US Job Growth Maintains Momentum
America's employers did more hiring than expected in October, with the private sector producing 184,000 new positions, while revisions to August and September payroll tallies added another 84,000 jobs. That was enough to push 2012’s monthly average to 157,000 jobs, barely outpacing 2011's average of 153,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Professional & Business Services added 51,000 jobs in October, a quarter of which were through temp services. Retail Trade was up 36,000, Healthcare grew by 31,000, Leisure & Hospitality increased by 28,000, Construction added a net 17,000 new workers, and Manufacturing gained 13,000. Only two sectors, Government and Mining, declined last month, losing 13,000 and 9000 jobs respectively. The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth to 7.9 percent, as the labor force swelled by 578,000, reflecting growing confidence among jobseekers that the employment market is improving.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE - Two of the country's largest chemical makers are downsizing due to slow economic growth. Michigan-based Dow Chemical will cut 2400 jobs, about 5 percent of its global workforce, and close 20 manufacturing plants in the US, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Japan. DuPont, headquartered in Delaware, is eliminating 1500 jobs in part due to declining demand for paint pigment and solar cells. . . Colgate Palmolive, the world's largest toothpaste maker, plans to cut 2300 jobs, about 6 percent of its worldwide workforce, as a part of a 4-year cost reduction program due to slowing economies.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - After 15 months of negotiations, the United Food and Commercial Workers union reached a tentative settlement with Safeway, which also operates Vons stores in Northern and Central CA. The 3-yr agreement covers 22,000 workers at 320 stores. Similar negotiations on behalf of 7000 UFCW employees of Raley's and Nob Hill resulted in a 10-day strike over proposed cuts in healthcare benefits. Both sides reached an agreement after Raley's agreed to the union's healthcare demands.
BAY AREA - The Bay Area Council's Economic Institute expects jobs in the region to grow by about 7.2 percent over the next two years, outpacing the state and the rest of the nation. Technology will be the primary driver of employment growth across most industries, with government being the only sector expected to lose jobs.
ELK GROVE - A Walmart Neighborhood Market just opened with 75 employees. The convenience grocery is open 24/7.
MILPITAS - Magnum Semiconductor, a provider of silicon, modules, software, and IP for the professional broadcast infrastructure market, has raised $12 million for growth.
OAKLAND - If construction goes as planned, Foods Co will open a new store in Foothill Square by next summer, employing about 100.
PLEASANTON - San Francisco retailer Gap Inc will lease office space in the California Center to accommodate about 350 additional IT employees and contractors.
ROCKLIN - The Sleep Train Inc, based here, has been expanding rapidly across the Western US through a combination of new stores and acquisitions. The employee-owned mattress chain now has over 270 locations, a 10-percent increase in the past year.
ROSEVILLE - Auto industry computer-chip manufacturer Telefunken Semiconductors has apparently recovered from the recent financial scandal that forced 85 layoffs in September. At least 20 employees will launch a new unit at the local plant to meet production and technical needs of Silicon Valley firms.
SACRAMENTO - Vision Service Plan will hire 400 workers, including 250 at the company's lens-grinding facility in Rancho Cordova. The eye-care insurer has a local staff of 2100. . . Batteries Plus just opened a fourth area store in West Sacramento and is looking for two more locations, with at least one opening next year. The local franchise has over 30 on staff, with shops in Elk Grove, Roseville and Citrus Heights. . . The New Helvetia Brewing Company will open a brewery and tasting room on Broadway this month. The site will eventually include a brewpub.
SAN FRANCISCO - Tech innovator Square Inc plans to add over 500 staffers by the end of 2013. The maker of a mobile phone device for processing credit cards currently employs 400+ and will move into a larger headquarters on Market Street next summer. . . Salesforce is laying off about 100 people from Radian6, a unit the company bought last Spring. Radian6 and another acquisition, Buddy Media, will be combined to form the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. . . Bigpoint Games, a pioneer in free, browser-based video games, didn't score enough success with its products and will lay off 47.
SAN JOSE - Voters overwhelmingly approved a citywide minimum wage of $10 per hour, with adjustments for inflation, beginning in March 2013. . . The founder of Petroglyph Ceramic Lounge is opening another do-it-yourself craft boutique later this month. At Glow Candle Lounge in Willow Glen, customers will create custom candles by choosing their favorite mold, color and scent. . . PayPal, eBay’s payment portal, is trying to stretch its dollars by laying off 325 workers, mostly in the product and technology depts.
SAUSALITO - Glassdoor, a job ratings and employer services website, has raised $20 million in funding to hire more sales staff and expand its international services.
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO - New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson will cut about 130 jobs here after an experimental Alzheimer's drug failed. Elan Corporation, which developed the drug, will close their SSF facility and cut about 400 jobs. Some of Elan's R&D employees will be reassigned to a new venture called Neotope.