Market Researchers – Are You Interested in a Job As a Survey Researcher?

Market research analysts are responsible for determining what products people like to buy and at what price point they will purchase them. They will also gather data on the most effective means of marketing a particular product, and they will analyze past sales in order to predict the future.

Market research analysts will frequently use the Internet, the telephone, and mail, as well as personal interviews, in order to obtain information about consumers. After putting this information together, a survey researcher will then present this information in the form of charts and graphs to a company, so that they can then utilize this information in order to increase their sales.

Survey researchers will typically spend all day conducting surveys that will help corporations make positive fiscal decisions, and their methods of test taking will mirror those of the market research analyst.

The working conditions for these professionals typically involve strict deadlines and overtime may be needed. Survey researchers may also have to travel in order to conduct interviews in focus groups and face to face. A bachelors degree is usually sufficient in order to gain entry into a position in this field, although positions are fairly competitive.

It is also helpful for those hoping to enter the field to obtain internship experience working for companies and learning how to collect data, and most survey researchers are good at working with other people in order to conduct surveys and to identify the needs of potential customers.

In 2006, these professionals had over 250,000 jobs in America, with research analysts holding the overwhelming majority of these positions. Company management are the most frequent employers of these individuals, and professional firms are the entities which will usually hire survey researchers. The job outlook for these persons is expected to grow at a rapid pace over the next 10 years, as companies become increasingly competitive in order to increase market share.

In 2006, the middle 50th percentile of market research analysts made between $42,190 and $84,070, with survey researchers earning between $22,150 and $50,960.

Sprott Analyst Has Zero Doubt on Higher Natural Gas Prices

Introduction: We talked with Sprott Asset Management Research Analyst Eric Nuttall about the natural gas situation in Canada and the fate of many CBM gas producers and developers. Since our last conversation spot natural gas prices have dropped by 15 percent. Natural gas storage levels are about 2.5 trillion cubic feet, some 423 billion cubic feet higher than a year ago.

Eric Nuttall told us, “Nearly all small-cap natural gas producers have taken it in the teeth this year. The price decreases in their stocks have been absolutely brutal. There are now companies whose stocks are down 40 percent year-to-date, and yet are still strongly growing production on an adjusted share basis.” How will the CBM and natural gas sector pan out through the end of this year? He believes the gas storage surplus will correct itself.

StockInterview: How are the lower natural gas prices impacting Coalbed Methane producers?

Eric Nuttall: For many CBM or shallow gas producers, this means their current drilling program is likely uneconomic, suggesting deferrals in drilling programs until natural gas prices strengthen. It is this very supply response that we need to balance storage levels, so it should not come as a complete surprise.

StockInterview: What, then, should investors do while storage levels are rebalancing?

Eric Nuttall: I would view this period as an opportunity for medium to long-term minded individuals to start building positions in not just unconventional gas producers, but conventional ones as well. The long-term fundamentals are still extremely bullish for natural gas. Many quality names are down 20 to 40 percent year-to-date.

StockInterview: How do you view the long-term fundamentals for gas?

Eric Nuttall: North American natural gas production has been in decline for several years. Most incremental production is coming from smaller, more expensive-to-drill, thinner economic, higher decline pools and reservoirs. Over the past five years first-year decline rates on natural gas wells have doubled to 50 percent. The base decline rate has also doubled to approximately 25 to 30 percent. Pool size has also decreased materially over that time frame. The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and much of the US producing basins are mature. Consequently, higher and higher natural gas prices are required to create incentive for producers to drill increasingly marginal wells.

StockInterview: And you expect a continuation of declining natural gas production? And that is that your premise for higher natural gas pricing?

Eric Nuttall: Conventional gas production has been in decline for many years, and the growth areas have largely been unconventional, such as the Piceance Basin (tight gas), the Barnett Shale (shale gas), and the Jonah Field (tight, deep gas). Also, many of the growth assets, such as the Barnett Shale, are already a few years into development, and because the wells have such a steep decline rate in the first few years, it is only adding to the depleting base that we have to make up. It is unlikely that over the next three years, the increase in unconventional gas can offset the decline in conventional, because the depleting base is so much larger. The major natural gas basins in North America are mature. Decline rates are increasing. Pool size is decreasing. Rig count is increasing yet production is at best flat. Until LNG imports increase in a material way, which is not expected for at least four or five more years, I think the case for healthy natural gas prices is intact.

StockInterview: Earlier, you noted drilling was more expensive.

Eric Nuttall: Over the past year, onshore drillings costs are up over 15 percent while operating costs are up over 10 percent. A recent Wall Street Journal article commented on how rig rates for the Gulf of Mexico, on very deep drilling platforms, are as high as $520,000 per day, up from $185,000 a few years ago. And the drilling platforms are still leaving the Gulf of Mexico! Although many are leaving the Gulf of Mexico to go to more prospective areas such as the West African Coast, the current rig situation is still somewhat tight in the Gulf. We have only begun to see signs of moderating rig rate pricing.

