Tag Archives: unemployment rates

Sign-on bonus

Your Next Job Offer May Include A Sign-On Bonus

Despite it being a buyers’ market, employers say they are willing to pay sign-on bonuses to attract the right talent. A new WorldatWork study found that, despite budget cuts, a majority (54 percent) of (mostly large) U.S. employers are still offering sign-on bonuses to new employees, especially key new hires filling critical positions.

A sign-on or signing bonus is a sum of money paid to a new employee by a company as an incentive to join that company. Sign-on bonuses are almost exclusively given to full-time salaried employees of a company, as opposed to a temporary hire or intern. They are often given as a way of making a pay package more attractive to the job candidate.

According to the WorldatWork survey on bonus programs (to be released in early May), sign-on bonuses continue to be fairly prevalent for all employee levels (except clerical) within organizations.  Most employee groups are typically eligible for amounts between $1,000 and $9,999, but many executives have been known to receive more than $10,000.

With today’s unemployment rates, the sign-on bonus may come as a (pleasant) surprise to many job candidates. This is because despite the current economic slump, there remains a shortage of qualified employees in certain hard-to-fill positions.

Sign-on bonuses can help:

To be competitive

If the candidate is considering another comparable job offer, some money up front can be the clincher.

To bridge a gap

If what the candidate is asking for and what the employer is willing to offer is off by a few grand, this is a way to make up the difference.

To replace a lost benefit

When some benefit or perk with the present employer is not part of the offered package, a sign-on bonus might make up for, say, the absence of a car allowance or diminished amount of vacation time with the new employer.

To cover a performance bonus

If a candidate won’t leave their current company until a certain time so they can first collect their annual bonus, a sign-on bonus can sweeten the deal.

Need further proof that companies are using bonuses to attract talent? Sixty percent of the 1,023 surveyed companies have a referral bonus program, whereby cash bonuses are paid to employees who refer new hires.

Top Inexpensive At-Home Career Ideas For 2011

Top Inexpensive At-Home Career Ideas For 2011

As unemployment rates continues to rise people have turned to doing things themselves, including working for themselves. There are numerous opportunities to being your own boss and working from home.

Below is a list of inexpensive at-home businesses that can be started up with minimal cost. Whether you will depend on this income or just want a part-time job, these are the best opportunities to explore.

Personal Trainer/NutritionistTop Inexpensive At Home Career Ideas For 2011

As people become more health conscious and chose to loose weight they turn to a professional to help them make eating and health decisions. A two-month course can be completed to receive a fitness and nutrition degree from Penn Foster College. Creating a Facebook page to advertise can bring in clientele for no price at all.

Tax Professional

Learning how to prepare and file taxes can seem like a semi-annual job. In actuality, tax professionals are needed all year long, especially for small businesses and professionals with a lot of assets. Creating a free website, with companies like WordPress, can help advertise your skills and save you money.


Although the economy is down, there are those that still need quality pictures taken at a decent price. All you need is a good camera, such as a Nikon, a class or two on photography, and you can create your own business.

Online Retail

If you have good organization, can afford to buy or make things in bulk and have a computer at home, you can create your own online store. Purchase things that people can’t get at their local store but would like to have or need and create a website with a paypal so the items can be purch

ased. Keep track of how much inventory you have so you don’t get behind on orders. This is an at-home job that requires more time than others so be sure this is something you can spend time doing.


If you have a house, no felonies and love children, you can have an in-home childcare. Minimal money is required to start this career path. All you have to do is purchase toys for children in the age range you choose to watch. Sign up with your local childcare office to get licensed and start accepting children. You will be surprised how many parents would rather have their children in an in-home childcare than a center. Be sure to check with your local childcare or DES agencies; each state has its own requirements.

Social Network for MomsTop Inexpensive At Home Career Ideas For 2011

As moms decide to stay home and raise their children they are getting hooked on social media. Creating a website, such as Social Media Mom were mothers can communicate about their everyday issues, can create you money. Give tips, tell about deals and charge for a monthly membership. A site that is engaging and helpful will attract moms, dads and business professionals.

