Entries in Jobs (205)


US Economy Added 171,000 Jobs in October

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the final monthly jobs report before Election Day, the government on Friday said the U.S. unemployment rate for October ticked up to 7.9 percent.

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the U.S. economy added 171,000 jobs, stating that the number of unemployed Americans was essentially unchanged in October at 12.3 million.

"We still have a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction," said Stephen Bronars, chief economist of Welch Consulting.

Analysts had expected around 125,000 added jobs, according to Bloomberg News.

Bronars said October's jobs report was positive despite the unemployment rate increase, because more people resumed looking for work.  He called the 171,000 jobs added "solid" and noted there were upward revisions to the reports of the past two months.

There were also increases in the employment-to-population ratio, at 58.8 percent, and the labor force participation rate, 63.8 percent, after both of the rates had stalled in the summer, Bronars said.

The unemployment rate for September was 7.8 percent.  In Friday's report, the BLS revised September's non-farm payroll employment to 148,000 jobs added from the previously-announced 114,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Energy, Internet-Related Jobs Are Booming, Survey Finds

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While the jobs market continues to improve slowly, a new survey out Wednesday finds that several sectors and parts of the country have been booming in the past three years.

“Drilling crude petroleum, natural gas extraction, natural gas production: all those are up well over 20 percent,” says Jennifer Grasz of CareerBuilder.

Its report finds that the Internet has directly created a lot of jobs.

“Electronic shopping, that’s up 23 percent.  Internet publishing and broadcasting [are] up 30 percent,” Grasz says.

Other hot areas for job creation include health care, transportation and manufacturing.

“And so you see machine shops coming back, and also you see those other industries tied to it,” says Grasz.  “Specialized freight trucking -- those jobs are coming back as well.”

The CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists survey finds there is also a close correlation between the top locations for job growth and the concentration of fast-growing industries in those markets.

“Technology hiring is a big contributor for growth in the Bay Area and Raleigh and while Texas cities, Oklahoma and Salt Lake are benefiting from strong oil and gas activity,” says Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.  “The rebound in manufacturing helped to land Detroit in the top ten while healthcare continues to thrive in Phoenix.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Abercrombie and Fitch, Other Retail Workers Protest 'Abusive' Scheduling

Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Employees of Abercrombie & Fitch, Best Buy and other retailers protested Wednesday along New York City's posh Fifth Avenue shopping district against what they call "abusive" work scheduling.

Bintou Kamara, 22, a cashier at Abercrombie & Fitch, started a petition with the labor group Retail Action Project on last week to request an end to "erratic scheduling" and "abusive on-call shifts" that leave workers waiting by the phone for work that sometimes does not come.

Kamara, a full-time college student, said many retail workers are required to keep their schedules open, to be available at the whim of their managers.

She said that part-time workers at her location on Fifth Avenue had to call two hours before their shifts were to begin to inquire whether they were needed at work.

"Most of the time, you have to wait and sit there," she said.

To support her younger sister in high school and send money to her family in Togo, Kamara said she had to get a second part-time job as a home health aide.

She said many of the workers on strike are young and in similar situations.

"They feel like we can't do anything, we can't fight back and it's a big company," she said.

Ricah Norman, a former employee of a Best Buy store in Maryland, also protested in New York City.

The 23-year-old Norman, currently a student at an online university and looking for a job, said she had to quit school because she could not support herself while working two part-time jobs.

She said she tried to request a regular schedule, but her managers could not help.

"They basically said, 'That's the way the business is.'"

She said she has also tried to seek full-time employment, but many companies she has contacted are hiring only part-time employees.

"Retailers in general need to get back to the days when they scheduled people a correct amount of hours and allowed them to have a personal life while supporting families with sufficient wages and hours, instead of revolving their lives around the companies," she said.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Best Buy did not immediately return requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Holiday Hiring Begins: Where the Jobs Are

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The holiday season is approaching and retailers across the nation have already begun announcing plans to add staffers to the payroll this year.  According to retail trade association National Retail Federation, retailers will add 585,000 to 625,000 hires.

“This is the most optimistic forecast NRF has released since the recession.  In spite of the uncertainties that exist in our economy and among consumers, we believe we’ll see solid holiday sales growth this year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

One company adding to its payroll is Target, which will be one of the largest seasonal employers this year.  The retail giant will hire 80,000 to 90,000 seasonal employees this year, which is down from 90,000 employees in 2011, according to Biz Journals

According to the Wall Street Journal, Target’s figures are down this year because the Minneapolis-based company hired 30 percent of its seasonal staff from the previous holiday season for year-round positions.”

