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What Happened Last Week and What It Means to You: Week Ending April 5, 2024


Week Ending April 5, 2024

Initial jobless claims for the week ending March 30 increased by 9,000…Jobless claims increased to 221,000 ( consensus 214,000).

What does it mean – Jobless claims are still hinting that we are going to see a soft landing, yet long tern trends continue to go the wrong way. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending March 16 was 2,038,116, an increase of 1,035 from the previous week. In the same week a year ago, there were 1,905,338 weekly claims filed for benefits in all programs. That is about a 7% increase from a year ago.


U.S. Employers add 303,000 new employees… March was on fire. The employment report was much better than expected.

What does it mean – New jobs point to solid growth. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 303,000, the unemployment rate dipped to 3.8%. We did see another revision to the downside for February. The private sector payrolls revised down by 16,000 jobs to 207,000 from 223,000 in February.


Part-time employment has surged…More and more people seeking full-time work are ending up with part-time jobs.

What does it mean – Small business owners in CA are the first to tell you that regulations and the rising cost of a mandated minimum wage of $20 per hour is forcing the backbone of the work force to convert to more part-time employment. I guess the unions have it wrong – flipping burgers is not a career. But when you unionize the fast-food industry and add the added expense of dealing with unions along with continued wage pressure by unions all contribute to higher costs and inflation. Keep reading. More on this to come.

BLS Forecasters have faced challenges in accurately estimating job gains during the Post COVID/Biden era…Per our last email we highlighted the fact that 11 out of the last 13 job reports had been substantially revised downward.

What does it mean – I can only guess, but Bloomberg has provided a great graph to show us just how wide the margin of error has become over the last couple of years.

Cost of employment on the rise…Wages and salaries were up 0.9% and benefit costs increased 0.7%.

What does it mean – “You ain’t seen nothing yet”. Just wait for the numbers to kick in once we see the results of the mandated increase in minimum wage for fast food workers in CA. Expect CA to add to its lead in the unemployment rate and contribute nicely to reversing any trend of growth in the employment numbers as small businesses and even large ones struggle to maintain employees in the fast-food industry.


California is on fire…Not in a good way. It’s a dumpster fire. But a trend that is spreading to a large city near you. Minimum wage will go up over 25% this year. California is a petri dish for crazy politicians.

What does it mean – California’s minimum wage not only hurts CA, but employers who have operations outside of CA. If you have one fast food restaurant or franchise in CA but 59 outside of CA, you are subject to more business destroying regulations beyond what you are faced with by having just one restaurant in CA. According to AB 1228, the minimum wage law that took effect Monday 4/1/2024, guarantees $20-per-hour for workers at fast food restaurants and chains or franchises with at least 60 locations nationwide. That doesn’t include school food service workers, who, historically have some of the lowest-paid workers in public education.


You can’t make this up – AB 1228 authorizes the Fast Food Council to set fast-food restaurant standards for minimum wage, and develop proposals for other working conditions, including health and safety standards and training. Folks, it is your elected officials that are supposed to vote on laws and are required to make sure that they are followed. Not unelected bureaucrats or unions leaders. The unions have no right to legislate over job creators, employees, or the government. CA has entered into the world of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.


You should be asking who is the Fast Food Council? It is SEIU. This law gives complete authority to the SEIU union to mandate minimum wage in CA. These unelected union officials have bought themselves a seat at the table to mandate minimum wages and regulations that will destroy jobs and make it almost impossible for our young people to learn the value of having a part time job in the restaurant industry. It will destroy small businesses like your local pizza place, sandwich shop, etc.

I still remember my first job in high school working for “Tumble n’ Grocery and Deli” making sandwiches and working behind the cash register. I loved it. Put money in my pocket and gas in my tank. It was the first real sense of freedom and economic independence.