StockInterview: How would bad weather, such as a hurricane, impact natural gas prices?

Eric Nuttall: Short term, you would see both natural gas and related stocks surge. If a hurricane strikes the producing area of the Gulf, and we almost need one to – to correct the surplus supply situation. Initially, you’ll have an emotional upward response. Only after assessing the status of production platforms and sub-sea infrastructure would we know the longer-term impact.

StockInterview: Should investors be watching the Weather Channel and ready to phone their stockbrokers?

Eric Nuttall: Timing on any natural gas investment right now is tricky. You need to have a medium- to longer-term focus. We probably have another two months of volatility. There are two camps right now on natural gas. One camp is saying that due to bloated storage levels companies are going to increasingly lay down their drilling rigs, cut production guidance, and stress their balance sheets. Then in the fall, when companies set their 2007 budgets, they will be using low gas prices and presenting moderating production growth profiles to their investors.

StockInterview: What does the other camp say?

Eric Nuttall: Another camp says that the current natural gas strip already discounts the present and forecasted storage levels. Also, stocks are cheap on a price-to-cash flow and price-to-net asset value ratios, and now is the time to load up on the stocks. I lean towards this viewpoint. But I am also admitting that until the fall, barring a severe hurricane, it is likely that the stocks are going to trade sideways, as opposed to in any clear direction.

StockInterview: One equities strategist, whom we interviewed, suggested some time in August we might start to see the natural gas stocks moving higher.

Eric Nuttall: There is the potential that we might endure another month or two of flat trading in small cap natural gas stocks. By the end of August, it is likely that we will have had both a supply and demand response – worries of massive laying down of rigs, forced well shut-in’s, and overleveraged balance sheets should have subsided. Investors will begin to focus on the natural gas strip rather than spot prices, which currently are around $9.00 for the upcoming winter and $8.00 for next summer.

StockInterview: And until then?

Eric Nuttall: Until that time comes, I think it likely, as a group, the large caps will outperform. They are more weighted towards oil, and have recently been catching a bid on the heel of a huge $22 billion all-cash takeover by Anadarko of Western Gas and Kerr-McGee. Importantly for unconventional gas investors, Anadarko paid around $2.00 for 3P (Possible) Mcf, which is very healthy (Western Gas was predominantly tight gas in Wyoming and coalbed methane in the Powder River Basin). It speaks to Anadarko’s view of strong long-term natural gas fundamentals. These all-cash transactions likely set the bottom in the large caps.

StockInterview: What do you see for the near-term?

Eric Nuttall: Many people have been hoping that warm weather or hurricanes would assist in working off the excess supply, but Mother Nature hasn’t been terribly helpful so far this summer. It appears that we will exit the natural gas injection season at least 10% over last year. Barring any incredible heat waves or significant hurricanes, natural gas prices are likely to remain sub-$6.50 until the fall. Unless we have a serious hot spell or a significant hurricane, it is likely that natural gas stocks will be very volatile without clear direction over the summer into the fall. I would think not until the fall, probably September – October, when people begin to focus not on natural gas spot prices, but on the strip pricing for the winter, which is still over C$10. Until that time comes, I wouldn’t see any clear direction in the stocks. The market is now providing opportunities to buy companies with high quality management for below-average multiples, commonly measured on a price-to-cash flow metric.

StockInterview: Have you given up on the CBM sector or is it coming back?

Eric Nuttall: There is zero doubt in my mind that natural gas is an excellent long-term investment. We’ve peaked in our ability to increase production meaningfully, just as we have with light oil. I think for there to be an increase in long-term natural gas supply, you have to provide incentive to producers to go drill wells that increasingly have lower economic rates of return. And to do that, you need higher natural gas prices. One of the few remaining growth prospects in Canada for natural gas production is coalbed methane. At current gas prices, the economics are very challenging. So to get a supply response from coalbed methane producers, you again need higher gas prices. The current surplus in gas storage will correct itself, and investors should position themselves ahead of natural gas stocks reacting to this inevitability.

COPYRIGHT © 2007 by StockInterview, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Is the General Aviation Industry Finally on an Upswing?

Over the past three decades, there’s been a steady decline in the number of U.S. pilots. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), there were 827,000 active, certificated pilots in 1980. By 2011, that number had dropped to just 617,000. During that same 30-year period, production of single-engine planes dropped from 14,000 per year to fewer than 700.

But for the past three years, AOPA has made understanding this declining trend and reversing it a top priority. AOPA actions include developing a network of flying clubs, and speaking out in Washington to help keep the rising cost and complexity of aviation under control.

Thankfully, 2013 numbers are indicating a positive upswing, based on data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s (GAMA) 2013 General Aviation Statistical Databook & 2014 Industry Outlook.

