Labor & Economic News Blog
Tuesday, January 31, 2006Honeywell Investigates Security Breach
Honeywell International is offering credit monitoring and identity theft insurance to approximately 19,000 current and former employees whose personal information _ including Social Security numbers and bank account information _ was posted on an Internet Web...
Judge Lets Northwest to Freeze Pension Plan
By By ALEKSANDRS ROZENS, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK _ A New York bankruptcy judge Tuesday allowed Northwest Airlines Corp. to freeze its pilot pension plan and approved the carrier's request to lower lease and loan payments for certain aircraft. The carrier, which filed for bankruptcy...
Employment costs up 0.8 percent in 4th quarter (Reuters)
Reuters - U.S. employment costs rose 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, just below market forecasts, as wage growth picked up and the increase in benefit costs slowed, but inflation once again outpaced the increase in worker paychecks, a government report showed on Tuesday.
Wages Up by Smallest Amount in Nine Years (AP)
AP - Wages and benefits paid to civilian workers rose last year by the smallest amount in nine years, the government reported Tuesday.
Monday, January 30, 2006Ford can't sustain its workforce
By David Lazarus
Bill Ford, chief exec of Ford Motor Co., was straightforward last week in announcing plans to idle 14 North American facilities and lay off as many as 30,000 workers. "We will be making painful sacrifices to protect Ford's heritage and secure our...
Kraft Foods to Eliminate 8,000 Jobs
By By MIKE COLIAS, AP Business Writer
Kraft Foods Inc., the nation's largest food manufacturer, said Monday it would eliminate 8,000 more jobs, or about 8 percent of its work force, and close up to 20 production plants as it broadens an ongoing restructuring effort. Kraft said the cuts...
ISM factory index seen at 55.4 in January (Reuters)
Reuters - Activity at U.S. factories remained robust in January, as evidence from regional surveys points to a continued expansion in nationwide manufacturing, according to a Reuters poll.
Friday, January 27, 2006No boom time, but Bay Area economy growing / Construction jobs, not high tech, responsible for job growth
By Carolyn Said
After several years in the doldrums, the Bay Area economy has turned a corner and should experience slow-to-moderate job growth this year and next, the Association of Bay Area Governments said in its annual forecast, released Thursday. "We see 2005 as...
Thursday, January 26, 2006Study Finds Uneven Job Growth for Cities (AP)
AP - Higher productivity and more jobs fueled growth in the nation's urban areas in 2004, but declines in manufacturing could spell trouble for the Midwest, according to a new report.
Pension worry piles pressure on American consumers (Reuters)
Reuters - Americans banking on a comfortable retirement got a rude reminder this month that generous traditional pensions are vanishing, a shock that added to such worries as stagnant wages and rising health costs.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006Union: Delta Actions May Jeopardize Deal
By By HARRY R. WEBER, AP Business Writer
Delta Air Lines Inc.'s refusal to budge on its demand for $325 million in permanent pay and benefit cuts from its pilots could jeopardize the two sides' efforts to hammer out a comprehensive agreement by a March 1 deadline, a top union official said...
Tuesday, January 24, 2006IBM Accused of Not Paying OT to Workers
By By DAVID KRAVETS, Associated Press Writer
International Business Machines Corp. was sued in federal court Tuesday for allegedly not paying overtime to tens of thousands of rank-and-file employees. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of three current and former workers, and...
Monday, January 23, 2006Ford to Cut 25,000 to 30,000 Jobs by 2012
By By DEE-ANN DURBIN, AP Auto Writer
Ford Motor Co., the nation's second-largest automaker, said Monday that it will cut 25,000 to 30,000 jobs and idle 14 facilities by 2012 as part of a restructuring designed to reverse a $1.6 billion loss last year in its North American operations. The...
State gains 24,300 jobs in December / Jobless rate drops to 5.1% -- better than expected
By Tom Abate
California employers created a solid 24,300 payroll jobs in December, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5.1 percent, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday. The state's unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in November, revised...
Friday, January 20, 2006United plan approved / Reorganization will let airline emerge from bankruptcy
By David Armstrong
After more than three years in bankruptcy, United Airlines has won court approval for its reorganization plan and will leave Chapter 11 on Feb. 1, airline officials said Friday. Executives at United's parent company, UAL Corp., hailed the exit plan as...
Thursday, January 19, 2006Mid-Atlantic factory growth slows in January (Reuters)
Reuters - Factories in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region in January ran at their slowest pace since June, but the outlook
Wednesday, January 18, 2006Fed Notes Expansion of Economic Activity (AP)
AP - The economy chugged ahead as the new year opened with manufacturing picking up, employment improving and retail sales rising, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday.
Jobless claims at lowest since 2000 (Reuters)
Reuters - The number of U.S. workers making new claims for unemployment benefits tumbled unexpectedly last week to 271,000, their lowest level in nearly six years, the government said on Thursday in a report suggesting a robust labor market.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006Industrial Production Posts Gains in Dec. (AP)
AP - The nation's industrial output posted a solid increase in December as recovery in production of Gulf Coast oil and gas wells offset a slump in auto manufacturing.
Friday, January 13, 2006Output gap concept no longer useful: Fisher (Reuters)
Reuters - Increased globalization has lessened the usefulness of concepts such as output gaps or capacity restraints for monetary policy-makers, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher said on Friday.
Thursday, January 12, 2006Germany's Economy Grows by 0.9 Percent (AP)
AP - Germany's economic growth slowed last year to 0.9 percent amid perniciously high unemployment and consumers reluctant to spend — and may have even stagnated in the final quarter, the government said Thursday.
