Article 43


Sunday, September 05, 2004


This is a sticky post written the day we first appeared on the internet: Welcome to - a memorial to the layed off workers of (PRE SBC MERGER) AT&T, and the disappearing MIDDLE CLASS citizens of America.  It is NOT endorsed or affiliated with AT&T or the CWA in any way.

In addition to INFORMATION, resources and opinion for former AT&T workers DEALING WITH the EFFECTS OF LAYOFF and looking for meaningful employment, some articles here are meant to bring into awareness the LARGER PICTURE of corporate dominance of the UNITED STATES’ political and economic policies which brazenly DISREGARDS, disrespects and EXPLOITS worker, citizen and HUMAN RIGHTS under masks like FREE TRADE and the PATRIOT ACT - resulting in a return to a society of very rich and very poor dominated by a few very rich and powerful - whose voices are anything but - for the people. If left UNCHALLENGED, the self-serving interests of those in control may result in the end of DEMOCRACY, the end of the middle class, irreversible ENVIRONMENTAL damage to the planet, and widespread global poverty brought on by exploitation and supression of the voices of common people EVERYWHERE, while the United States turns into a REINCARNATION of the ROMAN EMPIRE.  Author Thom Hartmann shares some history and outlines some basic steps to return our country to “The People” in his two articles TEN STEPS TO RETURN TO DEMOCRACY and SAVING THE MIDDLE CLASS. I support CERNIG’S idea for a new POLITICAL MOVEMENT - if not a revolution to cleanse our country of the filth ruling it - as we EVOLVE into a GLOBAL community - assuming we learn the THE LESSONS OF OUR TIME and don’t DESTROY CIVILIZATION first.

Everything here can be viewed anonymously.  Inserting or commenting on articles requires a free user account (for former AT&T employees with a real, non throw-away, email address.) Requests to the new user registration page are redirected to BLOGGED DOT COM’S site because most new signups I get are from COMMENT SPAMMERS and their ilk, so if you want to contribute, contact me through email, phone, or some other way.

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If you get an email that claims to be from somebody here that’s anything but a request to post your article, or report suspicious activity (like logs sent to an ISP to report an attack) - it’s SPAM. I do not, and will not - ever - join the junk mail sender community. There are no mechanisms to prevent anyone from forging anyone elses email address in a “from” or “reply-to” mail header. For those of us whose email addresses are fraudently used, the best we can do is filter out NDR REPORTS.

Per U.S.C. COPYRIGHT LAW - TITLE 17, SECTION 107, this not-for-profit site may reproduce copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such articles will either have a web link to the source, home page, and/or show credit to the author.  If yours is here and you have a problem with that, send me an EMAIL, and I’ll take it off. Stuff I wrote carries a CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE permitting non-commercial sharing. In addition, this site’s owner forbids insertion and injecting data of any kind - especially advertisements - into ours by any person or entity.  Should you see a commercial ad that looks like it’s from here, please report it by sending me a tcpdump and/or screenshot in an EMAIL, then READ UP about how the PARTNERING OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS and companies like NEBUAD are DESTROYING INTERNET PRIVACY

Resumes of layed off AT&T workers are posted for free HERE.

Information on the Pension Class Action Lawsuit against AT&T is HERE.  More pension-related articles are HERE.

Links to some Telecom companies’ career pages are HERE.

Click HERE to learn a little about Article 43 and why I loathe the CWA.
Click HERE or HERE to learn what the CWA did when given a chance to do the right thing.
Click HERE for a glimpse of undemocratic and hypocritical CWA practices.
Click HERE for an article on Corporate Unionism.
Click HERE for an article of AFL-CIO’s undemocratic history.

If you’re looking for telco nostalgia, you won’t find it here.  Check out THE CENTRAL OFFICE, BELL SYSTEM MEMORIAL, MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATIONS, TELEPHONE TRIBUTE, and THE READING WORKS websites instead.

This site can disappear anytime if I run out of money to pay for luxuries like food, health care, or internet service.

Discernment of truth is left to the reader - whose encouraged to seek as much information as possible, from as many different sources as possible - and pass them through his/her own filters - before believing anything.

...the Devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men…
- Fox Mulder, X Files

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.
- John F. Kennedy

Today my country, your country and the Earth face a corporate holocaust against human and Earthly rights. I call their efforts a holocaust because when giant corporations wield human rights backed by constitutions and the law (and therefore enforced by police, the courts, and armed forces) and sanctioned by cultural norms, the rights of people, other species and the Earth are annihilated.
- Richard L. Grossman

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Albert Einstein

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
- Aquinas

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Solidarity has always been key to political and economic advance by working families, and it is key to mastering the politics of globalization.
- Thomas Palley

Update 8/11/07 - As we head into the next depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC US government, MIKE WHITNEY has a solution that makes a lot of sense to me:

The impending credit crisis cant be avoided, but it could be mitigated by taking radical steps to soften the blow. Emergency changes to the federal tax code could put more money in the hands of maxed-out consumers and keep the economy sputtering along while efforts are made to curtail the ruinous trade deficit. We should eliminate the Social Security tax for any couple making under $60, 000 per year and restore the 1953 tax-brackets for Americans highest earners so that the upper 1%-- who have benefited the most from the years of prosperity---will be required to pay 93% of all earnings above the first $1 million income. At the same time, corporate profits should be taxed at a flat 35%, while capital gains should be locked in at 35%. No loopholes. No exceptions.

