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2004-06-01 07:37PDT (10:37EDT) (14:37GMT)
US Planned Lay-Offs Rose Again in May
Globe & Mail
"Out-placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., said planned job cuts rose by 1.6% to 73,368 in May compared with 72,184 in April. But the report showed monthly job cuts in May this year were 6.9% above those in 2003 May, making this the first month since December that has seen a year-on-year increase. Lay-offs hit a nine-month low of 68,034 in March."
Dice Report: 46,261 job ads
2004-06-01 08:01PDT (11:01EDT) (15:01GMT)
Crude petroleum futures rise 4%, back above $41 per barrel
"On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude for July delivery traded at $41.48 per barrel, up $1.60, or 4%. It touched an intra-day high of $41.60. Brent crude for July delivery was up $1.56, or 4.3%, at $38.14 a barrel on the International Petroleum Exchange in London; the contract touched a high for the day at $38.52 per barrel. July unleaded gasoline also rose, moving up 4.05 cents, or 3.1%, to stand at $1.328 per gallon. Heating oil for July delivery traded at $1.042, up 3.91 cents, or 3.9%... At the retail level Tuesday, the U.S. average for regular unleaded stood $2.043, down from Monday's $2.048, according to AAA's daily fuel gauge report. It saw a record high of $2.054 on Wednesday."
2004-06-01 08:09PDT (11:09EDT) (15:09GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Crude petroleum futures on NyMEx touch $42 per barrel
2004-06-01 13:26PDT (16:26EDT) (20:26GMT)
Carla Mozee _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Accenture (formerly fraud-prone Andersen Consulting) won $10G federal security deal
"An alliance of technology and defense firms led by the U.S.-based arm of Accenture [Andersen Consulting] on Tuesday won a government contract worth up to $10G to implement a system to track people entering and exiting the United States. The Department of Homeland Security's contract with Bermuda-based Accenture is for 5 years with an option for a 5-year extension. The system is called US-Visit and the government plans to use it in more than 400 air, sea and land points of entry... Accenture said key members of its alliance include Raytheon, the Titan Corporation and SRA International."
2004-06-01 15:00PDT (18:00EDT) (22:00GMT)
Lou Dobbs & Harris Whitbeck & Lisa Sylvester & Kitty Pilgrim & Christine Romans _CNN_
Jose Padilla, terrorism, gasoline prices, Accenture/Andersen Consulting, Iraq
"Jose Padilla. The Justice Department says Padilla planned to kill hundreds if not thousands of Americans by detonating a radiological dirty bomb or blowing up hotels and apartment buildings... U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi spent weeks helping to cobble together the interim government, a presidential council of 4, plus 31 Cabinet ministers... Interim President Sheikh Ghazi al Yawar was firm in expressing [they will work toward full sovereignty]... the government passed over two U.S. corporations. The Department of Homeland Security awarded the lucrative contract to Accenture [see Andersen Consulting], which is based in Bermuda. That contract could be worth as much as $10G over 10 years... Christopher Cox, homeland security committee chair: 'I think U.S. visit is a good description of the Accenture business plan. They visit the United States to take a government tax-payer-financed contract. They depart from the United States when it's time to pay their fare share of our national security costs.'... the U.S. Visit [contract] was technically awarded to Accenture LLP. Accenture LLP falls under Accenture Incorporated, and Accenture Incorporated is a branch of the Accenture Company in Bermuda... Another Accenture contract has caused some controversy in Illinois. The Illinois comptroller is withholding a $2M payment from the company. Comptroller Dan Hynes questions whether Illinois should be doing business with Accenture since it pays no state taxes.... Iyad Allawi, Iraqi prime minister designate... Crude oil prices closed at an all-time high today, $42.33 a barrel, up $2.45... Up until then [the 1950s], the United States was energy self-sufficient... The average household spends 5% of its budget on energy, 3% on gasoline alone. The problem is it's a fixed expense. Cutting back on heat in the winter or the daily commute to work is not an option... Tonight, Saudi Arabian police and troops are hunting radical Islamists after a terrorist attack on western oil workers over the weekend. That attack killed 22 people, including 1 American. Three of those 4 terrorists escaped after threatening to kill nearly 250 hostages in a housing complex in Khobar... median CEO pay rose 27% last year to $4.6M."
David R. Francis _Christian Science Monitor_
US runs a high-tech trade gap
"For the first time on record, the United States has a deficit in high-tech trade, prompting concern about American competitiveness in key job-producing industries from bio-technology to aerospace. That deficit appears to be widening, fueled in part by the trend of off-shore out-sourcing in areas such as software design. As computer parts have become commodities, production has long since moved to places such as Taiwan and, now, to [Red China]... During the second half of 2003, the US imported nearly $17.5G more than it exported in 'advanced technology' products. That short-fall in goods was not fully offset by a high-tech trade surplus in services, including royalties, totaling $16G. That gap persisted during this year's first quarter, and will probably grow, Mr. McMillion says."
Susan Jones _CNS News_/_NewsMax_
"A press release from the Libertarian Party said Badnarik's victory was considered a shock because he had been beaten in the polls and primaries by two other candidates: movie producer Aaron Russo and radio talk show host Gary Nolan... Badnarik, in his acceptance speech, said he would keep his campaign focused on the Constitution and forcing the government to abide by it."
Local Delegates Help Select Michael Badnarik for President
"Seven area residents were among over 800 delegates in attendance Memorial Day week-end at the Libertarian Party's National Convention in Atlanta. On the third ballot, the convention delegates chose computer consultant and Constitutional scholar Michael Badnarik (www.Badnarik.org) of Austin, TX as the party's nominee... in the presidential election this November. Richard Campagna, an attorney from Iowa City, IA, was selected as the vice-presidential nominee... Russo actually held a slim lead after each of the first two ballots, but fell well short of the majority needed to secure the nomination. After the second ballot, Nolan, the pre-convention favorite who had unexpectedly dropped to third place, was eliminated and threw his support to Badnarik... 'The reason we can't find a relationship between the Constitution and our current government is that there is none.', declared Badnarik... 'If you were in prison and faced a 50% chance of death by lethal injection, a 45% chance of the electric chair, and had a 5% chance of escape, would you vote for lethal injection because it was the most likely outcome, or would you try for escape?', [asked] Badnarik. 'Voting Libertarian is our only chance for political survival. Choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.'"
Greg Burns _Chicago Tribune_
Even in alleged recovery, factories are closing: The exit of Rubbermaid Inc. from Wooster, OH under-scores the phenomenon of plants shutting down even as the general US economy is allegedly growing again
"Now the company's flag-ship factory is shutting down, eliminating hundreds of good-paying jobs... A few miles from Wooster, Canton is losing part of its Timken Co. ball-bearing complex... Galesburg, IL, is losing its largest employer as Maytag moves refrigerator production to Mexico... Between 2000 and 2003, America lost 17% of its manufacturing employment base, government data show. And while production is beginning to boom again, the labor force never will regain all that lost ground, according to Robert McGuckin, director of economic research at the Conference Board. 'It's the fastest decline we've seen, and you're going to see more.', said McGuckin, who in a recent study concluded that American industry will survive only if far fewer workers produce far more goods. 'There are people who will be devastated.'... So far, the cuts [in Wooster] are tame compared to the crisis that manufacturing job losses have brought on the steel-workers of Aliquippa, PA, for instance, or the auto-workers of Flint, MI... From tiny roots, Rubbermaid grew to become one of the most admired companies in the nation during the 1980s, with more than $1G in sales and a pipeline of ingenious new products for the home. The company informally required its executives to live in town, and they showered Wooster with philanthropy. Rubbermaid stumbled in the 1990s after Gault left, losing a battle with Wal-Mart over price increases and skimping on research and development. Newell Co., then based in Freeport, IL, bought it in 1998, but never restored its glory. Gault, a Wal-Mart director, believes the Wooster shut-down has little to do with the decline of American manufacturing, which he primarily attributes to unfair trade practices. No, he said bluntly, Rubbermaid's problems stem from incompetent management and ineffective directors... parent Newell Rubbermaid lost $46M in 2003, and it's in the middle of jettisoning a host of low-margin product lines."
Ameet Sachdev _Albany NY Times Union_
Small pay hikes leave workers out of recovery
"Last year, many workers essentially took home the same pay they did in 2001, when wages are adjusted for inflation. Some wage increases aren't even keeping up with inflation. Labor's share of the increase in national income since November 2001, the end of the last recession, is the lowest for any recovery since the end of World War II. That's the finding of a new study from the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. Sum and his researchers studied the aftermath of all nine recessions going back to 1950 and analyzed the distribution of national income, a measure of the economy similar to the gross domestic product. From the start of 2002 to the end of 2003, national income grew about $804G, or 8.7%. For the first time, corporate profits received a larger share of the growth than labor did. Labor compensation, which includes wages, salaries, benefits and employer contributions to pay-roll taxes, made up about two-thirds of national income in 2000. Corporate profits captured 9.3%, the self-employed about 8%, and the rest went to net interest, rental income and a combination of indirect business taxes and transfers. In the first 2 years of past recoveries, labor received between 54.5% and 66.5% of the increase. This time, employees got 38.6%. Normally, corporate profits account for about 15% to 18% of national income growth. This time, corporate profits' share more than doubled, to 40.5%. The reasons for labor's poor showing are not hard to spot. Employment rolls have shrunk by 1.6M jobs since the recession's start in 2001 March. Productivity rose 4.4% in 2003. But workers are not sharing all that much in the benefits of that improved productivity. Adjusted for inflation, average hourly wages for non-farm workers, excluding managers and executives, rose 25 cents, to $15.35, between 2001 and 2003. That equates to an annual increase of less than 2%, or below the rate of inflation. Consultants Hewitt Associates, for example, found that the average salary increase in 2003 for overtime-exempt employees was 3.3%, the lowest in the consulting firm's 27 years of collecting this data. Meanwhile, the median cash compensation for chief executives was up more than 7%, and that's not including stock options and other long-term incentives, according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting."
Arthur Laffer _Heritage Foundation_
The Laffer Curve: Past, Present and Future
2004-06-02 04:46PDT (07:46EDT) (11:46GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US weekly retail chain sales fell 0.5%
"Sales at U.S. retail chains fell 0.5% for the second straight week last week, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS. The ICSC/UBS index is up 5% year-over-year."
2004-06-02 06:49PDT (09:49EDT) (13:49GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Business RoundTable sees stronger sales & hiring
"Top executives of U.S. corporations are more optimistic that the expanding U.S. economy will lead to higher sales, hiring and capital spending at their companies. The Business RoundTable's CEO economic out-look index rose to 96.5 in June from 94.3 in March, the organization said Wednesday... The group represents the chief executives of 150 major corporations with 10M employees and $3.7T in annual sales... 38% expect to hire more workers, up from 33% three months ago. 19% expect to reduce employment, down from 22% a month ago."
2004-06-02 14:01PDT (17:01EDT) (21:01GMT)
Jay Reeves _AP_/_San Francisco Chronicle_
HealthSouth execs convicted, not sentenced to prison for fraud
"a federal judge sentenced him to house arrest and probation for a huge financial fraud. Another one-time executive with the rehabilitation giant also avoided prison time in the scandal. Ex-CFO Malcolm 'Tadd' McVay said he was 'profoundly sorry' and 'totally embarrassed' over his role in a far-reaching scam the company estimates was worth some $3.4G... Clemon ruled that McVay's actions cost investors $400M. He then rejected prosecutors' request for imprisonment and sentenced McVay to 6 months of house arrest followed by 2 years on probation. Clemon also fined McVay $10K and ordered him to forfeit $50K gained through the fraud."
Eric Lichtblau _NY Times_
U.S. Spells Out Dangers Posed by Jose Padilla
"Newly declassified documents show Jose Padilla was even more dangerous than previously described."
2004-06-03 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
unemployment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 302,472 in the week ending May 29, an increase of 7,804 from the previous week. There were 351,890 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending May 22, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,717,875, a decrease of 16,981 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.6% and the volume was 3,297,674. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending May 15. 13,882 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending May 15... The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 15 were in Alaska (4.8%), Puerto Rico (4.2%), Oregon (3.3%), Pennsylvania (3.1%), New Jersey (3.0%), Michigan (2.9%), California (2.8%), Washington (2.8%), Massachusetts (2.7%), and Arkansas (2.6%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 22 were in Oklahoma (+2,368), Mississippi (+809), Pennsylvania (+591), Wisconsin (+545), and Florida (+384), while the largest decreases were in Michigan (-3,202), South Carolina (-1,685), Virginia (-1,283), California (-1,122), and Georgia (-837)."
2004-06-03 06:42PDT (09:42EDT) (13:42GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims show weaker US job market: Continuing claims exceed 3M
"The average number of new weekly seasonally adjusted claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 4,250 to 341K in the 4 weeks ended May 29, after falling to a 3-year low 2 weeks ago... Seasonally adjusted initial claims in the last week of May fell by 6K to 339K, slightly above the 335K expected by economists on Wall Street but the lowest level seen in 3 weeks. The previous week's figure was revised to 345K from 344K... In the first 4 months of the year, the nation's economy has [allegedly] created, on average, 217K jobs a month... In a separate report on Thursday, Monster said its on-line employment index rose to 128 in May from 125 in April, with the largest increases occurring in agriculture and forestry, accommodation and food services, finance and insurance, transportation and warehousing, and manufacturing. The Monster index has risen for 5 months in a row. Also reported Thursday, the [seasibakkt adjusted] number of American workers receiving unemployment checks rose by 65K to 3M in the week ended May 22, a 5-week high. The [seasonally adjusted] 4-week average of continuing claims rose by 22K to 2.96M. The insured unemployment rate rose to 2.4% from 2.3%."
2004-06-03 09:36PDT (12:36EDT) (16:36GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Factory orders fell 1.7% in April
census bureau report
"Shipments from factories fell 0.5%, the sharpest decline since August, while inventories rose 0.4% in April. March's factory orders were revised to a 5.0% gain from the initial estimate of a 4.3% gain."
Michael Janofsky _NY Times_
EPA Nears Pact on Waste by Processors of Livestock
"The EPA is close to reaching an agreement that would lay the ground-work for the first federal emission standards for companies that process millions of pigs, cows and chickens."
James P. Miller _Morning Call_
ISG is making steel where failure loomed
"Investment banker Wilbur Ross stood in the chandeliered ball-room of a Cleveland hotel last week, addressing the first-ever annual share-holder meeting of International Steel Group Inc... Ross has done it 'by buying assets on the cheap by getting a revised labor contract that sharply reduces costs', says independent analyst Charles Bradford, of Bradford Research/Soleil Securities Corp... In 2001, Ross left Rothschild to launch his own firm, W.L. Ross & Co., which aimed to buy up troubled companies... 'Legacy costs' is the industry phrase for the promises steel-makers made in earlier decades to provide retirees with health-care coverage and life-long pensions. As those promises proved increasingly hard to keep -- many older steel companies were paying benefits to 6 or 8 retired workers for every active employee -- U.S. steel-makers big and small began heading to bankruptcy court... LTV's collapse threw about 7,500 employees out of work, and more than 80K retirees lost their company-provided health insurance... the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which makes good on failed companies' pension plans, agreed to absorb billions of dollars in pension obligations of LTV and other bankrupt steel-makers... Early in 2002, newly formed ISG acquired the LTV assets for a bargain-basement $325M. It then negotiated a new contract with the steel-workers union, agreeing to pay relatively generous wages and to cut workers in on future profits -- but demanding concessions on the myriad work rules that had long hampered operating efficiency... A few months after the LTV deal closed ISG paid a fire-sale $65M to acquire assets of another broken-down steel-maker, Acme Metals Inc. of south suburban Riverdale. Early in 2003, ISG shelled out $1.5G for Bethlehem Steel Corp., which was bankrupt but still operating at facilities in Burns Harbor, IN, and elsewhere... By the time the government dropped the controversial protections, [Red China's] insatiable industrial machine was soaking up the excess production that had long plagued the global steel industry, and the tariffs were hardly missed."
Brian Doherty _Reason_
Libertarian Party Stays the Course
"[Aaron] Russo, a former Bette Midler manager and Republican gubernatorial candidate in Nevada, fought an explicitly anti-status quo campaign within the LP, and lost. This might help answer his question. His loss represents, I would posit, a general sense on the part of the dedicated LP delegates that they are reasonably happy with the LP the way it is and has been. All they want is to see someone out on the campaign trail saying the things that they believe in, in a style they are comfortable with."
2004-06-04 08:12PDT (11:12EDT) (15:12GMT)
Chris Isidore _CNN_/_Money_
Job seekers aren't cheering: Americans believe jobs are hard to come by (graph)
"The latest consumer confidence survey by the Conference Board in May shows 30.6% believing that jobs are hard to find, almost twice as many as the 16.6% who believe jobs are plentiful."
2004-06-04 08:16PDT (11:16EDT) (15:16GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Seasonally adjusted US pay-rolls up by 248K: Unemployment rate remains 5.6%
"The nation's [seasonally adjusted] unemployment rate remained at 5.6% while the participation rate remained at 65.9%, according to the estimate by the Labor Department... In the past 3 months, the economy has created 947K jobs, the best 3-month gain since the spring of 2000. Pay-roll growth in April and March was revised higher by a total of 74K jobs. So far in 2004, the recovery has seen the creation of about 1.2M jobs, or an average of 238K a month, after shedding 2.7M between 2001 March and 2003 August... According to a survey of 400K business establishments, job growth was widespread across industries in May. Over the past 3 months, 75.4% of 278 industries have added workers... The average work-week stayed at 33.8 hours for the fifth month in a row in May. Total hours worked in the economy increased by 0.3%. Average hourly pay rose 5 cents or 0.3% to $15.64. Real wages are up 2.2% in the past year."
2004-06-04 10:45PDT (13:45EDT) (17:45GMT)
Marc Hebert _Ziff Davis_
"The software industry clearly is in dramatic upheaval. Some 90% of software start-ups have gone out of business, and many of the rest are likely doomed. Yes, newly funded software start-ups are required by venture capitalists to do their product development off-shore, and chief information officers are aggressively using off-shoring to reduce their operational IT costs. Meanwhile, the domestic IT services industry is being ravaged by deflation. Independent consultants today command half or less of their pre-2000 billing rates, as the labor arbitrage between the United States and India quickly erodes."
