics available, representing all U.S. industries and geographies.” the Census Bureau explained.

“Responses from over 4 million business locations will provide data that paints a more complete picture of U.S. businesses at the national, state and local level. The statistics it collects will cover 19 economic sectors that encompass 950 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industries,” the Census Bureau said.

Who got the survey? Census explains: “Data from the more than 8 million employer business locations are represented in the economic census, but to reduce burden on the business community, not every business is contacted. Approximately 4 million business locations will be asked to respond [including Wolf Street Corp].

“For the remaining 4 million small businesses, administrative records are used in lieu of direct reporting.

“The Economic Census only goes to employer businesses that have paid employees. There is a separate program of Nonemployer Statistics for data on businesses without employees — like independent contractors or the self-employed.

“Also, some industries are excluded from the economic census because that data is collected from other federal agencies — agriculture and education, for example.”

What is the Economic Census? Census: “The Economic Census is the U.S. Government’s official five-year measure of American business and the economy. It provides the most comprehensive data available at the national, state, and local level, representing most industries and geographic areas of the United States and Island Areas.

“The Economic Census serves as the statistical benchmark for current economic activity by informing the Gross Domestic Product and the Producer Price Index. It provides information on business locations, the workforce, and trillions of dollars of sales by product and service type.”

Since when? Census: “Congress commissioned the first measure of economic activity during the Census of 1810, which was called, the ‘Census of Manufactures.’ Over time, as the nation’s economy grew more diverse, additional questions were added to form the current Economic Census in 1930.”

When will we see the results? You gotta be patient. Census: “The first 2022 Economic Census data are scheduled to be published in March 2024 when the ‘First Look’ statistics will provide preliminary totals for all economic sectors. Geographic area statistics are scheduled for release in March 2025, and the remainder of the releases by March 2026.”

The Survey.

After the multi-step process of setting up the “Respondent Portal Account” at Census.gov, validating the email address, etc., and then signing into the newly set-up account, and adding the authentication code that was mailed out via snail mail, we’re good to go.

The survey is based on the info filed with the federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is to businesses what the Social Security number is to individuals. So the survey form was essentially pre-filled in terms of the name of the business, the EIN, the address, the head honcho (me), the email, phone number, etc., and I just needed to confirm it.

Now, I’m greeted with: “Welcome to the 2022 Economic Census.” And so begin the questions:

  • Is your company owned or controlled by another domestic company?
  • Number of locations in operation at the end of 2022 under this EIN?
  • Which best describes this establishment’s operational status at the end of 2022? (Multiple choice answer, in my case, “In operation”)
  • Number of months in operation during 2022?
  • Which ONE of the following best describes this establishment’s primary kind of business or activity in 2022? (Plus a couple of follow-up questions).

Then I had to provide basic operational details: Total revenues, number of employees, amount of payroll, details of sales and shipments (multiple choice), sales of services to foreign businesses (exports of services), and purchases of services from foreign businesses (imports of services).

And then these questions on “Business Technologies”:

  • “Did this establishment use touchscreens/kiosks for customer interface in its own operations in 2022?
  • “Did this establishment use additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing) in its own operations in 2022?
  • “Did this establishment use radio-frequency identification (RFID) in its own operations in 2022?
  • “Did this establishment use industrial robots in its own operations in 2022
  • “Did this establishment use automated guided vehicles (AGV) or autonomous mobile robots (AMR) in its own operations in 2022?

There was sort of an essay question, in 1,000 characters or less, where, if I wanted to, I could “Enter any explanations that may be essential in understanding your reported data.”

And that was it. All that was left to do was review a PDF with the survey questions and my responses, fix any errors, and finally submit the survey.

Overall, the online survey was easy and fairly quick to deal with. Obviously, the Wolf Street media mogul empire is a small simple company, so there weren’t a lot of complexities and nuances to deal with. Like with the prior Census surveys I had received, I was pleased with how easy and intuitive the website was to use.

