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Best Article of 2005
|"Prior to the war [WW2], of the top 10th of all HS students in intellectual ability, only 60% attended college & less than 1/2 managed to graduate. By 1960, over 90% of the top 10th entered college, & by 1970, 85% to 90% were receiving a degree." --- Derek Bok 1993 _The Cost of Talent_ pg 38 (referencing Charles Manski & David A. Wise 1983 _College Choice in America_; Taubman & Wales in F. Thomas Juster 1975 _Education, Income & Human Behavior_ pg 47)|
2005-01-31 21:01PST (2005-02-01 00:01EST) (05:01GMT)
Bambi Francisco _MarketWatch_
Hey, what about the consumer?: When services get out of touch with demand
"The 5-yr bubble anniversary Allow me to remind you that it was in 2000 March when the Nasdaq hit its peak, investor complacency turned into fear, and, importantly we began to realize that the products and services being sold or offered were ahead of their time. Translation: They were clumsy versions of what the consumer of the future would need, embrace and pay for [or things consumers did not want at all]... Unless these services are useful or differentiated enough, consumers won't pay for them. Nor will they stick around long enough for advertisers to pay to reach them."
Dice Report: 64,865 job ads
Threse Rutkowski _Insurance Networking News_
Protection Rackets Continue Move Toward Global Sourcing
"Despite the controversy over off-shore out-sourcing, the insurance industry, along with other industries, continues to out-source IT services and business processing to regions of the world where [labor seems cheapest]... In fact, industry sources say, out-sourcing -- even off-shore out-sourcing -- has actually been growing, even while it was under fire... in 2003, out-sourcing captured 26% of total IT services spending across industries, according to Gartner. By 2008, that number will grow to 33%. 47% of [protection racketeers] are using or plan to use out-sourcing within the next 18 month -- and the insurance sector alone spent $6.26G on IT out-sourcing in 2003 -- a figure Gartner predicts will grow to $10.3G by 2008... No doubt about it: The main reason companies out-source is to reduce costs [by shifting them from employers to employees, and from US employers to 3rd world employees]... In its Fall Management Barometer Survey of 151 U.S. senior executives across industries, PwC found that many companies are not even reaping the cost savings they had expected from their out-sourcing ventures."
2005-02-01 07:25PST (10:25EST) (15:25GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Construction rose 1.1% in 2004 December: Biggest increase since April
census bureau data
"For all of 2004, construction spending rose 9% from the 2003 level to a record $998.4G, the biggest gain since 1996. December's record annualized rate of a record $1.03T was 8.7% above 2003 December... Institute for Supply Management said its January manufacturing sentiment index slid to 56.4% from 57.3% in December."
2005-02-01 13:46PST (16:46EST) (21:46GMT)
Steve Gelsi _MarketWatch_
FTC chair Deborah Platt Majoras foresees new laws regarding privacy and spyware
"Renewed support for efforts to fight cross-border fraud as well as fresh laws from Congress to curb spyware and protect consumer privacy are likely in the coming months, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras said Tuesday. Addressing the challenges posed by the technology industry, Majoras told a group of industry insiders that measures to combat cross-border fraud could help track down identity thieves and other practices that originate beyond U.S. borders... phishing -- the practice of luring consumers into revealing credit card numbers and other private data -- is best countered by consumer education, she added."
Jennifer Sullivan _CareerBuilder_/_PR News Wire_
39% of Health-Care Workers Plan to Leave Jobs in 2005
"over-worked and highly stressed health-care workers are looking to remedy their work situation in 2005. 39% of health-care workers plan to change jobs this year. [60% of] health-care workers report their work-loads have increased in the last 6 months and almost one-half characterize their work-loads as too heavy. This is according to a new CareerBuilder.com survey, '2005 Outlook: Health-Care Workers', which was conducted from 2004-11-22 to 2004-12-02 and included more than 275 health-care workers... 46% of health-care workers still report dissatisfaction with pay. Of those who did receive an increase, one-half were given a raise of 3% or less. The ability to develop and move forward in one's career is also an area of concern for health-care workers. [30%] state they are dissatisfied with opportunities to advance in their current organizations and [10%] say they were over-looked for a promotion in 2004. 28% of these workers do not feel their jobs provide sufficient learning and professional development opportunities."
One-Half of Sales Professionals are in the Market for a New Job This Year, According to CareerBuilder.com Survey
47% of Retail Workers Plan to Leave Their Jobs in 2005
Rich Heintz _California Job Journal_
An Avoidable Loss of Jobs
"'you've done remarkable things... but we can find someone else cheaper. We have decided to out-source your job over-seas. CEOs in Japan earn a fraction of your salary.'... Bashing skilled American workers appears to be the key strategy of the so-called Computer Systems Policy Project -- a handful of influential business leaders like Carly who want to head off any opposition from US law-makers who might question the wisdom of continuing to export American jobs carte blanche... Blaming the school system is simply an attempt to deflect any real discussion of the long-term consequences of off-shoring. It is off-shoring that will hurt education, not the other way around... Why should American students study math and science when the companies they would work for might sell them out at the first opportunity? IOW, Carly and Craig want workers smart enough to do the job, but dumb enough not to see the handwriting on the wall... 'The problem is not a lack of highly educated workers.', argues Scott Kirwin, founder of the Information Technology Professionals Association of America. 'The problem is a lack of highly educated workers willing to work for the minimum wage or lower in the US. Costs are driving out-sourcing, not the quality of American schools.'... If low-wage, low-skill jobs are expendable, then those displaced American workers deserve to be retrained for better jobs at the out-sourcing employer's expense. Those better jobs should not be allowed to leave our shores until all qualified American workers are employed... Just as we limit the number of foreign workers into our country, we should strictly control the number of jobs we send to foreign workers outside our borders. Federally, action needs to be taken to stop companies from exporting high-skill jobs when America has talent to do the job at home. Companies that refuse should lose their tax breaks and other benefits of doing business in this country. There is, after all, no tax break that is corporate America's God-given right. Let me stress I do not advocate government intrusion into every aspect of the labor market. In fact, I fully support the free and uncontrolled off-shoring of CEOs. Many have earned it."
Carrie Sturrock _San Francisco Chronicle_
Families flee schools with sinking performance
"The schools fail to meet state and federal accountability standards often because they're struggling to teach low-scoring students who are learning English after immigrating to the United States, said Jack Jennings, director of the Center on Education Policy in Washington, DC, an advocacy organization for more effective public schools... Oak Grove has always had a mix of students from blue- and white-collar families who live in Concord and more affluent Walnut Creek. In 1996, the state named it a California Distinguished School for its exemplary teaching and high standards. But in the seven years since the first of the state's new test scores -- which the federal law uses to gauge a school's performance -- the school has seen a marked shift in its demographics: The Hispanic population -- which is largely from the Monument Boulevard area in Concord -- has jumped from 27% to 52%, while the white population has dropped from 57% to 30%, according to the state Department of Education... Oak Grove scored 611 on its state Academic Performance Index on a scale of 200 to 1000, with 800 being excellent. Under No Child Left Behind, four of two-dozen subgroups failed to meet standards in math and English last year: Hispanic students, English learners, students from poor homes and students with disabilities. When California's new accountability program test scores were first made public in 1998, parents began gradually transferring their students to other schools in the district, which has an open-enrollment policy."
2005-02-01 21:01PST (2005-02-02 00:01EST) (05:01GMT)
Carla Mozee _MarketWatch_
Feds cast corporate corruption drag-net abroad
"A spate of recent cases shows newfound federal enthusiasm for cracking down on corporate misbehavior over-seas, forcing companies to scour their operations for anything that smacks of bribery or shady book-keeping. Sarbanes-Oxley and new federal sentencing guidelines are credited for fueling the pickup in the pace of bribery probes under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. With the threat of hefty fines, lengthy investigations and lost business, companies are investing more in due diligence and business ethics, creating a hot business trend as international mergers and acquisitions arena gather steam... The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act makes it illegal for any publicly traded or private companies to [blatantly] bribe any foreign official to obtain or retain business... The U.S. Department of Justice has prosecuted [only] 39 criminal cases since the FCPA was passed in 1977, according to a State Department report published in September."
2005-02-02 07:15PST (10:15EST) (15:15GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US lay-off announcements fell below 100K in January
"U.S. corporations announced 92,351 lay-offs in January, down 15% from December's tally, out-placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas said Wednesday... Planned reductions were down 21% from 2004 January... More than a third of January's lay-offs were in 3 sectors: government, financial services and automotive, which each cut more than 10K jobs in January. Telecommunications companies cut fewer than 1,500 jobs in January, but that number is expected to soar in coming months... M&A activity was the second-leading cause of lay-offs in January, behind cost cutting... According to government data, there were 1.53M lay-offs and involuntary discharges during November, the most recent data available. Other government statistics show that 7.31M jobs were lost in the first quarter of the year, while 7.75M jobs were created [for a net of +440K, while working age population increased between 450K & 600K]."
2005-02-02 10:46PST (13:46EST) (18:46GMT)
John C. Dvorak _MarketWatch_
Idealism, Industry Consolidation & the SBC+AT&T Merger: Sliding back to high prices and poor service
"ever since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the diversifying world of communications companies began to coalesce back into the world as we knew it before the 1984 breakup of AT&T... As an example of lax consumer protection afforded by California regulators, for example, the state's Public Utilities Commission just last week voted to suspend newly implemented rules that would make wireless companies accountable for shady billing practices thus openly choosing to protect the phonecos rather than the public... In the late 1990s anyone with high school math skills must have noticed that the practice of slamming customers by changing long distance services without authorization was netting the phonecos millions while they were fined only a fraction of their profits made from the practice... Our family has tried and tried to end all associations with the company by canceling all long-distance service and the company has refused to allow it, instead providing a monthly bill which we refuse to pay. There is no recourse other than suing them since all customer service appears to be in India."
2005-02-02 11:46PST (14:46EST) (19:46GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Fed Open Market Committee increased interest rates again, crushing job market recovery even after CPI fell
"For the sixth straight meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee increased its target for overnight interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point, this time to 2.50%, and signaled Wednesday that rates will rise further in coming months... In a related action, the Fed policy-makers voted to increase the discount rate from 3.25% to 3.5%."
2005-02-02 14:28PST (17:28EST) (22:28GMT)
David Weidner _MarketWatch_
Investigator says Dick Grasso had too much control over his own compensation
"The so-called Webb report is the linch-pin of an attempt by the NYSE and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer of New York state to recover more than $100M of the $190M awarded to Grasso during his 7-year reign as head of the exchange. 'Grasso's excessive compensation and benefits were the product of multiple flaws in the compensation and benefits process employed by the NYSE.', the report stated. 'Grasso determined [at his own discretion] the Chairman's Award component of the annual NYSE performance evaluations process [that] the committee used... to bench-mark Grasso's own compensation.'"
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 364,943 in the week ending January 29, an increase of 3,589 from the previous week. There were 406,298 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6% during the week ending January 22, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,270,807, a decrease of 41,294 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.0% and the volume was 3,773,316."
2005-02-03 07:50PST (10:50EST) (15:50GMT)
Jennifer Waters _MarketWatch_
Weather didn't deter shopping in January: Up 3.5% from 2004 January
"The early results show that last month the nation's largest retailers rang up sales at stores open longer than a year -- a key industry bench-mark -- that were 3.5% higher than the previous year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers."
Jerry Seper _Washington Times_
Snipers are targeting border agents
"Snipers working as "lookouts" for drug traffickers and illegal-alien smugglers are targeting U.S. Border Patrol agents from vantage points across the U.S.-Mexico border."
2005-02-04 02:00PST (05:00EST) (10:00GMT)
Kim Zetter _Wired_
Canadians Fight Against Off-Shoring for Privacy Reasons
"British Columbians are fighting to halt an out-sourcing contract recently signed by their government that could place millions of their health records in the hands of a private American company. Activists with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association are concerned that the data could be susceptible to seizure by American law enforcement agencies if the data resides with a company whose parent firm is in the U.S. They fear the information could be used for data-mining exercises, such as those that previously involved passenger records from JetBlue and other airlines being passed to a government agency. Or the data could be passed to border patrol officials, who could use the information to prevent British Columbians with serious health issues, like AIDS, from entering the United States. Under the U.S. Patriot Act, authorities can force U.S. companies to relinquish information while preventing companies from telling customers or employees that it has been seized. And activists fear that reach will extend to subsidiaries of U.S. companies located outside the United States... Micheal Vonn, policy director for the British Columbia Civil Rights Association, questioned the wisdom of placing economic concerns over citizens' constitutional rights to privacy. 'There really isn't a data-base of cross-referenced information that you could consider to be more personal.', Vonn said. 'Every medical transaction, from your mental health history to prescription drugs to (adoption records), family history and how much money you make, is in the medical data-base if it has to do with who gets billed for what. The potential for this information to be used and misused is great.'"
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
2005-02-04 07:13PST (10:13EST) (15:13GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.2% while the unadjusted rate rose to 5.7%, 0.4% below the 2004 January level
"U.S. non-farm pay-rolls grew by a lower-than-expected [seasonally adjusted] 146K in January even as the unemployment rate dipped to a 3-year low of 5.2%, the Labor Department reported Friday. Non-farm pay-rolls rose to a seasonally adjusted record of 132.6M... Pay-rolls have increased a [seasonally adjusted] average of 137K in the past 3 months, a slow down from the 181K average pace in all of 2004. The unemployment rate fell largely because the labor force participation rate sank by a tenth to 65.8%. [Since the on-set of the depression in 2000 January, employment has increased by 3.77M according to the household survey, while the establishment survey shows pay-rolls have increased by 1.78M. At the same time, the working age civilian population has increased by 13.4M, and the labor force has increased by 5.9M. The proportion of the working age civilian population employed stands at 61.7% before seasonal adjustment, 2.1 percentage points lower than at the beginning of the depression; and the labor force participation rate at 65.4%, down 1.4 percentage points. Employment in software product publishing remains well off the 214.7K peak of 2000 August at 191.4K for December, the latest figures available, but that's a 7.6K increase from 2003 December.]"
2005-02-04 07:38PST (10:38EST) (15:38GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich Consumer Sentiment index fell from 95.8 earlier in the month to 95.5 in late January
"The index is also below the 97.1 level in December. The index was dragged lower by the expectations index, which fell to 85.7 in late January from 86.4 earlier in the month. The index was 90.9 in December."
2005-02-04 10:08PST (13:08EST) (18:08GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Tech employment slipped in January
"After growing from April to December, the number of pay-roll jobs in the field of computer systems design and related services slipped by 300 in January, to 1.18M, according to the [BLS] report. And the manufacturing side of the computer industry continued to drop positions. The number of jobs in computer and electronic products manufacturing edged down by 200 in January, to 1.33M... A recent report on the state of Silicon Valley found job losses last year in various technology sectors. The push to send programming work to lower-wage nations such as India continues to threaten American techies. And critics also claim a newly expanced H-1B visa program will hurt domestic technology professionals by introducing more competition from [subsidized] foreign workers... [Seasonally adjusted] pay-roll jobs in management & technical consulting services remained at 789,700 in January."
2005-02-04 13:46PST (16:46EST) (21:46GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Stocks close 2nd week of gains
"The Dow finished up 123 points, or 1.2%, to 10,716, its highest level since January 4. The bench-mark index gained 2.8% for the week. The last day on which the Dow closed up more than 100 points was December 1, when it rallied 162.20 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 29 points, or 1.4%, to 2,086, to close out the week with a 2.5% gain. The S&P 500 Index rose 13 points, or 1.1%, to finish at its highest level of this year. The index gained 2.7% on the week."
Germany is losing R&D to off-shoring
"Germany is losing research and development investment as companies relocate their facilities to their foreign markets or to low-cost locations, according to a survey conducted by the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). DIHK surveyed over 1,600 German companies which together account for around 60% of all private-sector research and development done in the country. One in 3 companies surveyed has invested in setting up research and development facilities abroad. Half of these companies have already relocated research and development facilities to foreign countries. Another 17% plan to off-shore a portion of their activities within 2 years. Axel Nitschke, the DIHK's chief economist, said that the lost investment volume amounted to €2G."
Scott Kirwin _eMedia Wire_/_ITPAA_
Continuing Decline in Science, Engineering, Computer Graduates Expected: The IT Professionals Association of America (ITPAA, Inc) expects the number of Computer Science degrees to continue declining in line with demand due to out-sourcing and H-1b, L-1 visa abuse.
"The IT Professionals Association of America, (ITPAA, Inc.) does not see any end to the decline of students pursuing degrees in Computer Science any time soon. Scott Kirwin, founder of the group states that shortage concerns voiced by industry leaders such as MSFT, HP, and IBM are over-blown. 'People vote with their feet.', Kirwin says. 'Salaries continue to decline in IT, and entry-level positions for new graduates are hard to come by since most of these have been off-shored to India and [Red China]. Given that the average college student graduates with $50K in debt, it makes sense that he or she would avoid fields such as IT that are disappearing, and go into those that provide the income necessary to pay back that debt.' Kirwin believes that out-sourcing and labor dumping -- a term coined by Kirwin to describe flooding the American labor market with foreign workers -- are to blame. 'Pro-off-shoring and pro-labor dumping industry sponsored groups like the IT Association of America (ITAA) and Compete America want talent, but they don't want to pay for it - so they head abroad to find that talent on the cheap. The free market goes both ways.', he says. 'If there are too many American IT workers, then their salaries go down and people avoid the field. If salaries began rising, then people would become interested in the field again, but that hasn't happened, nor do we expect it to anytime soon.' Kirwin believes that the IT industry has become hooked on cheap labor... 'American firms thought they could get something for nothing...'"
