April 12, 2011

A gentle tailwind
The Economist
On April 4, President Barack Obama announced that he would seek a second term in 2012. The timing was auspicious. Three days earlier the job market, a key determinant of his re-election chances, took a turn for the better. On that day, the government reported that non-farm payrolls rose a hefty 216,000, or 0.2 percent, in March, led by manufacturers, hotels, restaurants and temporary staffing agencies.More

Jobless claims in US fell 10,000 to 382,000
Fewer Americans filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance recently, indicating the labor market is recovering. Applications for jobless benefits fell 10,000 in the week ended April 2 to 382,000, the fewest since Feb. 26, Labor Department figures showed. Economists projected claims would be little changed at 385,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls and those collecting extended payments decreased. More

Report: What the recession did to jobs in Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Ink
The good news is, there are jobs in Brooklyn. The bad news is, not everyone can get them. The economic crisis in the borough is not over. And for some, it won't be for a long time. The GDP and stock market indexes may be rising, but it is clear that Brooklyn's job market suffered some irreparable damage. More than 14,000 jobs vanished in the borough between 2008 and 2010. And according to economists' predictions, many of them disappeared forever. Even though the recovery is helping to create new jobs, some industries are not likely to bounce back. In particular, finance, manufacturing and construction have been hurt severely.More

HR's 12 worst worries for 2011 and how to cope
HR Morning
What are the critical pain points HR pros should be addressing over the next year? Top employment law attorneys Charles High, Pat Stanton and Jeff Portnoy offered a blueprint for employers at the recent Labor & Employment Law Advanced Practices symposium in San Diego. Following is a 12-point action plan, based on their presentations.More

Temp track feels plenty permanent
Crain's New York Business
As companies across New York continue to claw their way out of the recession, many employers have turned to temporary help to beef up shrunken staff rosters now stretched thin by recent upticks in business. The employment-services segment, which includes temp and staffing agencies, ballooned by more than 20 percent in the city in 2010, adding 11,600 jobs, according to a recent analysis of state Department of Labor statistics by real estate services firm Eastern Consolidated.More

Putting business back together
It's fair to say that the term back office doesn't conjure up the most glamorous of images, connotations or roles. And with it frequently cited as an area for cuts following the public spending review last year, its status has taken a further hit in recent months. For those who know better, the back office is one of the most important areas of the business, being responsible for cashflow, invoicing, payments and other processes that are the lifeblood of any business. Rather than seeing it as a cost-center that has to be reduced, at a time of depressed margins and business levels, recruiters need to examine how they can make the back office work more efficiently. More

Wages lag pace of inflation
The Washington Post via Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Inflation is back, with higher prices for food and fuel hammering American consumers, and this time it really hurts. It's not just that prices are rising; it's that wages aren't. Previous bouts of inflation usually have meant a wage-price spiral, as pay and prices chase each other upward. But now, paychecks are falling farther and farther behind. In the past three months, consumer prices have been rising at a 5.7 percent annual rate while average weekly wages have barely budged, increasing at only a 1.3 percent annual rate.More

Weigh criminal records carefully when hiring
Lansing State Journal
The National Employment Law Project recently urged employers to reconsider hiring policies that excluded any candidates with criminal records. In a report titled "65 Million Need Not Apply," the organization documented widespread use of criminal background checking to eliminate job candidates, as well as the existence of job ads that say no one with felony or misdemeanor convictions would be considered.More