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Dice Report: 36,502 job ads
2004-03-01 05:23PST (08:23EST) (13:23GMT)
_AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
Lundberg Survey: San Diego gasoline prices highest in nation
"San Diego has the highest gas prices in the nation, according to the Lundberg Report. A gallon of self-serve regular costs $2.19 ñ which is 27 cents higher than just 2 weeks ago. During the past 2 weeks, many California cities saw increases of 20 cents or more, according to analyst Trilby Lundberg. California has strict environmental regulations and places sales tax on gas pumps, which amounts to an extra 3.5 cents a gallon, Lundberg said. 'We have the most clean and costly gas in the world.', added Lundberg. Across the nation, prices for all grades of gasoline rose 6.9 cents in the past 2 weeks to a national average of $1.75 a gallon, according to a study released. But even with the boost, the cost was a penny below what it was a year ago... The average price of gasoline in 2003 March was $1.76, Lundberg said..."
2004-03-01 05:56PST (08:56EST) (13:56GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
January incomes, spending inched higher
Bureau of Economic Analysis report
"U.S. real consumer spending rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% in January as real disposable incomes increased 0.5%, the Commerce Department estimated Monday. Excluding several one-time factors, including a reduction in taxes and cost-of-living adjustments, real disposable incomes rose 0.1% in January... November and December figures were revised slightly higher... With nominal incomes increasing faster than nominal spending, the personal savings rate rose from 1.4% to 1.8% in January, or $154.6G, the highest level since August. Over the past 12 months, real disposable incomes and spending have both increased 3.7%. In January, per-capita incomes rose to a $28,761 annual rate."
2004-03-01 06:09PST (09:09EST) (14:09GMT)
Coalition Battles For Off-Shore Out-Sourcing
"big business is quietly mounting an offensive against state and federal efforts to keep jobs at home and otherwise restrain globalization, Monday's Wall Street Journal reported. Some of the best-financed trade groups in the U.S. have formed a coalition to beat back federal legislation that would restrict foreign out-sourcing by government contractors and limit visas for non-American workers with technology skills. Calling itself the Coalition for Economic Growth and American Jobs, the new entity comprises about 200 trade groups -- including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the American Bankers Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Information Technology Association of America -- as well as individual companies. While U.S. manufacturing jobs have been going abroad for decades, the more recent and highly publicized out-flow of white-collar jobs -- from call centers to software engineering -- is causing anxiety among skilled white-collar workers at a time when the growing U.S. economy hasn't produced many new jobs. Dozens of bills to protect U.S. jobs have been introduced in state legislatures and in Congress. Business is alarmed by a provision in the federal government's omnibus fiscal 2004 spending bill that bars companies that bid for certain work done by government employees from moving work off-shore, said William Sweeney, vice president of global government affairs at Electronic Data Systems Corp. EDS, of Plano, Texas, does government out-sourcing work."
2004-03-01 07:35PST (10:35EST) (15:35GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
The big picture on movie theater chains
"Much of the business is driven by the top 2 national chains -- Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment, said John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, also known as NATO, a trade group that represents movie theater-operators with 26K U.S. screens. Regal operates 6,124 screens while AMC runs 3,280 of the nation's more than 35,700 screens, he said. Cinemark, which plans an initial public offering with a proposed ticker symbol of CNK, is the third largest, with 2,265 screens. Carmike Cinemas another publicly traded company, operates 2,051 while Marcus Theater Corporation runs 488. Loews Cineplex Entertainment is another chain with a potential IPO... In fact, theaters took in $9.5G in ticket sales in 2002, when the number of people going to the movies was the biggest it's been in decades, Fithian said. Two years ago, there were 1.64G tickets sold in U.S. The last time ticket sales exceeded 1.5G was in 1957, Fithian said. Though the final results are still being tabulated, ticket sales are on track to top 1.5G again for 2003. Ticket sales are theater companies' largest source of revenue, comprising about 70% of sales, he said. Concessions are generally 20% of revenue. At Regal Entertainment, the revenue mix is about two-thirds from admissions, 26% from concessions and much of the remainder coming from pre-movie ads run in the 20 minutes before the film -- known as the 'digital pre-show', DiClemente said."
2004-03-01 07:48PST (10:48EST) (15:48GMT)
William L. Watts _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Off-Shore Out-Sourcing Raises Workers' Dander
"After a string of law-suits and growing worries about government regulation, Silicon Valley executives in the late 1990s realized they had to become players in the political arena. 'When you're working 50 to 60 hours a week, [politics] doesn't usually become a priority for you.', said Natasha Humphries, who lost her position as a senior software quality assurance testing engineer with Palm (now known as PalmOne) last year."
2004-03-01 07:53PST (10:53EST) (15:53GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Tech Industy Groups Open Wallets, Work Harder at Lobbying Politicians
"The tech industry no longer lobbies on issues that only an electrical engineer could understand, like encryption policy. In the past year, the industry worked hard for lower taxes, helping to win a reduction in the capital gains tax and tax breaks for investments in equipment. And the industry has fought a defensive struggle -- successful so far -- against accounting rules that would require the expensing of stock options on corporate books. In the post-Enron era, expensing of stock options is about the only corporate governance and accounting reform that business groups have managed to block... White's group [Technology Network] spent $145K lobbying in the first 6 months of 2003, the most recent data available. Four years ago, the group spent $265K for the entire year. Heeson's group [National Venture Capital Association] spent $460K lobbying in the first 6 months of the year, up from $220K in all of 2000. In the first half of 2003, the American Electronics Association [now AeA] was the industry's most active lobbying group, spending $1M. According to filings with the U.S. Senate, other big spenders were the Business Software Alliance ($534,155), the Computer Systems Policy Project ($440K), the Semiconductor Industry Association ($310K), the Information Technology Industry Council ($260K) and the Software & Information Industry Association ($250K)."
2004-03-01 12:03PST (15:03EST) (20:03GMT)
Mark Gongloff _CNN_/_Money_
Off-Shore Out-Sourcing: What to do? (with graph)
"a growing number of jobs are, and many of them are higher-skilled jobs that once seemed immune to [off-shore] out-sourcing. U.S. companies moving jobs off-shore has helped keep the job market in its most painful slump since World War II, creating tremendous worry for millions of workers and triggering a vigorous national debate about how best to respond... 'I find it rather ironic that people who claim to wear the free market mantle would turn around and support government meddling in the market-place of labor -- right now we have the government encouraging people to dump their cheap labor here.', said Scott Kirwin, founder of the Information Technology Professionals Association of America (ITPAA), a worker's rights group... In January, for example, there were more unemployed workers 25 or older with college degrees than there were unemployed workers without high school diplomas, according to the latest Labor Department data."
2004-03-01 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Jamie McIntyre & Lisa Sylvester & Kitty Pilgrim & Bill Tucker _CNN_
Aristide exiled, trade groups conspire to promote off-shoring, illegal aliens
"Patrick McDonough, Maryland state delegate: 'America does not exist to give everybody else in the world a job.'... Tonight, hundreds of U.S. Marines are in Haiti. Hundreds more are on the way. The Marines are securing key points in the capital city of Port-au-Prince after a three-week uprising against the government of President Aristide. The Marines landed after President Aristide resigned and agreed to go into exile... Altogether, the Pentagon has 2K Marines on standby... Angela Morales: 'If you are illegal, you do not belong here. You do not have the right to jump the line. You do not have the right to take jobs away from people.'... On Maryland's Eastern Shore, day laborers show up to shuck oysters, no questions asked, no documents needed. An estimated 130K illegal aliens are estimated to have moved to the state between 1990 and 1999, according to the Census Bureau. But as their numbers have swelled, so has resentment. More than 200 people attended a rally this weekend to protest illegal immigration... In Arizona, the statehouse is considering a measure that would pull the state license of any company that hires illegal workers. And last year, Colorado became the first state to ban the acceptance of matricula cards and foreign driver's licenses... The meat in a U.S. super-market says 'USDA inspected'. But that doesn't mean it was looked at by U.S. meat inspectors... only about 7% of [imported] meat is reinspected by U.S. inspectors... The USDA just suspended meat imports from France. But violations had gone on for years. And during that time, meat was still imported from France. In 2002, the USDA began to notice problems with three French plants. In 2003, it was four plants. But it wasn't until this February the USDA said there was enough of a problem to ban all meat products from France. The same ban also was put on meat products from Hungary last month and is still in effect... And, of course, they're fighting like the dickens to keep that country of origin label off. They've just pushed it back another 2 years... The Coalition For Economic Growth and American Jobs. An organization made up of some of the most influential business organizations in the country. And their chief concern -- protecting their right to ship your job over-seas... It includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, and others. It has some very deep pockets and is dedicated to defeating anti-out-sourcing bills at the state level... At the federal level, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd has introduced legislation to ban federal tax dollars for off-shore work... Dodd knows [unemployments for] computer programming jobs are running 6.5% and 7% [for] computer hardware engineers... Hollywood is making more and more films outside this country, taking advantage of foreign tax incentives and cheaper labor. And many Americans who depend on the movie business are suffering as a result. The film industry calls it runaway productions... We are losing $10G a year to runaway production. U.S. market share of movie production has fallen 22% in the past 6 years. Benefiting from that drop, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Eastern Europe... Brent Swift, Film & Television Action Committee: 'We're losing approximately 20K jobs per year.'... Last year, of the 88 movies made for television, only 5 were made in this country."
Software: Programming jobs are heading over-seas by the thousands
"In the past 3 years, off-shore programming jobs have nearly tripled, from 27K to an estimated 80K, according to Forrester Research Inc. And Gartner Inc. figures that by year-end, 1 of every 10 jobs in U.S. tech companies will move to emerging markets... For many of America's 3M software programmers... Now, these veterans of Silicon Valley and Boston's Route 128 exchange heart-rending job-loss stories on web sites... Suddenly, the programmers share the fate of millions of industrial workers, in textiles, autos, and steel, whose jobs have marched to Mexico and [Red China]."
Jason McLure, Barney Gimbel & Joan Raymond _NewSpeak_
Help Not Wanted: Where did the jobs go?
"Many of them have nothing to do with cheap Asian labor; instead, the phenomenon is largely the result of companies' finding new ways to coax more work from existing employees. Still, off-shoring is already affecting enough workers -- and threatening the livelihoods of millions more -- that it's likely to remain a battle cry on the campaign trail... 'Businesses are rolling in cash.', says Mark Zandi of Economy.com. 'But they've yet to step up and expand their hiring.'... it's hard to say exactly how many off-shoring victims really exist. Guesstimates put the exodus at anywhere from 300K to 600K jobs annually... Some of them -- radiologists, accountants, engineers -- have invested in years of schooling, so they feel especially burned... For now, worker anxiety seems destined to remain high -- and the demographic that Wired magazine has dubbed 'pissed-off tech workers' seems likely to grow more vocal. 'You have people who did exactly what these economists said to do -- their parents saved and sent them to school... and now their high-tech jobs are moving off-shore.', says Marcus Courtney, president of WashTech, a Seattle-based worker-advocacy group."
Dexter Filkins _NY Times_
Iraqi Leadership Gains Agreement on Constitution
"Iraqi leaders agreed to an interim constitution that would serve as the framework for the government through next year."
Laura M. Holson _NY Times_
Disney Board Is Expected to Go Slowly on Eisner
"As Disney's annual meeting draws near, board members are bracing for disgruntled share-holders to make their presence felt."
Steve Lohr _NY Times_
Gates tries to maintain glut of computer workers
"Bill Gates went on a campaign tour last week to convince wary students to pursue computer science."
Robert Weisman _Boston Globe_/_Miami Herald_
"MSFT is spending $6.8G on research and development this year, more than any other US company. And it is stepping up its recruiting, with plans to boost its hiring of college graduates by 11% over last year..."
Keeping Seeds Safe
"Alarming findings indicate that the reservoir of traditional seeds is being threatened by genetically modified varieties."
Susan Knight _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Here's to a truly optimistic America
"Obviously, the good news about cheap shoes has not reached much of Ohio. We should tell the worker in Ohio who was working in steel, and when those jobs left, began crafting lint brushes, and when those jobs left, began collecting unemployment, not to worry, because the price of shoes has dropped. Who needs job stability, a living wage and health care when you have got cheap shoes?... According to a 2003 report by the Economic Policy Institute, people in Ohio who have lost their jobs to NAFTA face a 29% drop in wages."
Dean Calbreath & David Washburn _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Grocery workers approve deal in land-slide
"Southern California grocery workers voted by a ratio of nearly 8-to-1 during the weekend to approve a new contract... Although current employees preserved their health benefits -- a major bone of contention with the super-markets -- future employees will have to pay more under a 2-tier system that provides lesser wages and benefits to any workers hired after October 5."
Michael Kirschner _Electronic Business_
The wrong way to innovate: Sparking innovation & competitiveness isn't the government's responsibility
"But consultant Pamela Gordon, president of Technology Forecasters, points out in a recent article that U.S. job losses -- fostered in part by out-sourcing -- are actually a big contributor to reported productivity gains: 'As a company out-sources functions previously performed in-house, the number of employees (the denominator in the equation) shrinks. Even if that company's revenue remains the same, decreases or increases slightly, the productivity ratio still can dramatically increase.', Gordon writes. Further, out-sourcing engineering jobs, in which the engineers need intimate knowledge of manufacturing capability to take advantage of it, or improve it, further negatively affects innovation... Hiring people over-seas, or worse, replacing U.S. jobs with off-shore ones, trains foreign workers with no allegiance to the U.S. and little ability, desire or reason to create U.S. jobs... Intel now hires engineers in [Red China]; U.S. hiring is on an exception-only basis. Did CSPP member Motorola consider hiring U.S. engineers before it announced the decision to hire 1,500 in India last summer? Depending on past trends to predict the future, when the future is clearly not going to be the same as the past, and presenting them as a validation of your agenda is misleading... I would love to see data on how many engineers have been hired over-seas, directly or indirectly, by the CSPP companies (Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Motorola, NCR, Unisys) versus how many have been hired in the U.S. over the past 3 years and the plans for the next 3 to 5 years... What I would like to see is a win-win model in which, for example, these companies and all others that choose to take advantage of the proposed government tax breaks would use a substantial part of that money to hire U.S. R&D workers and contribute to education."
Kristen Kazarian _MSFT Certified Professional Magazine_
Training Leads to Promotion, Employee Retention: There's a bright future ahead for those taking training courses
"Investing in training could be a good step toward a promotion, according to a survey by The Training Camp [an organization with a vested interest in having more people take training]. The 2003 November survey showed that of the more than 500 IT employees polled (including contract workers), 87% were promoted after taking a training course or certification program. In addition, 82% of survey takers returned to their current job after participating in a training course or certification program. Over half of those polled were lucky enough to have company-sponsored training."
Sumner Lemon & Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_
R&D Has Moved Off-Shore: Out-Sourcing Went Beyond Low-Wage Jobs Years Ago
"As corporate America becomes increasingly comfortable with off-shore development, it's sending substantially more sophisticated IT work over-seas... Silicon Valley venture capital firms are encouraging start-ups to send their product development work over-seas, said Marc Hebert, a vice president at Sierra Atlantic Inc., a Fremont, CA-based out-sourcing firm that specializes in R&D."
2004-03-02 07:18PST (10:18EST) (15:18GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Lay-off announcements fell 34% to 5-month low
"Lay-off announcements by U.S. corporations fell back in February after spiking higher in January, according to out-placement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas. Planned job reductions dropped by 34% to a 5-month low of 77,250, the firm said Tuesday. So far in 2004, companies have announced 194,806 reductions, down 28% from the pace set in 2003. In all of 2003, 1.24M job cuts were announced compared with 1.47M in 2002... Lay-offs had soared 26% in January to 117,556..."
2004-03-02 11:19PST (14:19EST) (19:19GMT)
Jon Friedman _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Why Ohio Public Employee Retirement System opposes Michael Eisner
"The corporate governance officer for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System wants Disney to remove Michael Eisner as chairman when the company holds its annual share-holder meeting Wednesday in Philadelphia. Cynthia Richson, who over-sees 4.7M Disney shares in her Ohio role, conceded in a telephone interview that it's up to the directors' discretion whether Eisner remains as Disney's chief executive officer even if the drive to oust him from the chairmanship succeeds. 'We would like to see the board publicly announce the split of chair and chief executive officer.', Richson said."
2004-03-02 11:21PST (14:21EST) (19:21GMT)
Jeffry Bartash & Luisa Beltran _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
MCI WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers charged with fraud: CFO Scott Sullivan pled guilty
"Sullivan was charged with fraud, conspiracy and making false statements -- the same allegations lodged against Ebbers. In a statement, Sullivan said that he acted in concert with 'other members of WorldCom's senior management'. Sullivan's lawyer said he's providing authorities with additional information about WorldCom's $11G accounting scandal, the largest in the nation's corporate history. By doing so, he'll likely avoid the most severe potential penalty -- up to 25 years in jail. Ashcroft, for his part, asserted that Ebbers and Sullivan agreed to make 'false and fraudulent adjustments' to WorldCom's records to fool investors about its perilous financial health. Ebbers has denied wrong-doing."
2004-03-02 13:21PST (16:21EST) (21:21GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Greenspan says Red China could suffer high inflation
"'[Red China's] central bank purchases of dollars, unless offset, threaten an excess of so-called high-powered money expansion and a consequent over-heating of the [Red Chinese] economy.', Greenspan said in prepared remarks to the Economic Club of New York. 'Lesser dollar purchases presumably would allow the renminbi, at least temporarily, to appreciate against the dollar.', Greenspan said... Greenspan said [Red China] had accumulated $420G in foreign exchange reserves by November of last year."
2004-03-02 14:20PST (17:20EST) (22:20GMT)
Steve Kerch _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Home prices rose at almost 18% rate: Annualized 2003 Q4 data compare with 8.4% gain year-over-year
Freddie Mac's Conventional Home Mortgage Price Index
OFHEO Home Price Index (pdf)
"home prices took off in the fourth quarter, jumping at an annualized rate of 17.8% nationwide, Freddie Mac said Tuesday. The quarterly growth rates showed a marked increase from the third quarter of 2003, when the annualized growth rate was an upwardly revised 5.9%... She said that 12-month figures, which showed home prices rising a more modest but still strong 8.4% from the fourth quarter of 2002 through the fourth quarter of 2003, 'more accurately portray changes in home value'. That figure also better jibed with data released Monday by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which said average U.S. home prices increased 8% from the fourth quarter of 2002 through the fourth quarter of 2003. Still, the agency that oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said that number was 2 percentage points higher than the third-quarter figure. OFHEO's data showed a smaller quarterly appreciation of 3.67%, or an annualized rate of 14.7%."
2004-03-02 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Eric Philips & Bill Tucker _CNN_
Bob Taft, electronic voting, Max Baucus
"insurgents today killed an American soldier in Baghdad when they threw a grenade into a Humvee. Another soldier was seriously injured in the attack, the soldiers members of the 1st Armored Division. Terrorists also launched a series of coordinated suicide attacks against Iraqis today. They killed nearly 150 people. More than 400 others were wounded in the attacks. The victims were pilgrims in Baghdad and Karbala celebrating the holiest Shiite day of the year... There was also violence today against Shiites in Pakistan. Gunmen killed about 40 people when they attacked a Shiite procession in the southwestern part of the country. More than 100 others were wounded in that attack... former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers indicted today on charges related to what was the biggest bankruptcy in American history. WorldCom's chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, today pleaded guilty on 3 counts related to the $11G scandal... Over all, 115 corporate executives have now been charged in the 820 days since Enron's collapse. Three of them have found their way to jail... In the dot-com boom of the 1990s, many students were drawn to technology. But the current out-sourcing of computer jobs is driving many away. According to the Computing Research Association [CRA], new enrollment in computer science programs nationwide declined 4% between 2001 and 2002, then a whopping 18% between 2002 and 2003... The 160K factory jobs lost has made Ohio a key battleground state today and in the presidential election in November... Last year alone, it lost 34K jobs just in manufacturing... A recent study by Policy Matters directly connects the loss of 46K jobs to the signing of the NAFTA trade agreement. But not all of Ohio's problems are rooted in Washington. The state is ranked in the bottom 10 states for its support of higher education by its own board of regents. And it ranks in the bottom 5 states in terms of friendly tax environments, according to the Tax Foundation... Bob Taft: 'Site Selection just touted Ohio as the No. 1 state for new major business investment in jobs... last month [January], we had an increase of about 25K jobs, including a small increase in manufacturing jobs... Ohio's exports have expanded for the last four years. And that's a huge part of our economy. Our exports to Mexico, for example, have tripled since NAFTA. Our exports to [Red China] have tripled since 1996. Our exports to Canada are way up. We have about 200K jobs in Ohio that are tied directly to expanding exports and, by the way, we also have over 900 foreign owned companies in Ohio expanding and growing and creating over 200K jobs themselves... One estimate shows the increase in exports from NAFTA in Ohio is responsible for 50K new jobs...'... Max Baucus: 'I believe frankly, very strongly that this is a -- something where we should use carrots to help the American companies keep jobs in the U.S., a lot more R&D, a lot more additional research funds, retraining, enforce our trade laws... to retrain those and help those who have lost their jobs, and that's the whole point of expanding trade adjustment systems to service workers...'... Now, electronic voting machines apparently failing to past the first big test in at least 3 states today. Polling places in Georgia and Maryland using old fashioned paper ballots today after the electronic voting machines didn't work properly. And many voters in San Diego county changed polling stations after dozens of machines there failed to boot up properly. An estimated 50M Americans will vote electronically in the general election in November. The machines leave no paper record and that has a lot of people very concerned."
Andrew Jacobs _NY Times_
Chinese and American Cultures Clash in Custody Battle for Girl
"A trial in Memphis between 2 couples has exposed conflicting notions about what defines a good parent... The Hes say their daughter was 'kidnapped by white Christians' who have been using their wealth and the courts to their advantage. The Bakers say the birth parents are unstable and abdicated their parental rights by failing to provide child support or to visit their daughter for months on end..."
Keith Bradsher _NY Times_
Red China Poses Big Economic Challenge
"Red China's vast population and military muscle... The welcome that [Red China] is offering to multi-national companies and foreign investment has left many Western business executives... enthusiastically embracing [Red China], its cheap work force and its huge [potential] markets... [Red China] still has vast reserves of cheap labor in inland areas and many backward industries that can grow swiftly as they copy Western and Japanese methods... And its opening to foreign investment brings [Red China] both the latest technology and the corporate connections over-seas that help it fight restrictions on its exports... Detroit auto-makers, are now big investors in [Red China] -- investors that oppose trade restrictions on it... From soy beans to commercial banking, American businesses complain that [Red China] has thrown up regulatory barriers that limit their ability to compete. Daryl Hatano, vice president for public policy at the Semiconductor Industry Association in San Jose, CA, said his group might ask Washington to file a protest with the World Trade Organization if [Red China] did not halt its practice of charging taxes as low as 3% for domestically produced computer chips, compared with 17% for imported chips. Even with those taxes, imported chips hold 85% of the Chinese market... John S. Chen, the Hong Kong-born chairman and chief executive of Sybase, an American software company that has expanded aggressively in both Japan and [Red China]..."
Edmund L. Andrews _NY Times_
Medicare and Socialist Insecurity Challenge
"When Alan Greenspan urged Congress last week to cut future benefits in [Socialist Insecurity] and Medicare, sending elected officials to the barricades, he was if anything understating the magnitude of the problems ahead. Today's budget deficits are measured in the hundreds of billions, but the looming short-falls for the 2 retirement programs are projected to be in the tens of trillions of dollars. The Bush administration has estimated that the gap between promises under current law and the revenues expected will total $18T over the next 75 years. But an internal study in 2002 by the Treasury Department, looking much further ahead, concluded that the gap was actually $44T -- and would climb each year that nothing was done."
Alex Berenson _NY Times_
Tech Revival Fueled by Sales to Government
"The recent pick-up in spending on networking equipment may be less impressive than it first appears... The president's proposed budget for the 2005 fiscal year projects technology spending at $59.8G, a rise of 1% from 2004. So only an increase in corporate technology spending can generate the growth that investors in Cisco and other networking companies appear to be expecting... Since 2000, federal government spending on information technology equipment has risen from about $42G a year to nearly $60G, mainly because of new defense and homeland security programs. Spending on defense projects like the Global Information Grid, which is designed to provide soldiers with real-time information from satellites and other sources about potential threats, is expected to continue to balloon."
Keith Koffler _Congress Daily_/_GovExec_
Business lobbyists try to change terminology in effort at spin
"The coalition is now rallying around 'worldwide sourcing' as a less provocative term for the movement of jobs around the globe... [Business lobbyists] have met in recent days and weeks with officials at the White House, the Commerce Department, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to brief them on the new message... Business Roundtable President John Castellani told CongressDaily the new PR campaign stemmed directly from the torrent of attacks on [off-shore] out-sourcing..."
1865-03-03: battle of Natural Bridge, Florida
2004-03-03 04:55:28PST (07:55:28EST) (12:55:28GMT)
Nancy Isles Nation _Marin Independent Journal_
Drivers fume over gasoline prices
"SR of San Rafael said he saw prices rise at a gas station between Novato and Petaluma from $2.02 on his way up north in the morning to $2.09 when he returned 2 hours later... believes that the state's oil refineries operate like a monopoly, artificially raising prices to boost their profits. It's a theory that is often heard but not proven, SR said, because politicians are afraid to take on the oil companies. While the national average for gasoline is $1.75 per gallon, Californians pay more than $2... State Attorney General Bill Lockyer's office has been monitoring the gasoline market since 2000. 'In terms of malfeasance, we have not found any evidence of misconduct on the part of refiners or other players.', said Tom Dresslar, spokesman for Lockyer. Jenny Mack, a spokeswoman for the California State Automobile Association, said refineries do routine maintenance in the early part of the year and some have run into problems, causing a disruption in production."
2004-03-03 06:08PST (09:08EST) (14:08GMT)
Carolyn Pritchard _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Michael Eisner out as Walt Disney chair, remains CEO
"Former senator George Mitchell has been elected to serve as non-executive chairman of the board."
2004-03-03 07:01PST (10:01EST) (15:01GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
CEOs see a few more jobs
"Nearly 9 of 10 corporate chief executives expect higher sales in the next 6 months, but only one out of three expect to hire more workers, according to a quarterly survey conducted by the Business Roundtable released Wednesday. The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook index improved to a record 94.3 from 89.6 in December. The index began in 2002 November with a 52.7 reading... The executives expect the national economy to grow 3.7% in 2004, up from 3.1% in 2003. By contrast, the Blue Chip Economic consensus forecast sees growth of 4.6% in 2004... In the March survey, 33% of CEOs said they'll hire more workers in the next 6 months while 45% said employment would be steady. That leaves 22% who expect to shed workers. Three months ago, 25% of CEOs expected to add to employment over the next 6 months."
2004-03-03 08:15PST (11:15EST) (16:15GMT)
_AP_/_Globe & Mail_
Death toll in Iraq bombings of Shiite sites jumps to 271: 15 arrested
"As the death toll in Tuesday's devastating bombings in Iraq continued to climb, an official said that Iraqi police and U.S. troops had detained 15 people thought connected to the attacks. A few hours later, the president of Iraq's Governing Council said that 271 people had been confirmed killed in the bombings of Shia shrines in Baghdad and Karbala. Another 393 were listed as injured. The Iraqi estimate was considerably higher than the tally from U.S. occupying forces, who put the number of dead at 117. The confusion reflected the chaos Tuesday, when suicide attackers set off bombs and explosives, apparently on wooden pushcarts, among thousands of pilgrims who were gathered in the two cities for the holiest day of the Shia calendar, the mourning ceremony of Ashoura... U.S. officials and Iraqi leaders named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant believed linked to al-Qaeda, as a 'prime suspect' for the attacks, saying he is seeking to spark a Sunni-Shiite civil war in Iraq to wreck U.S. plans to hand over power to the Iraqis on June 30."
2004-03-03 12:27PST (15:27EST) (20:27GMT)
Jon Friedman _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
43% of Disney shares vote against Eisner
"there are still some votes to be counted, but the votes [counted] so far represent at least 38% of total Disney shares outstanding."
2004-03-03 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kitty Pilgrim & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
off-shoring, illegal aliens
"The classic excuse, a computer glitch. In California, the electronic voting was delayed as technicians tinkered with the machines. In Georgia, everyone voted electronically with some problems in programming and voter cards for certain districts. Officials blame human error in programming, saying it was a 'learning curve problem with election workers'. In Maryland, there were voter card problems... Rush Holt (D-NJ): 'Unless Congress deals with this nationally by requiring a voter-verified paper record of each vote each time a voter votes, we will have questions every time there's an election, including this November.' Holt has written legislation that requires a paper trail and other ways to verify that systems have not been hacked, tampered with or otherwise malfunctioned... Congress has been very slow to move on it. There hasn't even been a hearing on it yet. And another measure introduced in the Senate has not made much progress either... Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers today...pleaded not guilty to one count each of fraud, conspiracy and making false statements, before he was released on $10M bond. WorldCom's former chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, pleaded guilty yesterday. He agreed to testify against Ebbers. The trial will begin November 9... Law-makers in Washington are beginning to realize, if they want to save their jobs, they will have to try to save the jobs of hard-working middle-class Americans. The Senate tonight is debating an amendment that would ban the use of federal money to support off-shore out-sourcing. It's one of several new proposals... Under another bill, companies which replace American workers with foreign workers could be cut off from receiving federal grants and loans under the Defending American Jobs Act. The bill targets companies like Motorola, which reportedly laid off 43K U.S. workers, invested $3.5G in [Red China] at the same time it received nearly $190M from the U.S. Export Import Bank... Another bill backed by Democrats would repeal a set of tax exemptions deemed illegal by the World Trade Organization and replace it with tax breaks tailored specifically to help American manufacturers... The new proposals have worried corporate groups... There are other bills that, instead of fighting out-sourcing, focus on helping workers adjust. Senator Max Baucus has legislation that would expand job training to laid-off service workers and would plow more money into research and development... Tom Tancredo: 'there's nothing wrong with the law, the law is clear. It says people who come into this country without our permission violate the law and need to be deported. It says that people...who hire those folks are also breaking the law... there's nothing wrong with those laws, there is something wrong with our willingness to enforce them... 1.4M legal immigrants coming into this country every year. How about 65K (it has been up to 195K) a year on H-1B Visas every year. How many hundreds of thousands of people here on L-1 Visas. They're all legal... Now why do we need to also have about another 1M to 1.5M people coming across our borders illegally just to satisfy the greed for cheap labor?'... police discovered another almost 200 illegal aliens again hiding in a house in Phoenix. This is the third instance in the last month of which we are aware. Officers went to the house after they received a call from a neighbor regarding suspicious activity. Police in Phoenix have found at least 6 houses sheltering illegal immigrants in the past 2 weeks... David Dill, CS prof. at Stanford: 'Well we need to have paper ballots. They can be paper ballots that people fill out like the existing optical scan systems or they can be paper ballots printed from a touch screen machine. But you need a paper ballot somewhere with current technology... http://www.verifiedvoting.org '"
Jon Friedman & Russ Britt _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Tense Disney Share-Owner Meeting
"Wednesday's atmosphere inside the convention hall was tense. [Michael] Eisner, sounding hoarse at times, was greeted with a smattering of applause while his foes, Disney and Gold, each received a standing ovation when they made remarks."
