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A regular serving of what's new in working America -- trends, forecasts, surveys, and advice for employers and employees alike. NCS WorkWatch is updated twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays. The links below are also available in a chronological format.
Updated 7-26-01.


For Employers:
blue triangle NEW.gif (54 bytes)  Recruitment, Selection & Retention (8 links)
blue triangle NEW.gif (54 bytes)  Employment Law (9)
blue triangle NEW.gif (54 bytes)  Other HR Issues (10) - Training & development, performance measurement, HRIS, etc.

For Employees:
blue triangle NEW.gif (54 bytes)  Career Management (38)
- Job search, personal & professional development,
     work/life balance, continuing education, etc.


For Employers & Employees:
blue triangle NEW.gif (54 bytes)  Compensation & Benefits (16)
- Salaries & bonuses, health insurance, employer-
     sponsored retirement plans, perks, etc.

blue triangle NEW.gif (54 bytes)  Workplace Reports (17)
blue triangle NEW.gif (54 bytes)  Miscellany (11)
 - Labor market & related economic news, demographic trends, etc.


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Recruitment, Selection & Retention


yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Firms feel exodus of key staff
With increased layoffs and a sliding economy, it's hard to believe any employer would be worried about losing people. But they should be. That's because it isn't the losers in an organization who are walking out the door. Instead, it's the star performers -- the people employers want to keep around.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Lean times for recruiting industry
After an average annual growth rate of 22 percent over the past five years, worldwide revenues for the retained executive search industry will fall flat in 2001, a Connecticut company predicts.

  Turbo-charging employee referrals
Fortune readers weigh in with the down-and-dirty about employee-referral programs.

  Recruiting Solutions ranks No. 1 among middle-market service providers
Recruiting Solutions International, a provider of Web-based recruiting and workforce management software, was rated No. 1 in its market space according to research conducted by the Electronic Recruiting Exchange.

  Want loyal workers? Then help them grow
Thirty years ago, U.S. companies demonstrated their loyalty by paying decent wages and benefits and offering job security. Today, more and more employees equate corporate loyalty and job satisfaction with opportunities for professional growth as well as competitive pay and benefits, reports Wirthlin Worldwide.

  Testing to find 'right' worker: Growing use of psychological tests praised,
   panned

Many employers are turning to psychological testing and personality assessments to help try to reduce the number of hiring errors. Such tests help identify people who are "good fits" for available jobs. But, critics say, they also weed out innovative nonconformists who can provide fresh perspectives, and they put companies at risk for privacy and discrimination lawsuits.

  Retail workers looking more at benefits picture
It's not just about the dollars anymore for retail job applicants, experts say, as medical benefits and 401(k) plans become increasingly important to workers looking for more than just an extra 25 cents an hour.

  Focusing on people, not resources
Medrad's job-retention success follows goal of creating an "enjoyable, rewarding" place to work.


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Employment Law


yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Employers must be creative in making ADA accommodations
Employers are legally required to think "creatively" to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and cannot simply say that a disabled worker's proposal for a reasonable accommodation would have been "inconvenient," a federal appeals court has ruled.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Age bias plaintiff need not wait for right-to-sue letter
In an age discrimination case, the plaintiff does not need a "right-to-sue letter" from
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but instead can proceed directly to court 60 days after filing an EEOC charge, a federal judge has ruled.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Court rules corporate shareholder can be employee, making disability
          insurance purchased by company an ERISA plan

While the result and legal conclusions in this case are relatively unremarkable, the opinion is a helpful overview of numerous basic principles relevant to identifying
ERISA plans.

  FAA employee wins Sabbath lawsuit
Don Reed believes in God, and on Tuesday he said he believes in justice, too. A federal jury awarded the former air traffic controller $2.25 million after finding that he was the victim of intentional religious discrimination by his employer.

  More workers claim age bias in layoffs
The economic slowdown is taking a toll on older workers, who are reporting a surge in age discrimination in layoffs and hiring.

