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updated: 2018-06-20
2002 December
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2002 December

  "There is no security for the personal or political rights of any man in a community where any man is deprived of his personal or political rights." --- Benjamin Harrison 1892-09-03  


Michael Kinsman _San Diego Union-Tribune_
In harsh times, employers hold the upper hand
"Wenger says that before the current recession, just one in 10 workers went more than 6 months without a replacement job.   Today, that is 2 in 10.   In 2000 December, before the recession settled in [well, actually 11 months after the depression began], there were 1.3 un-employed workers for every available job.   Today, there are more than 2 for every job.   'There are 3.5M job openings and 8M un-employed workers today.', Wenger says.   'The job market is just a lottery and some people are going to be losers.'...   Currently, less than half of all un-employed workers ever wind up collecting un-employment benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
NBER says recession that troughed in 2001 April ended 2001 November.   The stock market crashed 2000-03-10.   The STEM job markets were already diving by 2000 September, and general job markets in mid-2001.   STEM product sales were tanking all through 2001 and 2002.   Job markets still had not fully recovered by the end of 2016.

Scott Martelle _LA Times_ Hunger Hits Hard in Pacific Northwest; Demand for assistance is among the nation's highest, overwhelming food banks.   Residents accustomed to self-reliance acce pt charity reluctantly.

Daniel Kadlec _Time_
States are in crisis.   They will have to cut services, raise taxes and try a few tricks.
"State receipts, largely from sales and capital-gains taxes, fell 6% last year, the first decline in more than 50 years.   The states are running an aggregate deficit that is expected to reach $68G by June 30."


2002-12-01 21:01PST (2002-12-02 00:01EST) (2002-12-02 05:01GMT)
Marshall Loeb & Rebecca Samuels _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Charities rely on personal giving
"The Salvation Army is expected to collect $1.391G in private support this year...   And when it comes to charity, Americans are by far the most generous people in the world.   According to In dependent Sector, a coalition of non-profit and other charitable institutions, 89% of all US households made some contributions in the year 2000.   The average donation per family exceeds $1,600, or 3.1% of income -- & that does not even begin to count the personal time that people contribute.   Affluent families give the most money, of course, but lower income households donate a larger percentage of their income...   The highest average annual contributions come from the West, about 45% more than in the Northeast ($1,889 to $1,298).   Over the past 40 years, giving has grown at an average annual rate of 7.6%.   Through lean years & fat during those 4 decades, total giving in the US has risen every year but one (1987)...   Americans gave an estimated $212G to charities, churches & other religious institutions in 2001.   That was technically a fractional increase, but after adjusting for inflation, it was actually a decrease of 2.3% from 2000...   Bequests from estates dropped 7.1%, to $16.3G.   Bequests consist largely of stock portfolios, & the sagging stock market cut the value of man y estates...   With their profits soft, corporations have cut their annual giving by 14.5%, to a total $9G...   You can get reports on individual charities on the Wise Giving Alliance Web page.   To get the most bang for your donated dollar, professionals in philanthropy suggest that you focus your contributions, giving a lot to a few charities instead of scattering small pieces among countless causes."

2002-12-01 22:00PST (2002-12-02 01:00EST) (2002-12-02 06:00GMT)
Jeffry Bartash _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Regulatory war centers on FCC: Telephone competition still not happening
"the end of the US economic boom 2 years ago has crushed many local-phone startups, & for the first time since the Great Depression, even the mighty Bells are losing phone lines...   Meantime, the Bells have fought a pitched legal battle with the FCC (and the states) over its method for setting wholesale prices.   The Bells say the prices are too low and often don't cover their costs.   The Bells also charge that many local phone upstarts are free-loaders.   They lease access to the Bells' network at below-market rates, lure away good customers with cheap pricing, but then fail to build their own networks with the profits, as Congress had intended...   Whatever the case, the declining fortune of the Bells - Verizon, BellSouth, SBC Communications & Qwest Communications -- is a problem that needs to be addressed.   Even after more than 65K lay-offs in the past 2 years, they still employ 550K workers."

2002-12-02 07:30PST (10:30EST) (15:30GMT)
_USA Today_/_AP_
NYC imposes largest property extortion increase in city history
"Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed legislation Monday raising property taxes by 18.5%, the largest property tax hike in the cash-strapped city's history.   The tax increase was undertaken to bridge a $1.1G budget gap in the current fiscal year, and to reduce the size of a projected $6.4G deficit for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.   The tax hike [is expected to] bring in an extra $837M in the current fiscal year alone...   The mayor... had originally called for a 25% tax hike...   Council Speaker Gifford Miller said the increase cam after the city made $3.5G in budget cuts...   Under the new property tax, the annual tax for a single-family home worth $245K, currently $1853, would go up this fiscal year by $171 to $2024.... next fiscal year to $2196."

Jim Suhr _LA Times_
"Laid-Off Workers Swell Pool of Holiday Job Applicants; Retailers say they can afford to be more picky about whom they hire as former white-collar employees vie for seasonal jobs."

Scott Kirsner _Boston Globe_
Networking stops working
alternate link in Digital Mass
"While the job-holders would like to help their compatriots however they can, they're beginning to feel overwhelmed by requests for advice over lunch, a resume review session over coffee, a phone conversation about who's hiring.   'I feel bad, but I can't give help to everyone who asks these days.', says one start-up CEO who asked to remain anonymous.   'People e-mail me and call constantly, asking, ''Where is that secret trove of jobs?''   They want to pick your brain over lunch, but I just can't do 5 lunches a week with unemployed acquaintances.''' Besides, there are few jobs to tell them about...   The boom years of the late 1990s produced a crop of tech workers who were networking pros - at Web site launch parties, trade shows, and on the golf course.   Now unemployed, they're relentlessly networking anyone who still has a job to within an inch of his or her life.   And all that networking doesn't seem to be working.   Result: frustration on both sides.   Employed techies are starting to set limits...   Technology schmooze-fests these days are often dominated by the unemployed...   (Monster.com CEO Jeff Taylor recently told me that some job postings on his Web site draw 40 to 50 resume submissions an hour.)"

D'Vera Cohn _MSNBC_/_Washington Post_
Immigrant workers fed 1990s boom: New arrivals judged critical to economic growth
"8 of 10 new male workers in the decade were immigrants who arrived during that time, according to the report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.   New immigrants accounted for 76% of the labor force growth in Maryland and 44% in Virginia...   More than 13M immigrants came to the United States from 1990 to 2001 -- some legally and some illegally -- drawn by the healthy economy & family ties.   The report said 8M immigrants joined the labor force, which means they were either working or looking for work, over a period when the total number of new workers was 16M.   The impact on the work-force was significantly larger than in the previous decades.   In the 1970s, for example, immigrants accounted for 10% of the labor force growth.   It increased to roughly a quarter in the \xd580s before expanding to half in the 1990s.   Even so, 86% of the work-force is American-born...   Two million immigrants have arrived in the United States since the 2000 Census, according to Census Bureau survey data quoted in the center\xd5s report...   More than a third of the new immigrants were employed in blue-collar occupations, but nearly 1 in 4 held a technical, managerial or professional job...   Immigrants also accounted for all the growth among workers under 35...   The report cited evidence that the entry of many poorly educated immigrants into the work-force has held back wages of the lowest-paid American-born workers..."

Justin Rucki _Florida Flambeau_/_FSView_
Grads face glum economy: This year's graduates will face a slumping labor market
"'(In the) Spring of 1999 the economy started to soften and the events of 9/11 just exacerbated the problem.', FSU Career Center Director Dr. Jeff Garis said.   'Last year was a difficult year and this year just hasn't rebounded to the extent that we want.'"


2002-12-02 21:02PST (2002-12-03 00:02EST) (2002-12-03 05:02GMT)
Barbara Kollmeyer _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Turning up search efforts in December can pay off

  1. Get in touch
  2. Meet and greet
  3. Attend networking groups
  4. Find a free-lance or part-time job
  5. Get to know the companies you want to work for
  6. Cool your jets in some cases
  7. Concentrate on hot leads

2002-12-03 00:03PST (03:03EST) (07:03GMT)
Matt Krantz _USA Today_
Video game college is "boot camp" for designers
"Roughly 200 spots open up each year at DigiPen, & the school -- commonly known as Donkey Kong U -- gets 24K requests for applications from prospective students.   But because DigiPen goes to great lengths to dissuade all but the most serious applicants, only 500 people ultimately compete for the 200 available slots.   How many people actually make it through the 4-year program to earn a bachelor's of science in real-time interactive simulation?   Last year, just 36...   DigiPen says most graduates receive an average of [only] 2 job offers..."

2002-12-03 05:29PST (08:29EST) (13:29GMT)
Margaret Quan _CMP_/_EE Times_
Industry executives, their lobbyists & some misguided professionals praise passage of bill to boost hand-outs through NSF
"Electronics industry associations praised the passage by the U.S. Senate of the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2002, which raises the budget of the National Science Foundation by 15% in each of the next 3 fiscal years.   The increases will essentially double the NSF's annual budget from present levels to $9.84G by FY2007."

2002-12-03 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Irwin Kellner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
A recovery with no jobs
"Fewer people may be losing their jobs these days -- but fewer people are finding them, too.   As a consequence, the average duration of unemployment is now at its highest level in over 8 years.   36% of those officially counted as unemployed have been without a job for 15 weeks or more.   You have to go back to recession year 1991 to find a bigger percentage.   Those without work 27 weeks or more are also at eight-year highs when taken as a percentage of the unemployed.   And while this figure always lags behind the turn in the economy, their numbers have increased much faster this time than they did following the end of the previous recession, back in 1991 and 1992...   By being so quick to fire and so slow to hire Corporate America is shooting itself in the foot, then running to Washington to look for help."

Richard Dunn _Radio Free Nation_/_Alt News Ring.com_
H-1B: Self-Funded Industrial Espionage

2002-12-03 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Lay-offs fall 11% in November: Carnage continues in high-tech sector
"US corporations announced 157,508 job reductions in November, 11% less than October's 176,010 and 13% less than in October 2001, according to a monthly tally compiled by out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas...   The planned cuts were deepest in the high-tech sectors, such as computers and telecommunications, which together accounted for more than 34% of the monthly cuts.   Telecom, which announced 16,909 cuts in November, has sliced more than 250K jobs this year and nearly 550K in the past 23 months.   The computer industry cut about 25K jobs in November.   The industry has eliminated 290K jobs since 2001 January."

_Economic Times of India_/_Reuters_
Indian software exports seen growing faster in 2003/2004
"India's software exports are likely to surge over 30% on a year-on-year basis in the year to March 2004 because of a likely pick-up in the US economy next year, an industry body said.   India's software and allied exports, which bank on a growing pool of low-paid engineers and English-speaking graduates, rose 29% on a year-on-year basis to about $7.5G in the year to 2002 March.   The industry expects 30% growth in 2002-2003 (April-March)."

2002-12-03 09:18PST (12:18EST) (17:18GMT)
Lay-offs drop 11% in November
"US companies announced 157,508 lay-offs last month, an 11% drop from the 176,010 job cuts reported in October, employment research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.   But corporations have slashed over 3.3M jobs this year, more than in the previous 5 years combined, the report said...   High-technology industries accounted for 34.4% of planned November job cuts"

Out-sourcing boom pumps up Indian tech shares
"The industry expects 30% growth in 2002/2003.   India's software services exports, which bank on a growing pool of low-paid engineers and English-speaking graduates, rose 29% to about $7.5G in the past year ended in March."

Jonathan Zittrain & Benjamin Edelman
Empirical Analysis of Internet Filtering in Red China


2002-12-04 00:41IST
_Rediff_/_BS Corporate Bureau_?
Indian employees score high on loyalty, but not as high as Americans
"according to Global Employee Commitment 2002 Report released by Taylor Nelson Sofres Mode.   While 54% of Indian employees show a high commitment to their jobs as well as the companies, globally only 44% of the employees do so.   While the average is 46% in the Americas, it is 44 % in Asia-Pacific & 43% in Europe and West Asia.   On the flip side, only 29% Indians exhibit a low level of commitment to their jobs as well as their companies.   This, however, is better than the global average of 35%.   While the average is 31% for the Americas, it is 35% for Asia-Pacific as well as Europe and West Asia.   In addition, while 11% Indians are career-oriented (high level of commitment to the jobs but low commitment to the companies) as against 14% globally, 6% are highly committed to their companies, though low on commitment to the jobs (global average 8%)."

2002-12-04 03:11PST (06:11EST) (11:11GMT)
German jobless hits 4-year high
"The Federal Labour Office said on Wednesday the number of people out of work rose by 96,100 to a seasonally unadjusted 4.02M.   The jobless rate rose to 9.7% from 9.4% in October.   November's seasonally adjusted figure rose by 35K to 4.16M, while economists at Bear Stearns were expecting the number to rise by about 20K.   Also adjusted for seasonal factors, the jobless rate rose to 10% from 9.9% in October, Bundesbank data showed...   During November, German trucks & engineering group MAN said it would slash 1K of its 76K jobs next year, while Commerzbank said it might axe 3K jobs next year on top of the 4,300 already announced.   DaimlerChrysler announced plans to cut 800 cable-making jobs at a German plant and a shift to cheaper eastern European labour."

2002-12-04 15:29PST (18:29EST) (23:29GMT)
Unemployed Argentines march against hunger

2002-12-04 10:35IST
Denny Thomas & Anshuman Daga _Rediff_
Out-sourcing boom pumps up Indian tech shares
"The infotech index has already jumped about 21% in the past month, compared with a 9.5% rise in the blue-chip index, and appears set to increase more...   The industry expects 30% growth in 2002-2003."

2002-12-04 02:00PST (05:00EST) (10:00GMT)
Steve Kettmann _Wired_
Germans Protest Tax Increase
Christian Stein: Aktionletzteshend

2002-12-04 06:15PST (09:15EST) (14:15GMT)
Mike Tarsala _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Awful tech cycle may be set to repeat itself
"In both 2001 and 2002, the first quarter began with high expectations, yet weak tech earnings crushed the Nasdaq by March.   Rallies in both second quarters eventually failed before markets bottomed out in the third quarter amid fears of business weakness.   And in both years, Berman points out that US markets followed up third-quarter weakness with strong year-end gains, due to normal seasonal sales strength and hope that business would improve once January rolled around.   And then, the cycle started all over -- with a rotten first quarter."