2004-03-03 16:34PST (19:34EST) (2004-03-04 00:34GMT)
Marilyn Elias _USA Today_
Acupuncture works by restricting blood flow to the brain
"Acupuncture on pain-relief points cuts blood flow to key areas of the brain within seconds, providing the clearest explanation to date for how the ancient technique might relieve pain and treat addictions, a Harvard scientist reports today... radiologist Bruce Rosen of Harvard Medical School. He'll release the findings at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting in Orlando. Rosen's team used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRIs, on about 20 healthy volunteers before, during and after acupuncture. This type of brain scan shows changes in blood flow and the amount of oxygen in blood."
2004-03-03 17:08PST (20:08EST) (2004-03-04 01:08GMT)
Robert Powell _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
From nest egg to nothing: Out-live your savings? The concern is real.
"But in focusing on income-for-life products are we not getting a bit ahead of ourselves? Who cares if we produce income for life if the amount of income produced is still inadequate?"
2004-03-03 18:37PST (22:37EST) (2003-03-04 03:37GMT)
David J. Lynch _USA Today_
India official says high-tech jobs will continue to leave USA
"Rebuffing U.S. critics, India's finance minister, Jaswant Singh, said Wednesday that high-tech jobs would continue to move from the USA to India because the savings make it unavoidable... Amid the furor over job relocation, the Indian economy is growing at a robust 8% annual rate."
2004-03-04 02:42PST (05:42EST) (10:42GMT)
Anshuman Daga _Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
White- and Gold-Collar Job Boom Sets India's Tech City Abuzz
"Scuffles broke out one Saturday morning last month when some 8K people started queuing as early as 05:00 for a walk-in test to join India's largest software company, Tata Consultancy Services. TCS had to call in the police to keep order... The hiring frenzy in India is the flip side of daily tales pouring out of the United States and Britain, where thousands of software and back-office jobs are being cut as companies take advantage of cheap communications off-shore to drive down costs."
2004-03-04 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
_Department of Labor ETA_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims increased by 11,715
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 340,399 in the week ending February 28, an increase of 11,715 from the previous week. There were 429,003 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.0% during the week ending February 21, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,761,551, an increase of 30,335 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.3% and the volume was 4,192,955. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending February 14. 53 states reported that 361,723 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending February 14... The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending February 14 were in Alaska (6.8%), Michigan (4.8%), Pennsylvania (4.7%), Idaho (4.5%), Oregon (4.4%), Wisconsin (4.3%), New Jersey (4.1%), Massachusetts (4.0%), Montana (3.9%), Rhode Island (3.9%), and Washington (3.9%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 21 were in Massachusetts (+4,649), California (+3,838), Connecticut (+1,530), Rhode Island (+1,441), and New Jersey (+1,170), while the largest decreases were in Michigan (-7,498), New York (-2,802), North Carolina (-2,366), Pennsylvania (-2,257), and Ohio (-1,564)."
2004-03-04 07:09:40PST (09:09:40CST) (10:09:40EST) (15:09:40GMT)
_Apple Valley Sun Current_
Libertarian primary contender Gary Nolan to make Eagan stop
"One of the Libertarian Party's candidates for president, Gary Nolan, will make a campaign stop in Eagan Tuesday, March 9... Nolan, a Cleveland, Ohio, resident, is a former radio talk show host and a small-business man."
2004-03-04 09:02PST (12:02EST) (17:02GMT)
Jennifer Waters _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Clothing leads February retail sales gains
"Thomson First Call's round-up of 68 of the nation's largest chains produced a 6.7% surge in sales at stores open longer than a year -- a key industry bench-mark... At First Call, all 10 of the department stores it covers delivered positive same-store sales for a 7.2% gain that well outpaced the 4.8% estimate. The apparel segment that includes women's, men's and teen fashion stores churned out a 9.3% increase, also far ahead of the 5.9% forecast."
2004-03-04 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Eric Philips & Louise Schiavone & Bill Tucker _CNN_
illegal aliens, abetting off-shoring, gasoline prices up
"40% of Mexico's population lives in poverty. An estimated 10M to 12M Mexicans live in this country illegally. They send back to Mexico $12G a year in remittances, the second largest source of income for Mexico after oil exports. President Fox wants President Bush to make it even easier for citizens to enter this country. George W. Bush: 'We must make our immigration laws more rational and more humane.'... Michael Teitelbaum, the former vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, says there's nothing more permanent than a temporary worker... Last year, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended nearly a million people trying to enter this country illegally. More than 9 out of 10 of them were citizens of Mexico... Manuel Delacruz... is a United States citizen and he is a member of Mexico's Congress. Delacruz was elected last summer and says he hopes to create a new legislative district for Mexico's parliament, which would include Mexicans living in this country. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham today said the White House is extremely concerned about the recent spike in gasoline prices. The national average for regular unleaded gasoline is now $1.70 a gallon and rising... According to the Energy Information Administration, the average household is paying between 9% and 13% more this winter to heat their home with natural gas than last winter... Brigadier General Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division, said insurgents have recently fired rockets from launchers nearly 20 miles from their target. Until eventually, the maximum range of those rockets was just over 5 miles... The Senate tonight voted overwhelmingly to block the use of federal money to export American jobs over-seas. The amendment attached to a broader bill on corporate tax breaks was approved by a vote of 70 to 26. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut sponsored the amendment which would prevent companies from using money from federal contracts to out-source jobs over-seas... Tucked into a corner of West Virginia (Weirton) is what is left of the blast furnaces and buildings that produced badly needed steel all through World War II and kept at it during the prosperity that followed. Although production fell off, the mill still employed 13K workers into the 1970s. Today, fewer than 3K jobs are left and the mill is bankrupt... U.S. businesses spent $16G on off-shoring work last year, according to Gartner, and India gets the lion's share of that work... Consultants often play a role as the middleman, connecting companies with off-shore providers, holding conferences to help companies out-source and off-shore work. It's a large and fast growing business. Conferences are heavily attended and often protested by workers displaced by out-sourcing... Marc Andreessen is an Internet pioneer. He co-founded a Silicon Valley firm that helps companies out-source work over-seas. He's the chairman of the company Opsware... Marc Andreessen: 'In the last 10 years, this economy has destroyed 325M jobs and created 342M new jobs... And I think, in the next 10 years, we're going to destroy another 400M, create another 430M, 450M new jobs, and those jobs will be better... In the last 15 years, the number of Americans employed by foreign companies has gone up from 2.5M to 6.5M.'... The service jobs, the high-value jobs that are being exported to various countries around the world are not being exported so -- for entry to those markets of those countries, but rather for the return of those services and products to this market... Ludwig von Mises: 'The common man is the sovereign consumer whose buying or abstention from buying ultimately determines what should be produced and in what quantity and quality.'..."
Kirk Johnson _NY Times_
Energy Boom Has Wyoming Coffers Over-Flowing
"While many other states are still struggling to find their financial footing after years of budget turmoil, Wyoming's tiny government is awash in cash."
Heather Timmons _NY Times_
Chair & Chief of Exploration of Royal Dutch Shell Group Were Pushed to Resign After Questionable Reserves Reports
"The top executive of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, the world's third-largest oil company, was forced to resign on Wednesday after an internal investigation into the company's surprise disclosure in January that it had over-stated its oil and natural gas reserves by 20%... Walter van de Vijver, the chief executive of the exploration and production business and once seen as Sir Philip's successor, also stepped down on Wednesday."
Don van Natta & Desmond Butler _NY Times_
Cellular Phones Deal Yet Another Blow to Privacy
"A Swiss company once sold Subscriber Identity Module cards without asking buyers for identification, making its cards a favorite with [those who value privacy]. But investigators were able to match the numbers with [individuals, anyway, and track them down]. Switzerland is ending anonymous card sales on July 1."
Ed J. Montoni _Arizona Republic_
Anonymous voice of America's unemployed
_NRI Links_ Indian economy posts record 8.4% growth
"India's economy expanded by 8.4% between July and September... The figures put Asia's third-largest economy firmly on track to achieving the government's growth target of 7% for the fiscal year, economists said. The 7% growth would still leave India behind [Red China] whose economy is forecast by the International Monetary Fund to expand by 8.5% in 2003 but it would be a big rise from the previous fiscal year's 4.3%."
_Hampton Roads Daily Press_
H-1B visa subject of much controversy
"Critics say the visas allow businesses to fill jobs with cheap foreign labor rather than hiring Americans at higher wages."
Paul J. Lim _US News & World Report_
Jobs lost in the out-sourcing debate
"For example, [Federal Reserve Board governor Ben Bernanke] cited a recent Goldman Sachs study that found that U.S. manufacturers moved between 300K and 500K jobs abroad over the past 3 years. However, lost in this debate is the fact that foreign companies have, during this time, shifted some jobs to the United States, he said. For example, between 1997 and 2001, 'employment of US residents by affiliates of foreign companies operating within the United States increased by about 1.2M jobs', he said."
2004-03-05 12:23:06PST (15:23:06EST) (20:23:06GMT)
Martha Stewart found guilty of conspiracy, making false statements, obstruction of justice
"The 8 women and 4 men returned their verdict on the third day of deliberations... Stewart was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of agency proceedings. Stewart will be sentenced on June 17. Each count carries a possible prison term of 5 years and a $250K fine, although legal experts do not expect Stewart to receive the stiffest sentence."
2004-03-05 13:28PST (16:28EST) (21:28GMT)
Tomi Kilgore _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stock indices end on mixed note
"The Dow Jones Industrials Average closed up 7 points at 10,595 and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite shed 7 points to finish at 2,047... The key indices had been down as much as 63 points and 21 points, respectively, to start the session, before an intra-day bounce took the Dow up as much as 63 points and the Nasdaq up 14 points. The Dow is up 0.1% from a week ago, while the Nasdaq has gained 0.8%, breaking a 6-week losing streak. The technology sector remained weak..."
2004-03-05 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Louise Schiavone & Christine Romans & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Displaced Americans rally
"Today, Americans who lost their jobs to cheap over-seas labor markets rallied with law-makers to keep jobs in this country... These workers are finding that there is nothing in the job market today to replace, for example, a $27-an-hour Lucent Technology job... [Seasonally adjusted] Factories laid off 3K more workers. 24K construction jobs vanished and 9K restaurant jobs disappeared. Where were the jobs? Lower paid retail jobs and government jobs grew by 21K. John, 392K American workers simply abandoned the work force. We're down to 66% labor force participation. That's the lowest in 15 years. 8.2M Americans are unemployed [and actively seeking work], and most troubling for investors, not only was February weak, January and December job growths both scaled back. John, workers are consumers and they are investors too. And that's got Wall Street's attention."
James Risen _NY Times_
Russian Engineers Reportedly Gave Missile Aid to Iraq
"Any such work on Iraq's banned missiles would have violated U.N. sanctions, even as the Security Council sought to enforce them."
Linda Greenhouse _NY Times_
Friends for Decades, but Years on Court Left Them Strangers
"Harry A. Blackmun and Warren E. Burger were friends since childhood, but 16 years of serving on the Supreme Court together broke that bond."
Ralph Blumenthal _NY Times_
In Texas, Hire a Lawyer, Forget About a Doctor?
"A Texas company run by doctors has been operating a web site that compiles and posts the names of plaintiffs, their lawyers and expert witnesses in malpractice law-suits."
Amelia Gruber _GovExec_
Senate approves restrictions on off-shore out-sourcing
"By a wide margin, the Senate on Thursday approved a measure that would prevent most civilian federal agencies from out-sourcing jobs to contractors working outside the United States. The measure, introduced by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-CT, as an amendment to a corporate tax bill, also would prohibit agencies from procuring goods or services from companies that send work abroad, with some exceptions. Senators endorsed the bipartisan amendment by a vote of 70 to 26. Under language in the fiscal 2004 omnibus spending package passed in late January, contractors winning public-private job competitions must work within the U.S. unless federal employees previously performed the jobs over-seas. The language, offered originally by Sens. Craig Thomas, R-WY, and George Voinovich, R-OH applies only to job competitions conducted using 2004 appropriations."
Eve Bender _American Psychiatric Association Psychiatric News_
New Rules Limit Eligibility for J-1 Visa Waivers
"Guide-lines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services place limits on the number of physicians who will be able to apply for J-1 visa waivers to work in underserved areas of the United States. Only physicians working in the neediest areas of the United States will qualify for waivers of foreign residency from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under new application requirements issued in 2003 December. Under the new guide-lines, which became effective in January, HHS will process J-1 visa-waiver applications only for physicians working in regions the government designates as Health Professional Shortage Areas and who score at least 14 on a 25-point scale that assesses several criteria about the area in which the physician would be practicing."
Jeannine Aversa _AP_/_Madison Wisconsin Capital Times_
Bad news for job seekers
"America's unemployment rate remained stuck at 5.6% in February as the economy added a paltry 21K positions [seasonally adjusted]..."
2004-03-06 14:22PST (17:22EST) (22:22GMT)
While laying off thousands Kraft execs get $10M bonuses
"Bonuses totaling more than $10M were paid out to 5 Kraft Foods Inc. executives at the end of 2003, even as the giant food maker made plans to lay off thousands of workers. In its annual proxy statement released on Friday, Kraft said the biggest pay-out, a $3.7M bonus, was made to chief executive Roger Deromedi. Former co-CEO Betsy Holden got $3.5M, sweetening her demotion to global marketing chief in December. Other payments were $1.3M for North American President David Johnson, $900K for international boss Hugh Roberts and $1.2M for global supply chain Executive Vice President Franz-Josef Vogelsang... In January, Chicago-based Kraft said it would cut about 6K jobs and close 20 plants as it tried to restore growth."
Louis Uchitelle _NY Times_
New Patterns Restrict Hiring
"the nation's employers remain stubbornly reluctant to add jobs in the United States. Out-sourcing abroad, particularly the shifting of work to [Red China] and India, so much in the news, is one reason hiring at home has been sparse. Another is rising productivity, squeezing more work from existing staff and other efficiences. But these are only two aspects of a much broader syndrome that might be described as just-in-time hiring... 'Companies do not want to take on new workers unless they absolutely have to, and they do not have to yet.', said Nigel Gault, chief domestic economist at Global Insight, a forecasting and data gathering concern... Temporary workers, in fact, are the fastest-growing segment of the work force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since August, when employers finally began to add more jobs than they eliminated, temporary workers have led the parade. Temporary help jobs increased by 112K in this period, bringing the total to 2.37M as of last month. That is up from virtually zero in the late 1970s... In an American Management Association survey of 230 executives last December, 48% said they would add workers this year, up from 38% in the poll a year earlier... in manufacturing, which has been shedding jobs for 43 consecutive months... the Commerce Department's inventory-to-sales ratio, a measure of the number of months needed to sell off existing inventories, has fallen to less than 1.4 months from nearly 1.6 months in the early 1990s... a growing portion of the spending is going abroad, creating jobs in other countries rather than the United States. That is because the value of imported capital goods, measured as a percentage of total expenditures, excluding cars and trucks, rose to just under 40% last year from just over 30% in 1990 and 15% in 1980. Similarly, spending on imported consumer goods and services as a percentage of total out-lays stands at 12% today, up from 7% in 1990 and 4% in 1980."
David Leonhardt _NY Times_
Employers Squeeze More Blood from Current Employees Rather than Hire
"At no other point since World War II has the economy grown for such a long period without adding jobs at a healthy pace... Weekly wages for most of the work force have risen less than 2% over the last year, roughly the rate of inflation. In February, manufacturers cut the number of workers on their pay-rolls for the 43rd consecutive month. The average length of unemployment increased to 20.3 weeks, its highest level since 1984... Companies have remained remarkably reluctant to add workers even though the economy grew at an annual rate of 6.1% during the second half of last year -- the fastest pace in almost two decades -- and growth, most economists estimate, has continued at a pace not much slower since the year began. New technologies have helped companies become more efficient, allowing them to produce more goods with fewer employees. The uneven growth of the last four years also seems to have made some executives wary that the good times will continue, while others have shifted some jobs to countries with lower wages. And the rising cost of health insurance has made executives think twice about adding workers, they say. 'This is a different cycle.', said Joshua Shapiro, chief United States economist at Maria Fiorini Ramirez, an economic research firm in New York. 'To the extent that companies can squeeze another drop of blood out of their existing work force, they're doing it. Eventually you reach the point where there's no more blood to be given, but we haven't reached it yet.'... the longest employment slump since the 1930s."
Alex Berenson _NY Times_
Judge Dismisses Most Serious Charge Against Ex-Tyco Officers
"Although the judge struck down a charge of enterprise corruption, L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz still face 32 charges."
_San Francisco Chronicle_
Executives campaign for off-shore out-sourcing: Loudest voices include those who disparage privacy, have wrecked forms that formerly had good reputations
Neil A. Lewis & David Johnston _NY Times_
U.S. Team Is Sent to Develop Case in Trial of Saddam Hussein
"A Justice Department delegation will take charge of assembling and organizing the evidence for Saddam Hussein's trial."
Sarah Kershaw _NY Times_
Weapons that Enslave vs. Live Free or Die
"But in 2003, for the first time in 15 years, no one [in Seattle] was shot and killed by the police... Critics say the weapon is [abusive] because the shock leaves no obvious mark, other than what looks like a small bee sting. Human rights groups in the United States and abroad have called Tasers... instruments of torture. They are now being [abused] by more than 4K police departments."
Carrie Kirby & John Shinal _San Francisco Chronicle_
Off-shoring's target: the Bay Area Silicon Valley could face export of 1 in 6 jobs
"Jobs are more likely to be shipped over-seas from Silicon Valley than any other region in the nation, placing the Bay Area's economic engine directly in the path of the global freight train known as off-shoring. Specifically, 1 in 6 jobs in Silicon Valley are at risk of being sent abroad, compared with only 1 in 10 positions nationwide, according to researchers at UC Berkeley. The economists estimate that 1 in 7 San Francisco jobs could be exported... Ashok Deo Bardhan and his fellow researchers, Dwight Jaffee and Cynthia Kroll of UC Berkeley's Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics... The average programmer in San Jose earns $77,690 a year plus benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics... The main reason the Bay Area stands to lose more jobs lies in the region's predominance of white-collar work. San Jose's vulnerability lies in its high proportion of technology workers, while San Francisco's lies in its legions of office and service workers, Bardhan said... Of the California jobs at highest risk to out-sourcing, most of the 200K lost between 2001 and 2003 were casualties of the tech crash, not over-seas re-location, the UC Berkeley researchers say... Another study by the left-wing Economic Policy Institute shows that industries gaining jobs in the United States pay an average of 21% less than job-losing industries. In California, growing industries pay 40% less than those that are contracting... More likely, the new jobs created will be taken by different workers, not those replaced by off-shoring, the UC Berkeley researchers say..."
Bob Powell _Exponential Improvement_
Why Off-Shoring Is Economically Unsustainable
John Shinal _San Francisco Chronicle_
Workers devastated as companies rush off-shore
"Back in 1997, she left Apple Computer after being shifted from programmer to project manager as the company moved internal software development to India. She left because she didn't want to lose her hands-on skills... Like many of the 300K Bay Area workers who've been thrown out of work since the Internet bubble burst, his job prospects appear dim despite a long career as a highly paid information technology specialist. 'The skills I have aren't trivial.', said Allen, who spent 20 years writing software code and managing corporate data-bases and whose name is on several software patents."
_AP_/_Saint Paul Pioneer Press_
Libertarian presidential primary certified results leaves Nolan the winner
"Unofficial results after the February 17 primary showed Michael Badnarik defeated Gary Nolan by 9 votes, but the official count put Nolan as the winner by 76 votes, according to the Elections Board. The official results showed Nolan had 43% of the vote, compared with 41% for Badnarik. 12% of Libertarians who cast ballots were undecided. Libertarian Party candidates for president appeared on the ballot thanks to Tomah bar owner Ed Thompson's showing in the 2002 gubernatorial election. Thompson collected slightly more than 10% of the vote, the threshold required for the party to gain greater ballot access."
Official Count Shakes Up Libertarian Presidential Primary
"The official results showed [Gary] Nolan had 43% of the vote, compared with 41% for [Michael] Badnarik. Another 12% of voters who cast Libertarian ballots were undecided."
2004-03-08 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
"Congressman Robert Wexler has sued in federal court to force the installation of printers on e-voting machines... Congressman Wexler said it's unconstitutional for counties with touch-screen voting machines to have a paperless system that makes it impossible to hold recounts... Glenda Hood: 'But the fact of the matter is that today, there's no vendor that's presented any type of manufactured piece of equipment, a companion printer to go with those touch-screen machines for certification in the state of Florida. The standards at the national level haven't even been developed.'... Under the US-VISIT program, all other visitors from visa countries will be fingerprinted and photographed at the border by the end of the year, but not so for the 7M Mexicans with border crossing cards. Critics say the president's decision will leave a huge security hole at the Southern border because border crossing cards are easy to get... There are 4.8M illegal Mexicans in the United States, compared to only 47K illegal Canadians, according to a 2000 INS study. And there's less economic incentive for Canadians to sneak into the United States. Canada's per capita gross domestic product is just over $29K a year, ninth in the world. In Mexico, it's less than $9K a year, ranking 82nd in the world... Christopher Dodd: 'So instead of encouraging through our tax code people to pack up and leave, we ought to be doing everything we can to encourage them to stay here so that we'll have some products and services with which to compete in the 21st century global market-place.'... This coalition is formed to promote out-sourcing, or to stop at least legislation at the state level or the federal that would curtail it... Bruce Josten, US Chamber of Commerce: '39% of all software in this country is stolen under intellectual property throughout the world. We lose $3G a year in intellectual property theft, in the movie industry alone.'... Ed Yingling, EVP of the American Bankers Association: 'in the financial services area...We've created 1.3M jobs in the last decade...'... And you're talking about structural changes, yet there should be an intellectual contest right now in this country over what's happening. Better data should be procured by both the government and by business. And an honest dialog about why this country can't put together a trade surplus in two decades. Why, with a relatively low comparative tax rate, American corporations haven't been able to achieve a trade surplus, and why that should be on the back of American labor to adjust -- you know, we always talk about a strong and resilient economy the American economy is, and it is that. Why does that fall squarely on the back of labor to be resilient?... Bruce Josten: 'investments by corporate America 2002, it was over $1T in the United States, compared to $138G worldwide... Chemicals are the number one commodity export for this country.'"
2004-03-08 15:05PST (18:05EST) (23:05GMT)
AAA expects even higher gasoline prices
"Gasoline prices are set to move higher in the longer term, Robert Darbelnet, chief executive of AAA, told a news conference at the Detroit Economic Club Monday... AAA, formerly known as the American Automobile Association, expects average gasoline prices to continue rising over the next 5 years, mainly due to 'rising demand and tougher clean air rules', spokesman Geoff Sundstrom told CBS MarketWatch. Overall, gasoline prices have been climbing because of 'rising consumption, high crude oil prices, insufficient domestic gasoline refining capacity, new federal and state gasoline regulations, and chronically low inventories', Darbelnet said... He estimated that as much as 10% of domestic gasoline needs were supplied from off-shore last year."
Bill Carter _NY Times_
ABC Under Disney: Kingdom, Yes. Magic, No.
"Television industry executives and producers say the network [abc] has been ham-strung by the top-down management style of its parent company."
Simon Romero _NY Times_
Foreign Concerns Make Deals With Saudis to Search for Gas
"Energy companies from [Red China] and Russia will be among the first foreign businesses to explore Saudi natural gas reserves in more than three decades."
Saul Hansell _NY Times_
Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know All About Me: Web Personality Tests
"Tickle.com, a site built around tests that purport to say what breed of dog you are or what the theme song of your life should be, is growing and profitable."
John Ribeiro _Computer World_
Indian out-sourcers tackle high-end IT: Pace of hiring for software development is frenetic
"The tech sector is booming in the bustling city of Bangalore, India, which has been dubbed the Silicon Plateau... lthough some U.S. executives have begun to express reservations about off-shore out-sourcing..."
Ron Scherer _Christian Science Monitor_
Why managers in a growing economy refuse to create new jobs: large inventories, high productivity, & out-sourcing mean businesses have added only 118K new jobs since January
"Unless the missing jobs turn up soon, there are serious ramifications..."
Thomas E. Brewton
the USA's establishment of religion: collectivism
2004-03-09 08:26PST (11:26EST) (16:26GMT)
Frank Barnako _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
MP3.com goes to auction
"Hundreds of computers, printers and Herman Miller Aeron chairs are on view Tuesday at the once-plush offices of MP3.com in La Jolla, CA. They go under the gavel of Cowan Alexander on Wednesday. 'This asset auction represents the end of the ruptured Internet bubble and symbolizes a public up-swing in the technology economy.', said Don Cowan, president of Cowan Alexander. 'We have witnessed a drop of nearly 70% in dot-com auction activity from the heydays of 1999-2003.'"
2004-03-09 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & John King & Louise Schiavone _CNN_
electronic voting under fire
"at a minimum the president should endorse legislation that gives tax incentives, rewards companies that make their products and create jobs here in the United States... the president should try to do more to protect and reward those companies that do, in fact, not only make their products, but create jobs here in the United States... [Red China] and India stand warned that U.S. views free trade as a 2-way street... Max Baucus: 'the jobs moving over-seas are high-paying and higher-skilled jobs.'... [In Florida, today] some polling places opened late because of complications with those machines. Poll workers in some other places set up the machines incorrectly and electronic polling cards were stuck in some voting machines. Some of the problems were apparently due to inadequate training for election workers... Electronic voting problems in California as well. Mistakes by poll workers in Orange County last week allowed many voters to cast ballots in the wrong legislative districts. _The Los Angeles Times_ reports that as many as 7K voters were given the wrong access code for their voting machines... Robert Wexler: 'My objection to the electronic machines in Florida is that those voters who vote are not certain that the machine will tabulate their voted choice the way in which they intended it. There's no certainty. Also, in Florida, we have a requirement, which the whole country knows, of a manual recount. And these machines are incapable of conducting a manual recount in a close election. The reason why I say they are unconstitutional is because Bush vs. Gore requires each state to have a uniform set of standards. In some counties, we don't have electronic machines and they can do recounts. And in some of the largest counties, we now have the electronic machines and no recounts can be had... This goes to the very integrity of our voting system in America.'... George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research: 'Today it's about 220K jobs that have gone off-shore by year end 2003. We advise large corporations [on] technology policies and also how they out-source... 15% have done it to date.'... David Paterson: 'We understand it is an evolving global market and we all want to be a part of it. What we're saying is that where companies are out-sourcing we think the public should know about it so the public can make a choice. We think they should give 6 months notice before they transfer jobs over-seas so workers can be aware. We should not make American workers be denied their severance pay if they don't train their foreign replacements as some companies are doing. Finally... we want the express written consent of consumers when their records are being transferred over-seas, particularly medical records and personal banking or accounting or tax-payer records where the rights of privacy laws are not as strong as they are here in the USA.'... Chris Larsen, CEO of e-Loan: 'a lot of companies are going out of their way not only not disclosing but actually deceiving their customers. That's leading to a big consumer back-lash and that definitely has to stop. We do believe disclosure is part of the answer... [Labor is] about 70% [of costs in our margins].'"
Steve Lohr & Matt Richtel _NY Times_
Lingering Job Insecurity of Silicon Valley
"Well-educated technology workers have long been at the fore-front of American economic growth and innovation, used to working in a field where rapid change is the rule. As markets shift, new technologies emerge and companies die. Yet such changes typically meant little more to these employees than moving rather easily from one well-paying opportunity to the next. But [many] of them can't find jobs... DF who holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, has found little demand for the kind of software design work that is his specialty... The unemployment rate last year among computer scientists, for example, was 5.2%, the highest level since the government began tracking this work as an occupation two decades ago. In most of those years, the unemployment rate for computer scientists was under 2% [except that the rate for those 50 and above was 17%]. Similarly, unemployment among electrical engineers last year, at 6.2%, was the highest in 20 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics... Doug Henton, president of Collaborative Economics, a consulting firm in Mountain View, CA, said that the average technology company in Silicon Valley generated about $200K in goods and services for each employee last year, up 9% from 2002. That is double the roughly $100K produced per employee by technology companies nationwide, and the $87K generated by the typical American company."
Francine Barnes _NY Times_
Filming the Hand That's Stealing His Wallet
"Bob Arno, a security consultant in Las Vegas, spends 7 months each year traveling the world filming pick-pockets and other street thieves."
