The Job Exchange

Tapping Into The Hidden Job Market

Layoffs Not an Option for Some US Companies


Revenue may be down and the pressure to slash costs intense, but some U.S. companies say job cuts are not an option. Companies that have avoided layoffs amid this recession are the exception, not the rule. U.S. employers have cut 5.1 million jobs since the recession began, including 663,000 last month alone. But some are looking to shave costs while keeping their work forces intact, so that when the economy does turn around, they’ll be ready to ratchet up production again.

Economists say that’s a wise move. “If you overshoot on the downside and lay off workers, it puts the company at a disadvantage when the economy comes back to life,” said Sean Snaith, economics professor at the University of Central Florida. Continue reading


04/22/2009 Posted by | hiring | , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s hiring? Growth industries in the past year


Anyone considering a new career might want to know which industries are hiring. Here are the five areas that added the most jobs between Jan. 08 and Jan. 09.

Industry  –  Number of Jobs Added

Health care: 355,700

Government: 148,000

Education Services: 112,600

Management and technical consulting _ 42,500

_Computer systems design _ 38,500

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

02/21/2009 Posted by | Economy, jobs | , , | Leave a comment

Rutgers report warns of continuing job losses, recession into 2010


Job losses will continue to mire the economy in coming months and the recession may stretch into 2010, according to a report released by two Rutgers University economists.

The quarterly Sitar-Rutgers Regional Report says 1.9 million jobs were lost across the country in the last four months of 2008, the worst year for private-sector job losses since the United States began compiling such statistics in 1939.

But in New Jersey and across the United States, a shrinking job market through 2008 suggests that for the next year, at least, households will continue struggling to pay the bills — much less save money.

New Jersey lost 63,000 jobs between December 2007 and December 2008, according to preliminary employment numbers from the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That’s the most significant decline in New Jersey since 1991, when 80,800 jobs were lost.

In New Jersey’s public sector, 2008 broke a string of 11 straight years of growth as 3,200 government jobs were lost in 2008.

02/19/2009 Posted by | Economy | , , , | Leave a comment

Poll: Customer Service

(From the NYT)

The recession has quickly transformed the attitude of the Madison Avenue work force from impenetrable to inviting, seemingly overnight. What change, if any, have you noticed at your local retail store in customer service?

02/18/2009 Posted by | Economy | , , | Leave a comment

The Math for 3.5 Million Jobs

From Time Magazine

Congress…has put together a $789 billion stimulus package to get the economy on the road again. The most interesting and obtuse comment about the new plan came from Senator Harry Reid, who said the legislation would create 3.5 million jobs.

The 3.5 million jobs forecast has always been a mysterious subject. The language used in the original House stimulus bill indicated that the programs in the legislation would create or save 3 to 4 million jobs. The “save” part is an important distinction.

No one was discussing…what will happen if the economy continues to lose jobs at the rate it did in January. A total of 3.5 million people could be out of work between the beginning of this year and the end of June. The stimulus package will probably not have even kicked in by then. So, with the job losses from January 2009 through the end of June at 600,000 a month, the entire $789 billion will be spent filling this unemployment crater. What will it cost to add another 3.5 million jobs after the job losses from the first half of the year have been reversed? Perhaps another $789 billion.

There is a temptation to say that the stimulus package is simply a cruel trick, meant to give people some hope. Members of Congress will be able to take credit for its results two years from now if it works, or they can simply say the economy was too far gone to be saved if it fails. Either way, the issue is not creating 3.5 million jobs–it is creating 8 or 9 million.

02/12/2009 Posted by | Economy, jobs | , , | Leave a comment

Caterpillar Will Rehire If Stimulus Passes

Caterpillar Will Rehire If Stimulus Passes

SPRINGFIELD, Va. — President Barack Obama, campaigning to cast his economic plan in terms of real jobs and families, said Wednesday that machinery giant Caterpillar Inc. plans to rehire some of its laid-off workers if Congress approves a sweeping stimulus bill.

The president sought to offer a clear example of how the legislation would help as House and Senate negotiators reached for a final deal with the White House, trimming the emerging legislation down to below $800 billion. That’s still an enormous package, targeted at an economy that continues to bleed jobs.

