Job Growth Slows
US employers added fewer jobs than expected in July, due in large part to the economic slowdown prompted by rising interest rates. Only 113,000 new positions were added to payrolls, substantially less than the 144,000 economists had forecast (and down from the 124,000 added in June). Employment bright spots included healthcare providers, restaurants and business services such as engineering firms. While overall job growth slowed, average wages continued to climb .04 percent for the second month in a row. In light of the report, some economists now contend that the US doesn’t need to create as many jobs as it did in the past because fewer people are entering the labor force. Others argue that hiring has slowed because the most-skilled workers are already employed. That would mean the current rate of unemployment (4.6 percent, up from 4.8) might remain virtually unchanged in the months ahead.
Blue-Collar Jobs that Pay the Best
Forbes magazine recently published a list of the ten best-paying blue-collar jobs in America. Topping the selections was public transportation attendant at $62,088 a year. "Railroad and subway conductors, along with fight attendants, are at the top of the blue-collar pay scale, not withstanding the job squeeze in the airline industry," Forbes wrote. "Their high pay is an exception to the general trend that pays service workers in the public sector more than their private-industry counterparts." Next on the list (in order) were longshore equipment operators ($58,198), brick masters and stonemasons ($57,200), power plant operators ($56,472), locomotive operating occupations ($56,347), aircraft engine mechanics ($55,494), electrical power installers and repairers ($55,390), mining occupations ($54,704), oil well driller ($53,227), and telephone line installer/repairer ($52,478). Annual income can be much greater if substantial overtime is required. For more information about these professions, go to the Bureau of Labor website and click on the Occupational Outlook Handbook listed under publications.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – US employers announced the fewest layoffs in six years in the month of July. Firms announced 37,178 job cuts, down 45 percent from 67,167 in June. July’s layoffs are the lowest since June 2000 . . . America Online plans to fire as many as 5000 employees worldwide as the Internet provider struggles to compensate for its dramatic loss of subscribers . . . Forty-three percent of Americans spend some time working during their vacations. According to a survey by office furniture fixture Steelcase, advances in technology (laptops, cell phones and Blackberries) have led to the growing trend. Ten years ago, only 23 percent of employees worked on their vacations . . . Venture capitalists secured $11.2 billion for future investments during the second quarter, the most its done in five years. The funds typically go toward funding startup businesses, helping them make capital investments and/or increase staff.
BURLINGAME – Limbo 41414, a text-messaging mobile entertainment company, that employs 35 hopes to add 15 more workers by year’s end. The firm, which makes auction-sweepstakes games, recently relocated from San Mateo.
VALLEJO – Sutter Regional Medical Foundation will open a new medical office building here on August 14 to serve patients living in Vallejo, Benicia and surrounding communities. Two primary-care physicians will open the Vallejo office, but there is room for nine doctors and accompanying staff. The East Bay Business Times reports that Sacramento-based Sutter Health is spending $42.5 million to recruit more doctors and build more medical offices in Solano County.
SACRAMENTO – 1-2-3 Fit, a gym franchise, is opening its fourth outlet in the capital-city area, on Folsom Blvd.
SAN JOSE – Equity Office Properties Trust, one of the largest office landlords in Silicon Valley, is downsizing its staff and holdings. Last week, it announced it will eliminate 360 of its 2300 jobs by the end of the year, including those of its regional vice presidents. The layoffs are intended "to bring our costs further in line with our current and anticipated size," chief executive Richard Kincaid explained. "We want to be a flatter, more nimble organization. We are moving from a regional to a more functional structure."
SANTA CLARA – Security software expert McAfee is cutting 25 jobs in its division that sells to large companies. The firm is focusing more on small and medium-size businesses.
Nursing Camp For Men Only
Southeast Missouri Hospital held a two-day camp to attract students to nursing – and no girls were allowed. With a national nursing shortage, now is the time to recruit men, declares Easy Stilson, a nurse recruiter at the hospital. Nine attended the two-day camp on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University. They spent a large part of the time shadowing male nurses. "There’s a lot of job security," notes nurse Glen Dirnberger. "Men have a lot of fields to choose from. I would encourage them to get into it." One nice perk the camp pointed out to participants – experienced nurses can earn up to $100,000 a year. More than enough to soothe anyone’s fragile machismo.
Flip-Flops Can Leave Your Career Flat-Footed
Have trends in office fashion gone too casual? It depends upon how you feel about flip-flops as office apparel. A growing number of college and high-school-age workers apparently feel the footwear is quite acceptable. An online survey by Old Navy and The Gap found flip-flops topped the list of wardrobe items these youthful workers planned to wear on the job this summer. More than 31 percent of women said the casual sandals were the single must-have item for work during the warm months. These newcomers to the workplace, however, may have their toes stepped on by typical company policies that ban beachwear from office wardrobes. Even if allowed, flip-flops could hamper a young woman’s goal to be taken seriously on the job. "Shoes convey the mood of a woman. Wearing flip-flops conveys the mood that you are relaxed and on vacation. That’s not a good message in the office," advises style commentator Meghan Cleary, who wrote the book The Perfect fit: What Your Shoes Say About You. Last June, the Northwestern University’s champion women’s lacrosse team was widely criticized for wearing flips flops when they visited the White House to meet the President.
Extra Pay for Internships
Even if you get no pay for your time spent on a job as an intern, the experience makes you much more likely to win a higher paying job upon graduation. Nearly half of the employers contacted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported they offer higher starting salaries to new college hires who have internship experience. "Employers have told us consistently that they prize relevant work experience in job candidates," notes Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. On average, employers offer almost 7 percent more to such candidates, or they add a set dollar amount to entry-level salaries. "This demonstrates that many organizations are willing to reward candidates who make the effort to gain experience," Mackes adds.