Content tagged “Employment”

If I am asked to give a reference for a former employee, what is the appropriate information to provide? Can I be held liable for what I say?

Seeking valuable information that sets a candidate apart from other applicants and facilitates a sound hiring decision is the task of hiring managers, and obtaining references is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. But many employers are reluctant to say much about those who have left their company. Trouble can surface from both giving the wrong type of information and not disclosing previous problems with an employee. When providing references, companies are responsible both to the employee who is the subject of the reference and to the prospective employer who is the recipient of the information; potential hazards exist on both sides of the process. So what legal pitfalls should your company be aware of when providing a reference for a former employee? We asked three attorneys practicing in the area of labor and employment law to share their expertise.

Hush money

After Carol Bartz was fired from Yahoo! over the telephone in the fall of 2011, she uttered some choice words in an interview with Fortune magazine that made headlines around the world.
She characterized the then-troubled company's board of directors as "doofuses" and employed a profanity to describe its treatment of her.

Who owns the message?

Say you own a business that has developed a new product you think will blow your competition out of the water, but you have begun to worry that your employees who know details of the product might share the information inappropriately, or even use it to "trade up" to a better job with a competitor. Would you look at the employees' emails?

19 secrets to getting hired from Best Places to Work recruiters

Now that you know the Best Places to Work in Baton Rouge, how do you get hired there?

Understanding privacy

Companies that employ hundreds or thousands of people are the businesses most likely to have written policies to govern workplace behavior and privacy issues, but small firms need to pay attention to such matters, too, according to human resources consultant Carol Olsby.

BR job growth to be best for insulators, assemblers and home health aides, analysis says

Insulators, assemblers and home health aids are poised to see the most significant increases in job opportunities across Baton Rouge in the coming years, according to a new analysis of expected job growth through 2017 by USA Today. The newspaper has looked at data from Economic Modeling Specialists International and CareerBuilder in the nation's 125 largest metros, and has created a searchable database of the middle-skill level jobs expected to grow the fastest in each of them. By 2017, an estimated 2.5 million new middle-skill jobs will be added to the nation's workforce, accounting for nearly 40% of all job growth. USA Today says most of these new jobs pay at least $13 an hour, but many pay much more. In Baton Rouge, jobs for insulation workers are expected to see the greatest growth, at 39%. While those jobs pay a median wage of $18.46 per hour, which is considered a livable wage for the city, other professions expected to see the most growth over the next three...

Changing perceptions

In a society that since World War II has regarded the imperative of going to college as holy writ for anyone seeking a better life, how do you convince a considerable chunk of the population that following the four-year degree path is not necessarily the way to go?

Initial unemployment claims fall in La.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Sept. 20 decreased slightly from the previous week's total. The state labor department figures released today show the initial claims decreased to 2,068 from the previous week's total of 2,071. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,494 claims. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,084 from the previous week's total of 2,134. Continued unemployment claims for the week ending Sept. 20 decreased to 20,053 compared to 20,486 the previous week. The four-week moving average for such claims decreased to 20,685 from the previous week's average of 21,179. As previously reported, Louisiana's unemployment rate jumped in August, marking the fourth straight month with an increase. The state's jobless rate rose to 5.8% last month, up from 5.4% in July, but...

Where will the workers come from?

As the state readies itself for the biggest industrial expansion in its history, having an abundance of jobs to fill is "a wonderful problem to have," says Roland Toups, chairman and CEO of Turner Industries. Yet, despite Louisiana's good fortune, the question remains: Where will the workers come from?

The workers we'll need

According to the famous movie line, "If you build it, they will come." For Louisiana's industrial construction boom, however, nothing will get built until they come. "They" means the workforce involved in industrial construction projects, from engineers to welders to nondestructive testing technicians.

Workers' market

With the list of proposed industrial projects in south Louisiana exceeding $90 billion, jobs in engineering, manufacturing and construction won't be hard to find. In fact, as the previous article detailed, a variety of efforts are underway across industry and government to reduce the expected shortages of skilled labor. Feeling the pressure on the other side of this equation: businesses that will have to hire workers in a "sellers' market."

Despite more people with jobs, La. jobless rate rises in August

Louisiana's unemployment rate jumped again in August, the fourth straight month with an increase, according to figures released today. The Associated Press reports the state's jobless rate rose to 5.8% from 5.4% in July, but remains below August 2013's level of 6.2%. And yet the labor force rose by 15,000 people in August, while about 5,500 more people reported having jobs. A separate survey shows employer payrolls rose to yet another all-time high in Louisiana. Both sets of figures—adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes—were released by the U.S. Labor Department. Most of the increase in unemployment came from more Louisianans launching job searches than finding work. That lifted the number of unemployed people, who aren't counted unless they're actively seeking work. The report found 123,000 Louisianans were unemployed in August, up from about 114,000 in July and below the 131,000 in August 2013. Jobless rates rose in 24 states, fell in 15 and were unchanged in 11.

