Inflation has reached the North Pole as a Santa shortage looms

12/14/2022 1:39:00 AM

Santa's services are more in demand than ever — and he and his helpers are having a hard time keeping up.

Demand for Santa’s services at holiday events is surging — but he and his helpers are having a hard time keeping up. 'There's definitely a shortage of Santas,” the founder of a holiday entertainment staffing agency tells planetmoney.

Santa's services are more in demand than ever — and he and his helpers are having a hard time keeping up.

"a modest tax credit for those hiring Santas or Santas working on their propose cracking down on companies.WARRINGTON, Pa.WARRINGTON, Pa.

" Unlike Santa's sleigh and reindeer, this proposed tax program was unable to get off the ground.Santaflation Over the last year, as vaccines and COVID treatments have become more available, and society has gotten closer to normal, both Hire Santa and the International Brotherhood of Real-Bearded Santas have worked to rebuild the Santa workforce.Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley of Oregon are sponsoring a bill that would authorize the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to ban "unconscionably excessive price increases."We here at Hire Santa have been working very hard to replenish the number of Santas," Allen says.."I've traveled the country this last year going to Santa schools, speaking at conventions, and really trying to connect with the Santa community to let them know the advantages of being a professional Santa as well as working with Hire Santa." A separate bill , sponsored by Sen." Classic economic theory suggests that if there's a shortage of something, there's a simple solution: raise the price.

In this case, that means raising Santa's wages, which should convince more people to grow a white beard and don a red suit., would impose a 95% tax on "excess profits" for certain companies with average annual gross receipts of at least $500 million.And indeed, Arnold says, many Santas are earning more this year."I would say, generally, that the majority of our members raised their prices somewhere between 10 and 15 percent this year," Santa Arnold says.Rather, they are almost certainly benefiting from it.In part, these increased prices compensate Santas for the rising cost of doing business, he says, including higher fuel costs and more expensive Santa suits.But they also reflect the reality that, amidst surging demand, there are only so many Santas to go around.Very high.

Call it Santaflation.[Editor's note: This is an excerpt of Planet Money sign up here.From 2011 to 2020, this metric remained fairly steady.] Head Elf Allen also says that he sees a trend towards higher wages for Santas.Professional Santas with his company, he says, can earn anywhere between $5,000 and $12,000 during the holiday season, depending on where they live and how much they're willing to work.During 2022’s second and third quarters, the metric set a record, increasing nearly 50% over the typical level from 2011 to 2020.(For those curious about the math, that equates to roughly one to five thousand boxes of cookies, which are, apparently, Santa's only source of sustenance).

Delays in the Santa Pipeline But while higher earning potential may be helping to convince new Santas to shout ho ho ho , Allen also suggests that the labor market for Santas doesn't work as frictionlessly as the picture-perfect model of classic economic theory would predict.In 2021, this measurement was higher than any year going back to the Great Depression."It's a little bit harder in this market because it takes so long for a Santa to become a Santa," Allen says.Part of the issue is that many people demand real-bearded Santas, as opposed to faux-bearded ones.Since the recession year of 2009, corporate profits, measured in raw dollars, have doubled for the economy as a whole."Over the last 40 years, there's been a shift to real-bearded Santas," Allen says."The vast majority of our Santas are real-bearded Santas.6 times higher than 2009 for retail; 4.

That's what people are expecting and what they want when they come to Hire Santa." In case you were wondering, the International Brotherhood of Real-Bearded Santas has gotten more inclusive and does"now allow faux-bearded Santas to join as associates," says Santa Arnold, the president of the organization.3 times higher for manufacturing; and 7 times higher for construction."They can't vote, but they can participate in our programs." So, yeah, there is clearly a premium for real beards in the industry, and growing a full-blown Santa beard can take anywhere between six months to a year.A study by the liberal Economic Policy Institute found that between 1979 and 2019, labor costs accounted for about 62% of cost increases, capital expenditures accounted for about 27% of cost increases, and profits accounted for about 11%.But becoming Santa is about more than simply looking the part (which, by the way, is changing in some communities, as more people seek diverse Santas as well as fitter Santas).

Professional Santas, of course, need to be able to pass background checks and be eligible for liability insurance.In the traditional way of thinking, "businesses could use the extra revenue to expand production," through increased investment in capital and production, said Aaron Sojourner, a senior researcher at the W.And they need to hone their craft and learn to act the part, which is why there are dedicated schools to help people make their jolly transformation.Being Santa requires some unique skills, including acting, live entertaining, and the ability to field wild questions from inquisitive youngsters.Upjohn Institute for Employment Research."Children, they say the darndest things, and so you gotta be able and prepared to be able to answer those questions," Allen says."These questions range from the silly, but also to the very heartwarming — and the heartbreaking — in many situations.What has sent profits skyrocketing? A company that hasn’t seen its costs rise could theoretically join the price-raising bandwagon out of sheer opportunism.

We were just talking with one of our Santas today who's going to visit a nine-year-old girl who has cancer and it's like, how do you deal with that? Kids are also dealing with family issues, divorce, death.Santa gets all of those questions and has to be ready to be able to answer those questions."The rising market power, and corporations' desire to maximize profits, are not the root cause of inflation, which comes instead from the excess of aggregate demand over aggregate supply," said Kimberly Clausing, a Reed College economist." Santa Arnold — who is quite the Santa doppelgänger — says he's honed his skills answering kids' questions over many years.Kids, he says, will ask questions like,"'Why aren't your reindeer with us today?' And I'll say, 'well, my sleigh only flies one day a year.Some materials became harder to obtain, and thus more expensive; transportation system bottlenecks kept products from their destinations, which also raised prices.' Then they'll ask, 'Well, how do you get around?' And I'll say, 'My elves rent me a car.

