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|"Furthermore, as an Andersen Consulting [now Accenture] spokes-person revealed in a 1991 article in ComputerWorld, the average age of an Andersen Consulting consultant is 25 years old. A bit of quick calculation suggests that there are either an awful lot of 16 year olds working for Andersen Consulting to balance out hordes of more experienced people in their 30s & 40s, or else most of the clients who pay $125 per hour for Andersen consultants are paying for the services of folks a year or 2 out of college." --- Janet Ruhl 1994 _The Computer Consultant's Guide_ pp 18-19|
2005-06-01 04:23PDT (07:23EDT) (11:23GMT)
A degree is no longer a passport to a well-paid career
"Graduates can expect to earn 150K pounds sterling more over their life-times than people with just A-levels, a report says. Economists at Swansea University said some subjects - such as the arts - could even mean losses, when fees and living costs are taken into account... During the passage of the Higher Education Bill - which raises maximum tuition fees in England to 3K pounds sterling a year from 2006 - the government said graduates could expect to earn 400K pounds sterling more over their life-times than non-graduates. However, the Swansea study, led by Professor Peter Sloane and Dr. Nigel O'Leary, found male graduates would earn 141,539 pounds sterling more than those who leave education with 2 or more A-levels. For women the figure was 157,982 pounds sterling. Maths or computing degrees made the biggest difference to earnings, adding 222,419 pounds sterling for men and 227,939 pounds sterling for women... Dr. O'Leary added: 'A lot of people who, 15 years ago, would have left after A-levels and got jobs are now staying on at university. They leave with bigger debts and go on to do largely the same jobs, which are now called ''graduate'' jobs.' [Yet another demonstration of hyper-credentialism.]... Dr. O'Leary said [encouraging more people to enter college] was reducing the scarcity value of graduates, further hitting their earning power."
Dice Report: 69,957 job ads
2005-06-01 07:53PDT (10:53EDT) (14:53GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM factory activity index fell from 53.3% in April to 51.4% in May
Rich Smith _Motley Fool_
Andersen/Accenture innocent? Think again.
"as a matter of common sense, the Supremes sometimes get it wrong. Yesterday marked one such occasion: The highest court in the land threw out the 'guilty' verdict handed down to accounting firm Arthur Andersen [now Accenture] in 2002 June... The Supreme Court did not declare Andersen [Accenture] 'innocent' yesterday. It only pointed out that the trial court's instructions to the jury were too lax, thereby allowing the possibility that jurors convicted Andersen without the government [thoroughly] proving the accounting firm's guilt. In essence, the high court said: 'The judge goofed, and you need to try Andersen again.'... shredding of 2 tons of documents on the eve of a sub poena... Andersen may no longer be officially 'guilty' [as far as the Supremes are concerned], but its actions were far from innocent. As the Court pointed out, Andersen had hired lawyers as early as 2001 October 08, to defend it against expected litigation arising from the Enron scandal. On 2001 October 09, Andersen's in-house lawyers termed an investigation of their firm by the Securities and Exchange Commission 'highly probable'. The very next day [2001-10-10], Andersen partner Michael Odom instructed Andersen employees to 'comply with the firm's document retention policy' (wink, wink), adding that '[I]f it's destroyed in the course of [the] normal policy and litigation is filed the next day, that's great... [W]e've followed our own policy, and whatever there was that might have been of interest to somebody is gone and irretrievable.' Yet Andersen's own policy mandated that 'in cases of threatened litigation... no related information will be destroyed'. With Andersen's lawyers warning that investigation and litigation were imminent, anyone with any common sense at all would have known that the decision to fire up the shredders was wrong... Fool contributor Rich Smith is a former prosecutor and a current member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court."
Consumer Confidence Up
"Consumers who believe jobs are 'plentiful' increased to 22.6% from 20.4% last month, and those who view jobs as 'hard to get' increased to 24.2% from 22.9%."
David G. Savage _Los Angeles Times_
Supremes say jurors weren't properly instructed to determine both actions and intent in case against Andersen/Accenture
"The Enron Corp. memos, notes and drafts were destroyed in 2001 October as the firm was collapsing, but before the government launched an official investigation of Enron or Andersen, its auditor. A jury in Houston debated 10 days before finding Andersen guilty. But the Supreme Court said prosecutors had not been forced to prove that Andersen's staff knew it was breaking the law by destroying old files -- that there had been criminal intent... The Justice Department said it was disappointed with the decision and would study it before deciding whether to retry the case. 'We remain convinced that even the most powerful corporations have the responsibility of adhering to the rule of law.', said acting Assistant Attorney General John C. Richter."
Loren Steffy _Houston Chronicle_
Remember reasons behind Andersen/Accenture's original conviction
"It might be useful to consider reminding ourselves of Arthur Andersen's handling of its documentation and retention policy... The Supremes tossed the Andersen verdict on what amounts to a legal technicality. Jury instructions were too vague, the court said its unanimous decision Tuesday... The instructions went so far as to say that if Andersen believed it was acting lawfully, the firm could still be found guilty... Andersen [Accenture], or at least its collective leadership, knew what it was doing... For the legions of honest Andersen employees, the decision means nothing. Their firm can't be restored; their jobs can't be retrieved; the management decisions that caused it all can't be rescinded. Nor does it mean much for the victims of Enron... It doesn't erase the earlier fines or the crescendo of accounting frauds it endorsed, from Sunbeam to Waste Management to, ultimately, Enron and WorldCom... It might be useful, in sorting out the court's decision, to remind ourselves of what jury foreman Oscar Criner said after convicting Andersen. The jury instructions, he said, didn't matter. It was Temple's memo that convinced jurors that Andersen's leaders knew they were destroying evidence. It would be useful, too, to recall that Criner said the government used Andersen's abysmal track record of blown audits to show that its recidivist history motivated Temple in urging her colleagues to shred with gusto. More specifically, her mention of Enron in the memo sealed the firm's fate, Criner told the Chronicle at the time."
Some, meanwhile, in the wake of the Supremes' announcement, are considering the implications of the label "high court".
Valerie Kalfrin _Tampa Tribune_
Local cops share massive data-bases
"Called the Tampa Bay Security Network, the system enables police in Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and sheriff's offices in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to share information unlike ever before, officials said Tuesday. It contains information from dispatch and arrest records, traffic citations, the state's sex offender database - in short, anyone's contact with law enforcement in these jurisdictions, said Lorelei Bowden, a Hillsborough sheriff's employee and the project's manager... Bowden demonstrated the system Tuesday at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's [FDLE's] Tampa office. The system is based on Coplink, a database technology launched in 1998 by Knowledge Computing Corp., of Tucson, AZ, and [ab]used by more than 100 jurisdictions nationwide... The network is funded with $2.3M in federal and state domestic security grants, Gee said. Its third phase, in July 2006, will link all law enforcement agencies in the state. Unlike the Matrix network, a national crime and terrorism database whose funding ran out in April, the security network does not include consumer electronic transactions such as gas bills and airline ticket purchases... Even so, the data-base should be regulated closely, said David Sobel, general counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington."
Tech spending expectations fell slightly in May (graph, plus PDF)
"The spending outlook for May fell to the lowest level since 2003 November, with CIO Magazine Tech Poll™ respondents predicting growth of 4.8% for the next 12 months versus April's predicted growth rate of 7.9%. Predictions in all of the poll's spending categories, except out-sourced IT Services, declined month over month. However, the information technology (IT) labor market is showing continued improvement, with 14.8 % of respondents reporting IT labor as hard to find. This figure represents the highest number reporting IT labor as hard to find since 2001 October [well into the on-going depression]."
|Plentiful||Available||Hard to find|
Andy McCue _Silicon_
1 in 5 out-sourcing deals are canceled
"the study of 182 IT out-sourcing buyers in the US... Almost 3-quarters (74%) said they are happy with their IT out-sourcing efforts to date and out of the 21% who terminated a deal in the last 12 months, half of those simply switched to another vendor. Only a quarter of those who terminated then brought the work back in-house. The study was last done in 2002 by consultancy DiamondCluster International when buyers expected cost savings in the region of up to 50%. The new figures found those expectations have declined to 10% to 20%, along with the rates they are paying to out-sourcing service providers."
2005-06-01 14:16PDT (17:16EDT) (21:16GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
H-1B meet E-3
"the U.S. E-3 visa was signed into law by President Bush two weeks ago and will allow up to 10,500 Australians to live and work in the U.S... The controversial H-1B program, which is frequently used to bring over computer workers, has an annual cap of 65K visas -- though Congress recently expanded the cap by 20K [people who have advanced degrees earned at US universities]... UC Davis Professor Norm Matloff, a long-time critic of H-1B visas, blasted the E-3 addition Wednesday: 'None of the H-1B increases, starting in 1998, has ever been warranted, but of course increases are especially unwarranted in today's job market. And it gets worse: The new visa category is especially liberal, in that (a) it can be renewed indefinitely, and (b) it also allows spouses to work, so that the number of workers could be even more than 10K.'"
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Another stealth H-1B visa increase
2005-06-02 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 303,031 in the week ending May 28, an increase of 25,534 from the previous week. There were 304,067 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending May 21, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,370,458, a decrease of 27,707 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.1% and the volume was 2,702,892."
2005-06-02 05:41PDT (08:41EDT) (12:41GMT)
S. Srinivasan _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Lobbyist NASSCOM declares India controls 44% of off-shoring with revenues of $17.2G (14.07G euros)
2005-06-02 09:10PDT (12:10EDT) (16:10GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
2005 Q1 US productivity up 2.9%
"unit labor [compensation was] revised up to a 4.3% year-on-year increase, the fastest gain since the third quarter of 2000, when [compensation was at its] last cyclical peak of 4.9%... Real hourly compensation (adjusted for inflation) increased a revised 3.9% in the first quarter, compared with the previous estimate of a 2.4% gain... In the non-financial corporate sector, productivity increased 2.7% in the first quarter after rising 9.0% in the 4th quarter."
2005-06-02 09:38PDT (12:38EDT) (16:38GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Corporate lay-off plans up 42%
"U.S. corporations announced 82,283 job cuts in May, a 42% increase from a 5-year low in April, out-placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas said Thursday. Many of the planned lay-offs were in manufacturing, especially computers, where job cuts surged to 17,886 in May... So far in 2005, lay-off announcements are running 4.6% ahead of last year's pace. In all of 2004, 1.07M job reductions were announced... According to the most recent Labor Department data, there were 4.4M separations from jobs in March, including 1.4M lay-offs, down about 32K from a year earlier. At the same time, 4.9M workers were hired, up 42K from 2004 March."
2005-06-02 11:41PDT (14:41EDT) (18:41GMT)
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
labor market in focus
"The Labor Department revised first-quarter productivity data to show a 2.9% annual growth rate, up from a 2.6% estimate a month ago. Unit labor costs, a key measure of inflationary pressures from compensation, rose a revised 3.3% annualized in the first quarter, up from an initial estimate of 2.2%. [Seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance] claims rose by 25K to 350K in the latest week, mainly due to temporary lay-offs in the auto sector... The impression of a deteriorating labor market was reinforced by news from research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas that in May lay-offs surged 42%, after hitting a 5-year low in April. Much of the increase consisted of computer industry jobs cuts. The Commerce Department reported that U.S. orders rose by 0.9% in April... the largest increase in 5 months..."
Martin Wolk _NBC_
Teens seeking work continue to face tough competition from older workers, legal and illegal immigrants
"If the store has not been run out of business entirely by a nearby super-center, it probably is owned by a national chain that may only accept applications at central head-quarters. And the company may not want to bother with inexperienced teenagers looking for short-term employment... In the aftermath of the dot-com bust, millions of older workers have come out of retirement or simply stayed in the work force. In many states immigrants are a huge factor in seeking entry-level jobs that might have gone to teens in the past. And slow job growth since the recession ended in 2001 has forced many college graduates to take temporary jobs at retail stores, restaurants and call centers... 'Teens are having a much harder time getting work.', said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. 'Not just in summer but year-round... That is partly a new phenomenon. There is something structural going on in the labor market that has made it a lot harder for kids to find work.'... Only about 41% of young people aged 16-19 worked last summer, down from 52% at the height of the economic expansion [at the economic collapse] in 2000, Sum said."
India asks WTO to protect off-shoring
"We are very concerned because all these noises just keep coming, India's Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said. Nath also said New Delhi would like to put the issue of a ban on out-sourcing jobs once and for all behind us, the Press Trust of India reported Thursday."
2005-06-02 13:51PDT (16:51EDT) (20:51GMT)
_PR News Wire_/_Yahoo!_
Duke University/CFO Magazine global business outlook survey: Capital spending and employment growth to slow due to interest rates, increasing fuel & health care costs and "lack of pricing power"
"This quarter, 40% of U.S. CFOs are more optimistic about the economy than they were last quarter, while 26% are less optimistic. This continues the downward trend in optimism over the past year. 46% of CFOs were more optimistic last quarter, 54% were more optimistic two quarters ago and more than 70% were more optimistic a year ago... Domestic employment is expected to increase by 1.4% this year, down from plans expressed last quarter to increase employment by 1.7%. 43% of companies say they will increase employment by a small amount in the third quarter of 2005, 16% by a moderate amount and only 2% by a large amount. Employment growth will slow moderately in the 4th quarter of 2005. While domestic employment growth is slowing, out-sourcing plans are again increasing. The number of out-sourced employees is expected to rise by 6.5% during the next 12 months, up from expected growth of 2.7% in last quarter's survey."
Marcia Heroux Pounds _Sun-Sentinel_
Rising housing costs put pressure on pay
"Kaplan University President Andrew Rosen... told the audience [at the South Florida Economic Summit last week that] a job candidate turned down Kaplan's offer of a $150K job after looking at South Florida's pricey housing market. The candidate said he would need at least $200K, and Kaplan declined... The annual raise for the average American worker is only 3.5%, and that hasn't improved significantly in recent years, says Ralph M. Parilla junior, a Plantation management consultant who specializes in compensation issues. Meanwhile, employees are paying more than ever before for housing, food, gas and health insurance. But if they find new jobs, employees are finding they can obtain salary increases of 10% or more... employers that want to retain their best workers or attract new ones need to keep up with compensation trends."
Linda Tucci _Search CIO_
Off-Shoring Not Yet Fait Accompli
"A new report from the Cambridge, MA-based [Forrester Research] shows that 56% of U.S. companies do not use off-shore providers and don't plan to in the next 12 months... most of that growth is being driven by a relatively small group... the 28% of U.S. companies that do use off-shore providers are a conflicted bunch... 7% would seek to prevent their domestic providers from using off-shore labor... So how are the 28% using off-shore labor? Right now, mostly on isolated application development projects, the survey found. But respondents said the purview of work is expanding to more 'mission-critical' applications development and maintenance. Nearly 25% of the companies are using off-shore labor for help desk support and another 19% are considering it. Only 7% use off-shore labor for infrastructure management and monitoring, but respondents cites these 2 areas as ripe for export in the future... One-third report they realized the savings they expected... nearly one-fifth said their savings are less than anticipated."
New employment data was released today
Liza Porteus _Fox News_
"Buy American" provisions return for more congressional debate
"Peter Steffes, [lobbyist] at the National Defense Industrial Association... Rich Carter, spokesman for representative Don Manzullo, R-IL, told FOXNews.com that requiring the government to buy American-made products is good for both the economy and national security... 'we've lost over 3M jobs and a lot of our critical defense industries are vanishing; they're going over-seas.', Carter said. 'We're going to be fighting a war, we're going to have to be relying on foreign companies to supply us. I don't think you ever want to be in that position.' Manzullo has sponsored legislation reaffirming the 'Buy American Act', a law passed during the Great Depression aimed at restoring America's industrial base. The decades-old act says a company must have 'substantially all' of a product grown, made or mined in the United States. Federal agencies have generally interpreted 'substantially all' to mean 50% or more of U.S. content or labor... the Defense Department currently has agreements with 21 countries that waive the 50% threshold... Last week, Manzullo's amendment preventing such waivers without a vote by Congress was passed by the House and attached to the Defense Department reauthorization act. The amendment also has been attached to the House-passed Department of Homeland Security authorization act, which gives that agency $34.2G for fiscal year 2006. 'For years, the Pentagon has flouted the original intent of the Buy American Act by using memoranda of understanding to bypass U.S. manufacturers and spread our tax-payer dollars around the world.', Manzullo said in a statement. 'This legislation closes the loop-holes and ensures more than 50% of the Pentagon's purchases must come from within the United States, which will help restore the struggling U.S. industrial base and create jobs for Americans.'... 'The problem is that a lot of things we have these days are manufactured over-seas or there's parts that are manufactured over-seas.'...The American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition supports 'Buy American' provisions. Jim Schollaert, director of industry relations for AMTAC, pointed to several instances in history that could be harbingers of things to come. For example, Swatch Group, AG and its Micro Crystal division in Switzerland refused to send key components used in bomb guidance equipment on the Pentagon's flagship Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) during the Iraq war. 'U.S. wealth is being drained out of the country. Frankly, I think that's an even greater threat to our long-term security than Al Qaeda.', Schollaert said. Defense groups and others, including the [lobbyist group] Information Technology Association of America [ITAA], which represents 380 corporate technology companies, argue that legislation like Manzullo's is simply bad security and economic policy. 'With this purchasing prohibition, I guess DHS will have to learn to do without computers and cell phones.', said ITAA President Harris Miller. 'I cannot think of a single U.S. manufacturer that could meet this 50% threshold for these devices...' [thus inadvertantly supporting the argument for the need for more such manufacturing to be done in the USA]... 'It might make short-term economic sense [to send jobs off-shore]... but it spells disaster for our national security over the long haul unless all countries around the world that we purchase from forever remain our true and dear friends.', [Schollaert said]."
There are currently 13 proposals that refer to the Buy American Act (search).
2005-06-03 07:32PDT (10:32EDT) (14:32GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
ISM services index slows from April to May
"The ISM non-manufacturing sentiment index fell to 58.5% from 61.7% in April. It's the lowest level since May 2003... The new orders index rose to 59.7% from 58.8%. Employment edged higher to 53.4% from 53.3%. Prices paid fell to 57.9% from 61.9%."