Congress should initiate a program of incentives for reopening American factories and provide generous subsidies to rebuild US manufacturing. The emphasis should be on reestablishing a competitive market for US exports while developing the new technologies which will address the imminent problems of environmental degradation, global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, resource scarcity, disease and food production. Off-shoring of American jobs should be penalized by tariffs levied against the offending industries.

The oil and natural gas industries should be nationalized with the profits earmarked for vocational training, free college tuition, universal health care and improvements to then nations infrastructure.

Posted by Admin on 09/05/04 •

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Engineers - Education Isn’t Their Answer

Next time somebody tries to tell you the problem with jobs in America is people are too stupid, or education is the answer - maybe you can steer them to this collection of articles.


Many engineers remain unemployed despite reported tech skills shortages

Tech Journal
February 3rd, 2012

During a recent video chat session, President Obama told a woman that he could not understand why her engineer husband was unemployed because industry tells me that they don’t have enough highly skilled engineers.

However, in an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of the data from the American Community Survey collected by the Census Bureau show that there are a total of 1.8 million U.S.-born individuals with engineering degrees who are either unemployed, out of the labor market, or not working as engineers.

This is true for those with many different types of engineering degrees.

For a complete review of the American Community Survey, including a table containing detailed employment figures for specific engineering degrees, visit the Center for Immigration Studies website HERE.

The 2010 American Community Survey shows:

There are 101,000 U.S.-born individuals with engineering degrees who are unemployed.

There are an additional 244,000 U.S.-born individuals under age 65 who have a degree in engineering but who are not in the labor market. This means they are not working nor are they looking for work, and are therefore not counted as unemployed.

In addition to those unemployed and out of the labor force, there are an additional 1.47 million U.S.-born individuals who report they have an engineering degree and have a job, but do not work as engineers.

President Obama specifically used the words ԓhighly skilled. In 2010, there were 25,000 unemployed U.S.-born individuals with engineering degrees who have a MasterԒs or Ph.D. and another 68,000 with advanced degree not in the labor force. There were also 489,000 U.S.-born individuals with graduate degrees who were working, but not as engineers.

Relatively low pay and perhaps a strong bias on the part of some employers to hire foreign workers seems to have pushed many American engineers out their profession.

There are many different types of engineering degrees. But unemployment, non-work, or working outside of your field is common for Americans with many different types of engineering degrees.

The key policy question for the United States is how many foreign engineers should be admitted in the future. Contrary to President Obamas statement, the latest data from the Census Bureau indicate there is a very large supply of American-born engineers in the country. It would be better for the president to seek more diverse sources of information than simply relying on ғindustry to determine what is going on in the U.S. labor market.

Data Source: Figures for the above analysis come from a Center for Immigration Studies analysis of the public-use file of the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Figures on degrees and employment are based on self-reporting in the survey and have been rounded to their nearest thousand.

The survey asks about undergraduate degrees, so some of the individuals who have a Masters or Ph.D. may not have their graduate degree in engineering. Also, those who indicated that they have a professional degree are not included in the discussion of those with Masters and Ph.D.s because a large share have law degrees. The 2010 data is the most recent ACS available.



Unemployment and the ‘Skills Mismatch’ Story: Overblown and Unpersuasive

By Gary Burtless
Brookings Institute
July 29, 2014

The jobless rate has dipped to 6.1 percent, and businesses are already complaining about a skills shortage. Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal reported rising complaints by small business owners about their inability to fill critical job openings. Their complaints are not new. Two years ago, when unemployment topped 8%, personnel managers in manufacturing companies grumbled that it was impossible to fill positions requiring specialized skills. The Manufacturing Institute claimed that 600,000 job openings were going unfilled.

We shouldn’t be surprised when shrinking unemployment makes it harder for employers to fill job vacancies. If fewer people are trying to find work, fewer job seekers will show up for interviews and a smaller percentage will come with the skills employers need. In some cases, failure to fill job vacancies will limit how much or how fast a business can expand. Even if customers are eager to buy more of a firm’s products, the companys willingness to accept new orders may be weakened by its failure to fill key vacancies.

Throughout the recovery following the Great Recession we saw an abnormally high rate of job vacancies given the level of the unemployment rate. If past experience was a guide, the job vacancy rate we saw was consistent with an unemployment rate that was 1.5 to 2.0 percentage points lower than the one we actually experienced. The high rate of vacancies relative to unemployment suggests either that employers have become less efficient in filling vacancies or are facing more difficulties uncovering applicants with the skills they need. Their hiring methods may need an overhaul. Alternatively, today’s job seekers do not have the mix of skills needed by the nations expanding employers.