2002-12-04 07:50PST (10:50EST) (15:50GMT)
Jeannine Aversa _Yahoo!_/_AP_
Productivity Grows 5.1%
"The latest reading on productivity -- the amount of output per hour of work -- was even better than the 4% growth rate estimated for the 3rd quarter a month ago & represented a considerable pick-up from the 1.7% pace registered in the 2nd quarter, the Labor Department reported Wednesday."

2002-12-04 07:54PST (10:54EST) (15:54GMT)
Frank Barnako _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
ABC, CBS, CNN, BBC Web sites blocked by Red China

2002-12-04 08:21PST (11:21EST) (16:21GMT)
Joanne Morrison _Yahoo!_/_Reuters_
Job Losses Slower, No Hiring Pick-Up Seen
"So far this year, private pay-rolls have declined by 191K, while temporary help has increased by 88K, according to the Labor Department.   That means full-time jobs in private businesses are down 279K so far this year, Berner said."

_Sydney Morning Herald_
Study finds Beijing blocks 10% of world's web sites
Tech Central Star
Rob Lever: CoolTech
Melbourne Herald Sun
"As much as one-tenth of the internet's sites may be blocked by [Red Chinese] authorities as part of efforts to prevent access to information on dissidents, Taiwan, Tibet and other subjects, according to a US study released today.   The study by Harvard University's Berkman Centre for Internet and Society found more than 50K of some 200K web sites tested were 'inaccessible from at least one point in [Red China] on at least one occasion'.   Using a more narrow definition of 'blocked' sites, the study concluded that 18,931 web sites were being kept out of view of Chinese web users...   The blocked sites also included those of US news organisations including ABC News and CBS News, the Alta Vista search engine, and a number of US universities...   [sites that discussed Tibet, Taiwan, freedom, equality, democracy and HIV were blocked] Among news sites, the BBC site was consistently unavailable, with CNN, Time magazine, US-based Public Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald, & the Philadelphia Inquirer also often blocked...   Religious sites blocked in [Red China] included the Asian American Baptist Church, the Atheist Network, the Catholic Civil Rights League, Feng Shui, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, and the Denver Zen Centre.   [Red China], with an estimated 45M internet users, has been widely criticised in the West for blocking web sites and for jailing people for viewing banned sites and using the internet in anti-government activities."


2002-12-05 08:26PST (11:26EST) (16:26GMT)
Quentin Hardy _Forbes_
The New HP Way: World's Cheapest Consultants
"'We're trying to move everything we can off-shore.', HP Services chief Ann Livermore told Wall Street analysts at a meeting Wednesday.   'We're aggressively realigning our resources.'   Short term, that means adding to the software and services personnel HP already has in India.   Further out, HP expects Red China to also turn into a major consulting center... with the blessing of Chief Executive Carly Fiorina...   As if the high-priced, over-supplied consulting industry didn't have enough to worry about... HP will grow in India, building on the 'several thousand' services people the company already employs there...   'We see [Red China] gaining on India about 3 or 4 years from now.', said Rottler.   HP is also developing staff there."

Anthony dePalma _NY Times_
White-Collar Lay-Offs, Down-Sized Dreams
"Now many of these professionals - a broad range of college-educated managers, administrators & mid-level executives - have been out of work for a year or longer, especially in the hard-hit worlds of finance, communications & information technology that are concentrated in the New York area."

George Avalos _Contra Costa Times_
Bay Area prospects continue to sputter: Region has 'the weakest economy in the nation', forecasters say, & may not rebound until mid-2003
"UCLA Anderson Forecast for California's economy...   And the epicenter of the state's economic quagmire is the Bay Area, the report added.   The job implosion that ravaged the tech industry has rippled throughout the region, according to Tom Lieser, a senior economist with the Anderson Forecast...   Economists believe personal income in California will slump by 1.3%, adjusted for inflation, during 2002.   That comes on the heels of a 0.6% decline in 2001, the forecast said.   The loss of numerous well-paying high-tech jobs in the state is the main reason personal income levels have lurched lower lately."

Jerry Seper _Washington Times_
INS lacks proper checks on aliens
"Commissioned by the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, the study concluded that between 2.95M & 5.45M illegal aliens cross undetected every year into the country through guarded ports of entry -- with about one in every nine illegal aliens being detained.   The total does not include an estimated 3M to 5M illegal aliens who annually cross into the United States through unguarded areas along the border...   between 2.95M & 5.45M illegal aliens who should have been denied entry were allowed into the United States...   More than 500M travelers enter the United States yearly at the country's established ports of entry after a brief interview with an INS inspector, the study said.   It found that 47 of every 5,614 travelers were erroneously granted entry & that the INS intercepted between 9.3% & 16% of those attempting illegal entry."

2002-12-05 04:52PST (07:52EST) (12:52GMT)
Europe pressured by jobless data

Jonathan Rowe _AlterNet_
The Global Accounting Scam
"'For significant numbers, dissatisfaction is now part of the shopping process.'...   Imagine an accountant who can add but can't subtract, & who is so near-sighted he can't see past his nose.   That is the mentality behind the GDP.   The GDP simply adds up the money Americans spend and calls the result growth & good, regardless of where the money went & why."


2002-12-05 22:13PST (2002-12-06 01:13EST) (06:13GMT)
Greg Ip _Yahoo!_/_Dow Jones Business News_/_WSJ_
U.S. Household Net Worth Declined by 4.5% In 3rd Quarter
"Household wealth has fallen to its lowest level since 1995...   Friday's Wall Street Journal reported...   Household net worth fell 4.5% from the second quarter to $38T, the Federal Reserve reported yesterday.   The ratio of net worth to disposable personal income, a widely watched indicator of household wealth, sank to a 7-year low of 4.9 in the third quarter from 5.2 in the second quarter, well off the record 6.3 at the end of 1999.   The drop in net worth resulted from shrinking assets and rising debt.   Assets fell 3.4% to $47T, mostly due to a 17% plunge in the value of households' stock & mutual-fund holdings to $6.5T.   (Stocks have since recovered about about half their third-quarter drop.)   Liabilities rose 2.2% to $8.5T, mostly due to mortgage debt, which rose 3.3%, the highest rate since 1989, to $5.8T."

2002-12-06 07:13PST (10:13EST) (15:13GMT)
Jill Nelson _Yahoo!_/_USA Today_
No bonuses for jobless, hungry

2002-12-06 07:25PST (10:25EST) (15:25GMT)
Leigh Strope _Yahoo!_/_AP_
UnEmployment Rate UnExpectedly Surges
"The nation's unemployment rate unexpectedly shot up to 6.0% in November, the highest level since a peak almost nine years ago when the country was struggling to emerge from the last recession...   US companies also slashed 40K jobs in November, the most since 9 months ago, when 165K jobs were cut.   Economists had forecast modest job growth for last month.   November's jobless rate was matched back in April, & it was the highest since July 1994, when the rate topped 6.1%.   Friday's report surprised analysts, who thought the unemployment rate might tick up to 5.8% for November with stabilizing lay-offs and fewer workers seeking unemployment benefits in recent weeks...   Countering those job losses was an overall hiring increase in services.   Health-related companies made up more than half of the November increase, with notable gains in hospitals and nursing facilities.   But employment in temporary employment firms [a.k.a. bodyshops] -- an industry where hiring had been on the upswing for much of the year -- fell for the second month in a row."

2002-12-06 10:00PST (13:00EST) (18:00GMT)
Jeannine Aversa _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Bush Ousts O'Neill, Lindsey Over Economy
CBC: U.S. Treasury Secretary O'Neill quits as White House shakes up economic team
BBC: US economy chiefs resign
CNN/Money: O'Neill, Lindsey resign
TheStreet: O'Neill, Lindsey Leave Bush Team
"Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill & economic adviser Larry Lindsey resigned at the request of the White House amid growing concern about the ailing economy...   The resignations came 4 weeks after Securities & Exchange Commission chairman Harvey Pitt resigned under fire...   [Ari] Fleischer said the president credits O'Neill & Lindsey with playing key roles in securing tax cuts & legislation promoting free trade & guaranteeing terrorism insurance to businesses...   O'Neill called the US income tax code '9,500 pages of gibberish'.   He roiled the Social Security debate by declaring that the able-bodied should save for their own retirement and medical care.   He criticized international bailouts of Russia as 'crazy'...   'I started my life in a house without water or electricity.'   He started his professional life as a computer systems analyst with the Veterans Administration in 1961.   He climbed the ranks \xd1 taking a year off to acquire a Master's degree in public administration at Indiana University.   He became deputy director of the Office of Management & Budget in 1974 in the Ford administration."

2002-12-06 06:04PST (09:04EST) (14:04GMT)
_USA Today_/_Reuters_
Jobless rate soars to 6% in November
"... employers hacked their pay-rols by the largest amount since February...   The jobless rate hit its highest level since April, vaulting three-tenths of a percentage point from October's 5.7%, according to the Labor Department.   Private economists had been braced for an increase in that rate to only 5.8%.   The number of workers on US pay-rolls outside the farm sector tumbled by 40K last month, a worrisome showing compared to the 38K gain projected by US economists in a Reuters survey...   the government revised up the pay-rolls figures for both October & September.   October pay-rolls were updated to show a 6K rise compared to the previously reported 5K drop.   Jobs fell 4K in September, a milder drop than the previously reported 13K decline...   The average work-week for private-sector employees failed to grow at all, holding at 34.2 hours.   Average hourly earnings grew 0.3% to $14.93 after a matching 0.3% gain in October."

2002-12-06 11:00PST (14:00EST) (19:00GMT)
Tim Ahmann _CNBC_/_Reuters_
Weak Jobs Report Raises Economy Concern
"The US unemployment rate unexpectedly soared to 6% in November, revisiting an 8-year high hit in April in a troubling sign for the economy.   In a surprisingly weak jobs report, the Labor Department also said employers hacked their pay-rolls last month by the largest amount since February...   The jobless rate vaulted three-tenths of a percentage point from October's 5.7% to reach its highest level since April, easily out-stripping economists' expectations for a gain to only 5.8%.   At the same time, the number of workers on US pay-rolls outside the farm sector tumbled by 40K last month, a worrisome showing compared to an expected gain of 38K...   The Foundation for International Business and Economic Research said its Leading Inflation Index edged lower to 93.0 in November from a revised 93.5 a month earlier.   Separately, the Economic Cycle Research Institute's Future Inflation Gauge dipped to 114.5 last month from 115.0 in October.   Still, ECRI said inflation would likely move higher if the US recovery does not come off the rails...   In one positive sign, Labor revised up the pay-rolls figures for October and September.   October's count was updated to show a 6K rise compared to the previously reported 5K drop.   In September, jobs fell by 4K -- milder than the 13K decline reported previously.   However, the job market in November showed little sign of vitality.   The average work-week for private-sector employees failed to grow at all, holding at 34.2 hours.   The down-trodden manufacturing sector shed 45K jobs last month.   In an indication businesses were remaining cautious in the run-up to the Christmas holiday shopping season, retail jobs sank 39K."

Dan Morain _LA Times_
Key Tax Credit Could End for Manufacturers; The state law, which saves firms as much as $450M a year, may be discontinued because job growth has stalled.
"Manufacturers received the tax break as part of an effort to help end the recession of the early 1990s.   But in a sign of the times, they could lose it starting in 2004.   The reason: Job growth, particularly in high tech, has stalled.   And that, in turn, may trigger an automatic end to the tax credit."


John M. Berry _Washington Post_ pg E1
Jobless Rate Rose To 6% in November
"The number of workers looking for a job but unable to find one rose to 8.5M, up 300K from the month before.   An additional 4.3M people said they would like a job but have not been looking for one...   The economy has lost 1.5M jobs since 2001 January...   Yesterday's report also showed an increase of about 80K in the number of workers unemployed 27 weeks or more.   That brings the number of long-term unemployed to more than 1.7M."


Stephen Moore _Cato Institute_/_Financial Times_
The President Needs New Tax-Cutters
"First, Congress should reduce the capital gains tax from 20% to 10% on all new investment.   Any share purchase made after 2003 January 1 should be taxed at a new lower rate in order to incentivise new business creation and lift stock values.   Second, Congress should chop the pay-roll tax on all workers from 15.3% to 13.3%.   The pay-roll tax cut should remain in place until economic growth is resumed to 4% and the un-employment rate falls back to the level of full employment.   This would allow all workers to keep more of their pay cheques and lower the cost of labour so businesses would start hiring again.   Third, implementation of the Bush tax cut from last year should be accelerated.   70% of the Bush tax cut has not yet taken effect.   There is no point in delaying income tax cuts until 2005 and later years.   The economy needs an adrenalin shot now."

Anne Field _NY Times_
When a Job Hunt Is Measured In Seasons or Even a Year
"It used to be that laid-off professionals had an easier time of finding jobs, even in rough economic times, than less-skilled blue-collar workers, but that is changing.   In October, white-collar workers -- defined as managers and professionals as well as technical, sales and administrative support -- made up about 49% of people who have been un-employed for 6 months or longer, up from 39% 5 years ago and the highest proportion since the federal government began tracking the groups in 1982, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers by the Chicago out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   Similarly, for the first nine months of the year, the portion of un-employed professionals and managers who have been 'between jobs' for half a year or more grew to an average of 16.6%, a record, up from 11.6% in 1997...   Increasingly, professionals and managers are accepting salaries that are 15% to 20% below what their previous job paid, according to Tony Lee, editor in chief of CareerJournal.com, a Web site of The Wall Street Journal.   They are also becoming more open to the idea of relocating...   The long-term un-employed are also showing more willingness than before to accept short-term stints."

Scott Martelle _LA Times_
New Breed of Patriots Speaking Up
"Grass-roots efforts to rein in the anti-terrorist USA Patriot Act gain support.   Eugene, OR, & other cities formally oppose aspects of law...   Sebastopol, CA... Burlington, VT... Ann Arbor, MI... Denver, CO...   In Eugene, home to the University of Oregon and a cross-section of liberal political groups, the City Council added its own spin by ordering no city resources -- people or money -- be used to assist in 'unconstitutional activities'."

