Posts Tagged ‘unemployment

31
Mar
11

Mortgage Help Is Declining Fast

Last summer, officials revealed  a $1 billion program to provide loans to aid the unemployed pay their mortgages until they could obtain employment. It was scheduled to go into effect before the end of the year but the program has yet to accept any applications.

Now the existence of the main program, the Home Assistance Modification Program, is in doubt.

The House, controlled by the Republicans, voted this week to terminate the foreclosure relief program. The Democrat-controlled  Senate will seek a rescue.

The housing assistance effort has failed to end a tsunami of foreclosures and a decline in home values.  There were 225,000 foreclosure filings in February nationwide.

If you have questions about a foreclosure contact us at

619-800-3082

info@financialfreshstart.org

 

 

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07
Feb
11

profits keep going up – jobs don’t.

Corporate America continues to report impressive profit gains but job creation continues to lag. Dividend increases are up sharply and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is above 12000. It makes job growth the continued missing piece of the economic rebound puzzle.

So far, earnings are up 28% from a year earlier and sales are up 7.7% for the S&P 500 firms that have reported. But the juxtaposition between profits and job growth remains a big mountain for companies hoping to keep growing their business to climb.

The other thorn in the side of the economy would be lackluster housing market, which provides a source of spending for consumers.

The lack of significant job gains 18 months after the recession was deemed “over” isn’t such a mystery when considering how companies were able to return to strong profit growth in a short period of time. Companies mainly relied on aggressive job cuts, and with companies now enjoying their resurrected earnings and demand still choppy, they are not adding to their payrolls.

To add to the fun, the price of commodities have been skyrocketing. This adds more reason to hold off on hiring. The commodities spike is pressuring profit margins and keeping companies guarded about adding to labor costs.

For the first month of 2011, the economy added a paltry 36,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists had expected more than 130,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 9% from 9.4%, as more people found work and the pool of workers fell by more the 500,000. Winter weather that blanketed much of the country contributed to the weakness.

Some companies in hiring cycles include Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Norfolk Southern Corp., and Union Pacifiic.

But this is being offset by sectors such as banks and drug makers where jobs are still being pared. Several banks, including American Express Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., have either recently announced layoffs or signaled job cuts might be coming. Abbott Laboratories said it is trimming 1,900 jobs, or 2% of its work force.

Pfizer Inc. last week said it would slash as much as 5% of its 110,600-person global work force, including the layoff or transfer of about 1,100 employees at its Groton, Conn., facility. Pfizer plans to stop research in allergies, urology and other areas that didn’t seem as likely to bring medicines to market soon, a spokeswoman said.

Again, if jobs don’t recover it’s hard to see how the economy will be able to sustain meaningful growth.

Visit us at http://www.financialfreshstart.org

29
Dec
10

stock market up. gdp up. unemployment…….up?

By PALLAVI GOGOI AP Business Writer

(AP) – Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn’t anyone hiring?

Actually, many American companies are – just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc. has hired this year were outside the U.S. UPS is also hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.

The trend helps explain why unemployment remains high in the United States, edging up to 9.8 percent last month, even though companies are performing well: All but 4 percent of the top 500 U.S. corporations reported profits this year, and the stock market is close to its highest point since the 2008 financial meltdown.

But the jobs are going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, says American companies have created 1.4 million jobs overseas this year, compared with less than 1 million in the U.S. The additional 1.4 million jobs would have lowered the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, says Robert Scott, the institute’s senior international economist.

“There’s a huge difference between what is good for American companies versus what is good for the American economy,” says Scott.

American jobs have been moving overseas for more than two decades. In recent years, though, those jobs have become more sophisticated – think semiconductors and software, not toys and clothes.

And now many of the products being made overseas aren’t coming back to the United States. Demand has grown dramatically this year in emerging markets like India, China and Brazil.

Meanwhile, consumer demand in the U.S. has been subdued. Despite a strong holiday shopping season, Americans are still spending 3 percent less than before the recession on essential items like clothing and more than 10 percent less on jewelry, furniture, electronics, and big appliances, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse.

“Companies will go where there are fast-growing markets and big profits,” says Jeffrey Sachs, globalization expert and economist at Columbia University. “What’s changed is that companies today are getting top talent in emerging economies, and the U.S. has to really watch out.”

With the future looking brighter overseas, companies are building there, too. Caterpillar, maker of the signature yellow bulldozers and tractors, has invested in three new plants in China in just the last two months to design and manufacture equipment. The decision is based on demand: Asia-Pacific sales soared 38 percent in the first nine months of the year, compared with 16 percent in the U.S. Caterpillar stock is up 65 percent this year.