So far as I know, few researchers have looked carefully into the efficiency of company personnel departments. There is little information about whether employers nowadays process job applications more slowly or less effectively than they did in the past.

The second theory - the skills mismatch hypothesis - has received greater scrutiny. Economists have examined the skill mix of workers laid off from shrinking industries and compared it with the mix of occupational skills needed in industries that are growing. The available research on this topic is a long way from definitive. For what it is worth, most credible studies do not find a bigger mismatch than what we saw in past recoveries. However, our information about the skills of job seekers is not detailed enough to know whether their qualifications equip them to fill new positions in expanding industries. In the past 10 years, manufacturing companies have cut their payrolls by 2.2 million workers. The manufacturing workers who lost their jobs and are seeking new ones may lack the specific skills needed by expanding companies, even if their former jobs were in occupations closely related to the occupations that are now growing.

Employers who receive few applications from qualified job seekers might consider making an INVESTMENT IN TRAINING. Companies can pay for re-training current employees or training new ones. If the skill needed by the employer is highly specialized, there may be no other practical way to obtain a worker who possesses the needed skill. It makes no sense for unemployed workers to invest in specialized expertise that has no practical value except at one firm. Unfortunately, there is little reliable evidence about employers’ investment in skills or its trend in the current and past recoveries.

To an economist, the most accessible and persuasive evidence demonstrating a skills shortage should be found in wage data. If employers urgently need workers with skills in short supply, we expect them to offer higher pay to prospective new employees who possess the skills. When workers with crucial skills are offered better wages by expanding employers, they are in a strong position to demand better pay from their current employers, even if their own employer is not expanding. Current employers must match the wage offers of growing employers or risk losing their key employees.

Where is the evidence of soaring pay for workers whose skills are in short supply? We frequently read anecdotal reports informing us some employers find it tough to fill job openings. What is harder to find is support for the skills mismatch hypothesis in the wage data. Last week the BLS released its quarterly report on the pay of full-time wage and salary workers. The median full-time worker earned $782 a week in spring 2014 (see Charts 1 and 2). That wage was $6, or 0.8%, more than the median earnings received by workers one year ago. While other wage series show modestly faster gains in pay, there is little evidence wages or compensation are increasing much faster than 2% a year. Even though unemployment has declined, there are still 2.5 times as many active job seekers as there are job vacancies. At the same time, there are between 3 and 3 million potential workers outside the labor force who would become job seekers if they believed it were easier to find a job. The excess of job seekers over job openings continues to limit wage gains, notwithstanding the complaints of businesses that cannot fill vacancies.

It is cheap for employers to claim qualified workers are in short supply. It is a bit more expensive for them to do something to boost supply. Unless managers have forgotten everything they learned in Econ 101, they should recognize that one way to fill a vacancy is to offer qualified job seekers a compelling reason to take the job. Higher pay, better benefits, and more accommodating work hours are usually good reasons for job applicants to prefer one employment offer over another. When employers are unwilling to offer better compensation to fill their skill needs, it is reasonable to ask how urgently those skills are really needed.



Bill Gates’ Tech Worker Fantasy

Ron Hira, Paula Stephan et al.
USA Today
July 27, 2014

Business executives and politicians endlessly complain that there is a “shortage” of qualified Americans and that the U.S. must admit more high-skilled guest workers to fill jobs in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. This claim is echoed by everyone from President Obama and RUPERT MURDOCH to MARK ZUCKERBERG and Bill Gates.

Yet within the past month, two odd things occurred: Census reported that only one in four STEM degree holders is in a STEM job, and Microsoft announced plans to downsize its workforce by 18,000 jobs. Even so, the House is considering legislation that, like the Senate immigration bill before it, would increase to unprecedented levels the supply of high-skill guest workers and automatic green cards to foreign STEM students.

As longtime researchers of the STEM workforce and immigration who have separately done in-depth analyses on these issues, and having no self-interest in the outcomes of the legislative debate, we feel compelled to report that none of us has been able to find any credible evidence to support the IT industry’s assertions of labor shortages.

Stagnant wages

If a shortage did exist, wages would be rising as companies tried to attract scarce workers. Instead, legislation that expanded visas for IT personnel during the 1990s has kept average wages flat over the past 16 years. Indeed, guest workers have become the predominant source of new hires in these fields.

Those supporting even greater expansion seem to have forgotten about the hundreds of thousands of American high-tech workers who are being shortchanged - by wages stuck at 1998 levels, by diminished career prospects and by repeated rounds of layoffs.

The facts are that, excluding advocacy studies by those with industry funding, there is a remarkable concurrence among a wide range of researchers that there is an ample supply of American workers (native and immigrant, citizen and permanent resident) who are willing and qualified to fill the high-skill jobs in this country. The only real disagreement is whether supply is two or three times larger than the demand.

