Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jobless Rate Down? Good News for the Economy?

Bloomberg News has reported that the unemployment rate decreased in 36 states in the month of November. The states with the biggest decline in unemployment were Kentucky (from 11.3% down to 10.6%) and Connecticut (from 8.8% to 8.2%).

However, some states have bucked the trend, such as Georgia, where the U.S. DOL reports the jobless rate increased in November to 10.2%,, up one-tenth of a percent.

The overall U.S. unemployment rate is close to a 26-year high, with economists forecasting that the rate will exceed 10% through June 2010 (in November it fell from 10.2% to 10% nationwide). Ten states currently have an unemployment rate of 10% or more, which experts say will continue to stagnate consumer spending.

With 7.2 million jobs lost during this current economic downturn, the market for labor should be strong for employers who take the time to carefully screen and scrutinize candidates for jobs. In addition, the vast labor pool might serve as an incentive for employees to perform their very best, knowing that many qualified individuals are available for work as replacements.

Monday, December 21, 2009

EEOC To Get More Resources

Employers beware: the EEOC is getting more ammunition to process and move along backlogged cases - $23 million worth.

The 2010 version of the omnibus appropriations bill, first passed in the House on December 10th and then the Senate on December 13th, would provide $23 million in funding to help the EEOC resolve more than 70,000 backlogged employment discrimination charges. The EEOC has reported that it experienced a 35% increase in the volume of backlogged cases, from 54,970 in 2007 to 73,951 in 2008. Combined with a record number of new discrimination complaints (95,402 - a 20% increase), the EEOC, with its current financing, is ill-equipped to meet the current volume of current and backlogged charges. At the same time, EEOC staffing has fallen 25% over the past decade.

So, while the EEOC may have taken several years to address and resolve complaints, expect a more expedited process in the future.