  Employee discrimination attorneys reveal disturbing double standard in U.S.
   appellate court appeals

A new report reveals that employment discrimination plaintiffs (employees) who win at trial fare "miserably on appeal" and that appellate courts seldom reverse a case in which the defendant (employer) won at trial. This gap raises the specter that appellate courts have a double standard for employment discrimination cases.

  Law gives boost to the disabled
Despite the economic boom of the 1990s, joblessness has remained high among people with disabilities. But DiversityInc.com reports that the picture may improve soon, thanks to legislation signed in 1999 by then-President Clinton.

  Court rules ADEA does not apply to foreign nationals
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not prohibit U.S. corporations from
discriminating against foreign nationals on the basis of age, ruled the 4th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals.

  Fired accounting clerk with neck, arm pain can sue under FMLA, not ADA
A former accounting clerk fired after repeatedly requesting leave due to pain in her arms and neck failed to demonstrate that her employer violated the Americans with
Disabilities Act, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled July 9.


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Other HR Issues


yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  When violence at home comes to work
For millions of women -- and some men -- who suffer from domestic violence, the abusive relationship is not confined to home. Realizing this, more and more employers are responding to increased threats on the job, as well as the low productivity and increased absenteeism that occur due to injuries or other reasons related to domestic violence.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Bringing together workers of different generations crucial
A typical workplace today can consist of four generations: elders nearing retirement or returning to work; baby boomers; and members of generations X and Y. To keep this diverse group committed to the job and company while respecting individual differences, one expert suggests the following.

  Core 12 questions can improve workplace health
Gallup did a five-year study to find out what makes a successful organization. Its personnel interviewed a million employees and 80,000 managers at 400 companies. They then did a statistical analysis that allowed them to narrow down their assessment to 12 basic questions.

  U.S. corporations losing millions through poor e-mail control
Many U.S. organizations could be losing more than $20 million annually through poor management of e-mail, according to a survey by Rogen International and Goldhaber Research Associates.

  When an employee about to be axed asks for advice
Let's say you're a manager of a division targeted for layoffs. You've seen the list of employees to be cut, but you've been asked to keep the information secret for two weeks. Now imagine that an employee on the list asks you whether he should be putting a down payment on his first home. What should you say?

  Fired and shown the door
Many companies, concerned about angry reactions to layoffs, have a policy of escorting out anyone they fire. Some workplace experts say escorting should be done only when there is reason to believe the individual could become hostile or destructive.

  OSHA unveils new round of inspections that focus on most-hazardous
   worksites

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is launching in July 2001 the next round of wall-to-wall inspections of thousands of high-hazard worksites under its
site-specific targeting program, the agency announced July 13.

  Morale is about how workers are treated (and not salary)
With the demise of the dot-coms and the downturn in many businesses associated with them, employee morale has become a pressing problem for many business owners.

  Difficult worker may require new approach
Forget trying to change the behavior of a difficult employee. You probably can't.
Instead, "change the way you deal with them," advises Patricia H. White, senior consultant at the Center for Organizational Effectiveness at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.

  Common ground for differences
As offices become more diverse, employers are seeking new approaches to cultural and ethnic issues.


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Career Management


yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Work on understanding the other person's perspective
Audios, visuals, feelers and holistics: These different ways of dealing with information and interaction often are the root of personality conflicts and stress among co-workers, said Carol Welsh, a Florida author and workshop facilitator.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Ready, set, go home
Getting your employer's OK to telecommute is only half the battle. Here's what you need to know before you head out the door.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Keeping it real on the resume
What's the harm in massaging your resume, juggling a month or two between positions, or throwing in an extra skill or two? Lots, apparently.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Learning Spanish becoming a key job skill in North Carolina's Triad
Throughout the Triad, residents are flocking to community colleges to learn Spanish in response to a Latino immigration wave that has led to a nearly 400-percent increase in the state's Spanish-speaking population.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Learning how to work with the good stress, live without the bad
Good stress is the kind that motivates and excites, the kind most likely to yield good results on the job. Bad stress is the kind that fouls performance. Amid layoffs and other upheavals, it's a distinction worth drawing.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Women satisfied with current jobs in financial industry, but barriers still
          exist

Three-quarters of women and men in financial services are satisfied with their current positions and employers, according to a new Catalyst study, Women in Financial Services: The Word on the Street. Despite these high satisfaction rates, women report the existence of subtle discriminatory behaviors and practices.