Event Planning

If you have a talent or passion for organizing weddings or parties, then event planning could be for you. Some people want a great social function or get-together but don’t have the time to plan it. Being able to multi-task, budget and have people skills is a must. This is a home based position, but it requires interacting with other people. Create a free website, advertise with Facebook or other social media and pay nothing out of pocket. Get a deposit prior to starting work on any function. Showcase past events by asking permission to post pictures on your website. Others will want to see your work.

As you journey through your decision on what type of career will work for you, keep in mind that there is a special talent in everyone and if yours was not listed here, find it. Be an entrepreneur, and be your own boss.

Arizona Unemployment

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate in February Stays Steady at 9.6 Percent

The state’s unemployment rate held steady in February at 9.6 percent for the fourth month in a row. The economy added 23,400 nonfarm jobs. The Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) reports today that the job gains were predominantly seasonal and slightly lower than the historic average.

Feb. ’11 Jan. ’11 Feb. ’10
United States 8.9% 9.0% 9.7%
Arizona 9.6% 9.6% 10.2%

The private sector generated 12,000 jobs in February and the government sector created 11,400 jobs.

“Overall, nonfarm employment in Arizona in February was somewhat weaker than typical Februarys
in years prior to the recession, but moderately better than the last three years,” according to the ACA employment report.

Feb. ’11
Jan. ’11
Feb. ’10
Overall 2,386.6 2,363.2 2,381.3
Monthly Change 1.0% -1.8% 0.8%
Annual Change 0.2% 0.0% -4.4%

Nine of the state’s 11 major sectors gained jobs, one was flat, and one lost jobs last month.

Gains were reported in: government (11,400); educational health services (4,300); leisure and hospitality (3,500); trade, transportation and utilities (2,800); and professional services (1,700). Financial activities, other services, manufacturing and information combined created fewer than 10 percent of the total jobs in March.

Losses were reported in construction (-2,300); and natural resources and mining was flat.

The unemployment rates dropped in all of the state’s largest metro areas.

Feb. ’11
Jan. ’11
Feb. ’10
Phoenix Metro 8.8% 9.3% 9.7%
Tucson Metro 8.8% 9.2% 9.3%
Yuma Metro 21.5% 23.1% 20.0%
Flagstaff Metro 8.9% 9.4% 10.2%
Prescott Metro 10.5% 11.0% 11.0%
LHC-Kingman Metro 10.9% 11.5% 11.7%
money in vice

The Economic Recovery Begins In 2009, But It Will Be Slow Going

The national and state economies are expected to start feeling the effects of a recovery during the last quarter of 2009. However, the recovery over the next year will be slow, with unemployment continuing to rise and economic growth anemic at best. Meanwhile, the state’s expenditures are rising, even as revenue continues to fall, setting the stage for future budget cuts and an expected tax increase.