The NRF expects consumers to increase spending 4.1 percent at retailers this holiday season.

In preparation for shoppers, Macy’s is hiring 80,000 seasonal associates for the 2012 holiday season. 

In addition to offering its current employees more hours, Walmart plans to hire 50,000 seasonal associates. 

In September, Kohl’s department store announced plans to add 52,700 season employees this year, up 10 percent from 2011. 

Toys “R” Us' staff of seasonal employees is up by 5,000 this year.  The toys store will add 45,000 employees at stores and distribution centers for the 2012 holiday season.

But it’s not just the nationwide retailers that are hiring seasonal employees.  Regional retailer Meijer Inc., which has more than 200 stores, has plans to hire 12,000 employees as it prepares for the upcoming holiday season.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement consultant firm, seasonal hiring is expected to be up compared with last year but remains below pre-recession levels.

“Recent consumer confidence readings have been relatively weak and unemployment remains stubbornly high.  The mixed picture is likely to compel retail employers to proceed cautiously when it comes to hiring extra workers for the holiday season,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas in a statement.

“Look for many to start at last year’s levels and hire additional workers only if strong sales early in the season warrant it,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Another Weak Jobs Report Coming This Week?

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The economy this week is likely to be dominated by Friday’s September jobs report from the Labor Department.

The August survey was dismal, with just 96,000 jobs added by employers.

Some economists are looking for improvement in September, but the latest forecast from the Business Roundtable is gloomy.  CEOs of the group’s member firms were decidedly more pessimistic about hiring extra workers than they were in the last survey three months ago.

Despite the findings, many big businesses are still making record profits and most expect sales to grow in the next six months.

The two biggest sources of concern are the slowdown overseas and the fiscal cliff due to hit in 2013 when taxes will rise unless Congress acts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Economy Created More Jobs Than Previously Estimated

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released an early look at its annual “benchmark revision” on how many jobs were added in the U.S. economy.  

It turns out that 386,000 more Americans had jobs in March 2012 than previously believed. The private sector added 453,000 more jobs than previously estimated.

These revisions come out every year as BLS gathers more comprehensive data, and covers twelve months ending in March of the current year.

Thursday’s revisions are not dramatic and do not show the economy to be in vastly better shape than previously believed.  

In the past, though, things have turned out to be much worse than previously believed.  In 2009 and 2010 the data showed that 1.3 million more jobs were lost than previously estimated.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wal-Mart to Hire More Than 50,000 Seasonal Workers

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Wal-Mart is getting into the spirit of the season by hiring thousands of temporary workers for the holidays. The big-box retailer says it will offer more hours to current employees, and bring in more than 50,000 new workers nation-wide to better serve its customers.

Wal-Mart currently employs about 1.4 million people throughout its more than 4,000 chains across the U.S.

Both Kohl’s and Target, two of the company’s largest competitors, also announced thousands of new seasonal hires in preparation for the impending holiday rush.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Will a Federal Prisoner Steal Your Job?

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's hard to compete with workers willing to take pay as low as 23 cents an hour. Do we mean workers in Mexico or China? No. We mean Americans in federal prisons.

An Alabama clothing-maker recently found out just how hard, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun-News: American Apparel of Selma had to lay off 225 workers after it lost a contract for U.S. Army jackets to UNICOR, a $900 million behemoth with 89 factories around the U.S. Its workforce consists entirely of convicts.

If you thought prisoners made only license plates, think again.

UNICOR's workers, according to the government-owned corporation's website, make custom draperies and curtains, mattresses and bedding; furniture, lighting systems, catwalks; fences, towels, shelving, eyewear (both safety and prescription), and trophies. They run help desks and call centers. They process credit cards and provide fleet management services. Oh, and they make license plates.

Federal law requires government agencies to buy products from UNICOR without competitive bidding.

The company, also known as Federal Prison Industries (FPI), is enjoying the kind of growth that might make some for-profit companies envious.

Created by Congress in 1932, it historically has been forbidden from selling goods and services to any customers except federal agencies and departments (e.g., UNICOR-made jackets to the Army). But company spokesperson Julie Rozier explains to ABC News that these strictures have lately been relaxed.

"In December, we obtained new authorities," she says. "Under very limited circumstances, if an item is being made off-shore, we can compete for that."

