Economic News 1999 April

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updated: 2018-03-30
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1999 April


John William Templeton _San Francisco Chronicle_
Newest Industries Abuse Oldest Excuses for Racial Discrimination



Bobby McGill _San Francisco Examiner_
Blacks, Latinos under-represented in computer industry





Andrew Weiss/Smith/McIver _AFGEN_
Publicly Announced Lay-Offs for 1999 April
"Peritus CEO resigns; 40 jobs to be cut... Boeing lays off 280 St. Louis workers as F-15 Eagle production slows...   The number of planned job cuts by U.S. businesses in March tripled from a year earlier, employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.   Businesses announced plans to cut 68,984 jobs last month, up 200% from 1998 March and 11% higher than February.   'Job cuts, averaging 75K over the last 6 months, are now in the realm of the figures we saw during the last recession.', said John Challenger, chief executive of the employment firm."

1999-04-09 21:19GMT
Mel Mandell _CNN_
Fighting off sleep at the office
"compared with their better-rested counterparts, tired workers are more irritable & prone to stomachaches, more likely not to report to work -- or to quit without warning -- & more accident prone, according to medical researchers.   Sleep-deprived workers are also more likely to make mistakes that could bring down your network.   The three types of network professionals who are likely to suffer job-related sleep deprivation are night-shift network operators, technicians who put in lots of overtime to cope with emergencies, & jet-lagged net executives who travel through several time zones."

_Jefferson City News Tribune_
Seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance claims rose by 11K by stayed under 300K
"Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a Chicago-based job-search firm, said Wednesday that publicly announced job cuts totaled 68,984 in March, up 11% from February and nearly triple the 23,028 announced in 1998 March."

Dave Skidmore _South Coast Today_/_AP_
Many Americans Are Being Passed Over by Robust Economy
"In 1991, Lobdill, a chemical engineer and applied scientist, lost a job of 25 years at the Fortune 500 defense contractor, Tracor Inc. In the wrenching industry shake-out after the Cold War, he and his family moved first to Syracuse, NY, and then to suburban Washington so he could take jobs that lasted, respectively, 7 months and 2 years.   After 4 more years of making ends meet by substitute teaching high-school science and math and taking odd jobs, Lobdill again is working in applied science for a firm that makes underwater acoustic sensors -- but at a third of his former salary.   He takes issue in particular with the use of the unemployment rate as a proxy for the nation's economic health, because it makes no distinction between a chemical engineer working full-time earning $100K and a chemical engineer tossing newspapers...   The headline unemployment rate in March masked other disparities: blacks at 8.1% and whites at 3.6%; teen-agers at 14.3% and adults 25 years and older at 3.1%; high-school drop-outs at 6.1% and college graduates at 1.9%...   Perhaps a more telling measure of economic health is the under-employment rate, at 7.9% in March.   It includes not only jobless people looking for work, but jobless people too discouraged to look and part-timers who want full-time work.   And even that fails to account for movement down the economic scale by people like Engel and Lobdill.   According to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning Washington think tank, job losers in the 1980s and 1990s suffered on average a 14% pay cut in their next job.   Nearly 29% lost health benefits.   And even as more people get hired, more are getting fired.   Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., the Chicago job placement firm, reported more than 450K publicly announced job cuts in the 6 months ended in March -- record for the 1990s."

Clifford Carlsen _San Francisco Business Journal_
students go straight from high school to high-tech
"Despite the many scientific advances made by computer science programs at the nation's finest universities, the electronics industry has always been driven by the hackers and gearheads that have grown up tinkering with technology...   Futurist Watts Wacker, of SRI International, predicted that companies with cutting-edge technology needs will be recruiting younger and younger employees as information becomes more widely available on the Internet and cultural changes further marginalize traditional education systems.   These companies will exploit the freshness of first-time workers and leverage their first-hand knowledge of an increasingly youthful consumer market."


Carl Kozlowski _NewCity_ pg 10
Corporate Gigolos: An InSider's Report from the Temping World
"Kids, society lies to you because if they told you the truth, they know you wouldn't play along.   And things seem worse than ever.   At least in the past, your $20K a year job was a starting point -- if you played your cards right with a company you could tolerate, you could just climb the pointless corporate ladder forever.   Nowadays, however, we're asked to rent our selves out for a week or day at a time as corporate gigolos.   That's right -- temps.   But who are we kidding -- we get paid by the hour to fulfill client needs.   And if you've got the right skills, you could be making up to $14 an hour answering phones, making pointless copies & mastering your video game abilities.   Here are some handy steps to keep you sane...
Arthur Andersen [a.k.a. Accenture] The most demonic work-place of all for temps, this soul-sucking hell-hole subjects you to crushing boredom without any of the accoutrements you find in other temp jobs.   The halls are so quiet you can hear the cooling system emanating from the walls.   People don't talk to each other here, instead they stare up at the ceiling wondering how their lives turned into a 'Dilbert' strip.   Just like in high school detention, I wasn't allowed to read..."


Ken McLaughlin & Ariana Eunjung Cha _San Jose Mercury News_"> Divisions: Segregation Trends Emerge in High-Tech Industry Say Experts




Tim Ouellette _Computer World_
1999 Job Satisfaction Survey: Living with the Pain (tables)
"IT professionals say they still feel largely ignored, over-worked and under-paid...   Most said they want to stay with their employers for at least the next few years, even though 72% said recruiters or other employers have contacted them about job offers in the past year."