Lewis Goldberg _Lady Liberty_
Why They Hate Jonathan Farley In America

Chris O'Brien & Jack Davis _San Jose Mercury News_
Some execs scored big as company values plunged
"The executives, board members & venture capitalists at these companies walked off with $3.41G, while their companies' total market value plunged 99.8% to a mere $229.5M at the end of September.   It represented a remarkable transfer of wealth from the pockets of thousands of anonymous investors -- from day traders to pension funds -- into the wallets of executives & directors who turned out to be winners even when their companies became some of Silicon Valley's biggest losers...
  For instance, JDS Uniphase missed the cut, with a 97.1% drop, even though executives sold $1.17G in stock between 1997 May and 2002 November, even as the optical components company was firing two-thirds of its employees.   Also absent is software company Ariba, whose stock dropped 98.7% & where insiders sold $1.26G between 1999 October & 2002 November.   The survey also excludes some of the valley's household names.   Not included are John Chambers, who between 1997 August & 2000 February sold $296.2M in Cisco stock; Larry Ellison, who in 2001 January sold $894.8M in Oracle stock; & Scott McNealy, who from 1997 May to 2002 July sold $107.9M in Sun Microsystems stock...   John Little, founder and CEO of Portal Software, sold $127.5M of stock in Portal, which is on the verge of being delisted by Nasdaq.   Portal, which sells billing software, topped the Mercury News list with insiders selling $704M in stock -- more than its total revenue since the 1999 May IPO...
  Executives at every company contacted either did not return phone calls or declined to comment, in many cases citing pending litigation.   The one exception was Frederick D. Lawrence, former CEO of Adaptive Broadband, who agreed -- after speaking with his lawyer -- to discuss executive compensation though not the specifics of his company.   He pointed out that executive pay plans are publicly available and that most investors never bother to read them.   And when insiders sell stock, they must also publicly disclose the sales in filings to the SEC...
  in November, when the Conference Board released an annua l survey of 2,841 companies in 14 industries that showed executive pay and perks continued to rise in 2001 even as the stock market and economy slumped."


2002-12-09 06:55PST (09:55EST) (14:55GMT)
Ron Fournier _Yahoo!_/_AP_
Bush to Tap Rail Exec as Treasury Chief
"...CSX Corp. Chairman John W. Snow of Virginia... 63, a former Ford administration official...   Stephen Friedman, a former co-chairman of the investment firm Goldman Sachs...   Snow's total direct compensation in 2001 was $20.5M.   CSX posted $8.1G in revenue last year...   Snow was deputy under-secretary at the Transportation Department under President Ford...   The White House has been at work for months on a new economic package centered on additional tax cuts for lower- & middle-income individuals, playing down the administration's earlier focus on business-side tax proposals to stimulate investment."

Vidya Viswanathan _BusinessWorld_
The smiles are back... in India
"A 1001 November Forrester research report says that 3.3M US jobs will move off-shore by 2015.   Not all of it will come to India though.   Some will also head towards Red China, the Philippines or even Africa.   (A political back-lash has begun, but more of that later.   Also see 'The New Protectionism' on page 74.)"

Rick Montgomery _Kansas City Star_
Public resists Big Brother approach to terrorism
"Total Information Awareness, the Defense Department's much-maligned research effort, observers say.   To track the habits of potential terrorists, the Pentagon proposes to develop a central data-base of public and private records -- including prescriptions, library accounts and credit card transactions -- of everyone in the country...   When law-makers drafted the homeland security bill passed in November, Armey's office included language to prohibit Operation TIPS from taking effect."

Sam Francis _V Dare_
Some Genocides Are More Politically Correct Than Others
"Jonathan David Farley is an assistant professor of mathematics at Vanderbilt and apparently spends more time calculating how many whites should decorate the local lamp posts than at what the school supposedly pays him to do.   The latest spillage of the waste products that pass for his political ideas appeared in the Nashville Tennessean.   [Jonathan Farley, 'Remnants of the Confederacy glorifying a time of tyranny' 2002 November 20]...   A clue to where Professor Farley is coming from is that his real hero is Che Guevara, and his photograph on the university's web page shows a grim-faced Mr. Farley with arms folded across his chest trying his best to look like a black Benito Mussolini in front of a picture of Che."

Nat Hentoff _Washington Times_
Ashcroft vs. civil liberties
"But most remarkable in the rising resistance around the nation to Mr. Ashcroft's far-reaching expansion of electronic surveillance -- and lowering of judicial supervision in some of his edicts -- is the ferment at the grass-roots...   On October 30... Santa Fe's City Council enacted 'a resolution supporting the Bill of Rights and civil liberties... actively work for the repeal of those portions that violate the guaranteed civil liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights'...   Madison, WI City Council instruction that local police and prosecutors not be drawn into activities that threaten the constitutional rights of area residents -- such as random surveillance based on country of origin and fishing through library records to see what books people under vague suspicion of terrorist links are borrowing."


2002-12-09 21:05PST (2002-12-10 00:05EST) (2002-12-10 05:05GMT)
John H. Makin _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
It's time to print scrip: dreaded scenario playing out
"fears of deflation & lower growth in the United States are becoming more intense..."

2002-12-10 06:41PST (09:41EST) (14:41GMT)
Irwin Kellner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Inflation may reignite without scrutiny
"Prices of industrial raw materials, which represent the cost of goods in the earliest stage of production, have been rising since the beginning of 2002, after touching a 16-year low...   As measured in the producer price index, which adjusts these items for normal seasonal variations, prices of crude materials have already jumped by nearly 14% so far this year, even though the top-line index has barely budged."

Renae Merle _Washington Post_/_HotJobs_
Tech Body Shops Cite Rising Demand
"The increase in government spending expected after the 2001-09-11 attacks has been slow to materialize despite President Bush's budget proposal, which called for spending on IT security to reach $4.2G in fiscal 2003, compared with $2.7G this year.   Overall, the information technology budget would reach $52.4G , up from $47.8G, under the budget proposal."

Renae Merle _Washington Post_
Tech Contractors Cite Rising Demand
"[A couple bodyshops and hardware sales firms that cater to government are staffing up.]   Lagging spending from the private sector makes the anticipated public spending even more welcome.   CSC's revenue in the commercial sector declined 8% during its second quarter, which ended in September, down to $959M from more than $1G during the year-earlier period.   In August, the firm asked 66K employees to volunteer to take extended leaves of absence -- for at least 6 months -- at 20% of their pay.   Only a 'relatively small portion of them did', according to a company spokesman.   In addition, the firm reduced its work-force by 1K employees during the past year through attrition and lay-offs, the spokesman said."

Perri Capell _WSJ_
Why Company Web Sites Often Fail Job Candidates
"The study rated the recruiting pages of the web sites of the companies in the Fortune 500 on a scale of 0 ('offers no value') to 5 ('world class') using criteria important to job hunters, such as how easy it is to find and apply for current job openings and how much feed-back applicants receive.   None received the top rating, and only 40 received a 3+ or better, says Gerry Crispin, a principal of MMC Group...   The majority (360) only satisfy job seekers' most rudimentary information needs, such as listing the current openings or available benefits.   A sizable number (105) can't meet visitors' 'simplest expectations' about finding & applying for jobs...   A common problem the study cited is the lack of response to job seekers...   'They have pulled the humanity out of the process.', says [Brent] Tisdale...   'We get 10 applicants for every 1 job & several hundred when we post something on Monster.com.'"


2002-12-11 04:00PST (07:00EST) (12:00GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _C/Net_
US firms move IT over-seas
"IT services companies [bodyshops] are jostling to promise customers cheaper, flexible services using technology professionals in low-wage countries such as India, Red China & Mexico...   Those Indian businesses are faring much better than their US counterparts amid the tech downturn.   In the most recent 2 quarters, Infosys saw sales rise 26%, & Wipro's revenue jumped 26%...   [Frances] Karamouzis estimates they take in about $6G per year, or less than 5% of US IT spending...   Already, more than 300 of the Fortune 500 firms do business with Indian IT services companies, according to Gartner.   The research firm predicts that by 2004, more than 80% of US companies will have considered using off-shore IT services.   In addition, more than 40% of US corporations will have completed some type of off-shore IT pilot program or will be using IT services with an over-seas component by that time.   That IT work is headed off-shore is confirmed by a November report from Forrester Research, which estimated that the number of computer jobs moving over-seas will grow from 27,171 in 2000 to 472,632 five years after that...   By 2015, a total of 3.3M US jobs and $136G in wages will transfer off-shore to countries such as India, Russia, Red China and the Philippines, according to Forrester."

2002-12-11 06:53PST (09:53EST) (14:53GMT)
_CNN_/_San Jose Mercury News_
Tech execs profited while firms flopped
"Executives at Silicon Valley companies that lost most of their value during the dot-com bust made billions of dollars when they sold their stock... found that the insiders walked away with $3.4G from the sales by September 30th.   During the same period, their companies' total market value fell 99.8% to 229.5M dollars."

Philipp Harper _B Central_
Best & worst states & cities for small businesses

Graef Crystal _Bloomberg_
30 With Biggest Raises, Worst Returns
"They are the CEOs who got the biggest pay raises in 2001 and had the worst performances.   They are the 'Dirty 30', the CEOs who have destroyed the relationship between pay & performance...   US companies with 2001 revenue of $8G or more...   For the 150 better performing companies, the median pay increase between 2000 & 2001 was a negative 9.2%...   But the median pay increase for the 30 CEOs [with the worst total returns in 2001] was an eye- popping, and positive, 70%...   To make my list of the 30, the company had to have earned a total return in 2001 of a negative 5.4% or worse.   Returns among the 30 companies ranged as low as negative 70%, with a median of negative 25.5%...   An examination of the pay history for the 30 shows this is the typical pay pattern among them: There's a decrease in annual bonus -- to throw share-holders off the scent.   Then some of that decrease is made up by a salary increase.   And on top of that are huge increases in stock options and other forms of long-term compensation, all of which dwarf the piddling bonus decrease so the CEO ends up with a large total pay increase."


2002-12-12 07:21PST (10:21EST) (15:21GMT)
Annelena Lobb _CNN_/_Money_
A $1,000 tax break in 2003?: Bush's proposed tax reforms could put thousands back in your pocket next year.
"Should all four tax cuts be adopted, the Tax Foundation said the median American family of 4, earning an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $66,619, would save $1,133 on its 2003 tax bill...   Marriage penalty relief would mean two things.   One is an increase in the size of the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly, currently $7,850, to exactly double that of a single filer, currently $4,700.   The other is increasing the amount of income taxed at 15% for married couples to twice the amount of income taxed at 15% for single filers...   According to the Tax Foundation, the median family of four would save $532 if the penalty were eliminated...   If rate reductions were fully implemented in 2003, the top bracket, 38.6%, would drop to 35%.   The 35%, 30%, & 27% rates each would drop by 2 points, to 33%, 28% & 25%, respectively...   the 10% income tax bracket. It currently applies to your first $12K of income, but Bush would like to see it apply to your first $14K.   The $2K difference currently is taxed at 15%.   The change would let you pocket the 5% difference, or $100 (that's 5% of the $2K)."

2002-12-12 07:40PST (10:40EST) (15:40GMT)
Palm to Sell HandHeld Computers in Red China

2002-12-12 10:54EST (15:54GMT)
Buried in debt?: Try 'cyberbegging'

2002-12-12 08:31PST (11:31EST) (16:31GMT)
Rachel Koning _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Jobless claims 4-week average up: import pricess fall
"For the week ended last Saturday, first-time requests for unemployment insurance benefits rose by 83K to stand at 441K, bringing this gauge back to levels seen in April & marking the first increase in a month, according to Labor Department statistics issued Thursday.   The 4-week moving average rose by 10K to hit 387,250, the highest mark in 3 weeks...   Lay-offs have slowed from peaks reached earlier in the year...   The number of individuals who remain on benefits rolls each week fell 165K to 3.28M, the Labor Department said.   The insured unemployment rate fell to 2.6% from 2.7%...   But many unemployed individuals have exhausted their benefits & so are no longer being counted as benefit recipients but may not have found jobs...   1% drop in import prices during November.   The larger-than-expected drop reflected a 10% plunge in petroleum prices on the month.   Excluding petroleum, import prices rose 0.1%.   Capital goods prices were flat in November.   Export prices rose 0.1%, marking the 9th month in 10 that prices have shown an increase."

2002-12-12 10:09PST (13:09EST) (18:09GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Household durables boost retail sales: Sales at the malls weaken in November
"Retail sales rose 0.4% in November, the fastest pace in three months, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday...   The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to be up about 4% compared with a year ago, president Tracy Mullin said.   'That's good but not spectacular.'...   Furniture store sales rose 2.3%, the most in 22 months.   Sales at building materials and garden stores rose 1.2%, & electronics & appliances saw sales rise 0.9%...   Department store sales dropped 1.4%.   Discounters reported higher sales.   Clothing store sales fell 1.3%.   Sales at book, music, sporting goods & hobby stores fell 0.5%...   Health & personal care store sales rose 0.3%.   Sales at gas stations rose 0.4% despite falling prices.   Sales at food stores rose 0.9%, while sales at bars and restaurants rose 0.3%.   Catalog and on-line sales advanced 1.7%."

2002-12-12 14:16PST (17:16EST) (22:16GMT)
Neil Chase _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Feds say California was over-charged $1.8G for energy
"A federal regulatory judge ruled Thursday that energy companies over-charged California by $1.8G during the 2000-2001 power crisis.   It was a disappointment for state officials, who had claimed that the over-charges totaled $8.9G.   California owes the companies $3G in unpaid power bills, so the refund ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission cuts that debt to $1.2G."

usa@boycottmadeinchina.org _Indy Media_
Free Tibet: Boycott of "Made in Red China" Campaign Launched
"The United Nations has been completely ineffectual in restraining [Red China], and, in fact, generally behaves as if its sole duty towards [Red China] was not to give it any cause for offense.   For instance, the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the single most important world Buddhist leader, was refused participation in a UN backed Millennium Peace Summit last year attended by religious leaders from all over the globe -- merely because [Red China] demanded it.   The prevalent argument that market forces and international trade would transform [Red China] into a free-market democracy has by now been completely discredited.   In fact, the opposite seems to have happened.   [Red China's] human rights record has worsened with each passing year of expanding international trade and investment in [Red China].   In 1998 December, President Jiang Zemin made a clear categorical declaration to the entire nation that [Red China] would never tread the path of democracy.   To drive home the point, as it were, he repeated it a couple of days later, vowing, in addition, that [Red China] would crush any challenge to the Communist Party's monopoly on power.   Immediately afterwards there was a nationwide crack-down on the publishing and entertainment industry and harsh punishment was meted out to those 'inciting to subvert state power'...   on Tuesday, 2001 February, 26, the [US] State Department in its annual report on Human Rights confirmed that despite years of deepening American economic engagement with [Red China], the human rights situation there had worsened significantly, with 'intensified crackdowns' on religious organizations, political dissenters and 'any person or group perceived to threaten the government'.   The report also stated that the situation in Tibet had worsened."