Erica Goode _NY Times_
Skeptics Challenge Psychologists & Psychiatrists to "Prove It"
"In journal articles and public presentations, the psychologists, from Emory, Harvard, the University of Texas and other institutions, have challenged the validity of widely used diagnostic tools like the Rorschach ink-blot test. They have questioned the existence of repressed memories of child sexual abuse and of multiple personality disorder. They have attacked the wide use of labels like codependency and sexual addiction. The challengers have also criticized a number of fashionable therapies, including 'critical incident' psychological debriefing for trauma victims, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, and other techniques... Their criticisms reflect a widening divide in the field between researchers, who rely on controlled trials and other statistical methods of determining whether a therapeutic technique works... American Psychological Society... now counts close to 15K members, its executive director, Dr. Alan Kraut, said."
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Out-Sourcing: A Not So New Occupational Hazard
"According to official US statistics, at the end of February 2004 the US economy had 229K fewer jobs in computer systems design and related disciplines than in 2001 January, a decline of 17.2% in 3 years. Architectural and engineering employment lost 33K jobs during the period, a decline of 2.6% (the data are from the BLS pay-roll surveys)... High school and college students are...abandoning occupations that can be out-sourced... Nationally, enrollments in computer science and computer engineering are down 23% this year. At MIT, the premier engineering school, enrollment in electrical engineering and computer science has fallen 33% in 2 years. The New York Times (March 1) reported that even MIT's best graduates are abandoning their computer engineering profession for investment banking... As Business Week notes, 'most of the big growth areas will be low-skill and low-paying'... Writing in the Wall Street Journal on-line (February 20), Steve Liesman, senior economics reporter for CNBC, [wrote] 'In 2001 October, this country passed an ignominious mile-stone: For the first time ever, the number of college-educated unemployed surpassed the number of unemployed who don't have high school diplomas.'"
2004-03-10 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Drop in US exports creates record $43.1G trade deficit in January (with graph)
"This is slightly above the previous record of $43G set last March... The December trade gap was revised slightly higher to $42.7G from the initial estimate of $42.5G... January exports fell $1.06G, or 1.2%, to $89.0G. This was the biggest decline in exports since last August. Imports fell 0.5% to $132.1G in January, but remained at the second highest level on record. Exports of goods fell 1.7 pct to $61.9G for the month... The U.S. trade deficit with [Red China] totaled $11.5G, up from $9.4G in the same month one year ago, but well below the monthly record of $13.6G set last October. The January trade deficit with the European Union totaled $5.9G, the lowest since 2002 March."
2004-03-10 08:12PST (11:12EST) (16:12GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_/_Money_
Exporting America: false choices: addressing the facts
"Number 1: We're not creating jobs in the private sector, and that's never happened before in our history. Our economists and politicians need to be coming up with answers, not dogma. Number 2: We haven't had a trade surplus in this country in more than 2 decades, and our trade deficit continues to soar. Number 3: We've lost 3M jobs in this country over the last 3 years, and millions more American jobs are at risk of being out-sourced to cheap over-seas labor markets... 1: How many more jobs must we lose before they become concerned about our middle class and our strength as a consumer market? 2: When will the U.S. have to quit borrowing foreign capital to buy foreign goods that support European and Asian economies while driving us deeper into debt? 3: What jobs will our currently 15M unemployed [and under-employed] workers fill, where and when?"
2004-03-10 10:14PST (13:14EST) (18:14GMT)
Carolyn Pritchard _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Directors' pay packages increase 13%
"Compensation packages granted to directors of the 1,500 largest U.S. public companies rose 13% last year as boards added more qualified members to respond to corporate-governance reforms. Total director compensation, including cash and stock options, rose to a median $100K at S&P 1500 companies, according to a study by the Hay Group, a Philadelphia-based human-resources consulting firm. The total for S&P 500 companies rose to $135,300. The Sarbannes-Oxley reform law was the driving force behind the increase, Hay spokesman Dario Priolo said. The bill required minimum qualification levels for board members, aiming to end the practice of chief executives seating unqualified friends, family members and cronies to rubber-stamp their decisions... Director pay is set by members of a board's compensation committee. While there's an inherent conflict-of-interest in that arrangement..."
2004-03-10 11:21PST (14:41EST) (19:41GMT)
Leticia Williams & Luisa Beltran _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Bank of India and prosecutor Eliot Spitzer near settlement: BofI to pay $10M in SEC trading violations
"Bank of [India's, formerly known as Bank of America,] under-writing subsidiary will pay $10M to settle charges that the firm tried to obstruct an investigation into possible trading violations, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday. Separately, Charlotte, NC-based Bank of America is expected to reach a settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over improper mutual-fund trading as soon as next week, people familiar with the negotiations said. According to the SEC, the company's investment banking division, Bank of America Securities, deliberately delayed producing e-mails pertaining to the investigation as well as certain compliance reviews and personal trading records of a former senior employee. The unit agreed to a censure and a cease-and-desist order from further violating securities laws, without admitting or denying the SEC's findings."
2004-03-10 13:36PST (16:36EST) (21:36GMT)
_AP_/_South Florida Sun-Sentinel_
Evacuation ends, rain slows 38K acre wild-fire in NE Florida
"Fire-fighters got a brief respite Wednesday from a raging wild-fire that swept through 34K acres of timber and swamp land and briefly threatened this Baker County community. Rain-fall and weakening winds helped slow the fire, which grew from about 8K acres to 30K acres Tuesday on the Baker-Columbia county line... Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson said firefighters saved about four homes and no damage or injuries were reported. On Wednesday, the U.S. Forest Service reported the fire was 20% contained and it expected to have it contained by March 21... It began March 2 in the Impassable Bay area of the Osceola National Forest and it was being fought with 20 bull-dozers, four water-carrying helicopters, an airplane and more than 100 fire-fighters from the Florida Division of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuges. The fire began as a prescribed burn scheduled for about 1,100 acres."
2004-03-10 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & John King & Bill Tucker & Kitty Pilgrim _CNN_
"President Bush said 16K Americans work for Honda in Ohio. Honda hired those workers to gain access to the world's biggest consumer car market. And the company's profits go straight back to Japan... The quality of American workers is not in question. But that's not why many foreign auto-makers have plants in the United States. Alan Tonelson, US Business & Industry Council: '...The United States imposed quotas on all foreign automobile imports.'... The policy was imposed in the early '80s and it has worked wonders. Foreign auto-makers now have plants and joint ventures in 11 states. There are plants in Michigan, California, Illinois. And those employ United Auto Workers. Plants in South Carolina, Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, Indiana, Kentucky, and a soon-to-open Toyota plant in Texas all will be non-union... In the Georgia primaries, smart cards were left unprogrammed. In California, ballots were sent to the wrong precincts. Maryland also had some of the wrong encoders for the machines... Rebecca Mercuri: '...the testing really does not reflect the actual conditions on Election Day. And there's all sorts of things that go on behind the scene that we really don't ever really hear about. As far as these paper -- when it prints out this paper after the fact, the voter doesn't get to see that. That's all done behind the scene. And the voter doesn't have any way of confirming that that ballot is actually the one that they really cast... basically there's no opportunity to verify that either the ballots that you cast or what you intended or the vote totals are actually correct. All this is controlled by the vendors, and in some cases the election community, but largely it's just turned over to the vendors and it's a proprietary nature. This is unacceptable.'... Richard Lamm, former governor of Colorado, Sierra Club: 'one fight is the question of immigration and population, should it be an environmental issue. The second one is the way the people are doing it... No American I ever talked to wants to live in an America of a billion people or even half a billion people.'... Paul Craig Roberts: 'When you lose high value added jobs, you lose occupations. And we can already see the effect in enrollments. You know, this year, the enrollments in computer engineering [majors] dropped 23%. In MIT announced the enrollment in the engineers has dropped 33% in the last 2 years... How many more jobs will be lost? High value added. High productivity jobs. Middle class jobs. Jobs that were the ladders of mobility. Those are the jobs that it pays to out-source or hire over the Internet.'"
Economic Trouble in Germany
"The economy contracted by 0.1% last year and is headed for growth of only 1.5% is year. Unemployment stands at 10.3%. Huge public deficits are running afoul of the pact that Germany itself forced on euro-zone members. Consumers and investors lack confidence. The reasons for the problems are no mystery: a lavish welfare system, which the state can no longer afford, and high labor costs, which send businesses elsewhere. The Germans know all that full well, just as they know that they need to make deep and painful changes if they are to turn things around and resume that economic miracle of which they used to be so proud. The trouble is that they are not willing to accept the consequences. Chancellor Gerhard Schrˆder has had to pay a heavy political price even for the meek and woefully inadequate welfare, labor and tax reforms he has attempted. A quarterly charge of 10 euros for health care was enough to create a major furor."
William Safire _NY Times_
Privacy in Retreat
"'I believe privacy is a fundamental right', said the candidate George W. Bush one month before his election, 'and that every American should have absolute control over his or her personal information.'... Terror's threat is real. But as we grudgingly grant government more leeway to guard our lives, we must demand that our protectors be especially careful to safeguard our rights. Officials all too often fail to see both sides of their jobs. As reported last week by Robert Pear and Eric Lichtblau in The Times, the Justice Department said that medical patients 'no longer possess a reasonable expectation that their histories will remain completely confidential'... Medical records contain dates of treatment, doctors' names, prescriptions -- all clues to identity. Who would not be deterred from going to a hospital that meekly passed along those records?..."
Dean Calbreath _San Diego Union-Tribune_
California could lose 11.5% of existing positions to off-shore out-sourcing warns economist
Background on Business Services Out-Sourcing and the California Economy
"Out-sourcing and global competition may eventually kill nearly an eighth of California's existing jobs, an economist warned state legislators yesterday as they debated measures aimed at discouraging companies from shifting jobs over-seas. State-wide, 11.5% of jobs could eventually be sent over-seas, Cynthia Kroll, economist with the University of California Berkeley's Haas School of Business, told a state Senate committee hearing. Areas with high concentrations of high-tech jobs could be at greater risk, [Kroll] added. She estimated that Silicon Valley, which is still reeling from the bursting of the dot-com bubble, could lose 15.7% of its jobs. Local economists say San Diego is at less risk for massive job losses because local businesses concentrate more on research and development than manufacturing... To staunch the bleeding, the U.S. Senate last week approved an amendment that would restrict U.S. contractors from out-sourcing their government work to over-seas locations. 20 states are considering similar measures, including California, which is debating three measures written by Sen. Liz Figueroa, D-Fremont, who chairs the Senate Business and Professions Committee. One of Figueroa's bills would bar the state from sending contracts outside the United States; a second would require companies to tell the state when they plan to move 20 or more jobs over-seas; and a third would increase protections of privacy when medical and financial information is shipped over-seas... During yesterday's hearing in Sacramento, lobbyists from business groups such as the California Chamber of Commerce appeared before the committee warning against regulating out-sourcing, while labor groups pushed to keep jobs within the state. 'New rules and regulations cannot assure economic prosperity for all.', said Jeff Lande, vice president of the Information Technology Association of America."
2004-03-10 20:47PST (23:47EST) (2004-03-11 04:47GMT)
Leigh Strope _AP_/_Sacramento Bee_
Unions fight for survival
"Organized labor is in the fight of its life to remain relevant to workers as it struggles to rebound from setbacks in organizing and politics. Labor leaders meeting this week at a luxury seaside resort are revving up for the largest multi-million dollar effort to mobilize their members to defeat President Bush. John Kerry, the Democrats' presumptive nominee, addressed the AFL-CIO meeting by satellite Wednesday... About 400K new members were organized last year, he said. But membership is at an all-time low, with just 12.9% of the work force belonging to a union last year. That's down from 13.3% in 2002, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the private sector alone, only 8.2% of workers were union members last year."
2004-03-11 00:00 (03:00EST) (08:00GMT)
Brad Grimes _PC World_/_Yahoo!_
RFID: What the US Department and Wal-Mart have in common
"The 2 organizations have become poster children for radio frequency identification (RFID)... Both organizations are requiring their suppliers to use RFID tags if they want to continue doing business with them. With RFID, tiny radio transmitters are attached to products. These tags, as they're called, emit radio waves carrying data that's read using special scanners. RFID tags are like high-tech bar codes, only they can hold more data and their signals can be received over a far greater distance... [But people] want companies to be able to track the individual products they buy... Companies are sensitive to the backlash that RFID [has caused], so they're saying all the right things."
2004-03-11 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims fell 4,672
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 337,465 in the week ending March 6, a decrease of 4,672 from the previous week. There were 414,188 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.9% during the week ending February 28, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,695,438, a decrease of 44,505 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.3% and the volume was 4,191,412. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending February 21. 53 states reported that 302,840 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending February 21... The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending February 21 were in Alaska (6.8%%), Puerto Rico (5.6%), Michigan (4.7%), Idaho (4.5%), Oregon (4.4%), Rhode Island (4.3%), Wisconsin (4.3%), Pennsylvania (4.2%), Massachusetts (4.1%), and New Jersey (4.1%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending February 28 were in New York (+13,499), California (+9,719), Oregon (+1,223), Washington (+1,074), and Connecticut (+658), while the largest decreases were in Massachusetts (-4,695), Texas (-1,838), New Jersey (-1,556), Rhode Island (-1,486), and Georgia (-1,020)."
2004-03-11 07:14PST (10:14EST) (15:14GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
February retail sales disappoint says Commerce Department
Advance Monthly Sales for Retail Trade & Food Services
"Core retail sales were bit weaker in February than economists expected, according to estimates released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. Retail sales rose 0.6% after a revised 0.2% gain in January. However, all of the gain came from the 2.7% rise in auto sales. Excluding autos, sales were flat after soaring a revised 1.2% in January... Overall sales are up 7.9% year-over-year... Clothing store sales rose 0.4%. Sales at leisure-time stores, such as music, books and hobbies, fell 1.2%. The chain stores had reported the strongest year-over-year growth in sales in three years when they reported February same-store sales. Gasoline station sales were also a shock, falling 0.1% despite the surge in gasoline prices during the month. Durable goods sales were mixed. Electronics and appliance store sales rose 0.5%, but furniture store sales dropped 0.4% after a hefty gain in January. Building material, garden and hardware store sales were flat after a 1% drop in January. Sales at health care stores sank 1.2%, the largest decline since 2001 September. Sales at food stores fell 0.5%, reversing an inexplicable 2.1% rise in January."
2004-03-11 10:03PST (13:03EST) (18:03GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Taking chronic pain seriously: Pain-management clinics contend with high demand
"the practice known as pain management is hitting its stride as clinics take lessons learned in the acute pain environment of surgery and modify them for a growing number of chronic ailments ranging from back pain to arthritis, medical experts say. About 50M Americans -- or one in five -- suffer some kind of ongoing pain, according to the American Pain Society, which represents 3,500 U.S. doctors, nurses and psychologists specializing in pain care. Chronic pain is estimated to cost U.S. employers anywhere from $61.2G to $100G annually in lost work, impaired productivity and medical insurance claims. What's more, clinicians are bracing for an influx of aging baby boomers, who appear to be less stoic about pain than their parents' generation, says Barry Cole, education director for the American Academy of Pain Management, which represents 6K practitioners in 12 disciplines ranging from dentistry and podiatry to rehabilitation and chiropractics."
2004-03-11 10:55PST (13:55EST) (18:55GMT)
Greg Robb & Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Greenspan repeats expectation of more job creation and insistence that education is key but skill is more important than that
"'We have reason to be confident that new jobs will displace old jobs as they always have, but America's job turnover process will never be without pain for those caught on the down-side of creative destruction.' he said... The key to maintaining America's edge is education, Greenspan said, noting that relative changes in wages and salaries over the past years show that the U.S.A. has a shortage of high-skilled workers and a surplus of low-skilled workers. 'Although in recent years the proportion of our labor force made up of those with at least some college education has continued to grow, we appear, none the less, to be graduating too few skilled workers to address the apparent imbalance between the supply of such workers and the burgeoning demand for them.', he said [ignoring the burgeoning supply of them who are unemployed]."
2004-03-11 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Kelli Arena & Suzanne Malveaux & Bill Tucker & Peter Viles & Christine Romans _CNN_
trains attacked in Spain, off-shoring
"a rush-hour massacre [today in Madrid] Spain, almost 200 people killed, more than 1K wounded... Susan Lindauer is 41 years old. She is a USA citizen, as you said, a former journalist, a former Capitol Hill staffer, and according to prosecutors, a paid agent for the Iraqi Intelligence Service... The government alleges Lindauer met repeatedly with members of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, that she accepted payments of $10K for expenses and services. Prosecutors also say that she met with an under-cover FBI agent and, following his instructions, left documents at dead-drop operations. The indictment also says that she tried to influence USA foreign policy by dropping off a letter at a USA official's home, saying that she had access to and contact with members of Saddam Hussein's regime... Tony Raimondo [withdrew his appointment to be 'manufacturing czar' after it was claimed he had] fired some 17% of his own work force -- he's a Nebraska businessman -- and that he built a plant out in [Red China]... David Dreier: '93% of what the United States exports to Australia today are actually manufactured goods and, under this agreement, 99% of them will be able to go terror-free into Australia... The president has included $23G in his budget for job re-training.'... Most of those programs are managed by J.P. Morgan, and E-Funds and they off-shore the work. A survey done by Stella Hopkins of the _Charlotte Observer_ found that 40 states, plus the District of Columbia have food stamp help desks that use operators in other countries... We all have great faith in the American way of life and preserving it... Pete Bennett of nomoeh1b.com: 'There are Ph.D.s, mathematics experts all over the place that have been displaced by this program or by the onslaught of out-sourcing. There has to be a qualified worker. Maybe they might just have to pay for relocation and relocate them to some other part of the country. But it's about time they really looked hard inside the United States.'... big cities such as New York and Los Angeles... hire foreigners by the hundreds to teach math, sciences and languages... Michael Cutler: 'It's not just the border, they were looking to come up with another 200 plus agents to look for the something on the order of 400K aliens who've absconded within our borders. 80K of whom have serious criminal records. So they're talking about another 200 plus agents and the odds just don't work out... we've got 38K cops patrolling New York streets, policing 8M people... And we've got 2K INS agents policing a number of perhaps as high as 14M illegal aliens scattered across the North American continent... as it is we have a visa waiver program where we're letting people into this country from 28 countries, where we're not properly screening these folks. Now we're also exempting... the people from those 28 countries from U.S. Visit, which is supposed to record photographs, finger-prints other biometrics to keep track of who's here.'... Because of [Red China's] booming economy, construction sites, this economy is going to suck in almost 6M barrels of oil a day. That's up 11% from last year."
Alan Greenspan _Federal Reserve Board_
"Research on wealth creation in both emerging and developed nations strongly suggests that it is the knowledge and the skill of our population interacting under our rule of law that determine our real incomes, irrespective of the specific jobs in which these incomes are earned and irrespective of the proportion of domestic consumption met by imports... In the 1970s, the supply of skilled workers received another boost from the rapid expansion of our nation's community colleges. In short, technical proficiencies across all job grade levels appeared to rise about in line with the needs of our, even then, complex stock of capital. But for the past 20 years the real incomes of [average] skilled, especially highly skilled, workers have risen more than the average of all workers, whereas real wage rate increases for lesser-skilled workers have been below average, indeed virtually non-existent [as has been the compensation of many highly skilled workers]. This difference in wage trends suggests that, at least in relative terms, we have developed a shortage of highly skilled workers and a surplus of lesser-skilled workers [or not]. Although in recent years the proportion of our labor force made up of those with at least some college education has continued to grow, we appear, nonetheless, to be graduating too few skilled workers to address the apparent imbalance between the [burgeoning] supply of such workers and the burgeoning demand for them. Perhaps the accelerated pace of high-tech equipment installations associated with the large increases in productivity growth in recent years is generating unachievable demands for skilled graduates over the short run. If the apparent acceleration in the demand for skilled workers to staff our high-tech capital stock is temporary, as many presume, the pressure on our schools would ease as would the upward pressure on high-skilled wages."
Ian Austen _NY Times_
Toronto's Hell Highway
"The first highway to use digital cameras and license-plate-reading software rather than toll collectors opened in 1997... Throughout last year, more bills kept appearing - including one for $43 - for trips Mrs. N had supposedly made along a toll road she had never seen. Along with the bills came threats of small-claims court and collection-agency action... A spokesman, Dale A. Albers, declined to provide statistics. But a cluster of temporary office buildings and one permanent addition attached to the highway's headquarters suggests that it might be a significant issue. The buildings were erected mostly to accommodate an increase in customer service staff from 27 to 300 employees... Each day the software from Hughes (which was subsequently acquired by Raytheon) sends about 2,600 to 2,800 digital snapshots of plates that cannot be read - roughly 10% of its harvest -- to the 407's Exceptions room. [Well, that's good; at least there's hope.]... The highway adds a surcharge of about $2.50 on every video toll fee. Given that the 407 charges a peak rate of about 11 cents for each kilometer traveled, the extra fee can outstrip the actual toll on short trips. (By comparison, 407 transponder users are charged a $7.60 activation fee and 76 cents a month to lease the units. All users must also pay a monthly account fee of $1.50.)"
Soft Money Slinks Back
"Committees set up by Democrat operatives should be asked to play by the same rules that govern other political committees."
Sara Schaefer Munoz _Wall Street Journal_
Employers Lobby To Expand Guest-Worker Visa Programs Despite High American Unemployment
"Manufacturers and high-tech companies are starting a long-shot effort to persuade Congress to boost the number of visas allowed for foreign workers with advanced degrees from U.S. universities, as a way to get around a cap on visas... Instead, the companies are looking to circumvent the limit by carving out exceptions for the most highly educated employees, figuring there will be less opposition to those workers. Proponents also are tapping into fears that U.S. jobs will be out-sourced abroad as a selling point... Workers with an [phony certificate allegedly] equivalent to a master's degree or above in all professions accounted for 42% of the H1-B visa holders in 2002, according to U.S. immigration statistics... Some Democrats have said they might consider approving some exemptions in exchange for greater Labor Department authority to investigate alleged H1-B visa violations and the reinstatement of a $1K filing fee that formerly was used to fund job-retraining programs."
Ethan Zindler _Cape Cod Times_
Foreign worker quota filled
"The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said it has stopped processing requests from U.S. employers seeking to import foreign workers for certain unskilled jobs. The move could have serious implications for Cape and islands businesses, which in summer rely on the H-2b visa program to fill 5K to 6K service-sector jobs with temporary labor from abroad. In a press release e-mailed late yesterday, USCIS announced it had fulfilled its quota of 66K H-2b petitions from employers for the current fiscal year. The agency says it will process all petitions it had received by end of business Tuesday, but would accept no more... Wendy Northcross, executive director of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, got word earlier this week that the USCIS would reach the congressionally mandated cap on H-2b workers tomorrow. She e-mailed Chamber members yesterday, urging them to submit their paperwork to USCIS as soon as possible via overnight mail. Northcross said she had spoken with staff from Rep. William Delahunt's office this week about what she called the 'cap gap' between the number of petitions the USCIS receives and the number of workers it actually allows into the country... Northcross said she planned to work through the Travel Industry Association of America to rally support for more H-2bs."
Josh Francis _Daily USC Trojan_
Colleges see fewer foreign students
"Following a growing trend dating back to the days of World War II, the number of foreign students applying to graduate schools and doctoral programs in science and technology remains in a gradual decline, according to a New York Times survey. The survey conducted by the Association of International Educators polled 130 programs across the nation. Reasons for the decline include an increase of visa denials and visa delays resulting from not getting a timely interview. About 586K over-seas students enrolled in American universities last year, according to the survey... USC received 8,430 applications for the 2002 Fall semester and 8,347 for 2003 Fall, Thompson said. For the 2004 Fall semester, there were 5,733 received... GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, reports that foreign students who hope to study in the United States must wait an average of 67 days to obtain a visa. Delays can take up to one year."
Michael Knowles _eMediaWire_/_PR Web_
Employee Retention Mission Critical in Changing Economy
"In a report entitled _How to Retain Key Employees_, the authors found that a strong internal communications strategy goes hand-in-hand with employee retention and productivity... 'Most experts agree that worker turn-over is likely to cost U.S. businesses more than $600G over the next 2 years.', said One Straight Line Principal, David Leland, who wrote the report with partner, Michael Knowles. 'But that staggering amount can be reduced if businesses consider a few pre-emptive measures.' The report focuses on a key benefit of an organization's full communications strategy: the use of internal communications vehicles to retain key employees. It's designed to help busy executives assess the level of trust and productivity in their organization... The report's goals are to help: * Executives and employees agree on what the company does consistently well. * Take that information and spread a cohesive message to their external audience. * Employees feel valued and remain as a stable investment for the company."
USC Study Found Faulty Wiring in PsychoPaths
"Adrian Raine, a professor of psychology and neuroscience in the USC College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, focused his research on 2 parts of the brain: the hippocampus, a portion of the temporal lobe that regulates aggression and transfers information into memory; and the corpus callosum, a bridge of nerve fibers that connects the cerebral hemispheres... Psychopaths' criminal tendencies are typically coupled with a lack of inhibitions, emotions and a conscience... That lack of emotions often means that psychopaths don't bond with other people in a normal way... He tested the theory that psychopaths with hippocampal impairments could become insensitive to cues that predicted punishment and capture. As a result, he said, these 'impaired' psychopaths were more likely to be apprehended than psychopaths without that deficit... 94% of the unsuccessful psychopaths had that same abnormality, with the right side of the hippocampus larger than the left... He found that the psychopaths' corpus callosums were an average of 23% larger and 7% longer than the control groups'. 'The corpus callosum is bigger, but it's also thinner.'... The rate that the psychopaths transmitted information from one hemisphere to the other through the corpus callosum also was abnormally high, Raine said... With an increased corpus callosum came less remorse, fewer emotions and less social connectedness - the classic hall-marks of a psychopath... journals _Biological Psychiatry_ (2004 January) and _Archives of General Psychiatry_ (2003 November)..."
2004-03-12 05:18PST (08:18EST) (13:18GMT)
Rory L. Terry _CNN_/_Money_
Don't place blind faith in out-sourcing
"We have no comparative advantage or superiority in innovation. To assume that we are inherently more creative than our foreign competitors is both arrogant and naive. We are currently empowering our competition with the resources to innovate equally as well as we. Consider the number of new non-native Ph.D.s that leave our universities each year; consider our low rank in the education of mathematics and the sciences; and consider the large number of international students enrolled in our most difficult technical degree programs at our most prestigious universities... An externality exists in economics any time there is a separation of costs and benefits, and the decision maker does not have to incur the full cost but receives the full benefits of the decision. The fact is, there is no economic force, no supply and demand equilibrium, no rational decision process of either business or consumer, that will make an externality go away... A company that decides to move its production over-seas cuts its costs in many ways, including the following:
2004-03-12 06:55PST (09:55EST) (14:55GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US March UMich consumer sentiment index slips
"The consumer sentiment index fell to 94.1 in March from 94.4 in February... The current conditions index rose to 105.7 from 103.6 in February. The expectations index fell to 86.6 from 88.5 in February."
2004-03-12 08:11PST (11:11EST) (16:11GMT)
Leslie Haggin Geary _CNN_/_Money_
As US jobs move abroad, more Americans follow
"Today, experts say, there are about 30K foreigners working in India. That's a virtual drop in the bucket for a country that has a population of more than 1G -- and far less than the 250K foreigners (mostly English) living in India some 60 years ago, just before India's independence in 1947. But the number of people willing to uproot themselves from homes in New York to become expatriates in New Delhi is expected to grow in coming years. In fact, it's already become easier for Indian employers to attract foreign workers."
2004-03-12 10:22PST (13:22EST) (18:22GMT)
Hans Greimel _AP_/_San Francisco Chronicle_
Thousands protest impeachment of South Korean President
"The presidential impeachment was a first in South Korea, and the vote followed hours of televised shoving matches in which law-makers battled for control of the assembly's podium, throwing elbows and pulling hair. Security guards forcibly removed screaming supporters of President Roh Moo-hyun who tried to block the vote by commandeering the rostrum. Prime Minister Goh Kun, who assumed executive powers from Roh, spoke of the need to 'stabilize the people's lives and ensure that the country's international credibility will not be damaged'. In a phone call to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon stressed the government's commitment to continuity. He told Powell there would be no change in Seoul's policy toward North Korea and that the government would 'maintain its close alliance with the United States', according to a Foreign Ministry statement. The 66-year-old Goh, who held various posts under 6 successive governments, earned the nicknames 'Mr. Stability' and 'Master Administrator' for his ability to survive military coups, civic unrest and parliamentary machinations. Goh will perform the executive duties until the Constitutional Court rules on whether to unseat Roh, a decision that could take 6 months."
2004-03-12 13:05PST (16:05EST) (21:05GMT)
Declan McCullagh & Ben Chamy _CNET_
FBI pushes broad-band service providers for easy tapping
"The FBI's request to the Federal Communications Commission aims to give police ready access to any form of Internet-based communications. If approved as drafted, the proposal could dramatically expand the scope of the agency's wiretap powers, raise costs for cable broadband companies and complicate Internet product development. Legal experts said the 85-page filing includes language that could be interpreted as forcing companies to build back doors into everything from instant messaging and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) programs to MSFT's Xbox Live game service. The introduction of new services that did not support a back door for police would be outlawed, and companies would be given 15 months to make sure that existing services comply."
2004-03-12 14:24PST (17:24EST) (22:24GMT)
Susan Lerner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US stocks mount recovery: Tech issues bolster
"Blue-chip U.S. stocks closed solidly higher Friday, modestly regaining ground following a punishing string of four straight losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 112 points, or 1.1%, at 10,240, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose almost 14 points, or 1.2%, to 1,120. Reflecting the tech sector's strong showing, the Nasdaq Composite Index also rose 41 points, or 2.1%, to nearly 1,985... The results put the best face on a grim week that saw the Dow shed 3.4% while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 both dropped 3.1%... On the New York Stock Exchange, advancing issues out-numbered decliners by a 24-to-9 margin on moderate volume of 1.4G shares. On the Nasdaq, advancers out-paced decliners 3-to-1 on volume of 1.7G shares."
