2005 – A Good Year for Job Growth
Job growth in California ended on a positive note last year. Not only did payrolls in the state grow by 24,300 positions in December, the Employment Development Department
upped its November job growth numbers to 32,500 – a jump of 12,100 more positions. All told, the state added 233,700 jobs in 2005, an increase of 1.6 percent. Construction posted the biggest gains in December (+6600) and for the year (+68,000). Eight other sectors were up for the month: professional business services (+5700), education and health services (+3200), financial (+2400), manufacturing (+2000), government (+1800), information (+1700), other service (+1700), and mining (+200). Jobs were lost in leisure and hospitality (–600), along with trade, transit and utilities (–400). California’s rate of unemployment dropped from 5.3 to 5.1 percent. Nationally, the jobless rate stands at 4.9 percent.
Interview the Biggest Hurdle
A new survey of hiring managers confirms what most jobseekers suspect – applicants are more likely to blow the interview than any other step in the selection process. The survey by Robert Half Finance and Accounting
, found that 32 percent of applicants conducted themselves poorly in the interview, while 21 percent botched their resume. About 9 percent made fatal mistakes in their cover letters, and another 9 percent lost out with their references. “Not knowing enough about the company or position, displaying a bad attitude or inquiring about compensation prematurely can all leave a negative impression with hiring managers,” points out Max Messmer, chairman of the Robert Half division and author of Managing Your Career for Dummies. “For jobseekers, the interview represents a time to shine. Thorough preparation – including researching the employer, rehearsing responses to common questions and understanding appropriate topics to discuss – is the key to avoiding potential pitfalls.”
On the Job Front NATIONWIDE –
The Internal Revenue Service is accepting applications for hundreds of new job openings as it embarks on an aggressive recruiting campaign. The IRS is looking for qualified revenue agents, revenue officers and tax compliance officers. Salaries vary by location and range from $33,071 to $58,903 per year. For more information, go to IRS.ustreas.gov
and click on careers . . . US job growth this year should be better than 2005, according to a recent article in Business Week. The author notes that corporations have increased capital spending (a bellwether) and have squeezed all the productivity they can out of the present workforce. To do more, they will have to hire more.
Call center Metro One Telecommunications is shutting down by month’s end, disconnecting 80 workers.
SANTA CRUZ –
While Governor Schwarzenegger lobbies to hike the minimum wage statewide to $7.75 an hour, labor leaders in this liberal town have launched a campaign to raise the local minimum to $9.25 an hour. Four of seven city council members have unofficially endorsed the effort. Current state minimum wage is $6.75.
SILICON VALLEY –
For the first time in four years, this region posted an annual employment gain in 2005. Local incomes rose for the second consecutive year, according to a report by Joint Venture Silicon Valley
, a public-private partnership that tracks growth trends.
Many employers perceive hiring older workers as more expensive than hiring younger ones, but the American Association of Retired Persons
thinks otherwise and has a study to prove it. The benefits of hiring workers 50 and older outweighs the costs, according to a report created by Towers Perrin for AARP. Researchers found that the added compensation cost required to attract older employees ranged between zero and three percent of the average. Older workers may have more wrinkles than younger workers, but they also have more motivation and experience. Both those traits benefit companies far more than the cost of slightly better wages or benefits to graying jobseekers. Companies soon may not have a choice; the AARP predicts that by 2012, almost 20 percent of the American workforce will be over 55.
High School Career Mag
High school students will soon receive a new career magazine about high-growth industries. InDemand: Careers in Energy, the first issue of 2006, will be delivered to 18,000 high schools across America, where one million students will have access to the publication. The series, sponsored by the US Department of Labor
and McGraw Hill
, informs teenagers about specific industries that will face labor shortages in the coming years. The DOL hopes the magazine will be visually appealing to students and provide enough content to fully inform them about their career choices.
Training the Pod People
Video iPod owners may soon replace their episodes of “The Apprentice” with workplace instructional videos. Trinity Workplace Learning plans to provide employee education videos via the popular new tech toys. The service would include on-demand access to a library of digital training videos that businesses can download. “iPod video, with its legendary ease of use and high audio quality, makes it an ideal player for mobile learning content,” claims David Heimer, Trinity’s vice president of products and technology. Instead of distracting spoiled teenagers, iPods would instruct engineers and other technical workers while out in the field. The company expects to get the service running later this year.
Women Dropping Out of Workforce
Women have dropped out of the workforce at a surprising pace since 1999. Economists have feared this does not bode well for the growth of the US economy. However, a recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas downplayed the trend. Researchers at the Fed found that the women who are dropping out have been mostly educated, married with children, and in higher-income families – rather than part of a more vulnerable socioeconomic group. “It seems to be more of a choice than a consequence for people getting forced out of the labor market,” notes Pia Orrenious, a senior economist with the Fed. While it may be a choice, the loss of workers will further compound the country’s looming labor shortage. Until now, women had been steadily expanding their share of the workforce from the 1950s through the end of the century. Researchers attributed the trend to demographic changes, such as delayed marriages and fewer children, along with time-saving household technological innovations like dishwashers and microwave ovens. But since 2000, the number of women in the workforce of prime working age (between 25 and 54) has declined, the largest drop since right after World War II.