Alan B. Kreuger _NY Times_
What's in a Name? Perhaps Plenty if You're a Job Seeker
"To test whether employers discriminate against black job applicants, Marianne Bertrand of the University of Chicago and Sendhil Mullainathan of M.I.T. conducted an unusual experiment.   They selected 1,300 help-wanted ads from newspapers in Boston and Chicago and submitted multiple résumés from phantom job seekers.   The researchers randomly assigned the first names on the résumés, choosing from one set that is particularly common among blacks and from another that is common among whites...   Apart from their names, applicants had the same experience, education and skills, so employers had no reason to distinguish among them.   The results are disturbing.   Applicants with white-sounding names were 50% more likely to be called for interviews than were those with black-sounding names.   Interviews were requested for 10.1% of applicants with white-sounding names and only 6.7% of those with black-sounding names...   The 50% advantage in interview requests for white-sounding names held in both Boston and Chicago, and for both men and women."

Michelle Gerst _Coast News_
Affordable housing units cut over protest

Evelyn Iritani & Marla Dickerson _Los Angeles Times_
Tech Jobs Become State's UnWanted Export
"Many of the jobs lost will not be back...   Companies have shed thousands of jobs in the United States and Europe while shifting production to lower-cost countries, mostly in Asia...   From its peak of 5.7M jobs in early 2001, US technology employment has plunged by about half a million.   More than 100K of the job losses have come in California, according to figures from the American Electronics Assn., a Washington [lobbying] group.   Most of these positions have been in high-tech manufacturing, in which the average wage tops $70K a year...
  Although many believe the worst is over, the cuts still keep coming...   Indeed, the melt-down in California's tech sector has huge implications for the state's economy.   Although California's drop in overall employment has been milder than that of the nation as a whole, a disproportionate share of its declines has come in high-paid sectors such as information technology, telecommunications and computer services, leaving the state much worse off in terms of income than the rest of the country.
  Law-makers in Sacramento used a variety of gimmicks to cover a $24G deficit this year, only to find themselves faced with another $20G-plus chasm heading into the next budget cycle.   That's partly the result of the state's heavy reliance on tax revenue from capital gains, stock options and bonuses.   At its peak in 2000, revenue from these sources soared to $17.6G -- accounting for 25% of California's general fund...   Gibson says the eye-popping gains in personal income and job growth that characterized the late 1990s in California are unlikely to be repeated any time soon.
  Silicon Valley remains mired in what may be the worst down-turn in its history.   The San Jose metropolitan area alone has lost more than 100K jobs since its pre-recession peak in December 2000, while unemployment has risen to a 19-year high of 7.9%.   The Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, an alliance of technology firms, projects that it will beat least 5 years before employment in Silicon Valley returns to its previous peak...
  Experts say what began as a cyclical slump has forced permanent structural changes to the US industry that won't be undone when business revives...   California's tax structure motivates sales-tax-hungry communities to favor strip malls and auto dealers over factories.   Lofty electricity rates, workers' compensation costs & real estate prices have made the state's business costs among the highest in the nation."
NBER says recession that troughed in 2001 April ended 2001 November.   The stock market crashed 2000-03-10.   The STEM job markets were already diving by 2000 September, and general job markets in mid-2001.   STEM product sales were tanking all through 2001 and 2002.   Job markets still had not fully recovered by the end of 2016.

2002-12-13 p>2002-12-12 19:47PST (22:47EST) (2002-12-13 03:47GMT)
Barbara Hagenbaugh & Barbie Hansen _USA Today_
US manufacturing jobs fading away fast (with graphs)
"50 years ago, a third of US employees worked in factories, making everything from clothing to lip-stick to cars.   Today, a little more than one-tenth of the nation's 131M workers are employed by manufacturing firms.   Four-fifths are in services.   The decline in manufacturing jobs has swiftly accelerated since the beginning of 2000.   Since then, more than 1.9M factory jobs have been cut -- about 10% of the sector's work-force.   During the same period, the number of jobs outside manufacturing has risen close to 2%.   Many of the factory jobs are being cut as companies respond to a sharp rise in global competition.   Unable to raise prices -- & often forced to cut them -- companies must find any way they can to reduce costs & hang onto profits.   Jobs are increasingly being moved abroad as companies take advantage of lower labor costs...   Economy.com, an economic consulting firm in West Chester, PA, estimates 1.3M manufacturing jobs have been moved abroad since the beginning of 1992 -- the bulk coming in the last 3 years.   Most of those jobs have gone to Mexico & East Asia."

Eric Chabrow _Information Week_
Two top federal IT policy makers don't philosophically object to the government's out-sourcing some IT work over-seas.
"Representative Tom Davis, the Virginia Republican who chairs the House Sub-committee on IT & Procurement Policy, says contracting over-seas programmers to write non-sensitive, non-strategic government software could be a way to save tax-payer money...   Out-sourcing IT work over-seas doesn't bother Bush administration IT czar Mark Forman, either...   But Forman doesn't see much of need to out-source IT work over-seas.   Off-shore out-sourcing would be employed mostly to develop customized apps or tailor off-the-shelf software, he says.   Government agencies should use packaged software as it comes out of the box."

2002-12-13 02:41:24PST (03:41:24MST) (05:41:24EST) (10:41:24GMT)
Ken Dixon _Connecticut Post_
Communities tallying effects of proposed state cuts
"While state revenues declined by about 10% during the 2001-2002 fiscal year, this year they rose by up to 3.5%, but continue to lag behind expectations, according to Marc S. Ryan, secretary of the Office of Policy & Management.   Ryan, speaking to the Finance Committee Thursday, said that bond-rating agencies this week reaffirmed the state's AA rating.   'It's right in our face.', Ryan said.   Ryan added that the bond agencies won't hesitate to lower the state's bond rating if the state balks at tackling the $500M deficit in the current budget and the $1.5G deficit in the budget set to begin next July 1."

2002-12-13 05:46PST (08:46EST) (13:46GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Producer Price Index falls 0.4%
"Prices at the wholesale level fell 0.4% in November due to plunging prices for cars & oil, the Labor Department said Friday.   The core producer price index -- which removes the volatility of food & energy prices -- dropped 0.3% in November...   At the finished goods level, consumer goods prices fell 0.4% in November.   Finished consumer durable goods prices fell 0.7%.   Passenger car prices fell 3.6%, reversing the 2.2% increase reported in October.   Consume food prices rose 0.3%.   Soft drink prices rose 1.5%, the biggest increase in 10 years.   Finished capital equipment prices fell 0.2% in November & are down 0.4% in the past year.   Heavy truck prices rose 1.5%.   Finished energy goods prices sank 1.8% in November.   Gasoline prices fell 9% & heating oil prices dropped 11.1%"

2002-12-13 07:53PST (10:53EST) (15:53GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US Consumer sentiment improves: UMich index highest since August at 87.0
"The school's index of consumer sentiment rose to 87.0 in December from 84.2 in November.   That's the highest since August.   When the index sank to a 9-year low of 80.6 in October, the public was especially worried about corporate behavior, job losses and terrorism.   The index had been as high as 96.9 in May and averaged 107.6 in 2000...   The biggest gain came in the vital expectations component of the index, which rose to 81.2 from 78.5.   It's the highest since June.   The current conditions index gained to 95.9 from 93.1 in November.   It's the best since August."
Federal Reserve Board St. Louis
Federal Reserve Board St. Louis

Brendan Farrington _Sun-Sentinel_
Governor Bush restores rights of FBI agent jailed for destruction of evidence in Ruby Ridge probe
"Governor Jeb Bush and the Clemency Board restored the civil rights Thursday of the FBI agent convicted of destroying records while investigating the agency's role in the deadly 1992 shootout at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.   E. Michael Kahoe, a former head of the FBI's violent crime and major offenders section, pleaded guilty in 1997 to obstruction of justice for ordering the destruction of an FBI report into the 1992 fatal shooting at the cabin of... Randall Weaver...   The board did not restore Kahoe's right to own, possess or use a gun...   He said he now owns an employee leasing business [body shop] in Jacksonville."


2002-12-14 11:13PST (14:13EST) (19:13GMT)
Adam Entous _Reuters_
Bush Pledged Aid to Jobless But Failed to Deliver
alternate Reuters link
Yahoo! link
Times of Malta link
"Bush is expected to propose an economic stimulus package early next year totaling up to $300G, including tax breaks for corporations and individuals, hoping to reinvigorate the ailing US economy and stock market before his 2004 re-election campaign.   Bush said Congress' first priority should be extending federal un-employment benefits for about 750K Americans whose benefits will expire on December 28...   'And the nation's rate of un-employment is now 6%, and significantly higher in some parts of America.', Bush said."

2002-12-14 12:20PST (15:20EST) (20:20GMT)
Jane Merriman & Brian Kelleher _Yahoo!_/_Reuters_
Wall Street Bonuses Slashed this Year
"bonuses will be down 50% this year...   the highest payouts -- for the ranks of managing directors -- around $750K, compared with $1.5M to $2M a year ago...   Bonuses are one of the highest individual costs for investment banks, which pay out 50 cents in compensation for every dollar of revenue.   For top executives, bonuses make up the lion's share of their hefty pay packages...   Nearly 70K jobs have gone from the international securities business since the start of last year."

Karen W. Arenson _NY Times_
Job Listings for Work in Academe Decline 20%
"It is the first decline since 1995 and the largest decline in about a decade...   The language association said the number of English positions fell to 792 this year, from 983 in 2001, a 19% decline.   The number of foreign language positions fell to 535 from 675, a 21% drop.   The decline in tenure track jobs -- roughly half of the total jobs -- was slightly lower than for part-time jobs.   Tenure-track job openings in English fell 17% to 401, while those in foreign language departments fell 16% to 279...   The Middle East Studies Association of North America... has seen advertisements for job listings rise.   Last month it had 55, up from 29 in 2001 November and 34 in 2000 November.   But the vast majority of the positions are for adjuncts, lecturers and other part-time instructors, said Amy W. Newhall, the association's executive director.   The Association of Asian Studies also reports an increase in job advertisements, especially for Chinese and Japanese studies.   In October, the association had 399 job advertisements, up from 370 last year.   The American Historical Association, however, has had a decline...   As of this week, the historical association had received 745 job advertisements, down from 790 last year, a 6% decline.   But a preliminary review found the number of advertisements for tenure track positions was down 13%, to 495 from 566 last year.   And universities seemed even less willing to fill slots with senior scholars; the number of listings for tenured jobs fell to 16 from 54."

Margaret Steen _San Jose Mercury News_
Valley jobs market still stuck in low gear: Un-employment Rate 7.8% in November
"77,700 un-employed workers in Santa Clara County in November.   The county's un-employment rate remained substantially higher than the state and national averages, at 7.8%.   And the county lost 3,600 jobs from October to November...   The state and local un-employment report, released Friday, also showed the county's rate for October was revised up to 8.1% from 7.9% reported last month.   That's the highest since 1983...   The statewide un-employment rate was 6.4% in November, down slightly from the revised October rate of 6.5%.   The state lost 10,500 jobs for the month.   (State and national numbers are seasonally adjusted; local numbers are not.)   Locally, the un-employment rate fell slightly in San Mateo County, to 4.4% in November from 4.7% in October, and in Alameda County, to 6.4% in November from 6.6% in October."

Mike Boyer _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Holiday lay-offs are adding up
"The first of 100 Cincinnati Machine employees, told 2 months ago that their jobs were being eliminated, left the Oakley machine tool company Friday.   The cuts are the first part of a restructuring announced in October by the unit of Unova Inc. and are the latest in a wave of pre-holiday job cuts by Cincinnati companies...   Convergys Corp., the billing and customer care provider, trimmed 99 management and administrative jobs in Greater Cincinnati this week.   They are the first of 950 jobs the company announced earlier that it plans to cut worldwide through the end of 2003 in a restructuring.   The cuts don't include reductions in the company's global network of call center agents.   Convergys employs about 44K worldwide.   The reductions are a sore point with some employees because they come as the company is expanding operations at its new call center in India...   The Cincinnati Machine cuts represent about 13% of the long-time machine-tool builder's Greater Cincinnati employment."
WikiPedia: Convergys is a privacy-violation firm derived from the Cincinnati Bell local government-enforced monopoly and its privacy-violation arm, Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, together with MATRIXX/AT&T Solutions Customer Care/AT&T Transtech, DigitalThink, Intervoice, Datacom call center operations, Stream Global Services; with subsidiary operations including Infinys Rating and Billing (IRB), Dynamic Decisioning Solution (DDS), ICOMS, Customer Management Solutions


Patricia Kitchen _NewsDay_
'Wage Collapse': With a poor post-9/11 economy, laid-off workers with higher salaries are taking lower-skilled jobs to survive
"'When you're working at a low-paying job, people treat you like you're brainless.   It's humiliating and demeaning.'[, said Charlene Dukes Ruiz.]...   More than 8 in 10 of 1K polled said it would be difficult for people laid off to find similar-paying jobs, according to the quarterly confidence index conducted for Right Management Consultants, a career transition & consulting firm in Philadelphia...   With so many doors closed, it's little wonder skilled, confident people start to doubt themselves."

Carol Kreck _Denver Post_
Lean times hit hard at food banks: Need rises, money shrinks in Denver
Pounds of food distributed by Food Bank of the Rockies

"'We usually see between 800 and 900 families in November.   This time we saw about 1,100 families, and 30% of them are new.'   One in five work full time, Holmer said, but they don't make enough to pay for food.   At Food Bank of the Rockies, interim chief executive Barbara Arko said annual donations have decreased from 13.4M pounds of food 2 years ago to 11.3M this year."

Ottawa Hi Tech Labour Market (graphs)


Robert J. Samuelson _Newsweek_
The Mature Worker Glut
"TO BE PRECISE: in 2000, there were 61M Americans 45 to 64; by 2010, there will be 79M, estimates the Bureau of Labor Statistics.   The increase is 30%, even though the entire over-16 population is projected to grow just 11%...   In 1960, 78% of men from 60 to 64 were in the labor force, as were 31% of those 65 and over.   By 2000, those figures were 55 & 18%, respectively....
  We can not afford to let more and more able workers go to the side-lines...   The Conference Board did a survey of workers 50 and over.   Nearly half (47%) said that 'more flexible hours' might delay their retirement.   A similar number (43%) said they would like to work part time, about two thirds (68%) with their current company...   25% of respondents wanted to retire because they no longer felt 'respected'."

