Economic News 1999 February

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updated: 2018-03-30
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John H. Auten _Treasury_
Remarks to the Public Securities Association Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee

1999 February
Publicly Announced Lay-Offs for 1999 February
"Initial claims for unemployment insurance had been running a little higher than expected earlier this year (about 350K after seasonal adjustment).   This began to raise some doubts as to the pace of current activity.   Downward-revised data released last week paint a different and more encouraging picture.   Initial claims have been lowered to a level (near 300K) that is more consistent with strong growth and tight labor markets."


1999-02-05 05:58PST (08:58EST) (13:58GMT)
January pay-roll rise of 245K; jobless rate remains 4.3%
"Muting the gains was a sharp downward revision in the December non-farm pay-rolls increase to 298K from the originally reported 378K."


_PEN archives_
79,667 lay-offs announced in January
"Businesses announced in January that they would cut 79,667 jobs, a 10% increase from 1998 January, according to data released by out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   In December, Challenger tracked 103,166 job-cut announcements, the largest one-month total since 1994 January. The 1998 lay-off total hit 677,795..."

Henry S. Farber _Princeton_
alternative and part-time employment arrangements as a response to job loss
(Also published in David Neumark 2000 _On the Job: Is Long-Term Employment a Thing of the Past?_ Chapter11 pp398-426)

"Bit by bit, day by day, we are being seduced by politicians promising security as they take away our sovereignty, promising prosperity as they gnaw away at our privacy." --- Steve Forbes 1999-02-17 _Wired_

1999-02-24 (5759 Adar 07)
Walter E. Williams _Jewish World Review_
Population control nonsense
"Ted Turner... This father of 5 said we could achieve the 'ideal' world population of 2G people, as opposed to today's 6G, 'if everybody adopted a one-child policy for 100 years'.   How did Turner arrive at the ideal population?...   We could put the world's entire population into the United States.   Doing so would make our population density 1,531 people per square mile.   That's a far lower population density than what now exists in New York (11,440), Los Angeles (9,126) and Houston (7,512)...   Poor countries are rife with agricultural restrictions, export and import controls, restrictive licensing and price controls, not to mention gross human rights abuses that encourage their most productive people to emigrate.   The most promising anti-poverty tool for poor people and poor countries is personal liberty."

Daniel Gold _TimSizing_/_NY Times_
Virtual Jobs, Actual Layo-Offs, by Daniel Gold NY Times pp. 3-11
"In a study of lay-offs over the last 6 years, Challenger, Gray & Christmas... has found that the computer industry, considered a prime source of job growth, is also a leader in job loss...   From 1993 through 1998... the computer industry [273K job cuts, from chart] ranked third in down-sizing, [out-done] only by aerospace [373K] and retailing [280K]...   Companies in more than 30 industries announced a combined 3.1M lay-offs; [the top] 7... accounted for more than half the total."

1999 February
Lay-Off Stories

1999 February
National Coalition for the Homeless Fact Sheet #4
"Not only have wages stagnated or declined over the last 2 decades, but job stability and job security have deteriorated.   The share of workers in 'long term jobs' (those lasting at least 10 years) fell sharply between 1979 and 1996, with the worst deterioration taking place since the end of the 1980s ('The State of Working America' Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein, and JohnSchmitt, 1999).
  Another measure of job stability, involuntary job loss, has increased in recent years.   Displaced workers face difficulty finding new employment; when they do find work, their new jobs pay, on average, about 13% less than the jobs they lost.   And more than one-fourth of those who had health insurance on their old jobs don't have it at their new ones (Mishel, Bernstein, and Schmitt, 1999).
  Another trend impacting job security is non-standard work.   Almost 30% of workers in 1997 were employed in non-standard work arrangements -- for example, independent contracting, working for a temporary help agency, day labor, and regular part-time employment (Mishel, Bernstein, and Schmitt, 1999).   These kinds of work arrangements typically offer lower wages, fewer benefts, and less job security.
  A useful measure of the decline in job security is under-employment.   Unlike the unemployment rate, measures of under-employment reflect not only individuals who are unemployed, but also involuntary part-timers and those who want to work but have been discouraged by their lack of success.   In 1997, the under-employment rate stood at 8.9%, substantially higher than the 4.9% unemployment rate.   One reason for the higher level of under-employment is the increasing number of involuntary part-time workers -- workers who want to work full time but have only been able to obtain part time work."

