Record Number of U.S. Jobless Seen Losing Benefits

Discussion in 'Economics' started by omcate, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Arnie


    My condolences to all of you unemployed. I know that it can be tough. But I would like to make a couple of observations. #1 the MAJORITY of those people losing benifts will find work, simply because they have no other choice. #2 I really don't think this will happen....its an election year and Bush can spend money faster than any Democrat. #3 I think a lot of the #'s on the economy are BS. The past few weekends I have gone out and can not get near a restuaunt...they are packed. Went to Costco last weekend. The place was packed, worse than Christmas. Everywhere I go I am seeing this. Retail, resturaunts, new homes everywhere, and I do mean EVERYWHERE. Maybe its just my area, but it is clearly not a slow economy.
    #21     Feb 1, 2004
  2. kc11415


    In an attempt at constructive feedback for those who may be looking, consider some of the following recruiting-related web sites:

    Additionally, possibly consider going to:
    to find a local business journal for your area.
    Once into the subsection for your area's local journal, you can usually find a link for an annual book of lists:
    Each page has a list showing the top 25 or so firms in many different categories. The tops of those lists will be names that you and everyone else knows and which probably get a lot of cold-calls & walk-ins. If you start from the bottom of those lists you might reach HR depts. which might not get as many cold-calls, and might be willing to at least give you the time of day, if not a job. A candidate need not be acceptable to every firm listed, just one.

    just my two cents. YMMV
    #22     Feb 2, 2004
  3. omcate


    Mon February 2, 2004 01:36 PM ET
    By Michael Flaherty

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - When Philip Gardner took a research position at Michigan State University in 1985, big corporations were snapping up graduates.

    As the U.S. economy rebounded from a recession, he recalled, Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co. was hiring more than 100 graduates a year, while automakers hired even more.

    Two recessions later, the economy is rebounding again, but the university's once-vast job pipeline is gone.

    "Even though earnings are up for a company like Dow Chemical, they're just not hiring that many people any more," said Gardner, who directs the Collegiate Employment Research Institute.

    Anecdotal evidence like this doesn't just worry the jobless, their families and friends. The lagging job market could become a key tripwire for President Bush in this year's election. An economic recovery without jobs may not sit well with voters, who could side with Democrats suggesting that Bush has favored big business at the expense of workers.

    And without a pickup in employment, consumer confidence and spending on Main Street may take a hit.

    Indeed, even companies with quarterly profits soaring are shy about adding workers -- if they're not laying people off.

    "We listened to over a hundred quarterly earnings conference calls and we have not heard from anybody who says they are picking up the pace of hiring," said Richard Yamarone, director of economic research at Argus Research. "Not one."


    U.S. companies continue to look toward India and China for cheaper labor, adding to the worries of some that new jobs are headed to Guangzhou and Bangalore rather than Chicago or Boston.

    Confirming these fears, factory closures and mass firings made headlines this earnings season.

    Just last week, Eastman Kodak Co. said it would cut 15,000 jobs as it redefines itself to keep pace with the market for digital products. Kraft Foods Inc. said it would cut 6,000 jobs and close 20 plants as it reported lower fourth-quarter earnings.

    Such cuts are inevitable as products go out of fashion or companies run into trouble. But even companies with soaring profits are cutting back their work force.

    Both Dow Chemical and rival DuPont Co. reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and gave optimistic forecasts for this year -- but still announced plans to cut more jobs.

    And in a trend consistent across the banking industry, Wells Fargo & Co. last month reported strong fourth-quarter profit, but said it cut 7,500 of its 10,000 temporary mortgage positions since September. More layoffs are on the way, the company said.

    Meanwhile, only 1,000 new jobs were created in December, the Labor Department said. Last week, initial claims for state jobless benefits fell by 1,000, to 342,000, from the previous week.

    John Lonski, chief economist at Moody's Investor Service, predicted job growth could start as early as March, based in the rapid increase nationwide in company productivity.

    Henry Willmore, head of U.S. economics at Barclays Capital, agreed.

    "We've already started to see this happen," Willmore said, as the financial-services industry has started adding jobs for the first time in years.

    Expect more job postings this quarter, he added, but not the glut of hiring in the post-recession mid-1980s.

    Willmore attributed the hot job market in that period to the U.S. economy's sudden growth - unlike today's sluggish pace.

