September Job Growth Slips
US employers added just 51,000 new jobs to their payrolls in September, the lowest tally in almost a year and substantially lower than the 120,000 forecast. Some experts point to the recent survey of top CEOs which found nearly half expecting an economic downturn in the next six months. There were some bright spots in the September report. Healthcare continued to grow, adding 24,000 jobs. Financial activities added 16,000 positions, while accounting and bookkeeping services added 10,000 jobs. Although job growth was minimal, the rate of unemployment declined slightly from 4.7 to 4.6 percent.
It’s Taking Longer to Find Work
The strongest evidence yet that employers are putting the brakes on hiring is revealed in the fact that third-quarter job-search times escalated to 4.2 months, the longest in 14 quarters. The quarterly survey of 3000 job seekers nationwide is conducted by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The latest job-search time is 17 percent longer than the 3.6 months in the second quarter and matches the longest job search time on record, set in the first quarter of 2003. The most surprising finding in the latest Challenger Index is that jobseekers age 50 and older found jobs faster than younger job seekers – 4.1 months vs. 4.2 months. "The faster job search time for those over 50 is significant in its rarity," notes CEO John Challenger. "The last time was the first quarter of 2001, just before the dot.com bubble burst." While job search times were up in the third quarter, not many saw the need to sacrifice salary requirements. According to the Challenger Index, 92 percent of those winning jobs between July and September were able to secure equivalent or better pay.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – Permanent shift supervisors are no longer eligible for union representation, the National Labor Relations Board ruled last week. The ruling involved "charge nurses," a supervisory position. Only those who work the position on a rotating basis qualify for union coverage. Union leaders denounced the ruling because it invites employers to "strip millions of workers of their right to have a union by reclassifying them as supervisors in name only," charged AFL-CIO President John Sweeney. . . Discrimination against those perceived to be Muslim or Arab continues to rise since 9/11, according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Complaints peaked in 2005 when 1972 incidents were reported, up from 1522 in 2004. "Anytime there’s anything in the news that is related to the Middle East, you see a spike in hate-motivated and employment-related incidents," complains Kareem Shora, director of the legal department of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
STATEWIDE – High-tech executives and academic leaders last week launched a campaign to impress upon state leaders that California needs to invest in research and development to maintain its lead in technology. "California’s political leaders understand the need to invest in roads, bridges and dams," noted Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of UC Berkeley. "What we need is the same commitment to invest in research, development, a high-tech workforce, and a business climate that fosters innovation". . . Starting in January, California National Guard members returning from duty overseas will be given an advantage when applying for state jobs. Like other veterans, they will be given preference points when taking exams for state Civil Service jobs. Widows and spouses of Guard members killed or disabled while serving will also be awarded points.
MILPITAS – Electronics manufacturer Solectron Corp is laying off 1400 workers over the next twelve months. The company did not specify how many cuts would occur locally or at its other facilities in Europe and North America.
OAKLAND – The California Nurses Association is gaining national clout. The Oakland-based union has won over the Maine State Nurses Association as an affiliate. Now CNA boasts more than 70,000 registered nurse members in 44 states.
SACRAMENTO – CalPERS, the nation’s largest public retirement fund, has chosen the accounting firm of Macias Gini & O’Connell to audit its books. The firm says it may have to hire additional staff . . . Welders are in demand in the capital city area, according to a recent report in the Sacramento Business Journal. With a shortage of workers, employers in construction, maintenance and automotive complain that competitors are raiding their staffs. Experienced welders reportedly earn $35 to $45 or more . . . United Public Employees Local 1 has approved a five-year contract with the county. It calls for a 3 percent pay increase retroactive to June 25, plus pay increases of between 11 and 23 percent over the term of the contract. The county’s largest union represents 2475 office-technical workers and 1965 non-supervisor welfare workers . . . Kitchen Academy is a new culinary arts college to open this winter by the Arco Arena. The school hopes to meet the growing need for cooking staff in the region . . . Gold River-based InsWeb, which provides online quotes for the insurance industry, laid off 27 workers last week, cutting its payroll to 95 workers. Three senior executives also agreed to take lower salaries in exchange for stock options.
SALINAS – Monterey Gourmet Foods is cutting 8 percent of its staff (about 24 workers) in response to lower third-quarter earnings. The company will also complete its purchase of Florida’s Casual Gourmet Foods, and consolidate those operations in Salinas.
SAN PABLO – Doctors Medical Center plans to lay off 300 workers in an attempt to ensure its financial stability. Nurses, pharmacy technicians, administrators and others will be laid off starting Oct. 19.
Study: Some Women Choose to Earn Less
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women earn on average 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. Now a study released recently by the Academy of Management indicates that women may be partly responsible for their own predicament because they tend to charge less. The report finds that women professionals accept less because they care more about their relationship with their clients. Analyzing the pricing patterns of 536 veterinarians, the study found that female vets charged needier clients less than more affluent clients, while male vets set their prices regardless of a client’s situation. About a third of the vets were women. "Women view their pricing of a particular service as just one instance in a relationship where there will be many other services and many other pricing opportunities, as opposed to I need to make X profit on this transaction here," explains Mary Gilly, a marketing professor at the University of California, Irvine, and a coauthor of the study. Separate
research in 2003 found female mortgage lenders made $575 less per loan than their male counterparts. That study suggested women brokers were more concerned than men about establishing good relationships and being nice.