Negative perceptions

If the much-hyped industrial construction boom materializes over the next three years as anticipated, Louisiana will have some 80,000 jobs it needs to fill with trained workers.

La. jobless rate rises in July, but so do payrolls

Louisiana's unemployment rate rose for the third straight month in July, but employer payrolls continued to grow strongly, telling two different stories about the state's labor market. The Associated Press reports the state's jobless rate rose to 5.4% in July from 5% in June. Louisiana's unemployment rate was 6.4% in July 2013. A separate survey shows employers added 7,700 workers to payrolls in July. That's a big monthly increase and another record high for payroll jobs in the state. The figures—adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes—were released today by the U.S. Department of Labor. Though the two surveys typically move in the same direction over the long run, they can diverge from month to month. Most of the increase in unemployment came from Louisianans launching job searches but not finding work. That lifted the number of unemployed people, who aren't counted unless they're actively...

'Business Report': Welders in short supply as La. gears up for a massive industrial expansion

Demand for welders has outstripped supply in the United States for decades. But as Business Report details in a feature from the current issue, a surge of industrial activity and construction that took hold in recent years as the country emerged from economic recession has severely strained the labor pool in some areas—including south Louisiana. "The situation is so bad that even contractors are trying to train people as welders," says Tony DeMarco, a longtime welder who is doing his part to grow the local talent pool by teaching welding classes at River Parishes Community College in Sorrento. DeMarco, 71, says welders have been in tight supply during much of his career, but the regional industrial boom is pushing the problem to a new level. "I think it's worse than it has ever been," he says. Businesses with the highest levels of welder employment include manufacturers of metals, industrial machinery and motor vehicles, along with ship and boat builders. Many of these...

Rosie the Riveter redux

Samantha Carney is training for a new career.

'Worse than it has ever been'

A glance at an occupational map from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a surprisingly clear snapshot of the role that welders play in U.S. industry. Dark splotches depicting heavy concentrations of welding jobs splash across the width and breadth of the map, with a swath of the most intense employment covering the nation's midsection.
Demand for welders has outstripped supply in the United States for decades. But a surge of industrial activity and construction that took hold in recent years as the country emerged from economic recession has severely strained the labor pool in some areas.

Moving up

Corey Landry has been promoted to branch manager at IberiaBank's Airline-Pecue branch. He joined the bank in October 2012 as an assistant branch manager. Prior to that, he worked as a relationship banker and assistant branch manager for Capital One bank for four years.

US unemployment rate ticks up to 6.2% on addition of 209K jobs in July

U.S. employers extended their solid hiring into July by adding 209,000 jobs. The Associated Press reports it marked the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are gradually shedding the caution that had marked the five-year-old recovery. Still, July's gain was less than that of the previous three months and probably wasn't strong enough to intensify fears that the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates to curb inflation. The unemployment rate ticked up in July to 6.2% from 6.1% as more Americans started looking for work. Most didn't find jobs, but the increase suggests that they're more optimistic about their prospects. The jobless aren't counted as unemployed unless they're actively seeking work. Average job gains over the past six months reached 244,000 in July, the best such average in eight years. "Job growth slowed in July after heated gains in the past three months," Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, writes in a...

La. jobless rate rises in June for second month

Louisiana's job market softened in June, as the unemployment rate rose for a second month in a row. The state's jobless rate rose to 5% from 4.9% in May. Louisiana's unemployment rate was 6.4% in June 2013. A separate survey shows employers added 2,500 workers to payrolls in June. The Associated Press reports that's healthy growth and yet another record high. Both sets of figures—adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes—were released today by the U.S. Labor Department. Jobless rates fell in 22 states, rose in 14 and were flat in 14. Mississippi and Rhode Island tied for the nation's worst jobless rate at 7.9%, while North Dakota retained the lowest unemployment rate at 2.8%. The national unemployment rate fell to 6.1% in June from 6.3% in May. That's also lower than the 7.5% rate in June 2013. The number of unemployed Louisianans rose by almost 2,000 in June to about 105,000. The labor force shrank, as did the number of people reporting they had jobs. The...