Unfortunately, companies are exploiting the large existing flow of guest workers to deny American workers access to STEM careers and the middle-class security that should come with them. Imagine, then, how many more Americans would be frozen out of the middle class if politicians and tech moguls succeeded in doubling or tripling the flow of guest workers into STEM occupations.

Redundant reforms

Another major, yet often overlooked, provision in the pending legislation would grant automatic green cards to any foreign student who earns a graduate degree in a STEM field, based on assertions that foreign graduates of U.S. universities are routinely being forced to leave. Such claims are incompatible with the evidence that such graduates have many paths to stay and work, and indeed the “stay rates” for visiting international students are very high and have shown no sign of decline. The most recent study finds that 92% of Chinese Ph.D. students stay in the U.S. to work after graduation.

The tech industry’s promotion of expanded temporary visas (such as the H-1B) and green cards is driven by its desire for cheap, young and immobile labor. It is well documented that loopholes enable firms to legally pay H-1Bs below their market value and to continue the widespread age discrimination acknowledged by many in the tech industry.

When considering the credibility of the industry’s repetitive claims of “shortages,” it is worth recalling its history of misbehavior in hiring and employment. The most recent example was the proposed $300 million legal settlement of a class action against companies such as Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe for anti-competitive collusion to suppress the pay of highly skilled employees, including unlawful agreements to not recruit each others’ workers.

IT industry leaders have spent lavishly on lobbying to promote their STEM shortage claims among legislators. The only problem is that the evidence contradicts their self-interested claims.

Ron Hira is a professor of public policy at Howard University. Paula Stephan is a professor of economics at Georgia State University.Hal Salzman is a Rutgers University professor of planning & public policy at the J.J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Michael Teitelbaum is senior research associate at the Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program. Norm Matloff is a professor of computer science at the University of California-Davis.


Posted by Elvis on 07/31/14 •
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Is Long-Term Unemployment Declining?

Long-term unemployment, which was a much larger problem during the recent recession than during the 1980s downturns, has finally begun to fall rapidly. The problem cuts across virtually all parts of society, with a substantial proportion of the unemployed in all education and age categories being out of work for more than six months.

A Drop in the Long-Term Unemployed

By Floyd Norris
NY Times
July 25, 2014

The LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT rate, which soared in 2009 to heights not seen since the Great Depression, is finally declining rapidly. The proportion of the work force that has been unemployed for at least 27 weeks has fallen to 1.98 percent, less than half the record high of 4.4 percent reached in 2010.

"Since the end of 2013, the long-term unemployment rate dropped 0.5 percentage point, thereby accounting for almost the entire decline in the overall unemployment rate,” pointed out two Federal Reserve Board economists, Tomaz Cajner and David Ratner, in a NOTE published by the Fed this week.

As a result, for the first time in five years, less than a third of all unemployed workers have been out of work for at least six months. In the first six months of 2014, that figure dropped at the fastest rate in more than half a century.

“The improvement in the labor market is reaching the long-term unemployed,” said Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “They are benefiting from the modest but measurable improvement in the labor market.”

And yet the level of long-term unemployment remains high by historical standards. During the double-dip recessions of the early 1980s, the overall unemployment rate peaked at 10.8 percent, well above the 10 percent peak in the recent recession. And now, more than six years after the recession began, the overall unemployment rate of 6.1 percent is significantly lower than at a comparable point after the 1980s downturns began. But the long-term unemployment rate remains much higher than it was at this point in the earlier cycle.

“The problem of long-term unemployment has not been limited to only certain kinds of workers. It is not just the problem of people who don’t have any skills and cant find work,” said Katharine G. Abraham, a former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics who now is a professor at the University of Maryland.

The bureau, which collects the statistics through its monthly survey of households, produces detailed figures for various groups each month but does not estimate what they would be when adjusted for seasonal factors. The lower two sets of charts show 12-month averages, ending in the month shown, for each group. The higher set of charts shows seasonally adjusted figures for the entire work force and therefore reflects changes in conditions more rapidly.

As might be expected, the long-term unemployment rate is lower for those with the most education. But over the most recent 12 months, about 37 percent of unemployed workers with advanced degrees had been out of work for more than six months a figure that was almost identical with every other level of education except one. Only 32 percent of unemployed high school dropouts had been unemployed for that long.

Similarly, there seems to be little difference among age groups, with the exception of the youngest workers, aged 16 to 24. They have a higher long-term unemployment rate, but a smaller percentage of young unemployed workers have been jobless for an extended period.

But race does appear to make a difference. Whites are far less likely to face long-term unemployment (this white guy and his friends would beg to differ. ed) than blacks, with Hispanics somewhere in between. Even after falling recently, the black long-term unemployment rate of 5.1 percent over the last 12 months is considerably higher than the 3.4 percent peak rate for whites, reached in 2010.



Five Years into Recovery, State Jobs Picture Improves Across the Country, Though Many States still Have a Long Way to Go

By David Cooper
Economic Policy Institute
July 18, 2014

The REGIONAL AND STATE AND EMPLOYMENT SUMMARY, released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed the same general improvement in state labor market conditions that we’ve seen in most states over the past year. While this is good news and echoes this month’s strong national jobs report, there are still reasons for concern, as the labor force shrank in many states, and the majority of states have still not reached their pre-recession employment levels.