  Helping women seize opportunities
As more women pierce the glass ceiling, they are forming support networks for
upcoming women -- the same informal networks that have benefited men for years. These networks offer invaluable support and advice, guiding women’s choices about strategic assignments and encouraging them to take risks.

  Sell yourself into the job
When you read a job posting or employment advertisement that is not a perfect match for your credentials but you want to be considered for the position, don't be overly concerned about the match because organizations often change candidate requirements if the right individual comes along.

  Rethink rehiring plan after layoff
It's best to treat your old employer as just one of many job sources. Outplacement consultant John Challenger says that too often he's seen clients slack off on their outside searches "while waiting for the mother ship to take them back."

  Learning on sabbatical
Want to gain new skills in a relatively short time? Take a sabbatical from your job. Though many employers don't offer sabbaticals -- only 19% of 754 companies recently polled do -- they encourage learning by radically changing a person's environment and sense of purpose.

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  Survey: Lawyers see upside to future job market
Despite recent uncertainty in the U.S. economy, most attorneys view the long-term hiring outlook in the legal field with optimism.

  Don't check your faith at the door
Reconciling personal beliefs with bottom-line demands is especially tough now
as layoffs and profit squeezing take center stage in corporate America. Management consultant Larry Julian knows the struggle and imparts some wisdom in his book "God Is My CEO: Following God's Principles in a Bottom-Line World."

  Work issues subtle, but still exist for women
Overt discrimination has subsided, but subtle, often unintended discrimination
persists. Child-care responsibilities continue to fall predominantly on women. And
women often remain excluded from core operations positions -- managing money
or staff -- that lead to high-power promotions.

  The risks of blowing your own horn
Career survival is often about balancing one force against another. For instance, when do you stay below the radar and when do you surface and show your stuff to the boss?

  Downsizings are traumatic top to bottom
Companies are quicker today than ever to shrink their payrolls. The corporate world can call it a flexibility strategy or a response to market conditions, but it is still unsettling to those who lose their jobs in today's rapid-fire downsizings.

  Myths about menopause hurt women in the workplace
Calling attention to yourself as a woman can be career suicide. Professional women who are entering menopause now fought hard to achieve their status, to have a career at all. That makes any mention of  "female problems'' seem even riskier.

  Sales as a second career can be a daunting change
Right approach and preparation, career changers can successfully make the switch to sales.

  The fine art of the schmooze
Employees who master the art of social engagement, or schmooze, make more money, receive more stellar evaluations and are apt to scale the corporate ladder faster than those who speak their minds or adhere to a particular set of values no matter what the situation, say researchers.

  Noncompetes often not enforced
High-tech workers caught in job cuts can usually count on their former employers to not pursue noncompete agreements they may have signed, experts say, but companies almost always expect former employees to respect confidentiality and
nonsolicitation agreements.

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  Snooze you lose?
Many top executives defy the rules on sleep deprivation, much to the chagrin of health experts.

  It can be a chore to get back to work
Almost everyone who spends years away from their career has at least one Rip
Van Winkle story to tell of their return. The fear of surprises and adjustments is why many people who stay home with family obligations never return to the occupation they left.

  Want to be CEO? Here are some surprising rules to get there
The race goes not just to the swift, but to the polite and happily married.

  From welfare to work
The path from welfare to work has taken Edwina Ayers through a dozen jobs, four junker cars, several lousy child-care arrangements and a short stint in a wheelchair.

  If a boss is an embarrassment
In corporate America -- and even in the halls of Congress and the White House -- employees can become unwitting victims of a boss' humiliating missteps. But just because the reputation of your boss is sinking doesn't mean that yours has to.

  Job seekers, plagued by tight market, look for advice
Now that the fairy-tale job market has collapsed, many start-up refugees are learning what it takes to find work the Old Economy way. They are studying up on business
etiquette, what to wear on an interview and how to describe their skills.

