Mike: It has been a rather quiet weekend for employment news, but the pace should pick up on Monday.
Mike: The Microsoft layoff rumors and the layoff announcements are quiet today so far. If you have Microsoft, or other companies layoff information, pass it along and I’ll post it quickly.
I’ll start today’s post with some recent unemployment/layoff news and a little later this weekend I’ll follow-up with some unemployment data:
Mike: The following article highlights how most workers aren’t able collect unemployment. While many of these workers may have been fortunate enough to find employment quickly in good times, they will have a much more difficult time securing employment this time around. Contractors, such as many 1099s, aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, which could lower that 37% further. More as I get some facts:
* On Friday, when the Chrysler plant in Newark, Del., shut its doors, more than 1,000 autoworkers joined the ranks of the unemployed.
At least they will be able to get unemployment insurance.
Most jobless workers can’t.
Across the U.S., only 37 percent of workers who lose their jobs typically collect unemployment benefits, according to Labor Department statistics.
They often miss out because they didn’t earn enough while working, or their work history was not continuous enough to make them eligible under state unemployment laws
Mike: This article shows how some businesses are not following the law with regards to giving employees adequate layoff notice. But as long as the oversight agencies don’t enforce the law, there won’t be much recourse for the employee. After all, these businesses must wonder why they should follow the law when so many other, especially those in the financial sphere, didn’t bother to take the law into consideration when making decisions.
* As the realities of the economic downturn set in, droves of companies are shedding employees, sometimes offering them notice required under federal law, sometimes not.
The Sugar Law Center, a nonprofit organization based in Detroit that assists workers in WARN Act lawsuits, said its call volume has more than doubled since September, when the recent wave of layoffs and business closings started.
Concerned workers are increasingly phoning that agency to find out if their former employers followed the 20-year-old federal law, which requires many employers to notify employees 60 days before a massive layoff or plant closing.
”Businesses are asserting that because of the economic conditions that have come to a head in the past two months, that alone allows them to not give notice to workers,” said John Philo, Sugar Law Center’s legal director. ”That defeats the purpose of the law.”
* As America slides into an economic depression, Tulsa businesses are feeling the impact and some are laying off employees.
Here are some of the most recent developments:
* Nine employers alone will have laid off at least 2,744 employees in Los Angeles County this month, with bankrupt department store chain Mervyns accounting for more than 60 percent of the job losses, according to state data.
Hayward-based Mervyns told the state Employment Development Department that it was to have laid off 1,742 workers at 16 of its Los Angeles County locations as of Dec. 23. The notices were filed in compliance with the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), which requires at least 60 days advance written notice of an intended plant closing or mass layoff.
* The Society for Human Resource Management recently released a new poll that shows 48 percent of organizations laid-off employees in 2008. Even worse, 60 percent of surveyed organizations said they expect to lay off employees in the next 12 months. Executives (1 percent) are the least likely to be laid off, followed by sales positions (3 percent), then middle management (6 percent). Most of the expected coming layoffs will involve technical/professional positions (13 percent), unskilled labor positions (13 percent), and administrative positions (11 percent).
* Leaders of Valley non-profits say requests for their services have multiplied in recent months, while a shortage of donations has forced them to cut staff and programs.
Some say they fear the coming year will be even worse.
“We’ve seen a drastic increase, particularly in our housing services,” said Shawn Pearson, executive director of FIBCO Family Services in Phoenix. “The need increased in the last six months by about 400 percent.”
* MADISON, Wis. – The state has hired 83 more workers to deal with a surge in unemployment claims.
Department of Workforce Development spokesman Richard Jones says the new short-term workers have already been hired and will boost the group by 20 percent.
Some are agency retirees and will start by January at hourly salaries of between $15 and $17 an hour.
