Mixed News For Employees As 2nd Fiscal Quarter Begins

Photo by David Castillo Dominici.  Image ID: 100157605
Photo by David Castillo Dominici.
Image ID: 100157605

April 9, 2015-U.S. workers, as they attempt to understand what is happening in the American job market, are being confused by mixed economic signals which, simultaneously, forecast an economic expansion and economic slow down.  For many workers these mixed economic signals have made financial planning for their family’s future a nightmare.

Last week’s economic indicators foretold of some instability in the employment sector.   For the first time this year unemployment claims increased over the prior month’s filings, indicating, potentially, that an increased number of Americans were out of work.  Similarly, the hiring numbers for new employees also indicated a contraction over the, more robust, prior six months. These two factors, in isolation, could be the signs of a real economic slowdown and trouble for working families that have not yet recovered from the depths of the Great Recession. However, it may be too early to judge the state of the economy based on these factors because the relative increases, and contractions, were not significant enough to demand panic, yet.  There could be a number of fluctuating components, from the weather, to increased eligibility for unemployment filing, that may have contributed to these alarming figures.   The real test of whether this is a trend, or an anomaly, will be the results of April’s figures in these areas.

Meanwhile, there appears to be some hopeful signs for American workers as some of the country’s largest employers have begun to raise their minimum wage, voluntarily, above the Federal and state standards.   Employers such as Walmart, McDonalds, and AETNA have all begun implementing these increases, with other companies, likely, to follow suit.  While the raises they have instituted are not close to the wages some labor groups and government officials have been calling for, they are a positive economic trend for employees.

For employees looking to improve their standard of living by seeking higher wages, within, or outside of their current positions it may be a difficult time to forecast what the remainder of 2015 will bring.  For many, perhaps, fear of a second wave of economic downturn will inhibit their willingness to leave the security of their current position for a new, higher paying job.   It may also impede their confidence in seeking an increase in wages in their current employment, if they are employed. The net result may be a kind of economic stagnation and paralysis that is the result of the insecurity caused by years of economic fear and struggle for American workers.

 

 

 

 

Career Builder’s Top Interview Body Language Mistakes

January 15, 2015–  At the commencement of each new year, Harris Poll, on behalf of CareerBuilder, conducts a nationwide survey of employers to uncover employment trends and interview patterns that may be used to guide prospective job seekers in their quest for new employment.  A look at 2014’s results revealed some interesting feedback on the body language of candidates seeking employment.  In ranking non-verbal cues identified by Human Resource managers, in finding the most professional candidates, CareerBuilder ranked the Top 10 Body language mistakes candidates made in interviews over the course of the past year:

  1. Failing to make eye contact
  2. Failing to smile
  3. Playing with something on the table
  4. Having bad posture
  5. Fidgeting too much in their seat
  6. Crossing their arms over their chest
  7. Playing with their hair or touching their face
  8. Having a weak handshake
  9. Using too many hand gestures
  10. Having a handshake that is too strong

The Human Resource managers surveyed also provided an interesting and humorous look at some of the outlandish behavior of candidates seeking employment.   These included:

  • Candidate answered cell phone and asked the interviewer to leave her own office because it was a “private” conversation.
  • Candidate told the interviewer he wouldn’t be able to stay with the job long because he thought he might get an inheritance if his uncle died – and his uncle “wasn’t looking too good.”
  • Candidate asked the interviewer for a ride home after the interview.
  • Candidate smelled his armpits on the way to the interview room.
  • Candidate said she could not provide a writing sample because all of her writing had been for the CIA and it was “classified.”
  • Candidate told the interviewer he was fired for beating up his last boss.
  • When applicant was offered food before the interview he declined, saying that he didn’t want to line his stomach with grease before going out drinking.
  • A candidate for an accounting position said she was a “people person,” not a “numbers person.”
  • Candidate flushed the toilet while talking to the interviewer during a phone interview.
  • Candidate took out a hair brush and brushed her hair mid-interview.

By reviewing the actual feedback and comments of current employers job seekers can better understand the expectations of employers in the marketplace and better prepare themselves for interviews in a very competitive job market.

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2015/01/15/6704558/employers-tell-all-the-most-unusual.html#storylink=cpy

Is There a Robot Waiting To Fill Your Job?

December 18, 2014–  Since the commencement of automation, workers in various industries have feared that their jobs might be replaced by machines. While this topic has been discussed, debated, and satirized in film and television for decades, the fact is that technological progress and job elimination is a reality of a modern economy. For workers outside of factory and clerical positions this fear of automation has never been a legitimate concern; after all, machines can perform many perfunctory tasks, but they can not think and behave like a real person. Or can they?

A recent NY Times article explored an emerging segment of the modern economy-artificial intelligence and robots in the workforce. As 21st century science continues to make exponential advancements in robotic and computer technology it is not just the factory worker whose job is at risk. Robots are now being introduced to provide support or fully replace such diverse positions as airline pilot, Room Service attendant in an upscale hotel, taxi driver, and, even, Thai Food Taster.

This trend, while undeniable, raises numerous questions about whether these advancements are driving people from segments of the workforce, or if they are filling existing, and growing, voids in the economic sector. Are they driving change, or a response to it? While arguments are being proffered to support both positions, robots and advanced computers continue to infilitrate diverse segments of the workforce.  How far will this trend extend?   What push-back will occur?  What does the future hold?  Perhaps, the answers to these questions can only be computed by robots not yet, even, conceived of.

To read the entire NY Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/16/upshot/as-robots-grow-smarter-american-workers-struggle-to-keep-up.html?emc=eta1&_r=0&abt=0002&abg=1

Does Low Unemployment Signal the End of the Recession?

August 7, 2014– Does Low Unemployment signal the end of the Recession?  July’s Unemployment Report, released by the Department of Labor earlier today, indicates growth in many major hiring sectors of the economy.   For the sixth straight month hiring increased and the unemployment rate decreased.   Is this trend an indication that the painful financial times are over and that a robust economy is right around the corner?   Perhaps; however, there are certain disturbing trends in the employment data which may make a celebration premature.

One of those negative trends is that the number of part time workers who are employed, yet would desire more work hours, held steady at, a staggering, 7.5 million Americans.  This number is an indicator that employers are still very gun shy about hiring full time workers, or converting part time employees to full time status, where they may earn, much needed benefits and overtime pay.  In recent years this segment has given rise to the popularity of the term, “underemployed“. Continue reading “Does Low Unemployment Signal the End of the Recession?”