2004-06-04 13:13PDT (16:13EDT) (20:13GMT)
Michael Baron _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US Stocks gain on jobs data
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced almost 47 points, or 0.5%, to nearly 10,243, while the Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on roughly 18 points, or 0.9%, to finish at 1,979. At their peaks the indexes reached 10,302.08 and 1,995.50, respectively. The Dow's brief triple-digit gains came after a Federal Reserve official offered a reassurance that inflation can be contained. The performance enabled the blue-chip index to close higher for the week, rising about 55 points, but the Nasdaq fell short, losing roughly 8 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.5% to 1,122.51, and the Russell 2000 Index of small-cap stocks gained 0.9% to 567.75... Computer Associates said Friday Sanjay Kumar has decided to leave the company. Kumar was named chief software architect in April when he stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer amid a federal probe and a guilty plea to accounting fraud by from former CFO Ira Zar..."
Stephanie Strom _NY Times_
Some Alumni Balk Over Harvard's Pay to Money Managers
"An alumnus of the university wants Harvard to put management of its $19.3G endowment up for competitive bid."
Steve Lohr _NY Times_
Ex-Executives of Symbol Technologies Charged With Fraud
"Seven former executives of Symbol Technologies were charged in a suspected accounting fraud scheme that a federal prosecutor called 'breath-taking in its scope'."
The Truth about Tiananmen
"After 15 years, [Red China's] leaders still pretend that the Tiananmen movement was a violent counter-revolutionary rebellion that endangered [Red China's] security and its future. By not acknowledging that the brutal suppression was a tragic mistake, [Red China] keeps Tiananmen an unhealed wound. For the generation that lived through it, and especially for those whose lives and families were abruptly torn apart, there can be no moving on until that wound is recognized. For others, the Tiananmen taboo feeds the suspicion that [Red China's] rulers will always put preserving their own power ahead of the truth and the interests of ordinary people."
Kate McCann _AP_/_Boston Globe_
Libertarian presidential nominee, Michael Badnarik, is member of Free State Project
"Libertarian presidential nominee Michael Badnarik, a Texas computer programmer, may soon become a New Hampshire Porcupine. The 49-year-old Austin resident is a member of the Free State Project, a movement to bring 20K like-minded people to New Hampshire to fight against big government and for individual freedom. The porcupine, the project's logo, is intended to show that project members can be friendly and cuddly, but prickly when stepped on... Amanda Phillips described him as an anti-war constitutionalist who was very much in favor of limited government."
Donald L. Kohn federal reserve governor to the National Economists Club
OutLook for Inflation
"Inflation has picked up this year, and by enough to raise questions in the minds of some about whether it might be on a rising trend that poses a risk to price stability. Total consumer price inflation as measured by the chain price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) has risen from 1.4% over the 12 months of last year to an annual rate of 3.0% over the first 4 months of 2004. Of course, a portion of this acceleration is due to the faster increase in energy prices this year. But the strengthening in price increases has not been confined to energy markets. PCE prices excluding food and energy have risen at an annual rate of 1.7% this year, up from 0.8% last year. The consumer price index has shown a similar pattern of acceleration. The recent shift up in inflation can be seen not just in the price indexes but also in attitudes, anecdotes, and expectations. Businesses report that the prices of many inputs to the production process are increasing, and they also sense a return of 'pricing power' that has allowed them to pass on at least some of these cost increases to their customers; my impression is that of late a greater number of stories in general-circulation newspapers have focused on rising prices and their effect on households; and expectations by economists and households of near-term inflation have moved higher."
Jon Chavez _Toledo Blade_
M$ to close 177-worker unit in Findlay, OH
"came to northwest Ohio 3 years ago, yesterday said it would pull out, closing its business software unit in Findlay that employs 177. Most of the high-paying jobs will be gone by the end of the month, and the center is expected to be vacant in the short term. However, a new local software firm is expected to hire 70 of those workers... built and opened just 17 months ago... The Redmond, WA, firm said it was reorganizing and consolidating its business software unit and that the move was not because of productivity or quality problems at the Findlay development center. The firm also is cutting 27 jobs in Fargo, ND, and 12 in Denmark in the same unit as Findlay... Company Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer will assume oversight of the unit, which sells programs for accounting and customer orders mainly to companies with fewer than 1K employees. The firm plans to invest $10G in the next 5 years to sell more to small businesses, a market the company said may generate $10G in annual sales by 2010. The announcement to Findlay workers yesterday was made the same week Bank One said it would cut 121 white-collar jobsand the same year Marathon Oil said it would cut about 200 office jobs... The software giant three years ago promised 250 jobs at the 42,300-square foot center that housed programmers, support technicians, and administrative workers. It had 215 workers there when it opened, about that many in January, but since lost about 35... The Findlay operation began in 1980 as Solomon Software, a developer of software for small and mid-sized businesses involved in online transactions. It was bought in 2000 by its chief rival, Great Plains, in turn acquired in 2001 by M$ for $1.1G to increase sales to smaller firms. Within a year, M$ said it would build a $5.7M office in Findlay, desiring to stay to retain programmers and other high-tech workers it knew might not want to move... Gary Harpst, Jack Ridge, and Vernon Strong, who are starting Plumbline Solutions... The 3 devout Christian men founded Solomon Software. Mr. Harpst said he plans to quickly hire 70 of the workers and add 20 more by the end of the year."
2004-06-05 13:58PDT (16:58EDT) (20:58GMT)
Gary Olson _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Ronald Reagan dead at age 93
"Ronald Reagan, 40th president of the United States, died Saturday at his home in California. He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease, first disclosed to the nation 10 years ago. His hard-line defense policies were credited with putting pressure on the Soviet Union, leading to its dissolution in 1989. Domestically, his tax-cut policies were credited with spawning an economic recovery after years of stagnant growth and inflation. Reagan's body is expected to be taken to his presidential library in Simi Valley, California, then flown to Washington where he will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda, according to the Associated Press."
Nichols Defense Offers List of Mitigating Factors: Reno, Clinton, Potts, Horiuchi, Whitcomb et al. Yet To Be Tried
"Lawyers for Terry L. Nichols listed more than 20 mitigating factors that they want to present to jurors, who will be deciding whether to sentence Mr. Nichols to life in prison or death."
Matt Richtel _NY Times_
Staking a Claim in the Silicon Valley
"The average house price has soared to $469K in East Palo Alto, a former crime capital of the nation that is now one of the few affordable places in Silicon Valley."
Randall Stross _NY Times_
What's Google's Secret Weapon? An Army of PhDs (with perverted/defective/deranged ethics)
"The search technology company's employees include a former rocket scientist and a former brain surgeon."
David Brooks _NY Times_
Circling the Wagons
"Political party affiliation often shapes values, not the other way around."
Stephen Dinan _Washington Times_
profits up, compensation stagnant
"although economic growth is strong and corporate profits are growing, workers' salaries and wages are not, even as costs for health care and school tuitions go up. In addition, with the manufacturing sector exporting jobs over-seas, those laid-off workers end up in new, lower-paying jobs. Lee Price, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), said wages usually lag behind job growth in a recession, which is probably why Americans still feel the economy is doing poorly... [EPI] found a 62.2% increase in corporate profits during the past 3 years, as opposed to a 2.8% increase in labor compensation. The average of the past 8 recoveries was a 13.9% increase in corporate profits and a 9.9% increase in labor compensation... Wesbury added that personal income is up 5.7% in the last year, and proprietary income -- which covers sole proprietors and small-business owners -- is up 11.7% , versus 2.3% inflation."
George Avalos _Contra Costa Times_
job expansion continues, but compensation still lags
"Since President Bush took office, the economy has lost about 1.2M pay-roll jobs. But last August, that employment deficit stood at 2.6M jobs [both based on the establishment survey]. At this year's pace of job creation, it's possible the president could preside over job gains by October. Despite the healthy gains, some analysts remained critical because they believe new employees aren't making much money... average hourly pay rose 5 cents, or 0.3%, to $15.64. Real wages, including the erosion caused by inflation, are up 2.2% over the last year... Analysts were heartened that many of the job gains came in sectors that pay well."
Manuel G. Serapio _Rocky Mountain News_
IT is not so bad: Information technology out-sourcing by high-tech sector in Colorado is smaller than previously believed
"Although the study will not be completed for several months, a number of findings already are worth noting. These interim findings are based on interviews with 18 business executives (CEOs, CIOs, CTOs and heads of IT departments) of Colorado companies in telecommunications, IT consulting, computer software, financial services and others. These companies include some of Colorado's largest employers, as well as a few mid-size and entrepreneurial firms. I also have interviewed companies that provide international out-sourcing services in IT as a core business. More than 60% of the companies report that they are engaged in some form of international out-sourcing, such as owning a subsidiary in India, working with a U.S. company that out-sources to international locations or doing business with a foreign-owned out-sourcing company. But for most companies in this study, IT out-sourcing operations represent only a small part (1% to 5%) of their business, whether measured in terms of overall employment, employment in the IT department, IT budget, revenues generated or projects conducted."
2004-06-05 22:21PDT (2004-06-06 01:21EDT) (2004-06-06 15:21GMT)
Dick Satran _Macon GA Daily News_
Goldilocks Economy Could Be Pure Fantasy
"A not-too-hot and not-too-cold economic story has warmed the hearts of Wall Street investors for months. Stocks rose Friday after the release of a long-awaited jobs report that showed an economy that still isn't growing fast enough to require drastic tightening by Alan Greenspan's Federal Reserve. But Wall Street's Goldilocks tale might need a bit of revising soon... As corporate hiring continues to surge, wage demands could add to the inflationary pressures already presented by rising oil and commodity prices. Even if that doesn't rattle the Fed into taking draconian actions, the rising costs will cut corporate results starting in the second half of the year, analysts say... Corporate profits will be increasingly squeezed by rising costs, which will also lead to sagging demand from sticker-shocked consumers, analysts say."
2004-06-06 07:25PDT (10:25EDT) (14:25GMT)
_Mac News Network_
Steve Jobs ranks #1 in CEO compensation in California
"Steve Jobs ranked at the top of California's highest-paid chief executives, despite earning only $1 in salary per year, according to _The Los Angeles Times: ;This year it was stock grants that put Jobs on top in The Times_' annual survey of executive compensation at California's 100 largest publicly traded companies. His earnings for 2003: $74.75M, thanks to Apple's decision to give him 5M restricted shares of stock. Jobs also earns $1 a week, or $52 a year, as CEO of Pixar [and did not] receive substantial stock options or perks at Pixar...[Apple] reimbursed Jobs $403,766 for business use of the jet in 2003 [while] Pixar reimbursed Jobs $89K for jet use in 2002.'"
2004-06-06 14:25PDT (17:25EDT) (21:25GMT)
Statins may help fight cancer
"The latest data, released Sunday at a large cancer conference, found that people who took statins for at least 5 years appeared to cut their risk of colon cancer in half. Earlier work has shown reductions in breast and prostate cancer as well as across-the-board cancer risk... To be convinced, doctors say they would need to see a carefully controlled experiment designed specifically to show that statins reduce cancer risk. The data so far are based largely on watching what happens to people who go on statins for reasons that have nothing to do with cancer. The latest of these studies, directed by Dr. Stephen Gruber of the University of Michigan, was presented at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. His team, working in Israel, looked at 1,708 people who had colon cancer and 1,737 who did not. Those on statins for at least five years had about a 50% reduction in the risk of this malignancy. Adjusting for other factors that could possibly explain the difference, such as better health habits, did not change the strong link between statins and lowered risk. Also, those who took other varieties of cholesterol drugs had no cancer protection."
Race to Recovery Picking Up Speed
"recoveries tend to resemble one another. First comes the strong rally in stock prices... this is followed by a boom in corporate profits... workers to begin sharing in the recovery. It starts simply, as it has this time, with more jobs... And not far behind comes the long-awaited increase in wages, salaries, bonuses, overtime hours and benefits. A revised report from the Labor Department this week showed that hourly compensation was 2.7% higher in the first quarter than it was a year ago, even after adjusting for inflation."
Timothy L. O'Brien _NY Times_
Lock-Boxes, Iraqi Loot and a Trail to the Fed
"American soldiers in Iraq have recovered about $650M in shrink-wrapped green-backs. How could large stacks of new bills find their way to Baghdad?... Most of the money that turned up in Baghdad was new, bore sequential serial numbers and was stored with documents indicating that it had once been held in Iraq's central bank. One fact particularly bothered Mr. Baxter: the money had markings from 3 Fed banks, including his own in New York. Iraq, of course, had been subject to more than a decade of trade sanctions by the United States and the United Nations, so large piles of dollars, especially new bills, were not supposed to have found their way to Baghdad... The investigation led quickly to the vaults of 4 Western banks that were among a select group handling the sensitive task of distributing freshly printed dollars over-seas: the Bank of America, the HSBC Group, the Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS. Several other commercial banks and foreign central banks, which the Fed did not name, also served as stopovers along Baghdad's money trail, according to a written account Mr. Baxter provided to the Senate Banking Committee about 2 weeks ago. None of the 4 main banks the Fed scrutinized had sent currency directly to Iraq. But as the inquiry wore on last year, investigators learned that UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, had transferred $4G to $5G to 4 other countries that were under sanctions: Libya, Iran, Cuba and the former Yugoslavia. Over an eight-year period, UBS employees had quietly shipped the money to those countries from a vault at the Zurich airport, undetected by Fed auditors who made regular visits to the site. Early last month, the Federal Reserve Board fined UBS $100M for the currency violations. It was the second-largest penalty ever levied by America's central bank, surpassed only by a $200M fine imposed on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, or B.C.C.I., in 1991 for violating American banking laws... Of the $680G in cash that the Fed has in circulation, more than $400G, or nearly 60%, is outside the United States."
Patrick McGeehan _NY Times_
Walk Away. Keep the Prize.
"As Mel A. Karmazin's departure from Viacom Inc. reminded investors last week, only senior executives can win the jackpot by quitting."
Dimitri Vassilaros _Pittsburgh Tribune-Review_
Badnarik choosing principles over pay-checks
"[When he won the presidential nomination] Badnarik was almost broke. Putting it mildly. 'I was concerned that I did not have enough money to drive to Atlanta.', he said matter-of-factly in this age of $2-a-gallon gasoline. He was down to his last few dollars in his wallet -- nothing in the bank, no equity in a home -- when he received enough campaign contributions from his newsletter subscribers to fill the tank. But it was not enough money for the $99-a-day rate at the convention hotel... Badnarik, who earned a chemistry degree in Indiana, worked in Monroeville in the early 80s. He was the senior programmer for a nuclear control room simulator. He also helped develop a simulator project for the stealth bomber, and was a senior trainer at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California... This candidate has chosen principles over pay-checks. 'When choosing between the lesser of two evils and your candidate wins, you are still left with evil.', he said about today's de facto two-party political system. Even though money is tight, Badnarik and his party will not apply for federal campaign finance funds. And unlike the two dominant parties that take tens of millions in federal dollars to subsidize their conventions, Libertarians insist on paying their own way. Always. 'Our principle [on this] is that we do not take other people's tax money for our own benefit.', Badnarik said. President Badnarik first would right-size federal government and increase personal responsibility and individual liberty by trying to repeal the 16th Amendment, essentially abolishing the IRS."
2004-06-07 04:09PDT (07:09EDT) (11:04GMT)
AmeriDebt Files for Bankruptcy
"Credit-counseling company AmeriDebt, charged by federal regulators with using deceptive marketing to bilk hundreds of thousands of customers, has filed for bankruptcy, the company announced. Christine Kraly, a spokeswoman for the Germantown-based company, said Saturday's filing for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Greenbelt won't affect AmeriDebt's current operations."
2004-06-07 09:59PDT (12:59EDT) (16:59GMT)
Chris Plummer _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
The secret to resume writing is honesty & brevity
"A new study by recruiting firm Christian and Timbers found 23% of executive job applicants misrepresent their accomplishments on their resumes. 52% of the fabricators claimed to hold a college degree for which they only did partial course-work -- even though that lie's easily exposed with a call to the school... some companies hire the outright liars, ignoring their ethical deficiencies."
2004-06-07 15:36PDT (18:36EDT) (22:36GMT)
Apple Unveiled Wireless Station to Stream Music
"Apple Computer Inc. on Monday unveiled a mobile wireless base station that lets users play digital music from their iTunes music libraries on a Macintosh or Windoze computer over home stereo systems. The device, called AirPort Express, is slightly larger than the power adapter for a Macintosh notebook computer and works with a new version of Apple's iTunes digital juke-box software."
Donna Fuscaldo _Dow Jones_/_USA Today_
Merrill calls again for Hewlett-Packard to split in two
"With Hewlett-Packard hosting its meeting with analysts later this week, Merrill Lynch analyst Steven Milunovich took the opportunity to call yet again for the company to split into two... He said the 2 most obvious moves would be to split HP by product into printers and computers or by market into consumer and enterprise."
Former Mitsubishi executives face criminal charges
"Kanagawa and Yamaguchi prefectural police will jointly pursue criminal charges against up to 6 former executives of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. over the death of the driver of an MMC truck in 2002 October that was caused by a defective clutch box, it was learned Monday. Criminal charges will be brought against former MMC President Katsuhiko Kawasoe, 67, and former vice presidents, including Takashi Usami, 63, also a former chairman of MMC spin-off Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp., and former MMC executives in charge of product quality assurance, and of its trucks and buses, on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death, according to a source."
Richard Luscombe _The Scotsman_
Enron executives finally go to trial
"More than two and a half years after the melt-down of the energy giant Enron in a scandal that cost 20K jobs worldwide and left debts of $66.4G, (£36.12G) the first 2 executives from the disgraced company go on trial for fraud and conspiracy today... Nobody is arguing that the financial executive Daniel Boyle and accountant Sheila Kahanek, plus 4 fellow defendants from Enron's bankers, Merrill Lynch, were directly responsible for the firm's collapse and subsequent bankruptcy. But the scam they are alleged to have pulled, which involved the $12M (£6.52M) sale of 2 Nigerian power-generating barges, was typical of the kind of accounting skullduggery that inflated profits, disguised debts and eventually led to the implosion of the Enron empire in 2001 October."
ManPOWER Israel says demand for high-tech workers up 6% in May
"Manpower Israel subsidiary Manpower Information Technologies (MIT) reports that demand for high-tech employees rose by 6% in 2004 May, compared with April, and was 50% higher than in 2003 May. The figures are based on an MIT survey of help-wanted ads."
2004-06-08 03:21PDT (06:21EDT) (10:21GMT)
Marilyn Elias _USA Today_
Scientists say "boot camp" can whip brains into shape
"M says her memory is now razor-sharp, thanks to a 2-week 'boot camp for the brain' created by Gary Small, a psychiatrist and director of the UCLA Center on Aging. Small's program for improving memory combines 4 elements: a special diet, daily physical activity, stress release and memory exercises. It's all explained in his new book, _The Memory Prescription_, co-written with Gigi Vorgan... The diet is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in nuts and some fish. It also includes lots of fruits and vegetables and is fairly low in fat, with 3 meals and 3 snacks a day. The brief stretching, walking and relaxation exercises are done several times a day. And the 'memory aerobics', aimed at keeping the brain nimble, take about 15 minutes a day, Small says."