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  87 comments for “I Just Filled Out the Census Bureau Survey that Wolf Street Corp Got for the “2022 Economic Census”: Here’s what it was Like

  1. Michael says:

    Just use the chatbot app for all surveys
    Saves productive time

    • Wolf Richter says:

      You mean, instead of me answering the survey, my new chatbot will answer the survey? LOL. That would be a hoot, given how idiotic chatbots are.

      • Moosy says:

        Chatbots are not idiotic since an idiot is someone with a very low Intelligence, greater than zero and chatbots don’t have intelligence.

        It is not Artificial Intelligence but Fake Intelligence, not AI but FI.

        In simplest explanation, all the chatbot program is doing is automated searches based on text it has been received earlier and reorganized for faster access.

        Intelligence requires reasoning and ability to create new insights. Something that I do find in your blogs and less and less in other media

      • sufferinsucatash says:

        I agree with you Wolf.

        People should not be using these bots to save themselves time. Their brain is going to go to mush.

        I think back to when Windows came out, I was pretty young but an economist taught that PC’s had added 1-2 GDP points to our economy.

        At least with that societal change, the computer still was at your command. These Chat bots seem to be too much of a shortcut and perhaps quite flawed. No one could ever have the nuance and strategy of a human brain. It is our spark!

        Now if Chat Bots could discover lazy and devious humans. Well that would be handy! Haha

        • NBay says:

          Now I gotta look up “chat bots”….at first I thought it was just a joke….Nope! Just further digital insanity, I guess, that someone buys.
          Makes me glad I’m quite old.

        • NBay says:

          Before I could look it up South Park had an episode on them. Were pretty handy (for a while) there.

      • just-a-boy says:

        Forget the chatbot, you should have forwarded it to Congressman George Santos, let him answer it.

      • polecat says:

        Sure Wolf, it would indeed be quite hilarious if you used the **Harcourt Fenton Mud ‘version’… where everything is a lie!

        Just imagine all those census Davids in tilt mode having nervous breakdowns.

        *old star trek reference for the youngins out there.

  2. rodolfo says:

    Wolf. What multiple choices are there for the question:

    Does your company anticipate increasing sales of loyalty products such as beer mugs?

    Good to see that the bureaucracy is marching along well with the feds

    • Wolf Richter says:

      That would be a yes or no question. Also, the survey asked only about 2022, how it actually went, so no mug-flow forecasts.

    • Big cryo says:

      A census taker once tried to test me.. I ate his kidneys with some french fries and a Pepsi

      • NBay says:

        Didn’t want him to find out where you were Jan 6, 2020, I assume?
        You must have figured out that was one of the questions he’d ask.

    • russell1200 says:

      LOL – Great minds think alike. Or something somewhat adjacent in any case. I was wondering about the mugs myself.

  3. James says:

    Wolf Street is obviously more of a “going concern” than an Asian art with museum quality ceramics & other antiques that I was the sole proprietor of for more than 25 yrs.

    I gave up on it a few yrs ago with the ppp loans were being pushed by my bank where I had a business acct. I didn’t have any employees, except myself & I DIDN’T WANT TO FILL OUT ALL THE PAPERWORK to try to apply for the Fed govt. “Covid loans”

    I’ve always tried to not borrow funds and my attitude wa ( and still is)
    :neither a borrower nor a lender one.”

    Something my Grandmother (born 1894) taught me!

    & I do dislike excessive paperwork!

  4. Michael Jones says:

    You’re a good man, Wolf. I have little love for our government. They continue to demand, tax, and make life more challenging for me as a small business. And in return we see so much corruption. I know better than many countries but I’m not interested in lifting a finger anymore. As a salty bent over vet, I’ve seen too much.

    • NBay says:

      Another government crushed soul, he might even be homeless….it’s so very sad.

      • Nacho Bigly Libre says:

        Ah, the excitement and the high some people get when the rights get trashed around (fourth amendment in this case).

        • NBay says:

          “Civil government, insofar as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor”

          -Adam Smith

          Democracy is a balance, and we have gone way too far, time for adjustments.