Obama’s mention of Caterpillar also came just one day before he was heading to Peoria, Ill., to visit the company’s workers and keep pushing his plan. The heavy-equipment maker has announced more than 20,000 job cuts, as shrinking credit and construction demands hurt orders for tractors and other machines.

Said Obama: “Today, the chairman and CEO of Caterpillar said that if the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan passes, his company would be able to rehire some of those employees.” He did not specify to whom the company chairman and CEO, Jim Owens, made such a pledge.

02/11/2009 Posted by | Economy, jobs, layoffs | , , | Leave a comment

To Spend or to Save? Trick Question

From The New York Times

The Paradox of Thrift
It’s your fault. Part of it is, anyway. You, the American consumer, spent too much money. You bought too much house, took on too much debt and generally lived beyond your means. Your free-spending ways helped cause the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

And now you’re going to have to do your part to end the crisis. How? By spending. Enough already with the saving that many of you have suddenly begun doing. This very moment, Congress and President Obama are preparing to send you a tax rebate, to inspire you to stimulate the economy. So go out and stimulate. Spend as if the future of your country depended on it.

Parents of young children can join Costco and make up their membership fee with just a few months of diaper purchases. Drivers can inflate their tires, change their air and fuel filters and start getting better mileage. Frequent book buyers who don’t mind screen reading can buy the new Kindle. It costs $359, but most new books then cost less than $10.

Families who shop at rent-to-own stores, which charge ridiculous interest rates, can temporarily pare back and then buy furniture or electronics outright.

People who do a lot of laser printing can purchase a printer that uses only a cent or two of ink per page. (Many use far, far more.)

Purified water drinkers can lay off the Aquafina and buy a water filter. Seltzer drinkers can buy a seltzer maker. My wife and I now have one, and it is a beautiful thing indeed.

In these cases — and, no doubt, many others — the initial investment tends to pay off quickly, sometimes in mere months. That’s why such spending is perfectly suited to the moment. It will keep people employed or create new jobs when the economy needs the help. But it will also shore up households’ finances.

02/11/2009 Posted by | Economy | | 1 Comment

Luxury or Necessity?

What products can’t you live without?

Chances are, your answer to that question in 1973 would be very different from your answer today. In response to coverage of strapped households, a reader points us toward the Pew Research Center’s 2006 report on what kinds of goods Americans consider “necessities” versus “luxuries.” The results show that, as their incomes rose, Americans have gotten somewhat needier over time. For example, the percentage of Americans who call microwaves a “necessity” rather than a “luxury” has more than doubled in the past decade, from 32 percent in 1996 to 68 percent in 2006:

Chart (c) 2005-2009 Pew Research Center

 The study also broke down the responses by age group. As you might expect, younger people were much more likely to view home computers and cellphones as a “necessity” than their older counterparts. But complaints about young people’s watching too much TV notwithstanding, older Americans were much more likely to view television as a necessity than younger Americans were. I imagine that the TV statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, though — compared to older Americans, younger Americans may be more likely to get their entertainment content over the Internet rather than through a TV set. (YouTube, for example, was acquired by Google the same month that these survey responses were collected.)

In any case, the change in consumer spending habits — or at the very least, how Americans view these spending habits — has prompted lively debates about how to calculate the “cost of living” over time. Some academics say that, judging by the household comforts Americans can afford, families today are better off than their parents or grandparents were; others argue that the rising cost of some core expenses, such as health care, means things are tougher for American families.

02/10/2009 Posted by | Economy | , | 1 Comment

You try to live on $500k in this town

“As hard as it is to believe, bankers who are living on the Upper East Side making $2 or $3 million a year have set up a life for themselves in which they are also at zero at the end of the year with credit cards and mortgage bills that are inescapable,” said Holly Peterson, the author of an Upper East Side novel of manners, “The Manny,” and the daughter of Peter Peterson, a founder of the equity firm the Blackstone Group. “Five hundred thousand dollars means taking their kids out of private school and selling their home in a fire sale.”

The cold hard math can be cruel.

Like those taxes. If a person is married with two children, the weekly deductions on a $500,000 salary are: U.S. government taxes, $2,645; Social Security, $596; Medicare, $139; state taxes, $682; and city, $372, bringing the weekly take-home to $5,180, or about $269,000 a year, said Martin Cohen, a Manhattan accountant.