Intelligence, genetic disease linked
"A University of Utah study of Ashkenazi Jews suggests an unusual link between their genetic diseases and their higher intellectual ability... The study, to appear in Cambridge University's Journal of Biosocial Science, says this unusual pattern of diseases among the Ashkenazis of central and northern Europe is the result of natural selection for enhanced intellectual ability... Ashkenazic diseases like Tay-Sachs are a side effect of genes that promote intelligence... In the United States, Ashkenazi Jews make up 3% of the American population but have won 27% of its Nobel prizes. They also account for more than half of world chess champions."
Ed Sperling & Brian Halla _Electronic News_
Executives whine about honest accounting cross-checks
"if our politicians have their way, the great American dream will move to Shanghai... In Shanghai there are 3K sky-scrapers, the world's fastest train, the world's tallest hotel, the world's longest suspension bridge... Foxconn -- which is all Taiwanese, except they've moved most of their employees over to Beijing and Shenzhen -- is a city within a city. They had 35K employees there when I visited. Now there are double that number. Rolls of sheet metal come in one end, and out the other side come every PC you've ever seen, Playstations, cell phones... National [Semiconductor], we spent 68K additional man-hours just this year implementing Sarbanes Oxley. Craig Barrett said it's been 250K additional man-hours for Intel at a cost of $30M... If you look at the history of technology in this country, it's always been about information... In the past year, the semiconductor industry shipped $213G worth of stuff, but Craig Barrett still hasn't declared the recovery. There still hasn't been a killer app, but $213G was $9G more than we were at during the top of the dot-com boom. There's tremendous momentum out there today, but it's not going into PCs. It's going into PDAs, fully featured cell phones, PVRs, HDTV, video games and all kinds of stuff that you carry around. Some day all those things will be connected. Now we have wireless standards for every spectrum of bandwidth and power requirement, all the way from Zigbee and RFID, Bluetooth, 802.11 and now ultra wideband... Metcalf's Law... The value of the power of the network moves up as the exponent of the number of nodes... What about medical? What about surveillance? Sensors you sprinkle out of airplanes that have on-board MEMS gyros that right themselves and talk to each other and together watch a railroad track. They become a powerful supercomputer that create a 3-D image of this thing that's approached the tracks, send it to an operator to identify the face against a list of known terrorists. All of this technology exists today, or it's right around the corner. But we'll have to buy it all from [Red China] because we can't get H-1B visas to hire the best and the brightest... We opened a plant in Suchou, [Red China], and we had the Sino-Singapore Development Group. They helped us put up this plant... Right now, most of our companies do big 'D' little 'R'. The universities do the big 'R' and no 'D'. That's where we can light the world up. I talked about ultra wideband and how important that will be. Ultra wideband is 10 meters, 10 gigahertz, and a lot of bandwidth... Power management is 41% of the company."
Thomas Dawson _American Chronicle_
Illegal Aliens and Immigration
"We do not have an immigration problem with Mexico. We do have a border problem with Mexico. Without making more jokes about Homeland Security, borders are important. Without borders, there is no country... or security. Some public political debate has begun, but don't expect too much... In reality, the politicians will continue to stall any useful action for the sake their 'financial constituency'. Some discussion at the federal level has finally begun again, and a few really big political names are making a lot of noise. But in a typical stalling tactic, the discussion is not about closing the borders. The talk is about those illegal aliens that are already here and many more that will come, as we make plans for them. Their only concern is what will be the final criteria to make them underclass citizens? Discussions with this kind of detailed minutia can be dragged out for a very long time... and they will be... Don't listen to the politicians; they have no intention of closing the Mexican borders until, and only if forced to do so. It is only a ploy to bring in more cheap labor for exploitation. The failed corporate religion of Globalization in the name of 'free trade' is really a search for the cheapest labor available. Corporations have greased the wheels of government and momentum is steam-rolling any public opposition... hundreds of thousands of 'guest workers' that have already been imported to work as engineers, IT technicians, etc which are hired at only 50% to 80% of the going rate in this country, thus holding down the wage scales of the middle class and increasing corporate [executive] profits."
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
US labor force has one foot in the third world
"In May the Bush economy eked out a paltry 73K [seasonally adjusted] private sector jobs: 20K jobs in construction (primarily for Mexican immigrants), 21K jobs in wholesale and retail trade, and 32,500 jobs in health care and social assistance. Local government added 5K for a [seasonally adjusted] grand total of 78K. Not a single one of these jobs produces an exportable good or service. With Americans increasingly divorced from the production of the goods and services that they consume, Americans have no way to pay for their consumption except by handing over to foreigners more of their accumulated stock of wealth. The country continues to eat its seed corn. Only 10M Americans are classified as 'production workers' in the Bureau of Labor Statistics nonfarm pay-roll tables... The US with a population approaching 300M has only 10M production workers. That means Americans are consuming the products of other countries' labor... Americans feel prosperous because they are consuming $700G annually more than they are producing... First world capital is rapidly deserting first world labor in favor of third world labor, which is much cheaper because of its abundance and low cost [and quality] of living. Formerly, America's high real incomes were protected from cheap foreign labor, because US labor worked with more capital and better technology, which made it more productive. Today, however, US capital and technology move to cheap labor, or cheap labor moves via the Internet to US employment..."
Richard Freeman _The Globalist_
What really ails Europe and the USA: The doubling of the work-force
"the global labor force has virtually doubled in size in the last 15 years... In 1980, [what we consider to be] the global work-force consisted of workers in the advanced countries, parts of Africa and most of Latin America. Approximately 960M persons worked in these economies. Population growth -- largely in poorer countries -- increased the number employed in these economies to about 1.46G workers by 2000. But in the 1980s and 1990s, workers from [Red China], India and the former Soviet bloc entered the global labor pool. Of course, these workers had existed before then. The difference, though, was that their economies suddenly joined the global system of production and consumption. In 2000, those countries contributed 1.47G workers to the global labor pool -- effectively doubling the size of the world's now connected work-force. These new entrants to the global economy brought little capital with them... the entry of [Red China], India and the former Soviet bloc into the global economy cut the global capital/labor ratio by just 55% to 60% what it otherwise would have been. The capital/labor ratio is a critical determinant of the wages paid to workers and of the rewards to capital."
2005-06-03 13:45PDT (16:45EDT) (20:45GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Weak jobs report halts Nasdaq streak
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 92.52 points at 10,460.97. The blue-chip index fell 0.8% on the week. The Nasdaq Composite fell 26.37 points to 2,071.43, with the tech-rich index posting a 0.2% decline on the week. The S&P 500 Index dropped 8.27 points to 1,196.02. On the week, the broad gauge was down 0.2%... The [seasonally adjusted] unemployment rate slipped to 5.1% from 5.2% [the lowest since 2001 September], based on a separate household survey... The bench-mark July [crude petroleum] contract ended up $1.40 at $55.03 [per] barrel, rising 6.1% [over] the week... decliners had an 18 to 14 advantage over advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, while losers outpaced winners by nearly two to one on the Nasdaq. Volume was light with 1.2G shares exchanging hands on the Big Board, while 1.3G shares were traded on the Nasdaq."
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
Immigrant displacement of US workers hit new high in May
"According to [the household] survey, 376K jobs were added in May -- nearly 5 times the... pay-roll figure [from the establishment survey]. And the Household survey also shows that Hispanic workers, comprising 15% of the U.S. labor force, landed about half of those jobs. As a result, the Hispanic unemployment rate declined by 0.4 points in May. White unemployment was unchanged. The Black rate declined by 0.3 points... [One theory is that] people who are not on company pay-rolls but self-employed -- are tallied in the Household Survey but not in the [Establishment] Survey [pay-roll figures]... [Illegal aliens] don't show up in the pay-roll numbers because employers have long feared (mistakenly, it appears) that the Feds will eventually enforce the law. We believe it is no coincidence that the gap between the two employment surveys -- 8M jobs -- so strikingly resembles the official estimated number of illegal immigrant workers. [Current estimates of illegal aliens residing in the USA range from 8M to 16M. With between 60% and 70% of total population in the work force this implies between 4.8M and 11.2M illegal aliens in the labor force.]... From 2001 January through  May Hispanic employment rose by 15.1% and non-Hispanic employment rose by 1.0%. The VDAWDI [V Dare American Worker Displacement] index reflects the relative difference between these 2 employment trends, i.e., the displacement effect. At 114.1%, the May VDAWDI was a record high."
Mac William Bishop _Asia Times_
Taiwan's gangs go global
"on May 29 more than 10K gangsters from dozens of crime syndicates from across Asia gathered in Taipei... According to one expert on organized crime, Lin Chung-cheng, Taiwanese gangs are involved in businesses worth nearly US$1.85G a year - and their activities are as internationalized as any multinational corporation... many high-profile and internationally wanted gangsters from the Bamboo Union flee to or retire in Southeast Asia or [Red China]. One such gangster is Bai Lang, or the "White Wolf", who was connected with the assassination of Taiwanese dissident author Henry Liu in Daly City, California, in 1984, and was charged in Taiwan with involvement in narcotics smuggling. Bai Lang now lives in Cambodia."
Alex _Ziff Davis_
15 software product and service companies receive 84% of profits; top 3 get 75%
82,283 lay-offs announced in 2005 May
US corporations announced 82,283 job cuts in 2005 May, a 42% increase from a 5-year low in 2005 April, Challenger Gray & Christmas said. In IT industry the job cuts surged to 17,886 in 2005 May as companies reacted to weak demand in European markets. So far in 2005, lay-off announcements are running 4.6% ahead of 2004 pace. In all of 2004, 1.07M job reductions were announced."
Clifford Krauss _NY Times_
Some Natives, Foreigners Find Jobs Scarce in Canada
"GSS, 55, an environmental scientist... could not seem to get a job in Canada, his adopted country, despite a doctorate from Germany, two published books and university teaching experience in the United States... It was not supposed to be this way in Canada, which years ago put out a welcome mat to professionals around the developing world. With a declining birth-rate, an aging population and labor shortages in many areas, Canada, a sparsely populated nation, has for decades encouraged foreign engineers, health professionals, software designers and electricians. But the results of this policy have been mixed, for Canada and for the immigrants. Recent census data and academic studies indicate that the incomes and employment prospects of immigrants are deteriorating... About 25% of recent immigrants with a university degree are working at jobs that require only a high school diploma or less, government data show... Over the last decade, the country has attracted 200K to 250K immigrants a year -- measured as a percentage of the population, that is triple the rate in the United States [which receives 770K to 1.4M legal and illegal immigrants per year]... 1 in every 6 people in Canada immigrated, giving it the world's second-highest proportion of immigrants. Only Australia's is higher... [But now they're] driving taxis and trucks, working in factories or as security guards, and hoping their children will do better... Mr. Reitz estimates that foreign-educated immigrants earn a total of $2G less than an equivalent number of native-born Canadians with comparable skills because they work in jobs below their training levels. Drawing on census data, he judges that in 1980, new immigrant men earned 80% of the salaries of native Canadian men, and that the proportion has now dropped to less than 70%. [the employers in North America who scream that there just aren't enough engineers mean that there aren't enough young cheap engineers. What GSS thinks is racial discrimination is much more likely age discrimination...Norm Matloff]"
2005-06-05 12:00PDT (15:00EDT) (19:00GMT)
Red Delicious apples pack more anti-oxidant punch
"A Canadian study measured the levels of anti-oxidants in 8 varieties of apples to find that Red Delicious, America's most common brand, contains the highest concentrations of health enhancing anti-oxidants... The skin of Red Delicious apples -- the most common variety grown in the United States -- contains over 6 times more anti-oxidant activity than the flesh, according to researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada... June 29 issue of _Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry_... But if you simply can't bear to eat the peel, the sweet-tart Northern Spy ranks #1 for anti-oxidants in flesh alone. Cortland was second, followed by Red Delicious... Though apples have significantly lower concentrations of anti-oxidants than other fruits, especially many berries, researchers say year-round availability and greater popularity might make them a better source for many people."
_KPTM Fox 42_
Federal Agents Raided Labor Camp in Florida
"Federal agents have raided a Florida labor camp where they say homeless men and women lived in a type of modern-day slavery. Four people face federal charges in a case that officials say is likely to grow. 78 potato field workers have been interviewed at the compound south of Jacksonville. Some were arrested on unrelated outstanding warrants."
3D Magnetic Sensor May Provide Rapid Reaction Gas and Brake Pedals
"Engineers [at Fraunhofer-Institut für Integrierte Schaltungen] have developed a 3D magnetic sensor which digitally registers the pedal deflection by its angle. BMW is currently testing the system. In a joy-stick, the sensor measures the spatial position of a small magnet. From it, the evaluation electronics determines the position of the lever... the sensor measures on the basis of the Hall effect: When a conductor carries current across a magnetic field the electrons are deflected to the side, producing a transverse voltage which is proportional to the strength of the magnetic field."
2005-06-05 08:57PDT (11:57EDT) (15:57GMT)
Red China continues hard line in trade talks
Casper Star Tribune
"Vice Premier Wu Yi, who oversees trade, said emergency import curbs the Bush administration had slapped on trousers, shirts, underwear and cotton yarn from [Red China] were hurting an industry that [mal-]employs 19M people... 'I don't believe there is a full appreciation in [Red China] for the level of political pressure that we face with respect to our relationship.', [US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez] told reporters... [Red China] exported $10G worth of clothing to the United States in 2004, a figure Washington says will rise this year. Gutierrez said earlier this week it was the global trade in fake and pirated goods, which the US Chamber of Commerce says costs the American economy $250G each year, that was the top issue bedevilling trade ties."
Harsimran Singh _Billings Gazette_
Working in India requires adjustment for visitors
"Most foreign expats think that Indian managers are over-confident, immature and think themselves to be more knowledgeable than their foreign clients. Said Michael Anderson, COO of a U.S.-based BPO in Gurgaon: 'Indian managers lack honesty... Managers in India lack global exposure. This makes them look immature while interacting with Western clients.'... Ian Stern, founder of Holistic Enterprises, a voice and accent training [i.e. fraud perpetrating] firm... Foreign expats also are astounded to see how casually people take off on account of family marriages or ill health... The basic infrastructure is still lacking... Mike Matheson, '...You get to know that eating at roadside may be fatal. You get to learn that water in your tap is not potable...'... India is generally considered to be a hardship posting for foreign managers. So the salary and perks shoot sky-high, accordingly... Almost all said that Indians are hard-working and have a good knowledge base.
Carolyn Lochhead _San Francisco Chronicle_
Friedman's proposal finally reaches the radical leftist media
"San Francisco seems an unlikely home for the man who in 1962 first proposed the privatization of [the Socialist Insecurity Abomination]... It was Friedman who in 1962, with the publication of _Capitalism and Freedom_, first proposed the abolition of [the Socialist Insecurity Abomination], not because it was going bankrupt, but because he considered it immoral... The late Arizona Republican senator Barry Goldwater, whom Friedman advised, found that out in 1964 when he suggested during his presidential campaign that [Socialist Inecurity] be made voluntary. Goldwater was pilloried, not only by [radical leftist] editorial pages but his own party [out of unreasoning fear]... Friedman calls [Socialist Insecurity], created by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935, a Ponzi game. Charles Ponzi was the 1920s Boston swindler who collected money from 'investors' to whom he paid out large 'profits' from the proceeds of later investors. The scheme inevitably collapses when there are not enough new entrants to pay earlier ones. That [the Socialist Insecurity Abomination] operates on a similar basis is not really in dispute. Paul Samuelson, who won his Nobel Prize in economics 6 years before Friedman and shared a Newsweek column with him in the 1960s, called [Socialist Insecurity] 'a Ponzi scheme that works'. 'The beauty about social insurance is that it is actuarially unsound.', Samuelson wrote in an oft-quoted 1967 column."
William Rees-Mogg _Times of London_
Europe was on its way to a bureaucratic prison camp: Rejection of EU constitution leaves room for a more attractive destination
"The treaty for a European constitution was a rotten treaty for a rotten constitution. It should never have been negotiated, it should never have been signed, it was essential that it should be defeated. The treaty took us a long stride closer to a United States of Europe, run by bureaucrats for the benefit of the European political class... Thirty years of arrogant misgovernment must surely have been enough for the French... The constitution is dead, but the project which created it is still alive. So are the institutions, the Commission, the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, the European Court of Justice. All of them will continue to try to maximise their own authority, at the expense of the people and of the national parliaments... 3 destinations... a return to the normal sovereignty of the nation states... the United States of Europe... a common market... We need to cut [the EU] back to size..."
2005-06-06 10:44PDT (13:44EDT) (17:44GMT)
Jonathan Burton _MarketWatch_
Apple to switch to Intel CPUs: Lower cost, future development path cited
"Apple Computer Inc. said Monday that it will begin using microprocessor chips made by Intel Corp. in its signature Macintosh computers beginning next year, ending a long-standing relationship with International Business Machines Corp. [and Motorola]... However, by embracing Intel after years of railing against its dominance of the PC market, Apple risks alienating its famously loyal base of users and developers... Apple reportedly has been upset about Big Blue's inability to engineer a next-generation chip that can be used in its notebook computers. Desk-top Macs run on the powerful G5 product, but the chips generate too much heat to be used in PowerBook and iBook lap-tops. Apple uses the so-called G4 chip, manufactured by Freescale Semiconductor, for its note-book computers and the Mac mini PC. Freescale shares fell on the report, even though Apple sales represented only 3% of the company's 2004 sales of $5.7G."
Philip Aldrick _London Telegraph_
IT work-force faces cheap labour threat
"Out-sourcing specialists say that, rather than hiring locally, mult-inational technology firms are recruiting cheap skilled labour at their foreign branches and bringing the staff to Britain for client projects... the cost of each over-seas recruit 'a third to a half that of a UK employee', Mr Simmonds reckons."
2005-06-07 13:05PDT (16:05EDT) (20:05GMT)
Shawn Langlois _MarketWatch_
GM to slash 25K jobs by 2008
"General Motors, hit by falling sales, soaring costs and recent credit down-grades, said Tuesday it will cut at least 25K jobs [about 13.8% of GM's U.S. work force] in the U.S. by 2008 to generate $2.5G in annual savings."
