January 2, 2007 at 2:22 pm #75001
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — For most people, it’s back to work Tuesday after a holiday weekend with family and friends. And for many, a new study shows, it will be under a bad boss. Nearly two of five bosses don’t keep their word and more than a fourth bad mouth those they supervise to co-workers, the Florida State University study shows.
And those all-too-common poor managers create plenty of problems for companies as well, leading to poor morale, less production and higher turnover.
“They say that employees don’t leave their job or company, they leave their boss,” said Wayne Hochwarter, an associate professor of management in the College of Business at Florida State University, who joined with two doctoral students at the school to survey more than 700 people working in a variety of jobs about how their bosses treat them.January 2, 2007 at 2:36 pm #76194
Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) — Workers of the world are demanding a bigger share of global prosperity, and this year they may get it.
Political shifts in the U.S., Europe and Asia increase the chances that 2007 will bring labor higher pay and stronger job protection after five years in which its share of economic gains fell. “The pendulum of economic power might well begin to shift from capital back to labor,” says Stephen S. Roach, chief global economist with Morgan Stanley in New York.
While that’s good news for workers, the result may be a squeeze on corporate profits and stock prices, economists say. Roach, for one, foresees “a very challenging and difficult environment for global stock markets,” with heightened risks of protectionism, accelerating inflation and higher interest rates.
Labor’s advocates argue that workers have been left behind while business owners have benefited disproportionately from the strongest world economy since the 1970s. Among the Group of Seven major industrialized economies, workers’ share of national income shrank to a record-low 54 percent last year, while the share going to profits rose to 16 percent from 10 percent five years earlier, according to Morgan Stanley research.
Wages in the dozen nations sharing the euro barely shifted last year even as the region, which expanded yesterday to include Slovenia, enjoyed its strongest growth in six years. “Economic data is so good that employees must have a share in the success they’ve helped to bring about,” says Juergen Peters, head of IG Metall, Germany’s largest labor union.January 4, 2007 at 1:14 pm #76201
LONDON (AP) — Headlines ahead of the New Year portrayed a country of job seeking-Britons brushed aside by Bulgarians and overrun by Romanians.
“See EU soon,” wrote the Sun. “You can’t stop us coming,” portended the Daily Mail — two newspapers that have made fretting about immigration and its effect on Britain a mission.
While the prospect of masses of Romanians and Bulgarians storming the shores of Britain on Jan. 1 was unlikely, as veteran EU members have not fully opened their labor markets to the newcomers, such worries stem from events of the past few years.
After the last EU expansion in 2004, when Poland and nine other nations joined, Britain was one of a handful of EU nations that opened its doors — and saw a flood of more than half a million newcomers taking jobs as builders, food servers and clerks in London and across the country — confounding official reassurances.
Should countries like Britain want hundreds of thousands of Polish migrants? Many economists say yes, because they make labor markets more efficient and create economic growth. But workers — and politicians — see competitors who keep salaries low.
The British fears about potential Romanian and Bulgarian emigres is part of a wider debate about globalization: Is economic freedom ultimately to everyone’s benefit?
The tumult in Britain was stoked Wednesday by a report by a conservative think tank claiming immigration is of almost negligible benefit to the average citizen. And while critics argued that the report by MigrationWatch lacked empirical heft, this failed to quell the debate.
“Immigration can be a real benefit to the country, but only if it is properly controlled,” said David Davis, the shadow home secretary for the Conservatives.
The report from Migrationwatch said the financial benefits of immigrants amounted to less than a few pence.
“Of course many immigrants make a useful contribution to the economy but taken in total the economic benefit is at best marginal,” said the group’s chairman Sir Andrew Green. “The main beneficiaries are the immigrants themselves who are able to send home about 10 million pounds ($19.5 million) a day, not the host nation.”January 5, 2007 at 2:13 pm #76204
Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) — Employers in the U.S. added a greater-than-forecast 167,000 workers to payrolls in December and incomes grew by the most in eight months, adding to evidence the economy is weathering a slump in housing and manufacturing.
The gain in employment followed a 154,000 rise in November that was larger than previously estimated, the Labor Department reported today. The jobless rate held at 4.5 percent.
The job market’s resilience suggests incomes will grow enough to keep consumers spending and the economy expanding. The report may ease concern among some Federal Reserve policy makers about slowing growth, while increasing the risk that higher wages will fuel inflation.
“The economy’s in pretty good shape,” said David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York. “There is no likelihood of a near-term change in monetary policy.”
Economists predicted payrolls would rise by 100,000 following a previously reported 132,000 November increase, according to the median estimate of 70 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from no change to an increase of 164,000.
Treasuries slumped after the report, sending the yield on the benchmark 10-year note up 8 basis points to 4.69 percent at 8:48 a.m. in New York.January 24, 2007 at 8:32 pm #76275
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats’ promise of a quick increase in the minimum wage ran aground Wednesday in the Senate, where lawmakers are insisting it include new tax breaks for restaurants and other businesses that rely on low-pay workers.