David M. Halbfinger _NY Times_
As Post-Boom Dust Settles, the South Grimly Down-Sizes
"Atlanta gained possibly more high-tech jobs than any other city in the nation...   Telecom and Internet companies suffered the same fate as high-tech companies everywhere, causing wrenching readjustments...   61,800 jobs were lost in the 12 months that ended in October -- more than in any other city in the country, according to the federal Department of Labor.   And the job losses are continuing."


2002-12-17 07:51PST (10:51EST) (15:51GMT)
Rachel Koning _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Core CPI up 0.2% on health costs: Whiffs of inflation seen in latest data
"Retail food prices rose 0.2% in November, led by increases for fruit and vegetables.   Energy costs eased 0.2%, as fuel oil, electricity, natural gas and gasoline were all cheaper in November than a month earlier.   Within the so-called core rate, a 0.6% jump in hospital costs -- a 12-year high -- was offset in part by cheaper car prices and air-fares.   Transportation costs as a whole fell 0.1% last month after rising 0.6% in October, when new car models were rolled out.   Tobacco prices, another volatile component of the CPI, were flat in November.   Housing prices rose 0.2% in November after rising 0.3% in October.   A separate report Tuesday showed a jump in housing starts during November...   Meanwhile, US workers saw their 'real' earnings -- adjusted for inflation -- rise just 0.2% in November.   A 0.3% rise in earnings was offset by the CPI's 0.1% increase."

2002-12-17 08:41PST (11:41EST) (16:41GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Industrial production edges higher
"Output of the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose 0.1% in November after falling 0.6% in October.   Capacity utilization rose a tenth of a percentage point, to a reading of 75.6% for last month."

Allison Sherry _Denver Post_
Hospital treating fewer poor: University may lose funds as cases slide
"University of Colorado Hospital stands to lose more than half a million dollars in government funding next year because administrators have increasingly limited the number of poor people the hospital sees.   Over the past 2 years, the number of indigent patients University saw dropped 25%, new state & hospital records show.   The drop comes despite millions more in government money University received to treat that population...   Denver Health received $56.1M for the 2002 fiscal year and had 147,930 out-patient visits, down 1% from 2000 and 12% from 2001.   Inpatient visits for the year were not available Monday night but were at about 4K last year, down from 5K the year before...   President Bush recently gave $5.2M to augment community health centers in Colorado..."


2002-12-18 06:27PST (07:27MST) (09:27EST) (14:27GMT)
Denver homeless shelters to declare state of emergency

2002-12-18 08:44PST (11:44EST) (16:44GMT)
Justin Lahart _CNN_/_Money_
Stocks are set to fall for 3 years running for the first time in 60 years, & to mark the occasion stock strategists are taking on the can-do optimism of Depression-era waif Little Orphan Annie.
"what strategists are saying about 2003 doesn't sound all that different from what they said about 2002."

Nation's mayors say struggling economy hurts poor
"Emergency food requests rose about 19% this year, according to the survey of 25 cities.   Meanwhile, demand for emergency shelter increased in 18 of the 25 cities, by an average of 19%.   High-housing costs, low-paying jobs, and the economic down-turn were among the reasons highlighted for the increases."

David Kirkpatrick _Fortune_
Finally a Productivity PayOff from IT?
"Even though companies now spend, on average, 37% of their capital budget on IT, US productivity numbers have only crept up modestly over the past few decades, though they have accelerated markedly since 1995...   I have a candidate -- business process out-sourcing.   While it's not something we immediately associate with computing & networks, it's only after companies are automated & connected by a commonly accessible network (the Internet) that they can easily create links between themselves & their suppliers.   Work can be passed seamlessly from worker to worker regardless of location...   A disturbing consequence of this shift will be fewer jobs in the US."

US Conference of Mayors: Hunger, Homelessness On the Rise in Major US Cities


2002-12-19 08:07PST (11:07EST) (16:07GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Lay-offs rise above 400K level: Continuing claims drop to 14-month low
"The 4-week average for initial claims filed for state unemployment benefits jumped by 12,750 to a level of 400,750, the highest since the first week of November.   The average for initial claims had fallen as low as 377,250 two weeks ago.   In a separate release, the Conference Board said its index of leading indicators rose 0.7% in November [to 112.3, and the coincident indicator to 115.0], the best gain this year...   The four-week average for continuing claims for benefits fell to 3.46M, the lowest since 2001 October 20.   In the most recent week, however, continuing claims jumped 229K to 3.5M, the biggest increase in 12 years."

Bill Scanlon _Rocky Mountain News_
Soaring demand for food leaves agencies short
"The number of hungry people in metro Denver is sky-rocketing, with agencies reporting requests for free meals growing as much as 300%.   Officials blame lay-offs and an influx of unemployed people from other states & countries...   A report from Denver Human Services released Wednesday said 45% of people served by food agencies say they've skipped meals and gone hungry.   One agency, Food Bank of the Rockies, provided food for more than 727K meals for the needy each month this year..   Food Bank of the Rockies distributes 12M pounds of food annually to 750 charitable agencies in northern Colorado and Wyoming.   It gets its food through a national network of food manufacturers who have surpluses...   Arko points to the 70K jobs lost last year in Colorado.   Family savings are eaten up until there's no money for even the basic necessities.   And the lay-offs keep coming this year, in ones & twos, and in hundreds & thousands, she said."

Kelly Pate _Denver Post_
Thrift stores thriving Sales surge as shoppers seek ways to stretch dollars
"Goodwill's sales in Colorado are up 13% over 2001, Farnam said.   Some stores report 30% increases...   10% ahead of the $1G in sales recorded last year...   Dan Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation, estimates that the second-hand clothing industry makes up less than 2% of the US clothing and accessories market - $169.1G last year."

Aviation World Still Baffled by Wright Brothers Success: Building and Flying a Centennial Replica Proves Tricky
"At least 4 teams of craftsmen and scientists across the United States are building replicas of that first wood-and-fabric airplane to learn how the Wrights, two bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio, with no college education, succeeded when other inventors of the day failed."

Joseph Farah _World Net Daily_
America is being invaded
"Some 10K illegal aliens cross our border with Mexico every day. Many of them never go back.   Even those who do often take advantage of America's welfare system, government schools, [tax-victim]-subsidized medical care, [Socialist Inecurity] and dozens of other programs.   The number of illegal aliens living in the United States has grown from 5M in 1995 to between 9M and 11M -- that despite generous amnesty programs that have magically 'legalized' millions more."


2002-12-20 11:39PST (14:39EST) (19:39GMT)
Emily Kaiser _Yahoo!_/_Reuters_
Retailers Slash Prices to Spur Sales
"Media organizations reported heavy demand for advertising space as retailers rushed to draw business in an unusually short holiday season."

_Silicon India_
Iran making nuclear bomb with help from India, Red China, Russia, Ukraine citing Washington Post

Sacha Cohen _USA Today_
Shhh, they're talking salary
"The NLRA says employers cannot interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in exercising their rights under NLRA, which protects the employees' right to discuss their 'wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment' for their 'mutual aid or protection'."


2002-12-21 05:59IST
Suman Guha Mozumder _rediff_
New Jersey law on out-sourcing may hit India
"A new law passed by the New Jersey Senate on Thursday banning out-sourcing of government contracts to over-seas may adversely impact India.   The bill passed by a 40-0 vote was proposed earlier this year by Senator Shirley Turner (D-Mercer)... saying that the state should look out for its own people instead of developing cheap labour force in countries where benefits are rarely given to workers."

_Pensacola News Journal_
Jobless rate in Escambia & Santa Rosa counties improves in November
"Unemployment for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties was 3.9% in November, compared to 4.2% in October.   The local rate continued to run lower than the Florida rate, which was 5% in November, down from October's 5.4%.   State & local rates fell below the comparable US rate (not seasonably adjusted) of 5.7%.   The national rate for November, if adjusted for seasonal changes, was 6%.   The two-county area's November job count (155,500) showed a gain of 400 jobs between October & November, but a loss of 300 from a year ago.   Also less upbeat: Employment data for area and state showed there are fewer people in the labor force seeking and holding jobs."


Red Chinese firms face fewer anti-dumping cases post WTO
"From January to October this year, Red Chinese industries were the subjects of 47 cases by foreign countries, compared with 67 for the whole of 2001, Xinhua news agency reported.   India is one of the countries that has launched maximum number of anti-dumping cases against Red Chinese products...   From 1978 to 2001, 33 countries & regions, including India undertook anti-dumping and protectionist measures against Red China, bringing forward 498 cases concerning over 4K products & affecting over $16G in exports.   In 2001, 17 countries and regions launched a record 67 investigations against Red China.   In the past year, the Chinese government made many international agreements requiring other countries reasonably to amend their anti-dumping policies & admit Red China's exports.   These efforts made it difficult for foreign firms to make anti-dumping allegations against Red Chinese firms, it said."

Patricia Kitchen _NewsDay_
It Takes an e-Village to Raise a Career
"'Many people... expected a miracle to happen.', [Marc Seago, co-founder of WeWantWork] says.   About 40% to 50% have gotten project work, part-time survival or permanent jobs, he says, mostly those who understood the value of the brand they created.   Those who differentiated themselves..."

Aldo Svaldi _Denver Post_
'Jobless' recovery slows US
"The US economy, in 8 different recoveries, added an average of 2M jobs in the 12 months following the bottom of a recession.   But the streak broke during the early 1990s.   Twelve months after a March 1991 recessionary bottom, the US economy went on to lose 253K jobs, shrinking 0.2%.   The US economy should grow about 2.7% this year and lose 0.2% of its job base, Richard Wobbekind, head of the business research division at University of Colorado at Boulder, said in a forecast released last week...   a 6% unemployment rate means that about 1 out of 8 workers will face unemployment during the course of a year."

Julie N. Lynem _SF Chronicle_
Laid-off techies work for stock options but no pay-check: Techies work for hope, not cash
"a small and apparently growing number of highly skilled workers who are accepting so-called equity-only jobs.   In many cases, they've taken jobs with no compensation or health benefits...   They want to network, update skills and build a company from the ground up...   State officials say those working for equity can lose their unemployment benefits.   Moreover, the start-ups that sign up these workers could be violating state labor laws.   A spokesman for the US Department of Labor said it looks at each case to determine if any federal laws were broken.   Miles Locker, attorney for the California labor commissioner, said it's against the state labor code for employers to offer stock options as compensation if they're not paying workers at least the minimum wage.
  All workers in California must be paid at least $6.75 an hour, plus any applicable over-time...   But free labor is exactly what these companies are getting if they do not pay workers at least minimum wage, said the state Labor Commission's Locker.   They can be assessed substantial penalties for nonpayment of wages.   Workers are entitled to recover unpaid wages or over-time compensation, including interest, attorney's fees and the costs of a lawsuit, he said.   Further, employers can be fined $50 per employee for each pay period that the employee is under-paid.
  Officials with the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement say there's no way to track who is being paid in stock options because the state does not consider options a form of compensation...   Kirthi Kalyanam, director of e-business initiatives at Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business [said] 'I think it's a lose-lose game.   It's hard for me to see why a good company would ever engage in these kinds of things.'   Companies that do not pay do not value workers' labor or time, Milenbach said."

_Los Angeles Times_
"Do some research on the 600K immigrants allowed into this country on the H-1B temporary visa.   Many were allowed into the country who were not qualified for high-tech jobs."


2002-12-22 19:07PST (22:07EST) (2002-12-23 03:07GMT)
Anne d'Innocenzio _AP_
Retailers Anxious About Holiday Shopping
"...retailers remained anxious & uncertain after a hoped-for sales bonanza failed to materialize...   Analysts say consumers have cut back on their spending because of worries about job security & the economy's uncertain recovery.   Shoppers were searching for the best price, & retailers were accommodating them with two-for-one specials & other deep discounts."

2002-12-23 03:21PST (06:21EST) (11:21GMT)
Red China Throws Weight Behind Homegrown Computer Chip

2002-12-23 04:29PST (07:29EST) (12:29GMT)
Patrick McMahon _Yahoo!_/_USA Today_
Climbing taxes hit property owners
"Property tax collections across the nation went up 10.4% in the 12 months that ended [2002] June 30, compared with the same period a year earlier, Census figures show.   The increase was the highest since 1993.   Taxes for the first half of this year were up 14.1% compared with the first 6 months of 2001.   Second-quarter taxes alone were up 24% compared with the same 3 months of 2001...   The surge in property taxes is prompting predictions of a tax-payer rebellion in states such as New Jersey.   Cities there raised levies by an average of 7% last year, the largest increase in a dozen years.   In 1999, New Jersey had the highest property tax per capita in the nation...

Property taxes supply 72% of local tax revenue, according to a report in May by the National Conference of State Legislatures."

NASSCOM says New Jersey Bill won't hit Indian firms
"NASSCOM on Monday said the passage of a Bill in the New Jersey state of US prohibiting the state government out-sourcing its back-end IT jobs to other countries would not have any major impact on Indian companies...   NASSCOM [will] take up the matter with both the Federal government and the New Jersey government to look into the issue and take steps to ensure that the same move is not taken up by other US states.   'We have hired a PR agency in US which will be in place in the next two-three weeks which along with our other officials would lobby with the US government to take up issues.'"

2002-12-23 08:03PST (11:03EST) (16:03GMT)
Martin LaMonica _CNET_
Survey: Employees ready to walk
"Based on an on-line survey of 2,200 hourly & salaried workers, CareerBuilder.com found that 35% of respondents plan to change jobs in 2003.   General unhappiness with their situation at work -- including poor prospects for career advancement, lack of job security and low pay -- appear to be motivating people to move on from their current employers, according to the survey.   On top of complaints about compensation and advancement opportunities, 50% of the people planning to change jobs said they worked under a great deal of stress.   Overall, 38% of job seekers were dissatisfied with their current positions."

K. Yatish Rajawat _Economic Times of India_
No work for India, but Indians can work in New Jersey
"New Jersey's legislative body, the Senate, has cleared the bill which will prevent out-sourcing any work from the public sector enterprise to India...   Indians on H-1B visas will be allowed to work on state projects, but Indian firms or even US firms will not be able to send work off-shore to India...   It is unclear whether Indians on other visas like L-1A or L-1B will be allowed to work on the same projects...   Mr. Gusciora's bill, though similar, was much harsher than Senator Turner's.   Mr. Gusciora's bill planned that only US citizens and legal resident aliens in the US shall be employed in performance of services under any contract from state enterprises.   Originally, the Shirley K Turner bill also had the same restriction."