Mike: NJ is one of many states that will grapple with exploding budget deficits and less money to pay for services:
* The first adjustments will be made on the fly. More than $1.2 billion in changes will be required for the current $32.9 billion state budget, now that tax collections are expected to be less than $31.5 billion this year. The state can drain its $600 million surplus for part of that, but it expects to make lots of smaller changes as well, nibbling away at spending in a way officials hope can get them through when combined with federal aid.
The unemployment fund is nearly broke. The transportation fund lacks long-term funding, as does the open-space fund. New Jersey’s income tax relies heavily on the year-end bonuses Wall Street has slashed. Car sales are down more than 40 percent, a direct hit on a big sales-tax driver. Businesses are losing money. New Jersey is down 34,400 jobs in 2008.
“It’s about as bad as we’ve seen in several decades,” said Sen. Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex, the budget committee chairwoman. “Unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy — government is not immune to the fallout. Tax revenues support our budget.”
* Kansas City Public Television parted ways with 10 percent of its work force this week, including a producer on its series “Ruckus,” the station’s production manager and the volunteer coordinator.
In a statement, KCPT said “current economic conditions” led to a drop in giving to Kansas City’s only locally owned-and-operated TV station. One of the positions affected was part time.
Before the layoff, 75 employees worked at KCPT, which has been under the direction of interim CEO Susan Stanton since summer. Besides the economic downturn, KCPT saw its fall fundraiser at Liberty Memorial rained out, and it eliminated its on-air auction
* Newell Rubbermaid, owner of Dymo Corp. in Stamford, recently announced plans to lay off 8 percent to 10 percent of its work force, but could not say whether its Connecticut operation will be slashed.
The Atlanta-based maker of home and office products has yet to determine whether any of the 60 employees at Dymo will be affected, said Connie Bryant, Newell Rubbermaid’s public relations manager.
* There are unconfirmed reports out of Kerrville, TX that Mooney Aircraft has laid off more workers. The Kerrville Daily Times reports one of about 40 workers allegedly laid off Tuesday contacted the paper, advising them of the layoffs.
* DURHAM, N.C. — A North Carolina company that offers wholesale photofinishing services for retail businesses is cutting nearly 300 jobs as it closes labs in Texas, Pennsylvania and Canada.
The Herald-Sun of Durham reports that Durham-based Qualex Inc. says it will cut 50 jobs from its headquarters in Durham. The company also will close photofinishing laboratories in Dallas; Allentown, Pa.; and Hamilton, Ontario.
Qualex is a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Co.
* NEW YORK – Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb said Tuesday it will eliminate another 10 percent of its work force through 2010 as it works to pare costs before it loses patent protection on key drugs.
The New York-based company says it will eliminate 800 positions by the end of 2008, including filled and vacant jobs worldwide. Bristol-Myers Squibb estimates it will save $1 billion by 2012 as a result of the moves, which come on top of $1.5 billion in cost cuts announced in December 2007. Those cuts will eliminate about 4,300 jobs through 2010.
The company had about 41,000 employees at the end of 2007. The company said in July that it would announce new cost savings plans by the end of the year.
Bristol-Myers did not provide an estimate of what the job cuts will cost. The company said the moves will allow it to address both short-term and long-term challenges and uncertainties.
* Ashford Hospitality Trust Inc., a Dallas-based hotel real estate investment trust, said Friday that it has cut jobs, frozen salaries and reduced staff benefits while suspending its common stock dividend to cut costs and boost capital.
* The souring economy has grounded FedEx Corp.’s plans for opening its sorting hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport in June.
Instead, the company said yesterday, it will be late September at the earliest before cargo-sorting operations start at the $228 million hub.
And when operations do begin, the company is likely to have at least 50 percent fewer full- and part-time employees than it has pledged since committing to the 425,000-square-foot hub in April 1998.
* CINCINNATI — Layoffs hit the Hamilton County Sheriff’s department this Christmas. As of Thursday, 87 deputies were out of a job, laid off as part of the countys deep budget cuts.
* RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) – Some newly laid off workers are spending this Christmas Eve wondering what they’ll do next.