On a 54-43 vote, Democrats lost an effort to advance a House-passed bill that would lift the pay floor from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour without any accompanying tax cut. Opponents of the tax cut needed 60 votes to prevail.
The vote sent a message to House Democrats and liberals in the Senate that only a hybrid tax and minimum wage package could succeed in the Senate. But any tax breaks in the bill would put the Senate on a collision course with the House, which is required by the Constitution to initiate tax measures.January 25, 2007 at 11:16 pm #76290
WASHINGTON (AP) — Union membership dropped to 12 percent of U.S. workers last year, extending a steady decline from the 1950s when more than a third belonged to unions. After membership had held steady at 12.5 percent in 2005, it declined anew last year, a decrease of more than 325,000 workers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.February 1, 2007 at 11:32 pm #76367
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to boost the federal minimum wage by $2.10 to $7.25 an hour over two years, but packaged the increase with controversial tax cuts for small businesses and higher taxes for many $1 million-plus executives.February 14, 2007 at 2:30 pm #76463
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — About 13,000 Chrysler workers will lose their jobs under a plan designed to cut the struggling automaker’s costs and return it to profitability by next year.
The plan, announced Wednesday, also calls for closing the company’s Newark, Del., assembly plant, and reducing shifts at plants in Warren, Mich., and St. Louis. A parts distribution center near Cleveland also will be closed.February 16, 2007 at 1:07 am #76470
DETROIT (AP) — The fallout from Chrysler’s big downsizing announcement will hit eight factories in addition to the three initially identified by the company.
The eight plants, in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, make components that go into slower-selling mid-sized sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and other large vehicles on which Chrysler plans to cut production through 2009.
The Chrysler Group, which had an operating loss of $1.475 billion in 2006 and expects to show losses through 2007, announced Wednesday that it would eliminate 13,000 positions, including 11,000 production jobs and 2,000 white-collar posts, as it seeks to cut costs and return to profitability in 2008.
Of the production job cuts, 9,000 are in the U.S. and 2,000 are in Canada.
Chrysler, part of Germany-based DaimlerChrysler AG, said Wednesday it plans to close the Newark, Del., assembly plant during the next two years and cut shifts at plants in Warren, Mich., and St. Louis. The company also announced that a parts distribution center which employs 100 workers near Cleveland also will close this year.
On Thursday, company officials said much of the impact would be in southeastern Michigan, where 5,300 people will lose their jobs by 2009.February 19, 2007 at 9:34 pm #76492
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Monday its plans for nine stores in areas in need of economic revitalization and said it will use those stores to help other businesses in the area develop.
Wal-Mart Vice Chairman John Menzer, who heads the company’s U.S. operation, was traveling to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh to announce that the company is moving into neighborhoods in each of those cities where commerce has faltered.
Menzer said Wal-Mart is working with local chambers of commerce, business groups and minority-owned businesses with the goal of guiding new suppliers and helping new or existing shops thrive.
“We’re looking at working families that need us the most,” Menzer said. “That’s where we want to go.”
As jobs are created around the new Wal-Mart stores, tax revenue will rise and the neighborhood economy will improve, Menzer said. Two of the stores are already open — in Chicago and Portsmouth, Va.
In April, Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott said the company planned to build 50 stores in areas with high crime or high unemployment. At the store on Chicago’s west side and at the nine identified Monday, Wal-Mart will offer advertising to the other businesses in local newspapers and through the audio feed in Wal-Mart stores.
At each of the stores, five small businesses will be picked each quarter for the special treatment, the ultimate focus of which will be “how to take advantage of having a Wal-Mart in your market,” Menzer said.
Near the Chicago store — the first in the city limits for the retail giant — Menzer said a number of new businesses are under development nearby, including a coffee shop, a drug store and a home improvement center.February 22, 2007 at 8:01 pm #76506
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of laid-off workers filing for unemployment benefits dropped sharply last week after having been driven higher the previous week by storm-related layoffs. The Labor Department reported that applications for jobless benefits totaled 332,000 last week, down by 27,000 from the previous week.
The prior week jobless claims had jumped by 46,000, the biggest one-week surge since September 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Part of that big increase occurred because of winter storms which boosted layoffs in such industries as construction.
The four-week moving average for claims edged up from 326,700 to 328,000, the highest level for this average since early December.
But economists cautioned that the jobless claims figures at the moment may merely reflect the difficulty the government has in seasonally adjusting the numbers at this time of year when major winter snowstorms can alter the number of people showing up at claims offices in any one week.
“We may not get a clear read on the underlying pace of layoffs until March,” said Omair Sharif, an economic strategist at RBS Greenwich Capital. He said it would be premature based on current information to contend that layoffs have diverged significantly from the 315,000 weekly average for all of last year.
