News Briefs November 2008

Holiday Hiring
A survey by found that most managers with responsibility for hiring hourly employees expect that they will hire fewer seasonal workers in 2008 than they did last year. On average, each manager expects to hire 3.7 seasonal employees, roughly 33 percent less than the 5.6 seasonal workers they each hired during last year?s holiday period. The 3.7 seasonal employees expected to be hired includes the 57 percent of managers who say they don?t plan
to make any hires this year, which is up 8 percentage points from 2007. More people are expected to be applying for holiday jobs. Only 9 percent of hiring managers expect fewer applications, while 39 percent expect the number of applicants to rise this year and 52 percent expect the number to
stay the same.

Transportation Deceit

Researchers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis report that women and minorities are least likely to receive the benefit of transportation construction jobs. For their report ?The Road to Good Jobs: Patterns of Employment in the Construction Industry,? the researchers examined minority and female employment in 25 metro areas, including New York, and found that white males dominate construction work, regardless of the racial and gender makeup of the local work force as a whole. They calculate that 137,044 Black workers are ?missing? from the construction work force in those large metropolitan areas.
The federal government currently spends about $60 billion a year on transportation. The next federal transportation bill is scheduled for reauthorization in 2009.

Corporate Diversity
According to Chicago United?s ?2008 Corporate Diversity Profile,? the number of minority directors has not increased since the 2006 Profile, although the total number of board director seats increased to 330 in 2007 from 320 in 2005. In 2005, 88 percent of local board directors were white and 87 percent were white in 2007. In 2005 and 2007, 13 percent of local board directors were of color. There has been no increase in minority representation at the CEO level, though two new CEOs have joined the local ranks. In 2005, about 85 percent of all CEOs where white compared to 86 percent in 2007. In 2005, 15 percent of all CEOs were people of color and 14 percent were of color in 2007. The ?pipeline? shows a slight increase in minority representation at the vice president level from 2005 to 2007 and stronger representation at the director and senior manager levels.

Economic Mobility
Educational attainment, family structure and savings are the strongest determinants of whether Americans move up or down the economic ladder, according to a report authored by Stuart Butler, William Beach and Paul Winfree of The Heritage Foundation and released by the Economic Mobility Project, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. ?Pathways to Economic Mobility: Key Indicators? explores factors that affect the likelihood of economic movement within a lifetime or from one generation to the next. It classifies the main indicators of mobility into three distinct categories: social capital, human capital and financial capital. These indicators can provide a policy road map for important debates about reforms to enhance economic mobility in America, says John E. Morton, managing director of Economic Policy at Pew.?


Trade Benefits
Arguing that ?exports remain one of the few bright spots in the current economy,? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined the Congressional Black Caucus? 38th Annual Legislative Conference in September to discuss the importance of trade expansion to long-term economic growth. At the conference, the U.S. Chamber, the CBC and leaders from various Latin American countries highlighted how small and medium-size businesses can leverage U.S. trade agreements to create jobs. In addition to its existing trade pacts, the United States plans to launch free- trade negotiations with four key Asia-Pacific countries in a grouping called the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement. The participants ? Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore ? are all members
of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation that accounts for 60 percent of U.S. exports.

Remittances to Decline
The Inter-American Development Bank predicts that the value of remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean will decline this year for the first time this decade due to the combined effects of the economic downturn in the United States and Spain, inflation and a weaker U.S. dollar. Remittances are a major foreign exchange earner for the region and a key contributor to its gross domestic product. Higher unemployment rates among migrant workers in the United States also will dampen remittances. While migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean will send some $67.5 billion to their homelands in 2008, against $66.5 billion in 2007, this year?s total will be worth 1.7 percent less than the total sent in 2007 when adjusted for inflation, the bank says. Until last year, remittances to the regions had grown by double digits every year. Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean continue to outstrip all overseas development aid and foreign direct investment in the region, bank officials say.??? ?