Massive Job Cuts Across the Country
159,000 jobs disappeared from the nation’s payrolls last month, the largest employment drop in five-and-a-half years, according to the Dept of Labor. The US has lost an average of 84,000 jobs each month in 2008. The service sector lost 82,000 positions in September, it’s greatest decline since March 2003. Manufacturing, which has not added workers in 27 months, eliminated another 51,000 jobs. Retail employment dropped by 40,000 and construction was down 35,000. Only government and education/health services expanded in September, adding 9000 and 25,000 jobs respectively.
Two million jobless workers – about 21 percent of the unemployed – are now classified as long-term unemployed (out of work for 27 weeks or more). Though their numbers increased by 167,000 in September, the national unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.1 percent.
Job Training Funds for 20,000 Workers
The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency is making $40 million in job training funds available to teach workers new skills and keep businesses competitive during the economic slowdown. The Employment Training Job Panel is expected to approve $28.7 million to help 101 training programs and businesses prepare 20,000 workers for jobs in expanding industries like biotechnology, green technology, and healthcare.
The Employment Development Dept is seeking proposals to allocate $12 million in job training funds for California veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Training proposals must be submitted to EDD by Oct 24 for programs starting in December.
What If You’re Offered a Buyout?
The current economic climate has prompted many corporations to attempt staffing reductions by offering voluntary buyouts to their employees. Which leaves many workers wondering whether they should take the money and run. If you were offered a buyout, would you know what considerations should go into your decision? The Wall Street Journal recently polled some industry experts for their opinions. Here’s a summary of what they considered to be the key areas of concern. Fiscal feasibility – Consult a financial planner to determine how much money you’ll need until you can get another job, and whether to take the buyout as a lump sum or in installments. What happens if you stay? – If you don’t take the buyout, will the remaining job be something you want to take on? Why is the employer offering a buyout? Compare numbers – Ask colleagues about the packages they were offered and ask your employer how the severance was calculated. Standard practice is to give employees two weeks pay for each year of service to the company. Secure your future – Clarify how the buyout will affect your retirement accounts, stock options, insurance coverage, etc. Get a positive letter of reference. Consult an attorney – You’re entitled to a 45-day review if the buyout affects a group of workers. Have an attorney review the terms before you sign. Evaluate the job market – Are your skills in demand? How long might it take to land a new position?
On the Job Front
BAY AREA – The stalled economy, high gas prices and tight credit sent three more American car dealerships to the scrap heap. Colma Buick Pontiac GMC, Good Chevrolet in Alameda, and Los Gatos Chevrolet all closed last week.
FOLSOM – Santa Barbara-based sportswear retailer Big Dogs will close its Folsom Premium Outlets location by January, along with all 70 other stores nationwide.
SACRAMENTO – Maita Hyundai shut down its dealership and Senator Hyundai was purchased by Potamkin Automotive, which also owns the Roseville franchise.
ROSEVILLE – Used car retailer CarMax is idling 600 employees nationwide, about 6 percent of it workforce, including 23 in the service operations unit here.
NAPA – In a cost-cutting move, Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts laid off 24 of its 80 full-time employees and will reduce its operating hours to three days per week. From October through May, the center will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday only.