Now move to living expenses.

Barbara Corcoran, a real estate executive, said that most well-to-do families take at least two vacations a year, a winter trip to the sun and a spring trip to the ski slopes.

Total minimum cost: $16,000.

A modest three-bedroom apartment, she said, which was purchased for $1.5 million, not the top of the market at all, carries a monthly mortgage of about $8,000 and a co-op maintenance fee of $8,000 a month. Total cost: $192,000. A summer house in Southampton that cost $4 million, again not the top of the market, carries annual mortgage payments of $240,000.

Many top executives have cars and drivers. A chauffeur’s pay is between $75,000 and $125,000 a year, the higher end for former police officers who can double as bodyguards, said a limousine driver who spoke anonymously because he does not want to alienate his society customers.

“Some of them want their drivers to have guns,” the driver said. “You get a cop and you have a driver.” To garage that car is about $700 a month.

A personal trainer at $80 an hour three times a week comes to about $12,000 a year.

The work in the gym pays off when one must don a formal gown for a charity gala. “Going to those parties,” said David Patrick Columbia, who is the editor of the New York Social Diary (, “a woman can spend $10,000 or $15,000 on a dress. If she goes to three or four of those a year, she’s not going to wear the same dress.”

Total cost for three gowns: about $35,000.

Not every bank executive has school-age children, but for those who do, offspring can be expensive. In addition to paying tuition, “You’re not going to get through private school without tutoring a kid,” said Sandy Bass, the editor of School Insider, a newsletter that covers private schools in the New York City area. One hour of tutoring once a week is $125. “That’s the low end,” she said. “The higher end is 150, 175.” SAT tutors are about $250 an hour. Total cost for 30 weeks of regular tutoring: $3,750.

02/09/2009 Posted by | Economy | | Leave a comment

Laid Off? Here’s How to Stay Afloat

AS MANY ECONOMIC Cassandras predicted earlier this year, the ranks of the unemployed are on the rise. Even worse: The damage is no longer confined to home builders and real-estate outfits. Now, workers in industries across the board — from financial services to pharmaceuticals — are feeling the pain.

Last month, the Labor Department reported that the jobless rate hit 5.5% — the highest level reported since October 2004 and a significant jump from the 5% rate reported a month earlier. And according to economists at the Federal Reserve and UCLA, unemployment will most likely remain at these levels, if not move higher, and stay there well into 2009. In fact, the latest economic forecast from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management projects that the unemployment rate will hit 6% by the end of 2009.

Given those dismal projections, it’s a good time for workers to consider how they’d cope financially if they lose their job. If that trusty emergency fund — meant precisely for the kind of unexpected loss of income brought on by a layoff — isn’t very well-endowed (or is, perhaps, nonexistent), here are some things you should do to stay afloat while awaiting your next paycheck.

02/08/2009 Posted by | Economy, jobs, layoffs | | Leave a comment

What’s Your New Plan B?

Remember the old Plan B?

Until our economy went kerflooey, it was a whimsical reverie about the life that you could swap for the one that you were leading. It was a six-room bed-and-breakfast in Vermont that you bought and spruced up and managed into your dotage. Or a record deal, with tour support and 80 percent of the gate. Or some gadget you devised in the basement that was going to be huge.

It took many forms, the old Plan B, but it’s getting harder to conjure up any of them in detail. The idea of it is fading from our memory, obscured under the pile of bad news about layoffs and bank failures, beneath the letters with your returns, which you learned to stop opening.

Instead, we have the new Plan B, which can be summarized this way: the best you can make of a worst-case scenario, the deal you cut with a fate you might be unable to avoid. Under the new Plan B, the fortunate merely hunker down. The less fortunate slide, against their will, into a lower tax bracket and sometimes into jobs they don’t want.

As badly as our economy is tottering, the number of Americans actually living the new Plan B is still small compared to those who are not. What is slowly spreading is worry about the new Plan B. It is becoming part of our interior monologue, the anxious static in our collective heads, one of the ordeals of this downturn that doesn’t easily lend itself to measurement, like the G.D.P. or the Dow. It is not part of the economy’s visible damage, like boarded-up stores or those recession-inspired listings that start with “Hate to let these go!” or some variation on that theme.

02/08/2009 Posted by | Economy, layoffs | | 2 Comments