Economic News 1999 March

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updated: 2018-03-30
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1999-03-04 06:02PST (09:02EST) (14:02GMT)
Seasonally adjusted jobless claims down 8K
"The number of initial claims was 286K, compared with the revised total of 294K for the week before...   The 4-week average of claims...declined to 290,750 from a revised 293K the previous week.   The current figure is the lowestsince the 287,500 average of the 4 weeks ended 1989-02-24.   The total number of Americans receiving unemployment insurance benefits declined by 94K to 2.194M from 2.288M in the prior week."

1999-03-05 07:18PST (10:18EST) (15:18GMT)
February pay-roll boost of 275K exceeds forecast; jobless rate up to 4.4%
"The January increase in non-farm pay-rolls was revised lower to 217K from the originally reported 245K...   Despite the increase in pay-rolls [from the establishment survey], the unemployment rate [from the household survey] rose to 4.4% in February from January's 4.3%...   Average hourly earnings rose by 1 cent, or 0.1%, compared with an increase of 6 cents, or 0.5%, in January...   One possible sign of that slow-down: jobs in the manufacturing sector fell by 50K.   That was more than offset by the 123K gain in retail industry sector jobs during February.   The average work week was 34.7 hours, up from 34.5 hours in January..."

61,870 lay-offs were announced in February
"Job cut announcements are running at a faster pace in the first 2 months of 1999 than they did in the same period 1 year ago, according to the February Challenger, Gray & Christmas lay-off report.   U.S. companies announced 61,870 job cuts in February, bringing the 2-month total to 141,537, a 21.8% increase from the same period in 1998...   Increased foreign competition is hurting the apparel industry, which led all industries in February with 10,896 job cuts.   This, in turn, has had an impact on retailers.   Apparel and retail account for 31.2% of announced work-force reductions this year... (Daily Labor Report, March 9, page A-2)."

_Chicago Tribune_ section 6 pg 1
Keeping Your Job
Median years of tenure with employer...
Employer [Type] 1983 1998
Government 5.8 7.3
Electrical machinery/eqpmt 4.7 5.0
Machinery & computer eqpmt 5.8 4.4
Printing/publishing 3.2 4.0
Banking 3.3 3.7
Insurance & real estate 3.0 3.4
Construction 2.0 2.7
Retail 1.9 1.8
Source: BLS"

Lindsey Novak _Chicago Tribune_
Back in Action section 6 pg 5 "The [Information Technology Association of America, ITAA] conducted a 1998 study [claiming] that 1 out of every 10 jobs for programmers, systems analysts & computer scientists goes unfilled...   If you update your resume & read the want ads, you could be working within weeks."

Roberto Sanchez _Seattle Times_
Starting Salaries for New Grads NACE 1999 January
Economics & Finance$35,016
Liberal Arts$30,212

Melissa O'Neil _Tri-Cities Herald_
Business growth not yet enough to absorb laid-off Hanford workers

Barb Cole-Gronolski _ComputerWorld_/_IDG_
Storing Resumes Digitally Helps Manage Recruiting: Stream of applicants belies labor shortage while poor tools turn away thousands of capable applicants
"With more hiring leads coming over the web, some companies are trying to manage the deluge -- and keep track of applicants for future job openings -- by storing resumes in a data-base...   'We are inundated with resumes.', said Kathy McLean, human resources information systems manager at the Eden Prairie, MN, company...   Vendors in the space, including Restrac Inc. in Lexington, MA, and Hire Systems Inc. in San Mateo, CA, said their customers report getting anywhere from 5% to 15% of their resumes via the Internet...   Because it matches key-words on applicant resumes with user-defined job descriptions, it might overlook a good candidate because that individual may not have employed [syntax that the resume parser was capable of handling]."

Carol Kleiman _Chicago Tribune_ sec 6 pg 1
At Work: What's Hot, What's Not
"Scalding hot jobs...   The engineering scalders & their starting salaries: chemical, $45,200; electrical, $42,900; computer science, $42,800; mechanical, $40,900; & industrial, $40,500.   The salaries, says [Bob] Jones [of U of MO-Columbia], are up 4% to 6% over last year.   Hot jobs: Information technology professionals are doing even better in salaries than engineers.   They're averaging a 7.3% increase in starting wages, acording to the 1999 RHI [Robert Half Inc.] Consulting Salary Guide.   RHI Consulting, a specialized staffing service based in Menlo Park, CA, reports that data base administrators head the list with average salaries from $61,250 to $88K annually, a 16.3% increase over 1998.   But Web masters shouldn't be upset at being only 2nd: They're averaging a 14.7% increase with salaries from $51.5K to $73K."

1999-03-31 (5759 Nisan 14)
Walter E. Wiliams _Jewish World Review_
Population and poverty
"Despite abundant evidence that faster population growth is not correlated with slower economic growth, poor countries are advised to lower their birth rates.   Let's look at some of the evidence between 1950 and 1983.   West Germany had a higher population density and population growth rate than East Germany...   Despite higher population densities (more crowding), West Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States and Japan experienced far greater economic growth than their counterparts with lower population densities and lower population growth rates.   By the way, Hong Kong has virtually no agriculture sector but its citizens eat well.   As a result of bad weather and [Red China's] Great Leap Forward plan, roughly 30M of its citizens starved to death between 1959 and 1961.   However, between 1979 and 1985, [Red China's] per-capita food production doubled and continues to increase with no end in sight."

1999 March
Publicly Announced Lay-Offs for 1999 March

1999 March
Carolyn M. Veneri _Monthly Labor Review_
Can occupational labor shortages be identified using available data? (pdf)
"No specific sources of data exist that provide a measure of occupational shortages [or surpluses].   In the absence of any definitive measure, analysts generally rely on labor market data to corroborate anecdotal reports of employers' difficulties in filling jobs [or employees' difficulties landing jobs].   Such data include trends in employment and earnings, as well as the unemployment rate for a particular occupation.   Economists who have studied occupational shortages generally hold the view that in an unconstrained market, supply will equal demand at the 'true' market price.   If demand exceeds supply, salaries will be bid up until the market clears.   Thus, in theory, most labor shortages should disappear as employers increase wages to attract more workers.   However, different types of shortages resulting from various labor market situations may require very different responses from both employers and workers...   Much of the theory about defining and identifying occupational shortages stems from research that has focused on wage movements and analysis of the engineer-scientist labor market.   For example, David M. Blank and George J. Stigler, in adding to the work of both Blank and Stigler and Arrow and Capron, a study by Walter Franke and Irvin Sobel in the 1960s shifted focus from wage behavior to the argument that institutional constraints were responsible for the lagging adaptation of wages and supply..."

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