          “Excitement and high”? Nah. But you may think of me as a grinning Tucker Carlson if you wish.

  5. James says:

    James. “Neither a borrower not a lender be.”
    my typo

  6. James says:

    Holy Cow….
    once again (let time I promise.

    “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”
    as my G-maw used to say.

    • NBay says:

      1. No problem….EVERYONE knows that old saw, anyway.

      2. “TRIED not to borrow funds” (from YOUR bank with Business Account?)…..so you DIDN’T listen to Grams after all.

      3. I always hated paperwork, so I never went into (especially retail) business…..why did you and for so damned long?

      Confusing/contradictory post.

  7. BobbleheadLincoln says:

    I wonder if they slip a couple of questions in for the department of defense there. Of course it’s all anonymous I’m sure.

    • Lili Von Schtupp says:

      The questions concerning RFID, touch screen/kiosk and 3D printing had my tinfoil hat sparking.

      • Lili Von Schtupp says:

        Thank you Wolf, I reckon my tinfoil hat compliments my home haircuts nicely.

        I’m aware of touchscreens and RFIDs. Was more thinking in terms of measuring cyber security risk, we have X-# of US businesses of such-and-such category with these devices in use.

      • Petunia says:


        RFID is now in many luxury products. They use it to register the item to the buyer for tracking the item in case of theft or possibly to track reselling of the item. This became a big thing in the last two years.

    • Wolf Richter says:


      Nonsense. These surveys are NOT anonymous. They go by EIN. There is nothing anonymous about them. All the company data was already prefilled into the survey, as I explained. The questions asked are all about very common business data and technologies. Read the article.

      Lili Von Schtupp,

      These are common business technologies.

      Retailers have been using RFID for years, as have many others. It’s in your smartphone, in your contactless credit card, it’s everywhere.

      Many companies have been using additive manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing) for decades, including semiconductor makers.

      Touchscreen/kiosks? ATMs have been using them for years. Restaurant checkout devices now have them…the waiter hands you the device; it shows the amount of the check, and you tap the button for the tip (you choose the percentage), and off you go. And at the airport, for many years, when you check in, LOL.

      Your tinfoil hat truly looks cute on you.

  8. BuySome says:

    I run a small monorail based donut delivery service near the Springfield nuclear power station. This involves “addictive” manufacturing and autonomous mobile “rockets” due to the occasional mishaps. Survey says, “fill in name here”. Duh!

  9. robert says:

    I would think ‘additive manufacturing’ would be something like importing a vehicle and adding domestically-produced wheels to it and calling it manufacturing. Other examples of varying complexity abound.
    But 3D printing?
    Anyway, years ago when I was well down the pecking order, and in the snail mail era I used to be handed one of these 20-page surveys to fill out; took me a day out of my busy schedule.

    • Lili Von Schtupp says:

      The 3D printing question had me thinking about tracing ghost weapons manufacture, but that’s probably traced through file/software download. Perhaps more of interest in general manufacturing inside the US vs. outsourced parts?

      • Wolf Richter says:

        ‘additive manufacturing’ (3d printing) has been used for decades by semiconductor makers.

        • robert says:

          Obviously a clue about my age category! I stopped being interested in computer stuff when computers became an appliance … prior to that I used to desolder/solder stuff on single layer motherboard to do things like double my ram from 256 to 512K.

        • Prairie Rider says:

          The Pinarello Bolide bicycle ridden by Filippo Ganna to shatter the World Hour Record on a velodrome last 7 October was made with 3D printing.

          56.792 kilometers from a standing start for Ganna. My bike shop owner and friend was the USA hour record holder on a standard spoked-wheel track bike in 1983 at 44.46 kilometers.

        • NBay says:

          I like racing against the clock and any other form of competing with yourself. It’s a more pure “work ethic” than just “ambition” to get more (or be more). Like me, I’ve always done things I liked to do, “work” or not, and just did my best….no higher ambitions involved.