2004-03-12 14:45PST (17:45EST) (22:45GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US gov't says it won WTO case against Mexico: Could lower telephone costs
"'Today's decision is an important victory for American consumers and for the telecommunications industry, and provides an excellent example of how WTO disciplines can provide concrete benefits to American consumers and businesses.', U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick said in a written statement. The U.S. argued that Mexico's dominant telephone company, Telefonos de Mexico, known as Telmex, was overcharging customers for long-distance telephone calls. Zoellick's announcement said the Geneva-based trade body ruled in favor of the U.S., which brought the case on behalf of American carriers, including AT&T, which complained that they were forced to connect their calls via Telmex and pay inflated rates. The U.S. telecommunications firms have estimated the system resulted in more than $1G in extra charges since 2000. A USTR fact sheet said about 80% of all calls between the 2 nations originate in the U.S."
2004-03-12 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Jamie McIntyre & Peter Viles & Lisa Sylvester & Louise Schiavone _CNN_
Does job re-training work?
"General Peter Pace, vice chair of the joint chiefs of staff:'The math is, with 2.6M active Guard and Reserve...'... Cheryl Peterson, American Nurses Association: 'We are looking to a very severe future shortage of nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that, by 2012, we'll need 1.1M new registered nurses...'... This year, applications to nursing schools are up 16% after years of declines; 127K students enrolled in B.A. programs for nursing last year. More than 15K qualified applicants had to be turned away, simply because there was not enough room for them... Greg Newschwander, Catholic University school of nursing: 'The pay has advanced. And now entry-level salaries are about what they would be for most of the other baccalaureate-prepared professional careers.'... The national rate of new foreclosures on home loans is 0.45%. But, in Ohio, it's double that, 0.91%. Foreclosures also roughly double the national rate in Indiana and South Carolina. All 3 of those states hard hit by lost jobs... Jobs for America Act. That bill would require companies that out-source jobs over-seas to give notification before doing so... A New Jersey company is suing President Bush and U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick for failing to protect American manufacturers [patents]... Motion Systems filed what is called a 421 petition at the International Trade Commission. That's a safeguard provision written into the law when [Red China] joined the World Trade Organization. It's supposed to protect American manufacturers from a surge of Chinese imports. The International Trade Commission agreed with Motion Systems that imports were causing market disruption and recommended quotas be put in place. But that never happened. Despite the ITC's ruling the Bush administration concluded that restricted imports would hurt the U.S. economy... The ITC determined Chinese imports were disrupting the U.S. market in 3 [of 5 other] cases but in each case the White House refused the ITC's recommendation for quotas... When the dust settled on the 2-year Lucent plunge, 4K employees here had been laid off. Today, fewer than a thousand work at the North Andover plant... Shaw Rosen: 'The size of the lay-offs that we had here, have simply not been able at this point even after retraining to obtain their current -- I mean, their previous wage levels.'... Business leaders say the future lies in even more highly skilled math and science related jobs such as medical devices and testing, biopharmaceuticals and sophisticated homeland security and defense industries..."
Richard W. Stevenson & Eric Lichtblau _NY Times_
Former U.S. Aide Accused of Working With Iraq
"Federal prosecutors charged a former Congressional aide on Thursday with working with the Iraqi intelligence service before the war."
Steve Lohr _NY Times_
MSFT Said to Encourage Big Investment in SCO Group
"More evidence emerged about MSFT's role in encouraging the anti-Linux campaign being waged by the SCO Group, a small Utah company."
_Wall Street Journal_
Poll of Economists
"On average, the economists estimated that the total number of U.S. jobs lost by movement of operations over-seas since 2001 has been 188K in the services sector and 502K in manufacturing, for a total of 690K. That's a small fraction of the 58.6M in overall lay-offs that companies undertook between 2001 and 2003. The vast majority of those lay-offs were off-set by new hiring elsewhere in the economy, but on a net basis, pay-roll levels declined by 2.3M during this period."
Gail Gibson & John Bebow _Baltimore Sun_/_Chicago Tribune_
Former aide to Carol Mosely Braun held as Iraqi intelligence agent
"A woman who briefly worked as an aide to former senator Carol Moseley Braun was arrested at her suburban Washington home Thursday on charges of acting as an agent of the Iraqi intelligence agency and plotting to help resistance groups loyal to Saddam Hussein. Susan Lindauer, 40, who had claimed to be a target of covert surveillance and death threats, was released to a halfway house with orders from a magistrate judge in U.S. District Court in Baltimore to undergo a psychiatric evaluation... The indictment alleges that Lindauer accepted $10K for working for Iraqi intelligence from 1999 to 2002, including payments for meals and trips to the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations in New York and a trip to Baghdad, as a guest of the intelligence agency, from February 23 until 2002 March 7."
Still Short Of the Off-Shoring Ideal
"As for all those orders for U.S. goods and services flowing back from India -- well, don't hold your breath. The U.S. trade deficit with India was $8G last year, and January figures suggest it will be higher yet again in 2004. The big reason: The Indian market remains largely closed. In most industries, for example, foreign companies wishing to operate in India have to set up joint ventures in which they can have only minority control. They can't own land, or set up independent distribution systems, operate retail chains or bid on most government contracts. Patent protections for products are weak or non-existent. And while Indian accountants now prepare U.S. tax returns, the Indian government only allows graduates of Indian universities to provide accounting services there."
2004-03-12 21:08PST (2004-03-13 00:08EST) (2004-03-13 05:08GMT)
Ron Amadon _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
$3 a gallon gasoline?: Alternatives
"It certainly caught the eye ... the picture in the New York Times of a gas station sign in the San Francisco area. Premium unleaded was listed for $2.95.9 a gallon. 'The most expensive gasoline in the country is in California.', said Jeff Sunstrom, who watches gas prices on a daily basis for AAA. He adds that the nationwide average price of gas is close to a new record of $1.737 a gallon... We recently drove a GM Envoy with the Vortec 5300 engine that will run fine on 4 of its 8 cylinders when less power is needed... GM claims about a 6% fuel economy increase. The 'displacement on demand' engine will be available on the Envoy in 2005... Chevy Silverado Hybrid... 5.3-liter V8. General Motors claims the battery that helps power the truck has a four-year life span. (It's stashed under the rear seat, by the way.) The fuel economy savings is said to be 10% to 13%. Below 13 miles per hour the big V8 signs off and the battery takes over... hybrids -- the Honda Civic and the Toyota Prius... In our road tests, we averaged about 45 miles per gallon in the Prius, and just over 40 miles per gallon in the Civic Hybrid."
John F. Burns _NY Times_
New Iraqi Police-Men Tied to Killing of 2 Americans
"Officials said that 4 men arrested after gun-men killed 2 U.S. civilians in Iraq were members of the new Iraqi police force."
Reed Abelson _NY Times_
An NMR Machine for Every Doctor? Someone Has to Pay
"Syracuse [and San Diego] is the epicenter of a high-tech medical arms race, as doctors, their traditional sources of income squeezed, discover a new one: diagnostic imaging."
Emily Eakin _NY Times_
Preferences in Politics and Books Coincide
more info from Valdis Krebs
"Valdis Krebs, a social-network analyst in Cleveland... 'network map' of popular political books... ended up with a list of 66 books... On the left is a cluster of several dozen [leftist] polemics (the [red] nodes) linked by a dense thicket of crisscrossing gray lines. On the right is a nearly identical cluster of conservative tracts (the [blue] nodes). Connecting the blue and red sides of the map are just a few gray lines and gray nodes... buyers of [leftist] books buy only other [leftist] books, while buyers of conservative books buy only other conservative books. This finding appears to buttress the argument made by Cass Sunstein, a law professor at the University of Chicago, in his influential study 'Republic.com' (Princeton University Press, 2001) that contemporary media and the Internet have abetted a culture of polarization, in which people primarily seek out points of view to which they already subscribe... The exception appears to be buyers of titles in the gray zone -- what Mr. Krebs calls 'bridging books'... Even with the bridging books, the average distance between the map's left and right clusters is still 4 links -- or in network theory parlance, 'four degrees' -- Mr. Krebs said. Given that the clusters represent ideological extremes, he reasoned that if he expanded his book sample to include non-political best sellers like _The Da Vinci Code_ and _The South Beach Diet_, the distance between left and right would be reduced. To his surprise, that turned out not to be the case..."
Eric Rosenberg _Seattle Post-Intelligencer_
Agency initiates steps for selective, special skills draft
"The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is adamant that he will not ask Congress to authorize a draft, and officials at the Selective Service System, the independent federal agency that would organize any conscription, stress that the possibility of a so-called 'special skills draft' is remote. None the less, the agency has begun the process of creating the procedures and policies to conduct such a targeted draft in case military officials ask Congress to authorize it and the law-makers agree to such a request... The agency already has a special system to register and draft health care personnel ages 20 to 44 in more than 60 specialties if necessary in a crisis. According to Flahavan, the agency will expand this system to be able to rapidly register and draft computer specialists and linguists, should the need ever arise... About 13.5M men, ages 18 to 25, are currently registered with the Selective Service."
Landon Thomas _NY Times_
The Man Behind Grasso's Pay-Day
"Kenneth Langone was chairman of the New York Stock Exchange committee that signed off on Richard Grasso's $139.5M pay package."
Theater Chain Plans $1.5G Merger
"Cinemark, a large theater chain, has agreed to a $1.5G merger with Madison Dearborn Partners."
Jim Yardley _NY Times_
Red China's Rulers Have Too Much Power, People Have Too Little Electricity & Fuel
"Red China's emergence has roiled commodities markets, as the country has become a voracious consumer of energy and raw materials."
Louis Uchitelle _NY Times_
College Education a Handicap for Landing Work?
"The message: Get a college education; earn a bachelor's degree, or more. That is your immunization against the out-sourcing, off-shoring and down-sizing that frighten so many workers today. The Clinton administration, in which Mr. Reich served as secretary of labor, pushed that solution, and so has nearly every politician, policy expert and corporate executive. Young people listened, all too well. In this recovery, college graduates are losing ground faster than any other group, and that is partly because there are now so many graduates. More than 27% of the population has a bachelor's degree normally earned in 4 years of [education]. That is up from 21.3% in 1990 and 17% in 1980, according to the Census Bureau, and the proportion is rising by a percentage point or so every couple years... Well, if America's college graduates -- the men and women with the equivalent of a bachelor's degree or more -- are so special and in such demand, why are they suffering in the current job market? No other group has taken the beating they have in the last 4 years. The percentage of all college graduates 25 and older who hold jobs fell from just over 78% in 2000 to just under 76% in 2003. That was the lowest level in more than 25 years, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Economic Policy Institute, a research group in Washington. And they are joining the rolls of the long-term unemployed at a faster rate than any other group, educated or not. The 25- to-35-year-olds have been hit the hardest. The portion employed in this group of college graduates dropped from more than 87% in 2000 to 84.1% late last year. That was also the lowest since the late 1970s, and their average wage has fallen since 2001... College graduates are still more likely to have jobs than others, and their wages are notably higher... But only 2.5 college grads are landing jobs for every 3.5 getting degrees, and so the ratio of employment to population falls."
Dean Calbreath _San Diego Union-Tribune_
How to slow off-shore out-sourcing of US jobs
"Over the past 5 years, [J. Douglas] Winter's firm, Objectiva Software Solutions, has helped a dozen clients nationwide, including several in San Diego, send work to his out-post in Beijing... A survey last week by San Diego's TEC International -- a training organization for chief executives -- shows that trend is continuing. 20% of the 1,100 chief executives polled plan to move some operations off-shore within the next 12 months. More than 40% of the CEOs interviewed in California plan to shift work off-shore... Peter Morici, a business professor with the University of Maryland, estimates that 1.3M jobs could be created if the U.S. reliance on foreign markets could be cut in half ñ a feat he would achieve by pressuring low-cost Asian countries to raise the value of their currencies... Sohn and other economists say that if companies want to slow off-shoring, they have to reduce costs ñ not by shedding workers but by looking at their under-lying costs of business."
2004-03-14 17:41PST (20:41EST) (2004-03-15 01:41GMT)
Workers see few benefits from pro-executive policies
"As the U.S. economy keeps expanding without creating new jobs, politicians, labor leaders and average Americans increasingly blame 'out-sourcing' -- work U.S. firms transfer to low-wage countries. The practice has become so highly charged that a Nebraska executive [Raimondo] in line to over-see a Bush administration effort to boost factory jobs backed out last week following reports that he had out-sourced operations to [Red China]... Corporate profits are up 30% since the end of the 2001 recession, according to the Commerce Department. And dividends paid by the Standard & Poor's 500 companies have increased 19% in the past two years. By contrast, 2.3M jobs have disappeared since 2001. And weekly earnings for the average worker in 2003 rose just 0.5% in 2 years, after adjusting for inflation, the Labor Department reports. Those were not the results corporate lobbyists promised in 2003 when they won $148G in pro-business tax cuts over 5 years... According to Economy.com, a consulting firm, every $1 invested in extended benefits generates $1.70 of increased economic activity because the money is spent quickly. By contrast, each $1 spent cutting dividend taxes pumps just 9 cents into the economy, the firm says."
2004-03-14 22:50PST (2004-03-15 01:50EST) (2004-03-15 06:50GMT)
Michael Oneal & T. Shawn Taylor _Chicago Tribune_/_Corvallis Oregon Gazette-Times_
Chronic unemployment the worst since 1983
"According to a new study by the Economic Policy Institute, a [left-leaning] Washington, DC, think tank, 22.1% of all unemployed workers were out of work for 6 months or more in 2003 -- the worst annual rate since 1983. And a growing number of those long-term job seekers were people with lots of experience and plenty of education, raising more questions about the loss of highly paid work during the nation's persistent 'jobless recovery'... The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank in Washington, DC, estimates that 760K have lost their [unemployment compensation insurance] benefits nationally since the federal program ended. In Illinois alone, 17,679 residents exhausted their 26 weeks of regular state benefits in January and did not qualify for another 13 weeks of aid... While grads comprised 15.3% of the unemployed, they represented 19.1% of the long-term unemployed... It's also true that the jobs being created in today's economy aren't as desirable as in the past. Temporary agencies, for instance, have done a lot of the hiring over the past year. But those jobs aren't necessarily a good fit for someone used to a good salary and benefits. Another EPI study of job quality shows that in 48 of 50 states, jobs in higher-paying industries are shrinking while jobs in lower-paying industries are growing. From the end of 2001 to the end of 2003, the industries losing jobs paid wages of $16.92 on average, while the industries gaining jobs paid an average wage of $14.65. In February, the Pew Hispanic Center released another surprising finding. According to the Labor Department's Current Population Survey, Hispanics grabbed 64% of the new jobs created during 2003. One reason is that they didn't pay as well."
2004-03-15 06:42PST (09:42EST) (14:42GMT)
Frank Barnako _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Internet news web sites are getting more respect
"Traffic to the 26 most popular news web sites grew 70% from 2002 May to 2003 October... While daily news-paper circulation has fallen 11% since 1990, the Internet has become a critical news resource for millions of people."
2004-03-15 06:52PST (09:52EST) (14:52GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US February industrial production up 0.7%: Capacity utilization at 76.6%, highest since 2001 August
Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization
graphs of and excluding tech sectors
"Utility out-put fell a sharp 0.7% in February after soaring 5.3% in the first month of the year because of cold weather. Mining output increased 0.1% in the month. Within manufacturing, motor vehicle production increased 1.6% while production of high-tech equipment increased 2.1%. Excluding motor vehicles, manufacturing out-put increased 0.9%. Excluding high-tech, manufacturing out-put increased 0.9%... the New York Fed said its manufacturing sentiment index fell to 25.3 in March from 42.1 in February. [Among the high-technology industries, computers and office equipment increased 2.1%, and semiconductors and related electronic components advanced 3.0%.]"
2004-03-15 13:16PST (16:16EST) (21:16GMT)
USDA to test up to 260K cattle for mad cow disease
"U.S. animal health inspectors will test between 200K and 260K cattle for mad cow disease this year, up from 20K last year... the one-year testing program would allow inspectors to be 99% confident that if there was one case of mad cow disease among 10M cattle, it could be identified. Current USDA testing allows inspectors to find 1 case in 1M cattle."
2004-03-15 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
new planet discovered
"A NASA funded team today announced the discovery of a planetoid located a mere 8G miles from Earth. The object, named Sedna, is about 3/4 the size of Pluto and it is the largest object found orbiting the sun since the discovery of Pluto back in 1930... Charles Liu: '8G miles is more than twice the distance to Pluto. So the best we can do right now is aim our telescopes, such as the Hubble space telescope, such as the Spitzer space telescope and sophisticated systems HERE on the ground to try to characterize its orbit, its composition. We can learn a lot just by looking at the light that's reflected off of it from the sun...'..."
John Schwartz _NY Times_
Privacy Fears Erode Support for Matrix of Data
"Matrix, a controversial multi-state program that hoped to find criminals or terrorists by sifting through data-bases of public and private information, has lost more than two-thirds of its member states and appears to be withering under its critics' attacks. The Matrix program - the name is derived from Multi-state Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange - was originally developed for the state of Florida by Seisint, a Florida company, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. At its peak, 16 states were members, and the program received pledges of $12M from the federal Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Supporters of Matrix envisioned it as a powerful computer-driven program that could integrate information from disparate sources - like vehicle registrations, driver's license data, criminal history and real estate records - and analyze it for patterns of activity that could help law enforcement investigations... 5 states remain actively involved - Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Ohio... In a recent report on the program, the A.C.L.U. called Matrix 'a body blow to the core American principle that the government will leave people alone unless it has good reason to suspect them of wrong-doing'... Clay Jester, the Matrix coordinator for the Institute for Intergovernmental Research..."
Samme Chittum _NY Times_
In an IBM Village, Fears of Air and Water Pollution
"Industrial toxins that contaminated the soil and leached into ground-water continue to produce vapors and pollution that is in part traceable to IBM."
Jacques Steinberg _NY Times_
Columbia U Study Finds a Waning Appetite for News
"the immediate prospects for news-papers and broadcast television news are bleak... a surge in the popularity of Spanish-language newspapers, alternative weeklies and news web sites... the circulation of English-language news-papers in the United States has declined by 11% since 1990. But over roughly the same period the circulation of the country's Spanish-language daily news-papers has more than tripled, to 1.7M, according to the National Association of Hispanic Publishers... the combined circulation of alternative weeklies like the Washington City Paper more than doubled, to 7.5M in 2002, according to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies... the combined audience of the 3 major cable news channels - the Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC - has been flat since late 2001, and that whatever additional audience those networks gained during the early days of the war in Iraq has been lost... The Fox researchers [said, however, that] the three channels' combined viewership in 2003 December was 17% higher than in 2003 January, before the war started."
Steve Schmidt _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Loss of jobs puts Puget Sound on the economic skids again
"Today, the region is in a protracted recession. Unemployment is above the national average, largely due to the loss of aerospace and dot-com jobs. The Seattle area has a higher crime rate and more traffic congestion than San Diego County. All this comes amid other tough news, including the 2002 decision by Boeing -- the nation's aircraft giant -- to move its head-quarters from Seattle to Chicago... Meanwhile, a recent study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute found commuters in Seattle spend an average of 32 hours a year stuck in traffic, compared with 25 in the city of San Diego..."
_Jacksonville Business Journal_
Body Shopper ManPOWER says 2Q hiring out-look strong
"30% of companies interviewed plan to hire more employees from April to June, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. Only 3% of employers expect to reduce staff, while the remaining two-thirds expect staffing levels to remain the same. In the first quarter forecast, 17% of local employers planned to add to staff and 10% expected to trim workers. The second quarter numbers are similar to those from the same period last year, with 27% of employers expected to add workers while none expected to cut staff. The Manpower survey is conducted in 470 markets across the country. The local survey involves 30 companies."
Michael L. Diamond _Asbury Park Press_/_honolulu Advertiser_
Low-wage, work-intensive jobs hard to fill
"Even when he advertises at the unemployment office, he gets little interest, leaving him to hire immigrant workers and question the work ethic of Americans... Employers and the government are resigned to an economic trend: there seems to be certain low-wage, manual jobs that most American workers won't do. Some observers like Stevens say it is a sign that Americans don't want to get their hands dirty. Others say Americans would gladly do the work if the pay was enough to cover the bills... Immigrants today hold 20% of the nation's low-wage jobs, even though they comprise 11% of the population, according to a study by the Urban Institute, a Washington, DC, research organization. Michael Fix, director of immigration there, said 44% of immigrant workers are limited in their English proficiency, compared with 1% of American workers, giving American workers the first crack at higher-paying jobs."
Daniel W. Drezner
Productivity, Out-Sourcing, and Employment
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
The Missing Case for Free Trade
2004-03-15 19:19PST (22:19EST) (2004-03-16 03:19GMT)
_Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal_
Silicon Valley hiring out-look improves according to body shop
"From April to June, 35% of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 13% intend to reduce their workforce, according to Manpower spokes-woman Priscilla Azcueta. Another 37% expect to maintain their current staff levels and 15% are not certain of their hiring plans. 'The Santa Clara County area employment outlook is stronger than the first quarter forecast when 25% of the companies interviewed predicted an increase in hiring activity, while 18% planned to decrease the hiring pace.', Ms. Azcueta says. 'Job market projections are healthier than last year at this time when 37% of companies surveyed thought employment increases were likely and 24% intended to cut back.' For the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in construction, non-durable goods manufacturing, services and public administration..."
2004-03-15 20:47PST (23:47EST) (2004-03-16 04:37GMT)
Brian Monroe _Florida Today_
Brevard county's job out-look brightens: 43% of firms plan to hire
"The latest quarterly survey by the employment company Manpower Inc. found 43% of local employers surveyed plan to increase staff levels in the second quarter, which is higher than the state average of 32% and one of the highest percentages in the state. And just 3% of Brevard businesses interviewed planned to decrease employment in the April-to-June quarter. The rest plan to keep staff levels stable. Of the 21 Florida markets surveyed, only Pensacola had a more-optimistic hiring out-look for the second quarter."
2004-03-15 21:01PST (2004-03-16 00:01EST) (2004-03-16 05:01GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Body shop says hiring plans are ramping up
"All 10 industries surveyed projected a net gain in hiring for the second quarter, with construction companies leading the pack in optimism, with a projected 28% net gain on a seasonally adjusted basis, the strongest outlook for the industry since 1978, Beck said. Wholesale and retail trade companies forecast a 23% net hiring gain and the services industry projected a 21% net rise. Manufacturers also appear set to hire, with a 19% net gain projected by durables manufacturers and an 18% gain among non-durables makers. The education sector expects the slowest growth, with an 8% gain, while government agencies forecast 9% growth. The finance, insurance and real estate sector predicts 16% growth, as do the transportation and public utilities industries, while mining is expected to grow at 14%."
2004-03-15 22:41PST (2004-03-16 01:41EST) (2004-03-16 06:41GMT)
Wyatt Haupt _North San Diego County Times_
Job out-look mixed in Spring
"A total of 36% of the companies interviewed in the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey said they planned on increasing staffing levels in April through June in Southwest and San Diego counties. Employment prospects appear best in construction, nondurable-goods manufacturing, wholesale, retail trade and financial services. Another 43% indicated they would maintain present employment levels, with 10% indicating they would reduce their work force and 11% uncertain of their hiring plans. The San Diego County market takes in North San Diego County and Southwest Riverside County, including Hemet. The number of companies surveyed was not released by Manpower Inc., a [body shop] with offices throughout the county... the employment out-look in the remainder of Riverside County isn't nearly as good in the 3-month period, the firm reported. A total of 17% of the companies interviewed said they planned on increasing staffing levels in April through June in most of Riverside County, with job prospects best in two sectors -- retail trade and wholesale. Another 70% said they probably would maintain current employment levels, while 13% said they intended on reducing job rolls. The Riverside County employment market is generally defined by Manpower as east of Corona and southwest of San Bernardino... the employment services sector... added 5,700 people to its job rolls last month, when compared with the same period a year earlier, the California Employment Development Department reported last week."
2004-03-16 09:46PST (12:46EST) (17:46GMT)
Peter Loftus _Dow Jones_/_Yahoo!_
Quovadx Shares Sink on Indian Payment Problems
"Quovadx Inc. shares tumbled after the software firm said it had failed to collect payments from a large customer, forcing a restatement of 2003 results... Quovadx said it had been unsuccessful in collecting funds from Infotech Network Group, a consortium of 15 Indian information-technology companies. Quovadx had previously recorded more than $11M in revenue from the Infotech contract. Now, Quovadx will remove the Infotech revenue from its 2003 results."
2004-03-16 13:53PST (16:53EST) (21:56GMT)
Rex Crum _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stock analysts question G5 sales, market capitalization at Apple
"Between March 1 and March 12, Apple's shares climbed 15% to trade at $27.56. The last time the stock was in that range was in 2000 August. But the stock has pulled back in recent sessions, and it fell 63 cents, or more than 2%, to close Tuesday at $25.82... Bachman estimated that for every 5% change in G5 sales, Apple sees a 4-cents-a-share effect on its bottom line. But a move of the same magnitude in sales of the popular iPod player affects Apple's earnings by just 2 cents a share, he says. While Apple's iPod sales remain strong -- the company sold 730K iPods in its last quarter and had pre-release orders for 100K iPod mini music players... For its fiscal first quarter, which ended December 27, Apple shipped 206K G5 computers, short of many analysts' estimates. Bachman has estimated that Apple would ship 195K G5s in its current quarter... On Monday, Apple said it had sold more than 50M songs through its iTunes online music service since its debut last April... 2.5M songs are being down-loaded every week..."
2004-03-16 13:56PST (16:56EST) (21:56GMT)
Richard Leong _Reuters_
Housing Starts Fall, Retail Sales Rise
"The U.S. Commerce Department said starts of new homes fell 4.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.855M in February, well below the 1.930M pace Wall Street analysts had projected. January starts were revised upward to a 1.932M rate from the initially reported 1.903M pace... Housing permits, seen as an indicator of builders' confidence, also dipped in February, falling 1.5% to a 1.903M annual rate... Starts rose 25.3% to a 188K pace in the Northeast and 7.1% in the Midwest to a 349K rate. The Northeast pace was the fastest since 1988 February. In the largest new home market, the South, starts fell 10.6% to a 839K annual rate, while starts in the West slid 7.5% to a 479K rate. While February's data was weaker than expected, the level was still up 13.1%, compared with 2003 February... The pace of sales at major retailers climbed 5.4% on a year-over-year basis for the week ended March 13, up a bit from the previous week's 5.1% gain, Redbook said. But weekly chain store sales are running below February's pace..."
2004-03-16 14:42PST (17:42EST) (22:42GMT)
Joan Caplin, Jean Chatzky & Ellen McGirt _CNN_/_Money_
How I got a job in this rotten job market: Political science & religion new-grad lands job by emphasizing his computer skills
2004-03-16 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Peter Viles & Bill Tucker & Casey Wian & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Unmanned drones patrol borders
"Morgan Stanley says the economy is running 8M jobs short of a normal recovery... The nation's largest labor union is calling for trade sanctions against [Red China]. The AFL-CIO says the abuse of workers' rights in [Red China] is a violation of U.S. trade policy. The union says those abuses give China an unfair advantage that has ultimately cost 1.2M American jobs... Richard Trumkpa, secretary-treasurer, AFL-CIO: '[Red China] has emerged as a chief violator of workers' rights and its work force is so large and its labor repression so comprehensive that it is dragging down standards for the entire world economy.'... wages in China are 47% to 86% lower than they should be... Sherman Katz, CSIS: 'The facts I think here are irrefutable. They have opposed the creation of unions. They have penalized people who are supporting creation of unions. The hard part of the case is going to be to show the precise impact of those facts on wages and wage differentials.'... Helicopters, unmanned spy planes and additional Border Patrol agents will be deployed in an attempt to stop illegal alien crossings... In the first 2 months of 2004, the Border Patrol caught nearly 80K illegal aliens, a 31% increase over the same period last year... The Homeland Security Department is adding 200 Border Patrol agents in Arizona and will also begin using unmanned spy planes, plus more helicopters, manned aircraft and remote sensors to track border crossers. The department is also seeking an agreement with Mexico to return captured illegal aliens to their home towns, instead of just across the borders where they usually cross again. The initiative's cost is estimated at $10M this year..."
Martin Crutsinger _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Unions Press for Sanctions Against Red China
"Organized labor asked the Bush administration on Tuesday to impose economic sanctions on [Red China] because of the country's alleged violations of worker rights. The request -- in a petition filed with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick -- represented the latest effort by American unions to highlight what they see as unfair trade practices that have led to a record $124G U.S. trade deficit with [Red China] last year and the loss of thousands of U.S. factory jobs. The petition, filed by the AFL-CIO on behalf of its 13M members, alleged that [Red China] was brutally repressing worker rights and this constituted an unfair labor practice as defined in Section 301 of Trade Act of 1974. It marked the first time that Section 301 has been used to challenge another country's worker rights practices. Before the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995, U.S. corporations often petitioned the government to bring Section 301 unfair trade cases against other countries to challenge such things as their violations of U.S. copyrights and patents... But Mark Barenberg, a law professor at Columbia University who worked on the case for the AFL-CIO, said that one way to deal with violations would be to impose penalty tariffs on Chinese products and gradually remove them if [Red China] meets certain bench-marks for improving labor rights. Barenberg said the labor federation believed [Red China] was gaining a cost advantage through the labor rights violations of between 10% and 77%."