2004-06-08 05:37PDT (08:37EDT) (12:37GMT)
Stephen J. Hirschfield & Stephan Rosenfield _US NewsWire_
"America at Work" Poll Presented by Employment Law Alliance: Off-shoring, Mad in the USA
"The latest national survey by the Employment Law Alliance (ELA) reveals a nation deeply divided over the practice of off-shoring by American businesses with nearly 60% of those polled saying companies that send work over-seas that could be done by US workers should be punished by the federal government, it was announced today. ELA, the world's largest independent network of labor and employment attorneys, selected the controversial out-sourcing practice known as off-shoring as the subject of its latest 'America At Work' poll because, according to ELA CEO Stephen J. Hirschfeld, Esq., 'it may be the most volatile issue in the American work-place today with profound economic, social and geo-political consequences'. Conducted by the Media, Pennsylvania-based market research firm of Reed, Haldy, McIntosh & Associates, the ELA survey found that:
2004-06-08 08:41PDT (11:41EDT) (15:41GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Greenspan says Fed is "prepared to do what is required" to fight inflation
"Greenspan noted, however, that the Fed could become more aggressive if inflationary pressures mount. 'Should that judgment prove misplaced, however, the FOMC is prepared to do what is required to fulfill our obligations to achieve the maintenance of price stability so as to ensure maximum sustainable economic growth.', he said. In a question-and-answer session following his satellite-delivered speech, Greenspan stressed there is no evidence from current economic indicators that would push the FOMC to raise rates at a more aggressive pace... Businesses are becoming more confident about the economy and are now hiring 'with some vigor', Greenspan said. At the same time, a large proportion of the new hires are temporary workers, an indication that 'business caution remains a feature of the economic landscape', he said."
2004-06-08 12:09PDT (15:09EDT) (19:09GMT)
Herb Greenberg _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Is Take-Two just a one-hit wonder?
"Whenever you wonder why this column is often so skeptical, think of Take-Two Interactive. Today the company sliced its fiscal 2004 earnings guidance for the third time in 3 months -- the fourth time in 6 months. Take-Two also guided down (yet again) for its third fiscal quarter, while the second quarter loss was double earlier guidance. This is where the thing gets dicey: The implied fourth-quarter guidance is lower than it was when first fiscal earnings were announced on March 4 and compared with revised guidance on April 14. No wonder Take-Two is saying that it's more enthusiastic than ever about the prospects for next version of Grand Theft Auto -- dubbed GTA: San Andreas -- which is expected to ship 2 weeks before the fiscal year ends on October 30."
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Those jobs numbers contain more bad news for college graduates
"176K of the jobs -- or 71% -- are concentrated in low-paying domestic services that cannot be out-sourced... Here is where the May jobs are: restaurants and bars 33K; health care and social assistance 36K; temporary help 31K; retail trade 19K; transportation and ware-housing 15K; financial activities 15K; real estate 9K; services to buildings and dwellings 8K; education 8K. This repeats the pattern of last month and, indeed, of every month in the new millennium. Our economy is not creating jobs that are part of the high tech global economy or that require university education... US firms might create 1M jobs for computer specialists, be they Indian, Chinese, East European or American, by 2012, but so far the economy is still losing computer jobs. There are 8K fewer than a year ago and 223K fewer than in 2001 January... Pundits are fond of citing 'studies' paid for by [off-shorers] that 'only' 3.3M US jobs will be out-sourced in the next 10 years. For an economy that has lost 1M jobs since 2001 January, this is a crippling amount. For an economy that has only 1.1M jobs in 'computer systems design and related' and only 1.26M jobs in 'architectural and engineering services', 3.3M more jobs to be out-sourced is a devastating blow to students who pursue difficult [curricula] in college in hopes of a career."
Thomas Hoffman _ComputerWorld_
tech worker shortage propaganda
"Meta Group Inc. According to the 2004 _IT Staffing and Compensation Guide_, which is based on surveys of more than 650 large and mid-size companies, 45% of the companies surveyed plan to pay premiums for IT skills that are difficult to find or retain. Skill shortages are most acute in highly specialized areas such as wireless computing and information security, according to the Stamford, CT-based market research and consulting firm."
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"In 2002, the United States lost over 500K jobs in high-tech..."
Libertarian Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik to Address Rallies at G8 Summit
"The Libertarian Party's presidential nominee Michael Badnarik, a constitutional scholar from Texas, will address attendees twice on June 8... 'Most American voters do not know what a constitutional government should look like simply because they haven't witnessed one in action for decades.', said Panos [SC LP chair]... The 30th G8 Summit will really be held at secluded and heavily protected Sea Island, Georgia, just off the coast of Brunswick, on June 8-10, 2004. However, many summer tourists are still flocking to Savannah in hopes of a glimpse of delegates and the protesters that always attend the G-8 to make their opinions known. The United States assumed the Presidency of the G8 from France at the beginning of 2004. The G8 Summit brings together the Leaders of the world's major industrial democracies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Union also attends the G8 Summit, represented by the President of the European Commission and the Leader of the country holding the Presidency of the European Council."
Mike Tarsala _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Red China may subsidize Intel plant there
"'I'm on the advisory board of a major high-tech company, which is now considering making about a $6G investment that involves about 7K jobs.', Clyde Prestowitz said at a trade conference in Morocco, adding that [Red China] had offered $3G toward the cost of new plants... At Intel, a spokesman said the company had not announced any plans and could not easily build new plants in [Red China] because of U.S. export restrictions on the technology required for making certain chips."
Erika Morphy _NewsFactor_
Sinking Morale Plagues IT Staffers
"The current atmosphere of cost cutting and job insecurity is driving down employee morale, says Meta Group in a new report that discusses out-sourcing of IT jobs... _2004 IT Staffing & Compensation Guide_... Meta's research indicates that only a small percentage of firms -- 20% -- are out-sourcing such functions... moving expensive work off-shore in order to achieve savings can result in unexpected costs, according to Jonathan Dharmapalan, director of Deloitte Research's technology, media and telecommunications group... Among the 650-plus companies surveyed, more than 72% indicated that low IT employee morale was a serious issue in their organizations -- a problem that could spell longer-range turn-over, lower productivity, and less overall share-holder value to the organization as a whole, if not addressed..."
Matt Richtel _NY Times_
Game Maker Misses Earnings Target and Cuts 2004 Forecast
"Financial disappointments continue to take a toll on Take-Two Interactive, maker of the hit video game Grand Theft Auto."
Jon Markman _NBC_
The nation's worst CEOs (table of worst-performing stocks) "the over-paid and under-achieving heads of many public companies... David Dorman... Carly Fiorina... Larry Ellison... AES, Calpine, TECO Energy... Endo Pharmaceuticals... MasTec... Teva Pharmaceutical..."
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
unemployment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 308,443 in the week ending June 5, an increase of 5,216 from the previous week. There were 421,190 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending May 29, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,650,526, a decrease of 52,399 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.7% and the volume was 3,438,523. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending May 22. 11,459 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending May 22... The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 22 were in Alaska (4.4%), Puerto Rico (4.3%), Oregon (3.3%), Michigan (3.0%), Pennsylvania (3.0%), New Jersey (2.9%), California (2.7%), Washington (2.7%), Arkansas (2.6%), and Massachusetts (2.6%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending May 29 were in Texas (+2,474), Georgia (+2,226), Minnesota (+1,009), Illinois (+816), and Florida (+780), while the largest decreases were in Oklahoma (-2,192), California (-1,531), Mississippi (-425), Alabama (-406), and Wisconsin (-357)."
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims at 6-week high: Continuing claims at 3-year low as eligibility of many is exhausted
"The [seasonally adjusted] average number of workers filing initial state unemployment claims over the past 4 weeks rose by 4,750 to a 6-week high of 346K last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Initial claims in the most recent week rose by 12K to 352K, a 7-week high, the agency said... Meanwhile, the number of Americans receiving unemployment checks fell by 106K in the week ending May 29 to 2.88M, the lowest level in 3 years..."
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Personal debt in US grew by 8.6%
Federal Reserve's "Flow of Funds" report
"Outstanding debt in the United States grew at an 8.6% annual rate in the first quarter, up from a 6.4% pace seen in the fourth quarter, the Federal Reserve said Thursday."
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US government posts $62.5G deficit in May
"The short-fall compares with a larger $88.9G deficit in the same month last fiscal year. The Congressional Budget Office had estimated a deficit of $65G earlier this month... Outlays fell 7.5% from a year ago, while receipts rose 11.6%. Outlays totaled $177.9G in May, compared with $192.3G a year ago. Receipts totaled $115.5G in May, compared $103.4G a year ago. Indeed, year-to-date, the nation is running a $344.3G deficit, a larger gap than the $290.9G deficit in the first 8 months of the last fiscal year, Treasury said. The interest on Treasury debt securities was $20.4G in May, about 12% of total federal budget outlays."
Ed Frauenheim _Ziff Davis_
Lost your Job? Don't look over-seas.
Ocala Star Banner
Out-Sourcing Directly Causes 9% of US Lay-Offs: Fox News/Reuters
"A tiny fraction of workers hit by mass lay-offs earlier this year lost their jobs because of off-shoring, according to research released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor. The department said that in the first quarter, 4,633 non-farm workers in the private sector lost their jobs for at least 31 days due to the shift of work outside the country. That was less than 2% of the 239,361 workers affected by extended mass lay-offs, according to the department... The statistics reflect lay-offs only at companies employing at least 50 workers, where at least 50 people filed for unemployment insurance during a 5-week period and the lay-off lasted more than 30 days. [I.e. it does not count any of those laid off who did not apply for unemployment compensation insurance benefits, nor those from small firms, not any of those laid off over the previous 4 years of the current depression.]"
Tomi Kilgore _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks settle for modest gains
"U.S. stocks ended modestly higher Thursday as a multi-billion-dollar retail deal and a positive outlook on semi-conductor industry sales provided a positive back-drop, helping off-set an intra-day spike in crude prices. Data showing import prices rose by the biggest amount in over a year and mixed jobless claims data were mostly ignored... Financial exchanges will be closed Friday, as Wall Street observes the funeral of former president Ronald Reagan. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended a fraction of its session high, rising 41.66 points, or 0.4%, to 10,410, with 21 of 30 components contributing to gains. The blue chip barometer ended with a 1.6% gain on the week. The lack of activity was punctuated by an extremely narrow intra-day trading range of 10,368 and 10,410... The S&P 500 Index was up 5.14 points, or 0.5% better, at 1,136.47, putting in a 1.2% on gain on the week while the technology-friendly Nasdaq Composite Index stepped up 9.26 points, or 0.5%, to 1,999.87. The index rose 1.1% in the last week. In the broader market, advancing stocks edged past decliners by an 18 to 14 margin on the NYSE, but were tied at 15 on the Nasdaq. The recent string of relatively low-volume sessions was poised to continue, as 1.2G shares had turned over on the Big Board and 1.3G shares changed hands on the Nasdaq."
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
12 danger zones
"Few travelers realize [Nepal] the birth-place of Buddha also is playing host to a Maoist rebellion, making it one of the more dangerous tourist spots on the globe... Iraq tops the list of 5 most perilous countries, followed by Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, according to the survey of Association of Corporate Travel Executives members. But Colombia, Turkey, North Korea, Spain and Egypt were cited as the top emerging hazard zones, according to the survey."
Nasscom pro-off-shoring lobbying aimed at security & privacy issues
"NASSCOM President Kiran Karnik told a press conference on the side-lines of the IT-enabled Services-Business Process Out-Sourcing Strategy Summit at Bangalore today... Among the measures proposed by Nasscom is the touchy question of gathering and sharing information about employees working for Indian companies which serve customers in countries such as the United States."
_Home Channel News_
Lowe's pushes off-shore sourcing: Sriving to be worse
"More than 50% of products sold in Lowe's stores were made off-shore -- and the retailer is striving to increase that number, according to Dale Pond, Lowe's executive vp-merchandising and marketing, who spoke at the Piper Jaffray 24th Annual Consumer Conference, held here June 9 and 10 at the New York Palace Hotel. '4 or 5 years ago we took a team through the stores and looked at every item, and 35% of the items in the stores were sourced off-shore.', Pond recalled. By 2002, Pond said the figure moved to about 45%, and it's over 50% today, with most of the off-shore shift leaning toward [Red China]."
_Canadian Press_/_Business Edge_
Business RoundTable CEOs fume over flaws in software they purchase
"In a new lobbying campaign, the Business Roundtable urges technology companies to improve software design, make computer programs easier to manage, and continue support for products after updated versions are released... The big-business group's assertions mirror criticisms by consumer organizations and security experts."
Paul McDougall _Information Week_
Accenture fights to retain $10G federal contract
"Officials at Bermuda-based Accenture [formerly US-based Anderson Consulting] insist the company pays its fair share of U.S. taxes and therefore shouldn't be stripped of its multibillion-dollar contract to build a high-tech border-control system for the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security last week tapped the IT services and consulting firm to build the US-Visit (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) system under a deal that could be worth up to $10G over 10 years. But late Wednesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment that would prohibit Accenture from building the system because it's a foreign-based corporation... Accenture was established in 1989 as Andersen Consulting but changed its name after it spun off from accounting firm Arthur Andersen in 2000 [after fraud charges in connection with Enron]. At that time, the company formally incorporated itself in Bermuda."
Susan Kuchinskas _Internet News_
RFID Privacy Gap
"The drive to place RFID tags on consumer products is relentless, but IT leaders say public policy on how to use and secure the information they'll provide is lagging behind... The issue was discussed Thursday during 'Privacy Futures', a conference sponsored by the International Association of Privacy Professionals and online security software company, TRUSTe... EPCglobal, a not-for-profit industry organization that is building a global network to track RFID tagged products... The FTC will hold its first public work-shop on RFID and privacy later this month... Last year, Gillette tested the use of RFID tags to trigger cameras when shoppers removed razor blades from store shelves, while Procter & Gamble used a similar set-up with video cameras to watch consumers interact with packages of lip-stick... HP... plans to roll out RFID in all aspects of its global operations by the end of this summer... In stores, retailers could track consumers' movements by way of tags embedded in loyalty cards, as German retailer METRO Group did in a demonstration store. That trial ended following consumer protests. Once products leave the store with RFID tags attached or embedded, they could create an 'RFID cloud' around a person, said Beth Givens, director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse."
_London Free Press_
Executives like key work kept in Canada
"Senior Canadian executives are loath to look outside Canada for software development or to out-source business processes such as pay-roll, staff benefits or inventory management, an Ipsos-Reid poll suggests. The study said 60% of the 603 companies surveyed were unwilling to out-source any software development and 88% said they wouldn't out-source business processes."
Lawrence Lasser takes $80M with him
"Former Putnam Investments chief executive Lawrence J. Lasser will walk away with nearly $80M as part of a settlement with his one-time employer, which blamed him for a mutual fund trading scandal that cost the company billions in assets. In a regulatory filing Thursday, Putnam's parent company, Marsh & McLennan, said Lasser would receive a cash payment representing $55M in fully vested compensation and $23M in compensation awarded, but not fully vested."
John Woolfolk _Forbes_
SBC refusal to process local phone switch to competitors declared illegal
"SBC Communications unfairly refused to process requests of customers who wanted to switch local phone service to a competitor but keep their high-speed Internet connection, a state regulatory judge has ruled. The ruling Wednesday by Anne E. Simon, an administrative law judge with the California Public Utilities Commission, was a victory for Telscape Communications, a Monrovia company serving the Spanish-speaking Latino market... SBC argued that it has always processed requests to switch local phone service but that federal regulators have said it does not have to offer DSL service to other companies' phone customers."
Greg Morcroft _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
NY AG Eliot Spitzer sub poenas 3 protection rackets
"MetLife, Aetna and Cigna on Friday became the latest firms sub-poenaed by New York state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in his office's on-going probe of the industry's compensation arrangements with brokerages."
James Brooke _NY Times_
Asian Scavengers Feed Red China's Hunger for Steel
"[Red China], once known as the Middle Kingdom, has become a massive magnet inexorably drawing scrap metal from across Asia."
Kate Lorenz _CareerBuilder_
Beautiful people are paid more
"Studies show attractive students get more attention and higher evaluations from their teachers, good-looking patients get more personalized care from their doctors, and handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts. But how much do looks matter at work? The ugly truth, according to economics professors Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Jeff Biddle of Michigan State University, is that plain people earn 5% to 10% less than people of average looks, who in turn earn 3% to 8% less than those deemed good-looking. These findings concur with other research that shows the penalty for being homely exceeds the premium for beauty and that, across all occupations, the effects are greater for men than women. A London Guildhall University survey of 11K 33-year-olds found that unattractive men earned 15% less than those deemed attractive, while plain women earned 11% less than their prettier counterparts... A study released last year by two professors at the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina found that tall people earn considerably more money throughout their careers than their shorter co-workers, with each inch adding about $789 a year in pay. A survey of male graduates of the University of Pittsburgh found that the tallest students' average starting salary was 12% higher than their shorter colleagues'."
Michael King _Austin TX Chronicle_
The Sayings of Michael Badnarik
"Recently nominated Libertarian Party presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, an Austin-based computer [programmer,] trainer and self-described constitutional scholar, was on the stump this week, 'addressing the G8 summit' - that is, speaking to a protest rally in Savannah, GA, near the restricted Sea Island summit site... The Second Amendment is 'not negotiable', and Badnarik refuses to get a Texas concealed-weapons permit - because 'rights do not require permission'. The USA PATRIOT Act: It violates the Fourth and Sixth Amendments (against unreasonable searches and closed trials). Affirmative action: 'Either we are all created equal or we are not... Affirmative action does almost as much harm as slavery.' Opposes: federal subsidies for agriculture, mass transit, public education, foreign aid of any kind, and all nonconstitutionally specified programs. 'We're going to stop taking their tax money [and] the people will become richer than their wildest dreams.'"