Moving up

Fonda Funderburk has been promoted to senior vice president of the Bank of Zachary. She is the manager of retail operations for the bank, overseeing all front-line activities. Funderburk is also a lending officer, primarily in consumer loans. She has been with the Bank of Zachary for 32 years, starting as a teller in 1982. Also, Kim McDonald has been promoted to vice president of the bank. She is the electronic banking manager, a position she assumed in 2013 after several years as manager of the Central branch. She first worked for the Bank of Zachary while a student at Zachary High, but began her current tenure in 2008. McDonald has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Additionally, Donna Brown and Jeree Chaney have been promoted to assistant vice presidents. Brown works in the bank's accounting division. She started her career at the bank in 2002 as a teller, most recently serving as an assistant cashier. Chaney is a loan officer, primarily in...

La. ranked 9th worst state to be unemployed

While the nation's unemployment rate has improved in recent years, dropping to 6.3% in May—the lowest it has been since September 2008—there are still nearly 12 million Americans out of work. And while Louisiana's unemployment rate in May was at 4.9%, down by 1.5 percentage points from May 2013, there are also an estimated 103,000 unemployed people in the state. For them, Louisiana is among the worst states in the nation in which they could find themselves without a job, according to a new report out from financial news website 24/7 Wall Street. Based on Department of Labor data for unemployment insurance benefits and employment statistics, the site ranks Louisiana as the ninth worst state to be unemployed. "Louisiana is one of the least generous states as far as unemployment insurance is concerned, offering out-of-job workers an average of $208 a week in the 12 months through the first quarter of 2014, less than all but two other states," says the report. "And while...

Moving up

Randy Ledet has been named managing partner of Planche Politz Ledet, replacing Patrick Planche. He has been a CPA and partner in the firm since 2008. Ledet, a native of Houma, is a graduate of the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business and a member of the Louisiana chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization.

La. unemployment rate rises to 4.9% in May

Louisiana was among 16 states to see its unemployment rate increase from April to May, according to figures released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Louisiana's unemployment rate rose 0.4 percentage points to 4.9%, after maintaining a rate of 4.5% from February to April. The number of people unemployed in the state rose from 94,800 people in April to 103,300 in May. Still, Louisiana's unemployment rate remains down by 1.5 percentage points from May 2013, when it was 6.4%. And though the state has dropped from its rank among the top 10 states in terms of unemployment rates last month, it still fares well relative to other states and is counted among the top 15 states in terms of unemployment rates this month. The 14 other states with rates equal to or lower than Louisiana are Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota,...

Talking Points

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has for several years been trying to figure out how better to meet the needs of the state's employers. Curt Eysink, who directs the LWC and spoke recently to many of those employers at a Rotary Club of Baton Rouge luncheon, says progress has been made. But as the Gulf Coast prepares for tens of billions of dollars in new investment, the real test is still to come.

US unemployment rate holds at 6.3% on gain of 217K jobs in May

U.S. employers added 217,000 jobs in May, a substantial gain for a fourth straight month, fueling hopes that the economy will accelerate after a grim start to the year. And yet the unemployment rate, which is calculated from a separate survey, remained at 6.3% in May. Monthly job growth has now averaged 234,000 for the past three months, up sharply from 150,000 in the previous three. The report released this morning by the Labor Department signaled that the U.S. economy is steadily strengthening and outpacing struggling countries in Europe and Asia. Consumers are showing more confidence. Auto sales have surged. Manufacturers are expanding solidly. U.S. service companies are growing more quickly. And the job market has now reached a significant milestone: Nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, the economy has finally regained all the jobs lost in the downturn. More job growth is needed, though, because the U.S. population has grown nearly 7% since then. Economists at the...

ExxonMobil bringing back retooled north BR job-training program

With workforce training one of the most pressing issues facing local industry, ExxonMobil says it is retooling its North Baton Rouge Industrial Training Initiative, a job-training program the company rolled out to much fanfare in the fall of 2012. ExxonMobil officials say the program, which graduated 46 of the original 60 enrollees, was an unqualified success and exceeded its first-year goal of graduating 45. But they also concede the company learned a lot in the initial year of the program, which is why—after the first class graduated in the spring of 2013—they put the program on hold for a year to evaluate and revise it. "We are looking to see how we can better plan and prepare these candidates for the expectations of being in the industrial workplace," says Stephanie Cargile, public and government affairs manager for ExxonMobil. The company recently announced a $200,000 workforce grant, half of which will go specifically to fund the initiative. In its second go round,...

Women at work

Here's one ranking where Louisiana comes out near the top: women-owned businesses. Nationwide, Louisiana ranks No. 12 in the growth of female enterprises over the past 17 years, according to the latest "American Express Open State of Women-Owned Businesses Report." The state has outpaced the national average in the number of firms, with nearly 71% growth since 1997, as well as sales, up a whopping 143.8% during that same period. Even so, when it comes to self-employment rates and professional compensation for women, the state still trails most of the rest of the country. Here's a detailed look at how Louisiana stacks up.