In the three month period from March 2014 to June 2014, 41 states (plus the District of Columbia) saw job growth, with the largest percentage gains occurring in Delaware (+1.3 percent), Texas (+1.2 percent), and the District of Columbia (+1.2 percent). Nine states lost jobs, with the largest percentage declines occurring in Vermont (-0.9 percent), Wyoming (-0.9 percent), and Alaska (-0.8 percent). Importantly, all of the four major regions and nine Census divisions of the country experienced strong job growth over this period, with the oil and gas boom fueling the largest growth (+1.0 percent) in the West South Central division that contains Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Over the same timeframe, the unemployment rate fell in 34 states (plus the District of Columbia). The largest decreases occurred in Illinois (-1.3 percent), Massachusetts (-0.8 percent), Nevada (-0.8 percent), and Rhode Island (-0.8 percent). While these declines are generally good news, the labor force shrank in three of these top four states (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Nevada), and in 21 states overall, suggesting that not all of the improvement in state unemployment rates was due to job seekers finding jobs. The unemployment rate increased in 12 states, led by Louisiana (+0.5 percent), Georgia (+0.4 percent), and Virginia (+0.4 percent). Four states saw no change.

Even with this improving picture across the country, many states still have a long way to go. As of June, 31 states have yet to recoup the jobs they lost in the Great Recession. Moreover, there are still too many workers who have been sidelined from the workforce for an exceptionally long period of time. As EPI’s new long-term unemployment data tool shows, in most states the share of the labor force that is long-term unemployed (unemployed for six month or more) is still as high, or higher, than it has ever been.



Across US job market, layoffs are becoming rare

By The Associated Press
July 25, 2014

The risk of losing your job is getting smaller and smaller.

As the U.S. economy has improved and employers have regained confidence, companies have been steadily shedding fewer workers. Which is why applications for unemployment benefits have dwindled to their lowest level since February 2006 nearly two years before the Great Recession began - the government said Thursday.

The trend means greater job security and suggests a critical turning point in the economic recovery. It raises the hope that workers’ pay will finally accelerate after grinding through a sluggish recovery for the past half-decade.

When the economy sank into recession at the end of 2007, employers cut deeply into their staffs. And then during the recovery, they hired only hesitantly. Instead, they sought to maximize the productivity of their existing employees.

But in recent months, the picture has brightened. Employers have added 200,000-plus jobs for five straight months, and the unemployment rate has reached 6.1 percent, the lowest since 2008.

“Now, the steadily declining level of layoffs suggests that employers may have to hire even more aggressively and raise pay if they want to expand their businesses,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisers.

“They’ve been continually working their workers harder and longer,” Naroff said. “As a result of that, we have consistent growth and you can’t lay off people anymore.”

The shortage of laid-off workers searching for jobs means that more companies may need to pay more to attract talent. Thus far, wage growth has essentially only kept pace with inflation, and household incomes remain below their 2007 levels.

Most businesses have so far been hesitant to raise wages, so there may be a lag before workers see higher paychecks.

“But when the dam breaks, it’s really going to break,” Naroff predicted.

Some firms say they’re already dealing with wage pressures.

Cleveland-based Applied Medical Technology has raised hourly pay for warehouse employees from $8.25 to $10. It did so both to attract new hires and because it heard that some of its employees had quit for raises elsewhere, said Jeff Elliott, the company’s chief financial officer.

The company also started holding pizza parties and summer cookouts. Elliott said it’s cheaper and easier to keep existing employees than to find and train new ones.

Throughout the economy, layoffs have fallen so much that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits plunged last week to a seasonally adjusted 284,000, a low last achieved in February 2006. And after accounting for U.S. population growth, the number of people applying for unemployment aid has reached its lowest point since 1999.

The four-week average of applications, which smooths out week-to-week fluctuations, has dropped to 302,000 from 348,500 when the year began.

“In the weeks that follow,” said Michelle Girard, chief economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland, “claims look likely to hold at or below the 300,000 mark.”

The sharp decline has paralleled healthy monthly employment reports. Employers added a net 288,000 jobs in June, capping the first five-month stretch of gains above 200,000 since 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom.

The consensus forecast of economists is that the government will announce next week that employers added 225,000 jobs in July, according to a survey by the data firm FactSet.

Not every company is avoiding layoffs. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it would cut 18,000 workers the biggest layoffs in its 39-year history. But layoff announcements now mainly reflect strategic changes within individual companies, rather than broader economic conditions, Naroff said.

Other data confirm that across the economy, job cuts have reached unusually low levels. Total layoffs in May dropped below pre-recession levels, the government said in a separate report that reveals how many people were hired, fired or quit jobs.

Just 1.58 million people were laid off in May, according to the Labor Department. That was the third-lowest monthly figure since the government began tracking the data in 2001.