2005-06-08 01:27PDT (04:27EDT) (08:27GMT)
John Oates _Register_
More out-sourcing = more unhappiness
"the market is still growing - but customer disatisfaction is growing too. Just over half of buyers have prematurely ended an out-sourcing agreement within the last 12 months, compared to 21% a year ago. Contracts were terminated because of poor provider performance (36%), moving the function back in-house, cited by 11% of respondents, and failure to achieve cost savings (7%)... in 2004 only 7% admitted a customer had prematurely ended a contract. But the 2005 survey found 49% of out-sourcing providers have had a contract terminated early... Some 74% of survey respondents expect to increase spending on out-sourcing in the next year, up from 64% last year. India and the US remain favoured destinations, for contracts which are off-shored as well as out-sourced -- three-quarters of all respondents send some IT functions to one or both countries... this year 6% of buyers have operations [in Red China]. In 2004 only 8% of buyers expected to have operations in [Red China] within 5 years, but now 40% expect to do so."
2005-06-08 08:34PDT (11:34EDT) (15:34GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Support increasing for tariffs on exports from Red China to USA
"A bill that would slap tariffs on [Red Chinese] exports to the U.S. unless [Red China] sets a definitive time-table to float its currency is gaining momentum in Congress, said senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, one of the principle authors of the legislation... The bill written by Schumer, D-NY and Lindsey Graham, R-SC, would slap a 27.5% tariff on Chinese imports if [Red China] doesn't take a meaningful step to revalue its currency and set a time-table for an eventual float. The bill received 67 votes on the Senate floor in a test vote..."
2005-06-08 10:42PDT (13:42EDT) (17:42GMT)
Lisa Sanders _MarketWatch_
Gasoline cheap compared to food
"'Even with unleaded regular selling for more than $2 per gallon, the increase in gasoline prices since 1982 is 25% lower than the increase in food prices, 50% lower than the rise in housing costs, 70% lower than the spike in medical costs and a whopping 80% below the surge in college tuition.', the industry research firm found. Accounting for inflation and better miles to the gallon, the cost of gasoline per mile driven is less than half of the cost of 1981 rates, according to Herold co-director of research Nick Cacchione. He called it 'America's bargain liquid', at 10% less than bottled water, 33% of the price of milk and 20% of the price of beer. Though the price of gasoline per mile is up 41% since 1995, the cost for a family to go to a major-league baseball game is up 70%, and the average price of a movie ticket has climbed 57%. Want a half-gallon of ice cream? That will lighten the wallet by about 45% more than it did 10 years ago."
2005-06-09 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 287,305 in the week ending June 4, a decrease of 16,741 from the previous week. There were 308,229 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.8% during the week ending May 28, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,347,555, a decrease of 13,593 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.1% and the volume was 2,633,372."
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Execs want relief from Sarbanes-Oxley
"Complying with the law may be a headache for IT departments, but new federal guidelines could ease the burden... For example, the IT department at one point thought it needed to keep track of the previous 10 computer passwords used by... employees, rather than just the 3 archived by the company's business software. [And why are they archiving passwords at all?!] In addition, some argued the company... required an electricity generator at its offices in Colorado so its computer systems would continue to run in the event of a power failure... Congress passed SOX in 2002 in order to "protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures." A key portion of the law is Section 404. Thanks to it, publicly traded companies have to include in their annual reports a review of the company's internal control over financial reporting, and a related auditor's run-down... Some IT departments seem to have responded to SOX by documenting a wide range of activities, including apparently trivial ones... Steve DeLaCastro suggested, companies using out-sourcers may be out of compliance with SOX in part because controls aren't being audited."
|"I am delighted to be the Senator from Punjab as well as from New York." --- Hillary Clinton|
2005-06-09 12:22PDT (15:22EDT) (19:22GMT)
Steve Gelsi _MarketWatch_
US credit kkkard delinquency rates fell
"The delinquency rate fell to 4.07% in April, down from 4.52% a year ago. On a year-over-year basis, the delinquency rate has improved for each of the last 21 months, Moody's said. Overall credit-card debt decreased 0.6% in April, the second straight month of decline. Non-revolving credit such as auto loans rose 1.5%. In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said overall new consumer debt was up 10% in the first quarter."
on the Federal Reserve report
2005-06-09 13:00PDT (16:00EDT) (20:00GMT)
Ron Scherer _Christian Science Monitor_/_Yahoo!_
Big businesses race to abrogate pension obligations
"One of the major spurs for this has been the bankruptcy of United Airlines, which dumped its $10G pension liability on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC), the government insurer supposed to guarantee workers some protection if their employers go under. Because of loopholes in pension rules, many of United's workers were not aware their pension fund was in danger... Although GM is in the news now, in the past the legacy costs have bedeviled the steel industry. In 2001, Bethlehem Steel went into bankruptcy, throwing its pension commitments over to the PBGC. At the time, the industry said its $12G in legacy costs for 600K workers made it difficult to compete. After it dumped its legacy costs, Bethlehem Steel, now part of the International Steel Group, became profitable. In mid-April, Mittal Steel Company, now one of the world's largest, acquired ISG for about $5G. Edward Hill, professor of economic development at Cleveland State University's College of Urban Affairs. He cites Delphi's $150-per-hour manufacturing cost as opposed to [Red China's] $1-per-hour cost for auto parts."
Tom Elias _Hollister Free Lance_
Senators terrified to tackle illegal immigration
"... senator Barbara Mikulski of MD... crab processors... potato farmers in Idaho... That's why they solidly backed an amendment proposed by Republican senator Larry Craig of Idaho that sought to grant legal status and permanent resident status to any agricultural worker who has been in this country illegally, but has worked 100 days out of any one-year period during the 18 months before January 1 of this year. Their families would also have qualified under the Craig plan. Had Craig's plan been approved, it would have started the largest immigration amnesty program of the last 19 years, one that might have dwarfed the 1986 amnesty plan that eventually produced more than 1.5M new American citizens, more than half of them living in California... They get uncomfortable when they see how popular a few strongly anti-illegal immigrant congressmen have become... cheap labor provided by the undocumented helps many businesses..."
Law-makers decry attacks on SIkhs after 9/11: In an address punctuated several times by sustained applause, Clinton said 'I am delighted to be the Senator from Punjab as well as from New York.'
Tridivesh Singh Maini: Sikh Spectrum: Punjab from a Washingtonian Perspective: Hillary Clinton lauds role of Sikhs
Hillary Clinton Lauds Role of Sikhs
Panthic Weekly: Sikhs embraced at Capitol Hill
2005-06-10 05:55PDT (08:55EDT) (12:55GMT)
US May import prices fell 1.3% in May: Export prices fell 0.1%
2005-06-10 07:33PDT (10:33EDT) (14:33GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US trade deficit increased 6.3% to $57G in April
BEA press release
"So far in 2005, the trade deficit -- the difference between imports and exports -- is up 12.6% from the pace a year ago. The U.S. trade gap was a record $617.58G in 2004... Exports rose 3.0% to a record $106.4G in April. Imports rose 4.1% to a record $163.4G, mostly as a result of record crude oil prices. Imports of goods alone rose 4.8% to $136.7G. U.S. businesses bought a record amount of industrial supplies- mostly petroleum- and capital goods. The U.S. imported $19.4G of crude oil in April, the second highest amount on record. Consumer good imports rose 7.6% to $31.90G. Exports of goods alone rose 4.2% to $74.5G. U.S. farmers sold a record amount of their goods over-seas in April. Exports of civilian aircraft also rose 40.8% to $3.21G. The average price per barrel of oil jumped $3.62 to a record $44.76 in April. The U.S. imported 313.8M barrels of crude oil in April, or 10.46M barrels per day, down from 326M or 10.52M barrels, in March. The U.S. trade deficit with [Red China] widened to $14.7G in April compared with $12.0G in the same month last year."
2005-06-10 09:08PDT (12:08EDT) (16:08GMT)
tropical storm Arlene expected to land Saturday between New Orleans and Cape San Blas
2005-06-10 11:19PDT (14:19EDT) (18:19GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US government deficit down to $35G in May: Compare to total federal expenditures 1789-1902 of $17G
"The U.S. federal budget deficit dropped to $35.3G in May, the lowest deficit in 4 years for the month, the Treasury Department said Friday. The deficit was $62.5G a year ago in May. The Congressional Budget Office had estimated the deficit would be $36G. Total receipts in May were up 32.2% to $152.7G, compared with $115.5G the previous May. Outlays were up 5.6% to $188G. This May had one more business day than the month last year. So far in the fiscal year, receipts are up 15.4% to $1.37T from $1.19T last year. Outlays are up 7.2% year to date at $1.64T. The deficit so far this year is $272.2G vs. $346G last year. [The Interest on Treasury debt securities is $23.6G, which is 12.6% of the total current month Federal Outlays.]"
2005-06-10 13:40PDT (16:40EDT) (20:40GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Tech retreat hits Nasdaq again
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 9.61 points, or 0.1%, at 10,512.63 while the Nasdaq Composite Index shed 13.91 points, or 0.7%, to 2,063 and the S&P 500 lost 2.82 points, or 0.2%, to 1,198.11. The major indexes were mixed on the week, as well, with the Dow adding 0.5% and the S&P edging up 0.2% but the Nasdaq giving up 0.4%. In the broader market, decliners narrowly outpaced advancers 1,621 to 1,583 on the New York Stock Exchange while holding an 8 to 7 edge on the Nasdaq. Big Board volume was just about 1.25G shares while almost 1.45G traded on Nasdaq... In the energy pits, July crude futures dropped 74 cents to close at $53.54 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange."
CFR Proposed End of USA
Bryan Robinson _abc news_
The New Batman: Darker but Gentler?
"'It's much more human.', Bale said of the portrayal of Batman [in 'Batman Begins']. 'It focuses on Bruce Wayne and answers many questions like, why the hell is a guy dressing as a bat running around the city as a way to fight crime? He is facing his fears. You get to see his origins, you get to see him at age 8. You get to see him as a lost cause, as an angry young man who doesn't know what to do with his life.' [Or maybe he does.]"
Deloitte Consulting reports that out-sourcing is falling from favor
"70% of employers reported negative experiences with out-sourcing. These results were reported by experienced managers who collectively managed about $50G in contracts."
2005-06-11 21:16PDT (2005-06-12 00:16EDT) (04:16GMT)
Stephanie I. Cohen _MarketWatch_
"The millions of Americans counting on employer-promised pensions may be shortchanged unless Congress and the administration can find a way to reverse the billion-dollar deficits facing the ailing private [employer-managed] pension system. Defined-benefit pension plans - those plans that guarantee a set payment every month for retirees - have come under increasing scrutiny this year amid evidence many plans have been massively underfunded... many private companies failed to make annual payments to finance their pension plans as they tried to cut costs. Now many of these same companies, facing a financial slump today, are unable to make up for the short-fall and meet approaching pension obligations... The real tension may come as lawmakers and the administration try to agree on how to prevent a massive federal bailout of these pension plans without sparking a wave of bankruptcies among the corporate plan sponsors... The Government Accountability Office, a congressional watch-dog, has warned policy makers that 'even with meaningful, carefully crafted reform, it is possible that some [defined benefit] plan sponsors may choose to freeze or terminate their plans.' The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. was set up as a government chartered agency in 1974 to guarantee employers' pensions in the event companies defaulted on their obligations. Since then the PBGC has assumed responsibility for nearly 3,500 defined benefit plans that have failed. Today the agency faces a record $23.3G deficit and roughly 1,100 companies reported a combined $354G short-fall in funding for their defined benefit pension plans in 2004."
2005-06-12 07:07:37PDT (10:07:37EDT) (14:07:37GMT)
Louise Witt _Los Angeles Daily News_
Small businesses still hiring, but at a very slow rate
"smaller firms, which are more difficult for the government to track, are continuing to hire -- even if it's at a tepid pace... According to the latest NFIB survey of its members, more firms plan to hire new workers in May than they did in April. In a survey of 1,220 members in April, NFIB found that 11% of its members said they plan to add more employees... SurePayroll, which provides online payroll services to small businesses, also found that smaller firms are continuing to hire. A SurePayroll survey of 15,000 customers found that they added 0.08% more new employees in May compared to April -- the third consecutive month of employment growth. With SurePayroll's hiring index showing a 0.3% rise since January, the company forecasts that small businesses will add 0.7% new employees in 2005. Still, that will be considerably down from the 4% payroll growth seen in 2004."
India sacrificed the interest of 99% of common Indians for the sake of a few executives
"The neglect of the rural sector at the cost of a few out-sourcing oligarchs caused BJP the Government. Congress came with a lot of promise for the rural sector."
Steve Jobs _AppleMatters_
Steve Jobs's Commencement Address at Stanford
Leland Stanford University
2005-06-13 08:49PDT (11:49EDT) (15:49GMT)
Gail Liberman & Alan Lavine _MarketWatch_
ATM surcharges add up
"Experts say that ATM surcharges --fees charged at ATM machines -- are rising. So are fees charged by your bank for using another bank's ATM. Bankrate.com data recently indicated that the average ATM surcharge rose $1.40 this year. In addition, the average fee a bank customer pays for using another bank's ATM reached $1.35 [while the costs of processing a transaction remain in the $0.20 to $0.40 range]. Say you withdraw $20 from a bank ATM near the beach: Fees totaling $2.75 translate into a whopping 13.5% charge for the transaction!"
Robert Trigaux _St. Petersburg Times_
Who really benefits from the subsidies and tax incentives aimed at luring businesses into an area
"Two years ago next month, governor Jeb Bush flew to California and dangled $310M in government funds in front of the prestigious Scripps Research Institute to build a bioscience facility in Florida. The size of incentives ballooned to $569M after Palm Beach County committed tax dollars to land Scripps in its east-coast piece of the Sunshine State... nobody asked in advance if this was the absolute best use of tax-payer money. Nobody asked what $569M could do for Florida if such a mega-subsidy was directed to other needy purposes, or simply used to bolster Florida's existing bioscience research and business industry. Nobody asked because nobody knew... [Greg] LeRoy has written a book... called _The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation_... In too many cases, corporations relocate to receive an incentive, but leave when the tax-payer subsidies run out... LeRoy describes how Tampa's Sykes Enterprises repeatedly accepted subsidies to open its call centers in job-needy rural America towns - like Greeley in Colorado, Klamath Falls and Milton-Freewater in Oregon and Manhattan, Hays and Ada in Kansas - only to close most of them soon after the subsidies ran out... Sykes moved the bulk of its call center jobs to cheaper locations over-seas."
Diane M. Grassi _Sierra Times_
US Off-Shoring Personal Private Information
"According to the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, CA there have been close to 60 reported security breaches of customer financial information from United States corporations thus far in 2005, involving 13.5M customers' identities. The companies include Choicepoint, Inc., Bank of [India] Corp. [formerly Bank of America], Wachovia Corp., Ameritrade Holding Corp., DSW Shoe Warehouse, Time Warner Inc., LexisNexis and most recently Citbank Financial Group. While most lost data has involved data storage tapes lost in transit by courier services or UPS, others involved computer security breaches... Yet American customers or consumers are never informed whether or not their personal information and credit history is being off-shored... In the U.S., the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 which applies to financial institutions as well as accounting firms engaged in the practice of tax preparation requires that firms design, implement and put safeguards in place in order to maintain protection of customer information. In addition, such companies must provide their customers with a privacy notice that details the company's information-collection and information-sharing practices giving the customer the right to 'opt-out' and limiting the sharing of such information. Yet to date the Federal Trade Commission has not levied any punishment or fine on any U.S. accounting firm with regard to over-seas out-sourcing practices and the lack of notification of such to customers."
2005-06-14 07:18PDT (10:18EDT) (14:18GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
PPI fell 0.6% in May
"The decline in the PPI in May was the biggest one-month decline since a 1.5% drop in 2003 April. Excluding food and energy costs, the core PPI rose 0.1%."
BLS data on PPI
2005-06-14 07:49PDT (10:49EDT) (14:49GMT)
Aidan Lewis _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Icemand of the Alps possibly under attack by modern bacteria
"X-rays have shown bubbles in the bones that could be caused by bacteria, said Eduard Egarter Vigl, in charge of preserving the mummy at the South Tyrol Archaeological Museum in Bolzano, Italy... Oetzi has provided researchers with a wealth of information about the late Neolithic Age, or 3,300 to 3,100 B.C. He was carrying a bow, a quiver of arrows and a copper ax, prompting speculation that he was a hunter or warrior. X-rays have revealed that Oetzi was wounded by an arrow, with the flint arrowhead remaining in his left shoulder. Previous tests have shown that his last meals included venison, unleavened bread and some greens."
South Tyrol Archaeological Museum
2005-06-14 08:28PDT (11:28EDT) (15:28GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US retail sales fell 0.5% in May
"Excluding auto sales, retail sales fell 0.2%, slightly less than the 0.3% economists were expecting."
census bureau press release
The Myth of "Jobs that Americans Won't Do"
"Americans will do just about anything, if the money is right... Since some businesses don't want to pay what workers feel the job should pay, the jobs go unfilled. These businesses instead hire illegal aliens... Ask any doctor in the USA if he would work for minimum wage and he'll laugh at you, because he has gone through years of training and he feels his work is worth more than that. It's the same mentality with any worker, whether or not their feelings (and pay grade) are justified... The only problem with our current national security scheme is that the only people being scrutinized, monitored, tracked and inconvenienced are US citizens -- and that's completely unacceptable."
Chad Selweski _Macomb Daily_
US representative Candice Miller says illegal aliens bias districting
Contra Costa Times
"Miller is proposing a constitutional amendment that would only allow legal U.S. citizens -- not all persons -- to count toward representation in the House of Representatives. If such a change had been in place for the 2000 census, Michigan would not have lost a House seat and California, Texas, Florida and New York would have secured fewer seats... Miller recently learned that the decennial [census] counts illegal immigrants -- 5.4M in California alone -- when determining each state's representation... Just 2% of [Michigan's] 10th District consists of non-citizens. In California's 31st, 41% are non-citizens. As a result, the number of votes cast in the 31st in 2002 was about 67K -- requiring a 34K-vote majority to win election. In the 10th, 217K votes were cast and Miller won with 137K votes."
Cal Thomas _Washington Times_
Illegal immigrants leave an infectious TB trail
"According to an essay in the current Journal of the American Medical Association, a form of tuberculosis that has shown itself resistant to several drugs has invaded California and is present primarily in the state's foreign-born population, a politically correct euphemism for illegal aliens... 18 to 24 months of treatment for multi-drug-resistant TB, called MDR-TB, costs between $200K and $1.2M per person... [TB] increased between 1985 and 1992. Nearly 15K cases of TB were diagnosed last year... [84% of those with drug-resistant TB were foreign born.]... Two years ago 29% of TB cases in the USA were diagnosed among the foreign born. Last year that figure rose to 53%."
