California Employment Dips in April
Despite gains in several industries, California recorded a net job loss of 2600 payroll positions in April. Growth in manufacturing (+4200), professional and business services (+3900), education and health services (+2700), government (+1800), leisure and hospitality (+1600) and other services (+1400) could not counter losses in four other sectors. The slowdown in construction took a big toll (-8300), followed by information (-5900), trade, transit and utilities (-3800), financial (-100) and mining (-100). Loses were significantly less than last month’s revised drop of 13,400. The jobless rate also lost ground, inching upward from 4.8 to 4.9 percent. Nationwide, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.7 percent.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – Small, single-location firms are among the safest places to work in America, according to a new Rand Corp study. Rand analyzed 17,000 workplace deaths and found that fatal accidents were most common at small worksites run by mid-sized businesses. The fatality rate is lower at small, single-site businesses because the owner is there to monitor safety, Rand speculates . . . The Airline Pilots Association got a taste of its own medicine last week when members of the union representing workers in its office walked off the job. The Pilots Association, which has threatened strike actions against several airlines, had its own offer rejected by its office workers. True to form, the association said it supports the right of all employees – including its own – to strike . . . United Auto Workers have voted to authorize a strike against auto parts supplier Delphi Corp. A strike at Delphi, a major parts supplier for General Motors, could impact production at GM . . . Whilrpool Corp will close three plants, consolidate corporate offices and eliminate 3000 jobs following its purchase of former rival Maytag.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — In a move that may affect local staffing, Hewlett-Packard announced last week that it will consolidate 85 data centers worldwide into six larger facilities located in Atlanta, Houston and Austin, Texas. It is still unclear how the move will affect staffing at Northern California HP facilities. The consolidation is expected to save $1 billion in coming years.
ANTELOPE – TriCounties Bank, based in Chico, has opened its 11th branch in the greater Sacramento area. The new branch is located in a new Wal-Mart Supercenter here. This is the fourth of eight branches the bank plans to open this year.
BAY AREA – Almost half the executives in the region say they plan to hire in the next six months, according to a survey by the Bay Area Council. Only 8 percent say they plan to cut staff. This is the strongest survey since the 2001 dot-com bust . . . Microsoft is expanding its operations in San Francisco and Mountain View. There will be 21 new hires in SF and 128 on the peninsula. Jobs include sales, product support, account management and consulting.
HAYWARD – A struggling pharmaceutical company is laying off 30 percent of its staff of 100. Aradigm says the layoffs will halt development of its needle-free drug delivery system as it focuses instead on treatments for respiratory ailments.
RANCHO CORDOVA – E-Trade is closing its local call center at the end of August, relocating 500 jobs to other facilities across the US. Those who lose their jobs will be offered a severance package based on length of service.
SACRAMENTO – Light-rail maker Siemens Transportation Systems, which just won a $75 million contract, expects even more work in the near future after being designated by its parent company as the firm’s global supplier of light rail cars. Prior to now, it had only won jobs in North America. There are no plans, as yet, to expand hiring at the plant which currently employs 350.
SAN FRANCISCO – Video game maker PlayFirst plans to hire 20 after landing $10 million in venture capital. The company made its mark with Dinner Dash, a popular game about waiting tables . . . Architectural firm Gensler, Anshen and Allen plans to add 8 to 15 architects to its current staff of 100 . . . NewStar Financial Inc, a Boston-based finance company, has opened a local office. No work yet on local staffing plans.
SAN MATEO – A two-day nurses’ strike was averted at the San Mateo Medical Center last week, as union representatives reached a tentative agreement that must be ratified by the membership.
Working Past 65 a Long Shot
More often than not, American workers are being forced into early retirements by either poor health or a loss of employment. That’s the finding of a report by McKinsey & Co, a consulting firm, which found in its nationwide survey that 4 out of 10 retired workers left their jobs sooner than they had planned, usually due to health problems or layoff. The report also found that while 45 percent of those still working say they want to work past 65, only 13 percent of those surveyed actually did so. “Our research clearly shows that many people who are betting on simply working longer to compensate for a lack of current savings are setting themselves up for a rude awakening and a significantly poorer standard of living in retirement than they had expected,” noted David Hunt, senior partner at McKinsey. For many, there is no way to foresee a forced retirement is around the corner. “They get laid off, they have health issues that prevent them from working,” explains Sandra Timmerman, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute in Connecticut. “The company merges, A spouse gets sick. A parent gets sick. The job becomes more pressured.”
Five Days to Getting Organized
(ARA Content) – Flustered with your files? Digging for your desktop? Getting organized doesn’t have to be a chore, and spending a little time to spruce up your office can have great rewards. According to Stephanie Winston, New York Times bestselling author of Getting Organized, disorganization has never been more costly for business. “An employee who loses one hour per day to disorder costs the company more than 10 percent of his/her annual salary,” Winston calculates. The five-day get-organized guide designed by Winston offers simple solutions for maintaining an orderly workspace – in just 30 minutes a day. Highlights include: Toss It – A natural part of getting organized is tossing or shredding unneeded papers. Create a Master To-Do List – Winston suggests creating a centralized, master to-do list each week, from which you can pull 10 to 12 daily tasks. Carry your list with you. Organize Files to Increase Productivity – Many people create file names that make sense at the time, but do not come to mind easily when they need to retrieve the folder. To avoid this, create broad file names versus specific titles. These and other suggestions come from The Office Depot Five-Day Office Makeover Plan, which is available free of charge at officedepot.com/getorganized.