          When someone says filling out gov’t forms made them decide to completely lose their work ethic and give up, I always wonder what their real agenda and also what that of their post was. Lot’s of those types here in the comments….did a talking point get shot down or something?
          Wolf didn’t seem to have much beef with gov’t regs, nor did he quit in frustration, thankfully.

        • NBay says:

          Robert, thanks for term “appliance”! When I lost interest in comp tech I was saying it all “went consumer”…(about when windows came out)….anyway, much better word. Thx.

          But I still visit sites like this, google and wikipedia, research stuff…it’s like having a big fast library, and I e-mail.
          My phone,? I still just phone only, but from anywhere I am, which is cool and damned handy.

    • Whatsthepoint says:

      My daughter’s PhD dissertation is on additive manufacturing, so yes, it is a real thing.

  10. Candyman says:

    I also responded to the census. My company of 3!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I cite a lot of Census data here, and many of my charts are based on this data. So your info is an important part in making this data an accurate reflection of business and the economy in the US.

      • Cas127 says:

        Thanks for sharing the process, Wolf.

        For me, some of the most important info was the fact that there are about 4 million businesses with employees (and that you are one of them).

        Given about 160 million employees (a few million high but makes the math easier…) that means an average of 40 employees per Co.

        Which is of course way off…a pretty small handful of companies (maybe 25k out of those 4 million) with 500+ employees employ a huge chunk.

        Then there are bazillions of companies with 1 or 2 employees.
        (It is enlightening to look at the Census data breakout of company sizes)

        Still, this is all very useful info to have.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          The way I understand it:

          1. There are 8 million business locations with employees, and 4 million were surveyed (including mine), but 4 million of them were not surveyed because they are either small businesses and not all small businesses were surveyed (in order to reduce the burden on them, Census said); or because one business had multiple locations and only the main location had to complete the survey.

          2. In addition to the 8 million businesses in this pool, there are other business categories that were not included in this survey because they’re surveyed by other government agencies. These categories include farms and education.

          So the 4 million business locations in this survey do not capture all businesses in the US, far from it.

          But your general idea is correct — there are millions of businesses, and a large percentage are very small and have few employees, and the average number of employees per business is therefore small.

  11. BubbaJohnson says:

    Figures, a company pays taxes, has employees paying taxes, and another Govern ment agency has no idea what you are doing.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      That’s total BS.

      1. The Census Bureau had the EIN info, including my industry already prefilled. It then asked specific questions about it for greater detail.

      2. Tax returns don’t spell out how you get your revenues, what specifically you sell, if you buy or sell services overseas, etc. That’s what the survey asked.

      3. The survey asked about revenues, payroll, etc., in 2022. I haven’t started on my 2022 tax return yet.

      When people see “Census Bureau” in the headline, their brains shut downs? And they feel compelled to say whatever?

      • BubbaJohnson says:

        Some brains see Govern ment, obey or else and tire of Govern ment quickly. Hope you did not waste too much time obeying Govern ment.

      • sufferinsucatash says:

        A large cohort fear the Government. A recent YouTube that I saw, had the host discussing Tax issues with a CPA. The CPA touched on people’s irrational fear of the government and collecting taxes.
        The host commented that he had grown up always fearing taxes because his family had always feared them.
        But like the CPA explained, it’s just numbers and records. Keep good records, document everything and there’s nothing to fear.

        • grimp says:

          sure, just don’t ever question them. If you do, it’s audit time!

        • NBay says:

          Poor gimp, under the big heel of the government boot. Last administration came close to showing you what that’s REALLY like…very close.
          Democracy is messy, but beats a dictator.
          Don’t let gov’t of the people by the people for the people perish from the earth….there are many pushing for that….maybe even gimp, although unknowingly (don’t worry gimp, you aren’t the only one who has been BSd by those who hate democracy, they are good at PR).

      • Cas127 says:

        The G has disillusioned a lot of people because of its close ties to 1) politicians, 2) lies, and 3) very expensive organizational failures.

        So, rightly or wrongly, there is a lot of automatic, default hatred against the G…I am guilty of it myself.

        But I also recognize that the G does some/many useful things…but unfortunately at badly inflated costs sometimes.