Moving Up

Campus Federal Credit Union has promoted four people on its executive management team. Kristie Daspit has been promoted to chief operating officer. She previously served as vice president for marketing and project management. Her responsibilities include the strategic oversight of information technology, marketing, operational systems support, vendor management, and research and product development. Ron Moreau has been promoted to chief development officer. He previously served as vice president for business development and community relations. His responsibilities include the strategic oversight of branch administration, business development, community and financial education, and the member relations center. Jay Noel has been promoted to chief lending officer from vice president of business services. His responsibilities include the strategic oversight of business and retail lending, collections and mortgage lending. And Jane Verret has been promoted to chief administrative...

What's the best way to fire an employee?

"I managed a dental office for 25 years. Very often individuals would apply with a lot of words but not with matching skills. After realizing investing in an employee is a lost cause, I'd let him or her go. I simply said, Your skills don't match this job. You have way too much potential to limit yourself to doing the same thing day after day. Dentistry is highly regimented; you have to do the same procedures exactly in the same time frame. That is not who you are; you are imaginative and creative.' Instead of finding fault with the person, I found fault with the job."
Vallan Corbett, Independent banking professional

Labor & wages

The Baton Rouge area is a thriving, growing and dynamic community that offers numerous operating advantages to current and future employers. The nine-parish region's workforce is well trained and skilled in a variety of sectors. Employers also report a solid work ethic and high productivity among employees.

La. among just five states without a minimum wage

Louisiana lawmakers have already killed a pair of bills this legislative session that would have set a minimum wage in the state for the first time. One of the bills would have set the minimum at $8.25 an hour, and the other would have put it at it $10. That leaves Louisiana as just one of five states in the country that doesn't have a minimum wage, according to 24/7 Wall St., a Delaware-based financial news and opinion website. The four other states that have not adopted a state minimum are Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. By federal law, states may establish their own minimum wage levels; however, if the state minimum is different from the federal minimum, the higher wage rate applies. So why wouldn't a state want to set a minimum wage, or why would they set one that is lower than the federal minimum of $7.25 (as is the case in four states: Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Wyoming)? In a word, says 24/7 Wall St., politics. "Business owners and lobbyists prevailed...

LWC prepares for 206,000 additional jobs over the next two years

Louisiana is expected to gain about 103,000 additional jobs per year over the next two years, says Curt Eysink, director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. "How do you get enough people qualified for what we see coming?" wonders Eysink, who was guest speaker of the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge today. Part of the answer, he says, may be converting unemployment insurance into a "re-employment" program. Eysink says people receiving benefits are now required to personally meet with LWC staffers who can help them find a job. After six months of trying the new policy in the Acadiana region, he says the average amount of time people remained unemployed was reduced by 35%, and the number of people still unemployed when their benefits ran out was reduced by 28%—resulting in $2.6 million in savings for the unemployment insurance trust fund, he says. Eysink says workers' compensation, which is also regulated by LWC, has evolved from a legalistic to a medically focused system, which he...

La. ranked the worst state for working mothers

Fewer than average professional opportunities, poor day care options and the country's second-largest gender pay gap all add up to one dubious distinction for Louisiana: It is the nation's worst state for a working mother to live in. That's according to website WalletHub.com, which has released an analysis of the best and worst states for working mothers, based on nine metrics including day care quality; child care costs, adjusted for median female salaries; access to pediatric services; gender pay gap; ratio of female to male executives; parental leave workplace policy; average workday length; and commute time. The website says it used data from primarily federal agencies in compiling the analysis, and also cites as sources the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and National Partnership for Women & Families. Louisiana is ranked dead last in the analysis, at No. 51 (the website ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia). Louisiana has the fourth-worst day care...

Jindal: La. private sector job growth since 2008 sixth best in US

In a new guest column, Gov. Bobby Jindal says "thanks in large part" to his administration's policy reforms and business development efforts, Louisiana has economically outperformed the South and U.S. since he took office in January 2008. "According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana's private-sector job growth since January 2008 ranks second best in the South and sixth best in the U.S.," Jindal writes. "At 4.5%, our unemployment rate is the lowest in the South; in fact, it has remained well below that of the South and U.S. every month since January 2008. Louisiana now has more people working and higher per-capita income levels than ever before." While the emerging manufacturing investment boom "will be the biggest in state history," Jindal adds "there's much more to Louisiana's new economic growth story, as we've also been working successfully to cultivate new growth industries, such as aerospace, water management, and software development, which can diversify our...

