Fewer New Jobs in April
Hiring across the US slowed in April, as employers added 138,000 new positions. Even though many analysts expected growth to approach 200,000 new jobs, other labor experts felt this was not a sign of any long-term slowdown. “The results are basically returning to a more normalized growth after three months of strong growth,” said James Janesky, analyst with financial services firm Ryan Beck & Co. Others doubted the accuracy of the Labor Dept’s estimate. “I think the 138,000 is too low,” commented Kelly Services CEO Carl Camden. Industries with notable job gains in April included financial activities, healthcare and manufacturing. Average hourly earnings made their biggest gain in four years, rising 9 cents. The jobless rate was unchanged at 4.7 percent.
Employment Fears Take a Toll
Job insecurity can harm your health, according to a study by the University of Michigan. Researchers found that feeling insecure about your job harms both mental and physical health – whether you actually lose your job or not. Such worries can be as damaging as a life-threatening illness, the study contends. The report is based on interviews with over a thousand men and women under age 60. Those who reported feeling insecure on the job (about 25 percent) also reported being in worse health than those who felt they had job security. Job insecurity was especially hard on black workers. African Americans were three times more likely to feel insecure on the job, and four times more likely to feel depressed about it. Private-sector workers were found to be more vulnerable to negative health effects than those in the public sector.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – Job cutbacks by US employers shrank in April, the fourth consecutive month of reductions. A total of 59,688 jobs were eliminated, 8 percent fewer than in March. Soaring gas prices, however, are expected to boost layoffs in the summer months . . . Ameriquest Mortgage is closing all of its 229 retail branches, cutting 3800 jobs.
STATEWIDE – The California travel industry continues to reap the benefits of a rebounding economy as figures for 2005 reflect an upswing in direct travel spending. Total tourist spending was $88.1 billion last year, an increase of 7.6 percent and the third straight year of growth. Travel directly supported 911,800 jobs, up 5.4 percent. Earnings totaled $28 billion. Travel spending in California is expected to grow 4.4 percent this year . . . As employees’ share of health insurance premiums continues to rise, more Californians are opting to go without the benefit. That’s according to a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which found that 82 percent of workers opted for insurance coverage in 2003 (most current data), down from 87 percent in 1998. The report points out that workers without coverage tend to take more sick leave.
BAY AREA – The region may gain 40,000 new jobs this year, according to labor experts quoted in a San Francisco Chronicle special report. The growth should occur across a wide spectrum of industries. For more information, go to SFgate.com, and click on the Chronicle 200, a profile of the region’s top companies . . . Two Public Broadcasting System stations are merging. San Francisco’s KQED and San Jose’s KTEH will become one. Approximately 15 jobs will be eliminated as a result.
CUPERTINO – Borland Software, which makes tools for programmers, is laying off 300 people. The 20-percent cutback will save $60 million.