_Business Times of Asia_
US import prices and unemployment compensation insurance claims
"the Labor Department estimated yesterday in the first report on the politically sensitive topic that foreign out-sourcing cost 4,633 US jobs in the first 3 months of 2004. This figure represented about 2.5% of the 182,456 non-seasonal jobs cut over the January-March period, the agency said. Moving jobs within the US accounted for 9,985 lay-offs, or 5.5% of non-seasonal lay-offs. 76% of jobs moved were within the same company, although 36% of jobs moved over-seas were with a different company. A recent Goldman Sachs survey indicated US firms have moved 300K to 500K jobs off-shore in the past 3 years. Import prices climbed 1.6%, notching the biggest one-month rise since February of last year and the 8th consecutive monthly advance, after a revised 0.2% gain in April, the Labor Department said... Meanwhile, the number of Americans filing initial claims for jobless aid rose unexpectedly last week, the Labor Department said, and the rolling average rose to its highest level since late April. First-time claims for state unemployment benefits rose 12K to 352K in the week ended June 5. Economists consider claims near the 350K level as a token of an improving labour market."
Jonathan J. Higuera _Arizona Republic_
Workers not happy about off-shoring
"A national survey shows widespread discontent among U.S. workers about corporations sending jobs overseas and should serve as a wake-up call to employers, according to the survey's sponsor... That's one conclusion of the survey conducted for the Employment Law Alliance [ELA], a network of labor and employment attorneys... 58% of US workers believe that companies sending work overseas, or off-shoring, should be penalized by the federal government... While only 6% said they have lost a job because of off-shoring, 30% said they know someone who had lost a job because of off-shoring. 8% said they feel personally at risk of a losing a job because of off-shoring... In the ELA survey, conducted in late May, 52% said they would turn to government agencies or elected officials to address the issue, 37% said they would seek help from labor unions and 21% said they would be willing to turn to the courts for recourse. Those surveyed could choose more than one answer."
_Seattle Post Intelligencer_/_AP_
Fruit export executives are accused of dumping & falsifying records
"Executives of a fruit export company have been arraigned on federal charges that they sent under-priced fruit to Mexico and falsified inspection records. The 18-count indictment, handed down in U.S. District Court here, alleges that Yakima-based IM EX Trading Co. illegally exported 21 truck-loads of apples and other fruit in 1999, shortly after the United States and Mexico reached an anti-dumping agreement holding U.S. growers to a minimum export price."
UFJ eyes 50% cut in executive pay for 3 months
"The UFJ banking group plans to cut the compensation of its top executives by half from July through September to reflect their responsibility for incurring a 400G yen net loss for the banking group in fiscal 2003, ended March 31, group officials said Saturday. The measure will affect all executives above the corporate officer..."
Gregory Karp _Allentown Morning Call_
Average pay for area executives last year rose sharply, mirroring improving corporate profits
"In 2003, average pay among Lehigh Valley executives increased 31%. That average was driven higher by 10 of 54 executives who doubled their total pay from 2002. And 22 executives earned in excess of $1M last year. The Morning Call examined pay data for 64 top executives at 15 local companies. These companies issue publicly traded stock and must file executive compensation numbers with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission... Average pay was up 31%, while average profits increased 57%. The median pay raise -- for the middlemost executive in the survey -- was 10%, compared with a median rise in profits of 12%... stock owners saw the price of their shares rise 42% on average."
Kathy Kristof _Delaware News Journal_
Executive pay remains hot topic on minds of share-holders
Pocono PA Record
"This year, the median pay for chief executives topped $10M, experts said. That's more than 300 times the pay of the average manufacturing worker, according to the Boston-based group United for a Fair Economy. It wasn't always so. CEOs used to earn about 40 times the pay of manufacturing workers, said UFE's Scott Klinger. But in the past dozen years, a trend toward 'pay for performance' has caused executive pay-checks to soar. The theory was this: Executives would be encouraged to think more like share-holders if they were given economic rewards, such as stock options, that would pay off when the company prospered. The experiment has been hugely lucrative for executives, but it has been a disaster for share-holders -- and sometimes for employees. Not only are share-holders paying more for often dubious performance compensation, but experts maintain that some companies set increasingly easy performance criteria to ensure that executives always hit their performance targets... Graef Crystal, a San Diego compensation specialist who sheepishly admits that he structured one of the nation's first pay-for-performance packages. Yet year after year, in study after study, Crystal has only been able to find one direct link between performance and pay. It happens when companies provide unusually large grants of stock options, he said. More bad news: The correlation is negative. Crystal said that over a 5-year period, companies providing mega-grants of stock options are highly likely to under-perform when compared with their peers."
Ginger Thompson & Sandra Ochoa _NY Times_
An Illegal Immigrant's Grim Sea Voyage
"A reporter's journey as a client of smugglers provides a look inside the pipe-line that carries untold numbers to the U.S."
Gambling on Voting
"If election officials want to convince voters that electronic voting can be trusted, they should be willing to make it at least as secure as slot machines."
Tim Richardson _The Register_
Chinese cyber-dissident sentenced to 4 years of house arrest for pro-freedom postings
"Chinese cyber-dissident, Du Daobin, has been sentenced to 4 years under house arrest after being convicted for posting pro-democracy articles on the Net. Du's trial in Xiaogan, in the central province of Hubei, on Friday lasted just 15 minutes, during which time he was not allowed to speak. Although Du accepts that he posted 26 essays on democracy and respect for human rights, he refuses to admit that it was a crime or that he was guilty of subversion."
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US retail sales were up 1.2% in May, 0.3% excluding vehicles & gasoline
census bureau report
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Trade deficit set another record in April: imports rose, exports fell
"The nation's trade deficit widened by 3.8% in April to $48.3G, the Commerce Department said. This marked the second straight month for a record trade gap... Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit for March was revised to $46.7G from the $46.0G initially estimated last month... Imports rose 0.2% to a record $142.3G. Exports fell 1.5% to $93.9G. This is the largest decline in exports since 2003 August."
US mortgage delinquencies dip, foreclosures up
"The Mortgage Bankers Association said its measure of outstanding mortgages that were delinquent fell to 4.33% on a seasonally adjusted basis for first 3 months of 2004, down from the fourth quarter's 4.49%. The percentage of 1-to-4 family homes in foreclosure dipped to 1.27% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter's 1.29%, the Washington-based group said. The percentage of new foreclosures moved up 1 basis point from the fourth quarter to 0.46%, it said."
T.A. Badger _Detroit Free Press_/_AP_
Exporting of jobs spurs unions: High-tech workers are being recruited
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Contra Costa Times
"Then the computer programmer from Auburn, WA, was laid off last summer after training his replacement, a high-tech worker in India. Now G, who hasn't worked since, is among those convinced that America's white-collar workers have to band together to keep their futures from being exported to places where skilled labor comes cheap."
William Safire _NY Times_
Tear Down This U.N. Stonewall
"We're still waiting for a properly empowered investigation into the U.N. oil-for-food scandal."
Make presidential debates real
"If the debates have a feel of being staged, it is because increasingly, they are... This year, [candidates each need] an average of 15% support in 5 national polls in order to be included... Who decided the 15% cut-off? The Commission on Presidential Debates, which is effectively controlled by the 2 major parties."
Out-Sourcing & Off-Shoring & Lay-Offs
"In the report, the BLS said that among the nearly 240K workers laid off during the first quarter of the year, only 2%, or roughly 4,700, lost their jobs for reasons 'associated with the movement of work outside the country'. Meanwhile the BLS said 9% of 'non-seasonal' U.S. lay-offs during the first quarter were due to out-sourcing, but less than a third of the work was actually sent over-seas. However, skeptics claimed the BLS statistics were based on a 'limited sample survey' of companies. The survey [only] covered companies employing where at least 50 employees were laid off and filed for unemployment insurance during a 5-week period and the lay-off lasted more than 30 days."
Gene Johnson _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Enron Gouged Customers by $1.1G
"Enron Corp. manipulated the energy market practically every day during the 2000-01 power crunch and gouged Western customers for at least $1.1G, according to audio-tapes and documents released Monday."
_Network World Fusion_
BLS says off-shoring caused 2% of all lay-offs during 2004 Q1
"According to the BLS, which began tracking lay-offs due to 'the movement of work' in January this year, says that of the 239,361 employees who were laid off in the first quarter of 2004, just 4,633 workers lost their jobs because of 'the movement of work outside the country'. At the same time, 9,985 employees lost their jobs because of 'domestic relocation of work', meaning positions were transferred to another location within the company or to other companies in the U.S."
Andy McCue _Silicon.com_
Majority of out-sourcing deals are late & over budget
"The majority of application development out-sourcing deals are hit by spiralling costs, late delivery and not getting what was originally specified, according to new research. The findings show that 80% of businesses have suffered time and cost over-runs and non-adherence to specification. The research was commissioned by Compuware and conducted by Meta Group, which quizzed 150 CIO-level executives in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands... 40% of respondents admitted that short-term financial gains were a bigger priority than the longer-term down-stream costs."
Dean Takahashi _San Jose Mercury News_
Silicon Valley job market continues slow recovery
"in May as the Santa Clara County unemployment rate fell to 5.9% and the number of jobs rose by 4,300 compared with the month before... the 5.9% unemployment rate looks good compared with 6.3% in April and 8.2% a year earlier. But the total number of jobs in the county was 848,700, down 15,100 jobs, or 1.7%, from 2003 May. Still, this is the first time that the county's unemployment rate has slipped below 6% this year, and it is the lowest for the county since 2001 August. California's unemployment rate was 6.2% in May, unchanged from the month before. (Statewide numbers, unlike local numbers, are adjusted to take into account seasonal patterns in hiring and unemployment, so the two sets of figures cannot be directly compared.)... The manufacturing sector in the county posted its fourth increase, adding 1,600 jobs. Semiconductor and electronic components manufacturing accounted for about half that figure. Leisure and hospitality, education and health services, construction, trade, transportation and utilities also added jobs. Professional and business services fell by 300 jobs, in part due to seasonal losses in accounting, tax preparation and bookkeeping services in the wake of April's tax season. Some workers say that although hiring may be picking up, not everyone is benefiting yet..."
Doris Kilband _Electronic Design_
Can Anything Be Done To Impede Off-Shore Out-Sourcing?
IEEE USA position paper
"The rippling affect of off-shoring initially displaces engineers in the U.S.A., which is foremost an economic loss. Further outstretches of that ripple reveal a deeper, more troubling trend: The best and brightest students are being discouraged away from the engineering field. Without a highly intelligent, creative force of engineers in the U.S.A., new products and innovative technologies will become one-way tickets from other countries. 'The reality is, we don't know how to deal with those negative affects very well.', says Ron Hira, P.E., assistant professor of Public Policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology and chair of IEEE-USA's Career & Work-Force Policy Committee Complicating the situation are industry suppliers who try to downplay the actual off-shoring figures. 'This is a serious issue that requires immediate attention, but many powerful sources are saying it is not important.', says Hira. 'No one can evaluate it because we don't have enough information.'... He cited one company with 3700 employees, all on foreign work visas. The principal reason companies prefer foreign workers, he believes, is the willingness of such workers to work for less pay."
Brian Monroe _Florida Today_
Brevard county's job market warms up for summer
"The latest quarterly survey by the [body shop] Manpower Inc. found 40% of local employers questioned the plan to increase staff levels in the third quarter, which is higher than the state average of 33% and among the highest percentages in the state... Only about 3% of Brevard businesses surveyed plan to decrease employment in the July-to-September quarter. The rest plan to keep staff levels stable. Of the 21 Florida markets surveyed, five planned to hire at a higher percentage than Brevard, which tied Fort Walton Beach with 40%. Broward County and Tampa/St. Petersburg tied for the most optimistic areas in terms of job creation, with 50% of firms planning to add employees. The hiring outlook for Brevard's third quarter is slightly down from the 43% in the second quarter. Still, the 40% of local companies adding jobs is significantly companies adding jobs is significantly higher than a year ago, when 17% of companies planned to add staff... Brevard's jobless rate for April was 4.0%, down from a revised rate of 4.3% in March and 5.1% in April 2003. It was the lowest the local rate has been since July 2001, when the rate was 3.9%, according to the Florida Agency for Work-force Innovation... Brevard Job Link placed 1,275 job-seekers in May -- the highest one-month total in several years -- and accepted more than 600 new job orders from employers, she said."
_Local Tech Wire_
ManPOWER survey says job market is "red hot"
"job market continues to improve, especially in Raleigh... 30% of 16K firms that were surveyed saying they plan to expand their work-force... 47% of firms interviewed in Raleigh plan to add to their work-force, Manpower reports. Only 3% intend to reduce work-force... 40% of firms in Winston-Salem plan to add workers. The percentage planning increases in Charlotte is 33%, in Greensboro 23%, and Durham 20%. Wilmington (32%), Asheville (23%), Fayetteville (30%) firms are also looking to hire. Overall, in North Carolina, 30% of firms surveyed plan to hire workers, and 7% plan reductions."
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
UMich consumer sentiment index rallies in June
"The UMich consumer sentiment index rose to 95.2 in June from 90.2 in May. The index had fallen 2 months in a row to a 7-month low in May, depressed by higher gas prices and troubling news from Iraq. The index peaked at 103.8 in January after plunging as low as 77.6 in 2003 March ahead of the Iraq invasion."
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
May's CPI up 0.6% on energy costs: core prices up 0.2% (graph)
"However, core inflation rates fell to a 1.7% year-over-year increase in May from 1.8% last month. Core prices are rising at a 2.9% annual rate so far this year, well above the Federal Reserve's comfort zone of 1% to 2%."
Tim Engstrom _SW FL News-Press_
Worker demand rising in SW FL
"[Only] 28% of employers interviewed said they expect to add workers in the next 3 months, according to the survey by Manpower Inc. The remaining 72% expect to maintain current staffing... With Lee County's [unemployment] rate at 3.2% in April -- the most recent data available -- employers are aggressively competing for workers, Hartman said."
Paul Nyham _Seattle Post-Intelligencer_
Seattle job out-look is still grim (graph)
"In the Seattle area, 36% of surveyed companies plan to add staff, though 49% said there will be no changes, Manpower Inc., a temporary staffing firm [i.e. body shop], reported today. During the same time last year, only 12% of companies were prepared to hire new employees."
Scott Anderson _Ann Arbor News_
Hiring predicted to rise
"A quarterly study released today by nationwide staffing firm [body shop] Manpower Inc. shows 47% of Ann Arbor area businesses plan to hire more employees during the third quarter, while 3% expect to reduce their work-force during that period. The remaining half of surveyed businesses said they plan to maintain their current staff levels during the quarter, which begins July 1 and ends September 30... Industries showing the most potential to hire locally include technology, medical services, and food manufacturing and packaging for retail stores... Washtenaw County's jobless rate was 2.7% in April, down from 3.5% in March and slightly lower than a year-ago rate of 2.8%."
Lou Hirsh _Palm Springs CA Desert Sun_
Unemployment rate dips across the valley: more jobs on horizon
"A survey by the [body shop] Manpower showed that 40% of companies surveyed in Riverside County plan to hire more workers in the third quarter, compared with 33% a year ago. According to data released Monday by the state Employment Development Department, all valley cities saw their unemployment rates decline from April to May. The decline was spurred in part by the start of the agricultural harvesting season. Riverside County as a whole saw unemployment drop from 5.3% in April to 5.1% in May. The state's rate was unchanged from April's 6.2%, but down from the 6.8% seen in May 2003, the department reported... In Riverside County, 40% of companies interviewed plan to hire more employees from July to September, while none intend to reduce their work forces, said Manpower spokeswoman Evlyn Wilcox in San Bernardino. Another 57% expect to maintain current staff levels, and 3% are not certain of hiring plans... Work-force Development Center manager Lorraine Chavez-Figueroa said the center is seeing about 400 to 500 new openings per week coming in from employers, in areas such as retail, agriculture and food service."
Dean Calbreath _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Unemployment rate drops again in San Diego county: building industry leads hiring surge but 700 software product development jobs lost (table)
"A red-hot construction market, bolstered by down-town development projects and the rebuilding of fire-damaged homes, helped push San Diego County's already-low unemployment rate down another notch last month. Total non-farm pay-roll jobs rose by 6,500, including 2K new jobs created by the building industry, according to data released yesterday by the California Employment Development Department. The spurt in job growth helped push unemployment from 3.9% in April to 3.8% in May ñ the fifth-lowest jobless rate in the state after San Luis Obispo, Orange, Marin and Napa counties. The state jobless rate remained unchanged at 6.2% last month, while the national rate edged down from 5.4% to 5.3%... According to seasonally adjusted data ñ which differs from the way the San Diego statistics are released ñ California added 23,600 pay-roll jobs last month, resulting in an annual gain of 110,200... Even hard-hit Santa Clara County, home of Silicon Valley, added a couple hundred jobs last month, although neighboring counties in the San Francisco Bay Area continued to shed jobs. Locally...44% of the companies interviewed said they plan to hire new workers this summer, while 7% plan to cut jobs. Another 40% expect to maintain current staff levels, while 9% are not sure of their hiring plans... Over the past year, builders in San Diego County have added 8,500 jobs, with the biggest increase for laying foundations and performing finishing work... Kris Hartnett, business manager, San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council. Hartnett says the market is the best he has seen for construction since the late 1970s, during the building of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. At that time, he said, there was 120% employment for local unionized construction workers, 'meaning there was lots of over-time and we had people coming in from other parts of the country'. The current market is nearly as hot. Hartnett estimates employment for unionized workers is as high as 95%... Last month, for instance, San Diego County manufacturers added a net of 500 jobs to their pay-roll -- although they still have 700 fewer jobs than they did last year."
Tom Abate _San Francisco Chronicle_
State pay-roll grows again: unemployment rate is static
"California added 23,600 jobs to its pay-rolls in May, continuing a recent string of modest gains, the state Employment Development Department reported Monday. The increase left the state's unemployment rate unchanged at 6.2% in May, while still leaving 1.087M Californians hunting for work. The state figures released Monday mirror national trends that show the recovering economy finally creating jobs, but not yet in sufficient numbers to reverse the deep job losses that occurred during the last recession. The 14,501,200 total jobs in the state are still about 227K below the peak reached in 2001 March... the nation still has 1.2% fewer jobs than when the recession began. California has a slightly higher jobs deficit of 1.5%, Levy said. The job erosion has been far worse in the Bay Area, which still has 11% fewer jobs than it did 3 years ago... Alameda and Contra Costa counties continued to be the bright spot in the Bay Area job picture, with 1.027M jobs in May, more than any other subdivision of the Bay Area. Idell Weydemeyer, a labor market consultant with the Employment Development Department in Pleasant Hill, said the two East Bay counties have a diverse economic base and never lost as many jobs as techcentric Silicon Valley or San Francisco... For the fourth straight month, Santa Clara County added manufacturing jobs, with gains in audio-visual equipment, semiconductors and circuit card assembly. Nevertheless, after months of relentless losses, there were still 3.8% fewer people holding manufacturing jobs in May than there were a year ago at this time. The county's total pay-roll of 848,700 remains more than 19% below the peak of 1,052,400 in 2001 March."