La. Workforce Education Initiative raising money to study, promote Jump Start

While a bill that addresses workforce readiness through a new career diploma program called Jump Start is making its way through the Legislature, a new nonprofit organization led by local business leaders to support and promote the program is getting down to business. The Louisiana Workforce Education Initiative says it has raised more than $45,000 since its creation and has hired Baton Rouge-based Southern Media & Opinion Research to begin doing field research that will form the basis of a three-year marketing campaign. Later this month, Southern Media will conduct a statewide poll of 800 residents to learn about the mostly negative perceptions of two-year degree programs and the craft and technical jobs associated with them. "This will be the basis for a statewide media effort to educate and overcome those barriers and stigmas," says Jeff Wright, who is working with the initiative. "Once we have a...

Tight job market in US cities prompting higher pay

Companies across the U.S. are struggling to fill positions with metropolitan jobless rates below the 5.2% to 5.6% level the Federal Reserve regards as full employment nationally. As Bloomberg reports, competition for workers is prompting businesses in such cities to raise wages, increase hours for current employees, add benefits and recruit from other regions. "There are spot labor shortages" that probably will "broaden out over the next year as the job market steadily improves," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics Inc. Unemployment in Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos was 4.8% in February, Labor Department figures show. Forty-nine, or 13%, of the 372 metro areas reported jobless rates below 5% that month—the most for February since 2008, two months after the start of the recession. Baton Rouge was among them, with an unemployment rate in February of 3.9%. The lowest rate in the nation was 2.8% in the Houma-Thibodaux area, due to increased offshore activity in the...

The 30-hour workweek

The tradition a 40-hour workweek is well-rooted in American labor history, dating to the 1930s New Deal program, portions of which sought limits on worker hours across many business sectors. The cotton industry was the first to adopt the recommended 40-hour standard.

US employers add 192,000 jobs in March; unemployment rate remains at 6.7%

The government's official jobs report for March, released this morning, shows employers across the country added jobs at a solid pace last month and hired more in January and February than previously thought. The Associated Press reports the figures sent a reassuring signal that the economy withstood a harsh winter that had slowed growth. The economy gained 192,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department says, slightly below February's revised total of 197,000. Employers added a combined 37,000 more jobs in January and February than previously estimated. The unemployment rate was nonetheless unchanged at 6.7%. But a half-million Americans started looking for work last month, and most of them found jobs. The increase in job-seekers is a sign that they were more optimistic about their prospects. March's job gain nearly matched last year's average monthly total, suggesting that the job...

Moving up

Robert Hebert has been named wealth advisor for Regions Wealth Management. His responsibilities include providing credit management, retirement planning, personal banking and investment strategies tailored to the needs of clientele throughout the South Louisiana region. A finance industry veteran with more than 10 years of experience, Hebert previously served as an investment specialist at JPMorgan Private Wealth Management.

Proposed $40M WISE incentive fund clears first hurdle

Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to create a $40 million incentive fund to direct dollars to high-demand programs that will fill the petrochemical, engineering and manufacturing jobs his administration has drawn to Louisiana crossed its first legislative hurdle today. The Associated Press reports the bill by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, would set up the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund, called the WISE Fund. It would steer money to high-demand areas at Louisiana's four-year universities and community and technical colleges. Dollars for the fund would be allocated through the budget process, and Jindal proposes $40 million for the upcoming 2014-15 fiscal year. The Jindal administration has attracted billions of dollars in new investment, much of it in the petrochemical industry, but administration and higher education leaders say Louisiana needs to better prepare workers for the jobs coming with those projects. "This is a very targeted, mathematical...

La. unemployment rate falls to 4.5%

Louisiana's unemployment rate continued to fall in February. According to a new report issued this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state's unemployment rate last month was 4.5%, down from 4.9% the previous month. The February unemployment rate in Louisiana was also 1.9 percentage points lower than it was a year previous, ranking it among the biggest year-over-year declines of any state. Only South Carolina, which saw its rate drop 2.4 percentage points from a year ago to 5.7% last month, had a bigger decline since last year. The Associated Press reports unemployment rates fell in most states in February and two-thirds of the states reported job gains, evidence that most of the country is benefiting from slow but steady improvement in the job market. The Labor Department says unemployment rates dropped in 29 states, rose in 10 and were unchanged in the remaining 11. Meanwhile, hiring rose in 33 states and fell in 17. The unemployment rate declines occurred even though...

10,000 La. businesses not compliant with e-filing law, LWC says

The Louisiana Workforce Commission says about 90% of the state's roughly 100,000 employers are electronically filing their quarterly unemployment wage and tax reports, as required by a 2008 law. That means about 10,000 Louisiana employers have yet to switch to e-filing and are now facing potential penalties. However, the LWC notes in a press release issued today that commission staff are working with business owners by phone, online and in person to help them comply with the April 30 deadline to file. "Employers who file online spend less time filing and experience fewer errors," says LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink. Paper forms and reports will no longer be accepted by the LWC, and are no longer available for download on the commission's website. Get more...