1999 February
Elizabeth Mallor Walder ( 847-470-2525 1999-02-??
"Computer Law: New H-1B Provisions Protect Alien Employees" _Chicago Computer Guide_ pg 20
"Due to American high-tech industry's increasing demand of [sic] foreign-born professionals, the US Congress passed a legislation [sic] in [1998] October to increase [the] H-1B annual cap of 65K visas to 115K in FYs 1999 & 2000, & 107.5K in FY 2001.   The cap then reverts to 65K in FY2002."

1999 February
Diane Kunde _Dallas Morning News_
93% use internet postings to recruit
"A recent American Management Association survey of 344 firms found that 93% use internet postings & 96% use news-paper classifieds for recruiting, while 59% post jobs electronically.   Still, the percentage of employers doing cyber recruiting tripled in 2 years.   And an additional 13% of firms plan to move some recruiting on-line, the management group said."

1999 February
David Ehrenfeld _Tikkun_
The coming collapse of the age of technology
"Our NAFTA strategy has cost this country tens of thousands of jobs, reduced our food security, and thrown our neighbor, Mexico, into social, economic, and environmental turmoil; is this an adequate repayment for the dollars and time we have spent on free trade?....   Techno-economic globalization is nearing its apogee; the system is self-destructing...   the emergence of new, ecologically influenced diseases, and the resurgence of old diseases, including, for example, the recent discovery of locally transmitted malaria in New Jersey, New York City, Michigan, Toronto, California, and Texas; the spread of antibiotic resistance among pathogenic bacteria; and finally the catastrophic growth of the human population, far exceeding the earth's carrying capacity—all of these things associated with the techno-economic system now in place...   A second example of the effects of obsolescence is the wholesale forgetting of useful skills and knowledge—everything from how to operate a lathe to how to identify different species of earth-worms.   Whole branches of learning are disappearing from the universities.   The machine is jettisoning both knowledge and diversity (a special kind of information) simultaneously..."

1999 February
_Career Choices_
Recruiting Trends
"This year's college labor market will be as robust as that experienced last year.   Nevertheless employers are somewhat cautious and expressed concern about a possible spring slowdown in the economy.   The continuing economic difficulties experienced by Southeast Asian countries is still having a negative impact on the U.S. economy...   The need for new personnel with college training is reflected in the salaries that are currently being paid.   In 1998 April the starting salary offer for new graduates with bachelor degrees in selected computer fields were as follows: hardware design and development--$43,312; computer engineering--$43,436; software design and development-$43,890; computer programming-$39,301; systems analysis and design-$39,257; management information systems-$38,564...   According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29% of workers employed by temporary placement firms remain at the same job assignment for a year or more.   The IRS claims that many companies should classify such workers as common-law employees and not as independent contractors.   As such they would be eligible for employee benefits.   In a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit this interpretation was upheld.   This decision will stand since the Supreme Court refused to review this decision.   In the near future an increasing number of such workers are expected to sue to gain such a classification.   Temp firms are of course displeased by this ruling since much of their business involves placing workers in long-term assignments...   75% of all high school graduates enter the work force before they receive a bachelor's degree.   The National Alliance of Business, a nonprofit organization which deals with education issues, cited a survey by the Public Agenda Foundation of New York that only 16% of employers screened their job applicants for their academic performance.   In the same survey 84% of students claimed they would have worked harder in school if they knew that prospective employers were going to look at their transcripts...   In 1970 52% of high school graduates enrolled in college, compared to 66% today.   Nearly one-third of all entering freshmen require remedial courses.   At community colleges about 50% need remediation.   The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that the average person in the United States held 8.6 jobs between ages 18 and 33.   This includes part-time and summer work.   Between 18 and 22 the average number was 4.4...   the situation continues to be dismal for those seeking tenure-granting faculty positions.   Ph.D.s in engineering or in business and management are the only groups that have a decent chance to obtain such positions.   Universities are still turning out far too many Ph.D.s.   In 1997 42,705 Ph.D.s were conferred, compared to 42,415 in 1996."

1999 February
Sheryl Silver _NJ_
National Engineer Week and Jobs Outlook
"Electrical and electronic engineers, for example, had a challenging year last year in terms of employment.   According to Chris Currie, external communications supervisor for the Washington, DC-headquartered Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-U.S.A. [IEEE-USA], 'Although it does appear that salary growth for early career engineers remained strong and that opportunities for this group of engineers continued to grow in telecommunications and Internet companies among others, the Asian flu had a significant impact on engineers in the semi-conductor and electronics industries, prompting a sizeable number of lay-offs.   In early 1998, unemployment among electrical and electronic engineers in the U.S. was just 0.4%.   By the 3rd quarter of 1998, the rate was up to 3.4%.'"

1999 Winter
Dean Baker _National Institute for Research Advancement_
The Real Importance of a Global Economy

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