2005-02-04 22:34PST (2005-02-05 01:34EST) (06:34GMT)
Mary Tallon _DeKalb Daily Chronicle_
Law curbs off-shoring of state contract work
St. Louis Business Journal
"Companies that want to do business with the state will soon have to disclose how much of the work would be done over-seas. Under a law signed by governor Rod Blagojevich Friday, firms bidding on state contracts have to report any out-sourcing plans they have for the work. The state can then use that information to decide which companies get contracts. If businesses are found to be out-sourcing more than they said they would, the state gets the power to end the contracts."
2005-02-05 05:46PST (08:46EST) (13:46GMT)
Pedro Nicolaci da Costa _Reuters_
Jobs Data Expose Gap between Wall Street & Main Street
"The lastest batch of disappointing US employment data high-lights a gap between Wall Street's economic forecasts & the tough labor market facing nearly 8M unemployed Americans. The disparity between economic models & real life also casts doubt on the reliability of predictions for strong economic growth in 2005, some analysts worry. For over a year now, economists at leading investment firms have been saying that block-buster job creation was just around the corner. But the economy has not delivered."
2005-02-05 10:47PST (13:47EST) (18:47GMT)
Steve Goldstein & Aude Lagorce _MarketWatch_
G7 failed to agree on debt plan: Red China continues to refuse to let Yuan value float on the market
"The Group of Seven finance ministers and top central bankers of the world's leading industrialized countries on Saturday failed to come to a consensus on debt relief for the world's poorest countries and did not alter their year-long stance toward the foreign-exchange market. In addition, hopes that [Red China] would be pressured into revaluing its currency, the yuan, didn't materialize. In its communiqué, the G-7 affirmed that exchange rates should reflect economic fundamentals and said it wanted more flexibility in exchange rates. The language was identical to that issued at Boca Raton, FL, last February. [Red China's] central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, told local [Red Chinese] media that the country didn't face pressure... the peg of 8.28 yuan to a dollar has left the U.S.A. with a deficit with [Red China] of $147.7G, according to data through the end of November."
Eun-Kyung Kim _St. Louis Post-Dispatch_
Traffickers in people use many methods in fastest-growing criminal enterprise
"The government defines human trafficking as the act of using force, fraud or coercion to exploit someone for sexual purposes or for unpaid work. 'A person doesn't actually have to be physically locked up for them to be trafficked, or held in slavery.', said Jolene Smith, executive director of the Washington-based organization Free the Slaves... The law, which created a special "T-1" category visa for victims, is intended to allow individuals to rebuild their lives and stay away from traffickers who may be pursuing them or trying to send them back to their home country. The visas are also intended to allow victims to stay in the United States long enough to testify against their trafficker... To report trafficking crimes or to get help for victims, the Justice Department has set up the Trafficking in Persons Workers Exploitation Complaint Line: 888-428-7581. The line is open Monday through Friday, from 08:00 to 16:00 St. Louis time. For people in need of services or help, the Human Trafficking and Information and Referral Hot-Line is open 24 hours a day: 888-373-7888."
|"Regulation is acquired by the industry and is designed and operated primarily for its benefit." --- George Stigler|
2005-02-06 16:59PST (19:59EST) (2005-02-07 00:59GMT)
Kelli B. Grant _MarketWatch_
Money-manners faux pas
"Dorothea Johnson, founder and director of the Protocol School of Washington, says there are specific topics you should avoid, no matter how well you know someone:
2005-02-06 21:15PST (2005-02-07 00:15EST) (05:15GMT)
Tomi Kilgore _MarketWatch_
Bad news was good for stocks, but not for long: Weak data will eventually be bad
"all the market needed was a little boost. It got it when employment data was weaker than Wall Street had been expecting. It may sound counter-intuitive but the stock market figured that if data was weak, it might make the Federal Reserve reconsider its policy of steady interest rate hikes... The subsequent tumble in the yield of the 10-year Treasury note ($TNX: news, chart, profile) , which is supposed to spark consumer borrowing and spending once again, was the boost stocks needed. But don't expect that to last too long... I wouldn't expect these lower yields to spark borrowing and spending by consumers. Based on the recent performance of mortgage banking companies, it seems yields have been historically low for so long that there aren't too many people left to refinance their mortgage. Unless of course the rate drops a lot further. If that happens, it's likely going to be because the yield curve is nearing the "inverted" danger point, which means the Fed's rate hikes have taken a toll on the economy, or least on investor perceptions of the economy. The last time the yield curve inverted -- at that time, the 30-year bond was the benchmark and it was that yield that fell below overnight rates -- was in late-1999. The Dow topped out in 2000 January and the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq peaked 2 months later. That's just too close to be a coincidence... If economic data stays weak enough to give the Fed reason to stop raising rates, which way do you think the 10-year yield will go? That's when we'll start talking about an inverted curve again, and that's definitely not good for stocks. Bulls should stop rooting for bad news."
2005-02-07 12:46PST (15:46EST) (20:46GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Consumer credit hit record in December
"U.S. consumer credit rose by $3.1G, or a 1.8% annual rate, in December to a record seasonally adjusted $2.104T... Consumer credit rose by a revised $2G in November, much stronger then the Fed's initial estimate that credit fell by a record $8.7G... In December, non-revolving credit, such as auto loans, rose by $2.2G, or 2%, the Fed said. Revolving credit, such as credit cards, rose by a $900M in December, or 1.4%."
Alwyn Scott _Seattle Times_
Shifting Fortunes: Out-Sourcing Leaves White Collar Workers with White Knuckles
"As a medical transcriptionist who turns doctors' dictation into patient records, her work is highly mobile. So it's hardly surprising that [transcriptionists] fear losing their jobs to cheaper workers around the country and over-seas... Paul Samuelson, the 89-year-old winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and architect of much of modern trade theory, recently raised eyebrows by arguing that the U.S. can lose in trade, especially where off-shoring is involved. In Samuelson's analysis, the U.S. loses when research and inventions it developed move over-seas, taking jobs with them... moving industries off-shore, while often good for the owners of companies, shrinks the U.S. slice of the total world economy. Moreover, Samuelson says that a shift in U.S. tax and social policies in the past 20 years has worsened the effect by steering less of the economy's trade gains to the people losing jobs than was the case under New Deal policies of the 1930s and 1940s. 'I don't think that the gains of the gainers pour off in the market system to assuage the losses of the losers.', Samuelson said... As valuable [jobs] move off-shore, 'that [has] put downward pressure on wages of people with college degrees and advanced degrees.', said Robert Scott, an economist with the [leftward leaning] Economic Policy Institute based in Washington, DC. It's the same thing that has happened to factory workers since the 1970s, he says... Among service-sector jobs, about 500K jobs have moved over-seas in the last 2 years, roughly 1% of the total services work-force, according to a study by Forrester Research, a technology research firm based in Cambridge, MA. Forrester expects the total will grow to about 6% over the next decade, with a cumulative loss of about $152G in wages over the entire period... off-shoring is a long-term process that is unlikely to disappear. [Red China's] rise as an economic power, for example, since 1989 has cost the U.S. factories and offices that supported them 1.5M jobs, according to a recent study by Scott of the Economic Policy Institute... Scott found that many white-collar jobs lost in Oregon and Washington went to advanced economies like Sweden, Canada and the UK, not India and [Red China]... [Governments in Red] China and India [heavily subsidize] education systems, aiming to build white-collar industries... As... jobs go away, older people have a hard time landing good-paying new jobs."
Marilyn Gardner _Christian Science Monitor_
Laid off at 50: How some bridge the retirement gap: they're too young to retire and have trouble getting re-hired. Still, many facing a mid-life career crisis find ways to get by.
"Despite decades of marketing experience, she couldn't find an appealing position in her field... 'What you find pretty universally is, for the person over 50 who loses a job, whether it's an executive or a factory-floor worker, their new job is not as good as [the one] they used to have.', says Carrie Leana, a professor of management at the University of Pittsburgh who studies job loss... For some laid-off employees, pride is a stumbling block. 'Older workers often say, ''I've had a great title, my work is good, and therefore I shouldn't have to take something lesser.''', says Fred Nothnagel, director of WIND, a networking group for out-of-work professionals in Massachusetts... 'If money were no object, what would you do if you could do anything?'... 'People who can visualize what their perfect vocational day would be like are those who can move toward it.', he says. For job-seekers who must postpone such idealism because they need a pay-check, fast, work-place experts offer other ideas... her combined income is less than a third of her former salary... low salaries and part-time jobs will not meet the needs of many laid-off employees in middle age. What is necessary, Professor Leana says, is a fundamental change in corporate attitudes, getting managers to recognize the value of older workers on their staff."
John Gibson _Fox_
John Stossel's change of heart
"John Stossel (search) has been going after crooks and scam artists on television for 30 long years -- and he looks so young. He's been aiming at some pretty big targets lately: big business, big media, big government. John's here to talk about his latest book, now out in paperback. It's called _Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media_."
What Freedom Means
|"We do things to ourselves we would never let others do to us. Stop worrying about the repercussions of every action you take & just start working. You'll find that when you're busy you aren't worried." --- Stephen M. Pollan & Mark Levine 1997 _Starting Over_ pg 138|
James Riley _Australian IT_
Division over skills glut
"As Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone considers whether to increase visas for skilled immigrants, the technology sector is deeply divided as to whether there is a shortage of IT workers. The Australian Computer Society, the peak representative organisation for IT professionals, has yet to form a policy on the issue despite receiving a controversial report warning of a serious over-supply of [both domestic and] migrant technology workers threatening the prospects of local tech graduates. Spear-heading calls for government to boost the overall intake of foreign workers is the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association, which says the intake should be increased by 10% to bring overall numbers close to 90K a year [and drive down domestic employment and compensation]... ITCRA executives [want] government to reduce requirements for foreign IT workers to qualify for Skilled Independent visas... Skilled migration was important for the IT industry because of the technology transfer opportunities it created, [ITCRA executive director Norman Lacy] said... About 1M skilled Australians worked over-seas and the government should come up with strategies to either attract these workers back or to use the migration program to replace them, he said... Elsewhere, the Graduate Careers Council of Australia's latest research finds that 30% of computer science graduates have difficulty finding full-time work... Australian Information Industry Association executive director Rob Durie said demand for IT skills had risen recently..."
Donna Conroy _Stop IT Off-Shoring_
On-the-Job Training... Only for H-1Bs
"On-the-job training is not available for the majority of technical professionals -- unless you have a visa the company can hold. In the 1970s & 1980s high tech jobs were paths to upward mobility, especially for women and minority groups... All H-1Bs go through a training period. Some are even trained by [the people they replace]. Trainign is rarely provided to [American] IT professionals; [we] are expected to 'hit the ground running' and we do!"
2005-02-08 13:18PST (16:18EST) (21:18GMT)
Rachel Koning & Steve Goldstein _MarketWatch_
Federal government deficit optimism lifts dollar vs yen: Euro stabilizes near 3-month low against dollar
"Late in U.S. trading hours, the dollar had advanced 0.9% against its Japanese counterpart, to 105.75 yen. The dollar earlier touched 105.94 yen, the highest since early November. The euro was at $1.2766, up a slight 0.1% from Monday, when it touched its lowest level against the dollar in more than 3 months."
2005-02-08 13:37PST (16:37EST) (21:37GMT)
Sandra Cordon _Yahoo!_/_Canadian Press_
Leftists won't complain if business sends more Canadian jobs over-seas
"Business should feel free to send work off-shore to wherever it can be done most cheaply, to help boost their bottom lines, [Canada's Trade Minister] Peterson told a national gathering of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters... Peterson took a similar message to [Red China] last month, where he encouraged Canadian firms to take advantage of low-cost global supply chains and expand into that rapidly growing market... But the theory that global free trade will see low-value jobs at home replaced with highly skilled, well-paying employment so far just isn't working, said Peter Julian, trade critic for the opposition NDP... Labour economist Jim Stanford recently said he feared 50K jobs could be lost as a result of companies moving parts of their operations to cheaper labour markets in [Red China]... Incomes, even after adjusting for inflation, rose by just 2% in almost 25 years while temporary work ballooned, unionization shrank and solid pension plans became increasingly scarce, the agency concluded."
2005-02-08 15:28PST (18:28EST) (23:28GMT)
Ciara Linnane & Scott Banerjee _MarketWatch_
MSFT purchase of Sybari Software Inc. to expand its security-products line results in drop of stock prices of McAfee & Symantec
"The move is a direct threat to McAfee and Symantec because Sybari has alliances with such vendors as Computer Associates, IMlogic, Kaspersky Labs, NetIQ and Sophos, all of which are major rivals to the 2 companies, said Morgan Stanley analyst Peter Kuper."
Kiran Chaube _India Daily_
"According to published reports, American clients have started avoiding Indian call center out-sourcing firms that provide Indian-accented calls to America. Americans today do not like receiving calls from India..."
US companies convert call center/boiler rooms to home-work
"After some unsuccessful attempts to move call centers abroad, U.S. companies are shifting some of that work back to this country -- and into people's homes. Besides Office Depot, JetBlue Airways Corp., General Electric Co. and Staples Inc. are among the companies that have been using stay-at-home customer service representatives as an alternative to traditional call centers in the United States, India and the Philippines. Home-based workers are usually happier, which means better service, these companies say. The arrangement also allows employers to schedule people in small part-time slots when call volume is higher, rather than hiring regular call-center workers who get paid [and benefits] whether they are busy or not."
Stella M. Hopkins _Charlotte Observer_
The Road to Fighting Off-Shoring: Keeping tech jobs in the country
"Forget India for low-cost computer workers. Try Greenville, NC or rural AR, WV & other US locales where living costs keep wages below urban levels... By 2015, as many as 3.4M U.S. jobs and $151G in wages could be lost, according to estimates by Forrester Research Inc... Even rural wages can't match programming rates in India and elsewhere, but RSI and others pitch a combination of lower costs, available work force, proximity, and similar time zones and language... The seeds of RSI were planted when she started a program to help the university's IT grads find jobs in a tight market. After 10 years at UNCG, White moved to the corporate executive suite, starting in 1991 at Greensboro textile-maker Guilford Mills. She moved rapidly through higher IT positions at larger companies, garnering national IT awards. In 1999, White became chief information officer for Cardinal Health, a pharmaceutical drug distributor that ranked 17th in last year's Fortune 100. While in that post, she began 'virtual internships', which enabled IT students at small universities to get work experience, via the Internet, with a huge company."
92,351 job cuts announced in 2005 January, a 15% improvement from the 109,245 jobs cut in December: most in government sector
2005-02-08 21:09PST (2005-02-09 00:09EST) (05:09GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Corporate Tax Break May Go Straight to Execs Wallets and Lead to US Lay-Offs Instead of Job Creation
"A corporate tax holiday touted as a job creator in the off-shore era may well lead to US lay-offs & fatter wallets for wealthier types, according to a report from the AP. Signed into law last October, the measure temporarily lowers taxes on foreign profits brought back to the USA. Amid the fury over off-shore out-sourcing, senator John Ensign, R-NV, pitched it as a way to help workers... 'the Invest in the USA Act represents a form of in-sourcijng in which jobs & capital are returned to America.', Ensign said at the time. Profits brought back home under the program are not supposed to be used to pay chief executive salaries. But AP's story indicates a company theoretically could use the funds to cover regular advertising costs, & switch that budget over to executive compensation or dividend payments. In additionj, acquisitions are an acceptable use of the foreign earnings... As we know, mergers often trigger big waves of pink slips... And the AP siad a Morgan Stanley survey found that none of the investment firm's analysts believed that any of the companies they followed would use the repatriated earnings for hiring."
2005-02-09 09:44PST (12:44EST) (17:44GMT)
Rex Crum _MarketWatch_
HP board ousted CEO Carly Fiorina: CFO Robert Wayman named interim CEO
"Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday ousted Chair-woman and Chief Executive Carly Fiorina [Cara Carleton S. Sneed] amid sentiment among investors and H-P directors that her management style was stifling the company's growth potential. The Palo Alto, CA-based H-P named Chief Financial Officer Robert Wayman its interim CEO. Patricia Dunn was named non-executive chair-woman. Dunn has served as a director since 1998. The action was a stunning blow to Fiorina, 50, one of the most powerful women in the business world, and a repudiation of her controversial 2002 acquisition of Compaq Computer. Fiorina pushed through that $19G merger as part of a bold plan to remake the plodding Silicon Valley icon into a computing and services giant that could challenge IBM. Yet it never produced the promised results, and as Fiorina worked to integrate the 2 huge companies, Dell Inc. leap-frogged past them to become the leading seller of PCs. H-P shares fell by about 50% during Fiorina's tenure, underperforming Dell's by a wide margin and also lagging IBM's share performance."