How to maximize LinkedIn

So you've completed your LinkedIn profile, made connections with everyone you know and even boast a few coveted endorsements to your credit. What now?

Skills for a global workplace

Nothing is more sobering for the overly exuberant than hearing the straight skinny from people who know what they're talking about.

La. 'labor underutilization' rate below U.S. average in 2013

New data released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show Louisiana's "labor underutilization" rate—that is, the measure of those who are unemployed as well as those who are working part-time because they can't find a full-time job—was 12.7% in 2013. While that figure is much higher than the state's unemployment rate of 7% last year, the BLS notes it is below the U.S. underutilization rate of 13.8% in 2013. The state's unemployment rate was also below the national average of 7.4% last year. In 2013, the report says there were 147,200 unemployed residents in the state and another 87,800 workers who were employed part-time for purely economic reasons. "These individuals were working part-time because of slack work or business conditions or because they were unable to find a full-time job," the report says. "Nationwide, there were 7.9 million individuals working part-time for economic reasons in 2013."

How do I find the right person to fill a position?

Given the high cost of employee turnover, experts agree that having the right people in place is one of most important roles of a manager or business owner. But how do you identify talent, ask the right questions and make the right decisions when it comes to filling an open position? We asked three human resources professionals to share their advice.

LWC upgrades website for La. employers, job seekers

Louisiana employers now have the ability to contact job seekers directly through the Louisiana Workforce Commission's HiRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) website, as well as create job posting templates, perform keyword searches of prospective hires' résumés and more. LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink announced the website upgrades in a news release this morning, saying job seekers in the state will also find the HiRE site more useful. Job seekers can now create custom job search options, get more information than previously about all job postings and utilize several new online tools, including one that allows applicants to import their employment history directly from their LinkedIn profiles and share job listings via social media websites. LWC says its online services launch, scheduled to go live this summer, will enable unemployment benefits recipients and employers to handle all appeal...

U.S. unemployment dips to 6.6% on addition of 113K jobs in January

Hiring was surprisingly weak in January for a second straight month. Employers added 113,000 jobs, the government announced this morning, far fewer than the average monthly gain of 194,000 last year. Job gains have averaged just 154,000 the past three months, down from 201,000 in the preceding three. The Associated Press reports the sluggish job growth may reflect what investors and economists have begun to fear: That the U.S. job market is weakening again, along with sectors like manufacturing and retail sales in the United States and abroad. The weakness might also raise doubts about the Federal Reserve's plans to steadily reduce its economic stimulus this year. Still, more people began looking for work in January, a sign that they were optimistic about finding work. Some of these people found jobs, thereby reducing the unemployment rate to 6.6% from 6.7% in December. That's the lowest rate since October 2008. Cold weather likely held back hiring in December, economists say, though...

'Business Report' looking for your best job interview questions

You have 10 qualified candidates vying for one position. How do you find the one that's right? Often, it's the interview. Business Report is searching for the best of the best questions from those who do the hiring in the Capital Region. Send the magazine your favorite question that helps you distinguish the job seekers from the job getters, along with an explanation of why it works. Include your name, title and a high-resolution photograph of yourself. We'll feature the best ones in a future issue of Business Report. Email all replies to [email protected] The deadline is noon on Friday.

Obama asks CEOs for help hiring long-term jobless

President Barack Obama is asking major corporations for their help in putting the long-term unemployed back to work. Although the unemployment rate has declined to 6.7%, long-term joblessness in the U.S. remains a major problem. The concern is that the longer someone is out of a job, the harder it gets to find a new one. Companies are less likely to hire people who haven't used their skills in months and more likely to wonder why another employer hasn't already snatched them up. With that concern in mind, The Associated Press reports, the Obama administration has been working for months to exact commitments from companies to ensure their hiring practices don't discriminate against long-term job-seekers. That includes doing away with candidate-screening methods that disqualify applicants based on their current employment status. It also means ensuring that job ads don't discourage unemployed workers from applying. The White House couldn't say how many unemployed Americans might...

Moving up

Angela Adolph, Tokesha Collins and Erin Kilgore have been elected partners at Kean Miller law firm's Baton Rouge office. Adolph practices in the municipal finance and tax groups, where she represents Louisiana, national, and international clients in Louisiana taxation matters. She is listed in the Municipal Marketplace's "Red Book" of national public finance professionals, and serves on the board of directors of the McMains Children's Developmental Center in Baton Rouge. Collins practices in the environmental regulatory group, representing local, regional, and national clients in regulatory proceedings, Title V and PSD air permitting and enforcement actions, environmental compliance and audits, due diligence and environmental issues in mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations, and rulemaking efforts at both the state and federal level. She serves on the board of directors of the Iris Domestic Violence Center. Kilgore practices in the labor and employment law group, where she...