In some cases, UNICOR now can manufacture and sell items to private customers in competition with private companies. The list of permissible items, Rozier says, includes tents, aprons, fabric shopping bags and baseball caps.

Congressman Bill Huizenga, Republican of Michigan, is one critic among many who find the situation outrageous. "Somehow, we have landed in the middle of Oz," he says, referring to the private sector's loss of jobs to a government-owned conglomerate that pays its workers between 23 cents and $1.15 an hour.

At a time when unemployment is running above 8 percent, he says, "It's got people scratching their heads and wondering, 'How did we ever get into this?'"

As for UNICOR's using criminals to process credit card transactions, Huizenga says, "Giving criminals credit card data? Let's put the gas can closer to the fire."

Legislation he has introduced—H.R. 3634—seeks not to do away with UNICOR but to reign it in. It would subject the company's contracts, for example, to competitive bidding. Prison workers would be subject to OSHA and all the other workplace rules and costs that apply to private employers. Prisoners' salaries, over time, would rise to the minimum wage.

The net effect, he says, would be a leveling of the playing field.

Support for the bill, he says has been "very bipartisan." It has some 20 co-sponsors, including Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Democratic Senators John Thune and Barney Frank. "There isn't much that Chairman Frank and I agree on," says Huizenga, "but we agree on this. We're hoping to get something done in the lame-duck session."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kohl's to Add Over 50,000 Seasonal Jobs

Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the holiday shopping season approaches, job seekers across the country hope retailers are ready to ramp up hiring. Fortunately for them, Kohl's Department Stores isn't wasting any time.

Kohl's says it expects to hire more than 50,000 people this holiday season. That's 10 percent more than it added to its payrolls last year during retailers' busiest months.

The Wisconsin-based department store chain has 1,146 stores in 49 states, and plans to hire an average of 41 workers per store.  An additional 5,700 seasonal employees will be hired at Kohl's distribution centers while the chain's credit operation will add 30 new employees.

The company says it is offering part-time positions ranging from a few hours to more than 20 hours per week.

Job hopefuls should hurry, though. The company started hiring this month and expects to fill most positions by mid-November.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fed 2012 GDP Growth Forecast Worsens; Unemployment Forecast Unchanged

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Among its announcements Thursday was the Fed’s prediction for unemployment, GDP growth and inflation rates.
The Federal Reserve still thinks unemployment won't fall below eight percent this year.  The unemployment rate is currently 8.1 percent.  But the central also says that next year the unemployment rate could fall to 7.6 percent and down to 6.7 percent in 2014.
Inflation, the Fed says, will likely remain at or below two percent for the next three years.
As for GDP, the Fed has changed its previous forecast to expect slower growth this year, but expects a somewhat better situation in coming years.
The Fed now expects growth to be no stronger than two percent this year. That's down from its forecast of 2.4 percent in June.  The Fed says growth will accelerate next year to as much as three percent, up from June's forecast of as much as 2.8 percent. For 2014, the Fed projected growth between three percent and 3.8 percent.
The Fed may be taking into account the effects of its newly announced QE3 on future growth in its new forecasts.  All this being said, predictions are generally risky business, let alone those looking as far out as 2014.
For those looking for further explanation on how QE3 might work:
The Fed wants to get money moving in the economy, which is stuck in many ways.
Until now, the Federal Reserve was buying up Treasury bonds.  This depresses the interest rate available on these bonds and prices of assets like stocks go up.  The hope then is that people find they are worth more (401(k)s go up) and businesses can borrow at lower rates.  People and businesses then spend more, boosting output and hiring.  This has worked to some extent in the past in the other two rounds of easing since the financial crisis began in late 2007.
The Fed has been criticized for buying Treasury bonds to finance the U.S. debt.  So perhaps to avoid that criticism the Fed is now buying mortgage-backed securities.
The intended effect is similar to buying Treasury bonds -- as the Fed says, to “put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates, support mortgage markets, and help to make broader financial conditions more accommodative.”
Buying mortgage-backed securities could take these off banks’ books, possibly boosting lending and spending. Consumers may find it easier to refinance and buy new homes.  All of these things have a ripple effect on the economy.  As the economy grows, hiring grows.
By saying they may keep doing what they are doing until the ripple effect gets to the job market, the Fed is hoping to provide some certainty to employers and investors.
The gridlock in Washington makes the Fed one of the few entities able to do anything right now to help the economy. Thursday’s action is not expected to do much, but it’s one of the few moves available to policymakers.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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