Barry Meier _NY Times_
Group Weighs Plan for Full Drug-Trial Disclosure
"A group of top medical journals is considering a proposal that would require drug makers to register clinical trials at their start in a public data-base."
Kate Zernike _NY Times_
Woman, 26, Pleads Guilty in Deadly Illegal Immigrant Smuggling Case
"A Honduran immigrant pleaded guilty Monday to being the ring-leader of the nation's deadliest smuggling case, which left 19 [illegal] immigrants dead."
Maxwell Cooter _TechWorld_
Companies under-estimate cost of off-shore out-sourcing
"Companies looking to out-source applications, development and maintenance (ADM) have not fully considered all the costs. That's the conclusion of recent research from Meta Group which surveyed 150 senior IT executives across Europe on the implications of out-sourcing. The survey, which was commissioned by Compuware, found that 80% of companies had suffered problems and that about 30% had made no plans for the cost savings that they could make - even though more than half of the organisations surveyed said cost had been the key driver. According to Paul O'Neill, VP of Meta Group Europe, organisations have a habit of making decisions without considering all the consequences. He said that they looked to move off-shore because of cost savings but didn't have a clue as to what level of savings they could actually expect... The research showed that 80% of organisations have suffered problems ranging from time and cost overruns, to non-adherence to specifications and requirements, when out-sourcing ADM projects."
Vicky Lovell, Barbara Gault & Heidi Hartmann _Institute for Women's Policy Research_
substantial numbers of workers lack sufficient paid sick leave (pdf)
"More than half of all workers in the private sector and in state and local government (54%, or 66M workers) are not provided with any paid sick leave after a full year of service, according to a new analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the Institute for Womenís Policy Research... 89M workers in the United States currently have fewer than 7 days of paid sick leave."
Chicago Foreclosure Activity High as Local Job Losses Continue
"'Over the last 12 months,' said Foreclosures.com president Alexis McGee, 'Chicago lost 2000 jobs. In any given week, there are 1300 to 1500 foreclosure cases pending in the 6 Chicagoland counties.' Ms. McGee went on to say that Cook County led the area in new cases filed. 'Of 423 homes that entered the foreclosure process in the week ending June 12th, 325 were in Cook County.'"
How to Make Health Care Affordable
"Excess regulation and government spending destroy jobs and increase unemployment. Every regulator we fire results in the creation of over 150 new jobs, enough to hire the ex-regulator, the unemployed, and the able-bodied poor."
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US May industrial output finally recovers pre-recession levels
"Output of the nation's factories, mines and utilities rose at a faster-than-expected rate of 1.1% in May, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Capacity utilization rose to 77.8% from a revised 77.1%, the highest level in 3 years."
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Fed's Beige Book says inflation is modest, economy expanding, hiring strong
"Hiring increased 'at a faster pace' in most regions and wages were growing slowly, the Beige Book report on the current economic outlook indicated."
_Federal Reserve Board_
"Other services sectors reporting growth were the software and information technology, financial, insurance, health-care, and telecommunications sectors... Boston: Demand for software and information technology services as well as temp workers is also rising... According to respondents, corporate bookings continue to be strong, particularly in the bio-technology sector, and leisure travel is growing... The market for software and information technology services is becoming more brisk. Year-over-year revenue growth of contacts has 'regained its momentum', ranging from 4% to 16% in the first quarter of 2004. Growth in health care software is steady; other sectors such as human resources software, banking software, network software, and more broad-based custom applications development are even stronger. Respondents say the improvement indicates corporate investment on information technology is picking up economy-wide. Large companies are growing faster than small ones, who say they are facing low-end competition, especially from staffing firms [bodyshops]. Companies that export to Europe, Asia, and Canada report no significant stimulus from the weak dollar; all attribute their demand growth to the improving domestic market. Software and IT contacts say employment is steady and the majority plans no new hiring in the near future. Capital and technology spending of most contacted companies is 'moderate', with technology development the largest spending category. With a strong order pipe-line, most respondents are moderately optimistic. While expectations of revenue growth in the next quarter range from single to high double digits, some contacts express concern about potential effects of the Iraq war and the upcoming election on corporate IT investment decisions... Chicago: Most employers were having little difficulty finding adequately skilled workers, though there were isolated reports of shortages in trucking, specialized IT, and accounting professions... Minneapolis: Representatives of technology industries in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area recently indicated that revenue and hiring plans were rising somewhat. A Montana bank director commented that quality unskilled workers were in short supply..."
Juana Jordan _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Tallahassee hiring plans look slim
"Only 3 of 30 local companies surveyed said they planned to hire more employees in the July-September time period, while the remaining 27 expected to maintain their current staff levels... As of April, Leon County's unemployment rate was 4.6%, down from 5.3% a year ago. But even with the steady hiring pace locally, Manpower says it's seeing an increase in business. At the end of April, the staffing company [body shop] experienced a 21% increase in placements, Boynton said. Most were temporary placements that resulted in permanent hires. At least 90% of the positions have been in the administrative and clerical areas."
Steve Lohr _NY Times_
High-End Technology Work Is Not Immune to Off-Shoring
"M$ contract documents show that as far back as 2001 the big company had agreed to pay 2 Indian out-sourcing companies, Infosys and Satyam, to provide skilled 'software architects' for M$ projects. The documents were obtained this month by WashTech... 'The policy prescription you hear from people again and again as the response to the global competition of out-sourcing is for Americans to move to high-end work.', said Ronil Hira, an assistant professor for public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology [and chair of the R&D Policy Committee of the IEEE-USA]. 'It's important to dispel the myth that high-end work is immune to off-shore out-sourcing.'... The M$ contracts with Infosys and Satyam show that the work of software architects, senior software developers and software developers was being done by employees of the Indian companies working at M$ facilities in the United States. Their work did not come cheap for MSFT, which was billed $90 an hour [equivalent to employee salary between $45 and $75 per hour] for software architects, or at a yearly rate of more than $180K [$90K to $150K]. Senior software developers were billed at $72 an hour and software developers $60 an hour [equivalent to employee salary of between $30 & $36 per hour]... The Indian workers themselves are paid a fraction of what their employers collect. The top annual salaries paid by Indian out-sourcing companies to Indian software experts working in the United States range up to $40K or so, Mr. Hira said. The contracts also say that for short stints of work, less than 90 days, MSFT will pay for round-trip economy airfare for travel between India and the United States. The contracts also include work done in India, by project managers and by software development and testing engineers... 'M$ has hired vendors whose whole reason for being is to transfer work off-shore.', said Marcus Courtney, president of WashTech, an affiliate of the Communications Workers of America."
Shirin Ebadi & Amir Attaran _NY Times_
When Politics Corrupts Money
"The World Bank should withhold money from governments that violate their people's human rights."
Malcolm Ritter _AP_/_San Jose Mercury News_
"Teleportation" of quantum state between atoms is advance toward quantum computing
"In a step toward making ultra-powerful computers, scientists have transferred physical characteristics between atoms by using a phenomenon so bizarre that even Albert Einstein called it spooky. Such 'quantum teleportation' of characteristics had been demonstrated before between beams of light. The work with atoms is 'a land-mark advance', H.J. Kimble of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, and S.J. van Enk of Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, declare in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. Two teams of scientists report similar results in that issue. One group was led by David J. Wineland of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, CO, and the other by Rainer Blatt of the University of Innsbruck in Austria."
Sprint to cut 1,100 jobs: 1.6% of work-force
"Of the jobs being eliminated, 850 are in the unit that provides service to businesses, with up to 250 others in jobs supporting that operation, including some in information technology... Sprint, based in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, employs about 70K people, including about 20K in the Kansas City area. It has cut employment by more than 22K over the last 2 years."
Audra Ang _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Red China Postpones UN Inspector's Visit
"Theo van Boven had planned a 2-week visit later this month to investigate reports of torture in [Red Chinese] jails, but [Red China] wanted more time to prepare, a statement on van Boven's web site said... Human rights groups say [Red Chinese] police and security services commonly use torture for punishment and to extract confessions and other information... The United Nations has tried for almost a decade to arrange a visit by the torture inspector, but [Red China's] communist government has repeatedly refused to grant it permission. Human rights groups say [Red China] was unwilling to accept the terms of a visit, which include allowing unlimited access to prisons without prior notice and confidential interviews with detainees and representatives of civic groups. However, van Boven said [Red China] had accepted his conditions as part of its invitation issued in November. "
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
unemployment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 311,906 in the week ending June 12, an increase of 3,927 from the previous week. There were 383,371 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.1% during the week ending June 5, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,677,997, an increase of 43,039 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.7% and the volume was 3,376,503. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending May 29. 10,895 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending May 29...
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending May 29 were in Alaska (4.9%), Puerto Rico (3.8%), Oregon (3.2%), Pennsylvania (3.0%), New Jersey (2.9%), Michigan (2.7%), Washington (2.7%), Arkansas (2.6%), California (2.6%), and Massachusetts (2.6%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 5 were in California (+2,628), Tennessee (+1,613), Pennsylvania (+1,466), Michigan (+1,442), and Louisiana (+1,055), while the largest decreases were in Texas (-1,303), Florida (-1,154), New Jersey (-889), South Carolina (-821), and Arizona (-799)."
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Unemployment compensation insurance claims dropped last week
"First-time claims for state unemployment benefits fell in the latest week, at least partially due to the national day of mourning for former president Ronald Reagan. Initial weekly jobless claims fell 15K to 336K in the latest week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. This is the lowest level of claims since the week ended May 8. The 4-week average of initial claims fell 2,750 to 343,250... Initial claims in the week ended June 5 were revised to a gain of 10K to 351K from the previous estimate of a 12K gain to 352K. Meanwhile, the number of Americans receiving state jobless benefits rose 31K to 2.90M in the week ending June 5. The 4-week moving average of continuing claims fell 9,500 to 2.93M, the lowest level since 2001 June."
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
May PPI increase of 0.8% was biggest in more than a year
"Continued higher costs for wholesale food and energy drove U.S. producer prices to their largest increase in more than a year in May, the Labor Department estimated Thursday. Last month's producer price index for finished goods rose 0.8%, the largest increase since 2003 March. Core producer prices, excluding food and energy goods, rose 0.3%. Over the past year ended in May, the PPI has risen 5%, the largest 12-month increase since 1990 December. The core PPI has risen 1.7% over the past 12 months, the greatest increase since 2001 January."
Mike Maynard _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
pensions under-funded by $278.6G in 2003
"Major U.S. companies whose pension plans are under-funded reported a total short-fall of $278.6G last year, down 9% from 2002's level, according to federal data... Specifically, 11 air-lines reported a total of $31G in pension under-funding in plans covering 444K participants, while 7 companies in the steel industry accounted for $6G in under-funding in plans covering 213K participants. These 2 sectors have accounted for more than 70% of the claims against the pension-insurance program since PBGC's inception in 1974, while representing less than 5% of insured participants. Overall, the under-funding identified for 2003 compared favorably to the $305.9G in 2002, PBGC said."
Howard Mintz _San Jose Mercury News_
Former CFO of Network Associates indicted: Accused of hiding $330M in losses
"In an indictment unsealed Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco, Prabhat Goyal, 49, is accused of devising an accounting scheme that disguised $330M in losses at Network Associates from 1998 to 2000. Goyal is the second former Network Associates executive charged in connection with a federal probe into the Santa Clara software maker's past financial irregularities. Goyal appeared Wednesday in federal court and posted $2M bail, secured by his Los Altos house."
Shubhendu Parth _CIOL_
US Inc. wants more H-1B visas
"a coalition of over 200 corporations, universities, research institutions and trade associations in the United States-has called on Congress to support legislation to exempt foreign nationals, with US universities Master's and PhD degrees, from the current H-1B visa caps. While the coalition includes MNCs with major presence in India-from Intel, M$, Hewlett-Packard to Sun Microsystems, AMD, Agilent Technologies, Cisco and Motorola-it also has on board associations and bodies like Society for Human Resource Management, Software and Information Industry Association, HR Policy Association and Information Technology Association of America. The letter signed by 94 companies and major trade associations that was sent to all members of Congress in America seeks support for Smith's bill, HR4166, on grounds that the country's corporations are having 'difficult challenges in getting the right talent for key professional positions'."
Red China faces anti-dumping proposals
"The Bush administration on Friday proposed tariffs on imports of Chinese-made furniture, saying companies have been dumping millions of dollars of the wooden bed-room furniture into the United States at artificially low prices... For 7 companies that account for roughly 40% of all wooden bedroom furniture shipments from [Red China] to the United States, the Commerce Department set duties ranging up to 24.34%. More than 80 companies that responded voluntarily to a Commerce questionnaire were hit with a duty of 10.92%. All other Chinese furniture producers or exporters face a duty of 198.08%. A final decision is expected in December. Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao will travel to [Red China] next week for more talks aimed at boosting U.S. exports and narrowing America's record trade deficit with [Red China]... The Commerce Department is swamped with complaints alleging unfair trade practices by [Red China]. They come from makers of steel, semiconductors, paper products, building materials, industrial castings, cookware and brake drums."
Susan Lerner & Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Stocks little changed on the week as fed rate fears cap gains
"U.S. stocks ended modestly higher Friday in a lack-luster week for equities, with investors preferring to tread water until a clearer picture on interest rates emerges at the Federal Reserve meeting on June 30. Still, triple-witching -- the simultaneous expiration of futures, stock and index options -- breathed some life into the market, lifting volumes in what had otherwise been a very quiet trading week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 38.89 points, or 0.4%, at 10,416.41. The bench-mark index ended up just 6 points, or 0.05% on the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 3.06 points, or 0.2%, to 1,986.73, well below its 2K pinnacle. In the last week, the tech-rich index gave back 13 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 added 2.95 points, or 0.3%, to 1,135, edging down 1.47 points, or 0.1% on the week... About 1.5G shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange while 1.7G shares moved on the Nasdaq. Advancers led decliners by 18-14 on the Big Board while fallers had a 16 to 14 edge over gainers. The beheading of kidnapped American Paul Johnson in Saudi Arabia left investors feeling more cautious going into the weekend, said market professionals... The AFL-CIO and small manufacturers say the administration refuses to get tough with Beijing over unfair labor practices and its currency peg, both of which help Chinese exporters keep prices low."
Lisa Hildebrand _Green Bay Press Gazette_
Machine company plans 296 lay-offs
"Paper Converting Machine Co. informed employees Thursday that it would temporarily lay off 296 manufacturing workers beginning August 15. President and CEO Frederick 'Rick' Baer said that number was a 'worse-case scenario'. Fewer employees may be affected 'if orders come in between now and the effective date'. Baer said the company recently recalled 40 laid-off workers; however, 'our business is unfortunately very up and down'."
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
More Cape Cod Employers Clamoring for Cheap Foreign Labor
Kroger hiring practices being investigated
"Kroger said it's being investigated by the U.S. attorney general's office for allegedly employing workers under false names or false Social Security numbers [Imagine that! They actually had the nerve to respect people's privacy! Off with their heads!] during a lengthy labor dispute in Southern California. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Kroger said a grand jury has convened to consider whether its Ralphs chain violated federal criminal statutes. Kroger added it is too early to know what charges might be filed, or what penalties the company could face. In March, Southern California grocery workers approved a new contract with 3 major super-market chains, ending an 18-week strike that side-lined 59K workers."
Greg Hernandez _Los Angeles Daily News_
Lay-offs could be looming at Miramax
"Faced with a budget crunch, Miramax Films confirmed Friday that it is considering laying off a portion of its 450 employees as the Walt Disney Co.-owned independent film company looks for ways to cut its costs. The makers of 2002's Oscar-winning 'Chicago' and the recent release 'Kill Bill: Vol. 2', are allocated about $700M by Disney each fiscal year ending in September. While some reports speculate that as much as 20% of Miramax's staff might be cut, the studio said any numbers are speculative. Miramax is largely based in New York, but has an operation in Los Angeles with just over 100 employees and other smaller offices around the globe."
Steve Tarter & Paul Gordon _Peoria Journal Star_
Affina says lay-offs are a necessary evil
"Affina Co. officials said Friday that reducing its staff by 77 people - most of them salaried and management employees - was necessary to try to ward off larger problems in the future... The lay-off, which Attinger said affected salaried positions at the company, follows a February cut-back in which 55 employees were laid off - the direct result of competition from over-seas call centers, the company noted. Affina now employs about 725 people in Peoria, Attinger said, and more than 1,200 around the country... Hourly customer service representatives were not affected by the lay-offs... Affina was originally known in Peoria as Ruppman Marketing Technologies Inc., but the company changed its name after it acquired AFFINA - The Customer Relationship Co. of Troy, MI, in 1998 June."
Marion Vaughn _Flint Michigan Journal_
Many not surprised by GM's hiring & firing at the same time
"General Motors [announced it] would lay off as many as 400 employees at its Powertrain Flint North, a day after announcing 300 additional jobs at its Flint Truck Assembly Plant on Van Slyke Road... It's typical of what GM has done to its home-town, they said, where its employment rolls once numbered 82K but now stand at 15K."
Contract to keep Federal-Mogul bearings plant in Greenville includes $5M in concessions
"A new 4-year contract approved by union members that keeps a Federal-Mogul Corp. auto bearings plant open includes more than $5M in concessions such as wage and benefit cuts. Under the deal ratified Saturday by a 103-89 vote, wages will be cut by $1.19 an hour over the next 4 years, with no pay reduction the first year, and paid holidays will be reduced, The Detroit News and The Grand Rapids Press reported. The workers who voted Saturday [were earning] about $17.50 an hour plus benefits."
Neil MacFarquhar _NY Times_
4 Killed After Hostage's Death Are Called Saudi Cell's Leaders
"Saudi experts on militant groups said killing the 4 men, and capturing another 12, struck a serious blow against Al Qaeda in the kingdom."
Bill Vlasic _Detroit News_
As best auto jobs disappear, careers & lives are disrupted: Big 3 white-collar workers turn to transplants & suppliers (graphs)
"Over the past 4 years, the number of auto-related jobs in the state has shrunk by 21%, falling to the lowest point since the recession-era levels of 1991... As of April, 274K people were employed in the industry statewide, compared to 347K workers during the same period in 2000, according to the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth. The job losses have rippled through communities across Michigan, forcing laid-off white-collar workers to relocate, seek retraining or switch careers. But there are few available jobs outside the industry that come with the pay and benefits of a Big Three position. 'They claim all these jobs are out there, but nothing has come through.', said MF, a 56-year-old parts buyer who was laid off after 18 years with the Chrysler unit of DaimlerChrysler AG... General Motors Corp., for example, has cut its hourly work force in Michigan by 14% since 2000, and its salaried employees by a comparable 12%. Contrast that to the late 1990s, when GM reduced its hourly pay-roll by 35% and its white-collar staff by just 2%."