        The G (politicians) also tends to overpromise/assume the role of God.

        When bad times occur (US for a long time) such entities get blamed.

        • NBay says:

          “The government assumes the role of God”

          Now we are getting somewhere about the real factors in many people’s true agendas.

          You’ll slip up again.

    • Evan says:

      Were you hoping for an avalanche of antigovernment comments to support yours?

      What I hear are crickets.

      • BubbaJohnson says:

        Nope, not at all. Been a lone wolf all my life.

        • NBay says:

          Yet another rugged individual? That is one of the most popular self-identities going.

          Just crickets…..like the man said.

  12. So they’re not going to ask you about legal status of your workers, or any sensitive questions about legal contractor status? They care more about the machines than the people.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      They care about the economic and business data. That’s what they collect. This is not a population survey, and it’s not a workforce survey.

  13. Moosy says:

    So what is the value of this census and how does it compare to the cost?

    In your case it did have a lot of value since you exposed the waste but for 99.99% of others that had to fill this out , a burden. And a waste since the questions are useless, redundant and come on, results available in 2 years from now?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I use Census Bureau data ALL the time, either directly from the Census Bureau, or indirectly via other data, such as from the BEA and BLS that use Census Bureau data as their base. Getting good data — as every business decision maker knows — is crucial and hard to get. So I take this data seriously. And if you’re reading my articles, and if you’re looking at my charts, you’re seeing this data all the time. So you too benefit!

      • Cas127 says:

        People tend to forget most/all of the data from your useful charts…comes from the G.

        The G screws up often, at 2.5 times true costs, but not everywhere, not everytime.

        It would do well to do fewer things, better, at lower cost.

        • NBay says:

          Shrink gov’t and leave the rest to the Corps, and PE, because as everyone knows, they NEVER do anything wrong.

          “the nastiest people, for the nastiest reasons, will do what’s best for all?

          But you don’t care about “all” do you? Only your tribe, whatever you define it to be.

    • Tom S. says:

      What is the value of a census…are you being facetious?

      Do you want any data associated with the distribution of tax dollars or do you think the Feds should just go at it with blinders on?

      • NBay says:

        A simpler census is in the constitution, I think, and things are far more complicated today. This is a big, complex, country to run that we now have here……blinders not good.

        I told y’all the simple solution, Constitution max net wealth, ($10-15M) and a militarized IRS.
        That just leaves Green New Industry and ZPG to deal with, and from a MUCH MUCH better economic position.

  14. A A Ron says:

    I wish these were only once every 4 years. I get them annually and always seem to be over a year behind (i.e. have multiple years outstanding). Online submission still takes me several hours, slicing financial data how they would like and tracking down HR to address other obscure questions. Glad to know the penalty is only $5k.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      You’re talking about a different survey, based on a randomly selected big “sample” of employers.

      This is the “Economic Census,” which is every five years, like the population census is every 10 years. And it’s not based on a “sample,” but a “census,” where data is from every entity, not randomly selected entities, and data is collected either directly per survey, or with many small employers, via the administrative sources the Census mentioned.

      • VintageVNvet says:

        Glad to see you ”ON the Job” at 0700 your time Wolf, per above.
        While WE, in this case the family WE have done well the last couple of decades — mostly due to the common sense of my ”better half”,,, we are always learning more on this blog/website.
        My only question, beyond the usual complaints about the total inefficiency of SO many aspects of our lives these days, very clearly with GUV MINT,,, is:
        Do WE, in this case the entire population of USA WE actually NEED any of the data you mention???
        If so, it would be helpful for this formerly old (and now elderly – so I am told –) guy to know WHY ,,”WE” need this data other than for every more GUV MINT ”CONTROL.”
        Thanks again for your continuing work helping us to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when it is actually BEST to just walk away…

        • taxpayer says:

          Every; question on every Census survey is there because one or more of “us” has requested it, usually for legitimate purposes. As Wolf pointed out, much of the statistics he reports for “us” are based on Census data (which is typically used as a base for updated or detailed estimates by others.) If you want to complain about “GUV MINT CONTROL” you might want to start by looking at the tax code.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          “Do WE, in this case the entire population of USA WE actually NEED any of the data you mention???”