Norm Matloff _ACM Queue_ vol47 #11
Globalization & the American IT Worker
"No matter what kind of globalization of 'IT' one considers -- whether off-shoring the work or importing foreign workers to the USA under the H-1B and L-1 work visa programs -- the losers are USA programmers as well as the overall USA economy... Though programmer salaries in India are relatively low, the overall cost savings for off-shoring tends to range from 15% to 40%. This is about the same range of savings accrued for work done in the USA by hiring H-1Bs. A number of studies have found that the H-1Bs are paid on average 15% to 33% less than comparable USA 'IT' workers. Given the similarity in salary savings between off-shoring and labor importation, and the fact that having the work done on-site is far more productive, it is much more cost-effective from a CEO's point of view to hire H-1Bs than to off-shore the work... as of 2002, 463K H-1Bs (not including tens of thousands of L-1s) held 'IT' jobs in the USA... Another major problem with off-shoring is that the Indian business model involves staffing projects with young, inexperienced programmers in order to minimize costs. This has obvious adverse effects on quality... Americans would mainly have access only to the non-technological jobs. The venture capitalists call this new business model 'micro-multi-national', with sales and marketing jobs in the USA but with R&D done off-shore. Once again, this amounts to trading jobs that require more education for jobs that need less education... On the legislative side, labor importation must be addressed, not only for its direct effect but also because it plays a central role in off-shoring; most off-shoring software projects include a key onshore component staffed by H-1Bs and L-1s in the USA. The visa holders serve as liaisons to off-shore staff or are off-shore workers temporarily in the USA for training. The prevailing [compensation] requirement of H-1B law and regulations is defined so loosely that numerous loop-holes are available to employers for keeping H-1B wages low while being in full compliance with the law. Just like loop-holes in the tax code, these H-1B loop-holes are used aggressively by virtually all firms, from giants like Intel to the tiniest start-up. Congress must fix this disgraceful situation. H-1B visas should be restricted to their original, now-forgotten, purpose: allowing 'the best and the brightest' [the pre-eminent, the super-stars] of the world to work in the USA... Like their off-shore counterparts, H-1Bs tend to be young; for example, the Indian 'IT' giant Tata Consultancy Services [TCS] reported that 50% of its programmers in the USA are under age 25, and 88% are under 30..."
2005-02-09 08:00PST (11:00EST) (16:00GMT)
Jeff Pappone _Ottawa Business Journal_
Canada's un-tapped out-sourcing market: Making Canada the place to which work is off-shored
"After creating numerous lists for high-level Nortel executives to choose layoff candidates, his business unit went from dozens of people to a handful of survivors who anxiously stared at the door whenever they heard foot-steps in the hall... With the end in sight and the staff finally beginning to relax, they began to hear rumours last week that their jobs were slated for out-sourcing to Asia... cheap labour... a study by University of British Colombia professor Penny Gurstein promises to give them the tools to attract jobs rather than watch them migrate off-shore. 'We are trying to look at out-sourcing in a more systematic way than just looking at particular companies that are doing this. There might be a possibility for Canada to attract more work like this by making it a destination.', Ms. Gurstein said. 'The research we are doing is all about telemediated out-sourcing, so we are looking at the impact of out-sourcing that uses information and communication technologies (ICT). The case studies surround remote work such as software development, contact centres, business functions and data processing.' The idea is to determine the key technologies for out-sourcing, how they're being used, and the skill sets desired by companies looking to out-source. Using the results, companies can set up in a way that attracts contracts from other regions of Canada and abroad... While it focuses on technology workers and the impact of out-sourcing on the high-tech community, the study received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. It was funded under a special program called the Initiative on the New Economy begun under out-going council president Marc Renaud."
Mark Samuels _vnu net_/_Computing_
Out-Sourcing Explosion Led to Reduced Spending on IT: Encourages bodyshopping
"1 in 20 members of staff in blue-chip companies is an IT worker, according to Meta Group's Worldwide Bench-Mark Data-Base... Yet the pervasiveness of technology throughout the working culture of large organisations increasingly means that staff are sceptical about new systems... companies expect to spend less on IT personnel. Blue-chip businesses expect to spend just 31% of their IT budget on personnel in 2005, compared with 42% in 2002. Barton says the main reason for this fall is the continued rise of out-sourcing. Over the same time-frame, companies have increased the percentage of IT spend given to out-sourcing from 11% to 25%. 1 in every 4 businesses is now out-sourcing an IT function... customers are lured primarily by the promise of substantial cost reductions... But William Grubbs, chief operating officer of recruitment specialist Spring Group, says the increase in demand for IT professionals will continue throughout 2005, despite the recent trend towards out-sourcing and off-shoring. 'The past 12 months have seen a significant increase in infrastructure and software upgrades, as companies embark on projects that were previously delayed.', he says. 'This in turn has led to month-on-month increases in demand for both contract and permanent IT professionals, and is now beginning to result in pay rate rises and some skills shortages.'... Chapman says the biggest skills priority will be security... Over the past 4 years, labour costs have decreased dramatically as a percentage of overall IT spending, falling from 42% in 2002 to 31% in 2005... Contractors and off-shore labour now account for 1 in every 6 IT workers."
2005-02-09 14:00PST (17:00EST) (22:00GMT)
Jill R. Aitoro _VAR Business_
7% increase in federal IT budget, much of which is likely to go over-seas
"President Bush might have proposed a relatively modest 2006 budget, with overall discretionary spending up just 2.1%, but such skimping did not come at the expense of IT. Much of the allotted $65G for technology -- an increase of about 7% -- will likely go to out-sourced services and systems integration, sources say, as agencies focus less on products and more on solutions. In particular, government-wide homeland security IT initiatives will rev up significantly, with an increase of 42% from 2004 to 2006 -- $748M to $1.13G in the second year alone."
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 346,075 in the week ending February 5, a decrease of 18,438 from the previous week. There were 433,234 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.6% during the week ending January 29, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,303,635, an increase of 40,656 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.1% and the volume was 3,850,990."
Stella M. Hopkins _Miami Herald_
Success Drives Bank of India to Increase Out-Sourcing
Lexington KY Herald-Leader
Demir Barlas _Line56_
IT Skills Shortage Propaganda from Gartner: By 2012, 21M wanted, 17M expected
Jennifer Bjorhus _St. Paul Pioneer Press_
Minnesota wins, loses globally
"About 55% of Minnesota businesses say they're involved in exporting, importing or out-sourcing either production or service work outside the United States, according to a report the Department of Employment & Economic Development and Minnesota Technology Inc. are releasing today... the percentage is up from 1998 and expected to keep growing... Roughly 43% of the companies responding said they lost jobs in Minnesota because of global trends. But global trends also increased sales for 27% of small companies, 38% of medium-size companies and 46% of large ones, according to the report... As for off-shoring trends, 28% said they out-sourced production, or manufacturing, jobs outside the United States. Less than 10%, however, said they off-shored back-office work such as customer service call centers, or off-shored information-technology work or other professional business services such as accounting or legal work. The top reasons businesses cite for off-shoring were sales potential, competitiveness and cost control. 54% of companies rated health care benefits as having a high impact on their decision to send work outside the country... 6% said they currently have information technology work done over-seas and 12% expect to do so by 2008. And 9% said they were currently involved in off-shoring non-IT professional work, such as accounting or legal work, with 14% expecting to be involved by 2008."
Russell de Pina _EurWeb_
The HP Way -- Around the Bowl and Down the Hole
"the news came across the wire that the board of Hewlett-Packard (finally) fired CEO Carly Fiorina. However, unlike the thousands of former HP workers who had their jobs off-shored or eliminated under Ms. Fiorina's reign of ineptitude, Mrs. Fiorina was (like too many corporate executives) rewarded for her failure with a $21M severance package... In 1999, HP had a split personality. OT1H, its electronics & measurement division was a center of world class engineering, whose measurement & analysis products were found in labs & engineering shops the world over (and at the same time, provided the inspiration for legions of Silicon Valley inventors & entrepreneurs) -- it was the legacy of founders Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard, who started the company from a garage in 1938. The other personality is the HP of today, a provider of [cheap] commodity hardware products (PCs, printers, & cameras), low-end to mid-size enterprise servers, & an emerging professional services group [body shop]... Fiorina spun off the electronics & measurement division in 1999 into an independent company, Agilent Technologies & oversaw the elimination &/or off-shoring of thousands of jobs from HP... Mrs. Fiorina has taken one of the hall-mark brands in technology & reduced it to being a bit player in the market. For that, she was rewarded with a $21M severance package. And here I am thinking that you're supposed to do a job RIGHT to get a big pay-day."
Alan Beattie _Financial Times of London_
Services prove to be the latest sticking point in trade negotiations
"While agriculture and goods talks still have their problems, it is the tortuous services negotiations that are currently the biggest sticking point. This week, a delegation of representatives from the financial services industry descended on the WTO in Geneva in an attempt to generate some momentum. They are sounding both an alarm and a mea culpa... Mr. Savill's members, for example, want India to liberalise rules that force foreign insurance companies there to set up joint ventures, and which limit their stake to 26%... Services negotiations are conducted through a series of bilateral 'requests' and 'offers', where WTO member governments request the opening of trading partners' markets and offer access to theirs. The final deal would see these agreements for market access extended to all 148 WTO members... since India discovered the benefits of becoming the world's back-office and software consultant and experienced the subsequent back-lash against off-shoring, it has developed a strong interest in retaining its service exports through a WTO deal. One of India's priorities is to extend the so-called 'mode 4' of trade in services that govern the temporary placement of employees over-seas, such as IT executives [and production workers] in Silicon Valley. This, however, has run up against suspicions on Capitol Hill about relaxing America's newly stringent standards of homeland security... Robert Vastine of the US Coalition of Service Industries, a lobby group."
Sylvia Carr _Silicon.com_
UK heading for IT staffing crisis
"Off-shoring is creating the problem... Why would our talented youngsters enter a work-market where the wage levels are determined by the lowest Asian bidder? IT used to attract the brightest technicians because it was a good career... -- Kevin Karper. Why is it that it is always the IT Recruitment companies [bodyshops] that advocate off-shoring and out-sourcing. Is this possibly because UK workers have got wise to the high margins applied to their rates and in recent years have refused to allow 'IT Recruiters' to get away with it... off-shoring and out-sourcing are what is causing the problem. Time we got real and put IT firmly where it belongs: In House, In the BoardRoom and In Touch with the Business. -- anonymous. I have very little sympathy for companies who laid off large numbers of workers after 9/11 and spent the last three years ignoring IT graduates and anyone over the age of 40. If British business need skills, someone needs to give young people training and experience whilst retraining older staff. That hasn't happened, which is why IT related degree courses intakes have fallen. They saw there weren't any jobs for them when they came out, so they voted with their feet and became plumbers. -- Alex. Another option would be to remove the 'age' barrier that has beset the IT industry. There are many in the 'sunset' of their working lives that have much to offer but are rejected because they have had the misfortune to have been born too early. -- Peter Bean"
2005-02-10 11:00PST (14:00EST) (19:00GMT)
Ed Frauenheim & Steven Levy _CNET_
In Silicon Valley, Help Not Wanted
"'At the high-tech end, the real story that we see is a tale of two economies.', says Levy, an economist who directs the Palo Alto, CA-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. As Levy sees it, the contradictions are most keenly revealed in the statistics about tech professionals who have jobs and those collecting unemployment checks. The tech mecca continues to lose jobs in the fields of software, semiconductors, and computer and communications hardware. But at the same time, average pay for people working within Silicon Valley's different tech sectors climbed in 2003, the last year for which such recorded data are available... venture capital investment in Silicon Valley rose by 15% last year, and the region now receives 35% of the nation's venture capital, up from 14% in 1995. What's more, job losses were less severe than in the previous 2 years... Silicon Valley lost 1.3% of its jobs last year, and average pay went down by 1%... 2000, Santa Clara County lost over 200K jobs. It lost a little over 20% of its job base... If you ask how high-tech companies are doing, their sales are up, and the profits are often up, and the exports are up. And within the high-tech industry, the wages are up, despite that overall figure. Kind of everything is up but job numbers. And that's a huge 'but'. So people who are working are starting to do better. And then you have the rest of the economy -- the people who are waiting to see job growth. And that's not happening... It's the venture capital -- the level of the capital funding is down 80% or 70%... Housing would be the No. 1 thing... So housing becomes a very important part of the competition. So does making sure that all of the schools are good. So wherever your workers locate in the region, their kids are going to a good school. It's important. And transportation -- we have to have world-class mobility and world-class places to live because we're trying to compete for the best and the brightest. We are not competing for the stuff that's going to Arkansas... I think the excitement comes back the minute you do something tangible."
2005-02-10 13:51PST (16:51EST) (21:51GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 85.5 points, or 0.8%, at 10,749.61, and the S&P 500 Index lifted 5.02 points, or 0.4%, at 1,197.01... The Nasdaq Composite Index finished flat, however, up just 0.55 points at 2,053.1 amid on-going pressure from the technology sector... Also, the Commerce Department said the U.S. trade deficit narrowed by 4.9% in December to $56.4G, in line with Wall Street's forecast... In the commodities market, crude futures closed up $1.64 at $47.10 [per] barrel and gold futures lifted $4.20 to $418.50 [per] ounce."
2005-02-10 18:39PST (22:39EST) (2005-02-11 03:39GMT)
Jim Hopkins _USA Today_
Companies Hire Few in USA, Many Over-Seas
"The 5-year-old business employs 200 in the USA. Yet it employs 2K more in southern India, with plans for hundreds more performing tech-heavy financial services & other tasks... Nearly 40% of start-ups in a new _USA Today_ study employ engineers, marketers, analysts & others in jobs created in India & other nations... many US start-ups [under pressure from venture capitalists are] speeding the pace of globalization, now bypass the USA for nations where customers & cheap labor are plentiful... VCs pump more money into software than into any other industry... Indeed, tech's share of all US jobs fell last year to 4.4% from a record 5% in 2001. Tech's job share is now near a level last seen in 1992... Private investors like Sevin Rosen Funds, dangling scarce start-up financing, now insist that ventures expand outside the USA from the get-go... At least 40 sates debated bills regarding off-shoring last year. But they focused mostly on traditional off-shoring, in whcih companies lay off white- [and gold-] collar workers in the USA, then replace them with lower- paid workers abroad... [Off-shoring start-ups] got more money: a medial $6.1M, more than twice the amount given to firms with US only operations... Yet since the tech bubble burst in 2000, VCs are investing less and growing pickier, bolstering their leverage. They pumped $5.1G into software start-ups last year, down from the record $23.2G in 2000... Among the software start-ups studied by _USA Today_, more than 80% of their combined 5,300 jobs are in the USA. And many of those jobs are for highly paid CEOs, senior software developers & other professionals at corporate HQ."
2005-02-11 13:55PST (16:55EST) (21:55GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Dow up for 3rd day, Nasdaq ends the week slightly lower
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 46.40 points, at 10,796.01, putting in a gain of 0.7% on the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index bounced off early lows, to trade up 23.56 points, at 2,076.66. Friday's strong finish helped the index to limit its decline on the week to around 0.5%. Lifting the tech-rich index was a rally in chip stocks with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, which tracks the sector, surging 3.6%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Index climbed 8.29 points, to 1,205.30. The broad gauge edged up 0.2% on the week."
2005-02-11 13:24PST (16:24EST) (21:24GMT)
Rex Crum & Dan Gallagher _MarketWatch_
Apple declares 2 for 1 stock split: Shares up 317% since 2003 August
"Apple Computer on Friday declared a 2-for-1 stock split, its first since 2000 June and only the third in its 25-year history as a publicly traded company. Apple shares, which have surged more than 4-fold in the past 17 months, climbed nearly 4% on the news. The stock rose $2.85 to close at $81.21 after earlier touching $81.76, just below an all-time high.Cupertino, CA-based Apple said the split will be paid on February 28 to shareholders of record on February 18. Authorized by the company's board, the split will double the number of Apple's common shares to 1.8G from 900M... the reason for the move was to make the stock 'more accessible to a broader range of investors'. Institutional holders make up the majority of Apple's shareholder base, according to data from Thomson Financial. About 70% of the company's outstanding shares are held by institutions..."
Brad Shannon _The Olympian_
Bills aim to keep work in state
"Labor-friendly law-makers say they think the odds are better this year for passing bills that track & limit the number of state contracts issued for work done over-seas. The off-shoring practice remains a worry to labor groups in Washington... State employee unions have protested the practice but haven't been able to show conclusively that state employee jobs have been lost over-seas as a result... Dan Gillespie, a computer programmer from Tacoma who also testified, said he blames off-shoring by private information services companies with killing his chances of landing a new job after his old one went away at the Bangor naval base."
Burt Prelutsky _Washington Times_
At the Border
"No subject about which I write brings me a bigger, more favorable response than when I make a case for shutting down our southern border... It's find for you to claim that your work program merely brings together employers seeking willing workers with workers willing to do jobs that Americans don't what. The problem is that there is no such job. But so long as you allow illegals to stream across our poroud borders, there's no compelling reason for the folks who own farms, hotels & restaurangs, to pay anything over the basic minimum... With [between 10M and 16M] illegal aliens already in the USA, how is it we don't already have sufficient numbers to change our sheets, bus our tables & pick our lettuce? At what point are you finally [going to be] prepared to say, 'Enough already.'?"