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Optimize_
"After putting in 20-plus years at AT&T Bell Labs and then Lucent Technologies in demanding positions such as being the architect of a computing environment used by 6K software developers, who could blame RS if he had looked forward to mixing work with a little more pleasure time as he entered the zenith of his career? Instead, he felt compelled to accept an early retirement package in 2001 July, when Lucent, like other telecom-equipment suppliers, retrenched in the wake of the Internet and telecom-industry bust... Across the country, thousands of seasoned IT pros have faced similar career upheavals, or could in the near future. It's happening to their younger counterparts, too, as off-shore out-sourcing, corporate down-sizing, and fast-changing technologies shatter the myth of job stability. Just this month, the Walt Disney Co. disclosed plans to cut about 1K IT jobs and out-source the work to other companies. For those IT pros in the second half of their careers -- and the latest data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates there are about 301K who are 55 and older -- the possibility of having to change gears amid these conditions presents unique challenges. 11% of the nation's 3.4M IT professionals will reach retirement age during the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But instead of confidently moving forward in their careers, many are concerned about the threat of unemployment before they're ready to leave the work-force... a Bureau of Labor Statistics study covering 2001 to 2003 found that a majority of workers who were laid off didn't return to the pay levels they lost. The study found that 57% of long-tenured workers--those with more than 3 years on the job -- who were working full-time in 2004 January were earning lower wages than before being laid off. One-third lost 20% or more of their pay... Looking at 6,531 managerial and professional workers laid off between 2001 and 2003, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found 1 in 5 still unemployed in 2004 January; 11% had left the work-force entirely... 69% of people ages 25 to 54 who lost jobs in 2001 to 2003 were re-employed when interviewed in 2004 January, but just 56% in the 55 to 64 range were employed, and 20% had dropped out of the labor force. The problem is likely exacerbated in the IT industry. 'More so than other industries, the tech field is a young field.', says John Challenger, CEO of executive search firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 'There's no question that older IT professionals face additional obstacles, but they aren't insurmountable.'... RS didn't have to face what's often a deal-breaker for people considering retraining: the cost. The government paid for everything, including tuition and room and board. The investment, which RS estimates was about $60K, would have been 'a big hurdle' for RS's family finances, he admits."
2005-06-15 07:21PDT (10:21EDT) (14:21GMT)
CPI edged down 0.1% in May
sample of CPI data
BLS press releases
2005-06-15 07:59PDT (10:59EDT) (14:59GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Industrial output rebounded in May
"Industrial production rose a stronger-than-expected 0.4% in May, after falling 0.3% in April... At the same time, the Empire State Index, a leading indicator of factory output in future months, rebounded sharply in June."
Empire State manufacturing index
2005-06-15 13:06PDT (16:06EDT) (20:06GMT)
J.P. Morgan Chase offers to settle fraud claims related to Enron
"J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. on Tuesday said it's paying Enron investors $2.2G to settle a law-suit that claimed the bank helped defraud them. Last week, Citigroup reached a similar settlement with investors for $2G. William S. Lerach, the attorney for the University of California - the lead plaintiff in the case -- said Wednesday that there's 'more work to do' for the thousands of investors who lost money when Enron went bankrupt following a massive accounting fraud... Remaining defendants in the investors' law-suit include the financial institutions of Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse First Boston, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Additional remaining defendants include The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., because of its alleged role as an underwriter of Enron securities, as well as former officers of Enron, its accountants, Arthur Andersen [now Accenture], and certain law firms, the university said... Other firms, including Bank of [India] Corp. [formerly Bank of America] and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., already have settled the case for a combined $491.5M..."
Chris McManes _IEEE*USA_
5 US Technical Job Classifications Show Employment Drop, 1 Shows Gain
"The biggest drop was among computer hardware engineers (18K), followed by computer software engineers (13K), computer programmers (8K), electrical and electronics engineers (8K) and computer and information systems managers (5K). Contrasted with this loss of 52K jobs, the BLS reported a gain of 54K jobs among computer scientists [high-end] and systems analysts [generic, old-school low-end]."
2005-06-16 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 314,352 in the week ending June 11, an increase of 25K from the previous week. There were 313,930 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending June 4, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,435,044, an increase of 92,641 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.1% and the volume was 2,674,791."
John Epperheimer _Silicon Valley_
Silicon Valley Jobs: Big pay-offs come at a high price
"The diversity you have experienced in college will be echoed in any high-tech company you join. You will be exposed to a fascinating array of cultures and backgrounds. Many of your co-workers will have recently immigrated here. If you were born here or have lived here most of your life, you may get frustrated with them because their views of work are so different from yours... Some portion of your company's work has probably already been out-sourced to India or [Red China] or other countries. You will need to keep reinventing yourself so that your contributions are unique enough that they can't be shifted over-seas... Many of those class-mates who work in other states will probably get better educations for their children from public schools than your kids will receive in California. If you become a parent in California, you are likely to find yourself making decisions about where to live based on school district test scores. Or, you'll be scrambling to cover the cost of private schools... The concept of work-life balance is pretty much a fallacy here."
2005-06-16 15:42PDT (18:42EDT) (22:42GMT)
Zubair Ahmed _BBC_
Out-sourcing increases exposure to fraud
"The arrest last week of a man in western India in an alleged call-centre fraud case went unreported. This was despite the high-profile reporting on the case in April when 16 others were arrested. This suited India's business process out-sourcing (BPO) companies, especially Mphasis, whose four employees have been implicated in the case. They are yet to recover from the shock of the alleged fraud of nearly $400K... 'Fake degrees and documents are a major concern of our clients.', said Yogesh Bhura."
2005-06-16 15:57PDT (18:57EDT) (22:57GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Dow closed at 3-month high after 6 trading days of gains
"The Dow ended up 12.28 points, or 0.1%, at 10,578.65, taking the bench-mark index to a 3-month high. Not since December 2003 has the blue-chip average had such a long winning streak. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 14.23 points, or 0.7%, to 2,089.15, while the S&P 500 Index was up 4.35 points, or 0.2%, to 1,210.93, a level not seen since early March."
2005-06-16 19:42PDT (22:42EDT) (2005-06-17 02:42GMT)
Wyeth gets FDA approval for new class of anti-biotics
"the Food and Drug Administration approved its intravenous antibiotic Tygacil to treat a wide variety of bacterial infections. The agency approved Tygacil to treat complicated intra-abdominal infections and complicated skin and skin structure infections in adults. Such infections arise in cases of complicated appendicitis, infected burns, intra-abdominal abscesses, deep soft tissue infections and infected ulcers."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
a reluctant comment
"I am reluctant to give him any publicity. I don't mind people who disagree with me, of course, but I get irritated if their views are based on snap judgements rather than careful, thorough examination of the facts. I get even more irritated if they hide the fact that they stand to gain financially from those views which they present as being for the public good... his latest big theme, which is basically, 'Globalization is good, and its down-sides can be compensated by improving our educational system'. He is one of those who, for example, hold the Alice in Wonderland view that we can solve our current problem of unemployed engineers and scientists by producing MORE engineers and scientists... engineers in most of those countries [Thomas] Friedman lists are not so anxious to come here now, precisely because people like [Thomas] Friedman have ruined the American job market for engineers... I myself have always supported a policy of rolling out the immigration red carpet for 'the best and the brightest' in the world. But where did Friedman get the ridiculous idea that anyone who completes a PhD is a 'first-round intellectual draft choice'? A few people who get a PhD are indeed brilliant, but most PhDs are not... The fact is that any ambitious kid would be crazy to want to go into engineering today [in the USA]..."
2005-06-17 06:12PDT (09:12EDT) (13:12GMT)
Frank Barnako _MarketWatch_
Web captures news-paper readers
"Nielsen/NetRatings reported research that 21% of web users who read newspapers have transferred 'primarily' to on-line, while 72% still rely on print... Nielsen/NetRatings also released traffic information for the top on-line newspapers for May showing NYTimes.com first with an audience of 11.3M unique visitors, followed by USAToday.com (9.2M), WashingtonPost.com (7.4M), LATimes.com (3.8M), and SFGate.com (3.4M)."
2005-06-17 07:38PDT (10:38EDT) (14:38GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US international trade current-accounts deficit rose 3.6% in 2005 Q1
"In the first quarter, the deficit rose 3.6% to a record $195.1G from the 4th quarter's revised $188.4G... In the first quarter, the increase in the current account was largely due to a larger deficit in trade of goods, which rose to $186.3G. Foreign-owned assets in the United States increased $226.1G in the first quarter. The goods-and-services deficit rose to $171.8G in the first quarter from $169.2G in the previous 3-month period. Unilateral current transfers resulted in a net outflow of $27.1G in the January-to-March period, up from $22.4G in the 4th quarter. The services surplus increased to $14.6G from $13G. Foreign official assets in the United States rose by $24.7G in the first quarter, following an increase of $94.5 in the 4th quarter. Foreign direct investment moderated slightly to $28.8G in the first quarter, while U.S. direct investment abroad slipped to $32.2G from $100G. U.S.-owned assets abroad rose $60.7G in the first quarter after increasing by $289G in the 4th quarter. Net foreign purchases of U.S. Treasury debt rose to $75.5G in the first quarter from $15.7G in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department data. Foreign purchases of U.S. equities fell to $28.9G from $45.7G, while purchases of corporate bonds fell to $58.6G from $69.3G. Purchases of agency bonds plunged to $800M from $43.2G."
2005-06-17 07:35PDT (10:35EDT) (14:35GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US housing starts inched higher in May
"Housing starts rose 0.2% in May to a seasonally adjusted 2.009M annualized units from April's downwardly-revised 2.005M, the government said."
census bureau data
2005-06-17 08:12PDT (11:12EDT) (15:12GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from 86.9 in May to 94.8 in early June
2005-06-17 13:11PDT (16:11EDT) (20:11GMT)
Time-Line of Tyco International scam
|2001Mar31||Tyco announced $9.2G cash and stock deal to purchase CIT Group...|
|2001Dec05||Tyco shares close at a high of $59.76 on the NYSE|
|2002Jan14||Business Week listed Tyco CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski as one of the top 25 corporate managers of 2001...|
|2005Jun17||Manhattan jury finds Kozlowski and Swartz guilty of stealing around $600M from Tyco. They each could face 25 years in prison.|
Michael Dell keen to sell Intel-based Mac OS X
2005-06-17 13:21PDT (16:21EDT) (20:21GMT)
Lisa Sanders _MarketWatch_
Crude petroleum futures close at all-time high: up 9.2% this week
"On the Nymex, July-dated crude futures contracts, up 9.2% this week, closed at $58.47 a barrel, up 3.3%, or $1.89 after trading as high as $58.60. The price eclipsed the previous record of $58.28 a barrel set on April 4 intraday and the previous all-time high close of $57.27 on April 1... diesel fuel is selling for about $1.70 a gallon wholesale (exclusive of tax and mark-up) in many of the large spot bulk markets, according to the Oil Price Information Service. At the pump, the average price of diesel stood at $2.34 a gallon on Thursday, up from $1.79 a year and near the all-time record of $2.388 a gallon set on April 11... July natural gas added 7.7 cents to close at $7.69 per million British thermal units."
2005-06-17 14:00PDT (17:00EDT) (21:00GMT)
_World Net Daily_
House slashes UN funding: Hyde said 'It's time we had some teeth in reform
"The bill passed 221-184... Hyde and other law-makers listed complaints such as coddling of rogue regimes; a bias against America and Israel; irresponsible spending; scandals such as the oil-for-food program and sexual abuse by peacekeepers; and human rights abusers sitting on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Failure to comply with the demands would result in withholding half of U.S. dues to the general budget and a refusal to support expanded and new peace-keeping missions. Among the 39 reforms sought, according to the Associated Press, are slashing the public information budget by 20%; establishing an independent oversight board and an ethics office; and barring countries that violate human rights from serving on human rights commissions. The secretary of state must certify that 32 of those reforms are met by 2007 September and all 39 by the next year."
2005-06-17 14:00PDT (17:00EDT) (21:00GMT)
Kozlowski & Swartz convicted
"After fighting prosecutors to a standstill in a 6-month trial last year, 2 top former Tyco International executives were convicted Friday in a Manhattan court of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the company. U.S. stocks end higher; S&P 500 positive for the year."
more on Kozlowski & Swartz
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 44.42 points to close at 10,623.07. The bench-mark index has now risen for 7 sessions in a row, a feat not equaled since March 2003. It now sits at a 3-month high after rising 1.1% on the week. The S&P 500 Index was up 6 points at 1,216.96, allowing the broad gauge to turn positive for the year for the first time since early March. The index was up 1.6% on the week. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.96 point to 2,090.11. Gains for the tech-rich index proved harder to come by as it knocked up against its March highs. In that month, the Nasdaq hit an intraday high of 2,100 and a closing high of 2,090. On the week, the index was up 1.3%."
_Kansas City Star_
FDA gives approval for next step for cardio-vascular drug preliminary tests showed was more effective for blacks than others
"The Food and Drug Administration's cardiovascular drug advisory panel voted 9-0 in favor of allowing sales of the heart failure drug BiDil... The usual treatment is with drugs called ACE inhibitors, but research has indicated they do not work as well in black patients as in white patients. BiDil is a combination of 2 drugs: hydralazine, which eases blood pressure, and isosorbide dinitrate, which is used for heart pain. The combination also boosts the amounts of nitric oxide in the blood, a substance that is found in lower levels in blacks."
_Fresh Plaza, Netherlands_
Florida blueberry industry springs to record heights
"Braswell became a blueberry grower just as the Florida industry took off to record heights. Braswell and Jerry Mixon Jr., a veteran grower based in Haines City, estimated blueberry acreage in Florida reached nearly 3K acres in 2005, about double the 1,500 acres reported in 2001 by the Florida Agricultural Statistics Service in Orlando... Braswell estimated Juliana Plantation's production fell more than 20%. But higher prices more than made up for lost production, Braswell said. He estimated the plantation would get an average of $27 to $28 per flat, compared with about $22 last year. Florida blueberry growers are responding by planting more acres. In addition to doubling its acreage next year, Juliana Plantation is building a 3,600-square-foot greenhouse to meet its own demand for new bushes. 'With every Tom, Dick and Harry growing blueberries, there's a shortage of plants now.', Braswell said... Michigan is the top U.S. blueberry grower with 15,900 acres in 2004 followed by New Jersey with 7,500 acres, USDA statistic show."
UK CIOs fear for their jobs
"In a snap-shot survey of almost 100 senior IT professionals by technology optimisation specialist Mercury UK, 7% said IT projects always delivered business vale, with 87% saying they 'sometimes' delivered value. In addition, 33% felt their job was less secure than it was 3 years ago, and 44% said their employers planned to out-source more IT to India..."
_Cleveland Plain Dealer_
Important lessons of summer jobs
"summer jobs are not what they used to be. They are now held not by adolescents in deep sulk mode but by retired people and foreign workers on temporary work visas. Just this month, the _Christian Science Monitor_ reported: 'Last summer, the teen employment rate was the lowest since 1948, with only 36% of those ages 16 to 19 holding jobs, down from 45% in 2000.' A week later, the _New York Times_ reported: 'Like many seasonal resort areas across the country, Nantucket increasingly depends on foreign workers to wash its dishes, bag its groceries and fill other jobs once held by American teenagers and students.' So what are the American teenagers doing? They are working on film sets, in TV studios and at glossy magazines as 'interns'. Of course, no one is paying them to do these jobs, so we have to pay their Manhattan rent, which is higher than our Cleveland mortgage, and send monthly allowances..."
David Gow & Guenter Verheugen _Guardian_
Big beast's battle
"The French, Germans and others worry that east Europeans, let alone [Red Chinese] and Indians, are picking up the bulk of investment, jobs and growth, prompting him to [idiotically] denounce a prevalent fear of hordes of eastern nomads waiting to pounce on richer EU members and take over everything."
Kerry Hall _Charlotte Observer_
NC adds jobs, but not for some
"North Carolina fared well last month, adding 8,400 jobs, the nation's third-largest increase, behind California's 17,600 new positions and Florida's 9,900 new jobs, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. South Carolina, meanwhile, lost 2,900 jobs, according to seasonally adjusted figures. Seasonally adjusted numbers smooth out regular temporary fluctuations, such as seasonal changes in tourism and teaching jobs... He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a master's degree in textile chemistry, both from NCSU."
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
Is playing baseball a job Americans won't do?
"Unlike major league players who enter the U.S. on a P1 visa, minor leaguers depend on the all-purpose H-2B visa for 'temporary' employees. During pre-911 years, baseball was allotted 1,400 H-2B visas—a total that baseball management predictably viewed as insufficient... Although major league baseball has signed U.S. college stars, it seems to prefer Hispanics. The reason: They are, in a word, cheaper. About 700 Hispanic players -- mostly from the Dominican Republic -- come to the US each year... The cruel irony is that the U.S.A. produces an abundance of outstanding baseball players every year... For young stars like Chamberlain and Urquidez to get their shot, the owners need to turn their attention away from the cheap sources of players like the Dominican Republic—and pay more attention to what's going on at baseball diamonds across America."
Don Curlee _Monterey Herald_
Bill reforms ag guest-worker program
"The mostly likely vehicle is a bill in Congress called AgJobs. It accomplishes several objectives for foreign workers and potential workers and those who hire them [damages domestic workers and potential workers], and touches on social and labor relations issues, even national security and foreign relations and diplomacy... A kind of under-ground railway has developed that carries the illegal workers to other farm job centers in the South and East Coast, as well as beyond agriculture into the Northeast and Midwest."
Leslie Cauley _Indianapolis Star_
Phone company mergers don't favor customers
"Despite change of ownership, users stay locked in contracts, can face fees, headaches... F was one of 6K AT&T Wireless customers who got dumped by Cingular when the merger closed in October. Cingular, owned by SBC Communications and BellSouth, agreed to the divestment as part of a broader pact with the Department of Justice. The problem? F, a dedicated customer of AT&T Wireless, wanted to stay with Cingular. When he called Cingular's customer service department to complain, however, he got another surprise: He could stay with Cingular, but he would have to pay a $175 disconnection fee to U.S. Cellular, which had just purchased the Lamar, MO market... Gene Kimmelman, director of Consumers Union in Washington, says things are only going to get worse. He notes three big telecom mergers are in progress: SBC and AT&T; Verizon and MCI; and Sprint and Nextel. Once they close, customers of the acquired companies -- AT&T, MCI and Nextel -- will be at the mercy of the new owners."