That was the consensus forecast unveiled by top economic experts from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and the Arizona governor’s office at the annual Economic Outlook Luncheon on May 20. Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at W.P. Carey and editor of Economy@W.P. Carey, provided an overview of current economic conditions on the state and national level, and offered a forecast for the coming year.
“The economy is going to show some signs of recovery in the last part of 2009, but the way I like to look at this is that lots of our economic indicators will still be underwater in a sense — they just won’t be as far underwater,” he said. “We’ll probably see positive growth in GDP, we will see job losses getting smaller, but there will still be job losses. There will still be people claiming unemployment insurance and, of course, unemployment rates will still be going up.
“It’s going to be a deep, sort of U-shaped recovery and 2011 will probably be a pretty good year of job growth,” McPheters added. 
In the meantime, job losses will continue to mount. In March, with an over-the-year employment decline of 7.1 percent and 136,000 jobs lost, the Valley just edged out Detroit as the weakest large metro labor market in the nation. And even as the economy begins to recover, the Greater Phoenix area will still see its labor market contract by 1 percent in 2010, according to McPheters.
Nationally, McPheters stressed that while the current recession has been painful, it still is not on par with the Great Depression. The Great Depression was marked by four consecutive years of decreases in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the current recession is expected to result in four consecutive quarters of decrease in inflation-adjusted GDP. In fact, in the first year of the recession, the national GDP actually increased by 1.1 percent.
“During 2008, the first year of the recession, you would expect that the GDP would be decreasing,” he said. “Well, one of the factors holding it up was exports. Exports continued strong in the United States through 2008.”
This year, however, exports are expected to drop by 10 percent. That’s just one example of how the national and state economies will continue to struggle as the recovery begins to take hold. Another example is the expected freefall in the commercial real estate market, especially in Arizona.
“Commercial is the next shoe to drop and we have seen this pattern before,” McPheters said. “Even as you see residential (construction) begin to pick up, I think you can expect that commercial building is going to be very, very weak all the way through 2010 and probably 2011, because what we need to see is population growth come back and job growth to come back. There’s no point in building retail space and office space if the jobs are not there and the consumer is not coming out to shop.”
And it is consumers, who account for 71 percent of GDP, who really hold the key to the economic recovery.
“The consumer is the only part of this economy that can bring us back,” McPheters said. “Consumers are not going to come back into the game until home prices stop falling, until the stock market stabilizes, until they see unemployment rates have peaked out and job losses start to get smaller and smaller. And the consumer has to have confidence to buy, and believe it or not, the consumer has to back off of their inclination to save their money.”
In March, the savings rate as a percent of disposable income was 4.2 percent, up from 2.6 percent six months earlier. While increased savings are considered a good thing in robust economic times, a pullback by consumers as an economy tanks can have devastating effects. McPheters pointed out that for each 1 percent increase in the savings rate, approximately $100 billion are being pulled out of the consumer-spending stream.
However, McPheters expressed confidence that the very calamity that sent our state and national economies reeling will eventually add to Arizona’s attractiveness to new residents and businesses — falling home prices.
“Housing prices have now returned to the traditional level, where Arizona housing prices are now more affordable than the national average,” he said. “In 2005 and 2006, we had come to the point where we were one of the least affordable markets. That has turned around and it has turned around very quickly. Of course that has been very painful.”

Dennis Hoffman, director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at W.P. Carey, agreed with McPheters, adding that he believes the state’s economic rebound will be strong.

“This of course is the big question: What kind of bounce will take place? Now, I’ll have to say that the dramatic shakeout in prices in housing, while it has been absolutely disastrous for a number of folk and put a lot of pressure in a lot of different places, it might set us up for a more robust recovery than I would have thought six to nine months ago,” he said. “The thinking is really, very, very simple; an attractive attribute of Arizona has historically been great climate, affordable housing and a place to get a job. That third aspect really doesn’t exist right now, but it could exist if our economy recovers at a little faster pace.”
In the economic downturns of the past four decades, Arizona has bounced back strongly, and Hoffman is confident history will repeat itself, especially if the state and Valley can re-create the environments that people from around the country have found so attractive.

However, a major wrench in making the state attractive again is Arizona’s current budget crunch. In fiscal year 2009, the state’s budget gap stands at $1.6 billion. In fiscal year 2010, that’s expected to almost double to $3 billion dollars. As the economy has worsened, unemployment has soared to almost 8 percent, foreclosures have skyrocketed and businesses have closed their doors. As a result, billions of dollars in revenue from income, property, sales and business taxes have evaporated. Conversely the need for state services has exploded.

“We’re really seeing the effects of the downturn in the economy, both in terms of state revenues — our collections are down at a very significant rate — and likewise, our caseloads are up at a very significant rate, because more of our citizens are in need of services,” said Eileen Klein, director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting, adding that in the past two months alone the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) has enrolled 50,000 people.
Hoffman pointed out that in the past, $48 to $50 out of every $1,000 of personal income had gone into the state’s general fund.