    But Gardner, of Michigan State, remains skeptical of an imminent job comeback.

    "Economists keep saying that these companies should be hiring," he said. "But they're not."
    #23     Feb 3, 2004
  4. omcate


    According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., US companies have announced cutting of over 117,500 jobs in January, 2004.

    #24     Feb 3, 2004
  5. cwjcntr


    Thanks for the post

    #25     Feb 3, 2004
  6. True.
    #26     Feb 3, 2004
  7. jstanton


    From George Ure's site.........

    The Productivity Lie Redux

    Maybe it's because I actually had to do a lot of work to pick up my MBA back when, or maybe it's because a lot of business reporters don't have business degrees, but whatever the reason the simple truth of the Fed's Great Productivity Lie goes something like this.

    Let's say you have 10 workers and they make 100 widgets all told. But one of the workers is in research & development and one is in a "soft" market position. Whatever the function though, the company supports 10 workers to make 100 widgets and that's an average of 10 widgets per workers, right?

    OK, let let's fire the R&D worker. This means we now have 9 workers making the same 100 widgets. That's 11.11 widgets per worker.

    Now here's the trick: When you're the Fed you get to proclaim this as an economic miracle because the productivity has increase (11.11/10) or a productivity increase of 11.1%! Is this a great economic miracle or what. About the unemployment? That fellow in R&D was given a job for 6-months as a "consultant" and because he was doing that without paying into the state unemployment fund, when he was finally let loose, he was invisible.

    Now our next sleight of hand. We're now going to fire that person in the "soft" marketing spot. That means we now have 8 people making 100 widgets, which means we have 12.5 widgets per person. So what if we have now fired 20% of the workforce? That's not the Fed's measurement point. THEIR measurement point shows that productivity is up 25%. Hallelujah brother, American workers are the most gung ho on the planet. Amen. That Bush feller and his buddy Al Greenspan are sure making this a great economy, huh?

    Heck, with productivity jumping, the stock price is bound to go up, right? And so it was.

    Low let's put the final piece of decoration on this half-baked economic cake. Let's outsource two more jobs - in fact let's make them customer service jobs - and put them in Mumbai India. Now we're down to just six employees making the same 100 widgets. That's a whopping 16.66 widgets per worker, or a 66.6% increase in productivity!

    And so it goes, with a heavy heart, that I read stories like the piece on the wires this morning reporting that:

    "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. business productivity rose at a slower-than-expected pace in the fourth quarter and at the lowest rate in a year and jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week, government reports showed on Thursday. Non-farm business productivity, or worker output per hour, increased at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the final three months of the year after an upwardly revised 9.5 percent pace in the previous quarter, the Labor Department said.

    The advance was the slowest since a 1.5 percent gain in the final quarter of 2002 and was lower than the 3.0 percent clip expected by analysts.

    Unit labor costs fell 1.3 percent, a larger drop than the 0.8 percent decline expected by analysts, after a 5.6 percent tumble in the third quarter. "

    When you read the 10-K and 8-K of some of the "genius" companies in today's market, try to look at something beyond how many workers and how many widgets. Ask about R&D, soft marketing, out sourcing, and just for the hell of it, social responsibility.

    As the numbers on productivity slow, I think you're going to start seeing the truth of what really goes on with today's slash & outsourcing mode of so-called management. Remember, as we found from following up with a bank that claimed it had "no foreign employees", the only reason they didn't was they used a contractor - which means a "vendor" and shoot darn, if you're driving a Camry, that makes Toyota your foreign vendor, and that's not so bad, is it?
    #27     Feb 5, 2004
  8. jstanton


    New York Daily News -
    The U.S. job machine's broken

    Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

    The Bush administration has a big problem. Last year, the President and his aides promised that their tax cut would give America what it needed most: jobs. Never happened. Total job creation was supposed to average out at 306,000 a month, but not even a third of that has been achieved. The numbers clearly undercut the Bush claim that tax cuts for the wealthy would generate jobs for the middle and working classes.
    The jobless recovery we're now in is unlike anything the American economy has ever seen. Typically, the Great American Job Machine energizes our economy. New jobs beget more income, which begets more spending, which begets more hiring, incomes and spending. What we're seeing now, however, suggests that there may be something fundamentally wrong in the engine room of the American economy.