Brian R. Hook _Austin Business Journal_
Companies tap over-seas talent pool
"Austin-based National Instruments Corp. is just one of many Central Texas companies bringing in foreign labor on visas to fill jobs -- primarily in the engineering field. The company has been recruiting 20% to 25% of its engineers each year through a federal H-1B visa program... NI is not alone in its stance. About 1,588 labor condition applications for H-1Bs were granted to 520 companies in Central Texas through 2003 July, according to H-1B.info, a web site that tracks H-1B filings with the Department of Labor. During all of 2002, 1,750 H-1Bs were granted to 757 Central Texas companies... Chris Lamour, NI's university relations manager, says that the company recruits from [only] 20 to 30 universities across the nation... The University of Texas also happens to be one of the largest employers of H-1B workers in Central Texas. It filed 76 applications in 2002, and 90 applications in the first half of 2003, according to H-1B.info... Billy Reed, president of the American Engineering Association, a Dallas-based professional organization, says that H-1B workers often take jobs away from qualified American engineers. While he admits that, at times, foreign candidates are more qualified than U.S. citizens, he says that it is only rarely the case. Reed says the H-1B program should be shut down altogether because it has taken away jobs from U.S. engineers. 'It's gone on so long and it is so ingrained in the system that it just needs to be done away with.', he says. 'The people who come in under H-1Bs are just average, pretty much in every away. For the most part, they are not any better than what the citizen is.'"
205-02-12 08:14PST (11:14EST) (16:14GMT)
WM penalized in child-labor case: Government says under-age workers operated machinery
"WM settled U.S. charges that it violated child-labor laws in 3 states, agreeing to pay a $135,540 penalty... The Labor Department said the No. 1 U.S. retailer allowed under-18 employees to operate machinery including card-board balers and chain-saws. The agency said the two dozen violations occurred in Arkansas, Connecticut and New Hampshire... In the agreement, the Labor Department promised to give WM 15 days' notice before the agency investigates any other wage-and-hour charges, like failure to pay minimum wage or over-time..."
Brian Bennett, Timothy J. Burger & Elaine Shannon _Time_
Red China's Big Export: when it comes to spying Beijing likes to flood the zone
"Ning Wen & his wife were arrested last Fall at their home office in Manitowoc, WI, for allegedly sending their native [Red China] $500K worth of computer parts that could enhance missile systems. As these naturalized citizens await trial, similar episodes in Mount Pleasant, NJ & Palo Alto, CA point only to the tip of the ice-berg, according to FBI officials keeping tabs on more than 3K companies in the USA suspected of collecting information for [Red China]. A hot-bed of activity is Silicon Valley, where the number of [Red Chinese] espionage cases handled by the bureau increases 20% to 30% annually... 'the [Red Chinese] are very good at putting a lot of people on just a little piece & getting a massive amount of stuff home.', says a US intelligence official. The number of [Red Chinese] snoops is staggering, if only because average citizens are enlisted in the effort... The FBI... still sees universities as a soft spot, with some 150K [students from Red China] studying in the USA... the FBI relies heavily on Chinese informants."
Mark Peters _Portland Press Herald_
Legislators struggle with off-shoring issue
"Landing a business contract with the state of Maine could soon come with a caveat: Don't send the work over-seas. Some law-makers & state officials fear that without the new provision, data processing, call answering & other state work could end up in [Red China] or India... This year, the Maine Legislature is considering at least 2 bills to keep state work -- valued at $500M annually -- in this country. The idea has bipartisan support among legislative leaders. Gov. John Baldacci's administration is exploring an executive order with a similar goal... The state has a history of using its estimated $500M in annual contracts to take certain policy stances against labor practices, pollution and other issues... Wyke says state contracts have no requirement right now for companies to disclose where the work is done... The state used to require that Maine companies get preferential treatment when bidding on state contracts."
Joyce Howard Price _Washington Times_
Diseases Are Being Imported
"Contagious diseases are entering the USA because of immigrants, illegal aliens and travelers, & World Health Organization officials say the worst could be yet to come... avian flu, which is flourishing among poultry in SouthEast Asia...has killed at least 8 Asians since early January. Several of those deaths were believed to have been caused when the virus passed between people who had sustained contact... WHO authorities predict at least 7M and as many as 100M would die in a worldwide pandemic... Hepatitis B is a 'very common epidemic in Asia' and more than half of the 1.3M cases in this country are among Asians, who make up only 4% of the US population, she said. 'We hope the government will pass a bill that requires every immigrant to be tested...'... 'our efforts to improve disease control cannot be restricted to our borders.', [Dr. Kenneth Castro, director of the Division of TB Elimination at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention in Atlanta] said... TB that is resistant to multiple drugs is rampant in many parts of the world, including Peru, Russia, the Baltic nations, Hunan province in China, the Dominican Republic and parts of South Africa, according to Dr. Castro. Some of the cases of TB diagnosed among Hmong refugees resettled in this country are drug-resistant... 'TB cases among foreign-born individuals remain disproportionately high, at nearly 9 times the rate of U.S.-born persons.', researchers said in a 2004 report in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report found that people from outside the United States accounted for 53.3% of all new tuberculosis cases in this country in 2003. That was up from fewer than 30% in 1993. In 2003, nearly 26% of foreign-born TB patients in the United States were from Mexico. Another third of the foreign-born cases were among those from the Philippines, VietNam, India and China, the CDC report said... Federal data suggest that as many as 10% of the approximately 1K Mexicans who emigrate to the United States daily probably are infected with Chagas, said Dr. Louis V. Kirchhoff, a Chagas specialist and a professor at the University of Iowa's medical school... A report by CIS, using 2004 data, 'found that 35% of [all] immigrants don't have health insurance, and an estimated 65% of illegals don't have it.', Mr. Camarota said. In contrast, fewer than 13% of US natives and their children lack health insurance, the analysis showed. In 2002, he said, the federal government spent $2.5G to provide families of illegal immigrants with Medicaid and another $2.2G to provide medical treatment for uninsured illegals. 'State and local governments probably spent another $1.6G on top of that providing health insurance for illegal aliens.', said Mr. Camarota..."
Diane Hirth _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Argenziano aims to fix state contracting
"The legislature, not the governor or an agency head, would have to approve all major state contracts for services or goods under senator Nancy Argenziano's bill that puts [contracting] inder a microscope. Any proposed contract of $10M or more, or one adding up to 5% or more of an agency's budget, would require a legislative thumbs up under her proposal (SB1146). Similarly, a contract eliminating at least 50 full-time state employees or 5% of an agency's positions would need legislative OK... The House is on board as well, with speaker Allan Bense last week confirming his interest in looking into how to make sure privatization is truly more efficient than government doing a job... With the recent publicity about [Cincinnati-based] Convergys' $350M contract for human-resources services, work that is running late and plagued by errors, 'people are really concerned there's some financial abuse out there', said senator Al Lawson, D-Tallahassee, co-chairman of Argenziano's committee."
WikiPedia: Convergys is a privacy-violation firm derived from the Cincinnati Bell local government-enforced monopoly and its privacy-violation arm, Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, together with MATRIXX/AT&T Solutions Customer Care/AT&T Transtech, DigitalThink, Intervoice, Datacom call center operations, Stream Global Services; with subsidiary operations including Infinys Rating and Billing (IRB), Dynamic Decisioning Solution (DDS), ICOMS, Customer Management Solutions
2005-02-14 09:49PST (12:49EST) (17:49GMT)
Kristen Gerencher _MarketWatch_
Highest Turn-Over Occupations
"Even though the economy has been creating jobs, many of them are less than desirable. And workers' willingness to persevere in those difficult environments may have reached its breaking point. Any job can impel a worker to look for greener pastures if the boss is a brute, compensation is meager or recognition is infrequent, career experts say. But low-skilled, repetitive and stressful jobs involving lots of customer contact for paltry pay are especially vulnerable to turnover, said Peter LeBlanc, senior vice president of Sibson Consulting, a Raleigh, NC, firm that specializes in human resources... Indeed, lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs historically have had higher turnover rates than white-collar jobs, said Steve Pogorzelski, president of Monster North America, which operates job-search web site Monster.com...
2005-02-14 12:02PST (15:02EST) (20:02GMT)
Frank Barnako _MarketWatch_
Red China continues to keep a lid on the Net
"[Red China] says it shut down more than 12K Internet cafes last fall, according to an announcement from the official Xinhua news agency reported by the AP."
2005-02-14 13:59PST (16:59EST) (21:59GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Dow slipped: AIG records sub poenaed
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 4.88 points, at 10,791.13 after trading in a narrow 30-point range throughout the session. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 6.25 points, to 2,082.91, while the S&P 500 index rose 0.84 point, to 1,206.14."
Norm Matloff _UCDavis_/_H-1B/ L-1/ off-shoring e-news-letter_
Empire Building in Academia
"Academia operates on the 'empire building' principle, and now those pains-takingly-built empires are in danger of collapsing. It's not a bad thing for faculty -- in my department, we're enjoying the smaller class sizes, after years of working at an overloaded level -- but for administrators this is a scary prospect. One very interesting aspect of this conference described in the article below, on what to do about the decline, is that the conference was sponsored by MSFT... the conference apparently down-plays the effects of off-shoring on the poor job market, and didn't mention the importation of foreign workers at all... It's clear that foreign students are a big profit center for the school... If CS graduates are getting jobs as network technicians -- as I mentioned, this is a sub-Bachelor's level job -- then things are bad, which in fact they are."
news-letter 2004-10-17 Computer Science Enrollments
news-letter 2004-09-23 Computer Science Enrollments
news-letter 2004-08-27 the Future of Computer Science in the USA
news-letter 2004-03-24 Computer Science Enrollment
news-letter 2004-07-23 Computer Science Enrollment
news-letter 2004-08-10 Computer Science Enrollment
another article on the conference
Morris Uremovich chair of IT Affinity Group of the National Information Technology Human Resources Forum (NITHRF)
alternate e-mail for Morris Uremovich
MSFT press release in MSFTWord format Garrumph!
Elena Malykhina _Information Week_
New school of thought: Universities are reaching a new generation with innovative programs that marry IT and other disciplines, including art, business, and biology
"The effects of the dot-com bust and the increasing popularity of off-shore out-sourcing have taken a toll on the IT industry, which in turn has hurt computer-science and computer-engineering programs nationwide, according to the Computing Research Association's [CRA's] Taulbee Survey. The annual study, which documents trends in student enrollment and employment of graduates, found that under-graduate enrollment in programs for computer science and computer engineering nationwide dropped significantly between 2002 and 2003, from 23,033 to 17,706. Last year, the tech sector -- which includes telecommunications, computers, electronics, and E-commerce -- announced 176,113 job cuts, according to a report released last month by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. The computer industry alone disclosed 56,955 job cuts, and more are expected. 'Many people are leaving the technology sector entirely, and the nation's universities are having difficulty filling tech-related class-rooms.', CEO John Challenger wrote in the report."
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
The Great American Job Sell-Out
Economy in Crisis
"Americans' employment opportunities are declining as a result of corporate out-sourcing of US jobs, H-1B visas that import foreigners to displace Americans in their own country, and federal guest worker programs... the US is bursting at the seams with unemployed computer engineers and well-educated professionals who are displaced by out-sourcing and H-1B visas. During Bush's entire first term, there was a net loss of American private sector jobs. Today there are 760K fewer private sector jobs in the US economy than when Bush was first inaugurated in 2001 January. For years the hall-mark of the European economy was its inability to create any jobs other than government jobs. America has caught up with Europe. During Bush's first term, state and local government created 879K new government jobs... Over these same 4 years the composition of US jobs has changed from higher-paid manufacturing and information technology jobs to lower-paid domestic services... The problem is, no one can identify where the US jobs are that out-sourcing allegedly creates. They are certainly not to be found in the BLS jobs statistics. However, the Indian and Chinese jobs created by US out-sourcing are highly visible... In a very short period out-sourcing has helped to raise India from one of the world's poorest countries to its seventh largest economy... If out-sourcing is no big deal, why are Bangalore hotel rooms 'packed with foreigners paying rates higher than in Tokyo or London', as the Dayton Daily News reports? If out-sourcing is of no real consequence, why are American lawyers or their clients paying $2,900 in fees plus hotel and travel expenses and 2 days' billings to attend the Fourth National Conference on Out-sourcing in Financial Services in Washington DC (April 20-21)?... On 2001-01-01, Cincinnati-based Convergys Corp had one Indian employee. Today it has 10K... Under pressure from venture capitalists who fund new companies, American start-up firms are starting up abroad. Thus, the new ventures, which 'free trade' economists [by contrast with economists who advocate true free trade] assured us would create new jobs to take the place of the ones moved off-shore by mature firms, are in fact creating jobs for foreigners. As a consequence, tech jobs in the US are falling as a percentage of the total. Clearly, tax breaks for venture capitalists are self-defeating when the result is to create jobs for foreigners, not for Americans. Why should the American tax-payer subsidize employment in India and [Red China]?... As India and [Red China] rise to first world status, the US falls to third world status where the only jobs are in domestic services... Since 1990 the US has been paying for its imports by giving foreigners ownership of its assets. In the last 15 years foreigners have accumulated $3.6T of America's wealth."
WikiPedia: Convergys is a privacy-violation firm derived from the Cincinnati Bell local government-enforced monopoly and its privacy-violation arm, Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, together with MATRIXX/AT&T Solutions Customer Care/AT&T Transtech, DigitalThink, Intervoice, Datacom call center operations, Stream Global Services; with subsidiary operations including Infinys Rating and Billing (IRB), Dynamic Decisioning Solution (DDS), ICOMS, Customer Management Solutions
Steven Radwell _CNN_/_Money_
Job market probably won't improve significantly any time soon
"The economy created nearly 2.2M jobs last year, an improvement from the 2002-2003 period, when there was a net loss of jobs. But that's still well below the average of any recovery that's lasted this long since World War II, according to Anthony Chan at JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management. 'We're basically missing 5.1M jobs at this stage of the expansion...', Chain said... Jared Bernstein of the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute estimated that the number was closer to 3M. With 132.6M Americans working, according the the Labor Department, and another 7.7M unemployed, the labor market in the USA is obviously vast & enormously complex... stiff competition from over-seas, especially from [Red China] & Latin America; productivity growing at better than double the historical average; jobs moving over-seas in services & not just in manufacturing; the growing [abuse] of temp workers; and the nation's shrinking manufacturing base... [The] Council of Economic Advisors in December quietly cut its forecast for job growth this year to 175K jobs [per] month. Last year, in its forecast for 2004, the CEA had been forecasting about 300K new jobs [per] month..."
2005-02-14 15:00PST (18:00EST) (23:00GMT)
trade with Red China
Kitty Pilgrim: "Fair enough question. The average U.S. tariff on Chinese goods is about 3.8%. If you increase that or if you -- there's been some discussion of raising it to 27% on certain products because of currency imbalances with the Chinese. What does that tariff do for American jobs?"
Bernie Sanders: Well, in my view, what it tells corporate America, that you cannot simply throw American workers out on the street, run to China, hire people at 30 cents an hour, and bring those products back into this country. I'm sick and tired of seeing American workers thrown out on the street rather than have corporate America start creating decent-paying jobs in this country rather than China. And establishing a new trade relationship, based on fair trade principles with China, would go a long way to create decent-paying jobs in this country."
Kitty Pilgrim: "Congressman Goode, do you think that the tariff would address the wage imbalance?"
Virgil Goode: "It wouldn't. Wouldn't really address the wage imbalance totally, but it would help keep American jobs here. My district has lost thousands upon thousands of textile, furniture and other manufacturing jobs. If we had high tariffs and quotas on what came in with China, we could preserve some of those jobs in the United States..."
2005-02-15 06:10PST (09:10EST) (14:10GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US retail sales fell in January
"U.S. retail sales dropped 0.3% in January as auto sales slowed sharply, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Excluding the 3.3% drop in auto sales, retail sales increased 0.6%... Sales are up 7.2% in the past 12 months, while ex-auto sales are up 7.6%. The figures are seasonally adjusted, but not adjusted for price changes... the International Council of Shopping Centers and UBS said their weekly chain store index rose 0.1% last week while the year-over-year increase slowed to 1.7%."
census bureau report
Susan Carroll _Arizona Republic_
Border Patrol increasingly targeted
"On Monday, a federal judge in Tucson sentenced the smuggler, Shane Bobby Chiago of Mesa, to 18 years in prison in a case that law enforcement officials say shows the increasing ruthlessness of human traffickers and their willingness to take on federal officers. Tucson District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson scolded Chiago, 22, for showing "no regard for human life" last March 20 when he shot Andujo. She said that although return fire by the agents killed Jaime Gonzalez Pablo, 17, Chiago was to blame for the bullet that took the teenager's life, an unintended victim of the escalating assaults on Border Patrol agents... Federal agents working along Arizona's bustling 350-mile border with Mexico have reported a sharp increase in assaults in the past three months. Since the start of the fiscal year October 1, agents in the Tucson sector, the busiest in the nation, have reported more than one assault every 2 days. With 90 assaults already this year, including nine shootings, the agency is set to surpass the 118 reported in all of last year... The money involved, now about $1,000 a head for a trip from the border to Phoenix, means higher stakes for smugglers. Law enforcement officials say more smugglers are carrying guns, fighting and fleeing law enforcement. 'They're probably making as much money smuggling people as they would smuggling drugs.', said Serra Tsethlikai, a Tucson prosecutor who specializes in smuggling cases."