  Promotions lag for minorities in federal government
When it comes to minorities and women, the face of the federal government looks more and more like America. When it comes to promotions, it's a different story.

  Take time to evaluate your spending habits before retiring
While many workers do an admirable job of saving for retirement, they fail to estimate how much they'll spend when they stop working, financial planners say.

  Noncompete contracts can close doors
Employment attorneys say they have dealt with more and more noncompete contracts in recent years as workers change jobs more often. The issue is a seesaw that pits the right of businesses to protect their interests against the right of workers to further their careers and work where they wish.

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  Summer jobs are hard to come by
Summertime and the living is supposed to be easy. But for many teenagers looking for work, this summer is shaping up as a disappointment. As Ira Gershwin might have put it: the fish are not jumping and the cotton is not quite so high. (Free registration required.)

  Dismissed workers can earn more at next job
Just because you've lost your job, don't assume you have to settle for less money at your next position.

  Young, educated and jobless after U.S. tech bust
Unemployed, broke and living for free at a friend's house 2-1/2 hours from the city, Jennifer Bussell has joined the ranks of highly educated, experienced and once- highly paid young professionals adrift without jobs in the wake of an investment bust in U.S. technology companies.

  Restrictive corporate culture perpetuates glass ceiling, EEOC nominee says
Many hard-to-quantify, invisible barriers still preclude women from reaching the highest ranks in much of corporate America, Cari Dominguez, President Bush's
choice to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said July 12.

  Some begin second careers in 'golden years'
A significant change in attitude toward retirement has occurred in this country over the past few years. Those who saw "the golden years" as a time to leave the
workforce and make room for the younger generation is decreasing.

  Layoff Lounge: Where job seekers connect
Instead of commiserating over drinks all night or handing out business cards, Layoff Lounge participants share leads and tips that could help a fellow job seeker find work. In return, the Lounge provides a form of one-stop shopping for professionals that includes career counseling and resume-writing tips.

  11 strategies to overcome your age disadvantage in interviewing
The older we get the greater the likelihood that those interviewing us and making a hiring decision will be younger. Such an interview can be intimidating to both the job seeker and the interviewer. It is critical for the job seeker to make the interviewer feel comfortable and not threatened by age or experience.

  Head up, shoulders back
Been fired? Here's how to walk away with your self-confidence intact.

  It's common for emotions to cycle as job loss sinks in
Laid-off employees often experience a stomach-turning gamut of emotions after their dismissals, and most must progress through a full range of emotions before they're ready to find a new job.

  There are still jobs out there
It may seem as though opportunities are shrinking with each major layoff announcement and the upward tick of unemployment to 4.5 percent, but demand remains great in certain fields, including technology and health care.


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Compensation & Benefits


yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  For some employees, the doctor is always in
Valuable employees are hard to find and keep. Some employers reward them with annual appreciation picnics, casual-dress Fridays and stock options. But others -- Continental Airlines, PolyOne Corp. and NASA's Glenn Research Center among them -- offer their employees immediate access to free health care at work.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Leading financial institutions offer Visa payroll card
Soon, several banks will offer a payroll option that gives companies the ability to use prepaid card technology to replace the paper paycheck process. This new payroll option allows an employer to deposit an employee's pay directly onto a prepaid Visa card issued in the name of the employee.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  New study profiles retirement plan advisers
A new study from Brightwork Partners reveals a remarkable diversity of experience and work styles among advisers specializing in group retirement products.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Survey: Finance officers' salaries grow steadily
Total average compensation for individuals who practice treasury and financial management was 8.1 percent higher in 2001 than it was in 2000, according to a recent survey conducted by the Association for Financial Professionals.


  Some 401(k) fees may end up back in your employer's pocket
Most employees are unaware that they may be paying hundreds of dollars of fees every year on their 401(k) plans, and even fewer know that fund companies often rebate part of the fees to employers.

  Expanded executive cash packages and equity participation enhance retention
   in wake of dot-com downturn

On Monday, Unifi Network released the findings of its Internet Compensation Survey: 2001. Among the survey's findings is the fact that Internet companies continue to redefine themselves and their business strategies as the industry faces a record amount of business failures, mergers and acquisition activity.