The nation’s unemployment rose to 4.6 percent in January, the highest level in four months, and economists believe that rate will rise further perhaps as high as 5 percent in coming months as a slowing economy increases layoffs. Already the slump in housing and weakness in auto manufacturing are triggering layoffs in those industries.
Nevertheless, a seasonally adjusted civilian jobless rate of 4 percent to 5 percent is low by historical standards.March 7, 2007 at 3:57 am #76562
March 6 (Bloomberg) — U.S. workers were less productive last quarter than initially estimated and labor costs jumped, making it harder for the Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates even as manufacturing and housing continue to slump.
Productivity, a measure of how much an employee produces for each hour of work, rose at an annual rate of 1.6 percent, down from the 3 percent pace reported last month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Labor costs climbed 6.6 percent, reflecting a one-time increase in bonuses. Separately, the Commerce Department said factory orders fell in January by the most in more than six years.
The figures mean inflation may be slow to dissipate even though economic growth is tailing off, creating headaches for Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke as concerns about a possible 2007 recession mount. Housing, whose slump triggered the slowdown in growth, so far shows few signs of bouncing back: A report from the National Association of Realtors today showed fewer Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes.
“The Fed’s room to maneuver has diminished considerably,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at Global Insight Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts. “The inflation numbers are worrisome, and we would have to have substantially more weakening in the economy for the Fed to cut rates soon.”
For all of last year, productivity — how much an employee produces for each hour of work — increased 1.6 percent, the slowest since 1997. Labor costs rose 3.2 percent, the most in six years.March 13, 2007 at 9:22 pm #76588
By Brian K. Sullivan and James M. O’Neill
March 13 (Bloomberg) — Wall Street recruiters can be as aggressive as professional football players, says Chris Eitzmann, who will receive his master of business administration degree in May from Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business.
“Once given the offer, you are getting anywhere from two or three to four phone calls a day,” said Eitzmann, 29, who graduated in 2000 from Harvard College and spent three years in the National Football League. “They want to know if they can talk to your wife. Can they have their wife talk to your wife?”
Competition for MBAs from banks such as New York-based Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may push starting- pay packages above last year, when graduates averaged a record $186,174 in total compensation at Harvard Business School and $183,000 at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. It also is prompting universities to crack down on the timing and number of on-campus recruiting events…
…Salaries and signing bonuses for newly minted MBAs nationwide were the highest last year since the data have been tracked, said Bob Ludwig, a spokesman for the Graduate Management Admission Council in McLean, Virginia. The average salary was $92,360 and the signing bonus was $17,603.March 22, 2007 at 7:53 pm #76631
Wal-Mart made its annual bonus for store employees public for the first time in two decades Thursday, saying that about 80 percent of hourly workers in its stores would split more than a half-billion dollars.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the target of union-backed critics who decry its pay and benefits. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer said it was making the bonuses public as a new way to honor its employees, not in response to critics.
Based on the numbers Wal-Mart released, the mathematical average payment would be $651 per worker but Wal-Mart said the individual amounts varied. It declined to provide a range or the specific level of payments, citing competition with other employers.
In the past, the bonus has been $1,000 for full-time workers and up to $500 for part-timers, according to former Wal-Mart managers who declined to be named because the information is competitive.
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sarah Clark declined to provide individual figures but said the payments varied based on two main benchmarks: whether an employee’s store met profit and sales targets for the year and whether an employee is full time or part time.
Adele Phillips, whose contact information was provided by Wal-Mart, said her bonus was “substantially over $1,000″ and more than last year. The full-time administrative assistant at a Wal-Mart store in Moreno Valley, Calif., declined to be more specific.
“Most of the stores are having a barbecue or some kind of special lunch today because everybody’s worked hard for this,” said Phillips, who has worked for Wal-Mart since 1982.March 25, 2007 at 8:10 pm #76637
ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — Fastened to the wall of a florist shop a block from where thousands of autoworkers once toiled is a black foil balloon splashed with musical notes and the words “Good Luck.” This central Indiana city — once pulsing with 22,000 auto jobs and a dozen auto plants — is hoping for some.
The last auto manufacturing job will disappear in July, ending a love affair between the city and the auto industry after nearly 100 years. Recruiting new businesses and diversifying the economy represent Anderson’s future.
“It’s going to be long and slow on the recovery here,” said Troy Davis, owner of the Flower Hut. “It’s better than it was. Five years ago, everybody was hemorrhaging.”
Struggles of the U.S. auto industry have accelerated a drop in American union membership that is helping transform communities such as Anderson across the Midwest.
As foreign automakers eat away at the market share of their U.S. counterparts, unionized plants run by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler AG and their former parts operations have closed or downsized and some jobs have moved overseas.
Union membership in manufacturing has fallen 1.3 percentage points to 11.7 percent, the first time statistics have shown it at a lower rate than among the national work force. Membership in the UAW fell below 600,000 in 2005, from a peak of 1.5 million in the late 1970s.
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