Workers Fight Off-Shoring of State Jobs in Colorado
"Coffey said he was forced to train his replacement in Canada, then lost his $72K-a-year job at IBM in Boulder. He applied for another opening in IBM, only to be told it was a Canadian job and he could not have it. Now he's looking for a job over-seas, while his wife works at Starbucks to provide benefits to his family of 6. 'It's just not right.', he told a gathering organized by the AFL-CIO at the state Capitol to support a measure (Senate Bill 23) that would bar state contractors from sending tax-payer-funded jobs over-seas."
Donna Conroy _Stop IT Off-Shoring_
Out-Sourcing: Companies Pressuring Employers to Train Their Foreign Replacements
"Remember how the news stories focus on techies training their replacements? Training is at the heart of manufacturing and service out-sourcing. If you aren't willing to train your supplier -- you can't successfully out-source. Successful out-sourcing means that a company must pick an internal process, then extract it from others, put this process out to bid, and then have the current employees train their foreign replacements."
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
Americans Don't Study Science Because It Doesn't Pay
"American enrollments in science and engineering (S&E) programs have risen and fallen in almost exact correlation with the job market in those fields: Between 1983 and 1993: The number of U.S. citizens enrolled in graduate S&E programs rose by 18%. The number of foreign citizens enrolled in graduate S&E programs rose 51%. The average unemployment rate in S&E occupations fell from 3% (in 1983) to 1.5% (in 1989). The job market cooled off in the 1990s. Potential S&E students were seeing the end of the Cold War, corporate restructuring, and lay-offs... Between 1993 and 2001: The number U.S. citizens enrolled in graduate S&E programs fell 10%. The number of foreign citizens enrolled in graduate S&E programs rose 26%. The foreign born share of graduate S&E students has risen inexorably through hiring booms and busts. But native enrollment in graduate S&E programs peaked at 330,148 in 1993. Not coincidentally, 1993 was also the year in which S&E unemployment spiked at 3.5%. And, although unemployment fell during the 1990s boom, salaries in S&E occupations lagged those of other professional fields. The reason Americans hesitate to study science and engineering is simple: pursuing an advanced degree in these fields is a bad investment... For U.S. citizens a doctorate in science or engineering causes a net life-time LOSS in earnings... Allowing the importation of cheaper foreign workers is simply a form of corporate welfare for the high-tech industry -- and it's a solution that, by flooding the S&E market and discouraging potential native-born students, makes the problem worse."
2005-02-16 05:37PST (08:37EST) (13:37GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US housing starts rose to 21-ear high
"New construction on U.S. houses unexpectedly rose by 4.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.159M, the Commerce Department estimated Wednesday... Construction of new single family homes climbed 2.7% to a record 1.760M annual rate, the government said. December's construction rate was revised higher to 2.069M from 2.004M estimated a month ago."
2005-02-16 06:24PST (09:24EST) (14:24GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US January industrial output unchanged: Capacity utilization very slightly down
"The output of U.S. factories, mines and utilities remained unchanged in January after a gain of 0.7% in December, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. The capacity utilization rate fell slightly to 79.0%, the Federal Reserve reported, compared to 79.1% in December... Prior estimates put December industrial production at 0.8%, while Wednesday's report estimated it at 0.7%. Capacity utilization for December was previously estimated at 79.2% but Wednesday's report revised that number downward to 79.1%. Manufacturers made fewer consumer goods in January, the report noted. Output of consumer goods fell 0.4% in January compared to a gain of 0.6% in 2004 December. But business equipment showed a strong gain of 1.1% versus 0.9% in December."
Dell Builds Local User Support Center Amid Off-Shore Back-Lash
"Dell Corp has announced plans to open a new client support center in the UK, as a new survey reported a customer backlash against helpdesks run at low-cost, off-shore locations. Round Rock, TX-based Dell will set up a new site in Glasgow, creating up to 400 new jobs by 2006 supporting large and medium-sized business and public sector clients. Dell already has sites that support the UK business based in Bracknell, UK, and in Bray/Cherrywood in Ireland, where it recently announced plans to create 420 jobs. Dell also supports UK clients from its 2K-strong centers in Bangalore and Hyderabad, although it was reported in 2003 December that Dell moved some of its business customer service calls from India back to facilities in the US, citing increased complaints about the quality of service."
|"Try for the perfect solution 1st, even if it seems impossible. The trouble with pursuing only the possible is that we actually have much less energy for it than for a seemingly impossible but beloved goal." --- Barbara Sher & Annie Gottlieb 1989 _TeamWorks!_ pg 37|
2005-02-16 21:18PST (2005-02-17 00:18EST) (05:18GMT)
David Callaway _MarketWatch_
Greenspan rolls dice one last time: Bets on recovery as global economy stumbles
"Which is exactly what he seems to be doing by rolling the dice in his last year as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and continuing to raise interest rates while warning signs mount that another global recession is coming... Greenspan told the senate Banking committee on Wednesday that he saw a 'conundrum' in the fact that long-term interest rates have continued to fall in the past several months even as the Fed has raised its target rate to 2.5% from 1%. 'Conundrum' is one of those great Greenspan terms, like 'irrational exuberance' or 'measured pace' that mean so much more upon reflection than they do when he first utters them... after 6 months of rate increases, the bond market is still betting against his theory that the economy is heating up and needs to be restrained with higher rates and tighter money. Anybody who remembers how the Fed relentlessly pushed rates higher in early 2000 as all other signs pointed to a slowing economy might conclude that Greenspan is now doubling down on that bet... Germany and Japan reported declines in their economies in the fourth quarter..."
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 308,044 in the week ending February 12, a decrease of 39,134 from the previous week. There were 341,634 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% during the week ending February 5, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,221,980, a decrease of 74,108 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.0% and the volume was 3,776,188."
Lisa Scherzer _Smart Money_
The Question Remains: Where Are the Jobs?
"Today's job growth is more than twice as slow as it was after the 1990-91 recession, and in fact is slower than during any recovery since World War 2. According to Jared Bernstein, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a [left-leaning] think tank in Washington, DC, job market conditions are a mixed bag. His February 'Jobs Picture' report shows that business services added 25K jobs from 2004 December to 2005 January, but 17,500 of those were temporary positions... The economy-labor disconnect makes some wonder if the weak employment growth is a harbinger of a world in which businesses can rake in increasing profits without much of it trickling down to workers. While profits are at an all-time high, companies remain conservative in terms of expanding and hiring, and wages are flat, Bernstein notes... 'The president was very excited about the creation of over 2.3M jobs last year in his State of the Union speech. But the rate of job growth over the past year was 1.7%. That was well below the historical rate in a recovery, which is 3%. Had we been growing at that rate, we'd have another 1.7M jobs... [The problem is that] the labor market never gets tight enough to ensure that the benefits of the recovery are broadly shared among working families... The unemployment rate is currently 5.2%. It's widely agreed that that rate is artificially depressed by lots of workers taking themselves out of the labor force... The question of what is a tight labor market -- one in which employers need to bid wages up to get the workers they need, particularly in a high-productivity environment -- that mechanism is not really operative right now. Real wages [adjusted for inflation] have been flat or falling over the past few quarters.'"
2005-02-17 05:40PST (08:40EST) (13:40GMT)
Customers losing patience with call centres
"Once past the welcome message, callers on average hang up after just 65 seconds of listening to canned music [and advertisements]. The drop in patience comes as the number of calls to call centres is growing at a rate of 20% every year... call centres also saw a sharp increase of customers simply abandoning calls, she says, from just over 5% in 2003 to a record of 13.3 during last year. When automated phone message systems are taken out of the equation, where customers have to pick their way through multiple options and messages, the number of abandoned calls is even higher -- a sixth of all callers give up rather than wait... Problems are occurring because increased responsibility is not going hand-in-hand with more training, the survey found... the average induction time for a call centre worker fell last year from 36 to just 21 days... Poor training frustrates both call centre workers & customers. As a result, call centres have a high 'churn rate', with nearly a quarter of workers throwing in the towel every year, which in turn forces companies to pay for training new staff. Resolution rates are running at just 50%. When the query is passed on to a second or third person rates rise to about 70%, but that is still well below the industry target of an 85% resolution rate."
Hannibal _Ars Technica_
Why US tech leadership is in decline
"the vast majority of the people at ISSCC were Asian or South Asian; of the relatively small percentage of American and European-looking types running around the conference, a non-trivial portion were, like me, from the press. Furthermore, almost all of the Asian and South Asian presenters that I saw were fairly young, and their English was pretty bad... My point is that I have seen not just the future but the present of technology at ISSCC, and it looks Chinese, Korean, Singaporean, Taiwanese, Japanese, Indian, Pakistani, etc... The same CEOs who are trying to belatedly sound the alarm over the decline of American high tech dominance are the exact same crowd of folks who're the most responsible for it. They're the ones who lobbied to have the limits on H-1Bs raised in order to fuel the late 1990s boom market for low-cost, foreign indentured tech servants. They weren't griping about all those smart, ambitious young foreigners back when they could get them to work for peanuts for a guaranteed length of time in exchange for the possibility of a green card."
Eric Bangeman _Ars Technica_
California school drops student RFID badges
Liz Sidoti _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Red China's Military Moves Worry Law-Makers
"[Red China], a potential security hot spot, is increasing and repositioning its fleet... Previous budgets envisioned purchasing six Virginia-class attack submarines, seven DD(X) destroyers and 10 San Antonio-class amphibious landing ships through 2011. The 2006 budget calls for 3 submarines, 5 destroyers and 9 landing ships. It also proposes eliminating one of the Navy's 12 aircraft carriers. Overall, Bush is proposing to increase the Pentagon's budget by $19G, to $419G next year. The budget calls for buying fewer planes, ships and submarines in favor of spending more on counter-terrorism... [Red China] has invested heavily in its own defense in the past few years. Prohibited from buying U.S. and European arms under an embargo, Beijing purchased at least $13G worth of weapons from Russia between 1993 and 2003, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. [Red China's] arsenals now are stocked with Russian-made submarines, destroyers, supersonic fighters and anti-ship missiles, as well as weapons it increasingly is making on its own... CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate Intelligence Committee this week that [Red China] last year increased its ballistic missile forces across the strait dividing Taiwan from the mainland and rolled out several new submarines there... 'We looked at their steel mills.', [Randy] Forbes [R-VA] said. 'They're throwing out steel as fast as you can watch it; running it 24 hours a day.'"
2005-02-18 07:30PST (10:30EST) (15:30GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index fell from 95.5 in January to 94.2 in February: Lowest since 92.8 in November
2005-02-18 09:48PST (12:48EST) (17:48GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
PPI up 0.3% in January: Core PPI was up 0.8% in January
"In the past 12 months, the PPI is up 4.2%. The core PPI is up 2.7%, the biggest year-over-year gain in 9 years."
_Ohio News Network_
Off-Shoring Trend Continues Growth in Ohio
"More and more companies appear to be sending jobs over-seas and cutting jobs here in Ohio... Joe is one of more than 100 people who lost their job at the North American headquarters for Ranco. Their jobs went to [Red China] and Mexico, where labor is a lot cheaper... In the first quarter of 2004, roughly 11K people lost their jobs. 9% of those lost jobs were replaced by positions over-seas. 3 months later, of all the jobs lost by Ohio workers, 32% of them were replaced by foreign workers. An in the third quarter of 2004, 42% of the jobs lost in the state were shipped over-seas."
2005-02-18 15:43PST (18:43EST) (23:43GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Blue chips up
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 30.96 points at 10,785.22, but fell 0.1% on the week to snap a 3-week run of gains. The Nasdaq was down 2.72 points at 2,058.62, with the tech-rich index slipping 0.9% on the week. The S&P 500 Index put in a fractional gain, up 0.84 points, at 1,201.59. Over the last week, the broad gauge dipped 0.3%."
Joshua Dwyer _The Texas A&M Battalion_
Illegal immigrants are a grave threat to US security
"It seems easier to enter the USA illegally than to jay-walk on Northgate. _Time_ magazine reported that more than 4K illegal aliens cross the border every day. And that's just in Arizona... People who enter the USA without authorization should not be labeled with politically correct euphemisms such as 'guest-workers' or 'undocumented immigrants'; they are illegal aliens, plain and simple... If the government doesn't have the money to pay for the 2,000 new agents a year for the next five years that the 9-11 Commission recommended, then cuts in subsidies and pet projects need to make the funds available. Amtrak and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are not worth the potential deaths of thousands of Americans in another terrorist attack."
Cati van den Breul _Minnesota Daily_
Law orders anti-fraud fee
"Departments that hire foreign faculty members, researchers or medical residents with an H-1B employment visa will be assessed a $500 'anti-fraud' fee per employee. It will be used by the government to prevent and detect fraud in the visa program... The University employs approximately 300 H-1B visa holders a year, Peterson said... "
_Communications Workers of America_
Local unionists protest out-sourcing at Pebble Beach Golf event
"Determined to try to save American jobs, about 40 CWA members and their families braved cold, rainy California weather February 13 to leaflet and demonstrate against out-sourcer AT&T at the Pebble Beach golf tournament, which Ma Bell sponsors. Members of CWA locals including 9423, 9415, 9407 and 9490 passed out an 'open letter to AT&T's business customers' to spectators entering the event. An activist also managed to slip the letters into programs people received inside, said Ralph Maly, CWA vice president for communications and technologies... The letter explained that more than 1,700 AT&T workers in the United States have lost their jobs recently and another 3K could be unemployed by the end of 2005. Even though AT&T is limiting its residential phone business and is being bought out by SBC, Maly said the company easily could have kept its workers employed until the end. Instead, it is [off-shore] out-sourcing call center work to India and the Philippines and continues to sub-contract technical work in the United States."
2005-02-18 14:50PST (17:50EST) (22:50GMT)
Ed Frauenheim _CNET_
Money is fueling off-shoring
"A report from consulting firm McKinsey shows that [Red China's] financial assets grew at an annual rate of 14.5% from 1993 to 2003, to $5T. [In India] it rose at an annual rate of 11.9%, to $1T. The capital stock in those 2 countries was just a small fraction of a global total of $118T in 2003. But McKinsey's report suggests businesses looking to start-up in the fast-growing Asian nations will have plenty of funding sources to pursue..."
Mark Lisheron _Austin American-Statesman_
Moving jobs out of the USA? No more subsidies and tax breaks, bill says
"While precise numbers are hard to find, Austin's major companies, technology companies in particular, are making increasing use of foreign labor. Dell Inc. uses more than 6K workers in India, compared with 200 four years ago. Trilogy Software Inc. now does all of its software design in India... House Bill 817 is particularly focused on companies that provide benefits for state employees, including retirement, disability or death benefits. The bill, which has been referred to the House Economic Development Committee, would prohibit the state from investing in any company that in the previous 2 years had created jobs over-seas that could have been done in the United States. The state's largest single investor, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, has more than $61G in investments in hundreds of companies, several of which out-source labor [domestically and/or off-shore]. The teacher retirement fund includes $328M in Dell stock and $11.9M in National Instruments Corp., an Austin company with a research center in Bangalore, India. UTIMCO, the investment corporation for the University of Texas and Texas A&M systems, has $1.2G of its $17.3G total portfolio invested in 135 private companies, said Greg Lee, manager of finance and administration. Lee, who said he had not seen the bill, was not certain how many of those 135 companies use out-sourced labor."
|"[A]n elective despotism was not the gov't we fought for." --- Thomas Jefferson (quoted in J.R. Pole 1966 _Political Representation in England & the Origins of the American Republic_)|
2005-02-20 09:00PST (12:00EST) (17:00GMT)
Joe Duarte _MarketWatch_
Reworking immigration rules could prolong the Socialist Insecurity Abomination
"So, why not capture some of that money and put it to good use? Why not start by turning the border crossings into toll-booth like structures? The U.S. government could charge the migrants $5-$10 per crossing, both ways. Acquire finger-prints, retinal scans, and photographs, and create a national data-base. Sell them an ID card, say at $5 [make it $15K to cover the costs for background checks], that allows them to be registered workers, and affords them basic rights, the potential for a base-line set of benefits, and in exchange collect fees and taxes from them, legally, and in an orderly fashion that helps the country's bottom line. "
2005-02-20 09:35PST (12:35EST) (17:35GMT)
Carolyn Pritchard _MarketWatch_
Export-Import bank gives preliminary OK to $5G in loans to Red China for 4 nuclear power plants
"The U.S. Export-Import Bank has given preliminary approval for up to $5G in loans to Westinghouse Electric Co. for the proposed construction of 4 nuclear power plants in the country... About 80% of [Red China's] electricity is supplied by fossil fuels, mainly coal, according to the World Nuclear Association. The country has 9 nuclear reactors in operation and 2 units under construction, and plans a 4-fold increase in its nuclear capacity by 2020... Monroeville, PA-based Westinghouse Electric, the U.S.-based unit of Britain's BNFL Group, requested the money to fund its proposal, which involves using its AP1000 1 giga-watt pressurized water reactor design."