AB 1228 is already wreaking havoc amongst fast food workers and those that patron their restaurants. According to the Wall Street Journal, two large Pizza Hut franchisees laid off more than 1,200 delivery drivers. In San Jose, The Wall Street Journal reports that two small Vitality Bowls restaurants have cut their workforce in half. Restaurants like Jack in the Box are “testing fryer robots and automated drink dispensers” so they can fire more employees soon. Hours are being cut and of course, prices are going up too, across the board. Per above comment on

The New York Post reported, at one Los Angeles-area Burger King, prices for a Texas Double Whopper went from $15.09 on March 29 to $16.89 on April 1, once the law went into effect. That’s an increase of nearly $2 for the same exact — already horrifically overpriced — food in just two days. The Big Fish meal went up by $4, from $7.49 to $11.49. That’s the precise increase in hourly wage, passed directly onto customers. Several other menu items went up “anywhere from 25 cents to a dollar,” according to the New York Post.

What is even more disturbing is that the labor unions obtained a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) during the negotiations for the minimum wage bill. So, no one can talk about how exactly this bill came about. Not to mention, how did a big donor and friend of Gavin Newsom get his company Panera Bread exempt from this bill.

It’s a total head scratcher. How does the SEIU and the Unions demanded and received an NDA to be a part of negotiations of AB 1228 and leave out CA largest fast-food franchisees like Harsh Ghai, California’s largest Burger King Franchisee? CA continues to master the kind of naked corruption that one-party states/governments like Russia, China, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe are well known for. Thanks for making it clear Gavin.

This new law is flat out bribery by the unions. Proving our elected officials are more than happy to abdicate their responsibility to the voters when their “election benefits”, provided by unions, keep the funds flowing to their campaign coffers. Regardless of what side of the aisle you support, it is easy to see the conflict of interest and lack of concern for the voters, the workers, the people who patronize those restaurants and services, our communities, cities, and our state. This affects over 530,000 fast food workers in CA, and we all know that the workers will see only a portion of that increase in wages as $ millions will be funneled out of their paychecks through union dues and will be used to secure politicians that will promote more regulations and higher fees through supporting union policies so that union leadership stays funded, and their minions in office, stay in office. This has nothing to do with wages or safety or what is best for the American worker or our country. When asked about working conditions by the press, not even the Fast Food Council can cite specifics or describe what is wrong or how it is unsafe to work at a fast food restaurant, other than, “the ovens and fryers are hot and can burn you”. There are already about a gazillion laws that protect employees, mandate safety regulations, and protect against bad employers. A perfect reason these companies that can afford it are heading towards robots.


California adds insult to injury…Through the help of SEIU, Governor Newsom signed into law SB525 which mandated minimum wages for healthcare workers to go to $25 an hour starting this week.

What does it mean – Read the above one more time. This is not for nurses or clinical workers but everyone from the cleaning people, laundry, food services etc. Like the fast-food industry, unions went all out to unionize the medical industry and successfully did it in CA. This is inflationary and will drive up the cost of your “free government healthcare”. As voters we get what we deserve. As citizens read the Constitution. Understand it and do not take it for granted. The economy, your retirement, and the future of your children and our country depend on a well-informed citizenry. If you do not have one or would like a copy of the U.S. Constitution, please reach out to my office. We will send you one.


Let’s roll America!!!

Doug De Groote, CFP®, MBA, CTC
Managing Director

De Groote Financial Group, LLC is a federally registered investment adviser that maintains a principal office in the State of California. The information contained in this message is confidential, protected from disclosure and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, distribution, copying, or any action taken or action omitted in reliance on it, is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to this message and destroy the material in its entirety, whether in electronic or hard copy format.

Jeannie Ewing-Nicholson

Operations Manager

Jeannie started her career in the Financial Services industry in 1994 with Oppenheimer & Company. As part of the De Groote Financial Group, Jeannie is responsible for the operational needs of the firm including cash management and account administration. With her upbeat attitude and attention to detail, Jeannie provides an efficient streamlines experience to ensure clients meet their goals. Jeannie enjoys travel, outdoor activities, Pilates, and is a football and basketball fan. She resides in Westlake Village with her husband, daughter and son.

