September Payrolls Grow
Despite a slowdown in construction, California payrolls managed to grow by 17,300 positions in September. In fact, all but one of eleven industry sectors posted gains. Education and health services led the way with 4600 new jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality (3900), manufacturing (4000), professional business services (2500), information (1000), financial (1000), other services (400), government (400), construction (300), and mining (100). Trade, transit and utilities posted the only job loss (-900). The statewide rate of unemployment dipped slightly from 4.9 percent to 4.8 percent. Nationwide, the jobless rate was 4.6 percent.
Tech Job Cuts Hint of Slowdown
Technology spending and hiring have been strong this year, but a third-quarter spike in tech-sector job cutting may indicate a slowdown is underway. Planned job cuts announced by technology firms surged 74 percent in the third quarter to 50,957, up from 29,226 in the previous quarter. It was the most downsizing since the first quarter of 2005, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Third-quarter job cuts by employers in the telecommunications, electronics, computer, and e-commerce industries were 23 percent higher than the 41,439 cuts announced in the same quarter a year ago. The majority of job cuts occurred in the computer sector, reaching 30,511 in the third quarter, surpassing the 30,342 cuts announced in the first two quarters of the year. Mergers have been a leading cause of job cuts this year, accounting for 29 percent of all tech-sector job losses through September. However, most third-quarter job cuts were the result of cost-cutting and restructuring. "These numbers are a clear indication that tech companies see a slowdown on the horizon," says CEO John A. Challenger.
Hottest US Job Markets
A survey by Bizjournals.com, publishers of many weekly business papers across the nation (including Northern California) has identified the top job markets in the nation. Number one on the list is Cape Coral/Fort Myers, FL, followed by Las Vegas, NV, Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, AZ, Sarasota, FL, Orlando, FL, Riverside, CA, Lakeland, FL, Boise City, Idaho, Washington, DC, and Miami/Fort Lauderdale, FL. Sacramento was ranked 27th. San Jose was described as one of the worst job markets, based on the large number of positions the region lost during the dot-com implosion.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – Many Northern California companies have made the latest EPA list of Best Workplaces for Commuters. You can find companies that encourage bike riding and car pools or provide other innovate alternatives to commuting by car. To see the list, go to bwc.gov . . . US employers anticipate they will be recruiting at a moderated yet stable pace through the remainder of the year, according to the most recent survey by CareerBuilder.com . . . NBC is laying off 700 workers. The cutbacks may result in a reshuffling of its prime-time schedule.
STATEWIDE – The booming biotech industry is now the second-largest technology employer in California, behind only computer programming. Average biotech salary is $70,400 per year, up $10,000 over the past decade . . . Two lawsuits are charging that Taco Bell Corp is violating the state’s overtime and rest period regulations. The two suits, which have been consolidated, were filed recently in San Diego on behalf of current and former restaurant general managers.
BAY AREA – EMC Corp, a data-storage hardware services provider, will cut 1250 jobs worldwide after its quarterly profits fell by about a third. No jobs will be lost at its virtualization software subsidiary in Palo Alto, VMware Inc. There were no such assurances for its other offices in the Bay Area.
EAST BAY – A new report by Union Bank of San Francisco says the East Bay has gone from being one of the worst areas for job growth to one of the best.
FOLSOM – AgreeYa Solutions, a tech consulting and software company, has tripled its office space and plans to double its workforce from 45 to 85.
ROSEVILLE – J4 Systems, an information technology company, is moving into larger quarters. It plans to expand its staff by ten.
SAN JOSE – The Mercury News, recently purchased by MediaNews Group in Denver, is cutting 101 positions to offset declining revenues. MediaNews owns most of the papers in the Bay Area except for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Job Interview Pitfalls
How can you improve your chances at your next job interview? "Successful interviewing reflects your ability to sell yourself," asserts Steve McMahan, president for Kforce Professional Staffing. "Selling yourself becomes easier when you recognize the potential pitfalls and learn to avoid them." McMahan rates the following interview mistakes as the most common: Lack of professionalism – Too often, interviewees fail to realize that the interview starts the minute they walk into the building. Impolite behavior toward the security guard or rudeness to the receptionist can ensure that this will be your last visit. Make eye contact, smile and offer a firm handshake when appropriate. During the interview, convey confidence by speaking clearly and sticking to the point. And don’t forget to dress the part – a professional appearance is a must. Failure to prepare – Nothing can kill an interview faster than a blatant lack of knowledge about the company and position for which you’re applying. Take the time to research the company, its economic climate and the position at hand, and be prepared to demonstrate the value you would add. Buy first, sell later – Interviewees play two roles: that of a buyer looking to determine whether the company is a good fit, and that of a seller who must convince the prospective employer to hire them. "One of the biggest mistakes candidates make is to go in with the buyer mentality and neglect their sales role," warns McMahan. That’s backwards. Convince the company to make an offer first, then focus on your buyer questions. Money matters most – Likewise, asking too soon about benefits and financial information can be off-putting for hiring managers who are still trying to learn about your background and determine whether you might be a good fit. Advises McMahan: Sell yourself first, then worry about compensation. Negative exposure – Those who air a former employer’s dirty laundry or make disparaging comments about others raise a red flag for hiring managers. Employers may wonder how you would represent their company if hired, and whether your negativity would extend to your new role. No sparks – When the interview feels flat, it’s likely you’ve failed to create chemistry with the hiring manager. "Remember that people want to do business with people they like," McMahan explains. "It’s important to develop a rapport with the interviewer from the start." Overall, interviewing is not a difficult skill to master, McMahan believes. With the right preparation, jobseekers can avoid missteps, make a strong impression and boost their chances of landing a great position.