_On Recruitment [sic]_
Body shopper ManPOWER says there are plenty of jobs, not enough skills
"'UK job prospects for the second quarter are positive with a Net balance of +16% of employers looking to add to their pay-rolls. However, the current skills shortage and low unemployment levels make finding staff difficult.', says Hazel Detsiny, Director at Manpower. Commenting on todayís release of the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, Detsiny adds: 'For the last four years, our data has shown stable hiring intentions for the second quarter in the UK. This year, the Net Employment Outlook or balance of employers planning to take on staff is at +16%, the year before it was at +17%, likewise in 2002 Q2 and 2001 Q2. We're also hearing anecdotal evidence from employers that whilst they are voicing their intent to hire, they often find it hard to find suitable candidates with the right skills and qualities to fill a number of these vacancies.' The _Manpower Employment Outlook Survey_ provides a forecast of employer hiring intentions for the quarter ahead: 2004 April to June. 2,500 UK employers were surveyed in the UK and over 35K employers in 19 countries globally. The Net Employment Outlook for the UK in Q2 is +16%, calculated from the 5% of employers planning to decrease staffing levels subtracted from the 21% planning to increase staffing levels. When seasonal variations are taken into account, the Outlook is +13%. Continues Detsiny, 'The Learning and Skills Council's recent survey showed that half of employers who reported having vacancies said that at least one of these vacancies was hard to fill. With unemployment rates the lowest since 1984, companies are going to have to attract staff through top class benefit programmes as well as invest in their work-forces through training and development programmes to retain existing talent.'. Across the UK, all of the 9 industry sectors surveyed by Manpower are planning to take on staff next quarter. Community and Social sector, which includes job prospects in health and education, is reporting a particularly optimistic hiring outlook, with a Net outlook of +20%... Employers in the West Midlands are most optimistic reporting a Net Employment Outlook of +32%. Conversely, employers in the East Midlands reported a more conservative forecast with a Net Outlook of +8% suggesting an East/West divide for jobs in the Midlands. Following the West Midlands is the South West (+27%), Scotland (+24%), Northern Ireland (+20%) and Wales (+19%). Employers in London are least optimistic of those surveyed, together with those in the East, with Net Employment Outlooks of +7%. Of the 11 European countries surveyed, all except Germany (-4%), reported positive hiring intentions. The strongest forecasts in Europe are from employers in Sweden (+17%) followed by the UK and then Austria (+11%). German employers predict that they will be reducing rather than adding to their pay-rolls. However, this quarter's results do mark a considerable improvement for the German labour market from 3 months ago (up 10 points from ñ14%). Looking at the results from a global level, 18 of the 19 countries surveyed by Manpower are anticipating positive Employment Outlooks for the 3 months ahead. Newcomer to the survey, New Zealand (+39%), reported the most buoyant forecasts followed by Canada (+24%), the United States (+22%) and Japan (+20%)... Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman & CEO of Manpower Inc."
Kelly Pate Dwyer _Denver Post_
Hiring plans show optimism
"Denver employers are still cautious... For the April-June period, 28% of national employers said they plan to hire, 6% expect lay-offs, 62% won't hire or fire, and 4% are unsure. That compares with 20% of employers nationwide who said they planned to hire in the first quarter, and 22% a year ago. Milwaukee-based Manpower, a [body shop], polls 16K employers every quarter. While 29% of Colorado employers said they may hire in the second quarter, 14% of Denver-area companies plan to hire... The greatest hiring growth locally is forecast for Colorado Springs (53% of employers); northern Colorado (40%); Boulder and Pueblo (both 33%). About 10% of employers in Denver proper plan to hire."
Brent Hopkins _Miami Herald_/_Los Angeles Daily News_
Los Angeles Has Robust Hiring Out-Look According To Body Shopper ManPOWER
"Though unemployment remains at what analysts say is a relatively high 6.1% in Los Angeles County, the quarterly Manpower Employment Outlook Survey found that 45% of Los Angeles companies expect greater hiring activity in the April-June period, while only 5% expect less, one of the state's best gains. For the remainder, 38% reported no change, with 12% unsure of their hiring plans. In the Valley, 42% expect more hires, while 12% expect fewer, with 38% unchanged and 8% unsure. The Westside reported only 20% expecting more and 28% expecting less, with 35% unchanged and 17% unsure... The 40% net increase for Los Angeles' businesses far out-paced California's, which has 23% of companies expecting a hiring increase. Nationally, 22% of businesses expect to increase hiring during the quarter. Locally, Manpower projects the biggest gains in construction..."
Kristi Swartz _Palm Beach Post_
Area prices at pump surge
"The station's price per gallon of regular unleaded was $1.77, 4 cents below the average for the West Palm Beach-Boca Raton area, according to the AAA Auto Club South. The average price statewide was $1.75, and nationally, prices reached a record high of $1.72... For the second time in about a year, Attorney General Charlie Crist has invited executives from oil companies to come to Tallahassee and explain why gasoline prices had risen to their highest level ever in Florida. The meeting is set for Thursday. Crist has followed news reports for days blaming high prices at the pump on a barge accident at the mouth of the Mississippi River, the cold temperatures in the northern U.S. and general world unrest. He's skeptical about at least one of those reasons."
Kristi Heim _San Jose Mercury News_
MSFT hopes for return on costly investment in Red China
"Even though MSFT doesn't make a dime of profit in [Red China], it continues to pour money into the world's most populous country, investing in the hope of long-term success. MSFT's experience provides a glimpse of [Red China's] enormous potential as the nation moves beyond its strength in hardware and manufacturing to newer areas like software... China is the only place outside MSFT's head-quarters in Redmond, WA, where the company has established a complete array of business operations, from basic research to sales, marketing and customer service. With 21% of the world's population, China is simply too big for Western tech giants to ignore. The country is the second-largest personal computer market in the world after the United States. More than 300M Chinese use mobile phones and an estimated 90M Chinese surf the web. If only Chinese users actually paid MSFT for its products; more than 90% of the software used in China is pirated. For now, instead of tapping [Red China's] market power, MSFT is harnessing its brain-power... The lab relies heavily on China's best, brightest and youngest minds. In a conference room, two high school students test the handwriting recognition abilities of a Tablet PC. Conference rooms are named after Chinese innovations: gun powder, printing, paper-making, the compass, the abacus and zero [which was invented in India, not China]. Down the hall, dozens of university students file into the lounge for a MSFT computer camp. The company has granted $6K scholarships and trips to the United States for more than 60 students. Full-time student interns are paid $400 to $500 a month, double the average salary of their parents. In addition to its 170 full-time workers, the lab employs more than 200 student interns and 50 visiting professors... In 2002, MSFT pledged $750M over 3 years to help [Red China's] State Development Planning Commission strengthen the country's tech industry... The company is donating $25M over the next 3 years to help the Chinese Ministry of Education develop software schools at 35 top universities in the country. In November, MSFT announced it would contribute $10M over 5 years to promote technology in Chinese elementary schools. MSFT is pouring money into [Red China] in part to create loyalty for its [defective] technology among the next generation of Chinese consumers."
Riva D. Atlas _NY Times_
Banks in Merger Settle Fund Case
"[Bank of India, formerly called Bank of America] and FleetBoston Financial reached a $675M settlement with regulators over improper trading."
Nicholas Wade _NY Times_
A Biological Dig for the Roots of Language (with graph)
"Biologists who have developed sophisticated mathematical tools for drawing up family trees of genes and species are now applying their tools to languages... Dr. Gray's calculations show that the ancestral tongue known as proto-Indo-European existed some 8,700 years ago (give or take 1,200 years), making it considerably older than linguists have assumed is likely... Cognates for the word wheel exist in many branches of the Indo-European family tree, and linguists are confident that they can reconstruct the ancestral word in proto-Indo-European. It is, they say, 'k'ek'los', the presumed forebear of words like 'chakras', meaning wheel or circle in Sanskrit, 'kuklos', meaning wheel or circle in Greek, as well as the English word 'wheel'. The earliest wheels appear in the archaeological record around 5,500 years ago... Dr. Gray, however, defends his dates, and points out a flaw in the wheel argument. What the daughter languages of proto-Indo-European inherited, he says, was not necessarily the word for wheel but the word 'k'el', meaning 'to rotate', from which each language may independently have derived its word for wheel."
Innovation is a "Symbiotic Cycle"
2004-03-17 05:52PST (08:52EST) (13:52GMT)
Rex Crum _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Talking nanotech with Mike Honda
"Honda co-sponsored the House legislation that led to the passage of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, which President Bush signed in December... I have heard a great deal from my constituents about the opportunities in nanotechnology. Large, established firms such as Hewlett-Packard, Intel, IBM and others are making significant investments in various aspects of nanotechnology. On the less revolutionary end you've got continuing the scaling of semiconductor components down into the nanometer size range. On the other side you've got the basic research going on to lay the foundation for molecular computing. Startups are also seeing many opportunities, from Nano-Tex which is using nanotechnology to treat every day fabrics for stain and water resistant clothing to Nanosys, which is looking at applications of semiconductor nanoparticles for solar cells and even defense applications... The Nanotechnology Research and Development Act provides funding for basic research and development at universities and national laboratories..."
2004-03-17 06:49PST (09:49EST) (14:49GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US CPI rose 0.3% in February
Labor Department Release
"The consumer price index has risen just 1.7% in the past 12 months, close to the Federal Reserve's implied target zone. But in the last 3 months, inflation has clocked in at a 3.7% rate, largely due to higher energy prices... Energy prices increased 1.7% in February after jumping 4.7% in January. For the second straight month, the core CPI, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.2% in February. Core prices are up 1.2% in the past year (up from a 41-year low of 1.1%) but have risen at a 1.7% rate over the last 3 months... The CPI rose 0.5% in January, with the core ahead by 0.2%... Meanwhile, housing costs rose a moderate 0.2% as hotel prices fell 1.6%. Food prices increased 0.2% as beef prices sank 1.6%. Education and communication prices rose 0.3%, but apparel prices eased 0.1%."
2004-03-17 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
trade with Red China, illegal immigration
"The United States threatens to cancel a high-level trade meeting with [Red China]. The Commerce Department says [Red China] isn't doing enough to promote fair trade. We'll talk with AFL-CIO secretary treasurer Richard Trumka... J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ): 'But despite the increase in man-power, and the use of drones, and the use of other devices and greater scrutiny along the Arizona border, the fact remains as long as illegals believe there is a safe haven with no repercussions, they will continue to try [to] pour across the border. And it is that simple truth that we must deal with that until we enforce existing laws...'... Jeff Flake (R-AZ): 'right now, frankly, we have a de facto amnesty. If you get through the border you're home free. And what we have to have is worker sanctions, work-place enforcement that we don't have now. But in order to have that, we have to have a guest worker program. Trying to enforce the current law is like trying to enforce a 20 mile an hour speed limit on a freeway. It's simply not going to work.'... J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ): 'if we're unwilling to enforce current law, what makes us think we will enforce any new laws? And that's the fundamental problem.'... A high-level trade meeting with China tonight appears to be in jeopardy. A senior Commerce Department official said that meeting, scheduled for late May, may not be worth having unless China addresses a variety of U.S. concerns such as the counterfeiting of copyrighted products... Richard Trumka, secretary-treasurer AFLCIO: 'That trade deficit is being aided by unfair, unreasonable trading practices by the [Red Chinese]. They refuse to give their workers any rights. They refuse to give their workers minimum wages. They refuse to enforce their maximum hours. They refuse to enforce their health and safety standards and that gives [Red China]-based producers a 44% advantage over every other exporter, every other producer in the world. We filed a 301 suit because we now can document that as of 2001, over 720K U.S. jobs were lost because of their cheating on their own rules. And we have asked the U.S. secretary -- the trade representative to do 3 things. One, to impose trade remedies commensurate with the amount of cheating the Chinese are doing or 44%. Two, sign an agreement with the Chinese that says we'll reduce those trade remedies as you meet and verify bench-marks about workers rights. As you start enforcing your laws we'll reduce the trade remedies. The third thing we ask is for the president to instruct the U.S. trade representative, to enter into no more agreements with the WTO until the WTO insists that all of its members adhere to the UN/ILO standards for labor rights. That will convert, John, the global economy from pushing wages down worldwide to actually raising them up and being fair everywhere worldwide.'... Mason Hedberg: 'I was working with an enzyme called telomerase, which is found only in cancer cells. And it basically makes cancer cells immortal, let's them divide forever which is the big problem with cancer. And I developed a method that will look for telomerase, or screens a library of natural compounds for their ability to inhibit telomerase. And it's been shown that telomerase inhibitors can be very powerful tumor suppressors. It actually causes the cancer cells to commit suicide. So it's very important to find a small molecule telomerase inhibitor that can be administered orally as a cancer therapy... I'm actually going to be involved in the role in telomerase in the transition of a normal cell into becoming a cancerous cell. And this isn't well understood. And if we can figure this out, it will probably be easier to stop cancer from ever occurring.'"
2004-03-17 15:01:59PST (18:01:59EST) (23:01:59GMT)
Catherine Mann pulling the wool over the media's eyes
"Instead, what the data actually show is that software engineer positions increased during the tech boom but DECLINED after the crash. There was an increase in jobs during 1999 and the first half of 2000, but a modest but steady DECLINE AFTER THE CRASH of late 2000/early 2001 -- quite different from Mann's implication that the number of jobs were increasing throughout the period 1999-2002. (The [detailed] 2003 numbers are not yet available.)... The tech crash did not occur until the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001 [though Nasdaq crashed 2000 March-April, employment, which typically lags economic sea changes, fully kicked in later]... Thus the 2000 data were collected mostly before the big lay-offs began... Moreover, what Mann didn't say is that most of the hires during that time were H-1B or L-1 visa holders, not Americans. The PERCENTAGE of new programmer jobs (including software engineers; see below) going to H-1Bs and L-1s has shown a sharp upward trend in recent years. The Commerce Dept. says 28% of the programmer jobs during 1996-1998 went to H-1Bs (Digital Economy 2000, Department of Commerce, 2000 June 5); the Federal Reserve Bank gave a 50% figure for 1999 (Miriam Wasserman [in the article] 'EllisIsland.com', Regional Review, 2000 Quarter 4/2001 Quarter 1); and my very rough calculations, based on piecing together different types of data, suggest a figure as high as 90% for 2001. And remember, those figures don't even include L-1s... major American firms admitted laying off Americans while retaining H-1Bs... many major firms were laying off Americans and forcing them to train their H-1B/L-1 replacements... In any discussion of off-shoring, it is vital to keep [in] mind that even if an employer touts his keeping jobs in the U.S., it does NOT mean he is hiring Americans... the key issue is that the employers want cheap foreign labor, not retrained Americans... the retraining issue was always a smoke-screen, from the very beginning. The sole purpose was to distract attention from the fact that the real issue was cheap labor."
Patrick McGeehan _NY Times_
Sanford I Weill, former Citigroup CEO, paid $110K per day
Atlanta Journal & Constitution
"Sanford I. Weill was the chief executive of Citigroup for just 9 months of last year, but he still took home one of the biggest pay-checks of any corporate executive. In cash alone, Mr. Weill, who turned 71 yesterday, earned $30M, or about $111K for every day before he stepped down as chief executive on October 1, while remaining the company's chairman. He also received 2.5M options on Citigroup's stock, which the company said were worth $13.9M when they were granted. Mr. Weill's 2003 compensation was detailed in the company's proxy statement, filed with regulators yesterday. All told, Mr. Weill's compensation for last year was $44.7M. That pay package rivals the one that the MBNA Corporation, a credit card company that is considerably smaller and less profitable than Citigroup, gave its chief executive, Charles M. Cawley, in 2003. Mr. Cawley, who has since retired, received $45M in cash, stock and options... Last October, [Weill] sold 5.57M shares back to the company for $262.4M. He also realized $23M from exercising options, the proxy shows. He still owned 19.6M Citigroup shares at the start of this month."
Sandra Blakeslee _NY Times_
Plan for Sharp Rise in Mad Cow Testing Gets Mixed Reaction
"The plan, announced Monday, involves testing half the nation's 446K 'downer' cows -- animals that cannot walk or that show signs of nervous system disorders."
Defense awards contract for privacy-violating RFID scheme to IBM
"The Defense Department said last year that it wants its suppliers to start attaching RFID tags to their goods by 2005 January 1... the tags, which cost about 20 cents apiece..."
_Economic Times of India_
"The report talks of the state-of-the-art labs funded by IBM, MSFT, Sun Microsystems, Motorola, Oracle, Intel and other US technology firms, in the Peking University's School of Software campus, just an hour's drive from Beijing. The university is one 35 varsities running the programme. The software school works closely with Chinese and foreign corporations, basing its curriculum on industry needs. Students here specialise in subjects such as integrated-circuit design, information security, digital arts design and entrepreneurship. And again, much of the teaching is done in English."
Leslie Berestein _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Health care premiums were up 15.8% in California in 2003.
"On average, California employers and workers paid 15.8% more in health premiums in 2003 than they paid the previous year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Education Trust. The same 2 entities reported in September that premiums nationwide rose an average of 13.9% from 2002 to 2003. California employees still pay less on average for their health plans than their counterparts nationwide, particularly for HMO coverage. Employees' premium contributions are less in California for single employees, as well as for those with dependents."
25% of tech jobs are to be out-sourced off-shore by 2010
"1 out of every 4 high-technology jobs in developed countries today may be out-sourced to emerging markets like India by 2010, according to a report by the research firm Gartner Inc... India remains 'the undisputed off-shore leader', according to Gartner, with [Red China] and Russia emerging 'as strong contenders' and many other countries eyeing the potential off-shore IT services."
2004-03-17 21:01PST (2004-03-18 00:01EST) (2004-03-18 05:01GMT)
Chris Pummer _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US manufacturing's bleeding is over: Economists see rebound and few job losses through 2012 (graphs)
Jay Berman: Industry output & employment projections
Daniel Hecker: Occupational employment projections
Michael W. Horrigan assistant commissioner, office of occupational statistics & employment projections
"The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates manufacturing -- which now employs about 14.5M Americans -- will lose just 1% of jobs from 2002 to 2012, a decline already posted in the past 2 years... the sector employed the same number of people -- about 16.5M to 18M -- from 1967 to the late-1990s. The total number held fairly steady for decades, but became a shrinking percentage of the total labor force. Manufacturing peaked at 38% of the work force in 1943 during World War II then declined steadily to 22% by 1979. The Reagan years saw the decimation of high-paying union jobs, especially in industries like steel that neglected plant upgrades, yet other jobs emerged to keep both the total job levels and median pay fairly constant. The median pay rose over most of the past two decades because, for all the high-paying union jobs the U.S. lost, it lost even more low-paying, unskilled factory jobs. Many manufacturing jobs now involve workers monitoring high-tech machines rather than laboring with low-tech ones. As a share of the work force, manufacturing now stands at 11.2%... Ray Bacon, executive director of the Nevada Manufacturing Association, estimates a third of the job losses since 2000 were due to the weak economy, another third were lost to productivity gains and a third were lost to jobs shifting over-seas... Computer and electronics jobs, the second-largest sub-sector, is expected to see employment fall to 1.3M jobs from 1.5M today, but only because of a staggering 24% annual gain in output."
2004-03-17 21:01PST (2004-03-18 00:01EST) (2004-03-18 05:01GMT)
David Callaway _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Where the jobs are: Executive compensation packages absorb them all
"At last, an answer to why we've seen so few new jobs created in this fragile economic recovery. Sandy Weill has them all. The chairman of Citigroup and Wall Street's #1 rain-maker for the past two decades had a good year in 2003, according to regulatory filings, reaping a $29M bonus for his efforts as the securities giant enjoyed a robust recovery from the industry scandals of 2002. Including exercised options, Weill brought home total pay of $44.6M, according to the filings. In cash terms alone, his compensation of almost $30M came out to about $111K a day, according to The New York Times. And that's just for the 9 months he spent as chief executive, before turning over the reins of Citigroup to Charles Prince in October. So if you're looking for where the money for new jobs went, look no further. Weill's take home pay each day would pay the equivalent of two good white-collar salaries for a year... Citigroup's shares are up almost 50% in the last year and the company had a 20% return on equity in 2003. But do those gains really warrant that type of compensation package for the CEO and chairman positions? Weill and Prince, who himself got $29.2M in total compensation, weren't alone in terms of executive excess. Merrill Lynch's chairman and chief executive, Stan O'Neal, received $28M in compensation last year, while Goldman Sachs' Henry Paulson got $21M, according to filings. Morgan Stanley's Philip Purcell, a relative pauper by comparison, got $14M. And Robert Rubin, the former treasury secretary who now spends his time winging around the world for Citigroup doing deals, got $17M. So it seems Wall Street has recovered just fine, thank you. But with most of the rest of the country still waiting for job growth to kick in, these compensation numbers are obscene... the $260M he made selling 5.57M shares of Citigroup back to the company. On top of that, The Times said he still holds 19.6M more shares of Citigroup, which valued at Wednesday's closing price of $50.82 would be worth $996M. Imagine the jobs that could be created with that."
2004-03-18 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _Dept. of Labor_
Unemployment compensation insurance weekly claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 310,360 in the week ending March 13, a decrease of 28,644 from the previous week. There were 389,421 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.8% during the week ending March 6, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,565,998, a decrease of 111,272 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.2% and the volume was 4,096,551. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending February 28. 53 states reported that 261,715 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending February 28... The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending February 28 were in Alaska (6.5%), Idaho (4.5%), Michigan (4.5%), Pennsylvania (4.5%), Oregon (4.4%), Wisconsin (4.2%), Massachusetts (4.0%), New Jersey (4.0%), Puerto Rico (4.0%), Rhode Island (3.9%), and Washington (3.9%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 6 were in Texas (+2,878), Georgia (+2,550), North Carolina (+1,886), Pennsylvania (+1,757), and Minnesota (+1,743), while the largest decreases were in New York (-12,349), California (-7,363), Connecticut (-2,282), Oregon (-633), and Maine (-613)."
2004-03-18 05:55PST (08:55EST) (13:55GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US PPI rose 0.6% in January: Core rate up 0.3%, energy prices up 4.7%
Labor Department report
"The PPI report showed wholesale gasoline prices soared 14.1% in January. Heating oil costs rose 16.8%. Wholesale food prices fell 1.4%, with beef prices falling 11% -- the largest drop in 30 years. Capital equipment prices rose 0.3% in January. Prices of light trucks rose 1.1%, while auto prices increased 0.6%. The PPI's rose 3.3% in the past 12 months, with the core PPI rate increasing 0.9% over that span."
2004-03-18 06:08PST (09:08EST) (14:08GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims fall to 3-year low as benefits expire for many
"The 4-week average of initial claims dropped by 2K to 344K, the lowest since the week of 2001 January 27, President Bush's first week in office. The number of claims in the week ending March 13 fell 6K to 336K, the lowest since the week of 2001 January 13... The number of workers claiming the state benefits rose by 47K in the week ending March 6 to 3.06M. The 4-week average of continuing claims dropped 15K to 3.06M, the lowest since 2001 August."
2004-03-18 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Kitty Pilgrim & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Al Qaeda, population shift
"Tonight, Pakistani troops have surrounded a high-level Al Qaeda target who they believe is Osama bin Laden's top deputy. Hundreds of al Qaeda forces are fighting off Pakistani troops trying to capture Ayman al-Zawahri. Now Pakistan is planning a major airstrike in the area near the border with Afghanistan... In the next half century America will look entirely different. Hispanic and Asian Americans will triple in numbers. And the numbers of non-hispanic whites will shrink to barely half the population of this country. Louis Kincannon, director of the US census bureau: 'Each woman in the minority populations has a higher birth rate than non-hispanic white women on average. And there's a big factor for Hispanics for Asians of continuing immigration.'... In 2000, the non-hispanic white population stood at nearly 70%, Hispanic 12%, Black nearly 13%, and Asian nearly 4%. But by the year 2050, the... non-hispanic white population will decline to barely half the population. Hispanics will glow to nearly a quarter of the population, Black Americans will be nearly 15% of the population, and Asians will grow to 8% of Americans... The entire U.S. population has been growing rapidly and will continue to show [unhealthy] gains. That is a contrast to Western Europe where population growth has [healthily] plateaued... The number of Americans with Internet access has topped 200M. Nielsen Net Ratings says that's 3 out of 4 Americans up 9% from this time just last year."
Rise in Hispanics and Asian-Americans Is Predicted
"The Hispanic and Asian-American populations in the United States are expected to triple by 2050."
Joseph B. Treaster _NY Times_
New Momentum for Letting U.S. Help Regulate Nation's Insurers
"The prospect of Washington's seizing a role in the regulation of insurance, which for more than 150 years has been the purview of the states, is gaining momentum."
John Schwartz _NY Times_
Malicious Computer Worm Detected
"The worm can create networks of remotely controlled computers to take part in online attacks, send junk e-mail messages and engage in other shady activities common to the bad neighborhoods of cyber-space."
Marci Alboher Nusbaum _NY Times_
Learning Entrepreneurship the MIT way
"This kind of thinking is exactly what the British government had in mind when it spent $118M on a partnership of Cambridge University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The resulting entity, the Cambridge-M.I.T. Institute, offers 3 one-year graduate programs (with 3 additional ones to begin in October) with the aim to cultivate Britain's future technology entrepreneurs, create jobs and spur growth in the British technology sector. The inspiration for these programs, which began in 2002, was what might be called the M.I.T. touch, the phenomenal impact M.I.T. has had on the United States economy through the creation of technology-related companies by its alumni. According to a report by BankBoston in 1997, the roughly 4K companies founded by M.I.T. alumni and faculty members had created 1.1M jobs and generated annual sales of $232G worldwide. And that was 7 years ago... there were 194 venture-financing efforts that raised $3.4G in the United States last year in the biopharmaceutical sector, which includes drug-discovery, drug delivery, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, compared with 29 efforts that raised $263M in Britain, according to Amity G. Wall, manager of research for the VentureOne Corporation in San Francisco."
2004-03-19 13:48PST (16:48EST) (21:48GMT)
Michael Baron _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US stocks end week on low note
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down about 109 points, or 1.1%, at 10,186.60. The Nasdaq Composite gave back roughly 22 points, or 1.1%, and closed at its session low of 1,940.47... The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dipped 1.1% to 1,109.74, and the Russell 2000 Index of small-cap stocks slid 0.7% to 570.74... losers within the Dow outpaced winners 24 to 6... Breadth was correspondingly weak in the broad market, where decliners trounced advancers, 20 to 12 on the New York Stock Exchange and 19 to 12 on the Nasdaq. Volume reached 1.43G on the Big Board, and 1.63G on the Nasdaq."
2004-03-19 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Peter Viles & Christine Romans & Bill Tucker & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
"Since the United States invaded Iraq one year ago, 572 American troops have been killed in the operation; 139 of them were killed during the initial campaign; 433 have died since the president declared the end of major combat in Iraq last May. The number of American troops in Iraq has dropped from 200K during the war to roughly 130K now... Benjamin Disraeli: 'Nurture your mind with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.'... Richard Armitage: ' My own view is that this violence that we're seeing will continue, certainly, to try to disrupt the turn-over of sovereignty to Iraqis on 2004 July 1. I think the closer we get to that date, the closer Iraq is to being a multiethnic, multireligious society, well on the path to democracy, the more it threatens the interest of those who do not want to see a secular government. So, to answer the first part of your question, clearly, there are some of the former regime elements. But more and more, it looks like other outsiders who are intent on destroying secular governments are doing the violence.'... Los Angeles full service premium [gasoline now costs] $2.89 a gallon... The CEO of Ford is going to give his bonus to his workers. It is about $1.5M and it will go toward tuition assistance for employees' kids. He said he wanted to thank his employees for the company's performance last year. He doesn't take a salary but no crying for Bill Ford, He obviously is related to the founder of the company. He has his own 2.7M shares of company stock. But he will give up his restricted stock bonus, about $1.5M to employees... many small and medium-sized manufacturers...take trade very personally and they are angry, frustrated with groups like the National Association of Manufacturers... Thompson (ph) just closed its television tube plant and laid off 1K workers. Aaron deWeese, Marion, IN chamber of commerce: 'I'm worried about the mom and pop businesses that -- that are certainly going to feel the loss of an estimated 36M dollars in wages that the Thompson work-force represented.'..."
2004-03-19 15:35PST (18:35EST) (23:35GMT)
Week's Top News & Commentary
Executive Pay & the Job Market
"Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill's $44.6M pay package for 2003 is part of the reason jobs are in short supply, says David Callaway as he takes aim at outrageous executive pay."
Elizabeth Becker _NY Times_
U.S. Files a Complaint Against Red China at the W.T.O.
"The United States contends Beijing imposes unfair taxes on imported semiconductors... In Congressional testimony last week, Robert B. Zoellick, the United States trade representative, warned that America would take its case against [Red China] to the W.T.O. because of the tax on semiconductors, which is as much as 14% higher on imported computer chips than on those designed or made in [Red China], whether by domestic or foreign companies. The administration had been pressed to file the case by the $70G semiconductor industry in the United States, which has complained that [Red China's] value-added tax discriminates against its products... Foreign imports account for 80% of [Red China's] integrated circuit market, which is valued at $19G - the third largest in the world... The chip industry employs 255K Americans, according to the association, and United States companies have a 50% share of the world market."
Donald Rumsfeld _NY Times_
The Price of Freedom in Iraq
"When freedom and self-government have taken root in Iraq, and it becomes a force for good in the Middle East, the rightness of our efforts will be clear."
Fernanda Viegas _MIT_
blog survey finds many suffer negative consequences for what they write on-line
"As they become prolific writers, more bloggers find themselves having to deal with issues of privacy and liability. Accounts of bloggers either hurting friendsí feelings or losing jobs because of materials published on their sites are becoming more frequent. Here we report the findings from an online survey conducted between 2004 January 14th and 2004 January 21st. During that time, 486 respondents answered questions about their blogging practices and their expectations of privacy and accountability for the entries they publish on-line: - the great majority of bloggers identify themselves on their sites: 55% of respondents provide their real names on their blogs; another 20% provide some variant of the real name (first name only, first name and initial of surname, a pseudonym friends would know, etc.). - 76% of bloggers do not limit access (i.e. readership) to their entries in any way. - 36% of respondents have gotten in trouble because of things they have written on their blogs. - 34% of respondents know other bloggers who have gotten in trouble with family and friends. - 12% of respondents know other bloggers who have gotten in legal or professional problems because of things they wrote on their blogs... - the frequency with which a blogger writes highly personal things is positively and significantly correlated to how often they get in trouble because of their postings; (r = 0.3, p < 0.01); generally speaking, people have gotten in trouble both with friends and family as well as employers."