Jindal issues new state government hiring freeze

Gov. Bobby Jindal has issued a partial hiring freeze for executive branch agencies in state government, seeking to reduce state spending. The Associated Press reports Jindal has repeatedly issued limited hiring freezes throughout his administration as the state has struggled with budget problems. The goal listed in the latest executive order, posted today, is to save $7 million in the state's general fund. The savings goal is modest, considering the current year general operating budget tops $25 billion. This latest hiring freeze, issued while Jindal is on an Asian economic development trip, took effect immediately and remains on the books until June 30, 2015. The state's elected officials and the Louisiana Legislature aren't covered by the governor's order. Also exempt are the public college systems and jobs that provide direct patient care or law enforcement.

Jobs report highlights the effect of aging of baby boomers

The government's official December jobs report has sparked a fresh argument on an issue as old as the recovery: whether unemployment is dropping because of new jobs or because people have stopped looking. Released Friday, the government's report showed the unemployment rate falling to 6.7%. But it estimated the U.S. labor force shrank by 347,000 last month while only 74,000 new jobs were added. Just 62.8% of adults were working or sought jobs, tied for the lowest share since 1978. For the year, the labor force shrank by nearly 550,000 workers to about 154.9 million—marking only the third year since 1948 when the U.S. workforce declined on an annual basis. To skeptical economists like Keith Hall of George Mason University, that means all of 2013's drop in the unemployment rate was because fewer people were looking. Only 2.2 million jobs were added last year. But a group that includes leading Wall Street and Federal Reserve economists say the drop in workforce participation is...

December U.S. jobs report shows smallest gain in three years

U.S. employers added a scant 74,000 jobs in December, the fewest in three years. Still, the Labor Department reports this morning that the unemployment rate fell from 7% in November to 6.7%, the lowest level since October 2008. But the drop occurred mostly because many Americans stopped looking for jobs. Once people without jobs stop looking for one, the government no longer counts them as unemployed. Economists tell The Associated Press that cold weather likely played a role in the sharp slowdown in hiring last month. Job gains had averaged 214,000 a month in the previous four months. It's unclear whether the sharp hiring slowdown might lead the Federal Reserve to rethink its plan to slow stimulus efforts. The Fed decided last month to pare its monthly bond purchases, which are designed to lower interest rates. "I don't think the Fed is going to be panicked by this," says Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. Naroff suggests that the 6.7% unemployment rate—a drop...

Watchdog advises ending early look at jobs data

A Labor Department watchdog has recommended ending a practice that allows reporters to review a key unemployment report before it is made public. Media "lockups" for weekly unemployment benefits are a problem because news outlets can feed the data to investment firms and financial exchanges immediately after the lockup ends, the Labor Department's Office of the Inspector General said in a report released Thursday. Several news services use software to transmit the economic data to traders, who then profit because they have the data fractions of a second before other investors. The Associated Press provides such data to the Nasdaq exchange, which then sells the data to its customers. In its report, the Inspector General recommended adopting procedures that eliminate such competitive advantages or discontinuing the lockups entirely. The report focused only on weekly applications for unemployment benefits. But it could mark the first effort to end all lockups, including the monthly jobs...

'Business Report': Is La. housing market prepared for influx of workers?

In Williston, N.D., a prairie town that has seen its population jump from 1,500 to nearly 8,000 in just a few years due to a rise in oil and gas exploration, workers have struggled to find a place to call home. Some are living in hotels, others in "camps" made out of shipping containers. Many of the migrants find apartments, and some have moved into single-family homes built since the boom. Employment is expected to continue to rise through at least 2020 and possibly for the next two decades, making long-term, permanent housing there even more of a necessity in the future. As Business Report details in a story from the current issue, a similar scenario looms in south Louisiana as a result of new manufacturing facilities and plant expansions on the horizon. Projects totaling more than $60 billion are expected to require upwards of 64,000 workers through 2016 in the state—35,000 of those filling new jobs. The Craft Workforce Development Task Force—created in...

Initial weekly unemployment claims drop in La.

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Dec. 21 decreased from the previous week's total. The state labor department figures released today show the initial claims decreased to 2,578 from 2,737 for the previous week. For the comparable week a year earlier, 3,495 initial claims were filed. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,581 from the previous week's total of 2,650. Continued unemployment claims for the week ending Dec. 21 increased to 24,385 compared to 23,892 the previous week. The four-week moving average for such claims increased to 23,716 from the previous week's average of 23,329.