T.A. Badger _Indianapolis Star_
As off-shoring grows, so does white-collar union membership
"Then last summer the computer programmer from Auburn, WA, was laid off after training his replacement, a high-tech worker in India... Andy Banks, organizing director for the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers in Silver Spring, MD... Communications Workers of America negotiated a new contract with SBC Communications Inc. after a 4-day strike. As part of the deal, the San Antonio-based phone company agreed to work with the union to bring an estimated 3K company jobs to the United States from India and the Philippines..."
How to Make Health Care Affordable
"Health care and insurance costs will plummet if excess regulation is eliminated and malpractice awards are made only on the basis of strict liability. Lower costs, along with the savings from down-sizing regulatory bureaucracy, will fund tax credits for those who establish Health Savings Accounts for themselves, their families, Medicare/Medicaid recipients, and the needy."
Gun Control Means Being Able to Hit your Target
"Gun Control Means Being Able to Hit your Target. If I have a 'hot button' issue, this is definitely it. Don't even think about taking my guns! My rights are not negotiable, and I am totally unwilling to compromise when it comes to the Second Amendment. Let me reiterate an axiom of my philosophy. Rights and privileges are polar opposites. A right is something that I can do without asking. A privilege is something that a higher authority allows me to do."
Brendan O'Shaughnessy _NorthWest Indiana Times_
Hammond native guns for world's top job: Libertarian presidential candidate's family values, roots still anchored in region
"Michael Badnarik's instructor jobs bear his mother's comments out, displaying an almost odd range and a devouring curiosity. Boy Scouts? He became senior patrol leader. Below water and above land? He taught scuba and sky diving. Saving lives and targeting enemies? Red Cross CPR. Programmer for a stealth bomber simulator. Need power? Nuclear plant computer consultant. Constitutional question? Eight-hour college seminar. Libertarian Party platform? Hold on to your tape recorder. He's into photography, so sign up for his course now, and he'll have it ready in a jiffy. How did a kid who grew up in Robertsdale -- who worked hard jobs in a grocery store, gypsum plant and oil refinery like so many in the region -- end up as a presidential candidate?"
Kristen Gerencher _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
"Whether these interventionists call themselves coach, counselor or consultant often varies with the credentials and depth of service they offer, but the average hourly rate is between $100 and $200 for any one of the three, said Wendy Enelow, president of the Career Masters Institute, a trade group representing 550 career counselors, coaches and resume writers... To be sure, there are many different services available to job seekers, from professional resume writers to head-hunters. But few are in the business of helping people make a career transition and determine how best to transfer their skills to something better suited to their needs -- which is where coaches and counselors come in, Kay said... [But beware of outfits that] promised to substantially increase clients' income by providing exclusive job listings that never materialized."
_Atlanta Business Chronicle_
ARC releases metropolitan Atlanta IT jobs study
"Technology employers in metro Atlanta project a small increase in employment over the next year and experience is still preferred over education in most industry disciplines, according to an Atlanta Regional Commission and Greater Atlanta Work-force Boards study on information technology work-force needs. The 6-month study produced the _Getting IT Right_ report, which was funded by the Georgia Department of Labor and was published this morning. Some 90 businesses across industry lines in the region took part in _Getting IT Right_, participating in both web-based round-table discussions and in-depth interviews on the strengths and challenges facing the region's IT work-force. Businesses were chosen to ensure a random sample of large, medium and small firms in both IT and non-IT businesses across all the counties in the region. The study looks at anticipated job creation in 7 IT occupational clusters including business office technology/customer service, technology support, programming and software engineering, data-base development and administration, network design and administration, web development and administration and technical writer. Researchers examined what kind of education, training or certification employers look for in those occupations and whether entry-level job applicants have the right mix of education and training for the job. Researchers found that although the economy -- including the information technology sector -- is recovering, it is still a buyer's market. IT employers can often choose from a large pool of qualified candidates, no matter what the position. Thus, employers can require more education, training and experience... The availability of qualified applicants, combined with continuing trends toward out-sourcing and off-shoring, has put pressure on IT salaries, which have dropped for 4 consecutive quarters... Most employers project a small increase in employment over the next 12 months. However, these increases are likely to be only one or two jobs. Thus, there will continue to be many qualified applicants for most IT occupations, putting downward pressure on salaries, benefits and perks... More than half of employers (53%) report that IT-related occupations require more than a basic knowledge of information security... 4 in 10 employers (41%) cite the need for new internal or proprietary applications training as the highest priority during the next 12 months. Only 3% of employers report using technical or community college IT programs for training... Over one half of the businesses have either out-sourced some or all of their IT functions, and approximately 80% have used contractual rather than permanent employment. The use of H-1B visas, as well as out-sourcing, is most common for programmers and software engineers. Data-base design and administration tied with programming and software engineering for highest levels of contractual employment. A surprisingly low percentage of businesses provide 'quality of life' options to employees on such matters as telecommuting and flex time..."
Robert Pear _NY Times_
Rules to Expose Long-Term Cost of Health Plans
"New accounting standards will require state and local governments to acknowledge the cost of health benefits, putting pressure on employers to scale back health insurance."
Saul Hansell _NY Times_
The Internet Ad You Are About to See Has Already Read Your E-Mail
"Google's new sponsored e-mail service turns out to have some interesting self-imposed constraints."
Steve Lohr _NY Times_
Day 2: I Learn the Books Are Cooked
"William Nuti thought he was brought in to Symbol for a quick turn-around; instead, he found massive fraud. How Mr. Nuti and his team are trying to rebuild the company."
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_
IT Workers' Morale Remains Low
"poor IT worker morale is becoming more widespread... according to a new survey by Meta Group. After several years of IT lay-offs, budget cut-backs, and trends toward out-sourcing, and with few companies yet to significantly increase their IT work-forces, IT employee morale is now an issue at nearly three-quarters of companies, according to the 650 IT executives surveyed for Meta's 2004 _IT Staffing And Compensation Guide_... The improved economic climate has 'not yet translated into substantially different business practices', Meta senior program director Maria Schafer says in the report... only 4% of respondents say their companies are giving bonuses to boost morale. Apparently, even fewer are making attempts to lighten workloads to improve morale -- only 2% say they're hiring more staff. The most common tactic to boost morale [empty gestures such as] providing employee recognition, such as write-ups in company news-letters and employee-of-the-month awards, with 45% saying their companies take that action."
John Antczak _AP_/_Yahoo!_
SpaceShopOne rocket plane reaches 62 miles and back
"SpaceShipOne pilot Mike Melvill was aiming to fly 62 miles above the Earth's surface. The exact altitude reached was not immediately confirmed by radar. The ship touched down at Mojave Airport to applause and cheers at 08:15PDT, about 90 minutes after it was carried aloft slung under the belly of the jet-powered White Knight."
Badnarik: SpaceShipOne shows Libertarian way
"'SpaceShipOne's successful flight shows the world a dramatic example of how private enterprise out-performs government.', declared Badnarik. 'NASA's space plane designs cost enormous amounts of money and took decades to develop. Free enterprise did the same job better with only $20M -- because government is profoundly inefficient whereas the free market is amazingly efficient.' SpaceShipOne's launch story perfectly illustrates the Libertarian principles of strictly limited government, protection of private property, and the power of free enterprise."
Judge expected to declare class-action against WM
"U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins in San Francisco was expected to release the decision Tuesday in a case that could involve 1.6M women who have worked or still work for WM... The ruling would follow months of hearings over whether a complaint brought by 6 women working in WM's California stores should represent 1.6M current and former women workers against the retailing giant. Lawyers for the original plaintiffs have argued the case should be broadened to cover virtually all of the company's female employees dating back to 1998."
Gary Rivlin _NY Times_
Silicon Valley 2.0 Has Hopes Up, But... (graphs)
"'Silicon Valley is back' is on the lips of eager entrepreneurs and venture capitalists... Indeed, conditions do look relatively good because things have been so bleak for so long. The area lost nearly a fifth of its jobs after the end of the bubble in 2000, said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at the consulting firm Economy.com. Looking strictly at job losses, he said, the San Jose metropolitan area, which includes much of Silicon Valley, suffered the worst collapse of any metropolitan area in the United States since the Great Depression, surpassing Detroit, which lost 13% of its jobs in the early 1980s... Since 2000, the region has added one new job for every 15 jobs lost, according to data provided by [Stephen] Levy, and added roughly 13K jobs over the last 4 months... tens of thousands of workers left the area after the collapse... The busy lunch corridors... are once again filled with junior moguls in the making wearing khakis and blue oxford shirts, the standard Silicon Valley uniform... The region has suffered other down-turns, of course, including a steep decline in the mid-1980s after the excitement over the advent of the personal computer. 'But that recovery was much quicker than it will be this time.', Mr. Levy said. 'Previously, the job levels had always bounced back really strongly in 2 or 3 years. This time it's going to take much longer.' The revival of the venture capital investment provides perhaps the most encouraging sign. By all accounts, venture firms are once again investing in promising but risky technology start-ups."
"I trust YOU to run your own life."
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Emily Kaiser _Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
Federal Certified Wal-Mart Sex Bias Suit as Class Action
"A federal judge conferred class-action status on a law-suit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., charging the world's biggest retailer discriminated against women in pay, promotions and training can proceed as a class action."
Mike Cassidy _San Jose Mercury News_
Dueling studies support both sides of off-shoring debate
"One, from the Labor Department at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/reloc.toc.htm, said very few workers are losing their jobs to off-shoring. The other, from management consultancy Foote Partners, said off-shoring is the key reason technology workers' pay is declining... Off-shoring...is part of a bigger issue -- the changing compact between employers and employees. Workers today are being asked to give more and more in return for less and less -- less job security, lower wages, fewer benefits... Business Week reported in March that in the previous year corporate operating profits were up 25%, while professional and tech workers' real wages increased a fraction of a percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 39%. Blue-collar wages were down 3%... I'm suggesting that business leaders take care of the workers who have taken care of the companies they run... I understand that corporate growth globally could lead to job growth locally. But only if U.S. companies create the new jobs in the United States. So, why not require companies to disclose country by country where their workers are? That way all sides have the information they need to mount logical arguments. I agree with corporate titans who say we need to improve the U.S. education system, increase research spending and promote universal broad-band. But I'd like to see U.S. corporations -- whose annual profits are running nearly one trillion dollars -- agree to help pay for the reforms that in the end will benefit them. And I think corporations should take a fraction of their savings from off-shoring and use it to directly help displaced workers. The money could go for retraining, scholarships, loans or grants to start small businesses and other programs aimed at simple survival."
Mark Horvit _Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram_
Job transfer off-shore is discouraging
"[She] doesn't remember exactly when she first heard about off-shoring... The Jacksonville, FL, native and computer programmer had moved to the Metroplex in 1989, when her company transferred her to the high-tech corridor north of Dallas. She later switched jobs and went to work for AT&T. AT&T then out-sourced her part of the operation to another company. It was no big deal: same office, new sign on the door. Not long after, the new company, Computer Sciences Corp., entered a working agreement with Cognizant Technology Solutions, a company with a U.S. head-quarters and a large work force in India. Cognizant workers began coming in and learning how to do the jobs being done in Dallas. Some remained, some went back to India to do the work there. The company called the training program a 'knowledge transfer plan', [she] said. One by one, she said, small work groups were shut down, the work sent to India... For weeks,...she and her co-workers were, in essence, competing with one another while training their replacements... [She] was told in July that she and one other co-worker were being laid off. Her last day was in August, because rather than give her severance pay, the company gave her a month's notice."
Bill Goodwin _Computer Weekly_
Out-sourcing causes drop in bonus payments
"For the forth quarter in a row, off-shore out-sourcing has had a negative impact on bonuses, an analysis of pay rates in the US and Europe by Foote Partners has revealed. Over the past 2 years bonus rates for staff with application programming and enterprise applications development skills have fallen by 20%."
Stan Beer _Sydney Morning Herald_
Gartner India beating its own drum
"IT research vendor Gartner Group is hard at it again, beating the off-shore out-sourcing drum. According to the vice-president of Gartner India, Partha Iyengar, 'Australia should not expect to become a mass supplier in off-shore out-sourcing and compete against low-cost and high-skilled nations like India'. Note the double-barrelled salvo: low-cost and high-skilled. Now, the last time we checked, Australia was a highly skilled nation - software development being no exception - which is why our IT courses are jam-packed with over-seas IT students... Iyengar also claims to be surprised at the degree of Australian back-lash against off-shoring IT job losses to India and the Philippines. He says the Australian economy is strong and there is no evidence of significant job losses because of off-shoring. We wonder how he can say this in one breath, while he says in the next that an increasing number of organisations, including government agencies, Telstra and other Australian companies are looking at over-seas options."
2004-06-22 13:40PDT (16:40EDT) (20:40GMT)
Jennifer Waters _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
1.6M women in law-suit against WM for sex discrimination
"In his ruling, Jenkins said the class can seek punitive damages as well as back pay for lost earnings and wage discrepancies, according to the filing. However, he considers that 'secondary' to 'achieving broad equitable relief' that 'would achieve very significant long-term relief in the form of fundamental changes to the manner in which WM makes its pay and promotion decisions nationwide that would benefit not only current class members, but all future female employees as well'... However, Jenkins said he found enough evidence to suggest that the operations of each store followed a corporate cookie-cutter approach. He called the charges 'largely uncontested descriptive statistics' that indicate that women are paid less than men 'in every region, that pay disparities exist in most job categories, that the salary gap widens over time, that women take longer to enter management positions, and that the higher one looks in the organization the lower the percentage of women'."
2004-06-22 15:53PDT (18:53EDT) (22:53GMT)
Eric Allen _News 8 Austin TX_
More Libertarian Activity Centered in Austin
"Austin is becoming [a] head-quarters for the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party selected an Austinite to run for president and several state party positions are occupied by people in Austin. The Libertarians believe in liberty. The party platform calls for the government to get out of their lives."
Don Colins _Pittsburgh Tribune-Review_
Illegal Immigration is Ravaging Arizona
2004-06-23 06:48PDT (09:48EDT) (13:48GMT)
Ken VanDruff _Wichita Business Journal_
Cessna workers give preliminary authorization for strike
"The Machinists union is sending a message to Cessna Aircraft Co. even before the two sides sit down to start contract talks in August -- union members are willing to strike. Machinist members voted 99% to give their leaders the authority to call a strike... A second vote, requiring a two-thirds majority, is required before a strike could actually take place... Bob Wood, Machinist spokesman, says the main issue is 'health care, health care, health care'... The union is also concerned about Cessna's out-sourcing plans."
2004-06-23 07:29:38PDT (10:29:38EDT) (14:29:38GMT)
Holly Sklar _The Bulletin_
Out-Source CEOs, Not Productive Workers
"USA CEOs are way too expensive. USA CEOs make 23 times as much as CEOs in mainland China, 10 times as much as CEOs in India and 9 times as much as CEOs in Taiwan, according to the latest Towers Perrin worldwide survey. European and Japanese CEOs run many of the world's leading companies for a lot less pay than Americans. USA CEOs make 5 times as much as CEOs in Japan, 4 times as much as CEOs in Spain, 3 times as much as CEOs in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and the Netherlands, and twice as much as CEOs in Germany and Switzerland. USA CEOs have put American factory workers, computer programmers and engineers in a race to the bottom with workers around the world - while keeping themselves in a rigged race to the top. 'Supersize me' remains our CEO pay mantra. CEOs on _Business Week's_ Executive Pay Score-Board of 365 major USA companies hauled in an average $8.1M in 2003 -- up 9% from 2002 -- including salary, bonus and long-term compensation such as restricted stock and exercised stock options. That's more than $22K every day of the year. The average CEO made $6.7M more in 2003 than in 1980, when he made $1.4M, adjusted for inflation. The average full-time production and non-supervisory worker made $31,928 in 2003 and $31,769 in 1980, adjusted for inflation - a gain of $159 spread out over a little more than two decades. CEOs often spend more than that on dinner. CEO pay sky-rocketed 480% from 1980 to 2003, adjusted for inflation, while domestic corporate profits rose 145%, worker productivity rose 61% and worker pay stalled. If CEO and worker pay had increased at the pace of worker productivity, CEOs would have made $2.3M in 2003 and workers $51,148. CEOs made 44 times as much as workers in 1980, and 254 times as much in 2003."
2004-06-23 10:48:21PDT (12:48:21CDT) (13:48:21EDT) (17:48:21GMT)
Jim Hightower _Pulse of the Twin Cities_
How do you say off-shoring?
"Excellent news, Americans! U.S. Corporations say that they are no longer off-shoring our middle-class jobs. It seems that they have grown afraid of the rising public anger at this self-serving fattening of their already ample bottom lines at the expense of working families. They fear that there will be a political back-lash from workers, customers, congress ñ and plain ol' American patriots. Does this mean that greed-headed CEOs are no longer shipping our manufacturing, professional and high-tech jobs to India, Pakistan, Russia and other low-wage centers? Of course not. It simply means they no longer say the word off-shoring. Instead, the double-speak artists of corporate PR departments have coined new euphemisms. Rather than off-shoring, they now call it 'remote global sourcing', or 'right-shoring' to disguise the perfidy. A new report finds that off-shoring (by whatever name) is not only continuing unabated, but accelerating rapidly and expanding into new fields... with about 80% of them going to India, where they can get the work done for a third or less than they pay to us Americans. The report, prepared by Forrester Research, says that off-shoring is increasing dramatically. Forrester's previous prediction was that the United States would lose 588K jobs to off-shoring by the end of this year; now it estimates that 830K will be lost ñ a 41% increase. Nearly half of corporations surveyed say they're either off-shoring jobs now or preparing to."
2004-06-23 13:54PDT (16:54EDT) (20:54GMT)
Tomi Kilgore & Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Dow reached 2-month high
"U.S. stocks ended higher Wednesday in a broad-based, late-day rally as the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a gain for the year for the first time in nearly 2 months while the Nasdaq closed at a 2-week high... The Dow industrials ended up 84.50 points, or 0.8%, at 10,479.57, after being down as much as 36 points earlier in the session. This is the first time the benchmark index has been positive on the year since April 27. Of the blue chip barometer's 30 components, 26 contributed gains. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 26.83 points, or 1.3%, to 2,020.98, the first time it has closed above the psychologically key 2K mark in 2 weeks. The S&P 500 Index was up 9.65 points, or 0.9% better, at 1,144.06. In the broad market, advancing stocks led decliners by 22 to 9 on the New York Stock Exchange and by a 2 to 1 score on the Nasdaq."