Trade Deficit Narrows, Jobless Claims Up (AP)
AP - The U.S. trade deficit narrowed slightly in November as the price of foreign oil fell and U.S. exports hit an all-time high. Some economists predicted
Wednesday, January 11, 2006French Government Pledges to Tackle Debt (AP)
AP - The French government on Wednesday ruled out giving away more tax cuts if it is re-elected next year, as ministers presented plans to reduce the country's massive debt.
China's 2005 trade surplus hits $102 bln (Reuters)
Reuters - China's trade surplus more than tripled to $102 billion in 2005, data showed on Wednesday, but December figures also reinforced a more recent trend of weakening export growth.
Snow says economy to grow well (Reuters)
Reuters - The U.S. economy will grow by about 3.5 percent this year as its recovery continues and expands, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Wednesday.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006China State Planner Forecasts 2006 Growth (AP)
AP - China's economy will slow to a still sizzling growth rate of 8.5 percent to 9 percent this year, the state planning agency said in a report published Wednesday.
Survey: German Economic Outlook Improving (AP)
AP - German finance professionals expressed more optimism about growth in Europe's largest economy because of increased foreign demand for domestic goods, a research group's latest survey released Tuesday showed.
Monday, January 09, 2006Fed's Hoenig says US fiscal gap not sustainable (Reuters)
Reuters - Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig said on Monday the United States cannot sustain its budget deficits indefinitely, saying interest rates would eventually rise.
Thursday, January 05, 2006Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.9 Percent (AP)
AP - Businesses boosted payrolls modestly in December, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent — evidence, President Bush said, of the economy's resiliency in the face of last year's hurricanes and high energy costs. For all of 2005, employers added 2 million new jobs.
Wednesday, January 04, 2006Factory orders rise 2.5 pct on aircraft (Reuters)
Reuters - New orders at U.S. factories rose 2.5 percent in November, in line with forecasts, as strong demand for civilian aircraft offset weakness in cars and machinery, a Commerce Department report showed on Wednesday.
Migrant survivors of raid homeless / Hundreds of Sudanese arrested in Cairo freed from detention, unsure what to do
By Michael Slackman
Hundreds of Sudanese have been released from detention camps onto the streets with no money, no place to live -- and in many cases, no shoes -- three days after riot police attacked a squatter camp set up as a protest to press the United Nations to relocate...
Confusion Over Miners' Fate Led to Anger
By By MARK WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer
A coal company executive says it became clear within 20 minutes that the news anxious family members had received about the survival of a dozen trapped miners was terribly wrong. Yet for three hours, church bells rang in celebration, families joined...
U.S. Faces Severe Worker Shortage in Future
By By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writer
The United States faces a severe worker shortage in the near future, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday in advocating better education for Americans and changes in immigration law to allow in more foreign workers. Chamber President and CEO...
SACRAMENTO / Salary controversy threatens UC's independence
By Todd Wallack, Tanya Schevitz
In the latest rebuke against the University of California's pay practices, a Republican state senator plans to introduce legislation that threatens to revoke UC's operating independence unless it does a better job of disclosing executive pay to the...
SAN FRANCISCO / Minimum wage law praised in new study / But restaurants say they raised prices, earned lower profits
By Charlie Goodyear
A 2-year-old city law that boosted San Francisco's minimum wage -- from $6.75 an hour in 2003 to $8.82 this year -- hasn't hurt the city's economy or its businesses, according to a report from a Berkeley labor policy think tank. The study by the...
Tuesday, January 03, 2006French Economy Grows 0.7 Percent in 3Q (AP)
AP - France's economic growth accelerated in the third quarter as a rebound in exports and consumer spending helped lift gross domestic product after an anemic second quarter.
Manufacturing Grows at Slower Pace in Dec. (AP)
AP - Manufacturing grew at a surprisingly slower pace in December, a month after construction spending jumped due to a pickup in highway and school building as well as projects that may be tied to recovery efforts in states hurt by 2005's deadly hurricanes.
Safer Conditions Have Cut Mine Disasters
By By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer
Dark and dank and dangerous, coal mines have long been the stuff of nightmares. Collapses and explosions _ like the one that left 13 miners trapped underground in West Virginia _ have been recurring dramas going back to the 1800s. But the fact is,...
Pilgrim's Pride Cuts Outlook, 300 Jobs
Pilgrim's Pride Corp., the second-largest poultry producer in the United States and Mexico, said Tuesday its first-quarter earnings will fall more than 50 percent short of its prior expectations. The company's stock plunged to a new 52-week low after the...
Most farmers come through storm unscathed / Wine Country is waterlogged, but flooding mainly hits fallow winter fields
By David R. Baker
Despite flooded vineyards and toppled trees, this weekend's punishing storms may have largely spared Northern California farmers. The region's most profitable crops -- its grapes, fruits and nuts -- have been harvested. Vines and trees stand dormant...
Waiting for a bailout / Owners without flood insurance suffering
By Ryan Kim, Pia Sarkar, Kelly Zito
Holly Hopper thought she could live without flood insurance for her garden and home furnishings store in San Anselmo. "It's a huge chunk of money, and I played roulette and didn't win," said Hopper, owner of Grasshopper on San Anselmo Avenue....
Monday, January 02, 2006Coal Mine Reports Spate of Citations
By By LAWRENCE MESSINA, Associated Press Writer
A coal mine where 13 miners were trapped after an explosion Monday was cited 208 times for alleged safety violations in 2005, up from just 68 citations the year before. Federal regulators' allegations against the Sago Mine included failure to dilute...
Union standoff at auto dealer
By Chip Johnson
It's been almost seven months since a dozen mechanics, lube men and drivers walked off the job at Berkeley Honda and started picketing the Shattuck Avenue auto dealership. Most of them have found new jobs, but Dave Allen and Gordon Lee, two single men...