Charles Odum & Paul Davenport _AP_/_Yahoo!_
CardSystems Solutions Inc. exposed 40M kredit kkkard accounts to fraud
Marin Independent Journal
"MasterCard International Inc. spokes-woman Jessica Antle said only about 68K of its card holders are at 'higher levels of risk' [because they normally run a high level of risk, anyway]... about 13.9M of the 40M credit card accounts that may have been exposed to fraud were MasterCard accounts... [FBI spokes-woman Deb McCarley] said CardSystems' call center in Tucson, AZ had contacted the FBI, and the Phoenix office is handling the case... CardSystems processes less than 0.5% of American Express' domestic transactions..."
Jay Tea _WizBang_
Illegal Alien Updates
"'There is no safe harbor in the entire state where Mr. Mora Ramirez could go to avoid breaking the law.' Bingo, Attorney Movafaghi. Got it in ONE. Your client entered the country ILLEGALLY, and his continued presence here is an ongoing offense. He can end this very simply -- by leaving the country. If he wants back in, let him do what millions of others do -- follow the rules, obey the law, and get in line. And if his previous violation of those laws is held against him, tough -- decisions have consequences."
Brad Cain _AP_/_Oregan Statesman Journal_
Measure would require proof of citizenship to vote
"plan to require people registering to vote for the first time to show proof of citizenship... The measure recently was approved by the Oregon House after sponsors said that the requirement would help prevent illegal immigrants from fraudulently registering and voting... Linda Flores, a Republican from Clackamas. 'Citizens want us to do everything we can to preserve their rights and to secure our borders.' The bill is directed at people who are in the country illegally and also to protect the integrity of Oregon's election process, she said... Oregon bill mirrors a similar law in Arizona, where undocumented immigrants have become a hot political issue. In January, Arizona became the first state to require proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Voters passed that law, which supporters said is needed to prevent voter fraud. Other states have debated similar measures, but Arizona is the only state so far to enact such a law. Under the bill passed by the Oregon House, first-time registrants would be required to produce evidence of citizenship, such as a birth certificate, naturalization papers or a passport. A leading supporter of the measure, Jim Ludwick of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, said the potential for abuse is large. The latest estimate is that as many as 150K illegal immigrants are living in Oregon, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, although Ludwick thinks the number is higher... Any undocumented alien who tried to [vote] would face 'tremendous' consequences -- including a maximum 5-year jail term as well as deportation, Lindback said."
JS _Asbury Park NJ Press_
"The opinion of Partha Banerjee, executive director of the New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, that children of illegal immigrants 'deserve' in-state tuition fees is another example of the entitlement mentality of the elite at the expense of the tax-paying citizens."
Rachel Konrad _Contra Costa Times_
Programming Jobs Have Lost Their Luster in USA
Columbia Basin Herald
Akron Beacon Journal
North San Diego County Times
San Francisco Chronicle
"The 22-year-old Shanghai native graduated this month with a major in computer science and a minor in economics... [He] begins work in the Fall as a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group [body shop], helping to lead projects at multi-national companies. Consulting, he says, will insulate him from the off-shore out-sourcing that's sending thousands of once-desirable computer programming jobs over-seas. More important, Mo believes his consulting gig is more lucrative, rewarding and imaginative than a traditional tech job... As tens of thousands of engineering jobs migrate to developing countries, many new entrants into the U.S. work force see info tech jobs as monotonous, uncreative and easily farmed out -- the equivalent of 1980s manufacturing jobs. The research firm Gartner Inc. predicts that up to 15% of tech workers will drop out of the profession by 2010, not including those who retire or die. Most will leave because they can't get jobs or can get more money or job satisfaction elsewhere. Within the same period, worldwide demand for technology developers...is forecast to shrink by 30%... The U.S. software industry lost 16% of its jobs from 2001 March to 2004 March, the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute found. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that information technology industries laid off more than 7K American workers in the first quarter of 2005... U.S. graduates probably shouldn't think of computer programming or chemical engineering as long-term careers but it's 'not all gloom and doom', said Albert C. Gray, executive director of the National Society of Professional Engineers... Stanford listed [only] 268 job postings in its computer science jobs data-base in the Spring quarter -- roughly double the number from last year."
Susan J. Demas _Saginaw News_
Laid-off dads focus on family as they comtemplate their futures
"Staying strong for his family is his primary concern, but [he] gruffly admits he still feels devastated... Monday, [he] goes back to his routine of scanning the want ads and tracking down job leads... 'I'll be honest. The job market is terrible.', he said with a sigh. 'It's real competitive with all the people out there looking for work.'... With 7.6% non-seasonally adjusted unemployment in April, the Saginaw metropolitan area's economic outlook is even bleaker than that of Michigan -- which clocks in with the highest jobless rate in the nation at 6.6%... [He] said governor Jennifer M. Granholm and the Legislature need to do more than help corporations in these tough economic times."
Kevin G. Hall _Philadelphia Inquirer_/_Centre Daily Times_
As Red China rises, some fear unequal trade
"Assessments of [Red China's] rise, including annual economic growth of 9.4% since 1978, are legion. Just as a snap-shot, consider that subway systems are being built in 84 Chinese cities. For a decade now, debate has swirled over whether [Red China] - a 'socialist market economy', according to its constitution - is a strategic trading partner or a budding rival. Late last year, Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson, author of a long-standard college economics textbook and an ardent supporter of free trade, suggested that [Red China's] growing economic might called into question whether free trade was a win-win game for America. Samuelson said that open trade had helped the U.S. economy grow since World War II but that competition from abroad had driven down wages in lower-skill jobs. Over time, [Red China] and India could displace [have been displacing] U.S. high-tech jobs, too, and more American wages could be cut to help the United States sustain competition. Even though U.S. consumers get less-expensive [Red Chinese]-made goods, many Americans could be the net losers in such trade, he wrote. Other experts say [Red China] trades by rules aimed at building its national power rather than economic exchange. 'What we've been calling free trade is not free trade.', said Clyde Prestowitz, a former top trade negotiator in the Reagan administration and author of the new book _Three Billion New Capitalists_. In it, Prestowitz warns that [Red China] is building an export-based economy. [Red China's] approach mirrors the mercantilist policies of 17th-century Europe, when kingdoms tried to minimize imports, maximize exports, and strictly administer their domestic economies to develop national wealth and power at the expense of their rivals."
Wayne Tompkins _Louisville Courier-Journal_
Benefits and costs of global economy fall unevenly
"Kentucky sends thoroughbreds to the United Arab Emirates, liquor to Australia, cars to Canada and computer parts to Brazil. Madisonville's GE engine plant sends $2.2G in turbojet and turbo propeller parts abroad, the state's largest export by dollar volume. Kentucky also sends processed foods to Moldova and furniture products to Kuwait... The reality for a laid-off apparel worker in south-central Kentucky, who lost her job to cheaper foreign labor, is vastly different than for a factory employee in Southern Indiana, who owes his high-paying job making kilns to a booming export market... Whether globalization ultimately has hurt or helped the economies of Kentucky and Indiana is difficult to prove because officials say they only track the number of jobs created and not job losses... Kentucky's exports, for example, have created about 142K jobs, and nearly 90K owe their jobs to foreign-owned companies located in the state, according to 2004 data from the Cabinet for Economic Development. The state had 121K export-related jobs the previous year... Thousands of other jobs have been out-sourced across the globe -- further reducing job options in both states for everyone from software engineers to reservations clerks. Most of the 24K apparel industry jobs to leave Kentucky since 1991 also have gone over-seas. Fewer than 9K remain in the state... Since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement took effect, Kentucky's annual exports have jumped to $13G from $4.7G. In the past 5 years alone, Indiana's exports have grown to more than $19G a year, up from $13G. The state's exports of machinery and transportation equipment to Mexico alone have increased 10-fold during that period, now a combined $2G a year... Sykes Enterprises, a Tampa, Fla.-based firm that operates call centers that provide technology help, once employed about 1K people in its Hazard and Pikeville facilities. Blaming competitive pressures, Sykes closed the centers in 2003 and 2004. The jobs were brought to the region in 1999 with $7.6M in state cash and incentives, most of which paid for training. Today, many of those jobs are in El Salvador and other countries. 'We're losing jobs at an alarming rate, primarily manufacturing jobs.', said Bill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO... Any job replacing it in smaller towns pays less and probably has few to no benefits, he said... The [textile] industry has reported that it has lost more than 300K jobs since 2001... 'It's been a one-way street for the last 20 years.', said U.S. representative Ron Lewis, R-KY. 'We've had no tariffs on imports from the region [to be covered by CAFTA], and we've had significant tariffs on our exports, so I think it's a total win when we can eliminate those tariffs.'... Lewis said that over the past 4 years the state's exports to the CAFTA countries jumped to $164M from $67M... In December, Mayfield's German-owned Continental Tire plant ceased tire production, idling 730 workers. 'The same thing happened not too long ago in Elizabethtown with Gates Rubber.', a subsidiary of a British company, he said, referring to the 2004 loss of 430 jobs... Indiana... has lost 100K manufacturing jobs since 1999... About 230K Hoosiers are in export-supported jobs, and foreign-owned companies employ about 137K people, including more than 90K in manufacturing, the U.S. Department of Commerce said... When apparel maker Oshkosh B'Gosh sent nearly 1K jobs out of Casey county during the 1990s for cheaper pastures in Honduras, the county was left with a hole in its economy from which it's still trying to recover. 'I can say right now that (globalization) is definitely a minus for this area.', said Arlen Sanders, economic-development director for Casey County and Liberty, its county seat. 'We have about 7K in the work force here, and we have around 3K leave every day to go into places like Danville and Campbellsville and Somerset for jobs.'... Londrigan said employers have lost their sense of permanence, hopping around the globe in search of lower labor and benefits costs and less regulation... Kentucky ranks 9th and Indiana 12th among states in exports per capita..."
Michael Kinsman _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Glut of skilled workers makes hiring easy for all by the laziest employers
"Siemens Communications dumped about 100 workers into the job market this year when it closed its design center for wireless phones in Rancho Bernardo... A survey of 150 companies nationwide by the Chicago's Challenger, Gray & Christmas under-scores that. The survey shows that 44% of employers didn't meet their hiring expectations during the first half of the year because they couldn't find workers with the skills they need. 56% of companies plan to add jobs during the second half of the year, provided they can find qualified workers, the Challenger survey reports... 'But that doesn't address the fact that as technology changes, our workers need to be updating their skills continually.', Challenger says. 'We have to quit looking at our education as stopping at age 18, 22 or in our mid-20s. We have to build that training into our weekly schedules at work. Training should no longer be looked upon as something you do outside of work by just a small portion of the work force. We all should be getting that training at work.' One way to jump-start employer-provided training would be to offer tax breaks for companies that invest in their workers. Many employers are skittish about providing too much training for employees out of the fear that those employees will leave for other jobs. But if tax incentives could be established, the company would get an immediate return and workers would get the training that would assure them of having updated skills and expanded career opportunities."
Finger-print kkkard plan touches a nerve in Taiwan
"Taiwan rights groups have scored an early success in their campaign to stop national finger-printing which they say could turn the island into a police state not 20 years after the lifting of martial law... 'It sets a terrifying precedent. The government can in the future cite social security as an excuse to build a DNA data-base, scan iris patterns, or even plant global positioning chips into people.', said Fort Liao, a human rights lawyer by training."
2005-06-20 02:30PDT (05:30EDT) (09:30GMT)
CardSystems CEO says they should not have been keeping records
"acknowledged that his firm should not have been keeping the consumer records in the first place. The official, John Perry, chief executive of Atlanta-based CardSystems Solutions Inc., said that the records known to have been stolen covered roughly 200K of the 40M compromised credit card accounts, from Visa, MasterCard, and other companies. He said the data was being stored for 'research purposes' to determine why some transactions had registered as unauthorized or uncompleted... 'CardSystems provides services and is supposed to pass that information on to the banks and not keep it.', Joshua Peirez, a MasterCard official, told the Times."
2005-06-20 03:01PDT (06:01EDT) (10:01GMT)
Shannon Pettypiece _Crain's Cleveland Business_
"A shortage of electrical engineers and computer scientists exists nationwide and has a particularly strong impact on Ohio, which has more employees working in these two areas than most other states."
2005-06-20 09:32PDT (12:32EDT) (16:31GMT)
Duncan Mansfield _Washington Post_/_AP_
Fake documents got workers into nuclear weapons plant
"Controls at the Y-12 weapons plant have since been tightened and there was no evidence the workers had access to any sensitive documents, said the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees nuclear weapons facilities for the Department of Energy... The report, initiated by a tip in 2004, said the workers had fake green cards that certified them to work in the United States. Their cases were turned over to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for deportation. The Y-12 plant, created for the top-secret Manhattan Project that developed nuclear bombs in World War 2, makes parts for nuclear war-heads and is the country's principal store-house for weapons-grade uranium."
2005-06-20 11:10PDT (14:10EDT) (18:10GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Fannie Mae says some housing markets show foreshadowings of bust
"In a presentation prepared for a National Association of Home Builders meeting May 5, Fannie Mae's Thomas Lawler said housing-market conditions in many areas mirror past conditions that preceded regional housing busts... The report noted that no one can tell if a housing bubble exists until after the fact."
2005-06-20 13:46PDT (16:46EDT) (20:46GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Dow snapped winning streak: Oil ends just shy of $60 per barrel
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 13.96 points to 10,609.11, snapping a 7-session run of gains, a feat not equaled since 2003 March. The Nasdaq Composite was down 1.98 points at 2,088.13, while the S&P 500 Index dipped 0.86 point to 1,216.10... The front-month contract [for petroleum] ended up 90 cents at $59.37 [per] barrel in New York. The August contract, which becomes the lead contract this week, was up 57 cents at $59.75 [per] barrel after briefly touching $60."
2005-06-20 14:43PDT (17:43EDT) (21:43GMT)
Eau de grapefruit makes women seem younger to men
"The study by the Smell and Taste Institute in Chicago was conducted by Institute director Alan Hirsch. Hirsch smeared several middle-aged women with broccoli, banana, spearmint leaves, and lavender but none of those scents made a difference to the men. But the scent of grapefruit changed men's perceptions. Hirsch said that when male volunteers were asked to write down how old the woman with grapefruit odor was, the age was considerably less than reality."
2005-06-20 15:16PDT (18:16EDT) (22:16GMT)
Lauran Neergaard _AP_/_Los Angeles Times_
Extra Folic Acid May Help Memory
"Taking large amounts of folic acid improved the memory of older adults, Dutch scientists reported Monday in the first study to show a vitamin pill might slow the mental decline of aging. The research adds to mounting evidence that a diet higher in folate -- a B vitamin found in grains and certain dark-colored fruits and vegetables -- is important for a variety of diseases. It's proven to lower...risk of devastating birth defects of the brain and spinal cord, and research suggests it helps ward off heart disease and strokes, too... The study divided 818 people ages 50 to 75 to take either a vitamin containing 800 micrograms of folic acid a day, or a dummy pill, for 3 years... On memory tests, the supplement users had scores comparable to people 5.5 years younger, Durga said. On tests of cognitive speed, the folic acid helped users perform as well as people 1.9 years younger."
James Temple _Contra Costa Times_/_San Jose Mercury News_
Kaiser Foundation fined for patient data breach
"The Department of Managed Health Care fined the Oakland-based HMO [Kaiser Foundation Health Plan] $200K for creating a publicly accessible web site that contained the names, addresses, phone numbers and sometimes lab results for around 150 California patients. State law says that health plans cannot disclose medical information without the individual's authorization."
George Avalos _Contra Costa Times_
Shift in California's business climate fosters growth of informal labor
"In the East Bay and other parts of California, the informal labor market has become a noticeable -- although still tough to measure accurately -- sector of the economy. People who work on a day-to-day basis at odd jobs, individuals employed through a temporary contract, residents who are self-employed or working at infant companies, and others who are not on a formal corporate pay-roll are out there doing real work... A significant element of this informal work force is the immigrant population, legal and illegal, whose members are looking for some cold cash and are willing to perform a variety of tasks to obtain the money. 'Along with the informal work force, you have an underground labor market that has developed, especially in high-tax states such as California, and in states, including California, that have a high immigrant population.', said Brian Wesbury, chief economist with Claymore Advisors. [Body shopping explodes. Pay and benefits plummet.]"
Borderline Flyer may help defend US borders
"The American Computer Scientists Association and the Interstate Traveler Company issue a vital notice to America regarding Homeland Security. It is possible to facilitate low-cost, joint protection of our borders: we could save a lot of money and achieve far, far more if the ITC Interstate Traveler, a high speed solar/hydrogen hybrid powered MAGLEV Rail System, were run along both our northern and southern borders. The border patrol version of the Interstate Traveler would be equipped with surveillance devices, protective cars and personnel its entire length. Patrolling the border and monitoring activity would be a cinch, using only a handful of special border observation stations."
Wayne Tompkins _Louisville Courier-Journal_
Rights-minded factory struggles
"Just Garments wants to prove that well-treated workers can produce quality clothing at a competitive price. It pays its 90 workers slightly more than El Salvador's minimum wage [and provides workers with ergonomic chairs]... 'It has suffered a very strong boycott from the industry and also from the government here.', Garcia said... In 1995, Mandarin International workers went on strike and shut off the factory's electricity. The Taiwanese owners had their security agents physically remove the strikers. There were allegations of beatings and torture. Hundreds of workers were fired. The incident proved to be a public-relations disaster. Customers like J.C. Penney and Eddie Bauer suspended their contracts or left. The Gap agreed to stay on to save the factory's jobs after receiving assurances workers and management were ready to work together, with independent monitors as referees... The monitors have been described as everything from ineffectual to biased. Union members, about 100 of the plant's 1,200 workers, complain that they are assigned less pleasant tasks and that management encourages nonunion workers to shun them. Some who have tried to fraternize with union workers have been fired, Funes said."