2002-12-23 13:15PST (16:15EST) (21:15GMT)
Request for lower discount rate began in Dallas, Texas; Boston, New York, Philadelphia joined in.

US Business Process Out-sourcing Bill may spell trouble for Indian IT
"The New Jersey state senate has passed a bill, which prevents any local government organisation from out-sourcing call centre or transaction processing work to anywhere in the world directly or indirectly.   However, those foreigners holding H-1B visa to the USA will be allowed to work on such projects...   But if this bill - which was passed unanimously 46 to 0 - becomes a law it could have a cascading impact on other states..."

Senator Charles Grassley to push for India-US trade expansion
"...meeting with the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC)... executive director Sanjay Puri...   USINPAC said it is scheduled to meet Senator Joe Lieberman... Joseph Crowley... and Senator Richard Lugar...   The group also raised the issue of several new bureaucratic procedures that have resulted in delays for granting H1-B visas to skilled, technical employees, which they said was seriously impacting the growth of advanced technology and pharmaceutical industries... also met Representative Robert Wexler..."


2002-12-23 17:25PST (20:25EST) (2002-12-24 01:25GMT)
Gary Strauss _USA Today_
Execs reap benefits of cushy loans
"Corporate accountability legislation enacted this summer after a wave of high-profile scandals eliminates new executive loans, which critics contend often are more like bonuses than easy credit requiring repayment.   But the new law doesn't prohibit companies from forgiving outstanding loans.   Nor does it rescind executive loans still outstanding.   So scores of insiders will be reaping the benefits of a choice financial perk for many years.   Even after they're phased out, they will likely be replaced by other incentives...   [Paul] Hodgson says 33% of more than 1,500 big companies have loans outstanding to executives.   His findings are being released this week in a report entitled _My Big Fat Corporate Loan_...   Nearly 25% of big companies waive loan repayments."

2002-12-23 18:39PST (21:39EST) (2002-12-24 02:39GMT)
Wayne T. Price _Florida Today_
How to "buy American": Orlando author publishes guide to products made in USA
"Roger Simmermaker... 38-year-old electronics technician at Lockheed Martin's Cape Canaveral operation found it nearly impossible to find American-made products [has written] a book, _How Americans Can Buy American_ [now in its 2nd edition]...   American-owned companies pay 3 times as many taxes than foreign companies...   Remember in the late '90s, when Nissan moved production of their Sentra model from Kentucky to Mexico?   Did the price of the car drop to reflect the lower wage rates in Mexico?   No.   In fact, sometimes, American cars are actually cheaper than similar foreign models.   The Ford Taurus, which has a 95% domestic-parts content, costs less than the Toyota Camry, which only has a 55% domestic-parts content..."

Urmi A. Goswami _Economic Times of India_
Migrating to US? Wait for Frist
"Senator Frist has a long history of supporting immigration.   This is like manna from heaven [for Indians], especially since key issues like the reduction in H1-B quota will be up for review in the coming year...   Given Senator Frist's history of being supportive of immigration issues, it is hoped that the cap on H1-B, economy permitting, will not be reduced.   Indians would stand to gain given the fact that nearly 50% of H1-Bs, even during lean times, are snapped up by Indians."

2002-12-24 05:54PST (08:54EST) (13:54GMT)
_USA Today_/_AP_
Durable goods orders fall 1.4% in November
"For automobiles and parts, orders dropped 4.5% in November, following a 3.7% advance in the previous month.   Airplanes for commercial use saw orders go down 7.7% last month, after dipping 1.7% in October.   Excluding transportation products, which can swing widely from month to month, overall orders fell 1.3% in November.   Orders for primary metals, including steel, fell 4.6% in November, the biggest decline since 2000 October.   That came on top of a 1.2% drop recorded in October.   Machinery orders declined 3.2% last month, erasing October's 2.7% increase.   For computers, orders dropped 3.7% in November, after a 0.9% decline.   Orders for electrical equipment and appliances dipped 0.6% in November, following a 1.9% drop."

Jasper Becker _Indepenedent.co.uk_
Red China's exploited toy workers still toil in toxic sweat-shops
"In the crowded sweat-shops of Red China's Pearl river delta, the world's toys are churned out, not by Santa's elves, but by 1.5M peasant girls toiling through shifts of 12 or 14 hours, inhaling toxic fumes...   Red China makes 70% of the world's toys and its exports, now worth $7.5G (£4.7bn) annually, have doubled in 8 years.   In addition, China exports nearly $1G of plastic Christmas trees, ornaments and lights, tinsel, plastic angels and bells, Santa suits, framed pictures of Jesus and Bible scenes.
  Hong Kong & Taiwanese companies that make goods for the likes of Hasbro (whose brands include Action Man and Bob the Builder), Mattel (makers of Barbie) & Disney have shifted production to the Chinese mainland, lured by the plentiful supply of cheap, unregulated labour.   Red China has 6K manufacturers, largely funded by foreign companies & clustered in the Pearl river delta, or Zhejiang & Jiangsu provinces...
  60% of the toy workers are women between 17 and 23 who live in cramped company dormitories, 15 to a room, earning 30 cents an hour...   Most get only 2 days off a month...   Of the remaining $2, $1 is shared by the management & transportation in Hong Kong, 65 cents shared by the raw materials.   The remaining 35 cents is earned by producers in [Red China] for providing the factory sites, labour & electricity."

Sharon Gaudin _IT Management_
ITAA Projects 1.1M Jobs Coming for Haggard IT Work-Force, But Is Wrong Again
"IT firms reduced their workers by 15% compared to only 4% for non-IT workers.   And it appears there's nowhere to run.   The IT work-force lost 5% of its employment [in 2002, after even larger losses in 2001], with cuts being felt equally in all regions of the US."

Rey David _SF Examiner_
A crime against Americans
"I have been a software engineer for the past 15 years, and a good one at that.   Seven months ago, my company decided to give my job to off-shore software out-sourcers from India, and I got laid off...   I noticed a few ads advertised that they sponsor H1-B visas.   I found that the companies who sponsor H1-B visas are invariably owned or run by Indians.   There are thousands of unemployed IT professionals in the Bay Area who are U.S. residents and desperately looking for work.   And here we see some Indian-owned companies who will spend the time, effort and money to bring people in from India to fill their job openings.   That is unconscionable!...   it has become a common practice for some Indians to set up dummy corporations, create dozens of bogus job openings, sponsor H1-B visas for candidates in India and arrange a temporary home for these 'successful candidates'.   These candidates pay their 'sponsor' a fixed fee for his 'services'.   They then stay with other successful candidates in an arranged home until they find a paying job for themselves with some bona fide American company.   But why would the companies bother to advertise openings to the public when they have no intention of hiring locally?   They advertise to satisfy the INS's minimum requirements for H1-B sponsorship."


2002-12-25 07:54PST (10:54EST) (15:54GMT)
Bush Considers Reducing Double-Taxation of Dividends
"President Bush is considering a proposal to [reduce double taxation] on corporate dividends to share-holders as part of a $300G [spread over 10 years] tax cut package aimed at shoring up the economy & stock market, Republican sources said on Wednesday.   Many of Bush's aides favor a 50% cut in taxes on dividends that could cost more than $100G over 10 years.   Business leaders say it would provide a near-term stimulus by providing an immediate increase in disposable income and encouraging investment in stocks.   Currently corporate income is double taxed -- once as income & again when it is distributed to share-holders as dividends."

2002-12-25 08:03PST (11:03EST) (16:03GMT)
A shopping season to forget: Last-minute sales unlikely to rescue weak holiday season; new sales push begins Thursday.
"...shaping up to be the weakest holiday season in more than 3 decades...   Christmas Eve day accounts for only about 4% of overall holiday sales, according to C. Britt Beemer, chairman of America's Research Group.   According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Christmas Eve day was the seventh busiest holiday shopping day last year...   Last year, [the week before Christmas] accounted for 34% of holiday sales, compared with 23.9% in 1999, the trade association said."

2002-12-25 09:33PST (12:33EST) (17:33GMT)
John Chartier _CNN_/_Money_
Tough times in toyland: Independent toy retailers seek ways to survive amid the growth of big box stores. (with graph)
"Discount chains have been steadily stealing market share from specialty chains for at least a decade, but the shift has become even more pronounced given last year's recession & rising unemployment, which has made consumers much more conscious of price, industry analysts said...   In 1996, discount chains accounted for 40.7% of total toy sales, according to market research firm NPD Group.   In 2000, the latest period for which figures are available, discounters have 41.8% of the retail market for toys.   Meanwhile, independent toy shops took in $4.30 of each $100 of toys sold in this country in 1996, but that fell to $3.40 in 2000."

Meredith May, Ryan Kim, Diana Walsh _SF Chronicle_
3 tech workers freed after INS detention: Bay Area men face deportation hearings

Ryan Kim _SF Chronicle_
Red China frees famous democracy advocate: GW Bush administration sought early release
"Xu Wenli, 59, arrived Tuesday night in Chicago, where he was met by family & friends who cheered his early release.   Xu, who was serving a 13-year sentence for endangering state security, is the first person convicted of that charge to be released early, said John Kamm, founder of the Dui Hua Foundation in San Francisco, which advocates the release of Chinese political & religious prisoners.   The move appears intended to further Red China's latest attempts to engender international good will, particularly with the United States.   Human rights critics in America & around the world have been trying to win Xu's freedom since 1998, when he began his most recent prison sentence...   Xu has spent more than 16 of the past 21 years in prison...   China Democracy Party, which was quickly crushed by the government.   Two other co-founders, Wang Youcai & Qin Yongmin, remain in prison on similar charges, serving terms of 11 and 12 years, respectively...   But the party's attempts to establish a domestic human rights monitoring network led to its banning, plus their leaders' arrests and swift convictions...   Red China has used medical paroles for political prisoners to win favor with the West and rid themselves of long-time irritants.   Earlier this year, Red China released Tibetan dissidents Tanak Jigme Sangpo & Ngawang Choephel, who were at the top of the political prisoners list for many human rights organizations."

Edward Epstein _SF Chronicle_
Unemployment benefits are political hot potato: Extension likely to be Congress' first battle
"At issue is extending jobless benefits for 780K long-term unemployed Americans whose federally financed extended benefits run out on Saturday.   About 100K... are Californians.   Another 100K Californians already have exhausted their benefits & remain jobless.   It's estimated that 90K more people will lose their regular jobless benefits nationwide each week in a rocky economy that has boosted California's unemployment rate to 6.4% & the country's jobless rate to 6%."

Edmund L. Andrews _NY Times_/_SF Chronicle_
GW Bush considers reducing double taxation of stock dividends

David Lazarus _SF Chronicle_
Yahoo privacy worries
"Yahoo now records and studies all visits by registered users to the thousands of pages constituting the Yahoo network.   This includes browsing of listings on the company's Hotjobs on-line classifieds...   Diana Lee, a spokeswoman for the company...
  The big communications companies keep getting bigger, and the reach of their tentacles grows ever longer...   Perhaps we can take solace that Inktomi no longer provides search technology to the CIA & the Internal Revenue Service, as was the case until earlier this year."

Children's Defense Fund: Congress Turns Their Backs on Unemployed Workers

Diane E. Lewis _Boston Globe_
Shift of tech jobs abroad speeding up
"employers will move about 3.3M white-collar service jobs & $136G in wages over-seas in the next 15 years as they seek lower costs, increased production, and higher profits, according Forrester Research Inc.   Leading the way will be the information technology industry...   Global out-sourcing is a growing business...   In the past... US companies relied on foreign workers with H-1B visas to reduce costs.   'Now they are focusing on off-shoring', or sending the work over-seas... basic information technology support services, computer programming, and office work are leading the trend.   In 2000, computer and back-office work accounted for significant portions of the 102,674 jobs shipped abroad, representing 27,171 & 53,987 positions, respectively...   By 2015... 472,632 computer jobs and 1.65M office positions will have been shifted to places like Red China, India, the Philippines, or Russia...   thousands of computer professionals have been laid off in recent months...   Last year, for example, 695,581 high-tech job cuts were announced nationwide, representing 36% of all the pay-roll reductions proposed by US firms during that period, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an out-placement firm.   This year, between January & September, there were 334,650 job cuts announced, or 33% of all reductions, the firm said."


2002-12-25 21:02:00PST (2002-12-26 00:02:00EST) (2002-12-26 05:02:00GMT)
Barbara Kollmeyer _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Shorting 'bad' companies new social-investing approach
"Web site Karma Banque http://www.karmabanque.com/index.php encourages protesters of the world to hit offending companies not with sticks & stones, but where it really hurts -- their stock prices...   Max Keiser... 42, runs Karma Banque from a lap-top in the Cote d'Azur, France, with his New York-based partner, Nalim Patel, who worked with him at his former dot.com project, the Hollywood Stock Index."

2002-12-26 08:15PST (11:15EST) (16:15GMT)
Rachel Koning _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Four-week unemploymet insurance claims top 400K: Weekly number volatile, down 60K in December 21 period
"The closely watched four-week average of first-time applications for jobless benefits edged up 2,500 to 404,500, the Labor Department said Thursday...   The weekly number, meanwhile, plunged by 60K applicants to 378K in the period ended December 21, from a revised 438K...   Meanwhile, the number continuing to collect unemployment insurance payments each week fell by 12K to nearly 3.5M in the week ended December 14.   The insured unemployment rate held at 2.7% in the latest week, the report showed."

Terry Costlow _Christian Science Monitor_
A short circuit for US engineering careers: Faced with foreign competition & an ever-faster pace, many engineers are dropping out of a once-safe field.
"'I spent 7 years in school, and it resulted in a 6-year career.', says Mr. Porter, who feels his master's degree in engineering is little more than 'a base'...   Dissatisfaction with the field is growing rapidly.   Lay-offs, the influx of foreign workers, and off-shore out-sourcing of jobs have caused the pocket-protector set to either leave the profession in large numbers or seek new careers after being laid off...   they must advance at a steady pace or risk being cast aside...   This year, for example, telecommunications and computer makers have already slashed nearly 400K workers -- and that's down from last year's 500K lay-offs - according to out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas...   In 2000, near the end of the high-tech boom, industry CEOs convinced Congress to nearly double the number of H-1B visas, allowing up to 195K skilled workers from India and elsewhere into the US.   Some engineers contend that those CEOs kept many of those H-1B workers while cutting higher-paid US citizens.   'About 80K engineers were unemployed a few months ago.   If you take out the H-1Bs who came in, you'd have jobs for all of them.', the IEEE-USA's Bryant says...   'The half-life of engineering knowledge, the time it takes for something to become obsolete, is from 7 to 2-1/2 years.   Life-long learning is critical in this profession.', says William Wulf, president of the National Academy of Engineering."