Nicholas Riccardi _Los Angeles Times_/_Seattle Times_
Recovery's coat-tails short on new jobs
"Guthrie's ability to expand his business without enlarging the pay-roll -- a feat achieved by many executives -- helps explain why job creation remains sluggish even while the economy appears to be booming. The U.S. [GDP] at a brisk 4.4% clip last year, but the number of jobs recovered to the levels of early 2001 only last month. Today's job growth is more than twice as slow as it was after the 1990-91 recession and slower than during any recovery since World War II, analysts say... Instead of aggressively adding workers, corporations have been buying labor-saving equipment, banking cash, distributing record dividends, buying back stock or under-taking ambitious mergers that often lead to job losses... Other executives are wary about expanding pay-rolls while health-care premiums balloon... And off-shoring still seems cheaper than paying American salaries... wages remain relatively flat, growing slower last year than the rate of inflation -- translating into a cut in take-home pay for many workers... Corporations are sitting on $4.7T in liquid assets, according to a survey by Treasury Strategies, a Chicago company that studies business liquidity. That's well above $3.6T in 1999, but down slightly from the $5T high in 2003. But as much as 30% of the money and cash equivalents is invested in instruments that will mature in one year or more, a sign that cash will remain stashed away awhile longer, said Tony Carfan of Treasury Strategies."
2005-02-20 13:27PST (16:27PST) (21:27GMT)
County official opposes benefits for illegal aliens
"Commissioner Robert Vasquez's plan is modeled on an Arizona proposition approved in November. He says he has lost faith in the Legislature's ability to address health care and other costs he attributes to unlawful immigrants. Vasquez will form a group similar to Protect Arizona Now, which backed the new law requiring proof of citizenship for those seeking public benefits and forcing government workers to report suspected undocumented immigrants... He contends state lawmakers bent to business interests when they stalled legislation to restrict medical-care assistance to illegal immigrants... Last year, he tried to bill Mexico $2M for jail and medical costs he claimed the county provided to Mexican citizens. Canyon County Commission Chairman Matt Beebe said county has paid #284,000 for medical treatment involving illegal immigrants over the past 6 years. A state fund that covers indigent care picked up $1.1M in costs for those cases."
Steven A. Camarota _Minneapolis Star-Tribune_
Job data should give pause to immigration advocates
"My analysis of census bureau data shows that between 2000 March and 2004 March, the number of adults working in the United States actually increased... all the net growth in jobs went to immigrant workers. In fact, while the number of unemployed adult native-born workers increased by 2.3M over this time, the number of employed immigrants rose by 2.3M. Significantly, about half the growth in immigrant employment was from illegal immigration... of the 900K net increase in jobs between 2003 March and 2004 March, two-thirds went to immigrant workers, even though they account for only 15% of all adult workers. At the same time, 1.2M working-age natives left the labor force... Our analysis also shows little evidence that immigrants only take jobs Americans don't want. It is true that immigration has its biggest impact at the bottom end of the labor market in relatively low-paying occupations done by less-educated workers. Nonetheless such occupations still employ tens of millions of native-born workers. In job categories such as construction labor, building maintenance and food preparation, where immigrant growth is the most pronounced, native unemployment also tends to be the highest. Immigration added 1.1M workers to just these three occupations in the last 4 years, but there were nearly 2M unemployed native-born Americans in these same occupations in 2004... While public opinion polls generally show most Americans, including Hispanics, want less immigration, legal and illegal, those in positions of authority in this country generally sing the praises of mass immigration. One reason elites like immigration so much is that they do not face the job competition that lower-income Americans face. Only about 5% of lawyers and 6% of journalists are immigrants, compared with one-fourth of construction laborers and one-third of janitors. When more educated and affluent people say, 'Immigrants only take jobs Americans don't want.', what they really mean is that immigrants only take jobs they don't want. When businesses say, 'Immigrants only take jobs Americans don't want.', what they really mean is that given what they would like to pay, and how they would like to treat their workers, they cannot find enough Americans... There are 70M native-born Americans and legal immigrants already here between the ages of 18 and 64 who have only a high school education. This is an enormous pool of labor that if properly paid and treated could satisfy all the labor demands of American employers."
2005-02-20 18:36PST (21:36EST) (2005-02-21 02:36GMT)
Diane M. Grassi _Sierra Times_
No Illegal Alien Left Behind
"We seem intent on shoring up the borders of Iraq and spend billions of dollars on airport security, yet our government seems to have a blind spot when it comes to the sanctity of our own borders... Alien smugglers compromise the security of our borders by facilitating the illegal movement of aliens across them without being inspected as required by law. The smugglers are often violent, employing snipers to take out Border Patrol agents and endanger the lives of the aliens they smuggle in and for that reason alone our border requires beefed up security... The phrase, 'jobs that Americans don’t want', is a travesty and is more about cooking the books than one actually not wanting to stand behind a hot stove. Many landscapers, for example, pay a decent wage for work once predominantly held by legal residents, but many avoid the law by not paying the proper Social Security or payroll taxes to the government. Therefore, they can afford to pay a $10.00 an hour wage to an illegal alien, which for a U.S. student or young person is almost twice the minimum wage, and is not a bad wage or a bad job to hold. Americans competing with illegals for unskilled labor jobs do not have a chance if a small businessman is looking to obfuscate paying into the system. It has nothing to do with 'lazy Americans' but is rather about greed and unaccountability."
Vivien Lou Chen _Bloomberg_/_Asbury Park NJ Press_
Silicon Valley's tech jobs are gone: Employment mix more nearly mirrors nation
"The engine that helped drive the US economic 'boom' of the 1990s is finally close to emerging from the employment slump that saw 10% of its jobs vanish between 2001 & 2002... non-profit research firm Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network figures the region lost another 5,100 computer & semiconductor jobs last year. Instead, the area added 4,100 new health-care, construction & service jobs. If nurses & carpenters are less exciting than college-student millionaires, they may promise more sustainable future growth [for a while], experts say... Information sciences, durable goods manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and professional and technical services accounted for almost 2.6M lost jobs in the United States from 2001 March to 2004 November. That's more than double the net job losses for the entire private industry. Technology is one area where data suggests the job losses of the past four years may be permanent, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Roger Ferguson said in a January 7 speech... In Santa Clara county... the total number of jobs is still about 16% lower than it was in 2001... the region's rate of job losses slowed to 1.3% from 2003 to 2004... Biotechnology and medical-device companies are two of the industries that have gained the most money from venture-capital investment, which rose to $7.1G last year from $6.2G in 2003... the first increase in 3 years... down 79% from a peak of $34.5G in 2000 [when the depression began]... A study funded by the federal Workforce Investment Act found less than half of the Bay Area's technology workers of five years ago were still there by 2003. 24% of the 300K people tracked in the study had taken non-technology jobs that often paid less and 30% weren't recognized in California pay-roll figures because they stopped looking for work, left the state or became self-employed, says analyst Tracey Grose of the Sphere Institute, the Burlingame, CA, firm that conducted the [study]."
2005-02-21 03:00PST (05:00CST) (06:00EST) (11:00GMT)
Jitin Hingorani _News 8 Austin, TX_
Exporting IT: Off-Shore Out-Sourcing and the Draw to India
"It takes more than an hour to travel 12 miles to Bangalore's Information Technology Park, a complex where America's finest software companies have set up their Indian operation. Vivek Kulkarni is India's former IT Secretary. His role was to attract high-tech companies to the state of Karnataka. He said cheap labor is the main attraction for Austin companies... Dell has... 6K employees at 6 facilities. Trilogy has moved all of its software design here. And Motorola, now know as Freescale Semiconductor, has an enormous operation in Bangalore... About 20 Austin-based companies now have centers in Bangalore, but there is no exact number on how many US jobs have gone over-seas [because the execs prefer that we no know]... The [off-shore] out-sourcing trend [continued to gain] momentum in Austin after the 2000 technology bust."
_Salt Lake City Daily Herald_
New driving kkkard is not needed
"Utahns should be concerned about illegal immigrants who obtain a Utah driver's license through fraud. After all, a state ID can be used for a lot more than just driving. It is useful for getting a job, opening a bank account, cashing checks, renting an apartment, getting a driver's license in another state and a host of other things. But senator Curt Bramble's proposed driving privilege card doesn't solve anything. The Provo Republican's bill, Senate Bill 227, would grant people without valid Social Security cards (mostly undocumented immigrants) a driving card. Since 1999, Utah has allowed immigrants without Social Security numbers to receive driver's licenses. The logic was that, by issuing licenses, the state would ensure that a person had some minimal knowledge of traffic laws. In short, we meant well, but the practical benefits are dubious. Groups seeking to restrict immigration have decried Utah's driver's license mill as rewarding illegal behavior... More likely, undocumented workers will just drive without a license."
Cal Thomas _TownHall_
We have been warned. Now what?
"It is good that the Bush Administration is deporting illegal aliens in record numbers. It would be better if it did more to prevent them from coming here in the first place... Where is the evidence that peace-loving Muslims in America are rooting out and exposing sleeper cells and turning them over to authorities? If terrorists are slipping into the country over the Mexican border, is the Bush Administration doing enough to defend us and defeat them, or will it wait until weapons of mass destruction wipe out 1M more of us? Then what? Government's primary responsibility is to protect its people. The question that should be asked now, not after another attack, is whether enough is being done to find the fanatics who mean us harm."
Phyllis Schlafly _Town Hall_
The time has come for our elected officials to enforce laws
"[There's a lot of blather here supporting enforcement of unconstitutional and rights violating statutes.] The most dangerous area where U.S. laws are not being faithfully executed are those designed to protect U.S. citizens against millions of aliens who enter our country illegally every year. The Constitution provides that the federal government "shall protect each of (the states) against invasion," but little is being done to stop this invasion, and the president's new budget would provide funds for only 210 additional U.S. Border Patrol agents instead of the 2K authorized. Since 1986, federal law has made it a crime for employers to hire illegal immigrants, and President Ronald Reagan called the sanctions for violations the "keystone" of the law. But no administration has shown the willingness to enforce that law, even though a recent study by the Wall Street firm of Bear Stearns (as reported in Barron's) estimates that taxes lost in the underground economy could wipe out the federal budget deficit. Our government has admitted that it isn't deporting 400K illegal immigrants (80K of whom have criminal records) because it can't find them. If the U.S. government can track and locate one case of mad cow disease (out of millions of cows), why can't the Department of Homeland Security faithfully execute U.S law and deport these criminals?"
Ralph Z. Hallow _World Peace Herald_
Gingrich urges action against illegal aliens
"The former House speaker wants the United States to completely seal off its border along Mexico and Canada, deport illegal aliens within 72 hours of their arrest and exclude U.S. courts from reviewing such deportations... Many in the audience booed and hissed Manhattan Institute analyst Tamar Jacoby's defense of the guest-worker proposal. In a panel titled 'Immigration Reform: Recognizing Reality or Surrendering Principles?' she clashed with Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly... The Law of the Sea Treaty, backed by [President] Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, came in for heavy criticism by senator James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, and others. Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican and featured speaker at the CPAC Ronald Reagan Banquet on Friday, called the treaty a surrender of U.S. sovereignty."
Matt Smith _AP_/_Information Technology Professionals Association of America_
NY state legislator fights state subsidies to out-sourcing firms
"'This is not about interfering with out-sourcing.', Richard Brodsky said. 'This si about subsidizing it.'... A Democrat law-maker critical of the state's decision to give taxpayer-funded benefits to a company that sends jobs over-seas is pushing a bill that would ban the practice. The legislation proposed by state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester would prohibit companies from sending jobs out of New York if they received tax breaks or other financial incentives from the state."
Melissa McGuire _Central Michigan Life_
International hiring rules tightened
"The U.S. Department of Labor introduced a new set of regulations entitled “Labor Certification for the Permanent Employment of Aliens in the United States.” The new regulations will go into effect for all new international employees March 28. Changes to laws and fees for obtaining H-1B work visas will change March 8. The new regulations will affect the advertising for positions at CMU, the hiring of international employees and the process of obtaining their Green Card to work; permanently in the United States... The regulations are similar to the old ones, but the employer has to be able to justify the reason for hiring the employee, said Bassam Khoury, international student and scholar adviser in the Office of International Education... t is a way of making sure that U.S. citizens’ jobs are protected. It ensures that there is documentation that they are better for the jobs, based on skills, education and anything else that may make them more qualified. Some of the restrictions that will have to be followed will include keeping documentation of any employment search, filing an electronic Labor Certification Application online within 180 days of recruitment and new fees of either $500 for filing for the visa or $1K for 'premium processing', meaning that if the employee is supposed to start work soon, they get their request for application processed within 2 weeks."
2005-02-21 01:00PST (04:00EST) (09:00GMT)
_Red Nova_/_Central Pennsylvania Business Journal_
Computer Majors Glut a Warning
"Off-shoring and the dot-com bust are the underlying causes of a [decrease] of computer science majors in universities nationwide... Enrollment actually started to decline in the late 1980s but ballooned in the 1990s, when investors freely backed dot-com companies, according to the Computing Research Association [CRA] in Washington, DC. In 2000, enrollment in schools offering doctoral programs peaked at 23,416, according to the Computing Research Association. Since then, numbers have declined steadily... At a recent job fair at Penn State Harrisburg, most of the companies represented wanted technical support staff, said Andrew Myers, a third-year computer-science major at the school. Several non-profit agencies wanted web page designers, but only a couple companies wanted computer science graduates, he said."
2005-02-22 08:11PST (11:11EST) (16:11GMT)
Irwin Kellner _MarketWatch_
"It doesn't matter why long-term interest rates have gone down while the Federal Reserve's been hiking short-term rates. What's more important is what this 'conundrum' means for future Fed moves... In the past, every time the yield curve has inverted - regardless of whether the absolute level of interest rates was high or low -- the economy has fallen into a recession. Regardless of which school of thought the Fed follows, one thing seems certain: this economy is heading for a slow-down."
Ed Frauenheim _TechRepublic_/_CNET_
Shorter hours in software: Famously long work-weeks are shrinking as management improves and employees focus on life outside the cubicle.
"In the 1990s, B often missed dinner with his wife and young children while regularly logging 50 to 60 hours per week -- occasionally having to put in 70 hours for several weeks on end to hit project deadlines... Many employees are working less punishing hours. Production workers in software publishing -- most are computer specialists -- worked an average of 36.4 hours a week last year, down from 41.4 hours in 2001, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Possible reasons include the reduced allure of dot-com riches and programmers putting greater emphasis on life outside of work. Also, observers say some software houses have learned to manage projects better. In effect, software makers are concluding that productivity suffers when employees work extended days month after month... A survey last year by the game developers' association found that almost 3 developers out of 5 reported working 46 or more hours in a typical week. More than 95% of respondents said their company experiences 'crunch time' -- a period of intense work prior to a product release. More than 18% of respondents to the survey reported having experienced crunches of 2 months or more, and more than a third of respondents said they work 65 to 80 hours a week during crunch time."
Carson Varner _Bloomington Pantagraph_
Guest workers did not pay off for Germany
"we need to review our attitude to immigration laws and to begin a discussion. Let's look what Germany did with its Gastarbeiter or guest worker program. No one questions the hunger in the American middle class for cheap labor. 8M to 12M people have taken on all the dangers of illegal life to fill these needs... if they were not available, the jobs would have to be made more attractive. There was a movement in Bloomington to pay what is called a 'living wage'. If our lowest skilled did not have to compete with undocumented workers, the market would go a long way to bringing this about... Our society provides enormous free social benefits. An undocumented worker with 3 children gets $20K worth of free public education each year. This cheap labor becomes socially expensive... Germany's guest worker program of the late 1950s and 1960s is a case in point... Germany then brought in mostly low-skilled workers from Turkey and other countries. They were legally in Germany and had the full protection of German law, but would be expected to return home at the end of the assignment. Germany got the labor it needed and the workers were well treated and could gain skills and save money. The hard part was family separation as guest workers were not permitted to bring their families. They could, however, visit as much as funds and German six-week vacations allowed... Things changed in 1969 when the new socialist government felt these workers should bring their families to Germany. This has not worked and now a third generation is growing up separate and unequal in the immigrant ghettoes."
Joseph Perkins _Decatur Daily Democrat_
Tax-victims shouldn't support illegal immigrants
"The passage of Propositions 187 and 200 doesn't mean that 60% of California and Arizona residents are racists or bigots or xenophobes, as critics of the measures disparage. It means that they believe in the rule of law. They believe that tax-[victim]-funded benefits should be reserved for American citizens and for legal residents, and not for those who steal into the country, who thumb their noses at this nation's immigration laws... Heather McDonald documented a year ago in an article published in City Journal. In Los Angeles, she found, 95% of all outstanding murder warrants involved suspected illegal aliens. And up to two-thirds of all felony warrants were for undocumented illegals... The fact is, before the two great waves of illegal immigration in the 1980s and 1990s, there were more than enough Americans performing the low-skilled and semi-skilled work needed by farms and orchards, factories and construction sites, restaurants and hotels, car washes and dry cleaners. And there still are many lower-skilled Americans available to work for such employers, including the 10M native-born Americans lacking high school diplomas. And if that's still not enough low-skilled labor to meet the needs of the nation's industries, they can recruit workers from the legal immigrant population. That includes the more than 5M legal Mexican immigrants without high school diplomas."