2005-06-20 21:39PDT (2005-06-21 00:39EDT) (04:39GMT)
Gig Conaughton _North San Diego County Times_
High security tab for Minuteman triggers free speech questions
"City of Encinitas and county sheriff's officials were accused Monday of squashing First Amendment rights after demanding that a local political club pay $15K for security to allow a controversial leader of the anti-illegal-immigration Minuteman Group to speak. Craig Nordal, leader of the neophyte North Coast Republican Club, said the club voted Monday to indefinitely postpone Wednesday's political fund-raising talk by Jim Gilchrist, leader of the Minuteman Project... Nordal said city and sheriff's officials were so concerned that Gilchrist would draw protesters to the Encinitas Community Center that they told the club they would have to hire an entire platoon of sheriff's deputies -- 48 in all -- to provide security..."
Shirleen Holt _Seattle Times_/_South Coast Standard-Times_
Advice for depression-scarred job hunters
"In truth, there's no stigma to having a spotty job history in this economy. It's far riskier, experts say, to cover up or even smudge those spots... Despite the healthier hiring market, recruiters are still getting hundreds of -- or at M$, 6K -- resumes a day... Of all the resume blunders, lying is the most lethal, whether it's an outright fabrication or a subtle shading of the truth. Jude Werra is a Wisconsin head-hunter best known for his semi-annual Liars Index, which tracks the number of executives who lie on their resumes, particularly about their education (about 12%)."
Corrupt 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals rules that sales of personal private information obtained under false pretenses is OK
2005-06-21 07:29PDT (10:29EDT) (14:29GMT)
Irwin Kellner _MarketWatch_
economic slow-down coming
"Current and forward-looking data tell a different story... To be sure, the bullish case is not outlandish. After all, both fiscal and monetary policies are far from restrictive... Using the personal consumption price index less food and energy, today's nominal federal funds rate of 3% translates into a real federal funds rate of 1.4%. By contrast, its long-term average -- which is also what many would consider 'neutral', -- is 1-1/4 points higher. As for fiscal policy, what can you say about a budget that's $366G in the red over the past 12 months?... The Conference Board's index of leading indicators dropped in May, the fifth straight months without an increase. This index has now declined at an annual rate of 2.2% over the last half-year -- putting it in a range that in the past has presaged a recession... Consumers have been hurt by this year's jump in energy prices, weak growth in personal incomes and high debt loads, which are becoming more problematic with each hike in short-term interest rates by the Fed... The rise in the dollar is hurting exports. Many firms are also trying to whittle down excess inventories, while their need for new plants and equipment was largely satisfied by last year's spending spree."
2005-06-21 10:56PDT (13:56EDT) (17:56GMT)
"Big Daddy" _Phoenix Valley News_
Minimum wage has nothing to do with off-shore out-sourcing
[Big Daddy has one glaring error: 4. Study after study from independent sources have all shown conclusively that rises of minimum wage (at federal, state and local levels) did result in increased unemployment among the marginal labor force (those most subject to employment discrimination, and the young who simply have less skill, knowledge and experience to offer).]
2005-06-21 11:45PDT (14:45EDT) (18:45GMT)
Steve Kerch _MarketWatch_
Mortgage delinquencies down... for now
"The percentage of Americans paying their mortgages late fell in the first quarter, with 4.31% of all loans delinquent versus 4.46% in the first quarter of 2004 and 4.38% in the 4th quarter of 2004, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Tuesday. The percentage of loans in the foreclosure process was 1.08% at the end of the first quarter, a drop from 1.29% in the year-ago period and a drop from 1.15% in the 4th quarter of 2004. The percentage of loans entering the foreclosure process was also down in the quarter. The numbers are all seasonally adjusted."
2005-06-21 13:03PDT (16:03EDT) (20:03GMT)
Padraic Cassidy _MarketWatch_
Red China's Haier in group topping Ripplewood bid to buy out Maytag
"Morgan Keegan analyst, Laura Champine, weighed in on the situation, saying in a Tuesday research note that a Haier acquisition could yield near-term improvements for Maytag by facilitating component sourcing from Asia, Champine said. However, 'we believe that if Haier were to acquire Maytag (along with an active group of investment partners) the company would likely continue to source from the majority of its U.S. plants, and would shrink and perhaps close 2 to 3 higher-cost unionized plants.', she said... 'There could be adverse political ramifications for Haier, [Red China's] state-owned and leading appliance company, from purchasing the highest cost U.S. appliance manufacturer and subsequently moving production to lower-cost locales, either outside the country or to Haier's lower-cost, non-union facility in South Carolina.', he told clients... Maytag, with annual sales of $4.8G, is a household word in the truest sense, counting Hoover vacuum cleaners, Amana ranges and Dixie-Narco soda vending machines among its top brand names. But the company has been dogged by rising steel costs and slipping sales, prompting a sweeping restructuring plan and a 50% dividend cut... The depth of the trouble facing Maytag became apparent in April, when it posted a $7.7M first-quarter profit -- a fifth of what it posted a year earlier -- and halved its earnings outlook for the rest of the year. [For most of a decade, Maytag has danced at the edge of 'dumping' by charging far less for its goods in Red China than it charges for the same items in the USA. Explained the CEO in an interview published 1999 April 24, the people there could not afford to pay US prices. Many businesses executives have asserted that lowered prices in Red China would allow them to establish themselves in the Red Chinese market with hopes of making significant profits in the future. Those profits have yet to be seen.]"
2005-06-21 13:05PDT (16:05EDT) (20:05GMT)
Dan Burrows & William Spain _MarketWatch_
P&G to purchase fellow privacy-violator Gillette for $53G: Cuts into profit view for now, oral-care divestitures likely
Caitlin Kiernan _Times Herald-Record_
Products Made in America no longer offered to US shoppers
"Whether it's clothes or cars, American shoppers say they simply can't find American-made products... The crux of the problem stems from [off-shoring] -- American companies, looking to cut costs, are turning to other countries for cheap labor. According to a study from Meta Group, the off-shore out-sourcing market is worth $10G and is expected to grow 20% annually through 2008. TechsUnite.org, an off-shore job tracker, reported that more than 259K jobs were sent over-seas from 2000 January 1 to 2004 October 12. In the coming year, the U.S.-[Red China] Economic and Security Review Commission predicts that more than 406K U.S. jobs will go over-seas... While Americans benefit from cheaper prices and a wide variety of goods, America's $600G trade deficit continues to grow... Roger Simmermaker, author of _How Americans Can Buy American_...'We vote for our representatives every 2 to 4 years at the polls, but we vote every single day with our money at the stores.'... 'Companies that portray themselves as all-American -- Old Navy, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Hilfiger with all his (American) flag patterns -- aren't even made here. It made me pay attention... Now I want to know that the people who make my clothes have health care if they get hurt or sick and that they have money to feed their families.', [said JC of Middletown]..."
Links to help you find COOL products made in the USA
2005-06-21 20:58PDT (23:58EDT) (2005-06-22 02:58GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Americans want to work past 65, but obstacles bar many
"Whether it's because of health problems, a desire to slow down, or getting laid off and being unable to find new work, sometimes the intention to work long into one's later years goes awry. Among 61-year-old women, women's employment rate falls to 51%, from the peak of 76% among women who are 46 years old, said Elise Gould, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think-tank, in a recent study based on 2004 data. By age 65, 26% of women that age are working. Among men who are 61 years old about 61% work, compared with 89% of those at the peak employment age of 39. By age 65, 36% of men are working... About 40% of retirees say they retired earlier than intended, a consistent finding for years, according to the EBRI survey... 'Who knows whether it's discrimination or not, but older people look expensive and in some cases are expensive. People are skeptical about hiring older workers.', she said. Said Gould, of the EPI: 'Once people become unemployed, these older age groups are much more likely to fall into the ranks of the long-term unemployed. It can take them a much longer time to find jobs.'..."
2005-06-22 05:06PDT (08:06EDT) (12:06GMT)
Michelle R. Smith _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Security flaw exposed CVS purchase data
"The Woonsocket-based drugstore chain, which has issued 50M of the cards, said it would restore web-based access to the information after it creates additional security hurdles. The data security flaw in the ExtraCare card service was exposed Monday by the grass-roots group Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN... CVS has 5,400 stores in 36 states and the District of Columbia."
Dolline Hatchett _US Dept. of Labor_
DoL found Tennessee doctor guilty of violating H-1B visa regulations: Must pay over $1M in back wages
"The U.S. Department of Labor's Administrative Review Board (ARB) has ruled that 17 physicians, hired to work in rural Tennessee clinics under the Immigration and Nationality Act's H-1B visa program, are due over $1M in back wages. The ARB also upheld the assessment of over $100K in civil money penalties for 'willful' violations of the law... The ARB also ruled that Dr. Mohan Kutty, corporate owner of the now-defunct medical clinics where the doctors worked, was personally liable for the back wages and civil money penalties. The review board determined that Kutty could not hide behind the clinics' corporate status to avoid liability. In addition, Kutty was ordered to reimburse the doctors for certain business expenses they incurred as a part of the visa hiring process. The department also found that Kutty violated the statute's anti-retaliation provision by refusing to pay physicians who complained about wage violations and firing seven physicians on the same day that an investigator from the department's Wage and Hour Division arrived at the office to examine records. The ARB debarred Kutty from participating in the visa program for 2 years... An employer must pay an H-1B worker at least the same wage it pays other employees who perform the same type of work or the prevailing wage in the area."
Nicole C. Wong _San Jose Mercury News_
Proportion of women, minorities in IT jobs has plunged since 1996
"Women held 32.4% of IT jobs in 2004, down from 41% eight years earlier, despite holding steady in the overall work-force. And the percentages of Latinos and African-Americans in IT jobs still lag far behind their representation in the work-force, according to the report by the Information Technology Association of America [ITAA, a lobbying firm for IT executives]... The results come as U.S. companies face increasing competition abroad and [amid continuing fraudulent claims of a] talent shortage at home -- with baby boomers edging closer to retirement and student interest in IT continuing to lapse [in response to lack of opportunities and long-term employment and compensation prospects]... Among reasons for the decline, 1 in 3 women in information technology holds (or held) an administrative job, such as entering data or operating computers -- [some of the kinds] of jobs that have taken the brunt of cut-backs in recent years. Women have made up 80% of data-entry keyers since 1996, suggesting they aren't climbing the IT ladder, the report said... Carolyn Leighton, chair of Women In Technology International, is surprised at the loss of ground... When it comes to racial diversity, the presence of African-Americans in IT slid from 9.1% in 1996 to 8.3% in 2004. They held steady in the overall work-force. The Latino presence increased slightly in both IT and the work-force. But Latinos made up only 6.4% of IT workers, compared with 12.9% of the work-force. The percentage of whites has also dropped in IT from 85.1% in 1996 to 82.8% in 2004. Still, whites make up by far the majority of the work-force, both in IT and overall... The report showed that on average IT workers are getting older. The percentage of IT workers 45 and older jumped from 25.3 in 1996 to 35.1 in 2004 [wrote ITAA in an attempt to under-mine continuing charges of rampant age discrimination in the industry]."
2005-06-22 16:59PDT (19:59EDT) (23:59GMT)
_Whittier Daily News_
Federal funds to jail illegal immigrant are a drop in the bucket
"the sum Congress proposes to pay, $405M, isn't nearly enough. Los Angeles County alone estimates that it spends $80M a year to jail illegal immigrants, and the state will receive only about $14M from Washington."
Jay Tea _WizBang_
We've got to make our illegal aliens look more like America
_Cincinnati Post Times Star_
Moving work over-seas hurts small towns
"In 1999, President Bill Clinton visited eastern Kentucky to announce that Florida-based Sykes Enterprises, with $7.6M in incentives from the state, planned to open call centers in Pikeville and Hazard, two cities where coal - not computers - were the basis of the local economy. Sykes eventually wound up training 3K people to take tech calls from personal computer users who were having problems. But by the Spring of last year, some 700 jobs that had been created in the two cities vanished after Sykes shut down the call centers and opened similar facilities in [Red China], India, El Salvador, Costa Rica and the Philippines..."
_San Francisco Business Times_
Cisco may move 40% of manufacturing to Red China
San Jose Mercury News
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal
Biloxi Sun Herald
"Jia-bin Duh, president of Cisco Systems ([Red China]) Networking Technology Co., told a reporter from xinhuafinance.com that 40% of Cisco's out-sourced manufacturing will be done in [Red China] by the end of next year... A corporate spokesman in San Jose said the figures in the news story were accurate but he was unfamiliar with the context in which they were made... According to the Chinese report, Duh said Cisco of San Jose spent 25% or $5G of its out-sourcing budget last year in [Red China]. [Cisco later retracted/disavowed the report.]"
Employers excessive expectations leave tech-workers with the blues
"And according to Hudson, a global staffing and out-sourcing company [i.e. body-shoppers, a sister firm of Monster], IT workers' confidence in their jobs and in the employment market dropped dramatically last month. A Hudson survey showed IT confidence at its lowest point in several years. Industry analysts say [another] spike in lay-offs recently hit the tech sector. The IT and computer industry had the most job cuts of any U.S. sector last month, showing 17,886 losses, according to John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based out-placement company... these losses came on the heels of a year of slow job growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics show that the computer information industry employed 776K workers in 2004. Today that number is closer to 804K... hiring in the IT sector has slowed because so many jobs are either being out-sourced or off-shored. And the IT people who are being hired in-house aren't getting the salaries they once did. Shoer says someone who may have commanded a 6-figure salary 6 years ago, may be bringing in closer to $60K or $65K today."
John C. Dvorak _MarketWatch_
Follow the money... to India
"Out of 86 deals that I counted, at least 20 had something to do with wireless technology in some way or other... But why did India crop up 8 times? While a couple of the listings were indeed pure technology investments, most were infrastructure investments to get better high-speed access into India. I have never seen VC's invest in the service sector like this before. The Indian deals seemed to be more about rigging India for high-speed access to the rest of the world than anything else so that the movement of American jobs off-shore can continue at a rapid pace. If you've been reading the overseas journals, specifically from India you'll discover that the large off-shoring companies think that the real growth market for them is the back office. The contractors are intent on getting large corporations to out-source their back offices to India... Ironically, the American press, which is hardly reporting on this -- except to boost the idea by parroting pro-off-shoring rhetoric, is also at risk. Most reporting today is done over the phone and could be done from Mumbai as easily as San Francisco. C-Net, a major technology news source has already experimented with this process. Whatever the case, the implications of off-shoring the back office are far-reaching and understudied. At first there seemed to be sound economic reasons for unabated off-shoring, until the icon of modern economics Paul Samuelson spoke up and rebuked the logic. Then everyone shut up about the economics and just continued anyway. While I'm not personally a fan of any of this, somehow I expect we'll muddle through it with minor damage."
David Callaway _MarketWatch_
Market timing the real-estate bust
"the economic situation in 1986 and 1987 seem eerily similar to what we're seeing today. A high-priced stock market, a long rally in the bond market, a new chairman of the Federal Reserve -- named Alan Greenspan -- and a booming housing market on both of the coasts... The stock-market crash in 1987 October didn't come until 6 months after the bond market peaked in April of that year and turned south. And the real-estate down-turn and recession that eventually followed didn't come until 5 years after that... Banks collapsed in New England, or were seized by the feds. And the recession cost tens of thousands of jobs, many in the technology industry at the time. But real-estate prices either remained flat or in some overpriced areas fell 15% to 20%. That's a lot, but it's not the 70% collapse we saw when the Nasdaq bubble burst in 2000. And throughout the recession, the stock market remained relatively strong, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the 3K to 4K range before taking off in 1995 after a series of Greenspan rate hikes the year before... We are now five years from the peak of the Nasdaq bubble, but its popping took two years to complete. Indeed, the huge run-up we've seen in shares of homebuilding companies and mortgage financers in the past two years suggests that any significant downturn in real estate could still be some time from now... the Dow Jones U.S. home-construction index is up 60% in the past 12 months... A crisis becomes a crisis because it is not expected."
2005-06-23 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 287,920 in the week ending June 18, a decrease of 27,846 from the previous week. There were 322,481 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending June 11, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,399,505, a decrease of 32,861 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,733,297."
2005-06-23 05:00PDT (08:00EDT) (12:00GMT)
Developers start receiving Intel-based Macintoshes
"The Apple Development Platform ADP2,1, as the systems are officially designated, features 3.6 gigahertz Pentium 4 processors with 2 gigabytes (GB) of L2 cache operating on an 800 megahertz bus with 1GB of memory, according to Think Secret. While the systems run Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger..."
2005-06-23 06:53PDT (09:53EDT) (13:53GMT)
Indian call centers caught selling personal private information of customers
"Police are investigating reports that the bank account details of 1K UK customers, held by Indian call centres, were sold to an undercover reporter. The Sun claims one of its journalists bought personal details including passwords, addresses and passport data from a Delhi IT worker for 4.25 pounds sterling each... The Sun alleged the computer expert told the reporter he could sell up to 200K account details, obtained from fraudulent call centre workers, each month... The Amicus union said it had warned of the 'data protection implications' of off-shoring financial services."
Hope Yen _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Majority of Supremes declare it's fine by them for cities to abuse eminent domain to seize property for private purposes
Los Angeles Times
San Diego Union-Tribune
"Thursday's 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas. As a result, cities now have wide power to bull-doze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue... John Paul Stevens wrote for the majority... joined by Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg & Stephen G. Breyer. Sandra Day O'Connor... issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers... 'Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fall-out from this decision will not be random.', O'Connor wrote. 'The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.' She was joined in her opinion by chief justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Nationwide, more than 10K properties were threatened or condemned in recent years, according to the Institute for Justice, a Washington public interest law firm representing the New London home-owners."
Lisa Friedman _Los Angeles Daily News_
Penalties for hiring illegal aliens have fallen since 1999
"3 US employers were threatened with sanctions in 2004, compared with 162 [in 2003,] and 417 in 1999, Richard M. Stana, director of the homeland security and justice team at the Government Accountability Office, testified Tuesday. Meanwhile, he said, the number of agents devoted to enforcing employer sanctions has dropped by more than half... But although those efforts have led to increased deportations, no employers who were found to have hired the illegal immigrants faced any kind of financial penalty."