“There is a shift in economic power that’s going on and will continue. China just became the world’s second-largest economy,” says David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, who notes that half of the revenue for companies in the S&P 500 in the last couple of years has come from outside the U.S.

Take the example of DuPont, which wowed the world in 1938 with nylon stockings. Known as one of the most innovative American companies of the 20th century, DuPont now sells less than a third of its products in the U.S. In the first nine months of this year, sales to the Asia-Pacific region grew 50 percent, triple the U.S. rate. Its stock is up 47 percent this year.

DuPont’s work force reflects the shift in its growth: In a presentation on emerging markets, the company said its number of employees in the U.S. shrank by 9 percent between January 2005 and October 2009. In the same period, its work force grew 54 percent in the Asia-Pacific countries.

“We are a global player out to succeed in any geography where we participate in,” says Thomas M. Connelly, chief innovation officer at DuPont. “We want our resources close to where our customers are, to tailor products to their needs.”

While most of DuPont’s research labs are still stateside, Connelly says he’s impressed with the company’s overseas talent. The company opened a large research facility in Hyderabad, India, in 2008.

A key factor behind this runaway international growth is the rise of the middle class in these emerging countries. By 2015, for the first time, the number of consumers in Asia’s middle class will equal those in Europe and North America combined.

“All of the growth over the next 10 years is happening in Asia,” says Homi Kharas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute and formerly the World Bank’s chief economist for East Asia and the Pacific.

Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent often points out that a billion consumers will enter the middle class during the coming decade, mostly in Africa, China and India. He is aggressively targeting those markets. Of Coke’s 93,000 global employees, less than 13 percent were in the U.S. in 2009, down from 19 percent five years ago.

The company would not say how many new U.S. hires it has made in 2010. But its latest new investments are overseas, including $240 million for three bottling plants in Inner Mongolia as part of a three-year, $2 billion investment in China. The three plants will create 2,000 new jobs in the area. In September, Coca-Cola pledged $1 billion to the Philippines over five years.

The strategy isn’t restricted to just the largest American companies. Entrepreneurs, whether in technology, retail or in manufacturing, today hire globally from the start.

Consider Vast.com, which powers the search engines of sites like Yahoo Travel and Aol Autos. The company was founded in 2005 with employees based in San Francisco and Serbia.

Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria worries that the trend could be dangerous. In an article in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, he says that if U.S. businesses keep prospering while Americans are struggling, business leaders will lose legitimacy in society. He exhorted business leaders to find a way to link growth with job creation at home.

Other economists, like Columbia University’s Sachs, say multinational corporations have no choice, especially now that the quality of the global work force has improved. Sachs points out that the U.S. is falling in most global rankings for higher education while others are rising.

“We are not fulfilling the educational needs of our young people,” says Sachs. “In a globalized world, there are serious consequences to that.”

20
Dec
10

small business hiring doesn’t inspire confidence in a strong economic rebound

Small business in the U.S. does not seem to be hiring at too fast of a clip.  According to the Wall Street Journal, although U.S. small businesses continued to hire in November, this time adding the most jobs in a month’s time in nearly three years, according to payroll company Automatic Data Processing Inc., job growth remains modest compared with pre-recession years, and many entrepreneurs say they plan to hold back for some time to come.

Small, privately held businesses—companies with fewer than 500 employees—added a net 91,000 jobs last month, according to the ADP data released Wednesday. Though that was a sizeable jump over October’s net gain of 78,000 jobs, the average net monthly gain so far in 2010 has been just 35,000 jobs.

By contrast, small businesses in 2006 and 2007 added a monthly net average of 143,000 and 79,000 jobs, respectively, ADP’s data show.

A number of factors—including pending tax legislation, the ongoing credit crunch, and changes that owners made during the recession to stay afloat—are contributing to entrepreneurs’ restrained approach to hiring according to the Wall Street Journal.

What does this mean for consumer bankruptcy filings?  Probably more of the same. Small businesses play a major role in the U.S. economy, employing half of all private-sector workers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. They have also historically started adding jobs more quickly after recessions than large companies. For example, small businesses added a net monthly average of 38,000 jobs in 2003, while large businesses shed a net 22,000 jobs on average per month that year, ADP’s data show.  And the unemployment numbers are always deceiving because they do not take into account the underemployed and those who have given up looking for employment.  Add to this data the fact that the housing market still appears to be in a slum nationally and there is a recipe for continued economic hard times and more bankruptcy filings.




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