Economic News 1999 November

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updated: 2018-03-30
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1999 November











Michael R. Fanning, Patrick N. McTeague, Rose Mary Abelson, Eddie C. Brown, J. Kenneth Blackwell, Judith Ann Calder, Thomas J. Mackell jr, Judith F. Mazo, Rebecca J. Miller, Michael J. Stapley, Barbara Ann Uberti, Steven Hipple, Edward A. Lenz et al.
Benefit Implications of the Growth of Contingent Employment
"Whether called contingent, flexible, alternative or non-standard, the portion of the American work-force engaged in non-permanent or less than full-time employment constitutes approximately 30% of the entire work-force and is growing.   Because the workers in this portion of the work-force have substantially less access to traditional employment-based health and retirement benefits, and evidence substantially less proclivity to participate in such benefit plans where available, serious social policy implications are presented...   Half of contingent workers said that they wanted permanent jobs.   For younger contingent workers a third said they were satisfied with their temporary jobs.   Older contingent workers are more likely to prefer a permanent job than younger contingent workers; 70% of workers over age 25 wanted a permanent job.   Contingent workers earned only 80% of what their non-contingent counterparts earned.   Contingent workers were also less likely to have employer-provided health insurance...   Only 16% of contingent workers were included in an employer-provided pension plan versus 50% of all non-contingent workers...   the average daily number of workers employed through these arrangements has increased from 1M in 1990 to approximately 3M today.   He pointed out that since the turn-over rate is roughly 450% annually for these workers, approximately 15M persons annually are employed as temporaries.   The average job tenure for each job is 9.6 weeks...   The vast majority of all temporary workers are employed by firms with annual revenues exceeding $50M.   In turn 75% of firms in that size category offer health benefits in which the employer, on average, contributes 40% of the premium costs, with the employee paying 60%.   Finally, of the resulting 56% (i.e., 75% x 75%=56.25%) of temporary workers offered coverage on this basis, only 15% choose to purchase the coverage...   60% of large firms offered 401(k) plans but only 6.5% of eligible workers participated, although 14% of those in small firms did so."






_Chemical & Engineering News_/_ACS_
2000 Employment Outlook
"Hiring in 1999 did not shape up as well as predicted, but the job market in 2000 may be one of the best in a decade.   Competition is fierce for top candidates in pharmaceutical and biotech firms and at many universities.   Small companies remain a good source of jobs for new graduates."



22,814 lay-offs announced in October
"Employment growth resumed its robust pace in October as the economy created 310K new jobs while the unemployment rate fell to 4.1%, its lowest level in nearly 30 years.   And along with the Jobs report, the Labor Department said that wages rose a mild 1 cent per hour, a smaller than expected increase.   Three days after the report came the findings of employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas stating that job cuts at U.S. companies fell by 63% during October.   According to the firm, some 22,814 positions were shed by various companies last month, significantly less than September's 61,219 and well below the 91,531 a year ago."

Michael F. Hammer. A.J. Redd, E.T. Wood et al. _Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America_
Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome bi-allelic haplotypes


Matt Richtel _NY Times_ pg A1
Need for Computer Experts Is Making Recruiters Frantic, though not industrious

Lynn Barris _Chico Examiner_
"when a delegation of Butte County Farm Bureau went back to DC and lobbied for this program I added another reason to 976 other reasons why I would NEVER join the Farm Bureau.   (#976 is the Farm BureauĂ­s opposition to labeling genetically altered food.) The guest worker program is under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).   There are several "H" programs.   H1 programs are for skilled foreign nationals such as computer programmers, H2 programs bring in unskilled foreign nationals.   The H2A program is for agriculture and the H-2B program is for non-ag unskilled labor...   The guest worker program is one more scam by corporate agriculture that doesn't want to provide civilized working conditions and decent wages.   Even now US ag workers don't get over-time until after 10 hours a day or after 60 hours a week."





Thomas York _InfoWorld_
Why are employers so picky?
alternate link
book review
"It's a market in which hiring managers cobble together lengthy wish lists of education, qualifications, skills, and talents when seeking candidates to fill slots in their IT departments -- and may not fill the positions until they find the perfect candidate...   it is essential for all employers to consider training to improve the overall talent pool in the IT arena."




Alan Sukoenig _NY Times_/_IEEE Almanack_
No Shortage of Experts
No Shortage of Experts alternate link
"I have a suggestion for the recruiter's clients: drop the unwritten ban on hiring experienced people over the age of 40...   Young managers who feel uncomfortable about hiring older workers, as well as an industry that has discovered the advantage of importing young 'indentured servants' willing to work 16-hour days for a pittance have given programmers over 50 an unemployment rate of 17%."





Richard Bruner _Colosseum Builders_
Lay-Offs Persist Amidst ESP Propaganda
Programmers Guild
"the American Electronic Association [AeA] reports a 1.6% unemployment rate for engineers, 1.4% for computer programmers and 1.2% for computer scientists.   In Silicon Valley, general unemployment is at 2.9%; in Austin, 2.1%; and in Fairfax County, VA, 1.5%...   Challenger, Gray & Christmas announced the computer industry had the second largest number of lay-offs year-to-date (January through October), totaling 55,608 job cuts.   Only the retail industry was higher...   'Last year there was a shake-out, especially in 1998 and into 1999; there was a glut of product on the market.   Prices were falling.   Semiconductor companies were closing facilities.   They were shuttering them.   We saw a lot of lay-offs.'...   Silicon Graphics has laid off 3K workers.   A spokesperson told EN most of them occurred near the end of August.   'We're trying to turn the company around and laying off in areas we're no longer going to put emphasis on...'..."
Monthly Job Cut Totals, Computer Industry
year to date55,608

1999 November
William Zumeta
The Best and Brightest for Science: Is There a Policy Problem Here?
Unfortunately, the author fails or refuses to recognize that US students are responding rationally to job market conditions.   More foreign students means greater labor supply, which means dwindling prospects in terms of employment security and compensation in the affected fields.   So, US students attempt to aim for fields with better prospects.

1999 November
top 500 fastest super computers LinPack bench-mark (rated in giga Floating-point Operations / second)

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