Richard W. Stevenson _NY Times_
White House Says Prisoner Policy Set Humane Tone
"President Bush ordered all people detained as part of the fight against terrorism to be treated humanely, the White House said."
Robert Pear _NY Times_
Electronic Cards Replace Coupons for Food Stamps
"The Bush administration completed one of the biggest changes in the history of the food stamp program, replacing paper coupons with electronic benefits and debit cards. [Big Brother's power grows.]"
William Safire _NY Times_
UN Iraq oil for food scam
"With a hitherto undisclosed sub poena, the investigation into the U.N. oil-for-food scandal broadens."
Amy Norton _Reuters_/_Yahoo!_
Black Tea May Help Blood Flow to the Heart
"In an experiment with 10 healthy men, Japanese researchers found that blood-flow in the coronary arteries improved two hours after the men drank black tea. The same was not true of a caffeinated drink used for comparison. Numerous studies have suggested that tea drinking may do a heart good, with effects on cholesterol, blood clotting and blood vessel function being among the proposed mechanisms. The new study, reported in the American Journal of Cardiology, suggests it also has a more immediate beneficial effect. The authors suspect that black tea improved the dilation of the men's blood vessel, allowing better blood flow. Tea is rich in anti-oxidant compounds called flavonoids, and these may be the key to the beverage's potential heart benefits, study co-author Dr. Kenei Shimada of Osaka City University told Reuters Health."
Leila Henderson _News Interactive_
EDS jobs head to Malaysia
"EDS told its South Australian employees today that it would be moving hundreds of jobs to Malaysia..."
Samuel Maull _AP_/_Boulder Daily Camera_
Ex-Tyco lawyer Belnick says CEO set pay, not compensation committee
"Mark Belnick, Tyco International's former top lawyer, testified Tuesday that the conglomerate's chief executive, L. Dennis Kozlowski, told him that he had the authority to set Belnick's compensation. The testimony by Belnick, who took the stand in his own defense, is central to the prosecution's larceny case against him. He is accused of accepting up to $17M in bonuses granted by Kozlowski but not approved by Tyco's board of directors."
2004-06-23 16:18PST (19:18EST) (23:18GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
8 mistakes in evaluating resumes
"The largest corporations get hit with up to 25K resumes per week, according to Alice Snell, vice president of iLogos Research, a division of Taleo, a staffing management company in San Francisco... Small and midsize companies face a similarly daunting task: 'Hiring managers are being bombarded with... up to 1,200 or 1,300 resumes per job.', said Jason Krumwiede, a founder of PeopleBonus, a resume-management technology company in Chicago... To manage resume stacks, companies are turning to tools that eliminate 'unqualified' applicants -- from keyword-search software to on-line applications that force people to fill in the company's requested information, creating a candidate profile that's standardized and easier to sort... 'Key-words help in narrowing down the pack, but if you rely too heavily on them, you risk losing out on candidates.', she warned."
George J. Borjas _Immigration Daily_
The Impact on Native-born Workers of Increasing the Supply of Labor through Immigration
"By increasing the supply of labor between 1980 and 2000, immigration reduced the average annual earnings of native-born men by an estimated $1,700 or roughly 4%. Among natives without a high school education, who roughly correspond to the poorest tenth of the work-force, the estimated impact was even larger, reducing their wages by 7.4%... It is [primarily] the presence of additional workers that reduces wages, not their legal status."
2004-06-23 17:03PDT (20:03EDT) (2004-06-24 00:03GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_/_ZD Net_
Gartner: Body Shopping in IT Growing
"Worldwide spending on information technology services hit $569G in 2003, up 6.2% from 2002, according to a recent report from research firm Gartner... Gartner also said the revenue of vendors based in India -- a flash-point for off-shoring -- vendors grew 29%, to 1.4% of the total market. IBM retained its crown as IT [bodyshopping] king."
2004-06-23 23:49PDT (2004-06-24 02:49EDT) (2004-06-24 06:49GMT)
economists debate quality of life
CIBC press release
CIBC monthly report
"CIBC World Markets, in a report on the _US employment quality index_, said this index has fallen 8 points since 2001, reflecting a trend toward lower-paying, less stable, self-employed and part-time jobs. 'The message is clear.', says CIBC senior economist Benjamin Tal, author of the report. 'The vast majority of jobs that evaporated during the job-loss recovery were high-quality jobs.' Stephen Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, noted that overall income growth has been sluggish even as jobs were being created... Still, CIBC's Tal said average wages in sectors that gained jobs over the past three years were 30% lower than in industries that lost jobs. 'Given the current employment distribution, it will take roughly 20% more jobs than in the last expansion to generate the same real income and salary gain.', he said."
2004-06-24 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Thomas Stengle _DoL ETA_
unemployment compensation insurance claims
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 321,805 in the week ending June 19, an increase of 9,645 from the previous week. There were 376,560 initial claims in the comparable week in 2003. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending June 12, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,747,232, an increase of 72,530 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.7% and the volume was 3,396,155. Extended benefits were available in Alaska during the week ending June 5. 9,448 individuals filed continued claims under the Federal Temporary Extended Unemployment Compensation (TEUC) program during the week ending June 5.
The highest insured unemployment rates in the week ending June 5 were in Puerto Rico (4.6%), Alaska (4.1%), Oregon (3.2%), Pennsylvania (3.0%), New Jersey (2.9%), Michigan (2.8%), Arkansas (2.7%), Washington (2.7%), Massachusetts (2.6%), California (2.5%), Illinois (2.5%), South Carolina (2.5%), and Wisconsin (2.5%). The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending June 12 were in South Carolina (+4,231), Pennsylvania (+4,230), Oklahoma (+2,695), Michigan (+2,134), and Illinois (+1,425), while the largest decreases were in Texas (-3,404), Missouri (-1,876), New York (-1,686), Tennessee (-1,668), and Puerto Rico (-1,557)."
2004-06-24 06:43PDT (09:43EDT) (13:43GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US weekly unemployment compensation insurance claims rose
"Initial weekly jobless claims increased 13K to 349K, while the 4-week average of initial claims rose 1K to 344,250, the department said... Meanwhile, the total number of Americans receiving state jobless benefits rose 75K to 2.97M in the week ended June 12. The 4-week moving average of continuing claims rose 7,500 to 2.93M."
2004-06-24 06:27PDT (09:27EDT) (13:27GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US durable goods orders fell in April & May
"Orders for durables -- manufactured items designed to last more than 3 years -- fell 1.6% last month to $189.1G... The decline in orders follows a revised 2.6% decline in April, compared with a previously estimated drop of 3.2%... durables [are] up 12.2% on a year-on-year basis... Orders for communications equipment fell 12.5%, the largest decline since last December. Orders for electronics fell 3.7%, the largest drop since 2002 July."
2004-06-24 07:00PDT (10:00EDT) (14:00GMT)
Gregory Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
New home sales were up 14.8% in May, largest increase since 1993 April
"The drop in April new home sales was less severe than originally estimated. Sales in April fell 7.9% to 1.19M units, compared with the initial estimate of an 11.8% decline to 1.09M. The number of new homes for sale on the market fell about 0.5% to 372K, representing 3.3-months of sales at the May pace. This is down from a 3.9 months supply in April... The median sales price rose 1.5% year-over-year to $198,400."
Stephen Taub _CFO_
Where's My Raise?: Conference Board reports salary budgets average 3.5% increase
"Actual 2004 salary budgets are averaging 3.5% increases, making them virtually identical to last year's pay projections, according to the Conference Board. That was true for all three employee groups surveyed: non-exempt, exempt, and executive... This is just the second time in 11 years that median increases have fallen significantly below 4%, according to the organization. The only other year was 2003."
more Conference Board info
Ken Belson _NY Times_
AT&T to Stop Competing in 7 States After Ruling on Fees
"AT&T's decision was in response to the administration's refusal to block Bell phone companies from raising interconnection fees."
Katie Hafner _NY Times_
Looking for the Eureka! Button
"As printed manuals grow scarcer and the features in gadgets and software continue to multiply, buyers are increasingly on their own when it comes to learning what their devices can do."
Salary increases falling behind inflation
"The Conference Board reported Wednesday that actual 2004 business salary budgets are showing a median increase of 3.5% this year. Separately, the second-quarter Wage Trend Indicator by BNA Inc. showed a 2.6% rise in private-sector wages. The reports by both business and economic research organizations show that workers' pay raises are not keeping up with cost increases. In the first 5 months this year, inflation grew at a 5.1% seasonally adjusted annual rate."
Pay hikes not part of rebound
"If the 2004 gain comes to pass, it would mark the second time in 11 years that salaries advanced under the 4% mark. The expected salary gains for 2005 are also expected to come in below 4%, the [Conference Board] report said... The Conference Board said it's projecting a 2.2% increase in inflation for 2004, although it expects to see a 2.7% increase over next year, suggesting a smaller real advance in salary for 2005. In May, overall inflation versus a year ago stood at 3.1%... The average annual wage in Washington state grew by 2.3% to $38,794 last year, the state's Employment Security Department reported Wednesday... The average annual wage in Washington state grew by 2.3% to $38,794 last year, the state's Employment Security Department reported Wednesday."
Dale Hildebrant _Farm & Ranch Guide_
Farm groups differ on voluntary country of origin labeling legislation
"Legislation establishing a voluntary 'country-of-origin labeling' (COOL) met mixed reaction by various farm groups when it was introduced on June 15 by representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and representative Charlie Stenholm (D-TX). The 'Food Promotion Act of 2004' [HR4576] will amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to direct the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the voluntary labeling of fresh produce, meat (including beef, pork, veal and lamb) and seafood with country-of-origin information. Upon introduction, the bill had 13 additional co-sponsors... The DRC looks more favorably on action taken on May 20 of this year by Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND), Tom Daschle (D-SD) and Tim Johnson (D-SD), when they introduced a bill in the Senate to restore implementation of country-of-origin labeling of meat products to the 2004 September 30 dead-line contained in the 2002 Farm Bill."
Tech Worker Shortage Propaganda Continues
"Getting kids excited about science and technology will help keep jobs here at home and will reduce the need to import talent from other countries, government officials and company executives said Wednesday [at another ITAA spin-fest]."
2004-06-24 18:44PDT (21:44EDT) (2004-06-25 01:44GMT)
Matt Andrejczak _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Titan bribery investigation impedes Lockheed Martin take-over
"The future of Lockheed Martin's proposed $1.6G acquisition of Titan dimmed considerably Thursday, when Lockheed said it would not extend a dead-line by which Titan must resolve a federal criminal bribery investigation. To complete the merger, Titan, based in San Diego, must either enter a plea agreement with the Justice Department or get written confirmation by Friday that the probe is complete and will not result in any fines. Titan has set aside $3M to cover the costs of any possible fines."
2004-06-25 05:30PDT (08:30EDT) (12:30GMT)
Greg Robb _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US 2004 Q1 GDP growth revised lower to 3.9%
"The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.9% in the first quarter, much slower than the 4.4% growth rate previously estimated, the Commerce Department said Friday... Based on the revision, the economy slowed down a bit from the fourth quarter. GDP increased 4.1% in the fourth quarter following an 8.2% growth rate in the third quarter. The slower growth in the first quarter reflected weaker exports and a sharp decline in spending on equipment and software. Inflation was revised higher in the first quarter. The closely watched personal consumption expenditure price index rose at a 3.2% annualized rate in the quarter, up from the 3.0% previously estimated. The core rate, excluding food and energy, rose at a 2.0% rate, instead of 1.7% previously. This is the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2002."
2004-06-25 06:41PDT (09:41EDT) (13:41GMT)
Smart systems will erase jobs
"So-called smart applications will soon cause more job losses than out-sourcing, and policy-makers will need to tread cautiously to minimize the effect of this new trend, a new report warns... This wave of job losses will follow the elimination of as many as 10M jobs involving physical labor and repetitive activities that were wiped out in the last 10 years as machines began to replace humans, the report noted. During the same period, there was a cumulative investment of $100G in robotics and supporting systems. Today, nearly 1M robots are in operation in manufacturing and service sectors globally. In the United States alone, there was an erosion of 50% blue-collar jobs due to automation, robotics and information technology between 1969 and 1999. According to Harvey Cohen, who authored the study, another threat is yet to emerge. For a growing segment of the work force with midrange skills, the further expansion of intelligent systems into capabilities involving decision making, advisory functions, identification and analytical functions will mean further limiting of job potential."
2004-06-25 09:37PDT (12:37EDT) (16:37GMT)
Corbett B. Daly _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Existing home sales set record in May
"Sales of existing homes in the United States unexpectedly rose 2.6% in May to a new record level, according to the National Association of Realtors on Friday, which the group said is likely the peak for the industry. The May seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.80M units was well ahead of expectations. Economists had been predicting a drop to 6.50M units from 6.63M units in April. The May activity was up 15.8% compared to a year ago."
2004-06-25 14:20PDT (17:20EDT) (21:20GMT)
Mark Cotton _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Nasdaq posted 1.9% gain on week: blue chips fell
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 71.97 points, or 0.7%, at 10,371.84 vs. a session high in the morning of 10,487.54. For the week, the Dow was down 0.4%. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 9.90 points, or 0.5%, at 2,025.47. The Nasdaq managed a gain of 1.9% for the week. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 6.33 points, or 0.6%, at 1,134.32, finishing virtually unchanged on the week... On the broader market, advancers gained a late 17 to 14 advantage over decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, while gainers out-paced fallers by a 17 to 12 margin on the Nasdaq. Volume was a healthy 1.8G on the NYSE, and 2G on the Nasdaq."
Iyad Allawi, Iraq's prime minister _NY Times_
terrorism excalating in Iraq
"We were expecting such an escalation [in terrorism], and we will witness more in the next few weeks. We will deal with it and crush it."
Barry Shlachter _Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram_
Off-shoring poses security hazards
"An Indian engineer is fired by an out-sourcer that is debugging software for a Boston company, SolidWorks. Before engineer Shekhar Verma leaves, he allegedly walks off with a SolidWorks source code, the foundation of a new software program worth at least $60M. Then, federal officials say, Verma contacts rival companies around the world, offering to sell the code... Indian agents appeared at the door and arrested Verma, who seemed not in the least worried. Why was he so confident? Verma made it clear that his older brother was a senior CBI officer -- which indeed he was. An attempt to charge Verma with theft failed because his former employer did not technically own the source code sent over by SolidWorks, Day said. Instead, Verma has been charged with breach of trust, which is not considered as serious an offense. No trial date has been set... U.S. companies that out-source work usually face problems that are far more mundane, like un-met expectations in terms of work quality and costs... DiamondCluster, a Chicago-based global sourcing consultant firm, surveyed 182 buyers of out-sourcing services and found that 21% had prematurely ended their arrangement. Out-sourcing providers included companies from both the United States and abroad. Reasons for ending a project ranged from the provider failing to deliver on promises, to the buyer deciding to consolidate its out-sourcing vendors. Significantly, half decided to continue out-sourcing but with a different provider."
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_
H-1B increase faces stiff resistance: unemployment rate for computer scientists and systems analysts in the U.S.A. hit 6.7% in 2004 Q1
"Phil Bond, under-secretary for technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce, this week said H-1B supporters will need to make a strong case for an increase, particularly in light of the record levels of unemployment that engineers are facing... In May, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA said the jobless rate for computer scientists and systems analysts in the U.S.A. went from 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2003 to an all-time high of 6.7% in this year's first quarter. The number of people employed in the field averaged 722K in 2003; the first-quarter figure this year was down to 672K, the IEEE-USA said... California measure authored by state legislator Carol Liu, a Democrat from South Pasadena. The bill, AB1829, would prohibit government agencies in the state from contracting with IT services firms that use foreign labor to fulfill contracts -- work would have to be performed exclusively in the U.S.A. That bill was recently approved by the state assembly and now is in the state senate."
Nancy Cook Lauer _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Audit takes hard look at Florida government out-sourcing
"The out-sourcing of the state's computer functions, previously estimated at $80M, may cost $324.7M and may not be the best deal for tax-payers... Auditor General Bill Monroe is recommending that contracts with two private companies be renegotiated to ensure that the state gets its money's worth and doesn't lose critical equipment if the deal goes sour. Turning over computer services such as help-desk operations, e-mail support and security is thought to be the state's largest privatization venture. But even the new $324.7M price tag is an estimate; the audit took the state to task for signing contracts with wide-open windows for price increases. Not only is the state uncertain how much it will have to pay tech giants Accenture [formerly Andersen Consulting] and BearingPoint, the audit said, it doesn't know how much the services cost when state employees did them... The audit also found irregularities in the bidding process that could have given Accenture and BearingPoint an unfair advantage over competitors for the contracts."
_St. Paul Pioneer Press_
Return to Old-Style Presidential Debates
"Few folks realize that the U.S. presidential debates have been quietly taken over by the 2 dominant political parties and retooled in secret to give the major parties advantage, to exclude third-party candidates and to limit actual debate. Perhaps we've all been put to sleep by the debate snooze-fests orchestrated by the Democratic and Republican national parties the last three presidential election cycles. Time to stop snoring and take the debates back. Give them meaning again. Dare we say make them unpredictable and interesting again?"
Andrew Gumbel _Independent_
Mutant gene results in muscular child
"When the baby boy emerged, mid-wives and doctors immediately knew he was special. His head looked normal, but his body was remarkable. With bulging biceps and rippling pecs, this was a child like no other... The boy, who has not been named, was born with a mutation that effectively silenced his myostatin gene, and researchers are now convinced this is what caused the spontaneous development of strong muscle tissue... The baby came from an unusually strong family. His mother had been a professional sprinter and her grandfather had worked as a builder hauling 300lb kerbstones off trucks. DNA tests revealed the mother was missing one of her 2 myostatin genes, and that the boy was making no myostatin. Now close to school age, the boy remains noticeably stronger than his peers. No ill-effects on his heart or other vital organs have been detected..."
2004-06-26 12:58PDT (15:58EDT) (19:59GMT)
Matt Andrejczak & Gary Olson _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Lockheed Martin calls off Titan merger
"Ending a rocky 9-month courtship, Lockheed Martin called off its $1.66G acquistion Saturday of fellow defense contractor Titan Corp. Titan, a San Diego-based defense electronics company, had failed to meet a Friday dead-line calling for it to strike a plea agreement with the Justice Department to resolve bribery allegations. [Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin continues to peddle its privacy violation systems.]"
