Retailers, consumers and prices
It may be the World Cup, but when it comes to sapping productivity in the United States the global soccer tournament still has a thing or two to learn from March Madness and the National Football League.
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which often measures lost workplace productivity, said many U.S. fans will tune in for the quadrennial soccer tournament, which kicks off Friday in South Africa, but the event still trails the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, dubbed March Madness, and other events.
“Soccer simply has not caught on with the majority of American sports fans, Challenger CEO John Challenger said in a statement.
“However, the World Cup is a unique event and could attract a lot of viewers who might not typically go out of the way to watch a match,” he added. “Even as the sport grows in popularity, though, it will have far less of an impact on workplace productivity than the March Madness basketball tournament, for example.”
Check out tough times for job-seeking teens.
Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said teens looking for a summer job will need to dedicate themselves full-time to the search, meaning getting a full-time job will be a full-time job. While many employers have filled summer positions, some may need more than expected while others delayed hiring until summer business conditions became clearer, Challenger CEO John Challenger said.
“The point is, you never know if or when a job opening is going to materialize, so you want to keep pushing,” he said in a statement.
Check out a glimmer of hope on the employment front.
Planned layoffs for U.S. firms fell in April to their lowest levels since last October, according to a report from outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Okay, layoffs are still at recessionary levels, with U.S. employers announcing plans to cut 132,590 jobs in April.
But CEO John Challenger says the fact that they are falling could mean that employers are a little more confident about future business conditions.
If employers start feeling more confident and stop laying off people, that could spur more confidence in employees and eventually get them to spend more at retailers, which, after all, is what this blog is about.
In a report by Discover, the credit card issuer, the number of consumers saying the economy was getting better was 23 percent in April. While that might not seem like much, it is still 8 percentage points better than in March.
Also, 51 percent of consumers said the economy was getting worse, down from 61 percent in March.
“Consumers continue to approach their spending with caution, albeit a little less so in April,” said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of brand and product management for Discover Financial Services. “As they grow more confident in the economy and their finances, consumers may boost their spending; which should help with an economic recovery.”
Are these the “green shoots” of an improving economy, or just optimism waiting to get shot down?
Also in the basket:
Carlsberg Q1 doubles on Eastern Europe gains, cost cuts
In Target tussle, a store becomes a battlefield (N.Y. Times)
Barneys aiming to close two stores (Wall Street Journal)
(Reuters photo of job fair)
U.S.-based employers announced fewer plans to slash jobs for the second month in a row in March, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
In a new report, Challenger said employers announced 150,411 cuts in March, down 19.3 percent from the 186,350 cuts announced in February. Plans to reduce staff were down in February too, which means we have seen the first two-month decrease in cuts since February-March 2007.
The March cuts were the lowest since October, when 112,884 planned job cuts were announced and come on the heels of a 23-percent decline recorded in February.
Check out the disappearing jobs.
Job cuts in November soared to their highest monthly level since 1992, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
A total of 181,671 job cuts were announced in the month, 61 percent more than in October, the firm said.
Employers have now announced 1,057,645 job cuts in 2008, just shy of the 1,072,054 layoffs announced in 2005, which was the last time that annual job cuts surpassed 1 million, Challenger said.
The financial sector was the biggest culprit, led by Citigroup’s plan to cut more than 50,000 jobs.
But job cuts are happening all over and retail lost another 11,000 jobs last month.
Things are also likely to get worse in the job market. December is typically one of the larger job-cutting months of the year, CEO John Challenger noted.
Also in the basket:
Crocs and Skechers settle patent suit
US retail tracker slashes holiday forecast
Shalom, Christmas Shoppers: Israelis Sell Cosmetics, Toys at the Mall (WSJ)