Edwin S. Rubinstein _V Dare_
The college educated illegal alien and other myths
"'Around a quarter of the unauthorized population has some college education and the numbers of high school degree holders -- over half -- among the subset is greater than that of their documented peers.', [says a report from the Pew Hispanic Center]... Of course, the Pew study has to concede that nearly half (45%) of the recent illegal [alien] population has not completed high school, as opposed to less than a tenth (9%) of native-born Americans... But do one out of four illegal border crossers really have 'some college'?... Between 25% to 40% of the individuals counted as 'unauthorized' in the Pew report are actually 'overstays' -- persons admitted on temporary visas who either stay beyond the expiration date of their visa or otherwise violate the terms of their admission. This group includes high-tech workers admitted under the H-1b visa program, medical doctors with J-1 visas, and even tourists who travel here for the express purpose of seeking asylum in the United States... Statistical chicanery aside, the plain fact is that the relative education and incomes of successive cohorts of immigrants have deteriorated."
2005-06-23 07:53PDT (10:53EDT) (14:53GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Existing-hom sales fell 0.7% in May to 7.13M units in May
2005-06-23 10:01:12PDT (13:01:12EDT) (17:01:12GMT)
Robert Iafolla _Pasadena Star News_
Baldwin Park braces for more protests against illegal aliens
"The anti-illegal immigration group Save Our State has forced its way into the public eye by sponsoring protests at sites around Southern California, including the Baldwin Park Metrolink station, where it plans to gather again on Saturday... The founder and executive director of SOS, 28-year-old Joseph Turner of Ventura, denies he is racist. He said SOS isn't either. 'If you look at my organization, we have legal immigrants, Hispanics, Asians who show up, blacks who show up, my stepfather is Hispanic, half my family is Hispanic I have no problem with Mexican people.', he said."
Patricia Hurtado _NY NewsDay_
"Sister Ping" convicted of smuggling illegal immigrants
David R. Francis _Christian Science Monitor_
Will the unwatched off-shoring pot boil over?
"India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) calculates India's off-shoring business reached $17.2G in the fiscal year ended in  March, up 34.5% from the year earlier. India's 3K information technology companies export to 150 countries. Software sales alone rose to $12G from $9.2G the year before. The biggest customer by far was the US... NASSCOM already reckons India's out-sourcing industry employs 1M programmers and other skilled workers, and indirectly provides jobs to 2.5M Indians in such areas as transport and catering... Off-shoring could also be 'a significant factor' in the relatively slow job growth after the 1990 recession in the US, holds Rob Atkinson, vice president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a Washington think tank for middle-ground Democrats [i.e. radical leftists]. The loss of jobs to off-shore sites has a 'multiplier effect' on other jobs in the US, he adds."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Same old ITAA propaganda
Malcolm Ritter _AP_/_Orlando Sentinel_
Individual brain cells recognize the famous
"When scientists sampled brain-cell activity in people who were scrutinizing dozens of pictures, they found some cells that reacted to a particular famous person, land-mark, animal or object... [In another case, a single neuron of one volunteer responded to 30 out of 87 images, firing in response to all pictures of a particular actress, but not, or only very weakly, to other famous and non-famous faces, land-marks, animals or objects. The neuron also did not respond to pictures that contained both the famous face to which it had shown a reaction separately and another famous face.] The findings appear in a part of the brain that transforms what people perceive into what they'll eventually remember, said Dr. Itzhak Fried, a senior investigator on the project... The findings do not mean that a particular person or object is recognized and remembered by only one brain cell, Fried said. Nor do they mean that a given brain cell will react to only one person or object, he said, because the study participants were tested with only a relatively limited number of pictures. In fact, some cells were found to respond to more than one person, or to a person and an object. What the study does suggest, Fried and colleagues said in the journal Nature, is that the brain appears to use relatively few cells to record something it sees..."
Martin Crutsinger _AP_/_Pueblo Chieftain_
Existing home sales slowed in May
Albany Times Union
"The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that sales of previously owned homes declined a tiny 0.7% in May after hitting an all-time high in April. However, the May sales pace of 7.13M units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate was the second-highest level on record... Home prices moved higher, to an all-time record of $207K for the median price, the point where half the homes sold for more and half for less... For May, sales of single-family homes declined 1.1% to an annual rate of 6.21M units. Sales of condominiums rose 2.2% to an annual rate of 922K units."
2005-06-24 07:26PDT (10:26EDT) (14:26GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US durable orders soared 5.5%
"Led by demand for new airplanes, orders for U.S.-made durable goods increased 5.5% in May, the biggest increase since March 2004, the Commerce Department said Friday... Total durable-goods orders were boosted by a 165% jump in civilian aircraft orders... Excluding defense, orders rose 5.3%, the largest gain since 2004 March... In May, orders for electronics excluding semiconductors fell 1.2% as orders for communications equipment slipped 0.5%, with orders for computers down 7.0%. Shipments of electronics rose 1.0% last month."
census bureau data
2005-06-24 10:08PDT (13:08EDT) (17:08GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_/_Yahoo!_
India demanding to WTO that US H-1B visa limit be set to 195K
"According to a report today in The Economic Times, India's government has made a proposal to the World Trade Organization demanding that the United States' annual cap for H-1B visas be raised sharply, to 195K. Currently, the annual ceiling for the guest worker visas is [above its 'normal' level of] 65K, along with an additional 20K visas reserved for foreigners with advanced degrees from a U.S. institution [plus 10,500 E visas set aside for Australia; the increase above 65K having been done as a temporary measure in the late 1990s]... 'In the ongoing WTO talks, India has made enhancement of the H1B quota as a key bargaining chip for offering concessions on market access for industrial products and farm goods, highly-placed government officials said.'"
2005-06-24 14:15PDT (17:15EDT) (21:15GMT)
William L. Watts & August Cole _MarketWatch_
US House of Representatives voted to block United Airlines from weaseling out of its pension obligations
"The House of Representatives on Friday passed legislation that would block bankrupt UAL Corp., the parent of United Airlines, from defaulting on its pension liabilities and transferring them to the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corp... For the airline's flight attendants union and congressional opponents to corporate bailouts by the government-backed PBGC, the amendment offers hope that the airline can be turned around while preserving retirement benefits for its employees. The vote also could have far-reaching implications for any company thinking of looking to the PBGC to take over its pension plans... The House voted 219-185 to approve the amendment to an annual spending bill, with 30 Republicans joining Democratic backers to assure passage. The House subsequently passed the spending bill. In May, the federal judge overseeing United's turnaround ruled that the company could offload pensions that cover 119K current and former workers on to the PBGC. The PBGC has agreed to take over pension plans terminated by bankrupt US Airways and UAL Corp. In the case of United, pensions were under-funded by around $9.8G. The PBGC will cover around $6.6G of the obligations, leaving many United employees to receive thousands of dollars less annually."
Antony Sawas _Computer Weekly_
IBM cuts 13K jobs in west while hiring 14K in India
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Chicago Daily Herald
Web Pro News (with illustration)
IBM is planning to hire an extra 14K workers in India this year, as it lays off up to 13K staff in western Europe and the US to cut costs. An internal IBM document, which outlines the Indian expansion, has been leaked to the New York Times by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech)... IBM, already in the process of cutting between 10K and 13K jobs in the U.S. and Europe, is beefing up in presence in developing markets. The company said sales in India grew 45% in 2004, and it employed about 23K there at the end of the year. IBM also has 5 software development centers in the country... The document, a real estate report, shows IBM's staff count in India ballooning from 6K in 2002 to 38K in 2005... The company's overall head-count rose by nearly 10K last year, to 329K employees worldwide by the end of 2004, but its head-count in the U.S. has remained flat for several years, at around 130K.
2005-06-24 13:58PDT (16:58EDT) (20:58GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Oil sends Dow to 6-week low
"The Dow industrials fell 123.60 points, or 1.2% to 10,297.84.The bench-mark index closed out the week with back-to-back triple-digit declines to notch a 5-session losing streak, its worst run of losses in more than 6 months. On the week, the Dow fell 3.1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 17.39 points, or 0.8% to 2,053.27. On the week, the tech-rich index fell 1.8%. The S&P 500 Index was off 9.16 points, or 0.8% at 1,191.57. The broad gauge was off 2.1% on the week."
Jim Puplava _Financial Sense_
Storm Watch Update: The Core Rate
Alcoa announced plans to shut plants, lay off 6,500 in US and Germany
"Alcoa Inc., the world's largest aluminum producer, will cut about 6,500 jobs globally -- or 5% of its [ca. 130K] work force -- in the next year, most of them in its automotive businesses, as part of a restructuring aimed at saving the company $150M a year. The company said it plans to cut about 3,500 jobs in its automotive divisions. The cuts include previously announced plans to shutter its Hawesville, KY, automotive plant, as well as cutting 2,500 jobs in its AFL automotive wire harness business."
Neelesh Misra _AP_/_Tallahassee Demagogue_
India government refused to investigate off-shoring scandal, but perpetrator has been fired
"British police sought help from Interpol on Friday, after a newspaper reported that one of its under-cover reporters bought personal data on 1K British customers from an Indian call-center employee. Karan Bahree, an employee at Infinity eSearch, a web designing company in Gurgaon, a New Delhi suburb that has become a hub of out-sourcing companies, did not report to work Friday but denied any wrong-doing... The allegations have put India's money-spinning out-sourcing industry - with the largest share of call center business in the world - into a corner over whether the customer data to which it has access is safe. The Sun newspaper said it paid 3.00 pounds ($5.40) each for details on the Britons' bank accounts, credit cards, passports and drivers' licenses, including numbers and pass codes. Addresses and phone numbers were also included, the tabloid said."
2005-06-25 13:04PDT (16:04EDT) (20:04GMT)
John Shinal _MarketWatch_
Are light-weight clients and heavy-weight, distributed servers making a come-back?
"The argument was that the corporate world was ready for desktop workstations that were cheap, durable -- thin clients have no moving parts -- and, because the application programs they ran were hosted on distant servers, easy to manage."
On this day in 1963, John F. Kennedy declared that he was a jelly donut.
2005-06-26 16:00PDT (19:00EDT) (23:00GMT)
Paul Waide _MarketWatch_
Red Chinese government, through an array of paper corporations, is on a buying spree
Ethan Gutmann _The Epoch Times_
Say No to Communism Rally
"as an American business consultant in Beijing for several years, I was the recipient of a rather luxurious life-style. To be successful in [Red China], American companies and expats end up rejecting the norms and ethical standards that govern our business practices and our lives at home. In exchange for that 'freedom', we must collude with Communist Party objectives. And in the process, we join the Chinese people in a generalized state of moral erosion - complying with a state-enforced lie - a matrix, a simulacrum of a modern society, a 'New China'. And we export these lies... our presentation of [Red China] to visitors (where we eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive and explain that American business is the long-term catalyst for human rights in [Red China]); our daily rhetoric... our bribes to government officials (for Motorola in the 1990s, 3% of budget, about $60M a year); our willingness to sell dual-use commercial technologies with military applications to [Red China]; (the most recent and damaging manifestation - the construction of high-end research and development plants throughout [Red China], led by IBM, Intel, Honeywell, M$, and Motorola)... Nortel Senior Engineer assured me that they had developed a 100% packet capture system, specifically designed 'to catch Falun Gong'. Cisco's booth dwarfed the others. An entrance ringed by video screens showed dramatizations of American police frisking suspects, brandishing Cisco mobile hand-sets that linked directly to data-bases and surveillance footage from stores, waiting rooms, bath-rooms and other public places. This presentation of America as an efficient police state (with no pesky search warrants required to access confidential data-bases or private surveillance) were juxtaposed with optimistic sound bites by John Chambers. Cisco's PowerPoint presentation, 'The CISCO Network Solution for the Gold Shield Project' contained phrases such as 'Telephone solutions for Police Surveillance', and 'Video Surveillance Solutions for the Increase of Social Stability'. A systems engineer from Cisco's Shanghai Branch, Mr. Zhou Li, gave me an enthusiastic sales pitch for the launch of Cisco's 'policenet' technology... Assisting the construction of the world's greatest Big Brother Internet is not some sort of relativist by-product of globalization. It's a deeply destructive act. "
Adam Geller _AP_/_Burlington Free Press_
Out-sourcing to the heart-land: Programmers try to program in less expensive rural areas in a race to the bottom
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
"After 2 rounds of lay-offs, Ellen Wagner still had a job -- training the programmers brought in from India to replace her co-workers. But frustrated and tired... The slate-blue cubicles around hers, decorated with pictures of faraway skylines, house programmers from Chicago, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, FL... Eagan, MN-based CrossUSA, is one of a few mostly smaller firms trying this blend of business plan and social experiment... In Jonesboro, AR, and Portales, NM, startup Rural Sourcing Inc. has opened programming centers staffed by fresh [cheap] graduates of nearby universities, working for less to stay close to home. The company also is setting up in NC and WV... [bodyshops, all, with nary a REAL job in sight]"
2005-06-27 08:45PDT (11:45EDT) (15:45GMT)
John Borland _CNET_
Supremes rule against file distribution: p2p companies such as Grokster can be held responsible for copyright piracy
"In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled companies that build businesses with the active intent of encouraging copyright infringement should be held liable for their customers' illegal actions."
2005-06-27 10:36PDT (13:36EDT) (17:36GMT)
_Tech Web News_
India's government pushing USA to triple numbers of H-1B visas
"According to The Economic Times, India will offer a quid pro quo if the number of visas is bumped up. 'India has made enhancement of the H1B quota as a key bargaining chip for offering concessions on market access for industrial products and farm goods.', highly-ranking [Indian] government officials told the Times. [The Indian government made the proposals to both the US government and WTO.]"
_Devonshire Marketing_/_Source Wire_
Traditional resume data-bases to become extinct
"Move To Permissions-Based Access, Anonymity and Greater Candidate Control Over Individual Data Will Change The Way People's Skills Are Marketed. Traditional data-bases containing the personal details of thousands of job applicants and their CVs will become a thing of the past, according to personal records management specialists, PAOGA Ltd. The move to permissions-based access, anonymity and the candidate's desire for greater control over their individual data will change the way people's skills are shared and marketed to external organisations and third parties. Legislation and growing concern over data leakage and personal privacy protection are forcing recruitment companies, as well as internal HR departments, to rethink their long term data retention strategies, particularly with regards to holding personal information. It is imperative to understand who owns data and the rights that data owners have under various legislative instruments such as Data Protection Act, Recruitment Agency Act. 'For too long, the recruitment market has traded on simply moving CVs from one place to another and charging 15-25% of a candidate's salary for the privilege. A new age of personal data management is about to materialise.', said Graham Sadd, CEO of PAOGA Ltd."
Ed Frauenheim _Ziff Davis_
H-1B visas are behind women's decline in IT
Bill Gertz _Washington Times_
Thefts of US Technology Have Boosted Red China's Weaponry
"[Red China] is stepping up its overt and covert efforts to gather intelligence and technology in the United States, and the activities have boosted Beijing's plans to rapidly produce advanced-weapons systems... 'In the military area, the rapid development of their blue-water navy -- like the Aegis weapons systems -- in no small part is probably due to some of the research and development they were able to get from the United States.', he said... The [Red Chinese] intelligence services use a variety of methods to spy, including traditional intelligence operations targeting U.S. government agencies and defense contractors. Additionally, the [Red Chinese] use hundreds of thousands of Chinese visitors, students and other nonprofessional spies to gather valuable data, most of it considered 'open source', or unclassified information... [Red China's] spies use as many as 3,200 front companies -- many run by groups linked to the [Red Chinese] military -- that are set up to covertly obtain information, equipment and technology, U.S. officials say. Recent examples include front businesses in Milwaukee, WI; Trenton, NJ; and Palo Alto, CA, Mr. Szady said... One recent case involved 2 Chinese students at the University of Pennsylvania who were found to be gathering nuclear submarine secrets and passing them to their father in [Red China], a senior military officer involved in that country's submarine program... 'It's pervasive.', Mr. Szady said. 'It's a massive presence, 150K students, 300K delegations in the New York area. That's not counting the rest of the United States, probably 700K visitors a year. They're very good at exchanges and business deals, and they're persistent.'... [Red China] gleans most of its important information not from spies but from unwitting American visitors to [Red China] -- from both the U.S. government and the private sector -- who are 'serially indiscreet' in disclosing information sought by Beijing, Mr. Moore said in a recent speech. In the past several years, U.S. nuclear laboratory scientists were fooled into providing [Red Chinese] scientists with important weapons information during discussions in [Red China] through a process of information elicitation -- asking questions and seeking help with physics 'problems' that the [Red Chinese] are trying to solve, he said... [Red China's] government also uses influence operations designed to advance pro-Red Chinese policies in the United States and to prevent the U.S. government from taking tough action or adopting policies against Beijing's interests, FBI officials said... Many U.S. firms doing business in [Red China], including such giants as Coca-Cola, Boeing and General Motors, use their lobbyists on behalf of Beijing... 'We see the [Red Chinese] going to these companies to ask them to lobby on their behalf on certain issues', Mr. Guerin said, 'whether it's most-favored-nation trade status, [World Health Organization], Falun Gong or other matters.' The [Red Chinese] government also appeals directly to members of Congress and congressional staff. U.S. officials revealed that [Red China's] embassy in Washington has expanded a special section in charge of running influence operations, primarily targeting Congress. The operation, which includes 26 political officers, is led by Su Ge, a [Red Chinese] government official. The office frequently sends out e-mail to selected members or staff on Capitol Hill, agitating for or against several issues, often related to Taiwan affairs. Nu Qingbao, one of Mr. Su's deputies, has sent several e-mail [messages] to select members and staff warning Congress not to support Taiwan. The e-mails have angered Republicans who view the influence operations as communist meddling. 'The [Red Chinese], like every other intelligence agency or any other government, are very much engaged in trying to influence, both covertly and overtly.', Mr. Szady said... Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a part of the Department of Homeland Security, is concerned because the number of high-profile cases of illegal [Red Chinese] technology acquisition is growing... one recent case of a South Korean businessman who sought to sell advanced night-vision equipment to [Red China] highlights the problem... As with [Red China's] military build-up, [Red China's] drive for advanced technology with military applications has been under-estimated by the U.S. intelligence community... 16 key advances in [Red Chinese] technology -- all with military implications -- in the past 6 months alone... Unlike the United States, [Red China] does not distinguish between civilian and military development. The same factories in [Red China] that make refrigerators [or cars] also are used to make long-range ballistic missiles."
