Firms Limit Online Access
Afraid workers are wasting time, more and more companies are banning employee access to the Internet at work. Specifically, companies hope to eliminate time spent on instant messaging and video transmissions of sporting events. "If you’re watching video, you’re probably not working," figures Vimal Solanki, director of product marketing at McAfee, a software vendor that sells products to block Internet access. The Web has become so addictive that 54 percent of men confess they would rather give up their morning coffee than lose their personal Internet access at work. Forty-seven percent of women agreed. Currently, an estimated 65 percent of companies use software to block or limit access to the Web, up from 27 percent in 2001.
On the Job Front
STATEWIDE – California small businesses not only added jobs in May, they paid higher wages, according to the latest report from SurePayroll, a nationwide online payroll processor based in Illinois. California businesses increased their number of employees by 0.2 percent and the average paycheck by 4.5 percent. Nationwide, small employers cut jobs by 0.3 percent and increased the average paycheck by 3.8 percent. "Long story short, small-business hiring remains weak. We just are not seeing much growth," declares SurePayroll President Michael Alter . . . A proposal to have UC employees contribute to their pensions drew small protests on campuses across the state last week. Contributions would start in 2007.
BAY AREA – Comcast Cable will hire 500 people locally over the next 90 days. Most of the jobs are for frontline technicians, as well as sales and customer service posts . . . Job growth can equal congestion. A report by CalTrans finds that traffic jams on the area’s freeways grew by 9 percent last year, thanks in large part to the creation of 26,000 jobs in 2005. The worst commute: the morning ride from Hercules to the Bay Bridge on I-80.
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY – Six thousand county employees walked off the job for one day last week, dissatisfied with the county’s recent contract offer. Most public offices were operating with a skeleton crew.
ELK GROVE – A proposed 1200-acre development calling for thousands of homes and a community college center would also provide 2.7 million square feet of office space – enough room to employ 13,000 workers. The project would be built in several phases over many years.
RANCHO CORDOVA – Aerojet has won a five-year, $4.25-million contract to develop a next-generation rocket-powered landing system for NASA’s Crew Exploration Vehicle.
SACRAMENTO – The capital added more high-tech jobs than any other city in the state in 2004, according to a new report by the American Electronics Association. The average wage for such jobs was lower here than elsewhere – $72,495 a year compared to $90,600 a year statewide. Wages, however, go further in Sacramento, where the cost of living is considerably lower.
SAN FRANCISCO – Luxury retailer Barneys New York plans to open a 60,000-square-foot store in the vacant FAO Schwarz building on the corner of Stockton and O’Farrell. It will open next fall . . . A $5.8-million shortfall in the local school district budget will probably mean up to 65 teachers and 25 service workers will be laid off. The exact number will be determined later this summer.
SANTA CLARA – As part of a larger streamlining effort, Intel Corp will sell a division that designs chips for smart phones. The unit employs 1400 worldwide, but few locally.