Monthly Archives: November 2010

Tell me about your workplace stress

Speaking of “more with less” (see blog below), on a personal level it stinks. Check out these figures from a recent national survey by The Hartford Group insurance:

-72 percent feel moderately stressed, with 33 percent feeling “very” or “extremely stressed.”

-24 percent had more work, and 17 percent  feel the need to put in more hours at work.

I’m writing a story about workplace stress and would like to hear from people about what they’re going through. The easiest way to contact me is at 268-6577 or at

“More with less” is matter of national importance

All those empty offices and missing jobs on the assembly line? It’s a crying shame because those people have to find new jobs that may or may not be there. But emptying out more of them in the future is a matter of national importance. Productivity growth is the only way forward for the US economy, according to this piece from McKinsey & Co., the global business consultants:

In the 1970s, the United States could rely on a growing labor force to generate roughly 80 cents of every $1 gain in GDP. During the coming decade, assuming no dramatic increase in hours worked, that ratio will roughly invert: labor force gains will contribute less than 30 cents to each additional dollar of economic growth. To maintain a GDP growth rate of 2 to 3 percent a year, productivity gains will have to make up the other 70 percent.

Why your boss isn’t hiring

WICHITA — Wonder why people at work (and out of work) are so miserable? Check out this fact, courtesy of economist David Rosenberg:

The bottom line is that over 100% of the growth in nonfarm business output in the past three quarters has come from productivity — and that is the critical ingredient for the positive underpinning in the profit picture.

He sees it as good news, companies keep all of the increased production as profit. That’s true and it is good news. But it also means that 90 percent of the workforce is working significantly harder for the same pay and 10 percent can’t get hired.

Longer-term, Rosenberg notes, the cost of labor as a percent of the cost of production has basically been falling since the early 90s, with a large spike in the late 90s and a  smaller one in 2007/2008 when labor markets got tight and salaries rose. Labor costs have now reached an all-time low of around 58 percent of the output cost, down from a more typical 63-67 percent in the 1950s to 1980s. I’m guessing this is impact of computerization and outsourcing. Bodes well for American business in the long run. It also means a very slow recovery in terms of employment.