Ed Frauenheim _Silicon.com_
Off-shoring poses serious challenge to US leadership: Plus the small matter of high-tech unemployment
"A major association of technical professionals believes that the out-sourcing of high-wage jobs to low-wage countries poses a serious, long-term challenge to the United States' technological leadership, economic vitality and military security. IEEE-USA, the US wing of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, said Thursday that the off-shoring trend also contributes to high unemployment among US techies. 'We must develop a coordinated national strategy to maintain US technological leadership and promote job growth in the United States.', IEEE-USA president John Steadman said in a statement. 'But it's going to be difficult to remain technologically competitive, if we continue off-shoring the jobs of our innovators at rates currently projected.'... The joblessness rate for electrical and electronics engineers rose in 2003 to a record 6.2%, compared with 4.2% in 2002, according to IEEE-USA. The 2003 unemployment rate for computer scientists and systems analysts reached an all-time high of 5.2%, the group said... The professional group also said the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes are frequently [abused] to bring in cheaper labour and can lead to the displacement of US professionals, exploitation of foreign workers, and 'accelerated off-shoring of engineering and other high-tech jobs'."
Stephen Miller _Wall Street Journal_
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
Abolishing New England: Cheap Labor vs. College Kids
"My blood pressure soared because, as someone who owned and operated restaurants and bars, I know that jobs in resort areas as life-guards, bus-boys, dish-washers and fry cooks are coveted by college kids -- and for good reason. You can make decent money. Even those lower skill jobs in restaurants where tips are shared can be lucrative. And they are the first step toward the better jobs of table waiting and bar-tending. Best of all for the kids, when you're not working, you're at the beach or on the tennis courts. How hard can Cape Cod be trying? A search for dish-washers and fry cooks the very same Cape Cod Times job link showed no postings. New England is home to thousands of universities well stocked with potential employees. At the Smith College web site, a summer job link leads students to 'jobs at resorts, beaches, cruises, and other fun places'. Job openings were posted for Santa Cruz, CA and Amelia Island Plantation, FL but nothing on Cape Cod."
Matthew Levitt _Washington Institute_
"charitable organizations" & terrorist financing
Discover the Networks: Hamas
Discover the Networks: al-Fatah/Fatah
Discover the Networks: Palestinian Authority
Discover the Networks: Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Global Security: Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Investigative Project: Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Counter-Extremism Project: Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
Discover the Networks: Islamic Jihad (IJ)
Christian Broadcasting Network: what is Islamic Jihad?
2016-06-13: Benjamin Weingarten: Classical Liberal Review: how to stop Islamic jihad
2016-05-27: Tower: Iran re-news relations with Palestinian Islamic jihad, pledges $70M in aid from the billions the corrupt Obummer gave them
Jordan Schachtel: Classical Liberal Review: why Hezbollah is bad
Iran/Hezbolla threaten us right here inside USA 🇺🇸
Discover the Networks: Hezbollah/ Hizbollah/ Hizbullah/ Hazballah
2016-03-31: Alexander Corbeil & Amarnath Amarasingam: Foreign Affairs: Houthi Hezbollah: Iran's train-and-equip program in Sanaa, Yemen
The Religion of Peace
Eric Lichtblau _NY Times_
New York Hospital Is Ordered to Release Abortion Records
"A federal judge in Manhattan has ordered New York-Presbyterian Hospital to turn over to the Justice Department records on abortions performed there."
Gretchen Morgenson _NY Times_
Global Crossing Settles for $325M
"Investors and former workers who lost money and their pensions in the collapse of Global Crossing will receive $325M in a settlement of a class-action law-suit."
Michael P. Regan _AP_/_Yahoo!_
WM tops Fortune 500 List
"WM...sales of almost $259G... Exxon Mobil Corp. to post $213G in revenue. The 17G jump leap-frogged the oil company past General Motors Corp. into the No. 2 spot. In terms of profits, Exxon Mobil was first with $21.5G in earnings. Wal-Mart, which has the lower profit margins of the retailing industry, had $9.05G in earnings. Car-makers GM and Ford Motor Co. came in third and fourth respectively, with revenues of $196G and $164G... As a group, the 500 companies bounced back from two years of profit declines, posting combined earnings of almost $446G on sales totaling $7.5T... Profits grew in 34 of the 39 industries that Fortune tracks. And only 37 of the 500 companies disappointed share-holders with negative returns, which the magazine calculated by adding the change in a company's stock price to its dividend income."
Ernest F. Hollings _American Economist_/_Washington Post_
Protectionism Happens To Be Congress's Job
"By piling items onto the cost of doing business here, Congress has helped end the positive trade balance that the United States ran right up until the early 1980s. Over the past 40 years, the minimum wage went up, the Environmental Protection Agency was established, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was set up. Law-makers added the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Employment Retirement Income Security Act. Then came the sharp increase in pay-roll taxes for Social Security in 1983, measures requiring plant closing notice and parental leave, and the Americans With Disabilities Act. Health costs increased, too, making it $500 a car cheaper in health costs alone for General Motors to make Pontiacs in Canada. All this helped give us a trade deficit that hit a record $43.1G in January alone... To really level the playing field in trade would require lowering our living standard, which is not going to happen. We value our clean air and water, our safe factories and machinery, and our rights and benefits... But the United States is the most productive industrial nation in the world, with skills galore. BMW is producing better-quality cars in South Carolina than in Munich. There are other obstacles that need addressing. For 50 years we have tried to penetrate the Japanese market, but have barely done so. To sell textiles in Korea, U.S. firms must first obtain permission from the private Korean textile industry. If you want to sell in [Red China], it's a lot easier if you produce in [Red China]. 'But we will start a trade war.', is the cry. Wake up! We have been in a trade war for more than 200 years. And it's the United States that started it!... The second bill ever adopted by Congress, on 1789 July 4, was a 50% tariff on numerous articles. This policy of protectionism, endorsed by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, continued under President Lincoln when he launched America's steel industry by refusing to import from England the steel for the Transcontinental Railroad. President Franklin Roosevelt protected agriculture, President Eisenhower protected oil and President Kennedy protected textiles. This economic and industrial giant, the United States, was built on protectionism and, for more than a century, financed it with tariffs. And it worked... To be eligible for a free trade agreement you should first have a free market, labor rights, ownership of property, contract rights, rights of appeal and a respected judiciary... We must engage in competitive trade. To eliminate a barrier, raise a barrier. Then eliminate them both. Our trouble is that we have treated trade as aid... First, we need to stop financing the elimination of jobs. Tax benefits for off-shore production must end. Royalty deductions allowed for off-shore activities must be eliminated, and tax havens for corporations must be closed down. Next, we need an assistant attorney general to enforce our trade laws and agreements... While it is illegal to sell foreign-made goods below cost in the U.S. market (a practice called dumping), we refuse to enforce such violations. The Treasury Department reports $2G worth of illegal transshipments of textiles into the United States each year."
Kathy Liely _USA Today_
As jobs go over-seas, a city tries to re-invent itself
"Last year, 3K of the best jobs in town disappeared when Agere Systems closed its factory on Reading's north side. It made silicon chips and telecommunications equipment and was the high-tech pride of this old industrial city. Agere officials said the dot-com bust forced their hand. But the jobs won't come back when the economy does: Like many other high-tech companies, Agere is moving production over-seas... Darryl Boyer, who lost a $50K-a-year management job when the Agere plant closed, says he recently changed his voter registration from Republican to Democrat. Frank Cerra, who lost a $75K-a-year engineering job, says he never used to vote. But he says he will this year: 'I'll be registering and voting Democratic.' Cerra, 44, has 2 degrees in engineering, including a master's from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and 17 years' experience at high-technology firms. On paper, he looks like a 21st-century success story. Instead, he's a regular at the Berks County unemployment office. 'I see him more than I see my boss.', says Pat Marr, who works there. Cerra shows up to check out job and training opportunities. He's willing to move, but he's had no call-backs. 'I try not to get discouraged.', he says. 'But I've sent out 1K résumés, easy.' [Off-shore out-sourcing, or simply off-shoring] is a new name for a long-standing phenomenon: the movement of jobs from the USA to countries where wages, benefits and the cost of living are much lower. In the 1970s and 1980s, heavy manufacturing jobs went to other countries by the tens of thousands. The result was cheaper goods for U.S. consumers and less pollution in many of the nation's industrial cities. Economists who backed the trend envisioned a new 'knowledge economy' in which well-trained Americans would become the world's designers, innovators and administrators. The dirty work would be sent over-seas. But now, some of the jobs that were supposed to be the nation's bridge to a cleaner, brighter, better-paid future are starting to migrate, too. 'Knowledge jobs are the latest example of the trend.', says James Alberg, an attorney in Washington, D.C. His firm, Shaw Pittman, helped pioneer out-sourcing deals for corporate clients. 'It's part of the natural progression.'... But the notion that those companies will make up for the loss of Agere's payroll anytime soon is 'happy talk', McMahon says. The Reading mayor, 65, a retired engineer, doesn't indulge in any as he assesses the pros and cons facing communities like his in a global market-place."
Hugh R. Morley _Hackensack Record_/_Miami Herald_
Technology Workers Want Assistance under Federal Trade Adjustment Act
"under the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA), the manufacturing worker can receive extended unemployment benefits and paid education. But the IT workers say they get nothing from the TAA. And amid the growing tide of information technology jobs going off-shore, the programmers have filed a complaint against the U.S. Labor Department and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in the Court of International Trade in New York. The suit, filed in January, seeks class-action status to demand benefits for thousands of IT workers whose jobs have gone off-shore... Under the TAA, workers can qualify for an extension of unemployment benefits for up to 104 weeks, job hunting services and expenses, assistance in health coverage payments, and up to 104 weeks of training."
2004-03-22 08:00PST (11:00EST) (16:00GMT)
Bernie de Groat _University of Michigan Record_
US economy will add nearly 3M jobs in next 2 years
"'We expect to see a strengthening of the jobs picture, with monthly gains in pay-roll employment exceeding 100K over the next several months and moving up from there through the summer months.', says Saul Hymans, professor of economics. 'Over the next 2 years, strong out-put growth and more moderate productivity increases create an improving labor market, with the pay-roll job count finally reaching its previous peak in 2005 Spring.' In their annual spring forecast update of the U.S. economy, Hymans and colleagues Joan Crary and Janet Wolfe predict employment growth of 900K jobs this year and 2M jobs in 2005. Unemployment is expected to fall from last year's 6% average to 5.4% this year, 5.1% next year and below 5% by the start of 2006... The forecast, which is based on the Michigan Quarterly Econometric Model of the U.S. Economy and compiled by the U-M Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics, also predicts that energy prices (both crude oil and gas fuels) will back off from recent highs, but will still post levels well above those of late 2001 and early 2002; private housing starts will remain strong at 1.86M units in 2004 and 1.83M in 2005; sales of light vehicles will increase steadily from 16.6M units in 2003 to 16.7M this year to 16.9M in 2005; and real disposable income will rise 3.7% in 2004 and 3.1% next year, after posting a 2.5% increase last year."
2004-03-22 09:46PST (12:46EST) (17:46GMT)
Steve Gelsi _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Spring flurry of IPO filings
"A $259M offering from auto insurer Affirmative Insurance Holdings leads a Spring flurry of IPO filings that have emerged in the last several days. The IPOs hail from a variety of sectors, and most boast positive bottom lines -- a coveted attribute among IPO investors. While IPO filings are up sharply from 2003, an overall cautiousness prevails in the market for new issues, as illustrated by the lackluster debuts of recent bio-tech and [Red Chinese] deals."
2004-03-22 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Broken borders, Off-shored jobs
2004-03-22 15:21PST (18:21EST) (23:21GMT)
Steve Kerch _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
HUD pulls mortgage reform proposals after 20 months of wrangling
"'The administration is strongly committed to efforts to simplify, improve, and lower costs associated with obtaining home mortgages.', acting HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson wrote in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget. However, 'due to the significant number of questions raised' about the draft rules, HUD had decided to re-examine the proposal, Jackson said. Nobody thinks the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA) works well anymore. The law, which regulates the residential mortgage process, was enacted in 1974 -- in mortgage years the equivalent of the Middle Ages. Former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez kicked off the reforms in 2002 July... Martinez estimated that a stream-lined mortgage process could reduce costs on the average housing transaction by about $700, a collective $7G in annual savings to home-buyers and sellers."
Robert Pear _NY Times_
Despite the Sluggish Economy, Welfare Rolls Actually Shrank
"Federal welfare rolls have declined over the past 3 years, even as unemployment and poverty have surged in a weak economy."
Paul Craig Roberts _Business Week_
The Harsh Truth About Off-Shore Out-Sourcing: It's not a mutually beneficial trade practice; it's outright labor arbitrage
"Economists are blind to the loss of American industries and occupations because they believe these results reflect the beneficial workings of free trade. Whatever is being lost, they think, is being replaced by something as good or better... Today's economists can't identify what the new industries and occupations might be that will replace those that are lost, but they're certain that those jobs and sectors are out there somewhere. What does not occur to them is that the same incentive that causes the loss of one tradable good or service -- cheap, skilled foreign labor -- applies to all tradable goods and services. There is no reason that the 'replacement' industry or job, if it exists, won't follow its predecessor off-shore... Today, acquired knowledge is the basis for most tradable goods and services..."
Nicole Gelinas _NY Post_
"The Bush tax cuts have been a boon to small businesses. The extra cash encouraged business owners to spend billions of dollars to upgrade equipment, keeping them competitive in a cutthroat global market-place. The tax cuts saved jobs... The tax cuts bridged a short recession. But they aren't a bridge to the past. Thanks to the Internet, America's professional class - from software programmers to radiologists - finally faces over-seas competition. Global out-sourcing is ushering in a dizzying era of disorientation and re-orientation for well-educated Americans, who must scramble to meet a raw challenge to their economic primacy... 6M American workers work for foreign firms here... Americans made $131G last year doing professional-services work for foreign customers here, while foreigners made just $77G doing similar out-sourced work abroad for American customers, the Commerce Department reports."
Joseph Mean & Alex Pham _Los Angeles Times_/_Seattle Times_
Silicon Valley companies hiring again, but only new talent from over-seas
San Mateo County Times
"the plastic sign on the wall that says 'Easic Corp.' Inside, in the dining room and family room, there's a daybed for the dog, brass plaques memorializing the chip-design company's patents, and five employees setting strategy, reviewing software and sending e-mail to programming colleagues in Romania. It looks a lot like the future of Silicon Valley... many technology powerhouses no longer have thousands of locals employed to perform tasks ranging from designing software to cleaning the cafeteria. The new Silicon Valley is a land of headquarters, a place where deals are made but not necessarily carried out... While some companies are doing things the old-fashioned way, an increasing number of jobs that once were the guts of valley life -- technical support, programming, even some computer-system design -- are now handled in places as remote as Bombay, India, and Bucharest, Romania. More than half of the companies backed by top venture-capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers have operations off-shore, firm partner John Doerr said."
Robert Trigaux _St. Petersburg Florida Times_/_Miami Florida Herald_
Jobs dilemma: Iraq, US security, federal and trade deficits & off-shore out-sourcing
"A recent Gallup poll of U.S. adults shows 61% are 'very' or 'somewhat' concerned their job, or the job of a friend or relative, might be lost to off-shore out-sourcing. And a whopping 85% view the job-export problem as 'very' or 'fairly' important in deciding how they will vote for president... But after the brief Y2K boom, after the dot-com bust and after the terrorist attacks of 2001 September 11, the rosy future of tech careers dimmed dramatically. Unable to find tech work since 2001, Shanker frowns at the current out-sourcing binge of U.S. jobs to his native India. There are thousands of highly educated and experienced people like myself that cannot find work in the USA.', Shanker says. 'Corporations now want cheap wages and are willing to set up shop in India. The cost of living in India is a fraction of what it takes to live here, so you can live like a prince there for a tenth of the American wages. Comparing people living in India with Americans living in America is a brainless exercise.', he fumes... After losing his job a few years ago, Shanker and his wife sold their Atlanta home, cut costs and moved to what was once their vacation home near Brooksville... 'I listen to economists who say out-sourcing is a good thing and I feel like I live on another planet.'"
Joseph Straw _New Britain CT Herald_
Dodd-Johnson bills to curb H-1B, L-1 abuse
"[All of CT's] congressional delegation has either submitted or signed on to legislation targeting H-1B and L-1 visas... companies that replace American employees with visiting foreign workers at far lower salaries. Nationally, foreign workers holding either type of visa rose from nearly 450K in 1997 to more than 700K in 2000, then dropped to 684K in 2002, according to the Organization for the Rights of American Workers, based in Meriden. In Connecticut, however, the figure skyrocketed from 1997 to 2002, rising from 9K workers to more than 14K in 2002, according to TORAW. Of the total 3.4M L-1 and H-1B visas administered between 1997 and 2002, more than one fifth of them -- 70K -- went to workers employed at some point in Connecticut, Dodd said... Lieberman proposed to increase the number of 'family reunion' visas offered each year to foreigners with spouses living in the U.S., different from L-1s and H-1Bs. There is currently a 10-year backlog of requests for the family visas, said Lieberman spokes-woman Casey Aden-Wansbury... The Dodd-Johnson bills forbid sub-contracting of L-1 visa holders between companies, and would require companies to pay visa holders the prevailing wage, removing the prime incentive for transferring such workers stateside. The companion bills also forbid companies from laying off any workers within 6 months of hiring a foreign worker under an H-1B visa, and limits L-1 awards to workers that have been with their company for 2 of the last 3 years, rather than 1. DeLauro's bill would cap the number of L-1 visas at 35K annually... and would require a $1K fee for each visa tendered."
2004-03-22 21:01PST (2004-03-23 00:01EST) (2004-03-23 05:01GMT)
Bambi Francisco _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
It's a good time to be an entrepreneur: The up-side & down-side of an over-hang
"Venture capitalists are faced with an abundance of capital raised in 1999 and 2000 that have to be spent in the next couple of years. The estimations for the dollar over-hang are practically as wide as the varying projections for the government's Medicare reform bill. The most conservative estimation of the excess venture capital from the heyday is $13.5G, as calculated by Keith Benjamin of Levensohn Venture Partners. Even that, some say, however, is too much money to be absorbed. If venture capitalists don't invest the over-hang of funds they were entrusted with 5 years ago and paid to manage, they risk having to give back management fees to their investors... Yang [who invested in Ask Jeeves and Tivo] is most interested in companies that help advertisers circumvent the advertising-zapping capabilities of digital video recorders in order to impose themselves upon the consumer... Entrepreneurs are coming back because of passion," said Peter Barris, managing general partner at New Enterprise Associates, which just raised $1.1G this past February. The funds invested will be as little as a few hundred thousand to more than $50M. While I believe there is some truth to that, money has a way of changing every good intention... Look at the new IPOs from [Red China], like Tom On-Line and LinkTone... trading below their public offering price..."
2004-03-23 12:35PST (15:35EST) (20:35GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Retail gasoline prices hit record
AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report
"At the retail level Tuesday, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline in the U.S. rose to $1.738 a gallon, surpassing the $1.737 all-time high from August of last year, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. It's up 0.7 cent from Monday... Over on the New York Mercantile Exchange Tuesday, April unleaded gasoline rose by 1.77 cents to close at $1.1468 per gallon. Futures prices peaked around $1.16 earlier this month -- that's a one-year high. The Energy Department on Monday pegged the average retail price for regular unleaded at $1.743 per gallon, as of the week ended March 22 -- up 1.9 cents from a week ago, but around 0.4 cent below the government's all-time price high. Earlier this month, the Lundberg Survey said the average retail price for all grades of gasoline reached a record $1.77 per gallon on March 12, surpassing the 2001 May high of $1.76."
2004-03-23 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Linda Greenhouse _NY Times_
Supreme Court Hears Case of a Man Who Refused ot Identify Himself
"A Nevada rancher's refusal 4 years ago to tell a deputy sheriff his name led to a Supreme Court argument on Monday on a question that, surprisingly, the justices have never resolved: whether people can be required to identify themselves when the police have some basis for suspicion but lack the probable cause necessary for an arrest. The answer, in a case that has drawn intense interest from those who fear increased government intrusion on personal privacy, appeared elusive... [He] was never charged with any criminal offense beyond his refusal to identify himself... Robert E. Dolan, Nevada's deputy state public defender, told the justices that while the deputy "certainly had the right to ask, equally so, [he] had the right not to respond'... the state should not be permitted to criminalize silence or to 'extract data from a person'."
Patrick McGeehan _NY Times_
For Wall Street Chiefs, Big Pay-Days Contine (with table/graphs)
"As investor outrage over executive compensation rattled corporate board-rooms last year, some companies changed the way they set pay for their top officers. But the message apparently did not register on Wall Street, where chief executives like Sanford I. Weill of Citigroup and E. Stanley O'Neal of Merrill Lynch collected their biggest pay-checks ever in 2003 - $44M and $28M. Companies that reduced the pay of their chief executives despite healthy performances included MetLife, American Express and the MBNA Corporation. MBNA joined a trend by saying it would curtail the use of stock options. But at Bear Stearns, the big Wall Street investment bank, James E. Cayne received three times as much in stock options as he did the year before. Over all, Mr. Cayne received $27M last year compared with $19.6M in 2002... The credit card company American Express, for instance, paid Kenneth I. Chenault, its chief executive, 18% less last year than in 2002 - despite a 36% rise in its share price... In a survey of 50 of the biggest American corporations, her firm found that the cash and restricted stock given to chief executives rose 38% last year but that a sharp decline in the value of the options granted to them more than offset the increase. All told, she said, the average pay package for those 50 chief executives was 8% smaller than in 2002, although it still amounted to $10.3M... On Wall Street, the constant mantra has been bigger profits, bigger bonuses. Investment banks traditionally pegged the amount they spent on employee compensation and benefits to be about half of their annual revenue, virtually without limit."
Paul Meller _NY Times_
European Commission's Anti-Trust Fine for MSFT Expected to Be a Mere $613M (497M euros) Wednesday
"Under the European Union anti-trust laws, the commission can set a fine of as much as 10% of a company's global sales, which in MSFT's case would be more than $35G. European antitrust regulators, however, have never fined a company the full 10%, and Brussels-based lawyers and officials had expected the fine against MSFT to range from 100M euros to 1G euros. The biggest previous fine imposed by the commission was 462M euros, or about $406M at the exchange rate at that time, against Roche of Switzerland in 2001 for its role in several cartels that fixed prices and market shares of vitamin products in the 1990s. (Seven other vitamin makers were fined lesser amounts.)"
2004-03-24 10:28PST (13:28EST) (18:28GMT)
William L. Watts _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Over-time dispute, corporate tax reductions, and trade disputes collide
"An election-year dispute over new over-time regulations derailed Senate efforts Wednesday to pass a $145G package that would cut corporate tax rates and end a trade dispute with the European Union... The bill repeals a tax break deemed an illegal export subsidy by the World Trade Organization. The European Union began imposing sanctions on U.S. goods on March 1 and has vowed to raise retaliatory tariffs in coming months until the original tax break is eliminated."
2004-03-24 13:19PST (16:19EST) (21:19GMT)
Emily Church & Mike Tarsala _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
EU Fines MSFT only $612M
"The European Commission hit MSFT with a record fine Wednesday of 497.2M euros, or nearly $612M, and ordered sanctions to thwart the company's 'near monopoly', setting the stage for a lengthy and costly legal battle. 'This will be in the courts for years to come.', said Ken Kiarash, analyst with Buckingham Research in New York. 'MSFT will fight this -- if the courts don't reverse this decision, the European Union will have a say in what it can and cannot add to its operating system, giving control of future innovations to European regulators.'... MSFT will have 90 days to offer computer makers a separate version of the Windows operating software that doesn't include the company's media player audio and video software... The world's largest software company also must make more of its software code available to competitors to help them create competing products that run on servers. The code must be made available in 120 days, unless MSFT wins a court injunction to stay the decision."
2004-03-24 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Lou Dobbs tonight
Alan Tonelson _American Economic Alert_
Off-Shorers Obscure the Truth on Trade and Jobs Issues
"the White House and other globalization cheer-leaders have fashioned an all-too-predictable response: blanketing the press and public with ever larger clouds of misinformation about the impact of current globalization policies on the U.S. economy... First, total domestic employment by these same multi-national companies has been falling, not rising, over that 27-year period (when the figures began to be kept). So no net new jobs have been created by these firms at all. Second, over the past decade, multi-nationals have steadily shifted their over-seas work from foreign factories they own to independent foreign companies. So the numbers of workers on their pay-rolls have less and less to do each year with the numbers of workers globally that are supported by the manufacturing demand they generate... Computer and high tech-type jobs will indeed multiply rapidly but from very small bases. And the pay levels look awfully unimpressive. According to the BLS, a worker with 'high' earnings gets paid $27,500 to $41,780 annually. Anyone over $41,780 gets 'very high' pay. In addition, the BLS figures reveal that at least half of the 21.3M jobs expected to be created between 2002 and 2012 will require less than a 4-year college degree, and some 40% will not require any significant training at all"
Saul Hansel _NY Times_
On-Line Swindlers Called "Phishers" Lure the UnWary (with graph)
"In February, 282 cases of phishing e-mail messages were reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, a coalition of technology companies, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies. That was up from 176 attacks in January and 116 in December. Brightmail of San Francisco, which filters e-mail for spam, identified 2.3G phishing messages in February, 4% of the e-mail it processed, compared with only 1% of its messages as recently as September."
Simon Romero _NY Times_
Stiff Sentence Is Possibility for a Name Not So Known
"From the halls of Congress to the streets of this scandal-tarred city, skeptics have predicted for 2 years that the executives responsible for the recent wave of corporate misdeeds might get off with what amounted to slaps on the wrist. On Thursday, a federal judge here may prove them wrong if he follows a recommendation by probation officers to sentence a former executive to 24 to 30 years in prison for organizing a scheme to falsify his company's books. The disgraced businessman is not one of the well-known defendants like Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former chief executive of Enron, or Bernard J. Ebbers of WorldCom or any of the others who have gained notoriety in a time of corporate scandal. He is Jamie Olis, a former midlevel executive at Dynegy Inc., a Houston-based producer of natural gas and electricity that tried to take over a failing Enron but instead went into its own tail-spin. Mr. Olis and 2 former associates at Dynegy were found guilty last year of devising a secret project to disguise a $300M loan as cash flow. Mr. Olis, a 38-year-old with an infant daughter, declined to strike a plea bargain, choosing instead to take his chances at trial. And having come up with the accounting scheme with a small group of associates, he could not pass the blame up to his superiors and testify against them in exchange for leniency... In Mr. Olis's case, probation officials who wrote the sentencing recommendation estimated Dynegy's losses at more than $100M... For instance, prosecutors are planning to recommend a 10-year sentence for Andrew S. Fastow, a former chief financial officer at Enron, after he admitted to working with other senior officers to disguise the company's financial health. Martha Stewart, convicted of lying this month to federal investigators in connection with a 2001 stock trade, faces a sentence of 10 to 16 months since her crimes were not as serious as securities fraud under the sentencing guide-lines."
John Schwartz _NY Times_
More Law-Suits Filed in Effort to Thwart File Copying
"The music industry announced a new round of law-suits yesterday against 532 people accused of illegal file sharing, including people at 21 universities... Of the 532 people accused of illegal file sharing by the industry, 89 were using networks at universities including New York University, Stanford, Georgetown and Vanderbilt. The others used commercial Internet service providers to reach the Internet. Yesterday's new cases bring the number of people sued by the industry to nearly 2K."
Lee Price & Josh Bivens _Economic Policy Institute_
High-paying software jobs being moved abroad (with graph)
"Software jobs, which pay some of the highest wages in America, have fallen sharply since 2000. These jobs have disappeared despite the fact that software sales to U.S. businesses in 2003 were up 4% over 2000... U.S. jobs in software-producing industries declined by 128K (10%) between 2000 and 2004, while jobs in software occupations shrank by 154K (5%) from 2000 to 2002 (the last year data were available). The story in India is quite different. In February, India's industry association of software and related companies (NASSCOM) published an analysis of recent trends indicating that the professional jobs in India's software export sector rose by 150K from 1999 to 2003. Given that 67.7% of its software exports go to the United States, this growth implies that Indian software jobs servicing the U.S. market have increased by roughly 100K over the last 4 years... Increased movement of work over-seas that had been formerly done in-house at these companies may explain why U.S. jobs fell by 154K in software occupations but only 81K in software-producing industries between 2000 and 2002... Annual salaries in all private industries averaged $36,520 in 2002, while salaries averaged $99,425 for workers in the software publishing industry, $76,051 in the custom software industry, and $75,568 in the computer systems design industry. Salaries for software occupations averaged $65,200 in 2002. Perhaps most disturbing, faster-than-average job declines occurred in the two highest paid software occupations: computer and information systems managers and computer information scientists."
Jeffry Gardner _Albuquerque Tribune_
What's this? Why, it's jobs. Nearly 1M will be added by year's end. What will the Dems ahve to harp about?
"University of Michigan economists have predicted nearly 1M will be added before year's end. This is tragic, coming on the heels of the lowest unemployment figures since 2001 and all. In fact, like an earth-quake, the blue-and-gold's economic team added this horrific after-shock: More than 3M folks will be added to American pay-rolls by the end of 2005. Oh, the humanity!"
_US House Judiciary Committee, Sub-Committee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims_
How would millions of guest-workers impact working Americans and Americans seeking employment?
"We already have evidence of the impact that low-skilled immigration has had on American workers. Harvard's George Borjas estimates that the immigrant influx since 1980 has decreased the wages of the average native worker by 3.2% and the average native worker without a high school degree by 8.9%. Steve Camarota from the Center for Immigration Studies estimates that current immigration policy has resulted in a reduction of the average wage of a native worker in a low-skilled occupation by 12% or a little over $1,900 a year... Although we are told that native born Americans won't work in service jobs, 79% of the 23M workers in such jobs are native-born Americans. Although we are told that native born Americans won't work in construction jobs, 81% of the 6M workers in such jobs are native-born Americans. Although we are told that native-born Americans won't work in production jobs, 77% of the 10M workers in such jobs are native-born Americans... We have about 650K farms in the United States that hired labor, and $1 of every $8 of farm production expenses is spent on hired labor. We have approximately 2.5M people working in the United States who are engaged in hired agricultural work, and conservative estimates are that 65% to 75% of them are in the U.S. illegally... The present H–1B attestation system—which is done online—only ascertains the completeness of an application. There is no scope even for determining the accuracy of information provided by an employer. The present LCA system is too loose a mechanism on which to build a new and enlarged program of temporary workers."