  Tips for preventing workers' compensation fraud
As employers worry about rising workers' compensation premiums and workers worry about coverage, one industry leader notes that fraudulent workers' compensation claims are partly to blame for rate increases, and that some of the fraud can be prevented.

  When hidden fees erode 401(k)'s
Administrative fees once borne almost universally by employers are chipping away
at the returns of many investors in 401(k) retirement plans. (Free registration required.)

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  DOL reports employers provide more generous leave benefits than required
   under FMLA

In its report Balancing the Needs of Families and Employers: Family and Medical Leave Surveys, the U.S. Dept. of Labor finds that many employers offer more than the required 12 weeks of annual leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

  Easing wage pressures on the horizon
Back-to-back declines in the Wage Trend Indicator indicate that there will be an easing of wage pressures by the end of 2001, according to the latest report from the Bureau of National Affairs Inc.

  Firms offer insurance for Fluffy
AT&T isn't usually in front of the corporate culture curve. So when Ma Bell offers health benefits not only for workers' families but also for their pets, something must be up.

  Minimum wage can be bumped above minimal
The living-wage movement has its critics, who warn it could lead to job losses for unskilled workers, saddle businesses with higher costs and worsen inflation. In the workplace trenches, however, a pay increase that might be small change for most white-collar workers is bringing hope to impoverished Americans. (Free registration required.)

  Workers' comp: Double-digit increases
A study of worker-compensation claims in eight large states shows that claim costs grew by 11 percent in 1997 and 1998, the most recent years available for review.

  Rethink your 401(k) -- now
Your stock-bubble money is gone. Time to look at your retirement strategy from scratch.

  Analysts say health care, prescription drug costs driven by consumer demand
Efforts to control health care costs have taken a "back seat" to demand for more "freedom and choice," health policy analysts said at a July 12 roundtable discussion hosted by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

  Significant delay in application of new claims procedure regulations -- but only
   for group health claims

The deadline to comply with the DOL regulations on claim procedures has been extended, but only for ERISA group health claims.


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Workplace Reports


yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Mergers often a combination of fear, shock for workers
Veterans of the the Philadelphia-area banking wars say the stress can hurt job performance. "For any employee, it's not fun," says one.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Atlanta-area employers chafe at employers' new monitoring systems
BellSouth knows when Johnny Cupid starts the engine of his service truck. Idles at a stoplight. It knows where he is at any given time during his daily rounds and how long he's been there. "I feel like they got their eye on me all the time," said Cupid, a
cable repairman. "I can't slow down anywhere anymore."

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Sharing personal problems at work can help team bond
No matter how busy they are or how much they're paid, employees are still betrayed lovers, grieving children and overwhelmed parents, even during work hours. The idea that people can leave their anxieties and fears, heartbreak and rage at home is naive.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Unions join drive to ban smoking in workplace
Now, for the first time, some labor unions are joining forces with public-health groups to try to cut down on blue-collar and union smoking.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Treatment of meat-packing workers questioned
Investigative reporter Eric Schlosser's controversial best-seller "Fast Food Nation'' has focused new attention on how the nation's meat packers treat their employees.


  Criticism of drug testing mounts
As drug testing spreads and labs develop new methods of detection, growing ranks of critics are challenging the science and fairness behind the workplace practice.
Employers maintain that testing is accurate and increasingly necessary to lower injury rates and absenteeism costs. But critics say the increase in testing has too many employees losing careers because they've been wrongly accused.

  Beware the killjoy
Does the death of the dot-coms mean no one will ever have fun at work again?

  Survey: Which day is most productive for execs?
A survey conducted by Getzler & Co. has found that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week for top- and mid-level executives.

  Survey indicates decline in workplace manners
A few more "pleases" and "thank yous" in the office would definitely be welcome, a new survey suggests. Nearly half (44 percent) of workers polled recently said the level of professional courtesy at work has decreased over the past five years.

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  Ouch...my aching back! Tips for relieving back pain caused by desk work
In today's competitive workplace, complaining of a backache is tantamount to bellyaching. A tension headache is only phantom pain. But sitting for long periods may in fact lead to recurring pain everyone should take heed of.

