Unemployment Lowest Since April 2009

Jobs Ahead

Although economists predicted that the unemployment rate would increase to 9.5 percent, the unemployment rate went in the other direction, dropping 9 percent last month from 9.4 percent in December. Many would consider this good news, but a number of skeptical analysts don’t see it this way. The government reported that 36,000 new jobs were created last month—the fewest in four months. And analysts say this might not be a sign that that economic recovery is picking up pace.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief economist at MF Global, said that the market is discounting the big drop in the unemployment rate. “The information value of this report is limited because it was obviously affected by the weather,” he said.

The unemployment rate fell despite the small number of new jobs because some people who are out of work gave up looking for a new job, Mr. O’Sullivan said.

Andrew Wilkinson, senior market analyst at Interactive Brokers, said: “It’s extremely difficult to see beyond the snow to understand today’s data.”

Fortunately, during a recent speech the National Press Club, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the Fed expects the economy to improve this year and inflation to remain low.


How to Tell When You’re About to Get Fired

 Youre Fired

A recent msnbc.com careers report just might save thousands of unsuspecting employees from the shock and humiliation that comes with getting fired or laid-off. It’s perfectly fine to play defense, especially in the workplace today, so whether you’re feeling a little paranoid about your benefits being cut or your company’s loyalty to its employees is questionable,the 8 signs listed below will help you beef up your defensive game—so you can stay ahead of the game.

1. Your company is sold
Tough times can mean lots of mergers and acquisitions — was your company bought out or taken over recently? Even if you’ve been told your job is safe, these kinds of corporate moves always mean the deck will be shuffled, so make sure you hold you cards firmly. Make a list of your accomplishments and contributions, and be ready to give a sales pitch on your worth to the company should you be called in by your boss or a consultant.

2. Pay or benefits are cut

3. Co-workers are fired
Pink slips are handed out all around you, but you’ve been told your job is safe. If layoffs have happened at your work, don’t be naive enough to think you couldn’t be next. Make sure you have your resume ready, and scope out the job market. The worst thing is to be laid off and unprepared, so be ready — just in case.

4. You’re left out of meetings

5. You don’t get along with your boss
This one may be obvious, but just in case: If you and your boss aren’t getting along, your job is in jeopardy. Think about it: When he or she is asked whom to give a pink slip, you’ll have a bull’s-eye on your back. If this is you, look for ways to move within your company. Not possible? Suck up to the boss a little. It may be hard, but it might just save your job.

6. You’re given a dead-end task

7. Your projects are stalled
Feel like all of your work is stopped in its tracks because no one seems to be interested? Watch your back: Having your projects stalled out on someone’s desk is like a big neon sign, announcing that you may be fired soon. Look for projects that you can get accomplished, to show you can contribute to the company’s objectives.

8. You see your job advertised

There are two things you can do if you suspect that you are about to get fired. You can do whatever it takes to stand out at work if you think your job can be saved or is worth saving, or you can start looking for a new job so you can do the walking on your own.


Ride the Retail Wave While you Wait for Dream Job


Ok, so a retail job isn’t what you had in mind after graduating with a degree in accounting, but you have to make ends meet while you wait for Deloitte & Touche to call. Fortunately, according to Indeed.com, you won’t have to look for a temporary job for too long if you look to the retail Industry. Right now, retailers are in search of 400,000 employees to fill both full and part-time positions. These retail positions just are not just available at clothing stores. Retail is a broad term that covers the selling of just about any type of good or commodity. This means, retail job seekers will find positions in places ranging from Macy’s to Whole Foods to wax museums to automobile dealerships. 

If you’re interested in a long-term retail career, you’re in luck because this trend is expected to continue. Retail careers are among the top thirty occupations with the largest employment growth for 2008-18. The following are projection figures (in thousands):

Employment 2008: 4,489
Employment 2018: 4,864
Change: 8.4%

Regarding salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that:

Median hourly wages of wage-and-salary retail salespersons, including commissions, were $9.86 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.26 and $13.35 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.37, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.14 an hour. Many beginning or inexperienced workers earn the Federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, but many States set minimum wages higher than the Federal minimum. In areas where employers have difficulty attracting and retaining workers, wages tend to be higher than the legislated minimum.

Compensation systems can vary by type of establishment and merchandise sold. Salespersons receive hourly wages, commissions, or a combination of the two. Under a commission system, salespersons receive a percentage of the sales they make. This system offers sales workers the opportunity to increase their earnings considerably, but they may find that their earnings depend strongly on their ability to sell their product and on the ups and downs of the economy.

Benefits may be limited in smaller stores, but benefits in large establishments usually are considerable. In addition, nearly all salespersons are able to buy their store’s merchandise at a discount, with the savings depending on the type of merchandise. Also, to bolster revenue, employers may use incentive programs such as awards, bonuses, and profit-sharing plans to the sales staff.

To break into the retail industry, experience helps, but most employers are willing to train the right person on-the-job. To begin your job search, visit Indeed.com.


Widespread Layoffs Lead to More Workplace Discrimination Filings

Hearing Impaired Person at Workplace_Wikimedia Commons

It happened after the 2001 recession and it’s happening again. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a report stating that workplace discrimination filings increased from 93,277 to 99,922 between September 2009 and the end of September 2010. The 7.2 increase is the highest level of new discrimination cases ever recorded.

Workplace discrimination cases are typically filed when a worker feels he has been unfairly treated based on sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected category. The EEOC report shows that the largest increase in filings was from disabled workers. According to a recent NYT report, “this increase may be linked to recent changes in the legal definition of disability to make it more expansive. The Obama administration’s growing reputation of greater interest in discrimination cases than its predecessor may also have increased filings. But experts say the chief reason for the increase in accusations of prejudice is most likely tied to the broad layoffs of the last few years.”

Many employer’s feel that most of the discrimination case filings with the EEOC  are “spurious attempts by workers with no job opportunities who have not experienced discrimination.”

“The majority of the time, the EEOC is still finding no reasonable cause for the charges being filed,” said Michael S. Burkhardt, an employment partner in the Philadelphia office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius who represents employers in discrimination class-action suits. “In some cases, people are just upset that they were terminated, and they happen to be in a protected category. Even if that has nothing to do with why they were terminated, they still file a charge.”

He added that employers have had to become increasingly careful about how they structure layoffs when they reduce their work forces, as many have done since the financial crisis began several years ago.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace, contact the U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission at 1-800-669-4000 (1-800-669-6820 TTY) or visit the official EEOC website at www.eeoc.gov.


Evan Says Fed Missing Employment Goal


Although the healthcare career field is experiencing explosive growth as well as other career fields such as engineering, accounting, and customer service, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President, Charles Evans, says:

The central bank is falling short of its mandate for full employment and he hasn’t decided whether its $600 billion Treasury-purchase program should be expanded. We’re monitoring the economy and inflationary pressures, and so I’m keeping an open mind about the $600 billion and beyond that, the hurdle is pretty high for adjusting the program.

On a positive note, Evans says inflation probably won’t rise for a few years and “long-term interest rates appear to reflect improving financial and economic conditions.”


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