Still, while layoffs have fallen 7.5 percent this year, actual hiring has increased just 3 percent. That’s a big reason the job market might not seem as healthy as the series of strong monthly net job gains might suggest.

Even so, more people with jobs means more people with paychecks, which tends to boost consumer spending and growth. After a sharp contraction in the economy in the first three months of the year, most economists expect growth to exceed a 3 percent annual pace in the second half of 2014.



Long-Term Unemployment Shrinking For Good Reasons: Fed Economists

By Arthur Delaney
Huffington Post
July 22, 2014

An improving job market is shrinking the ranks of the long-term jobless, economists for the Federal Reserve said in a Monday blog post.

Slightly more than 3 million Americans had been out of work six months or longer as of June, according to the Labor Department, down from 4.3 million this time last year. But it hasn’t been clear whether the picture is truly improving or the long-term jobless are just disappearing from the data because they’ve despaired of ever finding work, since only those who continue looking count as unemployed.

The Fed economists, Tomaz Cajner and David Ratner, say that with the labor force participation rate holding steady at 62.8 percent, the decline in the rate of long-term unemployment accounts for most of the drop in the overall unemployment rate, which has fallen from 6.7 percent last December to 6.1 percent in June.

“These encouraging developments appear consistent with rising employment of those previously reported as long-term unemployed,” Cajner and Ratner write.

Without delving much into the underlying data, Republican lawmakers have said the declining jobless rate proves the wisdom of discontinuing long-term unemployment benefits, which Congress dropped in December and Democrats have been unable to revive. If the long-term jobless are getting their mojo back, both Congress and the Fed may be even less likely to try to help them.

Some analysts have said the jobs picture is gloomier, citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly data on labor market flows—people coming and going from jobs to unemployment, and from unemployment to nonparticipation. The monthly flows data suggest the long-term jobless aren’t finding much work.

Cajner and Ratner take a longer view, checking annual transitions instead of monthly ones, and like what they see. “Importantly, at the yearly frequency, the long-term unemployed are currently more likely to transition to employment than to nonparticipation, in stark contrast with the monthly flows data,” they write.


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Friday, July 25, 2014

Rise Of The Temp Workers Part 6 - The New Dilemma

The New American Dilemma
Obamacare is one reason for the rise of part-time labor.

By Mortimer Zuckerman
USA Today
July 24, 2014

There was a distinctive odor of hype about the newest jobs report from the federal government. Most people will have the impression we created 288,000 jobs in June meaning full-time jobs. Not so. Full-time jobs plunged by over half a million, or 523,000. What֒s increased is part-time jobs. They soared by about 800,000 to over 28 million. Just think of all those Americans working part time, no doubt glad to have the work, but they also have lower pay, diminished benefits, and a lack of job security. And then theres the effect on self-esteem and the stress of managing a household.

Yet all the attention earlier this month wasn’t focused on part-time America, but only because the government and headline writers treated part-time jobs as if they were full-time jobs. There is a crying need for good, well-paying, full-time jobs, yet only 47.7 percent of adults in the U.S. are working full time. Yes, the percentage of unemployed has fallen, but its worth barely a Bronx cheer. It reflects the unsavory fact that 2.4 million Americans have become discouraged and have dropped out of the workforce. You might as well say that the unemployment rate would be zero if everyone just quit looking for work.

The loss of full-time jobs is the new American dilemma. What matters more than the quantity of work is the quality. Even worse, the June employment rate was itself deceptive. Previous harsh weather forced numerous schools to extend classes into June, which created jobs for the month that would not normally have figured in the totals.

In the immediate excitement of announcing 288,000 “jobs,” most commentary, taking its tone from President Obama’s we’re making progress statement, ignored or glossed over the real story: The disturbing trend to lower-quality, part-time jobs. Last month the ranks of involuntary part-timers swelled to 7.5 million, compared to 4.4 million in 2007. Way too many adults are dependent on the low-wage, part-time jobs that teenagers would normally fill. On top of that unwelcome record, the number of people who’ve been out of work for more than six months is around 3 million, well above the historical average. And the proportion of Americans working or looking for work is near its lowest level since the late 1970s.

Rather than face this accelerating deterioration of the American workforce, the government seemed to take refuge behind the positive headlines. We have to worry that were creating a two-nation state, a workforce permanently polarized with full-time workers on one side and the part-time workers stuck in a bin labeled “part-time” for economic reasons. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen had it right when she said, “The existence of such a large pool of partly unemployed workers is a sign that labor conditions are worse than indicated by the unemployment rate.”

There are a number of reasons for our predicament. But there is one political contribution to the dismal trend. Many employers cut workers below the Affordable Care Act 30-hour threshold and took on new part-time workers to fill the void. Sometimes two people worked the same number of hours as one had previously worked.

Is that progress? It sure isn’t when the country has 10.4 million people looking for work, another 3.3 million who have given up the search as futile, 14 million on disability, and 37 million who have retired,Ӕ according to Thomas G. Donlan in a Barrons editorial earlier this year. For the unemployment rate to decline substantively, the U.S. needs to generate above-trend growth. But it’s gone the other way. We are averaging roughly 2 percent growth in GDP over the last half-dozen years.