Joel Mowbray _Town Hall_
depths of a depraved culture: Palestine
"Palestinians poured out into the streets Monday in what the NYTime called the largest demonstrations in a decade -- all to honor the memory of a master terrorist, Hamas founder and spiritual leader sheikh Ahmed Yassin..."
2004-03-25 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _Dept. of Labor_
Unemployment compensation insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 303,532 in the week ending March 20, a decrease of 8,356 from the previous week. There were 361,011 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.8% during the week ending March 13, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,526,462, a decrease of 24,012 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.2% and the volume was 4,067,954. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending March 6. 53 states reported that 200,971 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending March 6... The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending March 6 were in Alaska (6.4%), Michigan (4.4%), Oregon (4.3%), Puerto Rico (4.3%), Idaho (4.2%), Wisconsin (4.2%), Pennsylvania (4.0%), New Jersey (3.9%), Massachusetts (3.8%), and Rhode Island (3.8%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 13 were in Delaware (+821), Michigan (+318), Oklahoma (+190), Maine (+163), and Hawaii (+84), while the largest decreases were in North Carolina (-3,388), California (-2,242), Georgia (-2,198), Minnesota (-2,021), and Pennsylvania (-1,564)... Federal (TEUC) March 6: 200,971; February 28: 261,715; Change -60,744; Prior Year: 790,691... Initial Claims (NSA) March 20: 303,532; March 13: 311,888; Change: -8,356; March 6: 339,004; Prior Year: 361,011. 4-Wk Moving Average (SA): March 20: 341,500; March 13: 344,500; Change: -3,000; March 6: 346,000; Prior Year: 421,500... Most recent week used covered employment of 126,250,343 as denominator... weekly claims pg 8 For 2004-03-13: Initial Claims: Totals: 311,888; change from previous week: -27116; change from a year ago: -78021; former federal employees: 1085; former military: 1681. 2004-03-06 continuing claims: Total: 3,550,474; % of insured people 2.8%; change from previous week: -123,852; change from previous year: -546,077; former federal employees: 20,583; former military: 27,647; All programs excluding rail-road retirement: 3,601,132"
2004-03-25 10:01PST (13:01EST) (18:01GMT)
Luisa Beltran _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Pension funds try to un-seat Safeway board
"Citing the continued underperformance of Safeway's stock, 5 public pension funds unveiled a campaign Thursday to oust the grocery chain's chairman and chief executive as well as 2 directors. The funds, which include the New York State Common Retirement Fund and the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, said that Chairman and CEO Steven Burd is responsible for management mistakes at Safeway that have destroyed $20G in share-holder value. Safeway's stock has also declined 63% over the past 5 years... Other funds taking part in the movement include New York City Employees' Retirement System and the Illinois Board of Investment. The California Public Employees' Retirement Systems (CalPERS), the nation's largest public pension fund, will also be with-holding shares for the 3 directors at Safeway's annual meeting... The funds complained Thursday during a press conference that the Safeway board is conflicted. Four of Safeway's 9 directors are related in some way to buy-out firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts."
2004-03-25 10:04PST (13:04EST) (18:04GMT)
Capital One nixes India call center: KKKard firm cancels deal after off-shore out-sourcing firm offers customers un-authorized terms of credit
"Credit card company Capital One Financial Corp. canceled a tele-marketing contract with Indian out-sourcing company Wipro Spectramind after its customers were misled with unauthorized offers for credit, a newspaper reported Thursday."
2004-03-25 12:09PST (15:09EST) (20:09GMT)
Christopher Parkes _NBC_/_Financial Times_
Silicon Valley lay-offs show no let-up: Northern California firms have cut 400K jobs
"Economists at the UCLA Anderson business school said the 6-county region around San Francisco Bay had lost 400K pay-roll jobs since the start of the slow-down 3 years ago [well, that'd be more interesting if the slow-down hadn't started 5-6 years ago]. San Jose, heart-land of the technology industry, has lost 20% of its work-force, a figure representing 'the single largest loss of jobs by any major metropolitan area since at least the second world war', they said. At the same time, the pool of potential employees in the Bay area has fallen by 220K, or about 7% of total employment, as people have left the area, retired or given up the search for work... employment in San Francisco shrank 3.5% in 2003, compared with initial estimates of 1.4%... And while the economy is showing signs of growth and unemployment rates are edging down, it will this year have to absorb the effects of $12G in state spending cuts, and the likely loss of up to 25K jobs in the public sector."
2004-03-25 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Lou Dobbs tonight
How Jeff Taylor helped break the labor market: Sprinkling glitter on coprolites and calling it gold
"[Sales weasels] always in Monster's top 5, both by postings of job-seekers' resumes and by prospective employers' searches, are now the top category, after picking up gradually over the past year along with American consumer confidence. Accounting and finance jobs are now the second category, thanks to stronger demand from companies in the wake of Enron, WorldCom and other corporate frauds. More tellingly, entry-level jobs began to pick up last autumn. And jobs in information technology were 16% higher in February than a year earlier... Mr Taylor is also relentlessly cheerful about the long-term prospects of the job market... [followed by more worker shortage propaganda]... The company claims to have a 50% share of its online segment, ahead of its 2 main rivals, HotJobs (owned by Yahoo!) and CareerBuilder (owned by 3 big news-paper groups)... The scanning [employers searching for resumes] accounts for 32% of Monster.com's revenues, the posting [of job ads] for 53%."
Laurie J. Flynn _NY Times_
Chip Makers in Taiwan, Republic of China, and Red China Exchange Barbs in Corporate Espionage Suit
"The escalation in the war of words came just a week after the [Red Chinese] semiconductor maker's debut on the New York Stock Exchange disappointed investors; its shares fell 11% in its first day of trading to close at $15.52. The company's stock price has begun to rise in the last 2 days, and on Wednesday closed up 19 cents at $14.79. In December, Taiwan Semiconductor, the world's largest maker of custom chips, filed a law-suit in Federal District Court in San Francisco accusing the [Red Chinese] chip maker of stealing trade secrets and infringing on its American patents. On Monday, it filed additional legal documents with the court that detailed its accusations against the [Red Chinese] company. Semiconductor Manufacturing International 'has engaged in an ongoing scheme of industrial espionage and unfair competition.', Taiwan Semiconductor contends in its latest filing. Charles Byers, worldwide brand manager at the North American operations of Taiwan Semiconductor, said the company was seeking a jury trial 'based on the belief that they infringed our patents and misappropriated our trade secrets'. Taiwan Semiconductor contends that a former engineer with the [Red Chinese] chip maker estimated that 90% of the [Red Chinese] maker's 'process flow' for a certain chip had been copied from the Taiwan company. The Taiwan company also contends that the [Red Chinese] company lured away important employees with promises of stock and then encouraged them to divulge Taiwan Semiconductor's proprietary information... The law-suit is just one of several events to cast a shadow over the [Red Chinese] company's initial public offering on March 17, which raised more than $1.7G. Its shares opened on the New York Stock Exchange at $17.50 and then fell. Motorola, a Semiconductor Manufacturing International customer, owns roughly 11% of the company. The offering came just days after the United States lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization over tax breaks granted by the [Red Chinese] government to [Red Chinese] chip makers."
David Pogue _NY Times_
Pro-Style Digital Cameras, Now Priced for Shutterbugs
"Single-lens-reflex digital cameras have generally been priced for professionals. But now Canon and Nikon are bringing the technology to the $1K neighborhood."
Apple: America first
"Global launch of iPod mini is slowed by US demand that's stronger than forecast."
William L. Watts _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims rose
"The 4-week average of initial claims, however, continued to fall, posting a decrease of 3K, to a reading of 341,500 from the previous week's upwardly revised average of 344K. The 4-week figure, which economists say provides a better measure of the strength of the labor market than the weekly number, posted its lowest reading since 2001-01-27. Claims filed in the week ending March 20 rose by 1K to 339K from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 338K."
Kim Khan _NBC_
The hottest -- and best paying -- careers
"Big opportunities still exist, despite the head-lines. The health-care industry dominates both job growth and pay. And computers still pay... large numbers of workers are rightfully frustrated with their circumstances, as millions of positions have vanished in recent years... [More of BLS's BS projections.]"
John Shinal _San Francisco Chronicle_
Which types of jobs will be in demand? Researcher studies traits of professions that tend to stick around
"'What is the half-life of a job?', Spohrer asked, as he sat in his office in the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose... Jobs that endure, such as nurse or news reporter, share certain traits regardless of the industry they serve, according to Spohrer. Some of those traits are obvious. Jobs that involve face-to-face contact with customers, such as emergency room doctor, or intimate knowledge of a market, such as a sales-person with a specific territory, tend to stick around for a long time... Identifying jobs with a long shelf life is important both to companies wanting to save on retraining costs and to workers worried about whether their jobs might disappear... The accelerated pace of job extinction is mainly due to the spread of technology. But it's not the only thing driving the creation and destruction of jobs. The evolution of business processes can have the same effect. In fact, the trend of U.S. companies moving some work out of the country, which is eliminating many Bay Area jobs, is being driven by both forces. The jobs of software programmer and call-center support technician are among the first to be sent over-seas... U.S. corporations can send software jobs over-seas only because the process of testing and debugging software code has become a standardized process of application development, he said. In other words, software development became automated, and once that happens, an occupation is in danger of extinction. Before it becomes extinct, it becomes a commodity that will be sent to a lower-cost region... Of course, there is no guarantee a technology upgrade will pay off for workers or for companies."
Julia Malone _Washington Times_
Panel cool to Bush's guest-worker visa plan
"House Republicans and Democrats gave a generally chilly reception yesterday to President Bush's proposal to grant temporary visas to an unlimited number of foreign workers. Representative John Hostettler, Indiana Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, border security and claims, told the panel that nearly 12M American workers in construction, service and other low-wage fields stand to 'lose their jobs to recruits from abroad' under such a plan. Representative Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, one of the few members who defended the temporary-worker plan, said that stopping the flow of illegal immigrants was impossible and that building contractors, restaurant owners and other industries need the labor they provide... The Bush plan 'opens up every job in America' to competition from low-wage foreigners, said representative Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, who added that the result would be to depress wages and displace American workers... Especially hurt would be blacks, said Frank L. Morris, former dean of graduate studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore. Speaking for a private group that seeks to reduce immigration, he said evidence already shows that 'employers prefer immigrants to African-American workers'."
N. Gregory Mankiw
Adam Smith on Out-Sourcing/ Out-Sourcing Redux
"Few propositions command as much consensus among professional economists as that open world trade increases economic growth and raises living standards... Some people now fear that trade is responsible for recent weakness in U.S. labor markets. The concern is understandable, but it is simply not true. Over the past three years, job losses are more closely related to declines in domestic investment and weak exports than to import-competition."
Greg Mankiw web log home
2004-03-26 03:03PST (06:03EST) (11:03GMT)
Kristen Hays _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Judge Sentences Jamie Olis, Ex-Dynegy Executive, for Fraud
"Jamie Olis, a former senior director of tax planning for the energy company, was sentenced Thursday to 24 years and 4 months by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake. He faced a maximum term of 35 years for 3 counts of wire fraud and one count each of securities fraud, conspiracy and mail fraud. Olis, 38, could shave up to 3.5 years off his sentence with credit for good time. There is, however, no parole in the federal system. 'I take no pleasure in sentencing you to 292 months.', Lake said. 'Sometimes good people commit bad acts, and that's what happened in this case.'... The government maintained Olis' actions in illegally disguising company debt in 2001 eventually resulted in more than $500M in Dynegy stock losses."
2004-03-26 06:00PST (09:00EST) (14:00GMT)
Rick Merritt _EE Times_
Political winds hit off-shoring
"The most recent twist in the 40-year saga of globalization in electronics -- off-shoring skilled technology jobs-has become a political hot potato in the upcoming presidential election and a gut-level worry for engineers in the trenches... In a January 16 report to George W. Bush, the President's Council on Science and Technology recognized that off-shoring has created 'a deep sense of anxiety in the IT community that our nation is not just losing the manufacturing capacity of commoditized products, as has occurred in the past, but also... high-value-added manufacturing and services that the U.S. has long dominated.'... The IEEE issued a position paper last week calling on the U.S. government to start tracking off-shoring. 'Anecdotally, in discussions with IEEE members, we know it's not just low-level jobs but good engineering and research positions that could go off-shore.', said Hira, who has twice testified before Congress on the issue. IBM and other top high-tech companies taken to task for going overseas argue that they are merely expanding into growing markets, not shuttering U.S. operations. Since 1979, most of IBM's employees have worked in countries other than the United States, the spokesman said. Moreover, since 1987, countries other than the United States have accounted for most of IBM's revenues, the spokesman said. 'Off-shoring is a misnomer when you are doing business in 164 countries. We've been in India for 50 years.', the spokesman added. For its part, Intel Corp. claims 70% of its revenue comes from outside the United States, though 60% of its employees still work in the States. But those percentages are shifting... Texas Instruments Inc. set up its first off-shore chip-packaging plant in Tokyo in 1964, about the same time companies such as Fairchild and Motorola Inc. were setting up similar plants in Hong Kong and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said Mentor Graphics chairman Wally Rhines, a former TI executive. Intel followed suit in 1971 with a plant in Penang, Malaysia, and a year later, one in Manila, Philippines. Those sites now handle much of Intel's packaging R&D."
2004-03-26 06:52PST (09:52EST) (14:52GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US March UMich consumer sentiment index up
"The final March University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 95.8 from 94.4 in February and 94.1 in early March... The final March current conditions index rose to 106.8 from 103.6 in February and 105.7 in early March. The final March expectations index rose to 88.8 from 88.5 in February and 86.6 in early March. Consumers have expressed growing anxiety about energy prices, job growth and slow income growth. Consumer sentiment had leaped to 103.8 in January before easing in February and March."
2004-03-26 06:53PST (09:53EST) (14:53GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Real disposable incomes up 0.2%, consumer spending flat in February
BEA press release
"Personal income increased $34.1G, or 0.4%, and disposable personal income (DPI) increased $30.2G, or 0.4%, in February, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $17.3G, or 0.2%. In January, personal income increased $28.4G, or 0.3%, DPI increased $77.3G, or 0.9%, and PCE increased $39.5G, or 0.5%, based on revised estimates... Private wage and salary disbursements increased $21.0G in February, compared with an increase of $29.3G in January. Goods-producing industries' pay-rolls increased $3.6G, compared with an increase of $7.3G; manufacturing pay-rolls increased $3.2G, compared with an increase of $4.0G. Services-producing industries' pay-rolls increased $17.4G, compared with $22.0G. Government wage and salary disbursements increased $2.5G in February, compared with an increase of $6.1G in January. Pay raises for federal civilian personnel added an additional $0.8G to the change in government pay-rolls in February; pay raises for federal civilian and military personnel added $4.8G to government pay-rolls in January."
2004-03-26 07:03:57PST (10:03:57EST) (15:03:57GMT)
Jeff Foust _Technology Review_
Last Chance for Hyper-Sonic Flight Research?
"On Saturday NASA plans to fly the second of 3 X-43A unmanned experimental vehicles designed to test hyper-sonic flight technologies, notably air-breathing scramjet engines."
2004-03-26 10:00PST (13:00EST) (18:00GMT)
Off-shoring still growing: Report shows business leaders overwhelmingly believe the movement of US IT jobs over-seas will grow
"About 86% of the executives surveyed said they believe out-sourcing information technology services to over-seas countries will continue to increase, according to consulting firm DiamondCluster International... The survey also found that 74% of companies that out-sourced were satisfied with the results, refuting a common criticism of sending sensitive technical work over-seas [notice that these are executives, not their retail customers]... About 85% of those surveyed said they are concerned that legislation or political pressure might prevent them from taking advantage of lower cost employees abroad."
2004-03-26 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Lou Dobbs tonight
Greg Winter _NY Times_
Push Is On to Limit Aid to Rich Universities
"House Republicans plan to over-haul a financial aid system that often sends more federal money to wealthy universities with relatively few low-income students. For decades, hundreds of millions of federal aid dollars have been channeled to universities through a system that sets aside a minimum amount, typically called a base guarantee, to select institutions... With many of the old guarantees still in place, Harvard, Princeton and Yale -- or any other member of the Ivy League, for that matter -- received 5 to 12 times the median amount per financial aid applicant given to the nation's colleges to run their low-interest loan programs in 2000-2001, according to an analysis of federal data for more than 4K universities by The New York Times. The Ivy League universities were also given 5 to 8 times more than the median to pay their students in work-study jobs. And they received 5 to 20 times the median amount of grant money to look after the every-day needs of poor students, despite having some of the largest endowments in the nation. In his budget, President Bush described the aid distribution as inequitable and said the formulas should be revised."
Matt Richtel _NY Times_
U.S. On-Line Gambling Policy Violates Law, W.T.O. Rules
"The World Trade Organization, in its first decision on an Internet-related fight, has ignited a political, cultural and legal tinder-box with a ruling on on-line gambling."
_Fredericksburg Free Lance Star_
Try the Libertarian Party
"Massive amounts of print space and TV time have been devoted to the sophomoric and escalating brawl between President Bush and U.S. senator John Kerry, D-MA. But that's all there is to them -- they are just brawlers. The reality is that they have more in common than not. Electing either of them will result in basically the same mess: more taxation, more wasteful spending, and more intrusion into everyone's bed-rooms. Fortunately, there is an alternative -- the Libertarians. Libertarians think government should treat all people equally, rather than giving some privileges and others obstacles. They suggest that only limited government, with a few narrowly defined tasks, is capable of protecting individuals' rights. Tomorrow, the Virginia Libertarian Party is holding its state convention at the Richmond Marriott. The 3vb [leading] contenders for the party's presidential nomination (Gary Nolan, Aaron Russo, and Michael Badnarik) will all be in attendance to state their case to Virginians who will be delegates to the Libertarian Party national convention."
2004-03-27 01:21PST (04:21EST) (09:21GMT)
Tanya Weinberg _South Florida Sun-Sentinel_/_Corvallis Oregon Gazette-Times_
Temp visas halted; allegations of worker shortage abound
"For decades businesses that say Americans generally don't want low-paying seasonal positions have used the H-2B visa program to fill temporary openings in fisheries, stables, hotels, and summer camps with foreign workers. Five months into the current fiscal year, the government is enforcing the 66K annual cap for the first time since it was set in 1992. To some it under-scores the need for immigration reform. To others, it's a sign of an increasing drive for American employers to exploit cheap foreign labor. In any case, a consortium of 15 affected industry groups and businesses is gearing up to fight for what they say amounts to a battle of survival... Last year, the State Department granted nearly 80K H-2B visas, the first time visas exceeded the 66K cap. However, the cap applies to the number of people, not the number of visas, and one foreign worker could receive more than one seasonal visa in a year, department spokesman Stuart Patt said... The newly formed H-2B Employers Council will fight to raise the cap, but those who favor curbing immigration say it would be a mistake to respond to the increasing use of the visa. 'It just shows how businesses have become increasingly adept at gaming the system to get cheap servile labor.', said Mark Krikorian of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. 'They're willing to work for lower wages for less benefits, and can't quit without being thrown out of the country, so they're tied to their employer, and they're sort of indentured labor, and they're not likely to make too many other demands on the employers.'..."
John Markoff _NY Times_
Chip designer MicroUnity Systems Engineering accuses Intel and Dell of Patent Violations
"A chip design company on Friday filed an infringement suit accusing Dell and Intel of copying its technology for multi-media computing. The law-suit was filed in Federal District Court in Marshall, TX, by MicroUnity Systems Engineering, which was founded in 1988 by John Moussouris, a physicist and computer designer... The law-suit is being brought by the same legal team that sued Intel on behalf of Intergraph, a maker of microprocessors in Huntsville, AL. Intel has so far paid Intergraph $150M in that law-suit."
Red China to Talk With U.S. on Semiconductor Tax: Will US Trade Representatives Cave-In to Them Again?
"The United States started a complaint with the World Trade Organization last week over the 17% value-added tax [Red China] places on semiconductors, the chips that power electronics from cellular phones to super-computers."
Nicholas D. Kristof _NY Times_
Will We Say 'Never Again' Yet Again?
"The perennial refrain about genocide is sounding hollow as 1K black Africans are being killed by the... Sudanese government every week."
Kris Hudson _Denver Post_
MCI lay-off targets 935 in Colorado: Glendale, Colorado Springs telecomm workers among 4K to be down-sized in the USA
"half the world's leading telecom operators beating a path to our door by 2008, the authoritative Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Industry Group of Deloitte has predicted. The stampede into India will trail in its wake 275K jobs or a massive 5% of the world's total telecom jobs of 5.5M. It will tot up 12G pounds per year in savings for the fixed line, mobile and cable operating companies who have headed East." --- Rashmee Z. Ahmed _Times of India_ "Second off-shoring wave to hit India"
Al Lewis _Denver Post_
MCI execs whine about "do-not-call" laws
"MCI may have ditched the WorldCom name, but it is still the same company that beat Enron for the following title: biggest corporate accounting fraud in history... MCI had more than 7K workers in Colorado in 2000. Now it's down to 3K after the latest cuts... 60% are in rural communities of less than 25K people, according to the Direct Marketing Association. These are high-turn-over, low-wage jobs. They usually go to people needing flexible hours - students, seniors, single parents - or those supplementing their income. Unfortunately, the job market is so bad that we can't even hold on to these jobs anymore."
D.T. Max _NY Times_
The Case of the Cherry Hill Cluster
"At least 9 people who ate at the Garden State Race Track in New Jersey have died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease since 1997. Evidence of mad cow - or a strange coincidence?"
"Petty, cheesy morsels of corruption are like the proverbial 'broken windows' of violent crime. If we all look the other way, the consequences can be dire."
Gregg Fields _Miami Herald_
What happens when economic projections miss the mark?
"But that blind faith has been shaken by recent trends that economists either missed or were wrong about. These include everything from the rise of out-sourcing, the mammoth trade and federal deficits and, perhaps most significantly, the drop in the dollar. In a world of rapid change, rising risks and global competition, good economic projections are more important than they ever have been... But Morrell and others freely acknowledge that there appear to be changes afoot in the economy that the experts aren't prepared to discern or examine. For one thing, the nature of expansions and contractions in economic output seems to have changed. In the past it was largely the result of fluctuations in supply and demand. Today, business cycles seem more affected by structural changes in the economy... More recently, a major shift toward greater reliance on temporary workers has made that sector one of the fastest growing in the country. Conversely, current job losses are more likely to represent positions that have been permanently lost rather than temporary lay-offs... Business cycles that reflect permanent shifts rather than temporary imbalances can leave economists behind the learning curve when it comes to gathering and analyzing data on phenomena too new to understand."
Steve Miller _Washington Times_
3 Libertarian Candidates Make Pitch for Presidency at State Convention
"The state's Libertarian Party heard pitches yesterday from 3 presidential contenders that included abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, removing gun-control laws and bringing U.S. troops home... their relative facelessness is the crux of the party's trouble. Former Hollywood producer Aaron Russo, computer consultant Michael Badnarik and radio talk-show host Gary Nolan touted their platforms to about 70 people at their party's annual convention in hopes of securing a ballot spot. The final candidate will be chosen in May at the party's national convention in Atlanta. The trio espoused a monolithic sentiment of limited government -- the party's mantra since it was founded in Colorado in 1971. 'Most of what our government is doing is unconstitutional.', Mr. Badnarik said in opening his presentation."
Robert Jablon _AP_/_San Diego Union-Tribune_
Mach 7 exceeded
"The 12-foot-long 2,800-pound X-43A was mounted on a Pegasus rocket booster, which was attached under the right wing of a B-52 bomber that took off from Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert. At 13:59[PST], the craft was dropped from 40L feet. A few seconds later, the rocket flared, boosting the jet skyward on a streak of flame and light. At about 100K feet, the rocket was dropped away. The scramjet then took over, using up about 2 pounds of gaseous hydrogen fuel before it glided and then plunged into the Pacific about 400 miles off California."
2004-03-29 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
Kitty Pilgrim & Casey Wian & Bill Tucker & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
More foods are coming from over-seas, call centers, steel and textiles as strategic necessities
"Federal agencies responsible for making sure our food supply is safe, they say they're inspecting more food imports than ever. And that's because Americans are eating more foods produced over-seas... From common produce, like strawberries arriving from Mexico, to exotic foods like jellied duck eggs from Taiwan; Americans are now eating more imported food than ever, 42% more than 20 years ago. Vegetable imports have nearly tripled, while fruit imports have jumped 4-fold... Caroline Smith deWaal, center for science in the public interest: 'U.S. consumers eat a diet that's about 20% imported foods. The bottom line, from the vast increase in imported foods is that a lot [lower proportion of] imported food is inspected today than it was 10 years ago.'... Estimates of how much imported food that is actually inspected range from 1% to 5%. Government officials say many are low-risk and don't need physical inspections, while technology and intelligence help identify those that do. The FDA wants a $65M budget increase next year. Only about $5M of that is for actual inspections of imported food... David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue:'Attrition levels are very low, compared to industry standards [for call centers]. And it's just a great way to do business. And you know, we have 100% of our people on the phones, who take reservations, are in their homes.'... you have likened GATT and NAFTA to foreign aid... Ernest 'Fritz' Hollings (D-SC): 'What we're trying to do is not have a half-free trade agreement. You see, our competitors, they have restrictions. We give them free access. And what I'm trying to do is, like I said about world peace, you don't get that by just waving the white flag of surrender, you've got to fight for it. And the same with free trade. You've got to be able to compete. You've got to raise a barrier to remove a barrier. So I'm not against free trade, I'm trying to obtain free trade, to tell you the truth. And that isn't what we've had... You've got the one leg of our values unquestioned, the second leg of our military power, which is unquestioned, but the economic leg has been fractured in the cold war, whereby we were trying to spread capitalism to defeat communism with the Marshall plan. It's worked. But we more or less gave away the store. Now we've got to compete, and as you indicate, try to protect our standard of living... stop sponsoring the export of jobs... Stop the financing of the exportation of jobs, the production over-seas. On the contrary, let's, by gosh, finance domestic production, give them a tax break. Otherwise, you need about 1K custom agents to stop these transshipments of unregulated products coming into the country... Look, we never made an automobile in our lives in South Carolina, but we got BMW there. And after training with our technical training centers, we produce a better automobile than they do in Munich. But is that a high-tech or a low-tech job? Is textiles high-tech or low-tech? We need all of these jobs fundamental to our national security. I had a hearing under president Kennedy that found, next to steel, textiles was second most important to our national security. At that time, 40 years ago, we couldn't send them to war in a Japanese uniform.'... Karl Rove called the police after immigrant rights activists began pounding on his door and windows. Now, the group is calling for a legal status for illegal aliens who graduate high school. Rove eventually agreed to meet with two of the protest leaders in his garage. And soon after, he escorted them out of his garage and asked them to leave his property... Ireland today became the first country to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and work-places. Those who break the law could face fines of more than $3K. Similar bans have been introduced in Los Angeles and also New York state... Jerry Jasinowski, president & CEO of NAM: 'I think that most out-sourcing is actually done, 90% of it, to sell products abroad. And I think only 10% of it comes back here. And it's probably, I think, 5% of the job loss we've seen over the last 3 years... $2T a year are produced off-shore, 90% of which is sold off-shore. We export about $70G...'"
Vivian Paulsen, Eden Pontz & Kianne Sadeq _CNN_
Protests as US closes Iraqi paper accused of inciting violence
"The U.S.-led civil administration in Iraq closed the Baghdad newspaper Al Hawsa for 60 days, accusing its publishers of inciting violence against coalition troops. The paper is published by followers of prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr... The building was sealed, and anyone caught attempting to publish the paper could face up to a year in jail and a $1K fine. Sadr is the son of Shiite imam Muhammad Baqr al-Sadr, a prominent leader assassinated in 1999... In July, Iraqi police closed a newspaper they accused of running a 'clearly inciteful' article calling on Iraqis to kill 'all spies and those who cooperate with the U.S.'..."
Eric Lichtblau _NY Times_
As Border Woes Strain Arizona, US & Mexico Talk
"'The border is so porous that we probably get a thousand people a week coming through the ranch -- it's a sieve.', said Mr. Strom, 72, whose property sits on the Mexican border about 95 miles south of Tucson. 'They're all just looking for a way to head north through the mountains.' In recent months, there has been an eruption of illegal immigration and related violence in Arizona, and with it has come a realization by federal officials: no matter how many hundreds of thousands of migrants they catch and send back over the border, many will return time and again unless the government finds better ways to keep them out of the country and out of harm's way. Officials from Mexico and the United States began meeting last week in Mexico City on a plan to repatriate Mexican border crossers by sending them deep into their country, closer to their home-towns, rather than simply returning them near the border... Asa Hutchinson, an under secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, said that American officials were committed to the repatriation idea... some smugglers, or coyotes, offer migrants 3 trips across the border for a flat rate, usually several thousand dollars, if they are caught on their first 2 trips, law enforcement officials said... The vast majority of migrants caught trying to cross the border illegally are quickly returned without being prosecuted or imprisoned. In Arizona, for instance, federal prosecutors brought charges last year against only about 3K of some 400K people caught, [Paul K.] Charlton [US attorney for AZ] said... Arizona has recorded a 34% jump in the past 6 months. Federal officials say tightened security in areas like Southern California and Texas has pushed smuggling rings to Arizona, which now accounts for about 40% of all illegal entries. The shift to Arizona has brought with it a sharp increase in violent extortions and drug seizures as well as the deaths of dozens of migrants left in the desert, law enforcement officials say. In response, Homeland Security officials announced a plan earlier this month to reassign several hundred more border agents to Arizona and to start unmanned aerial patrols."