    In the recoveries of the mid-1970s and 1980s, America was generating about 300,000 new jobs a month within six months of cyclical upturns. In the early 1990s, this expansion slowed to about 200,000 a month, and we had to wait a full two years for that.

    This time, we have seen not a deceleration in job creation, but a net loss - the sharpest in any period since the Great Depression, especially in manufacturing. No work and not much in the way of wage increases either. Ouch!

    What's going on? International competition and outsourcing have hit some sectors hard. In the past decade, China became the world's workshop. In this decade, India is becoming the world's back office. Cheap bandwidth and the Internet permit companies to tap into a huge supply of English-speaking, educated, dedicated workers, happy to take knowledge-based jobs for 10% to 20% of what American employees receive.

    "Offshoring" is moving up the food chain of services to include professions like engineering, design, accounting, legal work, actuarial and insurance work, medical services and financial analysis.

    That's why virtually all the jobs created in the latter part of 2003 were concentrated in the most sheltered segments of the workforce. It also explains why some 80% of the 2.5 million manufacturing jobs lost are gone for good. The result is that too many of America's jobs today cannot support a full household, at least at the level that most people feel appropriate to a middle-class lifestyle.

    This has profound consequences for America's politics. They are outlined clearly in a new book, "Downsizing in America," by William Baumol, Alan Blinder and Edward Wolff. Of the 100 million men and women with full-time jobs in 2001, the authors note, more than half earned less than $35,000; 84% earned under $65,000; 10% made between $65,000 and $100,000; while only 5.7% made above $100,000. Overall median earnings were a mere $33,636. Most middle-class families would feel that $65,000 is needed to maintain a family in a middle-class lifestyle. If you lower the bar, only 32.8% of jobs paid more than $45,000 annually.

    How are people coping? Not easily. The authors say that in two-thirds of households with wage earners, the workers hold two or more jobs. Even for families with kids, two-thirds of the mothers work, although fewer than half the households have adults with two full-time jobs.

    There is no doubt that the Great American Job Machine has simply not kicked back into gear. The optimists hope businesses will soon deliver on job creation. But that has not happened, and it won't happen. What is happening is a spectacular improvement in productivity that has more than accounted for the economy's total growth since the recession ended.

    Productivity gains, alas, are also the cause of so many jobs disappearing. As long as far fewer employees can churn out more and more complicated products than before, the number of workers or the hours they work simply has to fall.

    Productivity has at least succeeded in lifting profits and stock prices. This has produced a boom on the capital side of the economy, but not on the labor side, for it has not yet increased either jobs or workers' pay. This has been masked in part by tax cuts, by a huge buildup of personal debt and by the extraction of money from the increased value of assets, especially homes, made possible by record- low interest rates.

    To continue our tradition of creating more new jobs to replace the old ones we destroy, we'll have to rely on more than dramatically stimulative fiscal and monetary policy. We must do a better job of preparing more and more of our citizens for knowledge-based employment, especially through increased K-to-12 education.

    Happily, there is reason to hope. We have a hardworking, entrepreneurial population and a bottom-up economy responsive to energy, talent, effort and new ideas. Our universities are the envy of the world. Our post-university, on-the-job training in business is unsurpassed.

    But it is clear that we are going to have to think hard about jobless economic growth. How that is managed will be critical to our nation's economic policies, including its trade policies. As New Hampshire demonstrated, it also will be a critical component of our politics.

    According to the polls, New Hampshire voters supported John Kerry because they felt he was the best man to be able to stand up to Bush on issues of national security. But look closer and you'll see they really want someone to challenge the President on the gut issues they really care about: jobs and health care. As New Hampshire goes, so goes the nation.
    #28     Feb 5, 2004
  9. CalTrader

    CalTrader Guest

    Engineering is close to being a dead job field for US Citizens. It is perhaps an appropriate entry level job arena but even those jobs will all but disappear if the current trend continues. Your best bet at this point is to find some type of niche that is not being filled within corporations and charge a small fee for supplying those services: I know this does not immediately put bread on the table but it may be a strategy that will work long term.

    Another point - there has been a pickup in hiring in US based engineering/support positions and for lower level software support positions - not a lot of bucks in these but perhaps enough to pay the bills (barely).
    #29     Feb 5, 2004