Jeannie Piper _KUSA 9 TV Denver_
More homeless crowd shelters
"A candlelight vigil was held Thursday night for the 107 homeless men & women who died this year in metro Denver."

Ted Costlow _Christian Science Monitor_
A short circuit for US engineering careers: Faced with foreign competition and an ever-faster pace, many engineers are dropping out of a once-safe field.
"'I spent 7 years in school, and it resulted in a 6-year career.', says Mr. Porter, who feels his master's degree in engineering is little more than 'a base'...   Lay-offs, the influx of foreign workers, and off-shore out-sourcing of jobs have caused the pocket-protector set to either leave the profession in large numbers or seek new careers after being laid off...   This year, for example, telecommunications and computer makers have already slashed nearly 400K workers - and that's down from last year's 500K lay-offs - according to out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas...   Adding to the frustration of some engineers are the numbers of foreigners competing for jobs...   programmers have careers not much longer than pro-football players..."


2002-12-27 03:20PST (06:20EST) (11:20GMT)
Bambi Francisco _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Excite co-founder turns to "consumer rights" on the web
"Excite later focused on being Web site portal.   It subsequently merged with At Home in June 1999, and went on to amass a market cap of $40G at its high point.   But when the boom times ended, ExciteAtHome quickly unraveled and eventually went broke in 2001 September.   The assets sold for $10Min bankruptcy...   The recording industry says counterfeit CDs cost US music labels $300M a year, & sales of CDs dropped by 7% in the first half of 2002...   Kraus left Excite in 2000 April, & started the 'consumer advocacy group' in 2001..."

2002-12-27 07:00PST (10:00EST) (15:00GMT)
Rachel Koning _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
New-home sales at record for November, led by Midwest
"New homes sold reached 1.07M, or a gain of 5.7%, on the back of a 1.01M sales rate in October, the Commerce Department reported Friday...   Meanwhile, the 257K new homes sold in the Midwest in November marks a new record for that region.   Sales soared some 41%, according to the government's report.   Sales were up 2.4% in the South but tumbled more than 26% in the Northeast & dropped 3.9% in the West."

Mona Charen _Washington Times_
Defined by history
"today's college students scored below high-schoolers of the 1950s.   Asked, "In what country was the battle of Waterloo fought?" only 3% of college seniors answered correctly (Belgium), as opposed to 44% of 1950s high-school graduates...   The National Endowment for the Humanities cites data showing that 32% of Americans believe that 'the president may suspend the Bill of Rights in war-time'..."

2002-12-27 20:08PST (23:08EST) (2002-12-28 04:08GMT)
Scott Blake _Florida Today_
Jobless benefits end today for 800K: 1,038 in Brevard will lose funds
"The expiring federal benefits package -- up to 13 weeks -- was passed in March to help workers who were starting to run out of their state unemployment benefits, which in Florida pays a maximum of $275 a week before taxes for up to 26 weeks.   In Florida, emergency federal benefits will be cut off today for more than 31K jobless workers, regardless of whether they were nearing the end of their 13-week benefits extension or just started receiving those benefits.   In addition, 4,100 jobless workers statewide will exhaust their state unemployment benefits in each of the following weeks, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities...   Brevard Work-force Development Board Executive Director Linda South.   Currently, local employers aren't doing a lot of hiring, based on the slow pace of job orders received by Brevard Job Link, a local employment agency...   The local unemployment rate -- 5.2% in November, according to preliminary state labor figures released this month -- is expected to increase in January...   Local employment in information technology, such as computer programmers & technicians, has slowed down 'considerably' in the past year, she said."

Walter E. Williams _Washington Times_
Fiddling while education falters
"However, if money were the answer, Washington public schools would be the best in the nation, if not the world.   Per student expenditures are $10,500 a year, second highest in the nation.   With a student-teacher ratio of 15.8, they have smaller-than-average class sizes.   What is the result?   In only 1 of the city's 19 high schools do as many as 50% of its students test as proficient in reading, & at no school are 50% of the students proficient in math.   At 9 high schools, only 5% or fewer of its students test proficient in reading; & in 11 high schools, only 5% or less are proficient in math...   Each year, more than 80% - and up to 96% - of high school students are promoted to the next grade."

Gail Kinsey Hill & Brent Hunsberger _Oregon Live_
Oregon jobless benefits extended 13 weeks
"The state's high unemployment rate -- the highest in the nation -- ...at 7.1% in November, triggers a separate program that extends benefits for 13 weeks...   The additional checks will help out an estimated 20K individuals who otherwise would exhaust their regular 26-week claim or the federal 26-week extension...   Oregon has been in a broad-based recession since the Spring of 2001.   For much of that time, it has recorded the highest monthly unemployment rate in the country, followed by Alaska & Washington...
  Sharon Hills, director of community resources for St. Vincent de Paul, said her agency will provide an estimated $256K in rental assistance this year in the 6-county, greater Portland area that it serves.   She hasn't seen that kind of demand in the 5 years she has worked for the non-profit, which also provides the needy with clothing, food, & money to help pay for utilities and transportation.   Requests for food have surged recently...
  Oregon HEAT, which helps low-income households pay energy bills, saw demand more than double last month, when it doled out $79,433, compared with $31,901 in 2001 November...   In November, the latest month for which figures are available, 122,642 Oregonians were unemployed.   That's higher than October's 114,895 figure, but below last November's posting of 130,976.   Oregon's unemployment rate peaked in January & February of this year at 8.1%...   About 78K Oregonians have tapped into the federal program.   Among them, 17K have exhausted its benefits."

quoted by Bob Rosner _abc News_
Readers Weigh in on Who's to Blame for Lay-Offs
"'Management is to blame for lay-offs.   They are the ones pursuing off-shore out-sourcing at an alarming rate.   I'm waiting for the day when share-holders figure out they can have a CEO in India or [Red China] for pennies on the dollar too.', June Q."



Dave Barry _Miami Herald_
Getting to the bottom of 2002: Iraq flared up and the economy teetered, but DAVE BARRY just wants to focus on his salad

Dana Milbank _Washington Post_/_SF Chronicle_
Bush pledge aid to jobless: both republican president & democrats say unemployment checks will be restored
"States typically provide 26 weeks of jobless assistance.   Congress in March provided a 13-week extension of payments; payments are routinely renewed by law-makers in difficult economic times.   But Congress' failure to pass a new extension before it adjourned means that between 750K and 800K jobless workers lost benefits Saturday.   According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research group, an additional 95K unemployed Americans will lose benefits each week."


2002-12-30 03:04PST (06:03EST) (11:03GMT)
_San Francisco Chronicle_/_AP_
Tokyo stocks end 2002 at lowest year-end close in 20 years, US dollar lower against yen
"The bench-mark 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 135.10 points, or 1.55%, to close at 8,578.95 points Monday -- the lowest since the 1982 year-end close of 8,016.67.   On Friday, the Nikkei had edged up 13.95 points, or 0.16%, to 8,714.05.   Since the start of this year, the Nikkei has lost 19% of its value and dropped several times to 19-year lows on worries that Japan's debt-saddled banks and soaring unemployment will further extend the decade-long economic slow-down.   The dollar bought 119.36 yen at 17:00 (03:00 EST) Monday, down 0.62 yen from late Friday in Tokyo and below its level of 119.90 yen in New York."

2002-12-30 07:03PST (10:03EST) (15:03GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
November existing home sales down 3.5%
"US home resales fell 3.5% in November to an annual rate of 5.56M, the National Association of Realtors said Monday.   The NAR said that despite falling mortgage rates in November, the market was unable to sustain a robust October sales pace.   November sales were 5.9% above sales in November 2001.   The NAR predicts a record sales pace at 5.5M or greater for 2002."

US bankruptcies smash record 186 public companies reportedly filed for protection in 2002
"US public companies have shattered bankruptcy records for a second straight year as accounting fraud and the last decade's debt spree brought down corporate giants, and experts are bracing for more such woes...   186 public companies with a staggering $368G in debt filed for bankruptcy in 2002, according to tracking service BankruptcyData.com.   That is the largest asset total ever, sweeping past last year's record $259G.   The wreckage included 5 of the 10 largest bankruptcies ever, led by phone company WorldCom Inc., with $104G in assets.   Filings by Conseco Inc., Global Crossing Ltd., Adelphia Communications Corp. and UAL Corp. also were among the top 10.   Accounting scandals figured in the failure of all of those but UAL."

_Boston Globe_/_SmartPros_
Analysts Say Technology Industry Will Lead Way in Over-Seas Out-Sourcing
"employers will move about 3.3M white-collar service jobs and $136G in wages over-seas in the next 15 years as they seek lower costs, increased production, and higher profits, according to Forrester Research Inc...   'We estimate that of the 700 service job categories in the United States, about 550 will be impacted by off-shore out-sourcing in some way over the next 15 years.', said analyst John C. McCarthy, the report's author."

Catherine Valenti _abc News_
Looking Ahead: The Job Scene in 2003 Could Still Be Grim for Many
"The Business Roundtable, a Washington.-based association of leading chief executive officers, recently said 60% of its 150 members expect their employment to drop in 2003, while only 11% expect to hire more employees.   This pessimism going into the new year isn't surprising, considering the dismal numbers on the job front of late.   The unemployment rate hit an eight-year high of 6% in November, with the number of jobless people edging up to 8.5M.   Since 2001 January, US companies have announced plans for 3.3M job cuts, more than in the previous five years combined, according to Chicago-based out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.   And many economists expect the unemployment rate to tick higher before it gets any better.   Economists from investment bank Lehman Brothers, for example, are forecasting the unemployment rate to peak at 6.2% next year, with an economic recovery to emerge in the spring or summer, absent any unforeseen shocks to the economy."


2002-12-31 12:59:12IST
New Jersey Bill not to hit Indian IT firms
"NASSCOM on Sunday said the New Jersey Bill relating to government out-sourcing will not hit the Indian IT industry..."

2002-12-31 06:25PST (09:25EST) (14:25GMT)
_SF Chronicle_/_SFGate_/_AP_
Singapore official says economic recovery unlikely before 2004
"Singapore will likely have to wait until 2004 for a full economic recovery from its worst economic down-turn since independence in 1965, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said in his New Year's message Tuesday.   Singapore's economy grew 2.2% in 2002, after a 2% contraction in 2001, Gok said in a New Year's address...   unemployment in the Southeast Asian city-state, currently at 4.8%, may also remain high."

2002-12-31 06:54PST (09:54EST) (14:54GMT)
Alexandra Olson _AP_/_SF Chronicle_/_SFGate_
Venezuelan strike leader warns of violence; oil production won't be normal for weeks, officials say
"Labor leader Carlos Ortega also renewed his call on residents to stop paying taxes, a move that would widen a strike that has already roiled world oil markets, and paralyzed industry and caused food and gasoline shortages throughout the country...   Ramirez claimed that oil production was up to 600K and 700K barrels a day and would reach 1.2M barrels a day next week.   Still, he acknowledged the strike had already cost $2G in lost oil revenue and damage to oil installations.   The oil industry represents 30% of Venezuela's $100G gross domestic product.   Venezuela's opposition called the strike to force Chavez to call a 2003 February 2 non-binding referendum on his presidency, which runs to 2007...   Opponents blame the president for an economic down-turn of 7% so far in 2002, annual inflation surpassing 30%, 17% unemployment and chronic political unrest.   They charge Chavez is trying to impose a leftist, authoritarian government...   Oil prices reached a 2-year high of $33.65 in New York before settling back to $31.37.   The US Energy Department reported Monday that the average retail price of unleaded gasoline rose 4 cents last week to $1.44 per gallon.   The average price at the pump has now gone up 8 cents in the past 2 weeks."

2002-12-31 07:12PST (10:12EST) (15:12GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Consumer Confidence plunges in December: Job worries push present situation index to 9-year low
"The present situation index fell to a 9-year low of 69.9 from 78.3 in November.   The expectations index fell to 87.2 from 89.3.   The consumer confidence index peaked at 144.7 in early 2000.   The number of consumers who reported 'good' business conditions fell to 14.6% from 16.1%.   The percentage reporting 'bad' business conditions was constant at 25.8%.   The percentage who say jobs are hard to get rose to 29.8% from 27.3%.   Those who say jobs are plentiful fell to 12.4% from 14.2%."

2002-12-31 13:11PST (16:11EST) (21:11GMT)
Allen Wan _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Wall St. ends down for 3rd straight year: Technology was a bust in '02; gold shines, oil gushes
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 14 points, or 0.2%, to 8,347, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1 point, or 0.1%, to 1,341.   Watch latest market update.   Wall Street closed with losses for the third straight year in a row -- the first time this has happened since the 1939-1941 period...   Of the major indexes, the Nasdaq has been the biggest loser so far this year -- down 31.3%.   The broader S&P 500 trailed behind with a 23.3% loss, while the blue-chip Dow fell 16.8%.   The Russell 2000 of small-cap stocks and the Wilshire 5000 both tumbled around 22% this year...   Retailers were on the rebound, though some heartening news couldn't counter what has been the worst holiday shopping season in 32 years.   Retail chain-store sales snapped back in the latest week, growing 2.1%, according to the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UBS Warburg.   The BTM-UBSW weekly index now stands 2.9% above its year-ago level.   With a week to go, holiday sales are running 'slightly above' their 2001 performance, BTM said.   BTM expects December same-store sales to rise about 2% year-over-year, which would mean holiday sales are up about 1.5%."

2002-12-31 13:54PST (16:54EST) (21:54GMT)
Shawn Langlois _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Parametric plunges as techs hover
"Shares of Parametric Technologies lost more than a quarter of their value after the company warned that first-quarter earnings would come up shy of prior forecasts.   The software firm also filed an extension for its annual report with the SEC."

2002-12-31 15:25PST (18:25EST) (23:25GMT)
Russ Britt _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Films set mark in 2002, look for 2003 drop: Sony leads charge as moviegoers plunk down $9.2G
"Hollywood usually sets new water-marks at the US box office year-to-year -- a task usually achieved via inflation.   In 2002, though, the industry shattered last year's record by more than 11%, topping the $9G mark for the first time just a year after it surpassed the $8G threshold.   Not only that, it eclipsed by far the record for individual ticket sales -- something it hasn't done in 4 years...
  Marks estimated that the 2002 box-office year will wind up at $9.2G, 13% above the $8.13G it reached in 2001.   Individual ticket sales should reach 1.57G, compared with 1.44G last year.   A.C. Nielsen's box-office year ends this coming Sunday.   Using different criteria, Exhibitor Relations Inc. forecasts its box-office year, ending Thursday, will total $9.3G, 11% more than the $8.3G reached in 2001.   The box-office tracker says ticket sales will reach 1.59G vs. 1.48G...
  What drove film-goers to theaters in droves?   There's always the old adage that in lack-luster economic times, the public falls back on the movies for entertainment.   It's a quick, relatively inexpensive get-away."