Ray Haynes _ChronWatch_
Give me your old, your poor, your very sick
"I am of the opinion that California will be better off if the federal government just cuts taxes, and never sent the state government any additional monies [sic]... We receive a 50% payment from the federal government for Medi-Cal services given to our poorer citizens. But five years ago, Democrats specifically added illegal aliens to the list of those eligible for the Medi-Cal program here in California, knowing the federal government wouldn't reimburse us (because they only pay for legal citizens), and that our state's tax-[victims] would bear 100% of those costs... California is getting less money than other states is that California is younger, richer and healthier than most other states... if California wants more federal dollars, using existing formulas, it would need to import more old people, more sick people and more poor people. The elderly tend to leave California upon retirement because it costs way too much to live here. They can sell their house in California for a large profit, and take that profit and invest in a beautiful place in Texas or Florida for a lot less money. When they move out, they take their federal social security with them. Other social service programs like TANF (welfare) and Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) require people to be poor or sick to get the federal dollars. They also require them to be citizens."
Sherry Cooper, PhD _BMO Capital Markets Economics_
Consumer Confidence Slipped Slightly
"The critical 'jobs plentiful' reading was essentially unchanged, while 'jobs hard to get' fell. As such, the net 'jobs hard to get' measure improved to +1.7 from +3.3, which is the best net result since the spring of 2002."
Thomas Sowell _Town Hall_
"If the government gave a $5K subsidy to anyone who buys an automobile, do you doubt that the price of automobiles would go up -- perhaps by $5K? Why then does no one see any connection between government subsidies to college students and rising tuition?"
2005-02-22 14:35PST (17:35EST) (22:35GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Dow posts biggest loss in 21 months
"The Dow plunged 174.02 points, or 1.6%, to 10,611.20 as all but one of its 30 components fell into the red. It was the market barometer's biggest loss in points since 2003-05-19. The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 28.30 points, or 1.4%, to 2,030.32 and the S&P 500 fell 17.43 points, or 1.5%, to 1,184.16. In the broader market, decliners led advancers 26 to 7 on the New York Stock Exchange and 23 to 9 on the Nasdaq. Big Board volume was about 1.74G shares while some 2.05G shares traded on the Nasdaq."
Bertrand Benoit _Financial Times of London_
Berlin warns of further rise in unemployment rate
"Wolfgang Clement, Germany's economics and labour minister, has warned that unemployment in Europe's largest economy would reach a new record this month after breaching the 5M mark in January. The February figure will be significantly higher, Mr Clement told the _FT_ and _FT Deutschland_ yesterday. Although largely due to statistical adjustments, the steep jump in unemployment to its highest level since 1932 has put the government on the defensive and left Mr Clement politically vulnerable. Analysts have blamed unemployment for the ruling Social Democratic party's latest electoral defeat, in Schleswig-Holstein on Sunday... The number of welfare recipients who officially became unemployed after Hartz IV, the latest labour market reform, came into force in January was higher than had been expected... Many economists have hailed recent improvements in corporate competitiveness under the effect of the government's social security and labour market reforms, cost-saving deals between managers and unions, and moderate price developments at home... business would relocate up to 150K jobs abroad by 2007... He said the government had endorsed the country-of origin principle underpinning a directive drafted by the Commission a year ago, whereby businesses can offer services across the EU if they abide by the laws of their own countries."
2005-02-22 18:52PST (21:52EST) (2005-02-23 02:52GMT)
Mimi Hall _USA Today_
Despite new technology Border Patrol is overwhelmed (map, table)
"He spots foot-prints & tire tracks & hovers to get a better look. If the sandy impressions are fresh, he'll radio agents on the ground. But King's experienced eyes tell him these prints are at least a day or 2 old. Now, they serve only as evidence that more people have crossed the obrder illegally without getting caught... 11K [people are in the Border Patrol]. Despite an influx of new technology, such as underground sensors & cameras that pan the desert, agents catch only about one-third of the estimated 3M people who cross the border illegally each year... a growing number hail from Central & South America, Asia, even MidEast countries such as Syria & Iran. In 2003, the Border Patrol arrested 39,215 so-called 'OTMs', or other than Mexicans, along the SouthWest border. In 2004, the number jumped to 65,814... T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, says the Border Patrol has 'reliable intelligence that there are terrorists living in South America, assimilating the culture and learning the language' in order to blend in with Mexicans crossing the border... In Mitch King's territory of remote south-central New Mexico, 109 agents work a 53-mile section of border. They patrol 14K square miles of rugged terrain using helicopters, horses and all-terrain and sport-utility vehicles... Forced east by tighter security along the California and Arizona borders, migrants cross here on foot and in cars, morning, noon and night -- as many as 200 a day along this relatively small stretch of land... The agents who work for Moody in Luna and 2 other New Mexico counties caught 170 non-Mexicans in 2002, 293 in 2003 and 678 in 2004. Most are from South and Central America. But the agents also have picked up illegal border-crossers from [Red China], southeast Asia and the Middle East."
2005-02-23 02:00PST (05:00EST) (10:00GMT)
Kim Zetter _Wired_
ChoicePoint ID Theft Victims Could Lose Three Times
"Legal experts say that people who suffered losses as a result of the breach will find it difficult to get compensation from ChoicePoint for selling their personal data to con artists, even if the victims can prove that ChoicePoint was negligent in screening customers who purchased their data. That's because courts have been unwilling to penalize companies when victims of identity theft are not their direct customers... Atlanta-based ChoicePoint is a data-aggregation [i.e. privacy violation] company that collects information on individuals from birth certificates, DMV records, credit and medical histories, court records and consumer transactions [i.e. purchases extorted, stolen and embezzled personal private property] to create data-base dossiers on billions of individuals. The company sells the data to direct marketers [and] to government agencies [thus violating their privacy another time]... This strikes an ironic chord for privacy advocate Richard M. Smith, who noted that the company's inability to verify and authenticate the identities of its own customers led to the recent breach in which scam artists illegally purchased consumer data from the company and stole the identities of more than 700 people... Although the fraud had continued for a year, federal authorities asked the company to put off notifying consumers that their data had been exposed until 2 weeks ago, when the company sent out more than 34K letters to California residents... Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said legislation is the right way to go, but doesn't think Feinstein's bill is enough since it contains exemptions for companies that have developed their own "reasonable" notification policies and for companies that store data in encrypted form. It also exempts companies from notifying customers when it would be too expensive or prohibitive to notify them. In these cases, the bill would allow companies to post notice on a web site or notify the media... ChoicePoint did have a relationship with the public... and assumed a certain level of responsibility for individuals' data when it decided to collect and sell private information [i.e. to purchase & possess stolen and extorted personal private property and thus to violate their privacy]."
2005-02-23 03:00PST (06:00EST) (11:00GMT)
Jitin Hingorani _News 8 Austin_
Who contributes to and benefits from out-sourcing
"The Indian government wants a bigger sliver of the American IT pie... Karnataka's former IT secretary, Vivek Kulkarni, said a new foreign company has moved to Bangalore every week for the past 5 years... many of the products developed in Bangalore will eventually be marketed abroad... 'Across the board, between the masters graduates in India that we tested versus teh masters graduates in the US, categorically they all scored lower, even for entry level in India...'... The training typically takes 3 to 6 months."
2005-02-23 08:03PST (11:03EST) (16:03GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
CPI up 0.1%
"The seasonally adjusted consumer price index increased 0.1% in January after no change in December, which was revised from a 0.1% decline. Excluding food and energy prices, the core CPI rose 0.2%... In the past year, the CPI has risen 3%, down from 3.3% in December. The core rate is up 2.3% in the past 12 months, the highest year-over-year gain since 2002 August."
2005-02-23 13:16PST (16:16EST) (21:16GMT)
Lisa Sanders _MarketWatch_
Heating oil closes at 4-month high
"March heating oil, which logged a 6.7% gain Tuesday, settled at $1.4831 a gallon, up 3%, or 4.29 cents. It was the highest close for heating oil since October 27. It closed at a record $1.5673 [per] gallon on October 22... The bench-mark light crude-oil contract for April delivery settled at $51.17 [per] barrel, down 25 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after adding 4.9% in Tuesday trade. March unleaded gasoline added 0.25 cent to close at $1.3114 a gallon. Also on Nymex, March natural gas was up 3.4%, or 20.8 cents, at $6.311 per million British thermal units. The contract expires Thursday. April natural gas gained 3.2%, or 19.9 cents, to close at $6.42."
2005-02-23 14:29PST (17:49EST) (22:49GMT)
Susan Lerner _MarketWatch_
Tame price data spark stocks
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 62.59 points, or 0.6%, at 10,673.79, springing back after Tuesday's sell-off, which saw the blue-chip gauge suffer its worst one-day decline since 2003 May. The S&P 500 added 6.64 points, or 0.6%, to 1,190.80... The Nasdaq rose just 0.93 points to 2,031.25... Meanwhile, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported that worldwide semiconductor manufacturing utilization rates fell more than 6 percentage points in the fourth quarter to its lowest level since the second quarter of 2003."
Lawrence Sussman _Milwaukee Journal Sentinel_
Immigrant accused of marrying to get green card
"Federal immigration authorities said Wednesday that a Grafton gas station operator is facing deportation because his marriage to an American citizen was designed so the man could gain entry to the United States. A spokesman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Milwaukee said that although Kuldip Singh, 32, is married to a Grafton woman, investigators believe the marriage was in name only. The agency would not release the identity of the Grafton woman... Singh posted $15,000 bond Wednesday and was released from a federal holding facility in Chicago. Singh is facing a deportation hearing, the date of which has not yet been set. Singh operates the Clark gas station and convenience Store at 1020 Washington St."
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
unemployment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 305,345 in the week ending February 19, a decrease of 3,789 from the previous week. There were 328,171 initial claims in the comparable week in 2004. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5% during the week ending February 12, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 3,227,664, an increase of 11,233 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 3.0% and the volume was 3,729,369."
2005-02-24 06:51PST (09:51EST) (14:51GMT)
Kathie O'Donnell _MarketWatch_
Tech firms recruiting more B-school bozos
"D was one of about 70 MBA candidates to participate in MIT's seventh-annual Massachusetts job hunting and networking 'Tech Trek' in January. They met with recruiters from about 40 Boston-area technology, biotechnology and other companies... The jobless rate for master's degree holders in computer and mathematical fields was 3.3% last year, down from 5.5% in 2003 and 5.3% in 2002, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that's still nowhere near the 1.1% rate of 2000, it's still a marked improvement... Harvard Business School has seen job tech-industry job postings double this year from a year ago, from both returning and new recruiters... MIT statistics show prospects for its MBA grads are improving. In 2004, 96% had job offers three months after graduation and 91% had accepted. Tech positions accounted for 19% of accepted jobs. In 2003, 91% had job offers in that time-frame and 88% had accepted. Tech jobs accounted for 20% of jobs accepted. Stanford University's Graduate School of Business also reported a sharp increase in recruiting of MBA candidates for all industries compared with last year. The number of firms expected to recruit on campus from January through March for second-year career positions and first-year summer jobs is up 24% for both classes, Andy Chan, director of Stanford's MBA Career Management Center, said in a statement. He said he could not discuss tech recruiting specifically."
2005-02-24 07:12PST (10:12EST) (15:12GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US durable goods orders fell 0.9% in January: Rose 0.8% excluding transportation goods: Computers and electronics fell 1.2% while shipments increased 4%.
census bureau reports
2005-02-24 05:44PST (07:44CST) (08:44EST) (13:44GMT)
Sergio Chapa _Valley Morning Star_
3 admit trying to sell fake ID papers to Iranians
"Port Isabel residents Roberto Aburto, Azalia Gaona, Miriam Palestina and Rutilio Marquez are accused of taking $1,050 to make fake Social Security cards and green cards for 3 Iranians in 2004 August."
Jay Solomon _Wall Street Journal_
Indian Firms Hiring US Executives to Make Connections
"Mr. Bettinger is among a growing number of US and Western executives being poached -- not to mention well-paid -- by Indian technology companies trying to globalize their software and out-sourcing businesses. In recent months, Indian businesses have hired dozens of executives from companies including Electronic Data Systems Corp., Deloitte Consulting LLP, McKinsey & Co., Accenture Ltd. and Ernst & Young LLP... all have had annual revenue growth of around 50% in recent quarters and are hiring thousands of new workers [in India] each quarter... US companies, meanwhile, say they are competing aggressively with Indian companies for both talent and market share. EDS has nearly 3K workers in India focusing on software development and back-office duties, and expects to add 2K more this year... Many Indian businessmen say these Western executives can help their companies penetrate over-seas markets and help put in place systems to manage their growth."
US Companies Are Not Keeping Pace with New World Order in Technology & Telecomm
PR News Wire
"two-thirds of the more than 300 North American executives surveyed say they have not even instituted formal practices for tracking and analyzing their competition. The study, 'Crunch Time: The Competitiveness Audit', was conducted in late 2004 and early 2005 for the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) Council. Its findings were announced here today at the A.T. Kearney Global Tech+Telecom Competitiveness Summit. The study shows North American executives are acutely aware of increasing global competition. Approximately 90% of survey respondents said they expect competition in their sector to intensify in the next two years. Less than 1% anticipate a decline... US executives point to [Red China] as a source of competition over the next 2 years nearly as often as they do other US companies... The report also questions the low priority executives give to managing operational complexity and optimizing capital deployment as requirements for competitive success."
2005-02-24 07:25PST (10:25EST) (15:25GMT)
Brad Gibson _Mac Observer_
Seagate & Hitachi announce 6GB, 1-inch disk drives
2005-02-24 09:52PST (11:52CST) (12:52EST) (17:52GMT)
Jitin Hingorani _News 8 Austin_
Keeping it home
"The out-sourcing model doesn't work for all high tech companies so many of them choose to hire & train talent locally... Catapult is one of 4 Austin companies that received portions of the $3M federal grant [that comes from H-1B fees]... the other recipients were National Instruments, Triangle Technologies, Ill-Begotten Monstrosities & Newgistics. [The] program emphasizes learning to be adopted as a business process. Classes offered include an introduction to programming, IT, MSFT, architecting programs, Java programming, project management and leadership programs [i.e. they're mostly feeble and lacking in substance]... St. Edward's is 1 of only 2 universities in Texas allowed to train using the grants [from the H-1B fees]."
Kristen Hays _Business Week_
Federal judge set 2006 January 17 trial for Kenneth Lay & Jeffrey Skilling
Andrew Pollack _Lakeland Ledger_
Medical companies joining off-shoring trend
"The exporting of jobs by ReaMetrix is telling evidence that the relentless shifting of employment to countries like India and [Red China] that has occurred in manufacturing, back-office work and computer programming is now spreading to a crown jewel of corporate America: the medical and drug industries... The life sciences industry, with its largely white-collar work force and its heavy reliance on scientific innovation, was long thought to be less vulnerable to the out-sourcing trend. The industry, moreover, is viewed as an economic growth engine and the source of new jobs... However, the life sciences industry, even without out-sourcing, is not so big that it can make up for jobs lost in other sectors. By a broad definition of the industry, including medical devices, pharmaceuticals and certain parts of agriculture and chemicals, employment reaches 885K, according to a study by Battelle Memorial Institute for the Biotechnology Industry Organization. Some 225K jobs, mainly in computers and back-office work, moved off-shore in 2004 alone, according to an estimate by Forrester Research."
Michael Cooney _Network World Fusion_
States target off-shoring
"The notion of off-shoring jobs or dealing with vendors that do so is still irking many state government officials. Colorado this week became yet another state to see a bill before its legislature that would cut tax breaks 7 other incentives to companies in Colorado that off-shore [work]... A proposed law in South Dakota would bar companies that out-source from getting state aid. New Hampshire law-makers are looking at keeping track of how many jobs are out-sourced and not doing business with any companies that ship more than 50 jobs over-seas... Typically state legislators also have to battle with business interests that fight legislative efforts to slow or eliminate off-shoring. Last year more than a dozen major trade groups - including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and others - formed the Economic Growth and American Jobs Coalition to lobby against these bills."
Ian Fletcher _American Engineering Association_
Why Compete America Is Wrong: We Don't Need More Foreign Workers
"'When they say it's not about the money, it's about the money.'... with record unemployment among US engineers, due to off-shoring and imported labor, how are we supposed to get students to study technology? Will they find such careers attractive?... There is record unemployment among American tech workers. (Source: Labor Dept.) Shortage predictions have been manufactured over and over again for years in order to justify importation of cheaper foreign labor. According to a recent Rand Corporation study: 'Despite recurring concerns about potential shortages of (scientific, technical, engineering and mathematics) personnel in the U.S. work force, particularly in engineering and information technology, we did not find evidence that such shortages have existed, at least since 1990, nor that they are on the horizon.'..."
2005-02-25 07:43PST (10:43EST) (15:43GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US 2004 Q4 GDP growth revised to 3.8%
2005-02-25 08:16PST (11:16EST) (16:16GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Existing home sales fell 0.1% in January
"Sales fell 0.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.80M in January from 6.81M in December. Sales were up 13.7% from 2004 January."
Indian companies show little respect for e-privacy
"Indian companies show little regard towards e-security and absence of a security risk assessment mechanism and lack of internal security audits can cause huge damages in future, experts warned here today... Companies must focus on awareness, training and education for all the employees, so that the importance of data and security were given due importance, he said... He said Indian companies were getting out-sourcing contracts based on the trust that the high-risk data will be treated with proper care [but they are not upholding that trust]."
Al Lewis _Denver Post_
Out-sourcing weaves a tangled web
"Diane Ziebarth worked 32 years at Samsonite, running riveters, welders and other assembly-line machines that made hard-sided suit-cases... In 2001, the company closed its Montbello manufacturing plant, shifting work to India and China. Ziebarth lost her job to someone who would make luggage for less on the other side of the ocean. In search of new skills, Ziebarth went to school on the taxpayers' tab, earning an associate's degree in business technology from the Community College of Denver. Today, she still can't find work... investors demand performance, consumers clamor for lower prices, and multi-millionaire CEOs dream up ways to grossly over-pay themselves as they slash workers."