  Employees shouldn't overdo staying in touch
Connective technologies supposedly provide employees with greater flexibility and efficiencies on their jobs. The reality is that each new technology also adds complexity and burden.

  Boomers dressing down
Many middle-aged women no longer see the need to dress for work.

  Survey shows continued concern about stress in workplace
Workplace stress continues to be a major concern, according to ComPsych's StressPulse for May 2001, which reports the following: 56 percent of employees are stressed by their workload and their increasing amount of responsibility.

  Hispanic workers die at higher rate
In recent years the rate of on-the-job deaths for all Hispanics has been 20 percent
higher than for whites or blacks, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found. (Free registration required.)

  Forum addresses workplace safety
Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive-motion injuries often aren't work-related and can be triggered by psychological factors, doctors for opponents of government regulation said at a hearing Monday. Supporters countered with hurt workers and details of employer programs they said have reduced such injuries.

  Health programs looking at workers' effectiveness
Employers are painfully aware of the toll chronic illness takes in lost workdays. Now, as they fight alarming increases in health care costs, many want to know how these conditions affect so-called presenteeism, or the reduced performance of employees when they're on the job.

  Tired, overworked and stressed out
Stress already costs U.S. businesses $300 billion a year, according to the American Institute of Stress. This year, as corporations are tightening their belts and trimming jobs, expect even more employees to complain about migraine headaches, stomachaches, fatigue and other ailments that are linked to pressure on the job.


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Miscellany


yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Genetic debate hits Capitol Hill
The House Education and the Workforce Committee's Subcommittee on Employer-Employee Relations July 24 held the first hearing on genetic
non-discrimination and its implications for employers and employees.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Poll: U.S. workers say Bush favors business
A poll by the largest U.S. labor organization released Wednesday found about half of the workers it surveyed believe President Bush's administration favored business interests over workers' interests.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  More people working for state and local governments
There were more than 15.1 million state and local government employees in 2000, up 2.2 percent from the previous year, according to the Census Bureau report released Wednesday for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Immigrant says many Americans are spoiled
Walk through any U.S. city and you're liable to see an immigrant operating a store's cash register, making business deals or buying supplies for his or her company.
Walk through these same cities, and you may see Americans who aren't recent arrivals driving expensive cars, charging fancy technical equipment on overloaded credit cards and pampering their children with the latest video game.

yellow_NEW_bullet_cg3.gif (107 bytes)  Business schools struggle to add more female students to bottom line
The University of Chicago is just one of many business schools -- including Harvard, Michigan and Columbia -- scrambling to break the glass ceiling on female
enrollment, which typically hovers around 30 percent.


  Temporary work is sidestepping a slowdown
The law of gravity has worked on stocks, dot-coms and economic growth rates. But it is having a harder time pulling down the industry that supplies temporary employees to American businesses. (Free registration required.)

  Study: Availability of skilled workforce is No. 1 factor when deciding where to
   locate tech businesses

The availability of a skilled, experienced, tech-savvy talent pool, quality of life and cost
of living are the three most important attributes considered when senior executives decide where to locate technology-related businesses, according to a new study released today by A.T. Kearney.

Tech talent alarm sounded

"Everyone over the age of 45 in my lab was born in the United States. No one under the age of 45 in my lab is from the United States.'' With that simple statement, technology pioneer Stan Williams, chief of Hewlett-Packard's top-secret nanotechnology laboratory, shocked a group of congressional Democrats into grasping the dimensions of Silicon Valley's talent crisis.

  Weekly jobless claims slip
First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, dropping by 35,000, the government said Thursday, while the number of people still on benefit rolls rose to its highest since 1992.

  U.S. 'skills gap' called a problem for industries
Despite a slowing economy, some industries are still having difficulty filling positions because many American workers don't have the skills to compete in an increasingly high-tech market, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said Wednesday.

  Economic slowdown hits minorities hardest after gains of 1990s
Now with last-hired, first-fired logic, blacks and Hispanics are seeing their unemployment rates hit hard in the downturn. And that's churning fears that other gains could be eroded.


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