March 28, 2007

Ho Hum Employment Conditions Headline (032807)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 6:18 am

Call center jobs in Arizona are movin’ on up (HT Triticale via e-mail):

Call Centers’ Wages on the Rise
The Arizona Daily Star – March 11, 2007
Industry reacts to heightened competition

Local call centers are dealing with increasing competition for workers by improving wages and workplaces.

For the companies, more competition means trying new ways to recruit and retain workers and finding new labor pools to dip into. And for the metro area, it means a past push to recruit call centers here has paid off.

The 13 call centers on the Star 200 list have around 10,400 full- time-equivalent jobs.

Laura Shaw, vice president of marketing and communications for Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities Inc., said about 16,000 people work at 40 call centers in the area – double the estimated 8,000 positions in 1996.

While the local economic development agency isn’t recruiting call centers to Tucson any more, “teleservices” was a target industry 10 years ago.

At the time, starting wages ranged from $6 to $9 an hour. Now, the range is more like $10 to $13 an hour, a rate of increase that has outstripped inflation, Shaw said.

So not only are there more jobs, they’re also paying better. Cool.

Quote of the Day: On China’s Retirement System

Filed under: Economy,Soc. Sec. & Retirement,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:13 am

From last Thursday’s Best of the Web, on China’s aging population — elaboration unnecessary:

China is facing a pension crisis, the New York Times reports:

Most troubling to financial experts, the government has used payroll taxes paid by the current generation of workers, who in theory are paying into their individual retirement accounts, to pay pensions for the previous generation.

Good thing we don’t do that in America!

Ho-Hum Hiring Headline (032807)

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 6:08 am

The linked article from about 10 days ago is primarily about a property owner who doesn’t want to sell out (but there’s no apparent Kelo-like eminent-domain issue). But about halfway through, it drops in a little nugget about the company that wants to acquire the property:

Direct Supply, with about 700 employees, expects to add 1,000 jobs over 10 years and up to 1,500 jobs over 15 years. Founded in 1985 by Bob Hillis, the employee-owned company now sells equipment and information systems to more than 21,000 nursing homes, assisted-living centers and retirement centers. It also designs and operates Internet-based purchasing systems for its customers, a business it launched in 1996.

So Much for ‘Real Incomes Aren’t Rising’

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:03 am

From the Bureau of Economic Analysis yesterday:

U.S. personal income grew 6.3 percent in 2006, up from 5.2 percent in 2005.

The 2006 figure is about 3% higher than inflation plus population growth. Not bad for one year.


Previous Posts:
- Dec. 26, 2006 — Psst: Wages Are Not Stagnant, AND (Gasp!) They Are Outperforming the 1990s
- Dec. 6, 2006 — Cavuto v. Krugman: It’s a Rout (in the Interview and on the Facts)

Positivity: Humble Hero Saves Mother and Son

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Carson City, Michigan:

March 19, 2007

CARSON CITY — Barry Christensen may have played the tuba in the Carson City-Crystal High School band for four years, but he sure doesn’t like to toot his own horn.

After valiantly rescuing a mother and her infant son from a car sinking in a drainage ditch on March 2, Christensen thinks nothing of his bravery.

“When he’s telling the story, he’s just so nonchalant about it,” Carson City-Crystal High School Principal Beth Robb said. “It’s just part of what he does, just incredible.”

Freezing water

The 17-year-old CC-C senior said he was “skipping school” the day of the accident to attend an appointment at Baker College in Clinton Township.

After the appointment, Christensen left his grandmother’s home in Hubbardston at about 11 a.m. en route to Lansing on Wright Road to return some Christmas gifts.

“The roads were horrible,” Christensen said. “ I had just went through a whiteout area, a car was coming at me and it lost control and cut me off. It went in a ditch and bounced off.”

Christensen pulled over and found himself wading waist deep in freezing water attempting to remove a woman and her baby from their Mitsubishi Gallant as it slowly sank into the water.

“How do I help?”

“The woman had gotten the door open and was yelling for help,” Christensen recalled. “I was thinking, ‘how do I help these people?’”

The Hubbardston teenager recovered the child from the back seat and handed him to another man who had stopped at the scene. Christensen then went back to work assisting the woman.

“The boy’s head looked like it was smashed in,” he said. “I grabbed the mom and pulled her out. I slipped, tossed her up to the bank and fell down.”

“My go-to man”

For Christensen, the rescue was just another part of his day.

“I figured if it was me I’d expect someone to stop,” he said. “It was freezing. I looked at the thermostat in my van and it was 31 degrees.”

Robb, who affectionately calls Christensen “Boo Bear,” said she wasn’t surprised by his humility about the incident. Other teachers at the school agreed.

“He’s a very responsible student,” High School Band Director Chad Parmenter said. “He’s kind of my go-to man. He helps me whip people into shape when I need him to.”

Besides playing the tuba in first-hour band class, Christensen also is a member of the school’s wellness team.

“We talk to younger students about not using drugs and how to be good friends,” he said.

He also works at McDonald’s restaurant at 615 W. Main St. in Carson City and he recently received his nurse’s aide certification through Montcalm Community College in Sidney, all while aspiring to be a firefighter.

Fire destroys home

The accident actually was the second grueling incident in Christensen’s life in less than a year.

On May 14, 2006, Kelly Christensen’s home was ablaze at the very same time that her children were being evacuated from Carson City-Crystal Middle School/High School during a bomb threat. The home they had lived in for 21 years at 228 N. Washington St. in Hubbardston, across from American Legion Post 182, was destroyed.

The Hubbardston Fire Department joined firefighters from Carson City and Lyons-Muir in extinguishing the flames. Meanwhile school officials worried of explosives in the school.

Robb said she was furious when the bomb threat turned out to be a false alarm while Christensen’s home was in need of assistance from the fire department.

“We just ripped into the kids that day and said, ‘There was a house fire that day,’” she said. “He lost everything.”

A hero’s courage

Christensen, his mother and his four brothers and sisters now live with his grandparents.

The teen said they’re looking for another home in the Carson City-Crystal district.

Christensen remains optimistic about the future. He plans to attend Baker College or Montcalm Community College in Sidney to study business or health care.

Those around him believe he’ll do well. While Christensen may not think of himself as a hero, his teachers are proud to boast of his bravery.

“There’s not many 17-year-olds who would do what he did,” Robb stated.