'" Zoom call with Santa Arnold Zoom toggle caption Zoom Another common question Arnold gets: How do you get into my house if I don't have a chimney? So, Arnold says, he comes prepared to events with a key.S.He'll tell kids he uses this magical key to unlock their doors.And, he adds,"I also use this key to lock my cookie jars, so the elves can't get into them.Once the pandemic’s throttle on travel and hospitality spending eased, consumers’ spending surged.Because sometimes when I get back to the North Pole, I'll find that they've eaten all my cookies!" The Christmas Miracle of a Functioning Market The Santa scarcity causing higher prices might make you want to scream,"Bah! Humbug!" But although there are delays in the Santa pipeline, increasing prices seem on track to deliver a Christmas miracle.After dipping sharply in 2020 and 2021, Arnold says the number of members in the International Brotherhood of Real-Bearded Santas is now approaching its pre-pandemic level.The portion of the price increases that wasn’t t strictly dictated by companies’ higher costs "resulted in higher profits for producers, proprietors and corporations," said Gary Burtless, an economist with the Brookings Institution, a Washington.

Head Elf Allen, over at Hire Santa, also says that the Santa shortage seems less pronounced than it was last season.While Santa Arnold agrees with Allen that pent-up demand continues to overwhelm supply in his industry, he suggests that the talk of a"Santa shortage" may now be a bit overblown.C.More than a broad-based"Santa shortage," he says, what we're really seeing this season is a shortage of Santa at the most coveted time slots."Today, I probably had ten calls asking me to come on Saturday, December 17," Arnold says.Also, wages have not kept pace with rising prices for consumer goods and services, partly because salaries for the workforce’s middle tier tend not to be adjusted for sudden changes."No, I can't.

I'm busy.Eventually, the market might force corporate profit rates back down, "but that would not happen overnight," Baker said.I've been booked for weeks and weeks.But if you're willing to have Santa on like Tuesday morning, or Wednesday afternoon, it could still work.7 billion." And here, again, the market is showing its power as an allocator of scarce resources.Arnold, like other Santas, charges more during highly coveted holiday time slots, particularly weekends and days approaching Christmas Day.Expanding production would require large up-front expenditures for facilities and infrastructure.

Call it Santa surge pricing.Arnold says he usually charges 50 percent more on the days near Christmas.This means that if oil companies made big investments, they’d be on the hook to pay for them without much certainty they would eventually recoup what they’d spent."And if I'm performing Christmas Day, you're talking crazy money.Because a lot of Santas want to share Christmas with their families."So, they return that money to investors." But, if you don't have the money — or you didn't have the foresight to book Santa weeks or months in advance — all is not ho.

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planetmoney There is a shortage of everything planetmoney npr posting a , gulp, Christmas scene? Things must be imploding there, too. Like cnn etc. presskwhore planetmoney Yeah, they're working three jobs just to pay rent. Maybe pay them a living wage and guarantee some kind of year-round work. Easter Bunny, mascots for school sports, etc.

planetmoney An article worth reading, I assure you. 'What is the meaning of Christmas in our world today?' '...what is the real meaning of Christmas in the midst of environmental destruction, growing levels of poverty and escalating global tensions?' planetmoney Maybe in addition to bartending I'll let my beard grow out and do some Santa gigs...

planetmoney There's only one Santa and that's Jesus

PolitiFact - Corporate profits do not drive inflation, but inflation boosts company profitsThis year, as inflation hit 40-year highs, some lawmakers suggested that high corporate profits have been driving inflation. But economists say that’s backward: Inflation, for now, is boosting corporate profits. I don’t buy this. It’s just another way of saying that corporate officers are unwilling to bear any the the painful aspects of the economy. Material costs may be rising at the wholesale level, but as you point out, labor costs are not. Not holding the line on prices is a choice. Yeah, no. Price gouging is raising inflation. Wall Street doesn’t want to admit it. The more money you put into a system, the less each dollar is worth. This is so simple. It’s math. People who don’t understand this really are kinda slow.

The Real Pet Santa welcomes all furry friends this holiday seasonThe Real Pet Santa welcomes all types of furry friends for portraits with Santa this Christmas. I'll save everyone time. The entire article is below... an 'article' about a dog in Pennsylvania. Local news is dead.

The Real Pet Santa welcomes all furry friends this holiday seasonThe Real Pet Santa welcomes all types of furry friends for portraits with Santa this Christmas.

The Real Pet Santa welcomes all furry friends this holiday seasonThe Real Pet Santa welcomes all types of furry friends for portraits with Santa this Christmas.

With Santas in short supply in some areas, N.J. Saint Nick will bring the ‘Santa experience’ to your homeMeet the N.J. man that has portrayed Santa Claus for more than two decades — since he was 15 years old! For Santa Pete, it's about the feeling he gets to bring joy and happiness in a world in desperate need of Christmas spirit.

Over 300 Skiing Santas Hit The Slopes in Maine to Raise Money for CharityOver 300 skiers and snowboarders dressed as Santa Clause hit the slopes Sunday in Maine to raise money for a local charity. That had to have looked like a Where's Waldo picture!!! sortof That’s a lot of hoes… Pssst! They've been doing it for FUN, for years, but someone managed to monetize it and will give a measly 5-10% to charity. Imo.