Monthly Archives: March 2011

“More with less” comes at a price

The other shoe is about to drop for businesses that cut their work forces deeply and ran very lean over the last three years:  In a new survey from Metlife just 47 percent of workers feel strong loyalty for their employer, down from 59 percent three years ago.

Employers and workers need to trust each other. If a business cuts deeply to stave off bankruptcy, workers might understand the sacrifices they are making. But if those businesses are enjoying terrific profits right now while the work force runs very light, there might be a trust issue developing. Either way, businesses are at risk of losing some of the top performers.

“Worker loyalty has been slowly ebbing over the last several years, and it is important that employers take action to turn the tide around. The short-term gains employers realized from greater productivity appear to be short-lived and now pose bottom-line challenges as key talent considers other employment opportunities that have arisen as a result of the improving economy,” said Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president, U.S. Business, MetLife. “There is no doubt that the rebounding economy will bring more opportunities for employees, especially the high performers. A well-architected benefits offering will play an increasingly important role in retaining employees and positioning organizations for future growth.”

Report: Kansas to see 2.8 percent growth through 2016

Kansas is slated to grow an average of 2.8 percent a year through 2016, according to a projection by IHS Global Insight, a national economic forecasting firm. That puts Kansas slightly faster than the average of the 50 states and District of Columbia. The nation’s fastest-growing states are in the South and in the Mountain West, including neighboring Colorado at 3.3 percent.

Three telling numbers

These numbers tell you a lot about why there’s a lot of anger and angst out there:

Corporate profits, up 29 percent (2010 vs. 2009)

GDP, up 2.9 percent (2010 vs. 2009)

Employment, up .6 percent (Feb. to Feb.)

New unemployment filings lowest since 2008

WICHITA — The Kansas unemployment picture continues to improve, although very, very slowly. Today the government reports that the latest four-week average of new unemployment claims was 2,678, which is lowest four-week average since August 2008.

Teen summer jobs forecast: poor

The job outlook for teens across the country this summer won’t be much better than last year, which was the worst year for summer jobs since the 40s, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“Any teen hiring gains achieved in the slowly improving private sector could be offset by losses in the public sector, where teenagers often find summer employment as camp counselors, lifeguards, office assistants, laborers and clerks,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Kansas unemployment filings trending down

New Kansas unemployment filings fell to the second lowest four-week average  since late 2008, at 2,875 new filings.  Nationally, the Labor Department reported that new filings are at the lowest level since July 2008, which helped push up the stock market.

How to sell to men?

– Make shopping simple: fewer choices and clearer layouts will appeal to men so they can hunt rather than forage.

– Appeal to their ego: having an expert salesperson agree with your opinion is gratifying.

– “Use” women: one study found that men reacted much more positively to a loan advert when it included a picture of a woman, and negatively when it included a picture of a man.

– Appeal to masculine psychological drives like status and power.

– Associate with male role models (like sports stars)

OK, while these are pretty condescending, I regret to say they make a lot of sense.  They’re recommendations for retailers on how to get men to shop more from a new book called “CONSUMER.OLOGY: The Market Research Myth, the Truth about Consumers and the Psychology of Shopping” by consumer behavior expert Philip Graves.

Be careful what you wish for

Here’s a little light reading from Daniel Gross on Yahoo on the federal deficit.

One does wonder when deficit reduction will become non-partisan, eh?

Save the Wings

I wonder if it’s too early to mount the first Save the Wings campaign?