          I use Census Bureau data ALL the time, either directly from the Census Bureau, or indirectly via other data, such as from the BEA and BLS that use Census Bureau data as their base. Getting good data — as every business decision maker knows — is crucial and hard to get. So if you’re reading my articles, and if you’re looking at my charts, you’re seeing this data all the time. So you too benefit!

          Whether or not you “NEED” to read my site is up to you.

  15. CreditGB says:

    Business survey for gathering business data is fine used for reporting on the country’s business health and status.

    Only when it, along with perhaps dozens of other blocks of data, are aggregated, without disclosure, and linked by any number of identifiers, both business and personal, that the risk of something darker emerges.

    Does anyone really know who has this data, where it is stored, or who has access to it?

    As you point out it is “required”. Curious if there is anything about where its stored or who has access to it. Did any “Privacy Policy” come along with it?

    • sufferinsucatash says:

      Being an American citizen prob is an implied contract. Even though no one would like to admit that. Some rights are bestowed by god. So they transcend any given to us.

      It’s all quite fascinating

    • Wolf Richter says:


      It’s the data that corporate America gathers on you is all-encompassing and perfect, and contains details of every part your life, via your smartphone, your online activity, your travels, your purchases, all financial transactions, facial recognition systems in stores and other places… the smart speaker in your house listens to everyone in the house, and other connected devices in your house or near your house with sensors, motion detectors, and cameras… Corporate America has all this data and owns this data. That’s who you sold your soul to.

      • Escierto says:

        Exactly right. All these commentators worrying about the government are no doubt on their cell phones busy giving Apple, Google and Meta every possible piece of data about themselves. Yet here they are all up in arms about a census form!

        • Prairie Rider says:

          Just reported in my local newspaper is a story that speaks of police and cell phone data, but this has a happy ending.

          A very bad man who used a gun to carjack people multiple times, and who’d twice out-runned police on foot after crashing a stolen vehicle while being chased by police, was just charged in US District Court in Minneapolis.

          “Later that same day, police in St. Paul used tracking information from Goodman’s cellphone to trace him to a home in the 300 block of Burgess Street. He surrendered about an hour later.”

          “Goodman’s criminal history in Minnesota includes convictions for burglary, assault, drug dealing, auto theft and fleeing police.”

          He appeared in Federal Court Friday; and will have another hearing in two days. But it was his cell phone’s tracking that put him in federal custody without bail — where he belongs, I reckon.

    • Bellerian says:

      Actualy, all the statistical agencies in every country abides (or athe very least tries very hard to) to the preservation of the confidentiality of the respondents. It’s even on a UN framework about the subject:

      “Individual data collected about natural persons and legal entities, or about small aggregates that are subject to national confidentiality rules, are to be kept strictly confidential and are to be used exclusively for statistical purposes or for purposes mandated by legislation”

      Here in Brazil the statistical agency (IBGE) has held it’s ground against the national counterparts of both IRS and GAO.

    • NBay says:

      It’s all kept at that pizza joint where they make adrenochrome…..but don’t tell I told you.

  16. dishonest says:

    Do you think that if you had broken the law by not responding, American policeman would have beaten you to death?

  17. Albert says:

    Lots of questions related to automation, it will be interesting to observe the trend on related technology use over the last few years – guessing labor shortage is peaking now.

  18. sufferinsucatash says:

    This is like Gonzo journalism describing a colonoscopy.

    “Holy F___ Man! You’re going to put That where? I’m going to need more drugs for this!”

    Why did you go Corp wolf? Any benefits to an LLC?

  19. gametv says:

    I was curious to see how quickly the ECB is going to run off the assets on their balance sheet. It turns out they are running down $15 billion each month. At that rate it would take mroe than 27 YEARS to sell off the full 5 trillion they have on their balance sheets.