2005-02-25 11:27PST (14:27EST) (19:27GMT)
Jim Jelter _MarketWatch_
US steel imports dropped in January
"The United States imported 18% less steel in January than in December, according to a survey released Friday by the American Institute for International Steel. Sharply higher steel prices over the past year have been blamed by U.S. manufacturers, like the auto parts industry, for lower profit margins and higher product prices. Citing preliminary numbers, AIIS said the country imported 2.398M net tons of steel in January, down from 2.924M in December but up 1.7% from the 2.357M imported in 2004 January. Imports from European Union nations fell 43.5% in January to 299K net tons from 529K in December. The percentage drop from [Red China] was even steeper, falling 48.5% to 150K tons in January from 291K the previous month. Year-on-year, however, [Red China's] steel shipments to the U.S. were up 46.9% from the 102K tons sent across the Pacific in 2004 January. At the same time, steel imports from Canada rose 18.4% to 430K tons in January from 363K tons in December but remained nearly flat to import levels from a year earlier. AIIS is a Washington DC-based [lobbying organization that aims to promote reliance on foreign steel]."
Paul Kaihla _Business 2.0_
Why I Hate This Economy
"Now that the critics can no longer get traction by discussing off-shoring or the jobless recovery -- the economy [since the beginning of this depression in 2000 January has added 3.77M new jobs while the working age population has increased by 13.427M. Since last year 1.758M new jobs were added and the working age population increased by 2.676M]... the Economic Policy Institute, a [left-leaning] think tank in Washington, DC... say sthat wage growth in 2004 was an anemic 2.1%, 'the lowest in the history of this wage series, which began in 1964'... it's actually 2.6%... the median weekly earnings of all full-time workers puts the pay increase at [only] 2.9% last year -- the best in 3 [depression] years... Last year was the first since 1999 that the jobs report posted a positive number in each month and the first since 2000 [i.e. during the current depression] that the jobless rate declined."
2005-02-25 14:00PST (17:00EST) (22:00GMT)
Susan Lerner & Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Blue chips end at new high for 2005
"The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 92.81 points, or 0.9%, to 10,841.60, to put in a gain of 0.5% for the holiday-shortened week. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 13.70 points, or 0.7%, to 2,065.40, allowing the tech-rich index to edge up 0.3% on the week. The S&P 500 Index rose 11.17 points, or 0.9%, to 1,211.37. Over the last week, the broad gauge added 0.8%. Advancers led decliners by more than 3 to 1 on the New York Stock Exchange and by 2 to 1 on the Nasdaq. Big Board volume was about 1.5G shares while more than 1.7G shares traded on the Nasdaq."
Candy Gola _Pittsburgh Business Times_
20K additional H-1B visas coming in March
"From 2000 October to 2001 September, 195K H-1B visas were issued... But starting March 8, certain provisions of the 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (HR 4818) make available an additional 20K H-1B visas each fiscal year to aliens who have earned a master's degree or higher from a U.S. institution... she said several hundred foreign students graduate from CMU each year with master's degrees or higher. 'So I think if we have several hundred here alone, the 20K will go pretty fast', she said, 'and essentially we'll be right back where we are now, in an employment gap.'... 'As an educational institution that trains and gives advanced degrees, we want our graduates to have the opportunity to enter the U.S. labor market.', [David] Clubb [of the University of Pittsburgh] said... Pitt's Katz Graduate School of Business made it easier for U.S. employers to hire its international students by launching Katzport last year"
Robert Gelfand _American Reporter_
Education Is Not the Panacea
"The H-1B visa program has allowed American corporations to bring in workers from over-seas by the tens of thousands. Computer programmers from India make thousands of dollars less than experienced Americans. Lately there has been some political resistance to this program, but management has deftly switched its focus for controlling labor costs to [off-shore] out-sourcing. Meanwhile, American politicians and editorial writers have been selling our people a bill of goods called 'education'... My use of the quotes around the word 'education' is meant to signify its misuse by politicians and editorial writers. What I refer to is a message that OpEd writers and candidates for public office repeat mindlessly as they offer advice to laid-off workers and to students facing an uncertain future. The message is that to compete in this new world economy, you have to get an education. The implication, laid down smooth as sun-ripened strawberry jam, is that with that education, you will be able to be successful in work and in life. The problem, as our recent history shows, is that our country is doing everything it can to turn that assertion into fiction. The H-1B visa program is probably the best example. Think about the thousands of students who struggled through university programs in computer technology in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They did it in the expectation that they were about to move into the high end sector of American technology. Sure, the dot-com bubble over-inflated some of those expectations and the inevitable puncture took a lot of jobs with it. But there are still many companies developing software. Other companies develop hardware that requires software to run. Engineers and software writers are needed to do these things, and it probably seemed to college freshmen in the late 1990s that Information Technology (IT, as the insiders call it) was a good career path. The problem the young college graduates discovered is that they are not only competing with each other, they have been competing with thousands of foreign workers who are perceived by the corporations as cheap, well trained labor. Accent on the cheap... As Computerworld remarked, '...long-term the trend toward off-shore out-sourcing could mean demand for the visas is lower than in the past, say those who track the industry.' In other words, there is plenty of cheap labor around to keep those pesky American kids in their place. Which is, of course, on the unemployment line unless they are willing to work for less. The broad subject here is the education of the American worker: Is it serving the necessities of our industries? Is it serving the interests of our workers? But mainly, are we even asking the right questions about education as it relates to employment?... 'education' is being served up by politicians and parroted by the mass media as some sort of panacea. It is ladled out to students and voters alike. Whenever our economic failures are at issue, the politicians trot out the line about 'increasing educational opportunities' or the like, as if this would be a cure. A careful evaluation will reveal the essential falsehood of this argument. The unemployed engineers and programmers are one line of evidence. The hypocrisy is clear. Our politicians rolled over for the billionaires who own computer software companies so that they could hire foreign programmers by the thousands. Computer hardware manufacturers were likewise able to hire foreign engineers to design their products. The result is that many of the technically trained Americans who could be holding jobs in the Information Technology industry are not. Notice that this situation is of purely political origin. Had there been less foreign competition, more homegrown Americans would be employed in the industry. The average salary level would probably be a little higher, and the number of highly trained workers might be somewhat lower, but our nation would have kept its faith with the thousands of students who took up the challenge and 'got an education'... In this election year, we are confronting the problem of loss of well-paying American jobs through out-sourcing. At first, the out-sourcing was of information-processing jobs. The ability to sit in a cubicle and answer questions is now a worldwide opportunity. At one time, such jobs were moved to Nebraska. Now they are going to southeast Asia. The new wave we are now observing is the out-sourcing of engineering work to Asia. It's no longer just telephone operators. Now it is the well-paid design work that is being lost. Previously, we suffered out-sourcing of manufacturing jobs. As design, manufacturing, assembly and public relations work all go out of the country, what is going to be left? The blunt truth is that education is only useful for getting a job if a job exists or can reasonably be expected to be created. In an economic and political climate where giant corporations move jobs out of the country, you can have a great education and still find yourself competing with a hundred equally educated people for one entry level position. In an economic climate where employers actively recruit cheap foreign workers, and this with the knowing complicity of the government, what chance does an average Joe have? The act of cutting the number of H-1B slots to 65K was an exercise in closing the barn door after the jobs had escaped. Politicians who take money from the corporations and repay the favor by shafting American workers should not be allowed to hide behind their big lie that Americans are undereducated. This is an exercise in blaming the victim. Reporters and editorial writers should not let this scam pass, yet they do."
Sasha Talcott _Boston Globe_
Financial data lost by Bank of India
"[Bank of India Corp., formerly Bank of America] has lost tapes containing personal financial information for 1.2M accounts of federal employees, including US senators and members of the Defense Department. The tapes contained personal information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, and account numbers for employees in several government agencies. The lost information, which the bank was transporting to a backup data center, could make those customers vulnerable to identity theft. Bank of America first discovered in December that the tapes had been lost and alerted the Secret Service, but it did not make the loss public until yesterday. A Bank of [India] spokeswoman, Alexandra Trower, said the bank waited to contact customers until federal law-enforcement authorities concluded their investigation and gave the bank permission. According to a spokesman for the Defense Department, 900K of the customers were defense employees."
|"If an enemy agent successfully impersonates your head of security, you are in real trouble." --- Ben Laurie & Peter Laurie 1999 _Apache: The Definitive Guide_ pg 206|
Chris Seper _Cleveland Plain Dealer_
Poised for growth
"Businesses complain they can't find the talent they need in Cleveland. Other times, the talent they need just doesn't want to find Cleveland... Mike Rojas, president of Ayalogic, an Akron firm that designs Internet phone software, said his company needs "all-around players" who have strong skills in several computer languages. Software firms had made a habit of rejecting recent graduates because they were too inexperienced, industry observers said. But now they do a better job mining young talent, thanks to stronger ties with area schools. BrandMuscle, a Beachwood company that relies on Java-language programmers, works with a professor at Cleveland State University who funnels them his best students for internships and jobs. It then teams young workers with seasoned staffers, BrandMuscle Chief Executive Phil Alexander said... BrandMuscle, for example, uses the federal government's H1B visa program to employ a few foreign workers. Datatrak International Inc., a Mayfield medical software company, uses programmers in India, and CentralCommand Inc., an anti-virus software firm in Medina, employs dozens of programmers in Eastern Europe... Off-shoring and imported labor are intensely sensitive subjects for American workers, but software industry advocates are increasingly less apologetic about [abusing] it."
2005-02-28 05:48PST (08:48EST) (13:48GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US incomes fell 2.3% in January, PCE price index up 0.2% (core PCE price index up 0.3%), real spending fell 0.2%
"personal savings rate fell to 1% from 3.6% in December... The [PCE] core rate, which excludes food & energy prices, is now up 1.6% on a year-over-year basis, matching the high for this economic recovery... Spending on durable goods... fell 4.7% in January after rising by 4.4% in December. Real spending on non-durable goods rose 0.8%, while real spending on services gained 0.2%... a hint of stagflation is in the air... Real spending is up 3.4% in the past year. Real disposable incomes fell 2.8% in January, also the largest decline in 11 years. Real disposable incomes are up 3.5% in the past year. Compensation from wages and salaries increased 0.7%, the biggest increase since July. Wages rose 0.6%, while supplements, such as fringe benefits, increased 1.1%... Nominal per capita income fell to $27,606 in January from $28,429 in December."
US life expectancy rose to 77.6, women to 80.1 years
"pushed Americans' life expectancy to a record 77.6 years. Women are still living longer than men, but the gap is narrowing. Women now have a life expectancy of 80.1 years, 5.3 more than men. That's down from 5.4 years in 2002 and continues a steady decline from a peak difference of 7.8 years in 1979, the National Center for Health Statistics said Monday in its annual mortality report... In 2002 figures, Japan had the longest life expectancy at 81.9 years, followed by Monaco, 81.2, San Marino and Switzerland, 80.6, Australia, 80.4, Andorra, 80.3, and Iceland, 80.1. Other countries topping the United States include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom. In 2003, both of the 2 largest killers of Americans saw declines. The death rate from heart disease decreased from 240.8 per 100K in 2002 to 232.1 in 2003. The cancer death rate declined from 193.5 to 189.3 per 100K."
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Patrick Thibodeau _Computer World_/_IDG_
Salary data shows lower compensation for H-1B workers (table)
"Opponents of the [H-1B visa] cap increase say the graduates being hired will take jobs from US workers, including IT staffers... A _ComputerWorld_ analysis of wage data from approximately 290K H-1B applications filed with the US Department of Labor shows that H-1B salaries declined across the board between the 2001 and 2003 federal fiscal years in a number of IT job categories. They include programming, systems analysis, networking, end-user support and quality assurance. The wage decline mirrored what was happening to the pay of US IT workers -- at least until 2003, when the salary trends diverged, according to research firm Foote Partners LLC... in 2003: The salaries of US workers increased, while H-1B wages continued downward. That finding comes from comparing the H-1B data compiled by Computerworld and processed by Eastland Data Systems Inc. with salary information that New Canaan, CT-based Foote Partners collected through surveys of about 46K private-sector and government IT professionals. In the category covering data communications & networking jobs, for instance, US salaries rose 6.2% in fiscal 2003, Foote said. H-1B salaries declined 2% during that period, according to the Labor Department data. Foote said US salaries in other IT job categories grew at rates ranging from 1.5% to more than 6%, while H-1B salaries saw declines of 1% to 5%... Meanwhile, off-shore out-sourcing increased, as did the [abuse] of contract companies that rely on H-1B visa workers... Some H-1B workers attribute wage problems to IT contractors -- sometimes called 'bodyshops'... Rajiv Dabhadkar, a former H-1B visa holder and IT programmer who returned to India last year, said he was always paid below prevailing wage levels by contractors. In addition, he once found out that he wasn't receiving medical insurance even though there was a pay-check deduction for the benefit... The 20K additional H-1B visas will become available on March 8."
US Workers More Dissatisfied with Jobs
"Half of U.S. workers are happy with their jobs, down from nearly 59% in 1995, according to the survey. Of those, just 14% say they are very satisfied... The biggest decline in on-the-job happiness was among workers earning $25K to $35K and among workers between the ages of 35 to 44... The survey, conducted for The Conference Board by market research firm TNS, is based on a representative sample of 5K households surveyed in July."
Conference Board Job Satisfaction Survey
Tyche Hendricks _San Francisco Chronicle_
New Arizona law stops hand-outs to illegal aliens
"Similar campaigns could be on the horizon in such states as Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Washington and Oregon. In addition, the U.S. House recently passed a bill that will deny driver's licenses to [illegal] immigrants and authorize bounty hunters to round up those facing deportation orders... almost 44% of these immigrants in Arizona are [illegal], compared with approximately 26% of those in California... Meanwhile, Arizona's Latino population has nearly doubled in the past decade, from 700K to 1.3M. The state has become a magnet for low-wage immigrant workers as construction booms with new retirement homes -- all filled with retirees who need services."
Mark Nelson _Press Democrat_
A Body Shopper's Complaint: Tech Talent Shortage Propaganda
"a shortage of workers with skills that many North Bay businesses need... Many of our businesses depend on the introduction and sale of new and growing technologies for business growth. But who develops that technology? Who implements that technology? Who teaches us to use that technology? Who knows how to use that technology? New ideas and innovations in business are only as good as your ability to maximize usability and improve ease of use. So this business environment creates an innate disconnect between business requirement and talent availability. Simultaneously, baby boomers (who could be retrained) are retiring, the United States of America is graduating fewer and fewer engineers, technologists, accountants, etc. (the technical back-bone to business) and we are reducing the number of H1 visas here in the United States. Magnifying this problem is a reduction in employee training expense due to the recent economic downturn. And finally, cost of living, cost of housing, traffic, sky-rocketing health care costs and many other social and political issues further inhibit talent migration to our areas."
_WQAD 8 Moline_/_AP_
Illinois is pumping out more ethanol: Steady growth envisioned
"The latest figures show Illinois as the Number 2 state in ethanol production behind Iowa. The state produced $775M gallons in 2004 -- 23% of U.S. production. One of every 6 rows of Illinois corn is now converted to the fuel."
|"Constitutions are formed to deter... the governors from tyranny." --- James Madison _The Federalist #10_|
Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein _Center for Immigration Studies
United States Technological Superiority and the Losses from Migration
Justich and Ng _Bear Stearns_
Jobs Americans used to be able to get
"The report asserts that there are between 12M and 15M jobs in the U.S. currently held by illegal aliens, or about 8% of the work force. Moreover, between 4M and 6M jobs have shifted to the under-ground economy since 1990. These are not 'jobs Americans won't do', but rather jobs Americans used to do. 'The United States is simply hooked on cheap, illegal workers and deferring the costs of providing public services to these quasi-Americans.', conclude Justich and Ng. The prestigious financial publication, Barron's magazine, reports that the underground economy -- beyond the reach of regulators and tax collectors -- is now about $1T a year and growing rapidly. A trillion dollars represents about 9% of total U.S. GDP. 'What is largely fueling the underground economy, experts say, is the nation's swelling ranks of low-wage illegal immigrants.', reports Barron's."
Body Shopping and alternative employment
Technical Note on Contingent and Alternative Employment Arrangements, i.e. Body Shopping
"The purpose of this supplement was to obtain information from workers on whether they held contingent jobs, that is, jobs which are expected to last only a limited period of time. In addition, information was collected on several alternative employment arrangements, namely working as independent contractors and on call, as well as working through temporary help agencies or contract firms..."
Prefer non-contingent employment, estimate 1: 62.7%; estimate 2: 57.3%; estimate 3: 55.3%.
median weekly earnings
Full-time Total, 16 years and over: estimate 1: $405; estimate 2: $411; estimate 3: $488; free-lancers: $716; on-call: $519; bodyshops: $414; contract bodyshops: $756.
S&P Retail Index
Note the signs of weakness shown in the dip from 1998 July through November, relatively flat 1999, and the drop all through 2000.
AAA southern California fuel prices
AAA national fuel prices
AAA state by state
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