California Job Growth Returns
Golden State employers added 14,800 payroll jobs in May, as California bounced back from a disappointing 4800-job loss in April. Growth was reported in most industries, with eight sectors posting gains. Education and health services led the way with 5300 new jobs, followed by construction (+3700), information (+2900), government (+2700), manufacturing (+2000), other services (+1600), trade, transit and utilities (+600), and financial (+500). Sectors losing jobs included leisure and hospitality (-3200), professional business services (-900) and mining (-400). The state’s unemployment rate in May inched upward from 4.9 to 5 percent. Nationwide, the jobless rate was 4.6 percent.
Valley Leads Hiring Forecast
Central Valley communities promise some of the best hiring prospects in the third quarter, according to the latest survey of employers by staffing company Manpower. Visalia leads the list with 62 percent of companies saying they plan to expand staff, followed by Fresno (50 percent), Sacramento (48 percent), Modesto (47 percent) and Stockton (43 percent). To the west, Monterey hiring will be robust at 67 percent, followed by San Rafael (53 percent), Oakland (40 percent), San Francisco (34 percent) and Santa Clara (28 percent). The industries doing the hiring vary by city, but involve primarily four sectors – transportation/public utilities, finance/insurance/real estate, services and public administration. Construction employers are less likely to add staff.
A Father’s Legacy
Your father may have had a greater influence on your work behavior than you realize. So contends psychologist Stephan Poulter, author of The Father Factor. Poulter points out, for example, that children of the "time-bomb" father, who explodes in anger at his family, learn how to read people and their moods. Those abilities make them good as personnel managers or negotiators. These same workers, however, may have trouble feeling safe and developing trust. Children of absent fathers may become overachievers, being the person their father never was. Or they may develop anger toward supervisors, making self-employment the best option. Poulter concedes in his book that his relationship with his dad was not perfect, falling under the absentee category. "My dad won’t even talk to me," he confesses.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – A new survey finds more and more employees are opting to pay higher deductibles to keep healthcare insurance premiums down. Six million Americans are using that option as of January 2006, up from 3 million a year earlier . . . Struggling United Airlines will eliminate at least 1000 salaried and management jobs – 11 percent of its workforce – by year’s end. The move is part of a $100-million reduction of overhead expenses.
STATEWIDE – Residential construction in California accounted for 11 percent of the state’s economy last year, creating 960,000 jobs. Those are the findings of the Sacramento Regional Research Institute, which estimated residential construction spending at $273 billion . . . Faced with an ever-divergent California population and a new law that requires healthcare be provided in the patient’s native tongue, hospitals are struggling to find qualified translators in a wide range of languages. Spanish is the most requested language, followed by Vietnamese, Korean, Russian and Cantonese. Swahili was added to the list for the first time this year. Often, hospitals use a telephone translation service called CyraCom, based in Tucson. However, demand is huge for translators who can provide the service in person.
Best Workers Most Apt to Leave
The increasing tug-of-war for top talent is creating a hardship on companies that can afford it the least – small businesses. According to a story in the Small Business Report, high performers are twice as likely to be actively looking for new jobs as compared with midlevel and low performers. The report quotes management experts who say small businesses too often don’t act to prevent the loss of their most valuable workers. The problem? Small business owners feel that merely talking about the issue will make it worse. The solution? Managers recommend finding out why each key player has left, and acting to resolve the problems. Surprisingly, money is often not the primary reason for leaving. Other work conditions and situations often play a larger role in the decision.
Your Email Can Get You Fired
Sending personal email through your computer at work? You might be fired. In fact, an increasing number of workers are losing their jobs because of email violations. According to a recent survey, approximately one-third of employers contacted had dismissed someone for email infractions. That’s up from 25 percent a year ago. About 40 percent of employers in the survey have staffers whose job duties include reading other staffers’ emails. And almost half the employers regularly check the contents of emails as well. In addition to sending personal emails, sending emails that have unacceptable content – such as racist or sexist jokes or smutty stories or pictures – can also get you bounced. So can illegal activity. Many employers say they have fired someone for criminal behavior, like stealing customers’ credit card or Social Security numbers. "People don’t see a difference between phone conversations and email – but legally, there’s a really big difference," notes Keith Crosley of tech firm Proofpoint, which conducted the survey along with Forrester Consulting. Crosley points out that given the legal precedence, companies have little choice but to monitor email since the courts and regulators are increasingly ordering that email records be handed over.
Vacations Back in Style
With the economy near full employment and many employers desperate for skilled employees, now is an ideal time for American workers to recapture one amenity they have increasingly deprived themselves of since 2001: vacation time. "In the fast-paced, 24-7 global economy, it is critical that workers have time to recharge," contends John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Employers should encourage workers to use all of their allotted vacation time and attempt to take at least one two-week break every other year." With new and less expensive portable technology such as laptops, PDAs and handheld computers, it is easier than ever for workers to stay connected to the office. One survey found that nearly one out of four vacationing workers check in via phone or email most days, if not every day. However, such working vacations can defeat the entire purpose. The same survey also found that 21 percent of workers return from vacation more stressed. Challenger advises workers to leave the gadgets behind and inform key contacts how to reach their backup. Also, utilize an automatic email response message. If you absolutely must, check your email or voice mail once a day, but commit only 15 minutes to this task. Finally, give key co-workers and superiors the number of the hotel where you will be staying – and leave your cell phone off.