No wonder the number of people leaving the labor force entirely is running at about double the pace of new job creation. But the longer people stay out of work, the greater the erosion in their skill set, and that can make finding a new job even tougher. The ranks of the unemployed who have been looking for work fruitlessly for at least six months is now at 33 percent, compared to around 22 percent in past recessions. And of those who are unemployed for the long-term, only 10 percent actually end up getting a job.

These are the grave issues we ought to be discussing, instead of heralding a false dawn. We must focus on breadwinner jobs having shrunk at a stunning rate for the entire duration of the 21st century. We had 61.5 million full-time breadwinner jobs in January 2000, but now that number is down to 56.5 million.

It is particularly upsetting that our current high unemployment is concentrated in the oldest and youngest workers. Older workers have been phased out as new technologies improve productivity, and young adults who lack skills are struggling to find entry-level jobs with advancement opportunities. And in the process they are losing critical time to develop workplace habits, contacts, and new skills. Since 2007, the U.S. population has grown by 14 million, but we have 2 million fewer jobs, and are 10 million jobs shy of where we should be. Plus we have between 8 and 10 million part-time workers who want full-time positions.

The quality of jobs and their compensation is lamentable. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, American men who work full-time year-round earn less in real terms in 2012 than they did in 1973. So much for a rising tide lifting all boats. The disproportionate number of the added jobs are part-time or low-paying or both. Part-time work accounted for more than 65 percent of positions added in the last year. Low-paying retailers, restaurants and bars have provided 61 percent of the nations job growth.

The fact is we really havenҒt had an economic recovery. The young, the less educated, and in particular the unemployed, are experiencing hardly any recovery at all. High-wage industries have lost a million positions. Low-paying jobs are gaining and now account for 44 percent of all employment growth since the recovery started, with 3.8 million in food service showing the most growth by far. Higher-wage industries, which accounted for 41 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, have only recovered 30 percent of their jobs.

Median household income tells the story. Its still below what it was in 2008. So Americans are falling behind year after year, and as one person put it, size matters in America and no place more than in our paycheck. The growth in annual labor compensation has dropped from an annual rate of about 3 percent in the years before the recession to about 2 percent at best these days.

Men have suffered more than women in the recent downturn, as their job losses are roughly twice the decline in jobs held by women. And the long-term unemployment rate, which means being out of work for more than six months, has been higher than the short-term rate, which encompasses people who have been out of work for less than a month, something that has never happened before. More than 4.5 years after the end of the recession, employment has risen more slowly than it grew on average during the four previous recoveries.

The average weekly pay of temp jobs at $554 is one-third less than the pay for all jobs on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And many of the workers are faced with a shortened work week. The number of long-term unemployed remains at historically high levels, standing at more than 3 million in June. The proportion of Americans in the labor force is down to a 36-year low, 62.8 percent, down from 66 percent in 2008.

Part-time jobs are no longer the domain of the young; many of these jobs are being taken by adults in their prime working years Җ 25 to 54 years of age and many of them are single men and women without high-school diplomas. And the longer workers have been out of a job, the more likely they are to take a part-time job.

Faith in the American dream is eroding fast. Anger and alienation prevail. The feeling is that the rules aren֒t fair and the system has been rigged in favor of business and against the average person. The share of financial compensation and outputs going to labor has dropped from about 65 percent before 1980, down to under 60 percent today. Its shocking that for the first time in our countryҒs history, there is more social mobility in Europe than in the U.S.

Why is it that increases in labor productivity did not translate into higher household income in private employment? In the 1960s, only one in 20 American men between the ages of 25 and 54 was not working. According to former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, in ten years that number will be one in seven. This is a burgeoning disaster. We have to cope with the fact that two-thirds of the jobs lost during this recession were middle-income jobs, while about half of those created have been in low-wage sectors such as tourism, hospitality, and retail sales with a great proportion of them temporary positions. Wage growth is far below what economists would expect at this stage of a recovery. America֒s concern is no longer a jobless recovery, but a high-wageless recovery.

There are 48 million people in the U.S. in low-wage jobs. Those workers wont be able to spend what is necessary in an economy that is mostly based on consumer spending, and this will put further pressure on private sector growth. What we have is a very high unemployment rate, a slow recovery, and across-the-board wage stagnation (except for the top few percent). Almost 91 million people over 16 years of age arenҒt working, a record. When Obama became president, that figure was 10 million less.

The great American job machine is spluttering. We are going through the weakest post-recession recovery the U.S. has ever experienced, with growth just half of what it has been in four previous recessions. And thats despite the most expansive monetary policy in history and the largest fiscal stimulus since the end of World War II.

That is why the June numbers are so distressing. Five years after the Great Recession, nearly 24 million working-age Americans remain jobless, working part-time involuntarily or having left the workforce completely. We are not in the middle of a recovery. We are in the middle of a muddle-through, and thereҒs no point in pretending the sky is blue when so many millions can attest it is overcast. And there is not much light on the horizon.