Mary-Ellen Lykken

Executive Assistant

Mary-Ellen, Executive Assistant at DFG, keeps the office running smoothly by providing administrative support and assisting with scheduling and organization. With a background in human resource and office management, Mary-Ellen comes from the non-profit and services industries.

Outside of the office, Mary-Ellen is committed to the advancement of independence and productivity for those with disabilities. By telling her story of the challenges and joys of raising a child with complicated disabilities, she hopes to help others navigate similar circumstances.

She is happiest when visiting her two grown sons. Otherwise, you can find her competing on the pickleball courts.

Sara Mariniello

Operations Manager

Sara is new to the financial industry only starting in 2022 when she was hired at De Groote Financial. As Operations Manager, Sara is responsible for all the paperwork surrounding opening accounts and investment paperwork and is also responsible for much of the client communication. Sara has her bachelor’s in science and nursing from Concordia University, Texas and worked as nurse for over a year prior to moving back to California. She loves all things sports and church related and is likely spending every free moment with her Husband visiting family in Texas and New Jersey.

Fadi Ahmed

Chief Operations Officer and Chief Compliance Officer

Fadi works with clients to ensure an exceptional experience. He coordinates and assures the planning process and wealth management tools are at your fingertips to provide the clarity you deserve and the transparency and access to all your accounts. Fadi ensures the data and information is reflective in our planning software. All changes and updates flow through his desk and he coordinates those changes with the rest of our team.

Andrew Krout

Wealth Advisor, Co-Chief Investment Officer

Andrew Krout is a Wealth Advisor at De Groote Financial Group, LLC. He also serves as a Co-Chief Investment Officer for the firm, focused on wealth management.

Previously, Andrew served as CIO with Kelly Financial in Boston Massachusetts since 2013. He is a licensed investment advisor representative and insurance producer. He graduated from Saint Francis University with a bachelor’s degree in both finance and accounting. He is a candidate for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. Andrew holds life insurance licenses in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Andrew is passionate about serving his clients and investment management and how to apply news and current events to investment decisions. He played Division 1 golf in college, and still enjoys playing and watching the sport in his free time.

David Darst

Co-Chief Information Officer

David Martin Darst, CFA is an Investment Advisor to DeGroote Financial Group, specializing in asset allocation and product selection. Previously, David served for 17 years as a Managing Director and Chief Investment Strategist at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, with the responsibility for Asset Allocation and Investment Strategy. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1996 from Goldman Sachs, where he held Senior Management Posts within the Equities Division and earlier, for six years as Resident Manager of their Private Bank in Zurich.

David is the author of 13 books, including bestsellers The Art of Asset Allocation, 2nd Edition (McGraw-Hill), and The Little Book that Still Saves Your Assets (John Wiley & Sons). He also appears as a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, FOX, PBS, and others, and has contributed articles across a variety of publications.

David graduated with a BA in Economics from Yale University, and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. He has lectured extensively at Wharton, Columbia, INSEAD, and New York University Business Schools, and for nine years, David served as a visiting member at Yale College, Yale School of Management, and Harvard Business School. He is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts and the CFA Institute. 

Doug De Groote

Managing Director

Doug is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) with an MBA in Financial Planning, and is an active member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). Before establishing De Groote Financial Group, Doug founded the United Wealth Management division of United Capital. Prior to that, Doug was a partner at Crowell, Weedon and Co. He regularly contributes to a variety of financial and general media.

Doug’s passion, and what he believes, is that everyone deserves the opportunity; they deserve to have the freedom and responsibility to be pro-active in achieving independence and financial success.

Doug’s life is focused around his family, wife and three children, and making sure they get the foundation that is necessary for them to have the awareness of the opportunities that abound in our great country.

Doug helps increase his client’s awareness and success, to identify and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves and help protect them from some of the pitfalls or obstacles that are thrown in our paths. With regards to their financial circumstances, Doug helps his clients identify their goals, plan for various outcomes and manage their assets to help them make their vision a reality.