Here’s a look at what’s been causing the pilot and production decline, and good news from GAMA’s 2013/2014 aviation industry report.

What’s been causing the decline?

According to a Washington Post article posted February 9 titled, “Small aviation businesses say pilot shortage could drive industry into the ground,” there are a variety of factors that have contributed to the decline in pilots and production over the past decades, including rising fuel prices and heightened flying restrictions following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

One reason is that the recent economic downturn has left fewer people with discretionary income. Others place much of the blame on federal regulators, whom they accuse of making it too difficult for pilots to obtain and renew their licenses, which in turn hurts small aviation businesses and the aviation industry as a whole.

Many commercial pilots come from the GA pilot pool, and the global airline industry will need almost a half million new commercial airline pilots over the next 20 years, according to the Boeing Pilot and Technical Market Outlook for 2013-2032.

Good news from GAMA’s 2013/2014 industry report

Here are some positive numbers from GAMA’s annual statistical databook.

Airplane shipments and billings – In 2013, airplane shipments increased by 4.3 percent to 2,256 airplane deliveries, and billings increased 24 percent to $23.4 billion across all airplane types. This is the second-highest industry billing number ever recorded-the industry’s peak billings occurred in 2008 at $24.8 billion.

Business jets – After slowing the past four years, the business jet market stabilized in 2013. There were 678 business jets delivered in 2013, up from 672 in 2012. Several new models and increasing demand helped stabilize the market and increase deliveries.

North American market share rose to 52.4 percent from 49.7 percent in 2012. Europe’s market share declined, however, from 20.8 percent in 2012 to 15.6 percent in 2013. Customer deliveries included 11.9 percent to customers in the Asia-Pacific region, 11.1 percent to Latin America, and 9.0 percent to the Middle East and Africa.

Turboprops – Turbo-propeller plane shipments also grew in 2013, increasing to 645 shipments from 584 shipments in 2012, a 10.4 percent increase. Shipments of agricultural turboprops, which GAMA began tracking in 2011, remained strong. Traditional single- and twin-engine turboprop shipments provided year-over-year increases in unit deliveries. North American customers took 57.1 percent of turboprop airplane deliveries in 2013, up from 48.6 percent in 2012. The Asia Pacific region took the second-largest market share at 14 percent, followed by Latin American at 13.2 percent. European customers took delivery of 10.5 percent, and the Middle East and Africa accounted for 5.3 percent.

Turbine helicopters – The turbine helicopter segment provided positive delivery performance in 2013 based on analysis of equivalent companies from 2012. GAMA identified 782 turbine helicopter shipments in 2013, which is an increase of 9.2 percent compared to the prior year for the same reporting companies. In this year’s databook, GAMA has expanded the available historical data about helicopter shipments with select information from 1999 through 2013.

Piston airplane and helicopter deliveries – Feedback from airplane and helicopter manufacturers indicates that global demand from flight schools is contributing to year-over-year growth. Piston airplane deliveries totaled 933 shipments in 2013, up from 908 shipments in 2012, a 2.8 percent increase. North America ordered 52.8 percent of piston engine airplanes, Europe 17.2 percent, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 15.1 percent, Latin America at 10 percent, and the Middle East and Africa at 5 percent of shipments. In 2013, the general aviation industry delivered 335 piston-powered helicopters, which was a slight increase from the 328 units delivered in 2012.

Turbine operators – According to JETNET, LLC, the fractional fleet of turbine operators fell to 869 aircraft in 2013, decreasing each year since 2008, the year it peaked at 1,094 aircraft. There were 4,365 fractional owners in 2013, which is also down compared to five years ago, when there were 5,179 owners. The worldwide turbine airplane fleet included 33,861 airplanes in 2013 and an additional 19,509 turbine helicopters.

Pilot population falling – The active U.S. pilot population continues to fall. The private pilot population has declined since the early 1980s, when it peaked at 357,479 pilots, and in recent years has lost between 5,000 and 10,000 active pilots each year. There were only 180,214 private pilots at the end of 2013, and a total of 599,086 total active pilots in the U.S. in 2013. One bright spot: 40,621, or 6.78 percent, were female-the highest ratio of female aviators on record.

Signs safety is improving – A welcome decrease: The FAA’s preliminary data about general aviation safety shows there were approximately 216 fatal accidents during the year, a double-digit decline in the number of fatal general aviation accidents during 2013. While data is preliminary, the FAA’s goal of reducing the GA fatal accident rate to one fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown may be possible to achieve by 2018.

GAMA also includes GA safety data developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for 2006 through 2012. EASA statistics from 2012 also show a decline in the total number of accidents and the number of fatal accidents.

References:

http://www.aopa.org/Community-and-Events/Center-to-Advance-the-Pilot-Community

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/small-aviation-businesses-say-pilot-shortage-could-drive-industry-into-the-ground/2014/02/08/2422cadc-8f5c-11e3-b46a-5a3d0d2130da_story.html