Rehrig International, which manufactures shopping carts, closed its Richmond headquarters Wednesday. The company filed for bankruptcy back in September.
* About 120 workers at ICON Metal forming, a Corydon, Ind., auto parts plant, were laid off this week but were told they could return in six to eight weeks — depending on General Motors’ fortunes.
* Larry Robbins’ Glenview Capital laid off about a dozen of its 85-member staff last week, The New York Post reported.
In a move to cut costs as it struggles with performance losses this year, the firm has also warned emplopyees to expect a reduction in overall compensation next year, The Post said, citing unidentified sources.
* MATAMORAS — Despite the chain’s reportedly successful holiday season, about 100 temporary seasonal workers at WalMart stores in Matamoras and Honesdale were laid-off this week and last.
* Pima County’s Development Services department as of next month will be down to less than half the 183 employees it had budgeted 18 months ago. The department lost 50 in the 2007-2008 fiscal year. The staff has been reduced by another 25 over the past five months, mostly through transfers to other departments. Another 23 will be laid off so, as of next month the department will be down 87 employees.
– Philadelphia to lay off 140 city workers; cancel 200 cop hires –
* MILLERSBURG, Pa. – The last day on the job for the police chief of this small central Pennsylvania town will be Wednesday after the Borough Council fired him to avoid a tax increase.
So last week, when Mac Steel announced a widespread, indefinite layoff of close to 80 percent of its work force, several of its local suppliers and supporting businesses made plans to lay off workers as well.
Rob Leimenstoll is a former Mac Steel employee who opened his own business nine years ago. When Mac Steel shuts down production Jan. 16, all seven of his employees will be laid off.
* We are hearing that most of Bill Davis Racing’s employees were laid-off earlier this week following the sale of the team to Marty Gaunt and Mike Held. Despite the bad news, all team members are getting a chance to reapply for their position with the team. They will begin bringing back employees after the first of the year.
Mike: While not the traumatic experience of a layoff, furloughs can dent the paycheck for those on tight budgets. Plenty of furloughs are occurring with workers of government entities, so I’ll just list a few:
- Furlough plans extend Louisville workers’ holidays | courier-journal | The Courier-Journal.
- State employees get a day to relax – like it or not — baltimoresun.com.
- toledoblade.com — 82 nonunion Toledo city workers get 1 day off, more furloughs may loom.
- Unions sue to block Calif. furlough – UPI.com.
* And one analyst predicted some of Canada’s big mining companies will go bankrupt before conditions start to improve.
“I think you’ll have five bankruptcies before the second quarter (of 2009) ends, and some of them will be sizable entities,” predicted Andrew Martyn, a vice-president at Toronto-based investment adviser Davis-Rea Ltd.
“The metals side is just on the edge of apocalyptic. It looks horrible.”
Several Canadian companies – from Vale Inco, Xstrata Canada, Rio Tinto Alcan and others – have scaled back expansions, cut jobs and shut down unprofitable mines to conserve cash and get through one of the industry’s most difficult periods in decades.
* Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) — Renesas Technology Corp., the world’s largest privately held chipmaker, said it plans to cut 1,000 temporary jobs by March 31, eliminating all such workers.
The Tokyo-based company has about 26,000 full-time employees, spokesman Hirotaka Ohno said by telephone today. He declined to comment on the extent of personnel cuts prior to the 1,000 jobs that will be eliminated from January.
via Bloomberg.com: Japan.
* Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) — A Mizuho Financial Group Inc. brokerage unit aims to cut as many as 200 jobs and will reduce executives’ pay by as much as 25 percent to increase profit.
via Bloomberg.com: Japan.
* More than 30,000 estate agents have lost their jobs since the start of the credit crisis, according to research which highlights how the housing crash has wreaked havoc across the economy.
It means that almost half of the estimated 80,000 estate agents who were in work 18 months ago have since been made unemployed.
* Multibillion-dollar spending cuts followed by a number of layoffs prior to Christmas have some hard-hit oilpatch players fearing widespread job reductions in the new year.
