Telecommuting On The Rise, Jobless Claims Fall

Increased traffic congestion, higher gas prices and rising rents for office space could spike interest in telecommuting as companies continue to seek ways to contain costs. A new report out today shows that traffic congestion is beginning to climb back toward pre-recession levels. The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that traffic cost the U.S. economy nearly $115 billion in time and fuel in 2009. That figure probably increased further in 2010 as the economy continued to improve. Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter of 2010 Manhattan office rents rose for the first time in more than two years, according to brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield. Employers and employees are also facing rising gasoline prices. At least one employer sees the cost-benefit of increased telecommuting. In December, President Obama signed the Telework Enhancement Act, which will encourage telecommuting for federal employees through a number of measures. What are the biggest obstacles blocking increased adoption of telecommuting? What are the challenges of implementing a broader telecommuting strategy? What are the pros and cons of telecommuting?

Weekly jobless claims fell by 37,000 to 400,000 last week, the largest weekly drop since the week ending February 6. The four-week moving average dropped to 411,750, larger than expected possibly due to the holiday season skewing results. Most economists agree that weekly jobless claims have to drop below 400,000 before the job market begins to see significant improvement, as hiring remains slow. Which industries could see an uptick in hiring in the coming months? Will announced job cuts continue to trend downward? Is the job market on the cusp of experiencing greater and faster improvement?

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Mixed Signals on Economy, Hiring

Mixed Signals on Economy

Is the good news beginning to outweigh the bad? It was reported today that initial jobless claims unexpectedly increased by 12,000 last week to 465,000. However, the weekly claims is notoriously volatile measurement that fluctuates wildly even in the best of times. The good news is that the four-week moving average, which is considered by most to be a more reliable indicator, fell to the lowest level since July 31. Meanwhile, the number of people who continued to receive jobless benefits fell by 48,000. In other good news, the index of leading economic indicators rose by a better-than-expected 0.3 percent in August and existing home sales increased by 7.6 percent last month. While, home sales and other economic measurements still remain severely depressed from pre-recession levels, they are heading in the right direction. When will the recovery begin to look and feel like a recovery? Should the unemployed be looking at these national economic measurements for readings on the job market?

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Retailers Already Announcing Mass Hiring

This morning, Macy’s Inc. announced it would hire 65,000 temporary seasonal workers, expecting sales to grow between 3 and 3.5 percent over last year. The announcement comes on the heels of a similar one from Toys R Us, which announced it will hire 10,000 seasonal workers this year. Challenger predicts hiring will increase this holiday season over last year, due to two consecutive months of sales gains in addition to a 65 percent decline in retail-sector job cut announcements since 2009. What other businesses could see an uptick in hiring as the holidays approach? Do sales gains necessarily predict hiring? Will the workers hired for the holidays be able to retain their positions into the new year?

Read Full Holiday Hiring Outlook Here: http://www.challengergray.com/press/press.aspx

August Job Cuts Plummet to 34,768

CHICAGO, September 1, 2010 – While the pace of job creation continues to disappoint, job security appears to be stronger than ever. The latest report on downsizing activity reveals that planned job cuts announced by employers in August fell to 34,768, the lowest monthly total in over a decade.

August job cuts were down 17 percent from the 41,676 cuts announced in July, according to the report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. This marks the first decline following three consecutive months of increases. August not only replaces April as the lowest job-cut month of the year, it represents the lowest job-cut month since June 2000, when employers announced only 17,241 planned layoffs.

Full Report Available Here: http://www.challengergray.com/press/press.aspx
 

Challenger 2010 Labor Day Outlook: Jobless Recovery Stronger Than Thought

JOB MARKET RECOVERY STRONGER THAN MANY THINK; STRONGER THAN 2001 RECOVERY

As Labor Day approaches, many Americans want signs of a job-market recovery. While many are frustrated with the pace of job creation, a new analysis reveals that the job market is well on the road to recovery and that it is rebounding sooner and faster compared to the jobless recoveries that followed the previous two recessions.

In its annual Labor Day outlook, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. says that positive trends in a number of employment indicators, including the pace of layoffs, the unemployment rate and job creation, are shrouded by the fact that the economy began its recovery in a much deeper hole; the deepest since the Great Depression.

Full report found here: http://www.challengergray.com/press/press.aspx