Leonard Hadley & Norm Winick _The Zephyr_
Leonard Hadley-- Not so lonely at the top of Maytag
"We're selling to fewer & larger customers.   The big box stores are determining the price -- not the manufacturer or the consumer.   The power in the industry has shifted from the manufacturer to the retailer.   The big box stores provide great value to their customers.   The independent retailer, & we still have 750 of them, also has a place -- but only if they base their business on service...   Americans do not appreciate how inexpensive their everyday life is.   The percent of their salaries devoted to everyday essentials is the lowest in the world.   We have more disposable income left over than any nation in the world by a large margin...   You cannot export North American appliances in any quantity anywhere else in the world.   And it's not the differences in electric current; that's easily handled.   They don't have the money; the average price of a washer we sell to [Red China] is $90."

Carol Kleiman _Chicago Tribune_ section 6 pg 1
Exit Signs
"Despite the general [alleged] shortage of 'qualified' employees, [Training] magazine states that 40% of employers 'say they would be unlikely to make a counter-offer if a 'good' employee announced he or she was considering a job offer from another firm'.   Reporting findings from a poll of 1400 CFOs by [body shop] Robert Half International of Menlo Park, CA, Training notes that even though 56% of those polled said they might make a counter-offer, only 18% said they'd be 'very likely' to do so.   'IOW', Training observes, 'only about 2 in 10 companies routinely put their money where their mouths are when it comes to retaining [allegedly] valued people.'"


1999-04-26 10:00PDT (13:00EDT) (17:00GMT)
Hyundai Fined for Discrimination on the Basis of Race and Sex





_Business Journal of Milwaukee_
More new businesses form when the economy dips
"Yet starting a business remains a career choice for some displaced executives.   A recent report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., found that in the first quarter, 8.7% of its clients decided to start their own companies rather than take jobs with other employers, said Thomas Wacker, vice president in Challenger's Brookfield office.   In the fourth quarter of last year, 10.8% of the firm's clients chose to launch their own businesses...   Don Hoy, interim director at the Center for the Study of Entrepreneurship at Marquette University.   A large portion of businesses are started by recent college graduates or mid-career professionals, he said."

1999-04-30 07:31PDT (10:31EDT) (14:31GMT)
Hot jobs for tomorrow's grads
"BLS reports that 1 in 5 college graduates this year will enter this economy and not immediately find a job that utilizes his or her college degree -- a statistic that has remained unchanged for the last 10 years.   The bureau also reports that 250K more college graduates will enter the labor force each year between now and 2006 than there will be new college-level jobs created.   That means 18% of new college graduates may not be able to find college-level jobs."
Computer Science$46,249
Industrial Engineering$41,559


1999 April
Andrew Weiss _AFGen_
Lay-Off Announcements in April

1999 April
Phil Hyde _TimeSizing Wire_
Good News in 1999 April
"Rather than trim staff, as is the case with many corporate mergers, Covance and Parexel said they will hire an additional 3K workers in the first 12 months after the deal is completed...   Consumer confidence... increased in April for the sixth straight month... to 134.9 from 134 in March, according to the New York-based Conference Board, a research group.   That's the highest level for its confidence index since last July..."

1999 April
_Labor Educator_
The New Job Insecurity
"There were 677,795 lay-offs announced by companies during 1998, representing the largest single-year total of proposed job cuts in the past decade, according to figures by the nation's top job placement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   The 1998 total was 56% greater than the figures for 1997, when employers reported on plans to eliminate 434,350 jobs."

1999 April
Robert A. Rivers _Technology Employment_
Computer Scientist and System Analyst Unemployment Increasing Significantly

1999 April
Robert A. Rivers _American Engineering Association_
Manpower Bulletin

1999 April
Ari Armstrong _Free Colorado_
Origins of Socialist Insecurity Extortion

1999 Spring
Rick Melchionno 1999 Spring _Monthly Labor Review_ pp24 et seq.
The Changing Temporary WorkForce (with graphs)
"According to Kennedy Information's The Directory of Executive Temporary Placement Firms, over 230 U.S. firms now specialize in placing managerial, professional, and technical workers in temporary jobs [bodyshopping] -- more than 5 times the number that existed in 1990...   In 1996, temporary workers received an average of [only] about 72% of the billable rate for all types of work, according to the National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services.   To illustrate, consider a worker who receives $7.20 per hour.   The temporary help supply firm might bill the client company the equivalent of $10 per hour -- $7.20 for the worker plus the firm's $2.80 fee.   In a 40-hour work-week, the worker earns $288 of the $400 bill; the firm retains $112 as its fee.   However, the firm must use about one-third of that fee to pay worker costs such as [Socialist Insecurity], unemployment insurance, and workers' compensation...   temporary arrangements may allow information technology workers to upgrade their skills more easily than other workers.   For example, a worker might start out as a word processor, then learn spread-sheet applications, desk-top publishing, and data-base design -- simply by progressing to different temporary jobs...   The National Association of Temporary and Staffing Services [bodyshops] reports that about 90% of companies use temporary help.   A 1996 survey by temporary help supply firm Olsten Corporation of Melville, New York, found that 36% of those companies use temporary workers for professional or technical jobs...   Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to temporary work for many is lack of job security...   Career goals often must be set aside by workers who have little choice in selecting assignments and get a series of unrelated, and perhaps dull, temporary jobs...   temporary jobs in some occupations, such as information technology and engineering, often require travel...   many [bodies shopped] go without health insurance, paid leave, and pension plans.   Continued placement depends on workers' ability to upgrade skills, as discussed previously, but not all firms pay for cutting-edge training." [Graph shows about 400K bodies shopped in 1980, 2.45M in 1997.]

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