Choosing a Reference Organization
For the Session Long Project, you will be asked to select an organization to use as a focus for your application of economic ideas. You must use the same organization for all 5 SLPs.
Just below is a link to a listing of 27 companies, all have common stock that has been issued to the public (called a public corporation), and all are on the most widely used index of how well or poorly the general stock market is doing, the S&P 500 Index.
In the left column is the trading symbol of the company, if you have seen a stock ticker these are the symbols that crawl by. The next column is the company name, and the third is a brief identification of the industry the company is a part of. I have provided companies from several different industries so that you have a good variety from which to choose.
See company choices.
Using Google will be an excellent way of finding out more details of what the main business is of the chosen company, and other general information that will be useful for the assignment. If you know how to use a financial data base you can use the trading symbol to access information, but this will not be necessary so do not worry if you do not know how to do this, the use of Google should be more than sufficient.
For the Module 1 component of the Project, please address the following questions in a 2 to 3-page MS Word document:
- Identify and briefly describe the organization you are going to use. Why do you think it will be an interesting focus for your application of macroeconomic ideas?
- Select three macroeconomic indicators from the link below that you feel have the greatest impact on the operations and/or planning for your SLP organization. Remember that an economic indicator measures a change in the general or in a specific aspect of the economy and you should be assessing how each macro-economic change you have chosen affects your company.
- Explain why they are important to the current or future condition of your organization.
For this Module, think about macroeconomic indicators of performance, and how recent changes in these indicators have affected the performance of your organization. For example, how does the change in GDP affect the sales, profitability, expansion plans or competitiveness of your organization. Or, as another example, has the rise in the national rate of unemployment had any affect on your organizations’ operational performance or management decisions?
Below are three examples of what is required for this assignment. The first two are examples of correct approaches and the third is an example of an incorrect approach.
Sample Mini-Analysis (1):
My organization is a beauty shop/spa that caters to middle class women. With the recession and rise of unemployment the shop has had decreased revenue and profit. This has been particularly true of the spa part of the business because that is more of a luxury service than the simple haircut and coloring end of the business.
Notice that the primary focus was on how this macroeconomic indicator has affected the business. This is a good example of the approach to take.
Sample Mini-Analysis (2):
I will begin with the Employment Cost Index (ECI) and why it is important to the well-being of TLMP. Companies such as TLMP must be able to anticipate inflation and the impact it will have on currency exchanges and how that would impact their international production and trade. The reason ECI is of less importance to TLMP then some of the other indicators, is because it is a lagging indicator. Albeit important, it is not an indicator that will provide advance data that would allow TLMP to make a change in plans to account for an anticipated change in economic policy.
Notice that the above emphasizes the effect the ECI will have on the costs to TMLP and management has to engage in planning if these costs are expected to increase. It also demonstrates that even though ECI is an important index it is limited in its ability for TMLP management to use it because it does not provide the data in time for the company to use it for its planning. This is a good example of the approach to take.
Sample Mini-Analysis (3):
The management of Pleble Corporation uses the Retail Sales report for its planning. They compare the sales of Pleble on a month to month basis, and break it down by its various product lines to spot where sales are falling or increasing.
Notice that this is NOT a correct focus. There is an important macro-economic indicator called the Retail Sales Report but the above analysis, after mentioning it, goes into a discussion of Pleble’s sales report, and that is not a macro indicator because it is only about one company, not the entire economy. The proper focus would have been to utilize the national sales report in a way that would have helped Pleble management to forecast where their sales may be going in the near term future. For example, the downward trend of retail sales over the past 5 months indicates that Pleble should reduce their inventory.
There are literally thousands of macro-economic indicators that are reported. Keep in mind that a given organization, such as a home builder, may be affected by housing starts, even though that indicator may have no effect on a defense contractor. The link to Investopedia lists 25 of the most commonly used macroeconomic indicators.
Length: 2–3 typed and double-spaced pages.
In addition to the overall quality, depth, grammar, and organization of the paper, the following will, in particular, be assessed:
- Your ability to apply economic concepts to a given single organization.
- Use of appropriate citations.