Posted by Elvis on 07/25/14 •
Section Dying America
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Have The Long-Term Unemployed Become Dispensable?


Gotta love all those plans to get us back to work:

tax rules that allow companies to defer U.S. tax on their foreign income, and reducing the ability of companies to siphon profits they earn in the U.S. to overseas subsidiaries.
- WSJ - Tax breaks for shipping overseas defined

current tax law would allow a tax deduction for the costs of shutting down a U.S. operation.

if a plant moves at all, whether its from Ohio to Tennessee or Ohio to Malaysia, it is eligible for deductions.

When an American firm opens a foreign division, it typically sets up a separate company that does not pay U.S. taxes.
- Politifact - Rewards for shipping jobs overseas

It’s outrageous that workers are paying to ship their own jobs overseas through the tax code. We should be rewarding companies that are bringing jobs home. This is about jobs. I hope that all of our colleagues, regardless of party, will join our fight to give every American worker a fair shot to get ahead.

You really think to waste taxpayers money that American workers should pay the cost of the move when their jobs are being shipped overseas? Really?
- AFLCIO - Will Republicans voter to export US jobs?


Have The Long-Term Unemployed Become Dispensable?

By Cathy Smith
Bellingham Herald
July 21, 2014

MY DAUGHTER recently reentered the job market after tottering on the divide between the currently unemployed and the long-term unemployed. We both breathed a long sigh of relief following an extended and somewhat frightening wait that seemed to carry my daughter further away from that brass ring of employment with each passing day. Luckily, we would tell each other, she has the support of family, but what about those millions of other long-term unemployed and discouraged unemployed that arent so fortunate. What happens to them? It seems as if ever since emergency benefits were cut off abruptly and without warning in December that the long-term unemployed have been swallowed up by some invisible black hole.

In spite of the recent positive economic headlines, there are still nearly 3.4 million workers that have been out of work for six months or longer, the magic cutoff that places individuals in the category of the long-term unemployed. Who are these people? The only factor that distinguishes them from the short-term unemployed is the amount of time they have been out of work, but unfortunately it is this unidentified time that incites employers to keep their distance and adds more jobless time to the resumes of those remaining unemployed. Companies fear that time has robbed the long-term unemployed of their skills, leaving potential employers skittish. Only about 1 in 10 of the long-term unemployed get hired every year.

Add to the above numbers the discouraged workers, workers who have given up and ceased looking for work. The discouraged workers are not counted as part of the unemployed by the Labor Department as they no longer consider them a legitimate part of the labor force. This category particularly hits hard the high school and college graduates of the last five years. While skimming through headlines on the Internet, I discovered a blog for the Huffington Post written by a recent college graduate entitled “The Story of a Generation: We Are the Unhireables”.  The author claims that we are creating a current generation of jobless Americans.

On the other end of the spectrum appears a portion of the 50 plus population who suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves out of work. They continue to draw from their savings, and often are simply forced into an early retirement that they are not prepared for financially or emotionally. According to the Huggington Post, a third of our total unemployment falls into the discouraged worker category.

Bad luck and poor economic timing caused the current economic epidemic. It’s not about lazy people looking for a hand out. It’s about people who want their dignity returned to them in the form of a job and are unable to find one because there aren’t enough jobs to go around, and too few employers willing to take a chance. During my daughter’s period of unemployment, she cut off her social life entirely because she was unable to face her friends without a job. It broke my heart to watch her daily sit at home stoically waiting for the phone to ring or an encouraging email to appear. Fortunately, she found an employer who appreciated her value and was willing to take a risk. Unemployment and financial incapacity is not a state of being that anyone voluntarily chooses.

So back to my earlier question, what happens to the long-term unemployed? According to a 2013 STUDY by the Urban Institute, a final consequence of long-term unemployment is poverty. 34.1 percent live in households below the poverty line. The rate for the discouraged workers is the highest at 40.9 percent and the newly unemployed are much lower at 23 percent. These statistics arise from the most powerful democracy in the world. We regularly send aid to countries in need, but we ignore our own poverty ridden unemployed. Shame on us.

Current headlines shout out our economic recovery - a new 6.1% national unemployment rate remains steady, but WHAT ABOUT the 3.4 plus million Americans who have been out of work for at least six months or more with little prospects of finding a job. Have the long-term and discouraged workers been totally forgotten? It’s like a horror story. Its as if we have thrown them away, as if 3.4 plus million people are dispensable. Where is the stimulus package, the combination of job stimuli and emergency unemployment benefits that the U.S. Senate and House once aired out? Where is the compromise necessary to save our FORGOTTEN CITIZENS?

Cathy Smith is a retired teacher from Rochester School District, and a member of The OlympianҒs 2014 Board of Contributors. She maybe reached at smith_cathy23 at


Posted by Elvis on 07/22/14 •
Section Dying America
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