Frederick Grab _Washington Times_
Palestine: Truth or factoid?

Mary Jo Patterson & Robert Gebeloff _Star-Ledger_
Edison's cluster doesn't compute: Indian enclave transforms neighborhood into "Silicon Alley"
see graph
"More than a fourth of all employed adults in this neighborhood work in computer or math occupations, the 2000 Census shows...   Most locals believe Edison's computer programmer phenomenon, which is new, bubbled up with the Y2K problem, when American companies looked to India's huge pool of computer talent for help...   It was around 1998 that the number of computer professionals living in the area suddenly mushroomed, said Niraj Triverdi, news editor of Mantram, a glossy magazine based in Edison, aimed at a US audience of highly educated South Asians.   Most of the new arrivals were men who worked for Indian-owned software firms, based in the US, doing contract work for Fortune 500 companies...   living conditions are quite Spartan...   In India, Edison is as well-known as San Jose, CA, as a high-tech mecca...   More than half of the neighborhood's residents are foreign-born, and most are not naturalized citizens.   Although 63% of those come from India -- many temporarily under the 'H1B' visa program for specialty occupations -- there also are smaller pockets of immigrants from [Red China], the Philippines and Colombia."

Brad Foss _AP_
Consumer confidence unexpectedly drops (with graph)
"The research group's Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 80.3 from a revised 84.9 in November, the only month the index rose since June.   Analysts had been expecting a reading of 88.0 in December...   The outlook for jobs was particularly grim, with 20.2% of consumers saying they expect fewer jobs to open up in the next six months, up from 18.8% in November.   Those expecting more jobs fell to 15.1% from 15.4%.   Income expectations were dour, with 18.7% of consumers anticipating a rise in their incomes, down from 19.4% a month ago."
more Conference Board info

2002 December

2002 December
_National Jobs for All Coalition_
2002 December Unemployment Data
"Officially unemployed [and actively seeking work]: 8.6M...   Working part-time because can't find a full-time job: 4.1M.   People who want jobs but are not counted in official statistics because [they are not actively seeking work]: 4.4M.   Total: 17.1M"

2002 December
David West _Center for a Changing Work-Force_
A Million Hours of "Temporary" Work: How University of Washting Mislabel Hundreds of Employees to Avoid Providing Health Insurance
"We found the initial suspicions of Council 28 staff and leaders to be accurate -- there has been widespread misuse of hourly 'temporary' employees at UWMC and Harborview Medical Center.   In addition, we found evidence of misclassification of employees paid through staffing agencies -- employees who worked for more than 6 months in the same position who should have been classified as UW/Harborview employees under the common law definition of employment, and been eligible for UW benefits.   This misclassification was conducted through a practice known as 'pay-rolling', in which the real employer (UWMC) paid staffing agencies to 'appear' to be the employer...   The UWMC (including Harborview) has violated the Washington Administrative Code (WAC 251.01.415) by employing 215 temporary employees over the 'temporary' limit of 1050 hours during 12-month periods beginning with the employees' anniversary date since 1996...   since 1995 over 500 individual temporary employees should have been eligible based on their hours of work, but were excluded..."

2002 Winter
_Brooke Consulting_
Fake Diplomas Flood Red China
"Ever since it launched market-oriented reforms of its socialist educational system in the 1990s, the [Red Chinese] government has struggled to wean college students from their long-standing expectations of subsidized schooling, and persuade them instead that an advanced degree was worth paying for.   For better or worse, that effort has succeeded.   The good news is that today's Chinese students are gladly willing to shell out their own money in pursuit of diplomas.   The bad news is that hundreds of thousands of them have opted to hit the streets and buy fake ones on the black market, rather than hit the books and earn real ones in the halls of academe...   In response to the pressure of [Red China's] increasingly competitive market-based society, students and graduates routinely forge transcripts and reference letters.   In addition, outright cheating is rampant on international standardized tests such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)."

Education Oppornities in America, Inc.
"The total cost of education in America is extremely high, ranging from $15K to $45K annually.   The total cost for Canada is much less, ranging from Cdn$15K to Cdn$30K annually, but still an exorbitant amount for an average student from India." --- Studying in America and Canade: Cost of Education
"The Chronicle of Higher Education has recently reported that the average cost for tuition and fees at an American college or university for out-of-state residents is almost $14K per year (not including living expenses).   Many international students who wish to study in the US cannot afford this expense...   Many Universities require first year students to live in their dormitories and eat in the school cafeteria.   This is extremely expensive, compared to the cost of off-campus housing where students can share housing and prepare their own meals."

State Control of the Internet in Red China
"Thousands of Internet cafes have been shut down this year."

Sandip Patel, Caryn Frick, Brian Golemme, Suresh Gupta, Shamus Rae & Andrea Lowe of Ill-Begotten Monstrosities
Riding the Off-Shoring Wave (pdf)
"IT services work was first moved off-shore some 30 years ago; now, over one-third of Fortune 500 companies perform at least some IT services work off-shore.   Off-shore out-sourcing of IT sources has grown at over 50% per annum for the last 5 years to over $8G in 2002."

Ron Krannich & Caryl Krannich _America's Top Internet Job Sites_ pp 54-55
On-Line Job Seeking Is Often Frustrating
"Indeed, the experience of many job seekers is that they register & put their resume on-line but still do not get a single inquiry after 6, 8, or even 12 months.   In addition to being frustrated, these somewhat naive job seekers switch over to the site's community forum section where they post some form of this question: 'What am I doing wrong -- I haven't gotten a single hit after being registered for 6 months?'   Not surprisingly, they get similar complaints from other frustrated on-line job seekers who have not received responses even after 8, 10, or 12 months!...   The silver lining for the site is that traffic keeps coming back as job seekers repeatedly try to experience success.   More traffic attracts more employers who pay higher advertising & user fees."

Allan Hoffman
CIOs on IT Spending

Alison Davis-Blake, Joseph P. Broschak, Lei Wang & Daniel Chng _University of Texas at Austin_
Organizing Contingent Work
"During the 1990s, employment in contingent work arrangements grew more rapidly than more standard forms of employment (Kalleberg, 2000)...   Similarly, both Abraham (1990) and Kalleberg and Schmidt (1996) have argued that the growing demand for contingent employment is partly driven by growth in the number of labor market intermediaries [a.k.a. bodyshops].   [Conclusion: The pattern of abuse is self-promoting.]...
  As the oldest and most frequently used source of contingent workers (SHRM, 1998), temporary staffing agencies are an important influence on the market for contingent work...   PEOs 'administer the pay-roll [of their client firms], provide the benefits and benefits administration, maintain personnel records, and perform most of the functions normally handled by an HR department' (SHRM, 1998)...
  Several theories have proposed that long-term, stable employment relationships lead to a number of important benefits for organizations.   For example, theories of strategic human resource management argue that 'certain combinations of human resource programs, policies, and practices [including practices that foster long-term employment] lead to specific employee attitudes, such as trust in management or organizational commitment, that in turn lead to specific employee behaviors beneficial to effectively implementing a given business strategy' (Arthur, 1994: 684).   Similarly, theories of implicit contracts assume that employees form a psychological contract with their employers regarding the reciprocal obligations of employment (Argyris, 1960; Rousseau, 1989; Rousseau & Parks, 1992).   For many employees, this contract implies a long-term attachment between employee and organization (Robinson, Kraatz, & Rousseau, 1994).
  Violations of the psychological contract by organizations have been linked to increased turn-over and to decreased employee commitment (Robinson, Kraatz, & Rousseau, 1994).   Similarly, there is some evidence that when organizations keep the psychological contract by maintaining long-term employment, employees engage in higher levels of extra-role behaviors (Robinson, 1996)...
  Houseman (1999) reported steady increases in the [abuse] of most types of flexible staffing arrangements during the 1980s and 1990s.   As noted by Belous (1989), organizations have attempted to increase their flexibility by decreasing their use of 'core workers' (workers with a strong affiliation with a specific employer and a long-term psychological contract) and increasing their use of contingent workers (workers with a weak affiliation to a specific employer and lacking a long-term psychological contract)...
  the 2 major professional and accrediting associations for PEOs and temporary staffing agencies: the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) and the American Staffing Association (ASA)...   the 9 states with the largest numbers of labor market intermediaries (California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas)."

Connie Mayse _Crains Cleveland_
Using Head-Hunters
"What is the recruiter's specialty?...   Will your resume be actively presented or kept on file>   Ask if the recruiter will 'shop' you to his clients or if he will simply keep you 'on file' in case something comes up down the road.   If you are actively looking for employment, make sure your head-hunter is making contacts on your behalf.   Are his/her clients the employers you want to reach?...   Is the recruiter the kind of person with whom you want your name associated?"

_Programmers Guild_
Executives' lobbyists have made outrageously excessive talent requirements estimates for years

San Diego Work-force Partnership, Inc. & San Diego Regional Technology Alliance 2002
San Diego's Software & Computer Services Industry Cluster pg 3/pdf11
"A 2001 June survey found that employers in the Software & Computer Services Industry were more likely to use H-1B visas to hire employees than employers in other clusters: over 14% of firms had used H-1B visas in the 12 months between 2000 June & 2001 June.   In general, however, the industry is highly dependent on the local labor supply.   Employers reported that they rarely to sometimes recruited outside the region for software engineers, project managers, & other occupations representative of the cluster work-force."

San Diego Work-force Partnership, Inc. & San Diego Regional Technology Alliance 2002
San Diego's Software & Computer Services Industry Cluster pg 3/pdf11
"In 1998, the Software & Computer Services Industry consisted of 1,253 firms, & 17,700 employees.   Between 1990 & 1998, the number of industry firms more than doubled.   Industry employment increased 101K within the same time period.   The rate of employment growth in the Software & Computer Services Industry was high compared to the 19% increase in employment within the other industry clusters2 in the region between 1990 & 1998.   In the 12 months between 2001 June & 2002 June, Software & Computer Services Industry employers expect their work-force to increase by 18K.   This increase translates to over 3,600 new jobs for the region, representing the highest employment increase among the 10 industry clusters surveyed,3 with the exception of Business Services.   The Software & Computer Services Industry is the highest paying in the region: in 1998, the annual average wage rate was $63,657.   In comparison, the average wage for all 16 of the region's industry clusters was $36,275, & $28,854 for the region as a whole (cluster & non-cluster employment).   Over 50% of employment in the Software & Computer Services Industry is concentrated in firms with more than 100 employees.   Most industry firms, however, are small; 84% of Software & Computer Services firms have 49 employees or less.   The small to medium size of most software firms impacts their ability to afford training for their employees."

San Diego Work-force Partnership, Inc. & San Diego Regional Technology Alliance 2002
San Diego's Software & Computer Services Industry Cluster pg 4/pdf12
"Within the Software & Computer Services Industry, 48% of employees possess a bachelor's degree, & 27% possess a master's degree.   Employers reported that college graduates with computer science degrees comprise the primary source of labor within the cluster.   However, with regard to the usefulness of a college degree, employees claimed that experience & technical certification were more important than degree-related education.   Employees deemed training to be particularly important in this cluster.   The nature of the cluster demands that employees know the latest programs & stay on top of developments in the field.   Most employees received training in the following ways:
* On-the-job,
* Online,
* Self-training, &
* Outside seminars & programs.
There is disagreement among employers & employees regarding demand for training.   Employees reported that there was a gap between the training they felt they needed & the training that their employers actually provide.   Employees felt that they received little support for training from their employers in terms of access & resources.   In contrast, employers in the focus coalition felt that employees were not motivated or did not have time to seek training.
  Industry employers identified technical skills such as knowledge of Windows NT, Visual Basic, C++, HTML, & Cold Fusion as most important for most industry occupations.   But for the software engineer occupation, the ability to work as a member of a team was rated as the most important skill.   This skill was rated as even more important than technical skills traditionally associated with the occupation, such as knowledge of UNIX & SQL data bases.
  Training programs in the region currently offer most of the industry skills deemed 'most important' by employers, but training in non-traditional & newer skills is lacking.   In general, cluster employers felt that training providers are not keeping pace with industry developments."

Sheryl Silver _Penn Live_/_Express-Times_
Engineers: Demand Depends on Specialty
"EE engineers, in fact, saw their unemployment rate steadily rise during the last year, from 1.1% in early 2001 to 4.1% during the first quarter of 2002 and 4.8% during the second quarter.   Although 4.8% is still below the unemployment rate of 5.4% for all professions, it represented another rate increase during a period when the nation's employment rate declined...   civil and structural engineers fared rather well in the last year."

_Chicago Tribune_
Andersen Consulting

Steven A. Camarota _Center for Immigration Studies_
The Open Door: How Militant Islamic Terrorists Entered and Remained in the United States, 1993-2001

Andrew Bernstein
The Philosophical Foundations of Heroism

Hans-Hermann Hoppe _Journal of Libertarian Studies_ Volume 16 #1 pg 80 foot-note
Natural Order, the State, and the Immigration Problem
"Mass migration, in contrast to small-scale individual migration of skilled laborers in pursuit of a more productive environment, is entirely a State-made phenomenon.   Most typically, mass migration is the outcome of inter-State warfare, State resettlement programs, group expulsion, or general economic destructionism."
Index of articles on mises.org

_Soy Growers_
A New Era of Global Economic Growth: The USA has to get back in the game
"while the average U.S. tariff on agricultural products is approximately 8%, the worldwide average tariff is more than 40%."

_Minnesota Science & Technology Hall of Fame_
Lawrence Perlman, CEO of Control Data Corp., Ceridian, and XIOtech

Doug Marlette

Will Wave Flag For Food
Janet Reno
Janet Reno 2

Laura Otto _The Business Ledger_ The dot-coms
California Job Journal archive search

Network World breaking lay-off news

Changes in California Unemployment Compensation

CEO departures

  "6 degrees of separation doesn't mean that everyone is linked to everyone else in just 6 steps.   It means that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in a few steps, & the rest of us are linked to the world through those special few." --- Malcolm Gladwell 2002 _The Tipping Point_ pp 36-37  

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