Rebecca MacKinnon _Yale Global_
Aided by US technology firms, Red Chinese government tightens its control of information flow
"the [Red Chinese] government has cracked down on on-line freedom of expression. Thanks to deals with multinational corporations, US technology has facilitated Beijing's campaign to restrict internet discussions on troublesome issues like democracy, human rights, and Taiwanese independence. 'Granular' technologies developed by US information technology giants enable installation of a powerful mesh of filters to control information flow: State-of-the art routers automatically track individual internet users and even filter out sub-pages from larger sites. As a result, says MacKinnon, 'the picture of the world as seen by most Chinese internet users is heavily skewed in the regime's favor.' Western companies have felt increasing public pressure to take more responsibility for [Red China's] [abuses] of their products, even spurring US legislation to support freedom on the internet. Despite the multi-nationals' claims of innocence – and ignorance – more and more critics, like MacKinnon, are calling for 'consequences for companies found to be deliberately aiding censorship and political repression'."
Lisa Vaas _eWeek_
CWA Calls for Repeal of the H-1B Visa Program
"Claiming that the H-1B visa program has 'proven to be abusive of domestic workers in several ways', the Communications Workers of America union has passed a resolution condemning program abuses and called for the program's immediate repeal... the straw that broke the camel's back was President Bush's FY2003 budget proposal, which proposes the elimination of a technical skills training program for American workers that is funded by the $1K fees paid by employers that file for H-1Bs. The Bush administration wants to shift some $138M out of the current H-1B visa-generated training account and apply it, and all future funds, to faster processing of permanent foreign labor certifications -- a move the CWA derided in its resolution as adding insult to injury.
2005-06-28 11:09PDT (14:09EDT) (18:09GMT)
Consumer Confidence Hits 3-Year High (graph)
"The Conference Board said its June reading on confidence rose to 105.8 from a revised reading of 103.1 in May... the percentage of consumers who believe jobs are 'hard to get' decreasing to 22.9% from 24.1%. But the percentage of those claiming jobs are 'plentiful' was virtually unchanged at 22.6%. For the first time in nearly 3 years, the percentage of consumers saying jobs are 'hard to get' did not exceed the percentage saying jobs are 'plentiful'."
2005-06-28 13:33PDT (16:33EDT) (20:33GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Wall Street closes high
"U.S. stocks tallied their biggest gains in 6 weeks Tuesday as a sharp pull-back in crude-oil prices from record highs and an upbeat report on consumer confidence emboldened investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 114.85 points, or 1.1%, at 10,405.63 while the Nasdaq Composite Index popped 24.69 points, or 1.2%, to 2,069.89 and the S&P 500 added 10.88 points, or 0.9%, to 1,201.57 -- marking the largest point gains for each of the major indexes since May 18."
2005-06-28 23:59PDT (2005-06-29 02:59EDT) (2005-06-29 06:59GMT)
Douglas E. Beeman _Press-Enterprise_/_Staff Digest_
Hemet's Valley Health System board backed away Monday night from a proposal to hire its key business partner, Dr. Kali P. Chaudhuri, to recruit foreign nurses for $50K apiece.
Cynthia A. Kroll _UCB Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics_
State and Metropolitan Area Impacts of Off-Shore Out-Sourcing (pdf)
"close to 15M people, or 11.7% of the employed labor force, are in white-collar occupations at-risk to off-shoring... A firm can get services done through out-sourcing without the added costs of health care and other benefits normally given to a full-time employee. Out-sourcing can occur domestically or across international borders. Off-shoring occurs when a company obtains goods or services that were once produced in-house from across international borders. The inputs may be obtained from another firm (off-shore out-sourcing) or from a foreign branch or subsidiary of the firm (as with many multi-national enterprises)... Off-shoring has been [done in] manufacturing sectors for at least 3 decades... Manufacturing sectors that off-shored in the 1980s and 1990s tended to shed production jobs, while white-collar jobs expanded and the gap between blue- and white-collar wages widened... between 1979 and 2003, US manufacturing employment dropped by over 25%, to 14.3M, of which about 70% were in blue-collar, 'production' occupations. Over the same period manufacturing output rose by about 40% in real terms, imports grew from 16% to 20% of total personal consumption expenditures, and US total wage and salary employment rose by 45%... Samuelson (2004) argues that a shift in competitive advantage (e.g. increasing numbers of highly trained workers in [Red China]) could ultimately shift the terms of trade and lead to a net reduction in benefits from trade. He points particularly to the wage vulnerability of workers in occupations that may be off-shored... many of these occupations are in what are normally the fastest growing sectors of the economy. For example, between 1990 and 1998 (prior to the [alleged] dot-com boom), total non-farm employment in the US grew by 14.2%, employment in the information sector grew by 18.2%, and professional and business services employment grew by 37.5%."
Guest-worker visa promoter appointed to HHS advisory board
"Eminent Indian physician Dr. Sampat Shivangi has been appointed Advisor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, according to a Bush Administration announcement. Other prominent members on [the National Advisory Council] are Dr. Terry Daniel Dickinson, Dr. Barabara Jean Doty, Bernard L. Osberg, Dawn Morton, Gwendolyn Spears, Robert J. Trenschel, and Laura Wylie... He has lobbied President George W. Bush personally using every opportunity whenever he met with him, to push the issues of tort reform, and the H-1B and J1 visa issue for physicians from India training in the US."
_Oil & Gas Journal_
SEC clears Unocal stock-holders to vote 2005-08-10 on Chevron offer
Joe McDonald _AP_/_Contra Costa Times_
US-trained oil-man leads Red China's bid to take over Unocal
Monterey county Herald
"The chairman of CNOOC Ltd. and the public face of its $18.5G bid for Unocal Corp. prides himself on his - and his company's - Western ways. CEO Fu Chengyu speaks fluent English, earned his master's degree in Los Angeles [USC]... Fu went to work for China National Offshore Oil Corp. when it was created in 1982 to make deals with foreign partners to drill for oil in China's coastal waters. The company is the mainland parent of Hong Kong-based CNOOC Ltd., [Red China's] third-largest oil company... CNOOC Ltd. was created in 1999 as the Hong Kong arm of its Chinese parent. The parent bestowed on the new firm its plum asset - a monopoly on oil and gas drilling in China's coastal waters, which makes it a sought-after partner for foreign oil companies. Creating such a Hong Kong base is a popular first step for [Red Chinese] state 'firms' that venture abroad... The [Red Chinese] parent owns 70% of CNOOC, but the Hong Kong firm has taken the unusual step for a state-controlled company of naming 4 independent directors, including Kenneth Courtis, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia, and retired Shell executive Evert Henkes."
_South Bend Tribune_
Red China's bid to take over Unocal alarms law-makers: Security threat is apparent
Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram
US top business executives are divided over Red Chinese bid to buy Unocal
Diane M. Grassi _Magic City Morning Star_
In Red China's bid to take over Unocal there is more than meets the eye
"The 2005-06-23 announcement by [Red China]’s largest state-owned company, China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC Ltd.) of an unsolicited bid for Unocal, a California-based United States oil company and ninth in U.S. oil production, has been received with considerable reservations. It is that which is not known about the bid and its motivations which present a tremendous task ahead for the U.S. Congress and Wall Street. A Communist country wishing to embed itself in the U.S. economy with ramifications tied to national security is unprecedented, along with it actually being taken seriously by the U.S. government."
Terry Gavalda _Miami Herald_
CAFTA will bring more suffering
"We oppose CAFTA because it stands to bring more of the suffering brought on by NAFTA. CAFTA will not improve democracy (and therefore prevent terrorism) in the Central American region. This is just another scare tactic. In addition, CAFTA only requires the countries involved to 'enforce current labor laws', seemingly ignoring the fact that International Labor Organization standards are seldom, if ever, met. If CAFTA truly were an agreement to improve the lives of the Central American and Dominican people, it would outline more substantial protections for exploited workers."
2005-06-29 10:35PDT (13:35EDT) (17:35GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Senate finance committee approved CAFTA
Larry Margasak _AP_/_Guardian Unlimited_
US Labor Department blocked release of reports critical of labor practices in CAFTA countries
San Francisco Chronicle
"The Labor Department worked for more than a year to maintain secrecy for studies that were critical of working conditions in Central America, the region the Bush administration wants in a new trade pact. The contractor hired by the department in 2002 to conduct the studies has become a major opponent of the administration's proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA. The government-paid studies concluded that countries proposed for free-trade status have poor working environments and fail to protect workers' rights... The contractor is the International Labor Rights Fund. In a summary of its findings, the organization wrote, 'In practice, labor laws on the books in Central America are not sufficient to deter employers from violations, as actual sanctions for violations of the law are weak or non-existent.'... Behind the scenes, the Labor Department began as early as 2004 Spring to block public release of the country-by-country reports."
Katie Farber _Human Events_
Guest-Worker proposal lured more illegal immigrants
"Illegal immigration has risen as a direct result of President Bush’s 'Temporary Guest Worker' proposal of 2004-01-07, which is broadly interpreted by foreigners as an 'amnesty program', according to the U.S. Border Patrol Survey Analysis by Judicial Watch... 45% of illegal immigrants crossed state borders as a result of interpretation of the proposal and rumors of amnesty given by the Bush administration. However, administration canceled the intended 6-month survey after only 3 weeks because 'the results indicated that President Bush's proposal had actually lured greater numbers of illegal immigrants to violate the law', the analysis states."
Shortage of IT employers
"The study reveals a grim job market for U.S. IT workers. The total number of IT jobs in the U.S. has diminished 8% - from 4.882M in 2000 down to 4.469M in 2004. Over 100K new graduates entered the IT work-force each year during that period, and a few hundred thousand more entered on non-immigrant visas, such as H-1B and L-1. Women comprise 32.4% of the IT work-force, or 1.448M workers. Of these skilled female IT workers, 92K, or 6.4%, are unemployed. Combined with the 124K unemployed skilled male IT workers, U.S. employers are failing to utilize nearly 250K skilled U.S. IT workers... 'U.S. employers are simply not creating enough jobs for skilled IT workers, causing upwards of 15% of IT professional to be displaced from the profession in the past 4 years.', states Kim Berry, president of the Programmers Guild. 'Therefore our organization urges Congress to create a visa category to attract the best and brightest foreign employers to the U.S. – on the condition that they exclusively hire unemployed U.S. workers for their IT slots.' This shortage of qualified employers is dissuading new college graduates... According to USCIS data for 2002, women comprised only 24% of temporary work visa admissions and only 15% of inter-company transfer admissions."
Jay Vegso _CRA Bulletin_/_NACE_
Starting Salaries for New Grads NACE
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Paul Kallender _ComputerWorld_
Gates warns Japanese executives against reliance on out-sourcing for core business activities: Urges R&D investment
"Companies should not out-source their core business functions and staff, M$ Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates told a group of Japan's top businessmen today. Gates, who was speaking at the Nippon Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), Japan's biggest and most influential business group [lobbyists], urged IT companies to beware of out-sourcing too much to save costs and to keep their key engineering resources and intellectual property at home. 'If you rely too much on people in other companies and countries... you are out-sourcing your brains, where you are making all the innovation.', he said."
Bama Athreya & Nora Ferm _International Labor Rights Fund_
Labor Conditions in Sugar Industry in Central America
"The reports present new evidence of the failures of Central American governments to effectively enforce labor protections, despite these governments' repeated promises and public statements that they would improve their domestic labor laws... [Under CAFTA] Central American sugar workers will have no new alternatives to relieve them of the burden of the daily violations they face..."
Send e-mail to ILRF for copies of the reports.
John R. Lott _Lew Rockwell_
More "Assault Weapons", Less Crime
2005-06-29 22:29PDT (2005-06-30 01:29EDT) (05:29GMT)
Herb Greenberg _MarketWatch_
Media is too negative on USA
"Americans think the press is too critical of America. That's the word from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. They were talking about political coverage, but they might as also be referring to business reporting. That's the same message I get more often than you would believe from readers who, for whatever reason, think that questioning the quality of a company's earnings or doubting management is akin to trying to rip apart the very things that make America great."
2005-06-30 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 285,637 in the week ending June 25, a decrease of 4,010 from the previous week. There were 318,746 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 1.9% during the week ending June 18, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,407,825, an increase of 11,786 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.2% and the volume was 2,720,586."
Paul Nowell _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Bank of India to buy MBNA in $35G deal
"Bank of [India Corp., formerly Bank of America] on Thursday said it will acquire MBNA Corp. in a $35G cash and stock deal that will result in 6K [more] jobs cuts but transform the nation's third-largest bank into one of the world's largest [kredit kkkard] issuers. MBNA President and CEO Bruce L. Hammonds, 57, will become CEO and president of Bank of [India KKKard] Services and report to Liam E. McGee, 50, president of Bank of [India] global consumer and small business banking. Hammonds will remain in Wilmington, DE, where MBNA is head-quartered, and be part of Bank of [India's] risk and capital committee."
2005-06-30 10:51PDT (13:51EDT) (17:51GMT)
Frank Barnako _MarketWatch_
CNET reported for sale
"Several major media companies have reportedly been in discussions to acquire CNET Group Inc., according to a New York Post report. 'What makes CNET attractive is its huge amount of traffic.', a source said to be familiar with the discussions told the newspaper. Investment banks are also reported vying to represent CNET in acquisition talks, the Post added."
Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act
"At a Capitol Hill news conference today, FAIR president Dan Stein joined with representative Charlie Norwood (R-GA) to throw the organization’s support behind the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act (CLEAR). The legislation would greatly enhance the immigration enforcement capability of the Department of Homeland Security by enlisting the assistance and cooperation of local law enforcement agencies. Recent estimates place the illegal alien population of the U.S. at more than 12M, with an additional 700K new illegal aliens settling permanently each year."
2005-06-30 13:42PDT (16:42EDT) (20:42GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Fed hikes rates, again
"As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee boosted its target for short-term interest rates Thursday by a quarter percentage point to 3.25% and signaled further rate hikes are coming."
Curt Monash _ComputerWorld_
M$ is biggest R&D out-sourcer: Gates's words contradict M$ action
"The first major software product ever developed in India was Visual Basic -- yes kiddies, VB 1.0 was developed by an Indian professional services firm [body shop]... most major M$ products were originally based on technology acquired from outside the company. Subsequent development has been kept tightly in-house, and in the vast majority of cases in fact done in the metropolitan Seattle area. But key R&D brought in from the outside includes the antecedents to MS-DOS, Windows NT, SQL Server, Visual Studio, FrontPage, and PowerPoint, [Access]."
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Computer programming for $15 per hour?
"$15 per hour for a computer programmer makes the position fall below the 10th percentile for the programming occupation both nationally. And in California, where the job is said to be located, it's less than what some security guards make... Even so, the ad's wage does make one wonder if guest worker visas and the rise of off-shoring are undermining U.S. tech careers -- and by extension threatening the country's tech leadership."
2005-06-30 13:31PDT (16:31EDT) (20:31GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Stocks drop in response to Fed rate hike announcement
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 99.51 points, or 1%, at 10,274.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended 11.93 points, or 0.6%, lower at 2,056.96 and the S&P 500 lost 8.52 points, or 0.7%, to 1,191,33. During the first half of the trading year, ended Thursday, the Dow has shed 4.7% of its value, the Nasdaq composite has fallen 5.4%, and the S&P 500 has lost 1.7%... some had hoped that the Fed would drop strong hints that the tightening cycle will end soon."
Lingua publica (quotes)
Alan S. Brown _Mechanical Engineering_
Where the engineers are: Off-shoring
"It just costs less. Bids are typically less than half those of U.S. competitors... According to Monica Schnitger, vice president at market researcher Daratech Inc., there are only 500K 3-D CAD desk-tops compared with 5M 2-D CAD desk-tops. Only about 1% to 2% of 2-D desk-tops convert to 3-D CAD each year. Repetitive, low-level engineering work rarely justifies hiring new engineers. Off-shore engineers give U.S. companies an alternative... Cultural issues often compound gaps in first-hand knowledge... According to Hergenroether, BWIR's Indian engineers can promise too much. 'They'll work 20 hours a day', he said, 'and when they miss a deadline, they'll say that they worked very hard.' [Just like Americans.] Experienced companies have worked through such issues. Still, the best way to bridge cultural and knowledge gaps is to bring foreign engineers to the United States to work directly with customers. 'We found it important to bring a person over here so he can understand the product and its background.', Kumar said. 'When he goes back, he can train others to carry on the work.' Thousands of foreign professionals have entered the United States under H-1B and L-1 temporary visas, according to Ronil Hira, an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology and vice president of career activities for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The trend is most apparent in information technology, where foreign workers on visas have replaced more expensive domestic employees... 'As manufacturing and engineering grow more complex and move up the value chain, the pull toward local engineering gets stronger.', said Thomas Palley, a senior economist at the U.S.-[Red China] Economic Security Commission... Establishing technology centers in developing nations exposes companies to certain risks, such as intellectual property theft. [Red China], in particular, is well known for knock-offs of everything from designer clothing to consumer electronics... Hira estimates that there are 900K foreign professionals working in the United States under temporary visas. Many are employed in information technology. A single Indian firm, Tata Consultancy Services [a cross-border body shop], employs more than 5K foreign consultants in the U.S.A. Often, they directly replace domestic workers. Cost is the driver. Hira points to a $15M State of Indiana IT contract with Tata that called for 65 guest workers as programmers earning an average of $36K per year. This is far less than the starting salary of a newly graduated computer science major. Indiana canceled the contract because of political pressure. Yet lower costs remain a powerful inducement to private companies. Electronic Data Services, for example, plans to eliminate 20K U.S. and European jobs and add 20K workers in low-wage nations. Other large IT companies have similar initiatives. 'We're already seeing wage pressure.', Hira said. 'We've expanded the supply, but not the demand. When IEEE did its annual salary survey, we found electrical engineering salaries were down a few thousand dollars for the first time since the survey started in 1972. Unemployment is at record levels for electrical and software engineers.' According to the IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, even when unemployment rose as high as 9.5% during the 1980s, it never exceeded 2% for electrical and electronics engineers. Yet between 2000 and 2004, employment fell 24% for programmers, 23% for electrical and electronics engineers, and 16% for computer scientists and analysts. The number of IT systems managers rose 48% since someone needs to manage foreign workers. Hira believes that out-sourcing jobs is displacing some higher-paid domestic professionals."
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