Suncor confirmed this week it has told several hundred contractors — including engineers and other professionals — not to come back for its Voyageur oilsands project as planned in early January, while executives spend much of the month deciding how exactly to trim $3 billion from its capital budget for the year, and how many contractors would need to return.
* More than 100,000 people have been laid off in recent months by the gems and jewellery industry in India because of the global slowdown in demand and lack of adequate credit, an industry leader said in this hub for the sector in Gujarat.
‘This is for the first time in four decades that the diamond industry is facing such a severe liquidity crunch,’ said Mehul Choksi, director of the leading gems and jewellery manufacturer and exporter Gitanjali Group.
UK developer, Free Radical, maker of such games like HAZE and TimeSplitters has laid off 140 of its employees, leaving a skeleton crew of 40, and it’s also up for sale.
* TOKYO, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Panasonic Electric Works (6991.T), the building materials unit of consumer electronics maker Panasonic Corp (6752.T), said it will close three additional plants in Japan and cut 800 workers as a slowing economy hits demand.
Mike: The Census Bureau will be hiring, so I’ll post a link to the Census Bureau in the links area. With a planned large federal stimulus, there should be plenty of opportunities in government the next couple years. Might as well earn back some of those tax dollars:
* The Jobs @ Census site was designed to help prospective employees match their interests and experience with one of the many positions available at the Census Bureau.
via Jobs at Census.
Jobs are scarce these days, however, one entity is preparing to hire about 1.4 million workers across the United States to help with the 2010 Census.
* The U.S. Census Bureau is looking for people to work for the 2010 census.
The bureau will hire about 600 people in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties to help update the Census Bureau’s address lists.
By 2010, there will be more than 310 million people living in an estimated 130 million homes across the country, according to the Census Bureau. Everyone must be counted in order to ensure seats are apportioned fairly in the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Legislature, and that government funding is distributed appropriately.
“The census is important for our area because there could be a shift in government funding from Santa Cruz to Watsonville,” said San Jose census office manager James Kamenelis.
Peak hiring will be February through the end of May 2010 for temporary assignments, most lasting eight to 12 weeks. Pay will range from $22 to $25 per hour for field positions, including field workers, crew leaders and field supervisors.
* The nation’s economy may be soft, but the U.S. Census Bureau will be hiring in Kansas soon.
Regional Manager Dennis Johnson, whose Kansas City, Mo., office oversees six states, says the bureau plans to hire about 1,000 people in Kansas, with at least a few workers in every county.
KALAMAZOO — Organizers of the 2010 U.S. Census are seeking to hire the first of what will be more than 500 workers needed locally to conduct the once-a-decade population count.
The initial round of testing begins with seven sessions, the first scheduled for Saturday.
The State Department has asked for funding for 1,500 new positions for the current fiscal year. Of these, roughly 800 are Foreign Service and 700 civil service, said Luis Arreaga, director of recruitment, examination and employment at the department. Many of those positions are being filled because of attrition but about 160 are new. “We consider that a down payment,” said Mr. Arreaga.
* Workplace expert Challenger, Gray & Christmas will hold its annual job-search call-in next week.
The Chicago firm is suspending its normal business operations Monday and Tuesday to take calls from anyone needing job-hunting advice. The call-in runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days and is free. The telephone number is 312-332-5790. With job cuts continuing to rise, the service is likely to be more crucial than ever.
Mike: A little humor from The Unger Report:
* Well, actually, the wolf has broken down the door. He’s lying on your couch, eating the last can of beans from your pantry and running up your cable bill by watching pay-per-view movies. Plus, he’s shedding fur all over the place.
But who is this wolf who’s intruded into your life? Let’s start with the leader of the pack.
Link to listen: Being A Leader Is More Than Fancy Shoes
Mike: A couple weekend laughs from The Onion and SNL:
Mike: That’s most of the announcements this weekend. Till Monday …………………..