Fewer Jobs – or Fewer Good Applicants?
Is the labor market about to stall? Some economists are asking that question following the disappointing news that only 75,000 new jobs were created nationwide in May. That was the lowest number since October, when job growth sank to 65,000 in the wake of hurricane Katrina. While service industries posted gains, retail trade and manufacturing lost jobs. "Some are going to point to lower-than-expected job growth as an indication of a pending slowdown," notes John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. "However, the unemployment rate (4.6 percent) is inching closer to what most economists consider full employment." He adds that the lower job numbers may actually reflect the difficulty some employers are having finding qualified workers. Another positive sign: Planned job cuts in May fell to 53,716, the lowest layoff numbers since November 2000.
The Undercover Job Search
CareerJournal.com offers five strategies for discreetly beginning a job search while you are still employed. The site’s tips: Discreetly make yourself visible – Social networking sites like Linkedin.com and Zoominfo.com allow you to anonymously connect with people, only revealing your identity to those you trust. Work your industry association – you can network here under the guise of furthering your company’s reach, while furthering your own. Network like a headhunter – Target 10 to 15 companies. Then use the Internet to identify current and former employees. Next, phone them and ask about the company. You will be surprised at what you learn. Rebuild your network – if you are planning to actively start your search in two months, start reconnecting to professional contacts now. Do some self-assessment – Give careful thought to what you really enjoy doing, and what you don’t like as well. Zeroing in on your true interests will help make your job search more effective. offers five strategies for discreetly beginning a job search while you are still employed. The site’s tips: Social networking sites like andallow you to anonymously connect with people, only revealing your identity to those you trust. you can network here under the guise of furthering your company’s reach, while furthering your own. Target 10 to 15 companies. Then use the Internet to identify current and former employees. Next, phone them and ask about the company. You will be surprised at what you learn. if you are planning to actively start your search in two months, start reconnecting to professional contacts now. Give careful thought to what you really enjoy doing, and what you don’t like as well. Zeroing in on your true interests will help make your job search more effective.
On the Job front
NATIONWIDE – There are few surprises in the Forbes magazine listing of best and worst paying jobs in America (excluding CEOs). Topping the list are surgeons ($181,850). At the bottom of the list – you guessed it – fast-food cooks ($15,230). For the complete rankings, visit forbes.com.
STATEWIDE – The drive to increase the minimum wage by $1 to $7.75 is making progress in the Capitol. State legislators cannot agree, however, on whether future increases should be automatically linked to the CPI.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – A pay dispute may prompt 1300 Kaiser Permanente pharmacists to walk off their jobs Monday. The move would affect Kaiser’s 19 hospitals and 152 medical offices in the north half of the state. While Kaiser gave most employees a 5-percent raise, they offered pharmacists 3.5 percent. Pharmacists currently make $55 per hour.
BAY AREA – Four counties by the bay once again topped the state’s median income list. According to the State Franchise Tax Board, figures from 2004 show Marin ($46,699), San Mateo ($44,847), Santa Clara ($44,152), and Contra Costa ($42,819) registered top average earnings in California. Statewide, median income on all returns was $33,223, up 3 percent over 2003. Median income on joint returns was $61,084, up 4.1 percent.
EMERYVILLE – If it’s true that hiring usually follows the acquisition of new office space, several high-tech companies will be looking for help. Those expanding quarters in Emeryville include LeapFrog (educational toy maker) Pixar (filmmaker), and video game makers Backbone Entertainment and Electronic Arts.
FAIRFIELD – Having reached an impasse in salary negotiations with the local school board, hundreds of teachers staged a rally at the city council chambers last week. Teachers are seeking a 5-percent pay hike, while the district is offering 3.5 percent. No school board members attended the rally.
SACRAMENTO – Bank of the West plans to add five new branches in the area over the next two years.
SANTA CLARA – The sun is setting on 4000 to 5000 workers at computer-server giant Sun Microsystems. The company, which has suffered revenue declines for four years in a row, hopes the 11-percent workforce cutback will return the firm to profitability. The layoffs, along with selling some real estate, could save Sun up to $590 million.
ST. HELENA – Charles Krug Winery has earned the ire of the UFW for planning to turn its farming operations over to a land manager July 1. Thirty-six farm workers will lose their jobs unless the UFW protests and threats of a boycott persuade Krug to reconsider.
SILICON VALLEY – Miami’s Cordis Corp, a division of Johnson & Johnson, has announced plans to establish a medical device research center here. The state-of-the-art facility will be staffed by engineers and other researchers. No word yet on exactly where the facility will be built.