Carlotta Gall _NY Times_
Out of Sight, Afghans Register Women to Vote
"This Fall's elections will be the first time that women will vote in Afghanistan. But the strict rules of tribal culture have hampered the process."
Keith Bradsher _NY Times_
Red China Pays a Price for Cheaper Oil
"A new air pollution fight is emerging around the globe over how much sulfur to allow in fuel."
Joseph B. Treaster _NY Times_
Drivers Getting Break as Many Protection Rackets Cut Rates
"With gasoline prices at more than $2 a gallon this summer, there is at least one bit of good news for drivers: the cost of auto insurance is starting to fall."
James Barron _NY Times_
Best Musical Score (By a Lap-Top)
"A computer program that can judge piano competitions depends on calculating statistical measures like standard deviations, means and medians."
Zachary Coile _San Francisco CA Chronicle_
Feinstein, Pelosi, Esho, Farr, Honda, Lantos, Tauscher, Lee, Lofgren top list of wealthiest in congress
On this day in 1963, John F. Kennedy declared that he was a jelly doughnut.
2004-06-27 07:40PDT (09:40CDT) (10:40EDT) (14:40GMT)
Mike Perez _Valley Morning Star_
Badnarik is worth a look
"A computer programmer living in Austin, Badnarik said Friday that he moved to Texas from California in 1997 to escape that state's strict gun laws and to exchange California's top 9.3% income tax rate with our 0%... 'We would reduce the size of the federal government to only that allowed by the Constitution, eliminating the Department of Education and privatizing Social Security.' The elderly who long have paid Social Security taxes would be taken care of by 'selling federal land'... But we do favor giving voters more choices in elections, especially when the choice this year among the top 2 candidates is not an especially good one. We are in sync with Badnarik in favoring limited government and a plan to have our military exit Iraq sooner rather than later."
Kurt Eichenwald _NY Times_
Ken Lay Says Crimes of Others Wrecked Enron
"On the eve of what may be the government's final decision on whether to charge him with a crime, Kenneth L. Lay is talking about the company's collapse in 2001."
Jonathan D. Glater _NY Times_
Attention WM Plaintiffs
"In the biggest employment discrimination law-suit ever filed, women are contending that Wal-Mart, the world's biggest company, discriminated against them."
Howard W. French _NY Times_
Despite an Act of Leniency, Red China Has Its Eye on the Web
"Many among [Red China's] rapidly growing group of Internet commentators are warning that the government is quietly tightening controls and increasing surveillance of Internet users."
Mark Horvit _St. Paul Pioneer Press_
Off-shoring spread to Ghana for low wages
"The computer programmer sits before a glowing screen. His room is small and hot, but he listens to cool jazz as his fingers dance across a key-board, examining a data-base he's designing for one of the world's largest companies. He earns about $400 a month -- less than $5K a year. Not a lot for someone with a computer science degree, but it's more than 10 times the average income in this small West African nation. He and the 10 other programmers in a modest white office building represent more than Ghana's slim middle class. They are among their country's brightest hopes -- and some of the most feared people in the United States, because the companies they work for are American. The programming jobs they hold could once have been done in the United States, perhaps by some of the thousands of computer science majors now looking for work in the United States."
Jim Wasserman _AP_/_Contra Costa Times_
California legislature moves to ban non-judicial foreclosures
"A Senate bill to ban California's home-owner associations from foreclosing on homes for unpaid assessments under $2,500 passed a critical test Tuesday in the Assembly, increasing odds that associations may lose a leading remedy to collect overdue assessments. The Assembly Judiciary Committee voted 7-3 to make associations use small claims court for small amounts instead of a nonjudicial foreclosure process that critics say is abused by attorneys and collection agencies and can ultimately lead to owners losing their homes. The bill also lets associations continue posting liens -- legal rights to collect when properties sell -- but no longer to foreclose on them for small sums."
Roger M. Showley _San Diego Union-Tribune_
San Diego County hits new low in housing affordability; California gloomy too
"San Diego County has hit an all-time low of 14% in housing affordability in the latest calculation by the California Association of Realtors. At the same time, California's overall affordability level hit a 14-year low of 20%, possibly heading toward the record low of 14% set in mid-1989. The association's monthly Housing Affordability Index represents the percentage of households able to buy a median-priced, single-family resale house, based on a 20% down payment and 30-year, fixed-rate loan. Also factored in is each area's median household income. According to the realty group, San Diego's median house in April cost $527,320 and it would take an income of $119,222 to qualify for a conventional loan at 5.42%. That's more than twice the area's median income of $54,543."
2004-06-27 21:17PDT (2004-06-28 00:27EDT) (2004-06-28 04:27GMT)
Anjeanette Damon _Reno Gazette-Journal_
Badnarik touts Constitution
"Propelled by a fierce devotion to the Constitution and the firm belief that the federal government has grown beyond the bounds set by the founding fathers, Texan Michael Badnarik is running for president on the Libertarian Party ticket... If elected, Badnarik said he would eliminate most federal agencies, starting with the Internal Revenue Service and the Food and Drug Administration, saying they are unconstitutional. It is government agencies such as these, he said, that are driving up consumer prices and taxes and failing where private enterprise would excel... On the environment, Badnarik supports private ownership of forest land, saying logging companies are careful to preserve the quality and quantity of trees on their land rather than clear-cutting parcels leased from the government. As a deterrent to air and water pollution, he said, individuals and businesses should have greater power to sue polluters who affect their property. Badnarik didn't take a position on the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, saying he isn't familiar with the alternatives. But after working for several years in the nuclear energy industry as a computer programmer, he said that nuclear power is safe and should be used more. He said the country needs to learn how to reuse nuclear waste instead of store it."
2004-06-28 04:12PDT (07:12EDT) (11:12GMT)
Iraq interim government is sovereign
"The formal transfer of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government was made Monday, 2 days earlier than the U.S.-led coalition had been expected to hand over power... Legal documents turning over sovereignty were handed by U.S. governor L. Paul Bremer to interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in a ceremony in the heavily guarded Green Zone, the Associated Press reported. 'This is a historical day.', the AP quoted Allawi as saying. 'We feel we are capable of controlling the security situation.' Bremer would be leaving Iraq sometime Monday, coalition officials told the AP on condition of anonymity."
2004-06-28 04:58PDT (08:58EDT) (12:58GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
US consumer spending up 1% in May: Real disposable income flat
BEA press release
"U.S. consumer spending increased 1% in May, the fastest increase since the 2001 October rebound from the 2001 September 11 terror attacks, the Commerce Department estimated Monday. Personal incomes increased 0.6%, but much of that gain was lost to higher prices. The personal consumption expenditure price index rose 0.5% in May, the most in 15 months. However, the key core PCE index, which excludes food and energy prices, increased a moderate 0.2% last month. Core prices are up 1.6% in the past 12 months, identical to April's increase, but this is double the inflation rate seen as recently as December."
2004-06-28 07:59PDT (10:59EDT) (13:59GMT)
Andrea Coombes _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Best small, medium sized firms listen to their workers
"Analytical Graphics, an Exton, PA-based aerospace-software developer, serves daily breakfast, lunch and dinner to its 170 workers and their families, provides a fitness room and laundry room with free washers and dryers and offers free holiday gift-wrapping. Plus, the company holds weekly staff meetings, during which, over a hot lunch, the chief executive updates everyone on company performance figures and news, and answers questions. Those are just some of the reasons why the company won top honors as the best small business to work for, according to a report by The Society for Human Resource Management..."
Top Small Companies
2004-06-28 09:46PDT (12:46EDT) (16:46GMT)
Myra P. Saefong _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Petroleum price fell below $36 per barrel, a 2-month low
"In morning trading, crude for August delivery fell to a low of $35.90 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's its lowest intraday level since April 26. The bench-mark crude contract was last at $36.04 a barrel, down $1.51, or 4%. July heating oil also fell, dropping 4.27 cents, or 4.2%, to stand at 96.8 cents a gallon. July unleaded gasoline shed 6.67 cents, or 5.5%, to $1.139 a gallon after touching a low of $1.13."
2004-06-28 12:35PDT (15:35EDT) (19:35GMT)
William L. Watts _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
M$ getting close to settlement in Arizona class-action anti-trust suit against it
"An Arizona judge on Monday gave preliminary approval to a class-action antitrust settlement that would see M$ offer more than $104M in vouchers to Arizona consumers, said lawyers for the plaintiffs. The settlement applies to non-government consumers who purchased M$ products between 1996 and 2002. The vouchers -- $15 for purchasers of operating systems and $9 for applications -- may then be used to purchase new software, hardware and other computer-related products of any company, including M$'s competitors... M$ settled a California class-action suit last year for $1.1G in vouchers."
With a Positive Jobs OutLook Executives Expect to Land Jobs after Sending a Mere 100 Resumes While Tech Workers Continue to Send Thousands without Hitting Pay-Dirt: Where's the "Shortage" Now?
"Awakening to the new realities of high-end job growth, 47.8% of executives in the $100k+ job market say they expect to apply to 100 or more job listings before getting an offer, according to a survey of 858 job seekers conducted by executive job search service TheLadders.com... Only 10.2% of those responding to the survey believe that they’ll need to apply to less than 20 jobs before getting an offer. 20% of respondents believe it will take between 20 and 50 applications before an offer is made. And, 21.8% believe that 50 to 100 applications will be required to bring in an offer."
2004-06-28 17:15:11PDT (20:15:11EDT) (2004-06-29 00:15:11GMT)
Eric Fidler _AP_/_Long Beach Press Telegram_
Prickly pear appears to foil hang-overs
"Prickly pear cactus extract is available at some health-supplement stores. It has been used in sun-burn ointments and as a diet supplement, supposedly to reduce blood sugar levels. The study found that when taken hours before drinking, the extract can alleviate symptoms such as dry mouth and that nauseated, can't-stand-the-sight-of-food feeling. It does not appear to ease other symptoms, such as head-aches and dizziness."
2004-06-29 03:20PDT (06:20EDT) (10:20GMT)
Weak Economy & Higher Stipends Cause Science, Engineering Graduate Student Enrollment & Post-Docs To Reach New Peaks
"The National Science Foundation (NSF) reports that more students than ever were enrolled in science and engineering (S&E) graduate programs in 2002 Fall. The 455,400 S&E graduate students enrolled that year surpassed by 6% the previous peak in 1993. The number of post-doctoral appointments (post-docs) in academic institutions also reached a new peak at 32,100 in 2002, up 6% from 2001... While graduate enrollment of foreign students in S&E fields increased by 8% to an all-time high in 2002, full-time, first-time graduate enrollment of foreign students in these fields declined by about 2,100 (7.9%) in 2002. Full-time, first time enrollment of foreign students fell in most S&E fields with the largest decreases in computer sciences (almost 15%) and earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences (about 8%). In contrast, full-time, first-time S&E graduate enrollment increased almost 14% for U.S. citizens and permanent residents."
2004-06-29 13:56PDT (16:56EDT) (20:56GMT)
Justice Department won't release foreign lobbyist data, alleges system would crash
"Advocates for open government said the government's assertion that it could not copy data from its computers was unprecedented but representative of generally negative responses to Freedom of Information Act requests... The Center for Public Integrity sought information about lobbying activities available under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, a 1938 law passed in response to German propaganda before World War II. Data-base records describe details of meetings among foreign lobbyists, the administration and Congress, and payments by foreign governments and some over-seas groups for political advertisements and other campaigns... The government said an overhaul of the system should be finished by December and copies should be available then. Paper copies of records still are available for review 4 hours each day for people willing to travel to Washington, the Justice Department noted. Williams said the index available to researchers there is at least 12 months outdated..."
Laurie J. Flynn _NY Times_
Apple Putting More Focus on Simplifying Searching
"Steven P. Jobs, the chief of Apple Computer, demonstrated his answer to one of computing's most pressing problems: searching for files and information stored on desk-top computers... At a meeting here of some 3,500 software developers, Mr. Jobs showed off a coming feature for Apple computers, called Spotlight, that will allow users to search quickly for words and concepts stored on a hard drive by using search technology borrowed from the company's iTunes online music service. The feature will be part of the next version of the Macintosh operating system, called Tiger, which is scheduled for release in the first half of next year... a sleek new 30-inch monitor, the company's largest yet. But with a price tag of $3,300, that product is aimed at design professionals, not the mass market."
Anahad O'Connor _NY Times_
Wakefulness Finds a Powerful Ally
"Users call it a nap in the form of a pill. But is modafinil a cure for sleep?"
John Noble Wilford _NY Times_
People Reached America Earlier than Previously Believed
"Dr. Albert C. Goodyear of the University of South Carolina, excised a chunk of chert about the size of a cantaloupe. Its sides, he said, had all the marks of flint-knappers' work... If he is right, American prehistory is being extended deeper in time at this remote dig site near Barnwell... In his more exuberant moments, Dr. Goodyear ventured that the dates could be as old as 25K, even 30K, years ago. He has already found elsewhere on the site what appear to be 16K-year-old artifacts, evidence for a pre-Clovis peopling of America similar to findings in Virginia and Pennsylvania. None of those discoveries has convinced skeptics. A few conservative hold-outs still question the one widely accepted pre-Clovis claim: that earlier people were living in Chile at a site excavated by Dr. Tom D. Dillehay of the University of Kentucky that is known as Monte Verde... Three other likely pre-Clovis sites have been found in the eastern United States: at Meadowcroft, PA, near Pittsburgh, and at Cactus Hill and Saltville in Virginia."
_Lorain Ohio Morning Journal_
Home foreclosures rose steeply
"Lorain County isn't alone in experiencing a steep rise in home foreclosures, as was detailed in a special package of stories in The Morning Journal on Sunday. The number of sheriff's sales of foreclosed properties in Lorain County more than doubled from 563 in 2000 to 1,221 last year. The number continues to rise, with 783 sheriff's sales ordered in the first half of this year. The number of foreclosures has been rising through good and bad economic times, experts note, so the problem isn't entirely a result of job losses from the nation's economic decline in recent years."
Baird _Human Capital Services_
Marsh & McLennan Creates Out-Sourcing Unit (pdf)
"Marsh & McLennan announced that it will combine the defined contribution administration of Putnam Investments and Mercer HR Out-sourcing to offer global [bodyshopping] services. The combined unit, which will be called Mercer HR Out-sourcing, represents roughly $500M in annual revenue. Brian Storms, VP of Mercer HR Consulting, will run the organization. Employees of Putnam and Mercer will become part of the new unit, with no immediate change to client accounts or business locations."
2004-06-29 19:59PDT (22:59EDT) (2004-06-30 02:59GMT)
Michael Paige _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
SEC: Siebel violated regulation FD: CFO & another exec charged
"Regulators filed civil charges Tuesday against Siebel Systems and 2 senior executives, alleging the company violated fair-disclosure rules by disclosing information to analysts at private meetings last year... Tuesday's action by the SEC marks the second time regulators have charged Siebel with violating Regulation FD -- a set of rules designed to protect small investors by prohibiting companies from selectively disclosing material nonpublic information. According to the SEC, on 2003 April 30, Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Goldman disclosed material information during both a private meeting with an institutional investor and at an invitation-only dinner hosted by Morgan Stanley. Mark Hanson, a current senior officer and the former director of investor relations, attended both events and failed to prevent the selective disclosures, the SEC claims. Both executives failed to make a public disclosure the following day, regulators added."
2004-06-30 11:01PDT (14:01EDT) (18:01GMT)
Rex Crum _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
CERT warns against M$'s Internet Explorer
"The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, known as CERT, issued a 'vulnerability note' saying that computer users should not use the Internet Explorer browser because of security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to launch attacks on personal computers and corporate networks. The security lapses can cause a web site to make the browser think, in effect, that it is running a program that violates its security settings. The web site can then be used to do anything from recording key-strokes, which make it easier to steal passwords and credit-card numbers, to installing pop-up-ad programs."
2004-06-30 11:17PDT (14:17EDT) (18:17GMT)
Irwin Kellner _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Rate hike brings a new set of problems
"inflation has, indeed, picked up. The various price indices are all rising faster nowadays than as recently as a few months ago, even if you exclude food and energy. That's why the Fed is raising rates. On the other, the job market is still not in a pink-cheeked state of health. And lots of people have borrowed tons of money at rates that will float upward with the federal funds rate. Ordinarily the central bank would not concern itself with jobs per se. After all, if the economy is growing so fast that it is on the verge of over-heating, it stands to reason that jobs are being created hand over fist and that, if anything, labor costs are a part of the developing inflation problem. Not this time... there are still around 1.5M fewer positions than there were at the peak more than 3 years ago... over a fifth of these folks have been out of work for a half-year or more..."
2004-06-30 13:43PDT (16:43EDT) (20:43GMT)
Rex Nutting _CBS.MarketWatch.com_
Fed hikes rates by 25 basis points (0.25%) to 1.25%
"Encouraged by the U.S. economic recovery, the Federal Reserve boosted its overnight interest rate target from 1% to 1.25% on Wednesday, the first increase in 4 years. The quarter-percentage-point increase in the federal funds rate will likely be only the first of many rate hikes over the coming months as the central bank returns interest rates to a neutral level. The vote in the 12-member committee was unanimous... The central bankers signaled that they would raise rates at a slow but steady rate, probably a quarter point hike at each meeting, economists said."
Libertarian candidate's son at top of US ticket
"Elaine Badnarik, a 70-year-old former executive secretary, is running for lieutenant governor with the Libertarian candidate for governor, Kenn Gividen... Elaine Badnarik said she'll be fighting for lower property taxes if elected. Her Lake County neighborhood is full of homes for sale because seniors can no longer afford their taxes."
David Kipen _Atlantic Monthly_
Is Hollywood Off-Shoring the Audience
"CEOs of the 7 major movie studios routinely top lists of the hardest bosses to work for in corporate America... domestic theatrical admissions had declined by 4% in 2003; then, as a silver lining, that the international box office was up by 5%... The movie business is booming abroad precisely because Hollywood is making pictures for the world market -- at the expense of customers in America, where, not surprisingly, business is tanking. It's that hoariest of economic clichÈs, a zero-sum game. Lately the film industry has been wringing its hands over 'run-away production', which is understood to mean forsaking good old union shoots in Culver City or Burbank to film on the cheap in Vancouver or Romania or New Zealand. This is a legitimate problem, but far from the most serious one facing the industry. A far graver threat is run-away consumption: looking abroad not just for the workers who make the movies but for the customers who watch them... Here, alas, is the virus laying waste to modern Hollywood movies. What do, say, the 'Batman' and 'Matrix' pictures have in common, besides banality? Just for openers, insipid, infrequent dialogue. Why take the trouble to bang out good lines -- supposing one can -- if they'll only be mistranslated for their real target markets, abroad?"
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