Andrew Ross Sorkin & Jonathan D. Glater _NY Times_
Criminal Intent Seems the Focus of Juror's Doubt
"The apparent lone dissenter on the Tyco jury may be frustrating prosecutors and her fellow jurors, but outside lawyers say her instincts may be right."
Barnaby J. Feder _NY Times_
Wal-Mart Hits Delays in Push to Abuse RFID Tags to Track Goods, People
"WM has been forced to revise its time-table for requiring suppliers to put radio frequency tags on their shipments... Unlike bar code scanners, the radio readers can collect data from tagged items packed in boxes or hidden behind other items. And unlike common bar codes, the digital chips can carry more information about a product, like when and where that specific item was made. Radio tags could one day be integrated with sensors to record and report, among other things, whether refrigerated goods became too warm during the trip from manufacturer to consumer."
James Reynolds _The Scotsman_
Ramjet-Scramjet exceeds Mach 7
"The experimental jet made an 11-second powered flight, then went through some twists and turns during a 6-minute glide before plunging into the Pacific about 400 miles (640 kilometres) off the coast of California. In that brief envelope of time, the researchers believe that the un-piloted X-43A reached a record-setting speed of about 5K mph (8K kph) - slightly over Mach 7... scramjet engines carry only hydrogen fuel and pull the oxygen needed to burn that fuel in from the atmosphere. Researchers at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Centre at Edwards Air Force Base, on the western edge of the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles, hope the new engine will revolutionise aviation, speeding the development of significantly faster aircraft and lowering the cost of launching pay-loads... During Saturdayís test, a modified B-52 bomber dropped the X-43A at an altitude of around 40K feet (12,192 meters). A rocket attached to the 2,800-pound (1,270-kg) research vehicle then boosted it to an altitude of 95K feet (30K meters), setting the stage for the scramjet engine test. Later this year, NASA researchers hope to test the engine at Mach 10, or about 7K mph (11,265km/h), as part of their Hyper-X programme. Duncan Valentine, the managing director for the transport division of QinetiQ, the largest scientific research and development organisation in Europe, which employs 10K people, said: 'This is a major leap forward and NASA have really done something absolutely first class.'"
Jeff Slutsky & Marc Slutsky _StreetFighter Inc_/_Miami Herald_
Your personal private information off-shored
"I called the customer service number on the bill, hoping to fix the problem. After punching in what seemed to be a billion or so numbers as requested, I was finally transferred to a real live person. The only problem was that I could barely understand a word this person was saying. She spoke in a very thick accent that I guessed was halfway around the world. I had to have her repeat everything 2 or 3 times before I could finally understand what she was saying. Finally, out of frustration, I told her I would call back. I immediately re-placed the call. I punched in the billion or so numbers. Again I'm greeted by someone with a very thick accent. This time a man was on the other end but he could have been the other person's uncle. Finally after my third attempt, I found someone who could speak clearly enough that I could begin to get my problem resolved. Of course Amex was out-sourcing their customer service to an over-seas company. I'm sure this practice saves them a lot of money. However, if you look at this practice from the customer's point of view, it actually may end up costing them a lot more... When an off-shore company is privy to your sensitive information (i.e., your account numbers, your PIN numbers, your social security number, etc.) both the consumers and the business are at great risk of having that information end up in the wrong hands... People working in other countries do not pay taxes in the United States. They also do not spend their salaries here in the United States. The American workers they displace have less disposable income to spend in their local areas, perhaps decreasing sales of products for the company that is trying to save some money by off-shoring."
Kris Maher _Wall Street Journal_/_Indianapolis Star_
Off-shore out-sourcing wields greater threat to more job fields
"[A medical transcriptionist] earns roughly half what she did a few years ago, and every month the job market in her field seems to get worse. She points to a single cause: off-shoring... American companies have shipped computer-programming and call-center jobs to educated workers in India, the Philippines, Mexico, Canada and elsewhere for the past decade. Now, workers in a wide range of other fields, from accountants to electrical engineers, are discovering that their jobs aren't immune from off-shore out-sourcing."
Joel Mowbray _Town Hall_
terror & tyranny, by the numbers
2004-03-30 08:25PST (11:25EST) (16:25GMT)
Rick Perlstein _Village Voice_
The Jobs of the Future Are a Thing of the Past
"'Illinois Research & Development Corridor'...now, years after the waning of the technology boom, are emptying out... But when the victims get together, they don't know what to say... Importing labor, exporting jobs: These are the 2 sides of the coin... Some of the worst abuses are the 'bodyshops', made possible by [both H-1B and] another kind of temporary work visa: the L-1."
2004-03-30 10:51PST (13:51EST) (18:51GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Out-Sourcing Good, IT Industry & Indian Lobbyists Say
2004-03-30 11:35PST (14:35EST) (19:35GMT)
John Byczkowski _Cincinnati Enquirer_
Treasury boss Snow-job: Un-Free Trade Boosts Economy
same propaganda Martin Crutsinger _AP_/_Miami Herald_
"Snow said [off-shore] out-sourcing 'plays a modest role at best' in the current jobless expansion. The investment banker Goldman Sachs last year estimated this off-shoring accounted for 1M of the 2.7M U.S. manufacturing jobs lost since the summer of 2000."
2004-03-30 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Kitty Pilgrim & Peter Viles & Christine Romans & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
Spaniards protest for jobs
"In Najaf, Spanish troops and Iraqi police fought with unemployed people demanding government jobs. Protesters threw stones, smashed windows and burned a guard house. At least 3 police and 2 protesters were injured... In Britain today, a raid today turned up half a ton of bombmaking materials. Near London, police raided houses, rounding up eight British men of Pakistani origin being held for questioning. In Manila today, the Philippine president said they managed to stop what could have been -- quote -- "Madrid-like" attack. Radical Islamists were planning to blow up trains and shopping malls. Uzbekistan another place of terror. Tashkent police and military try to round up suspected terrorists. The government blames Islamists for 2 bombings in the last 2 days... [Gasoline] prices today hit record highs for a sixth day in a row, a national average of $1.75 a gallon... John Felmy of the American Petroleum Institute: 'We consume about 20M barrels as day of petroleum. And we only have refining capacity to supply around 16.7M barrels a day.'... In Chicago, engineers protest at Boeing, which they claim has shipped American jobs to Asia. Exporting jobs now such a hot political issue that the technology industry, companies like Hewlett-Packard, IBM and MSFT, is fighting back. Their Washington lobby commissioned a report defending out-sourcing as nothing new and nothing bad for the American economy... Now Goldman Sachs has a new theory. Maybe the growth numbers are wrong, because the government is under estimating the amount of work that is out-sourced and then imported back into the United States. Jan Hatzius of Goldman Sachs: 'For example in 2002 the government recorded about $660M of service imports, professional service imports from India, but some of the Indian statistics organizations are showing numbers of as much as $6G or so.'... Marcy Kaptur (D-OH): 'We can pass an amendment here in Congress that does not permit the Department of Agriculture to allow our tax-payer dollars to be used to create jobs in India and to displace U.S. workers with our own money... We don't have a trade balance with [Red China]. We've lost jobs to [Red China]. We've lost jobs to Mexico. We're now losing jobs to India. Our trade deficit this year will be at an all-time high of over $550G. Half a trillion dollars. This knocks a third or more off of our GDP. Let them look at the net. Let them look at the balance sheet. Their policies are a failure for the workers of this country. That's what jobless recoveries are all about: out-sourcing our jobs elsewhere.'... The International Council of Shopping Centers blamed high gas prices for a drop in sales in the past week. Now as consumers grapple with a weak jobs market, consultants, though, benefiting from out-sourcing American jobs. Accenture, a consulting company [spun off from defrauders Andersen Consulting], reported a strong first quarter, thanks to out-sourcing revenue. Out-sourcing consulting sales rose 39%. The company's CEO will step down but Accenture assured Wall Street, John, it's new CEO will be committed to out-sourcing as a key company strategy."
Eric Schmitt & Thom Shanker _NY Times_
Big Pay Luring Military's Elite to Private Jobs
"Private security companies are offering large salaries to the military's most seasoned members of Special Operations."
"The issue is whether the federal law against age discrimination covers policies that do not relate directly to age but have a disparate impact on older workers." --- Linda Greenhouse _NY Times_
Supreme Court to Consider Role of Intent in Age Bias
Edward D. Murphy _Portland Maine Press Herald_
The monster off-shore
"The letter and glossy brochure from Boma convinced Pennington that [off-shore] out-sourcing - sending work to off-shore locations where labor and other costs are often a fraction of those in the United States - was more than just a simmering part of the debate in this year's presidential election. 'Boy, if they got down to my level, they're pretty far down.', Pennington said. 'Out-sourcing is a big problem, I think. Maybe in 40 years, we'll be making the same as the people in the Philippines. Our standard of living is going down and theirs is going up.' The threat to U.S. jobs posed by lower-cost over-seas workers is particularly worrisome in Maine, which lost nearly 18K manufacturing jobs during the past 3 years..."
How Out-Sourcing and Off-Shoring Affects Your Career in IT
"5 or 10 years ago, workers were attracted to the Information Technology field given the
Nariman Behravesh _Global Insight_ & Bob Cohen _ITAA_
The Impact of Off-Shore IT Software and Services Out-Sourcing on the US Economy and the IT Industry: The usual propaganda from people with vested interests
similar NBC report
more from excite
similar AeA propaganda
from Rob Haralson
"According to the Study, U.S. spending for off-shore out-sourcing of computer software and services is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of almost 26%, increasing from approximately $10G in 2003 to $31G in 2008."
|Telco Industry Shows Caring Side|
|QualxServ and ICG Commerce Named Finalists in Out-Sourcing Center's 2004 Out-Sourcing Excellence Awards|
|Out-Sourcing's New Balancing Act: DiamondCluster Survey Finds Executives Striving to Adapt to Shifting Risks and Challenges of Out-Sourcing|
|U.S. Out-Sourcing Award Nomination for NIIT|
|Out-Sourcing Becoming a Permanent Fixture of the American Economy|
|What's Next for Off-Shore Out-Sourcing? - Forum to Reveal Global Sourcing Strategies|
|LogicaCMG Appoints Oscar Boesenach as Managing Director, International Out-Sourcing Business|
|eFunds Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2003 Results|
|COMFORCE Corporation Announces Fourth Quarter 2003 and Full Year Results|
|Infocrossing to Acquire SMS|
|EDS Executive Gary Allhusen Appointed Executive Vice President of Caneum, Inc.|
|Infocrossing Reports Earnings Of $0.08 Per Share For Fourth Quarter|
|Kinko's Variable-Cost Model Changes the Rules of Document Out-Sourcing|
|Keane Extends Application Out-Sourcing Contract with Railinc|
|XactiMed Lands Revenue Cycle Out-Sourcing Contract With The Schuster Group|
|CIBER Delivers IT Out-Sourcing Services to Kansas City Board Of Public Utilities|
_AP_/_Jackson Mississippi Clarion-Ledger_
USM prof reveals woes of out-sourcing
"When American CEOs are berated for out-sourcing call center jobs to Asia, most simply retort that their companies are chasing cheap labor. But companies may decide the price of that cheap labor is too high if they read a new book by a University of Southern Mississippi professor who studied the call center industry for 8 years. David Butler's _Bottom-line Call Center Management_ is a rare examination of a job that employs 7% of the American work force... 'Over-seas call centers can cost more in customer goodwill than they save in staff salaries.' Many corporate executives who out-sourced call centers to Asia confided to Butler that they are plotting quiet moves back to U.S. soil. They don't want to lose face by admitting errors. But they don't want to lose American clients who resent having customer service calls answered on the other side of the world... the U.S. Commerce Department doesn't track call center employment statistics..."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
another ITAA off-shoring report
"I've always argued that the percentage of off-shoring will stay low, because the cost savings are much smaller than people would guess, and in fact in many cases an off-shored project costs more than one done by the firm itself. This of course presumes a certain level of rationality on the part of the CEOs, which one might question... how many new jobs are being off-shored... [ITAA's] Figure 1 shows that during 2000-2002 the number of IT software and service jobs off-shored was almost equal to the number of IT AND non-IT jobs created... just because a software engineer job gets created in America does not mean it will be filled by an American... the industry's own study shows that if off-shoring really does take hold, we will lose jobs requiring a more rigorous level of education while gaining jobs requiring less education. We will sell software instead of writing it, build houses instead of designing them, and file X-rays instead of analyzing them... The ITAA freely admits that the reason for off-shoring is cheap labor."
Venture Capital outfits push off-shoring (1)
Venture Capital (2)
Venture Capital (3)
Venture Capital (4)
regarding report of Catherine Mann
Ellen R. Schaffer _San Jose Mercury News_
US, California must confront factors that are sending jobs over-seas
"This month, the state Senate held a hearing to examine the out-sourcing of jobs and risks to Californians' medical and financial privacy. Some legislators propose reserving state-contracted jobs for U.S. workers as a remedy, a solution the Mercury News has opposed. Such a remedy could both help stimulate the state's economy and force the state to confront longer term structural problems that drive out jobs and create shortages of talented workers. It can also help assure that economic globalization promotes our social values and our economic interests... It makes sense to keep state-contracted jobs that involve medical or financial privacy in the United States, making it easier to enforce compliance with privacy rules... Requiring that state-contracted jobs go to U.S.-based workers will jump-start growth and the programs needed to train, attract and retain employees. These are the real stepping stones for economic progress."
2004-03-30 16:42PST (19:42EST) (2004-03-31 00:42GMT)
John J. Sweeney _USA Today_
Out-Sourcing Robs US Jobs
"America's jobs crisis affects all of us -- from university PhDs to recent high school graduates. Every month produces additional pink slips for auto-workers, radiologists and computer engineers... Analysts at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley say 14M white-collar jobs are at risk..."
2004-03-30 19:23PST (22:23EST) (2004-03-31 03:23GMT)
Stephen Pounds _Palm Beach Post_
Top Scripps scientist gets US visa
"After a month-long delay, The Scripps Research Institute is expected to finally begin its move into temporary offices in Boca Raton by mid-April, now that the man in charge of its Florida research operation has obtained a visa to enter the United States. Charles Weissmann, a molecular biologist, will come into the country under a J-1 visa for visiting researchers, faculty and scientists to conduct scientific research here rather than an H-1B visa, which goes to foreigners accepting a job here, Scripps spokesman Keith McKeown said Tuesday. 'The distinction is the H visa is for people coming here to work forever and ever. A J visa is renewable.', McKeown [falsely] said. 'He can switch to another kind of visa later and has other options.' A visitor may remain in the states for 3 years under a J visa before it must be renewed, according to guide-lines from Scripps for foreign researchers... Weissmann, a Swiss citizen, had expected to begin working for Scripps out of temporary offices and laboratory space at Florida Atlantic University's Boca Raton campus earlier this month. But the need for an interview at the U.S. Embassy before he could secure a visa delayed his arrival here."
2004-03-31 09:26PST (12:26EST) (17:26GMT)
Matt Andrejczak _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stock option expensing rule unveiled
"U.S. public companies would be required to deduct stock option expenses from profits under a long-awaited rule proposed Wednesday by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the private-sector body that sets U.S. accounting standards... Industry lobbying efforts intensified Wednesday in Washington, where a big contingent of high-tech executives visited 70 law-makers as well as top officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the White House's National Economic Council. The debate over stock options flared after the corporate accounting and governance scandals. Critics charged the rise of stock options led senior executives at some companies to cook the books in hopes of making their stock options more lucrative. Since the uproar, about 500 public companies have voluntarily agreed to expense stock options or already do."
2004-03-31 13:07PST (14:07MST) (16:07EST) (21:07GMT)
Mike Sunnucks _Phoenix Business Journal_
Arizona govrnor, Janet Napolitano, orders review of state out-sourcing contracts
" Foreign out-sourcing of government contracts has sparked controversies in several states. The governors of Michigan and Minnesota have recently issued executive orders to restrict government contractors from shifting state work over-seas... Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano said Wednesday she is having her staff look at state contracts to see if any government work is being done off-shore... Last week, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm put out executive orders giving home state firms preference in state contracts and prohibiting any state funds or programs from directly or indirectly leading to the transfer of U.S. jobs off-shore."
2004-03-31 13:22PST (16:22EST) (21:22GMT)
Federal Reserve Board's Edward Gramlich Says Off-Shore Out-Sourcing Is Not Primary Job Destroyer in US, as Industry Propaganda Campaign Continues This Week
"'It so happens that out-sourcing has been a very, very minor source of missing jobs.', Gramlich said in answer to audience questions after delivering a speech to the National Association for Business Economics Los Angeles Chapter... His comments echoed those of other economists and Fed officials who have recently been at pains to say that out-sourcing, a hot issue in the run-up to the November presidential election, is not the culprit behind a slow job recovery in the United States."
2004-03-31 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
John King & Peter Viles & Lisa Sylvester & Lou Dobbs _CNN_
UnEmployed Americans Take Fight to DC
"Show us the jobs... the Clean Air Act, which led to all of these different blends of [gasoline] in the first place... The EPA maintains that this boutique so-called fuel system isn't the problem anyway. It estimates that that different system of different gases adds only 4 to 8 cents to the price of a gallon of gas and is in the long run a cost-effective way to reduce air pollution... inventories in the United States are higher than expected... Fifty-one unemployed march, representing each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, wrapped up a bus [tour] of the nation here today in Washington. The tour was an effort to call attention to the growing jobs crisis in this country using 51 different stories of how unemployment can affect a family... The 8-day 18-city tour began in Saint Louis. Each person on the trip has a unique story with a common theme. They're all laid-off workers. Many of them have watched their jobs move over-seas... It's not just, 'Where are the jobs?'. It's, 'Where are the good jobs?'... MB: 'Training my replacement was like being handed a shovel and being forced to dig my own grave.'... Jim McDermott: 'You go to school, study hard. You try every job. You take anything. You work and you take extra courses and you work your way up. And then you get this.'... As of tonight, more than 1M Americans are without un-employment insurance, long-term federal insurance benefits already extended twice by the Congress, started to be phased out in December. The debate over un-employment benefits and other worker's rights issues has divided the Senate... Rob Portman (R-OH): 'What folk in Ohio want is a job. They don't want an un-employment benefit, they want to have a job... The thing the president is doing in Ohio, he's talking about how do you create jobs. And that has to do with lowering liability costs, lowering health care costs, lowering energy costs. Make sure you have re-training, so that people who end up in a job where they don't have a future, can get reemployed, re-educated, and re-trained for something else.'..."
2004-03-31 15:10PST (18:10EST) (23:10GMT)
Matt Andrejczak _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stock-option expensing rule unveiled
"The Financial Accounting Standards Board would require companies to book options as an expense based on share price at the grant date... Industry lobbying efforts intensified Wednesday in Washington, where a big contingent of high-tech executives visited 70 law-makers as well as top officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the White House's National Economic Council. Fierce opposition from corporate America and U.S. law-makers killed FASB's attempt 10 years ago to reform stock-option accounting. But this time around, Congress is divided over whether to intervene... The debate over options has flared in the wake of recent years' corporate accounting and governance scandals. Critics charged that the rise of stock options had led senior executives at some companies to cook the books in hopes of making their options more valuable. Amid the uproar, about 500 public companies have voluntarily agreed to expense stock options, or already had been doing so. Tech companies -- led by Intel, Cisco and Sun -- contend options are the best way to compensate and recruit employees at startup firms and are vital to economic productivity. At Sun, during the past five years, over 87% of all option shares were granted to employees below the vice president level, a spokeswoman said. Options -- which give workers the opportunity to purchase shares at a fixed price within a defined time period... Overall, reported net income from operations for S&P 500 companies would have been 8% lower in 2003 if all companies had expensed stock options. For Nasdaq 100 companies, profits would have been 44% less, according to Bear Stearns research. The FASB proposal would align the United States with European standards. The International Accounting Standards Board has ruled that companies following international audit standards will have to expense stock options on their income statements beginning 2005-01-01."
Simon Romero _NY Times_
Saudis Push Plan for Cut in Production by OPEC
"OPEC officials voiced support for higher crude oil prices, which have become a sensitive political issue in the U.S."
Laurie J. Flynn _NY Times_
Intel to Settle Intergraph Patent Dispute
"Intel will pay software maker Intergraph $225M to settle remaining claims that Intel's Itanium chip infringed the company's patents."
Sharon Waxman _NY Times_
Paramount Sees Its Future in the Stars (Big Ones)
"After many years of sticking to mid-range budgets and lesser-known stars, Paramount Pictures is on a mission to turn things around."
Robert M. Gates _NY Times_
see also Steven C. Clemons's demand that we subsidize foreign students
"At 90% of American colleges and universities, applications from international students for 2004 Fall are down, according to a survey by the Council of Graduate Schools that was released earlier this month. According to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, applications from [Red China] have fallen by 76%, while those from India have dropped by 58%. Applications to research universities from prospective international graduate students are down by at least 25% overall... universities in Australia, Britain, France and elsewhere are... aggressively recruiting these students. According to the Chronicle, foreign student enrollment in Australia is up 16.5% over last year; Chinese enrollment there has risen by 20%."
Susanna Loof _AP_/_Yahoo!_
OPEC to Cut Oil Out-Put Target by 4%: 1M barrels per day starting Thursday
"The big question now is how serious OPEC members will be in complying with its new, lower target of 23.5M barrels per day... OPEC had agreed last month in Algiers, Algeria, to make the cut on April 1, but recent discomfort with rising prices in the United States and other importing countries had led some OPEC members to reconsider... OPEC is already exceeding its target by an estimated 1.5M barrels."
Out-Sourcing a Double-Edged Sword Says iSuppli
"While much production of electronic equipment has migrated to Asia, particularly to [Red China], U.S. companies sell most of the semiconductors essential to building this equipment, iSuppli noted in a recent research report. And while some of these U.S.-based semiconductor suppliers have out-sourced chip production, assembly and test to Asia, many others continue to maintain extensive manufacturing and design operations in the United States, keeping thousands of Americans employed in high-paying, high-tech jobs. The Asia/Pacific region, accounted for 39.9% of global semiconductor sales in 2003, up from 37.4% in 2002 and 29.9% in 2001, according to iSuppli. This makes Asia/Pacific the largest chip-consuming region in the world. In comparison, the share of semiconductor consumption in the Americas region has shrunk from near parity with Asia/Pacific in 2001, at 27.5%, to just 20.1% in 2003... Americas-based companies generated an estimated 75.1% of revenue in the worldwide fabless industry in 2003. Meanwhile, iSuppli estimates that 56.8% of global fabless semiconductor demand originated from the Asia/Pacific region in 2003, supporting this key U.S. business."
Shir Haberman _Portsmouth NH Herald_
NH state senators Burt Cohen & John Gallus unhappy about off-shore out-sourcing
"'In February, almost 1,600 calls placed to customer service centers for New Hampshire's food stamp programs were answered by call centers in India.', Cohen said at a news conference on Tuesday morning. 'The bitter irony of this situation is that New Hampshire's tax-payer dollars are employing people abroad to answer questions from those who could desperately use jobs right here at home.'... Cohen has sponsored an amendment to House Bill 1422 - legislation to prohibit the official state negotiator and members of the state negotiating committee from having direct personal and pecuniary interests in the negotiation - with something he calls the 'New Hampshire First Initiative'. If passed, it would prohibit contractors from out-sourcing state jobs to other countries; the amendment is cosponsored by state Sen. John Gallus, R-Berlin. The amendment would also ensure that all telephone call centers operated by state contractors employ people in the United States. Additionally, the bill would give priority to bidders who agree to carry out the work in areas of the state where jobs are most needed, such as in the North Country, said the New Castle law-maker... The House has already passed HB1422, and the Senate is set to hear it."
Francine Knowles _Chicago Sun-Times_
Workers picket Boeing for off-shore out-sourcing
"Workers for the Boeing Co. blasted the company during informational picketing Tuesday for out-sourcing jobs outside the United States, requiring U.S. workers to train their replacements and for making thousands of lay-offs in recent years. In a union-organized protest staged outside Boeing's Chicago headquarters, the small group also lambasted the aerospace giant for its plans to have much of the work on its planned next-generation commercial airplane, the 7E7, done outside the United States. The group also marched to City Hall to draw attention to city-backed incentives used to attract Boeing... displayed a 12-foot banner listing 4,122 of its members who it said have been laid off by the company... Boeing declined to provide numbers on how many jobs have been lost due to out-sourcing."
Peter DuJardin _Hampton Roads Daily Press_
Ship-yard out-sourcing called "make or break hurdle"
"Success in coming contract talks between Northrop Grumman Newport News and the United Steelworkers of America will depend in large part on limiting the shipyard's practice of hiring outside contractors for work once done by ship-yard workers, the union's president said on Tuesday... Companies that hire contract and leased workers sometimes pay competitive wages to those workers but don't typically pay them medical care, vacations or retirement benefits. The practice also gives companies more flexibility because they can lay off the contract workers more easily than they can company employees. But labor unions argue that contracting out work and using leased employees undermines full-time workers... The Steelworkers say that the number of contract and leased workers fluctuates, but that it's been as high as 1,728 in recent years... In 1999, hourly production workers at Newport News Shipbuilding numbered about 9,200, or 54% of the yard's then-17K-member work force. In the past 5 years, the yard's total work force has risen to about 18K, but the number of hourly workers has fallen to 8,500, or 47%."
Robert Little _Baltimore Sun_
NSA joins out-sourcing fad
"The NSA already uses private contractors extensively - the equivalent to 5K full-time workers a day, Hayden said - but they are typically treated like employees, under-going an extensive back-ground check that can last a year and working inside the agency's tight security umbrella."
Chris McManes _IEEE USA_
Off-Shoring Study Misses Important Issues
"The unemployment rate for U.S. computer scientists and systems analysts reached an all-time high of 5.2% in 2003. The joblessness rate for electrical and electronics engineers rose by 47.6% in 2003 to a record 6.2%, compared to 4.2% in 2002... First, it assumes the U.S. economy will benefit through reinvestment of the savings realized by U.S. corporations that off-shore their software and IT services. This assumption ignores the likelihood that many companies will invest those savings into their own over-seas operations, or divert such savings into wind-falls that benefit only corporate executives and stock-holders. It is reasonable to believe that a significant percentage of those savings will flow to other countries, and that many of the new jobs will be created over-seas. The study also assumes that the new jobs are essentially equal to those being destroyed, and that replacing off-shored, high-tech jobs with other support and service jobs will not impact U.S. ability to maintain a technological edge in an increasingly competitive global economy."
Patrick Thibodeau _ComputerWorld_
ITAA confesses out-sourcing depresses IT wages
"figures in the study indicate that more jobs in the software and services sector will be created off-shore during the next 5 years than in the U.S.A. Specifically, the report says the economy will create 516K jobs in that sector during the next five years, 272K of which will go off-shore and 244K of which will remain in the U.S.A... Enrollment of computer science and computer engineering students at universities that offer engineering programs is flat after years of continuous growth, according to Richard Heckel, a researcher at Engineering Trends, a Houghton, MI-based firm that analyzes engineering education trends. In the Fall of 2001 and the Fall of 2000, enrollment totaled roughly 80K students, more than double the 35K students enrolled in computer science and computer engineering programs in 1996... he said engineering enrollments often rise and fall in response to economic conditions... The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers recently said that the unemployment rate for computer scientists and systems analysts reached an all time high of 5.2% last year."
2004-03-31 20:21PST (23:21EST) (2004-04-01 04:21GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Tough times demand innovation, aggressive tactics
"In February, 8.17M Americans didn't have a job, and almost 1.9M of them, or 22.9%, had been unemployed for 6 months or more, according to the U.S. Labor Department... Setting weekly goals that are fairly easily attained can help you retain a positive out-look... Companies said 17.6% of their new hires came from niche sites, while 8.7% came from Monster, 4.1% from CareerBuilder, and 1.8% from HotJobs, according to the survey of 41 large firms that hired more than 200K new workers last year... If jobs in the career you've chosen appear to be moving off-shore or are otherwise disappearing, consider a career change. Radical career changes are not uncommon... Still, a career switch is clearly not for everyone... no matter how competitive the job market, it's still possible to negotiate a better salary. 90% of human-resource professionals said salary is negotiable, according to a survey of 418 such people by the Society for Human Resource Management... Next on the list of negotiable items was payment for relocation costs, which 56% said was negotiable, while 55% said flexible work schedules are up for discussion."
Andrew Sum, Paul Harrington, Paulo Tobar & Ishwar Khatiwada _Center for Labor Market Studies, NE University_
The Unprecedented Rising Tide of Corporate Profits and the Simultaneous Ebbing of Labor Compensation: Gainers and Losers from the National Economic Recovery in 2002 and 2003 (pdf)
"Labor compensation, which includes wages and salaries, employer-financed benefits, and employersí contributions for pay-roll taxes, unemployment insurance, and workmen's compensation, has experienced very weak growth, due to an absence of formal pay-roll employment growth and very limited increases in real wages and benefits. As a consequence, labor's share of national income growth during the past 2 years of economic recovery has been the lowest for any recovery period since the end of World War2... corporate profits (before tax and after inventory and capital consumption adjustments) in the U.S.A. accounted for nearly 41% of the change in national income between the first quarter of 2002 and the fourth quarter of 2003... According to BLS estimates, output per hour in the nonfarm business sector increased by 7.3% between the first quarter of 2002 and the fourth quarter of 2003 (Table 6). Yet, over the same time period, real compensation per hour of labor is estimated to have grown by only 1.2%. The bulk of labor productivity gains, thus, did not accrue to workers in the U.S.A., but instead were used to boost corporate profits, lower prices, or increase CEO compensation. During the labor productivity boom between 1995 and 2000, real compensation per hour of work in the nonfarm business sector increased at a rate only slightly below that of labor productivity (11% vs. 13%)."
|Alec Scott Papierniak||$35K||?||phishing|
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|Dan Marius Stefan||$500K||30 mon||phishing|
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|Otto Kerner Jr.||$300K||36 months + $50K||17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury|
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