    This is absolute insanity. It is really obvious that the central bankers need to be hanged from the gallows (figuratively). These central bankers obviously are trying to keep the huge, massive bubble of asset prices intact.

    No financial media is actually asking the questions they need to be asking. Are asset purchases by central bankers the primary reason for the massive income inequality in advanced countries? If so, then should we all demand that our politicians destroy all central banking activity ASAP???

    Central banking is an illness that eats away at free markets and promotes the interest of Capital at the expense of Labor.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Nah. The ECB’s total assets are down by nearly €1 trillion since the peak in June, or down by 11%. This started in serious last fall. I covered this here just about every month.

      For QE, the ECB did trillions in loans and trillions in bonds. They’re unloading the loans massively. The bonds are starting to roll off now, but slowly, and the pace will ramp up this year.

  20. L says:

    Hi Wolf,

    I know this is off topic but hoping you will answer. I’m a great saver (401K, savings), but was hoping for your advice.

    I am currently in our small starter home for 6 years and have been saving since we moved in for my next house. We’re now ready to buy within the short terms (2 years or less), but obviously the market sucks, so we’re riding it out. I am now sitting on alot of cash in my savings but only collecting .6%. I’ve opened up a vanguard account and was going to invest in VMFXX fund.

    I just want to confirm there is no possible way to lose big on this?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      You need to do your own risk assessment. I’ll just say this in general terms:

      Short-term Treasury securities (bought at auction and held to maturity) and FDIC-insured brokered CDs within FDIC limits are safest. You cannot “lose big” on these. You can buy both at Vanguard.

      Money market funds are fairly safe but not as safe as these two. There are some risks involved in money market funds. It’s small, but it’s there.

    • svengineer says:

      To my understanding, Vanguard’s venerable (inception 1981) VMFXX Money Market Fund is significantly less than 100% US treasury bills/notes, some with >3month duration; also it has 0.11% expense ratio. An alternative closer to purchasing short-term treasuries or brokered CDs could be BlackRock’s SGOV newer (inception 2020) ETF that is ~100% <=3month US treasury bills with 0.05% expense ratio.

      As Wolf says, none of these funds or ETFs are FDIC insured; however SGOV seems to me as close as I can find with the convenience and liquidity of an ETF. Of course, there are many other similar funds and ETFs; recommend to carefully read the prospectus before purchasing.

    • Venkarel says:

      The gold standard of safety is US debt. The return is not terrible as well. Buy short term Treasury bills at auction not through the secondary market. There is no interest payment but you purchase the debt at a discount to face value. They are sold in $1000 increments. You can elect to autoroll the investment for a specified number of times so you will not have to worry about reinvestment. Buy different dates bills to match cash flow needs ( e.g. 4 week, 8 wk, 12 wk and 24 week debt)

    • William Leake says:

      Buy short term Treasuries. They pay more than almost any CD and are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Vanguard and Schwab do not charge to buy and sell. I buy at auction, hold to maturity. You could sell before maturity, but you might win or lose a little, not much. Interest is state tax free. Good luck.

    • NBay says:

      So Wolf got a small business form forced on him by the GD government, and explained it, but stoically didn’t complain.

      Then all these people jumped in to help him complain about that damned government on his behalf.

      Then people switched to helping with personal economic decisions.

      Don’t you love seeing neighbor helping neighbor. :)’ ?

  21. Volvo P-1800 says:

    Glad to see this thing didn’t turn into the Wall of Wolf Street.

  22. MICHAEL BOND says:

    More important questions to ask today?

    1) Do humans ever answer your phones?
    1a) If humans answer your phones, do they speak English?
    1b) If they are not in the US, do they simple follow a checklist or do they know what they are doing?

    2) How many phone menus do you employ in order to not have humans answer the phone?

    3) Do your chat contacts have humans? …

  23. MalcolmM says:

    Not too painful.

    I’m a senior and have been retired for over ten years. I got stuck in StatsCan monthly labour survey for six months. I had to answer a multi page survey asking the same questions each month. No shortcuts for retired with no intention of returning to work people like me.

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