Living in the industrial boom

In Williston, N.D., a prairie town that has seen its population jump from 1,500 to nearly 8,000 in just a few years due to a rise in oil and gas exploration, workers have struggled to find a place to call home.

La. jobless rate drops for third month in a row

Louisiana's unemployment rate fell for the third straight month in November, hitting 6.3% as the state's job market continued its recovery from a slowdown in 2013's first half. A separate survey shows payrolls were flat from October to November. Both sets of figures—adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes—were released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Louisiana's unemployment rate was 6.5% in October. The state's jobless rate was 5.7% in November 2012, before six months of unemployment increases that ended in June. There were 131,000 unemployed Louisianans in November, down from 136,000 in October, but above 120,000 in November 2012. State nonfarm payrolls set an all-time high for the fourth straight month, but rose by only 400 people from October.

Fed will reduce bond purchases by $10 billion in January

The Federal Reserve has decided to reduce its stimulus for the U.S. economy because the job market has shown steady improvement. The Fed announced today it will trim its $85 billion a month in bond purchases by $10 billion starting in January. At the same time, the Fed strengthened its commitment to record-low short-term rates, saying it plans to hold its key short-term rate near zero "well past" the time when unemployment falls below 6.5%. Unemployment is now 7%. The Fed's reduction to $75 billion a month in bond purchases is a small but significant step. It means Fed policymakers are ready to ease the extraordinary support they've provided to the economy since the Great Recession began six years ago. Roberto Perli, a former Fed economist who is now head of monetary policy research at Cornerstone Macro, tells The Associated Press the move "eliminates the uncertainty as to whether or when the Fed will taper and will give markets the opportunity to focus on what really matters, which...

Private survey says U.S. companies added 215K jobs last month

A private survey released this morning from payroll processor ADP shows U.S. businesses last month added the most jobs in a year, powered by big gains in manufacturing and construction. ADP—which releases its monthly jobs report prior to the official government report, due out Friday—says American businesses added 215,000 jobs in November. ADP also says private employers added 184,000 jobs in October, much stronger than its initial estimate of 130,000. The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and often diverge from the government's more comprehensive report. Last month, the Labor Department reported private businesses added 212,000 jobs in October. Still, the figure suggests that hiring remained healthy in November after picking up in the prior three months. Manufacturing and construction firms each added 18,000 jobs. That was the biggest gain for manufacturers since early this year. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, tells The Associated Press the...

A promising outlook

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber held its annual Economic Outlook briefing this month, reviewing the current state of the Capital Region economy, where it has been, and where it might be going.

Gamblers leave 6% less at B.R. boats in October

Two of Baton Rouge's three casinos saw their winnings drop last month, and all three in the market collectively won about $1.3 million less from gamblers in October than they did during the same month last year—a decline of about 6%—according to figures released today by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. Only the Belle of Baton Rouge saw its winnings increase during the month. They were up 4% to $4.8 million, an increase from the $4.6 million posted in October last year. L'Auberge Casino & Hotel won slightly more than $11 million, down about 2% from the $11.2 million it took in during October 2012. Hollywood Casino had the most dismal performance during October. It won $5.6 million, or nearly 20% less than the $6.9 million it won in October last year. The relatively lackluster October was still better for the Baton Rouge market than September, when the three casinos saw

Economy adds 204,000 jobs, unemployment to 7.3%

The U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs in October, an unexpected burst of hiring in a month when the government was partly shut down for 16 days, and far more jobs in August and September than previously thought. Nonetheless, the Labor Department reports this morning that the unemployment rate rose to 7.3% from 7.2% in September. But that was likely because furloughed federal workers were temporarily counted as unemployed. The surprising job growth shows the economy was stronger in October than many assumed it would be. Activity at service companies also accelerated last month, an earlier report showed. The figures suggest that many companies shrugged off the shutdown, an encouraging sign for the economy. The job figures are a major factor for the Federal Reserve in deciding when to reduce its economic stimulus. The Fed has been buying bonds each month to keep long-term interest rates low to encourage borrowing and spending. Some economists tell The Associated Press last month's strong...

First-time jobless claims down

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Oct. 19 decreased from the previous week's total, The Associated Press reports. The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,311 from the previous week's total of 2,513. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,891 initial claims. The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,397 from the previous week's average of 2,443. Continued unemployment claims claimed for the week ending Oct. 19 increased to 22,949 compared to 22,760 the previous week. The four-week moving average for such claims decreased to 23,138 from the previous week's average of 23,368.

Addition of 148K jobs enough to push jobless rate down to 7.2%

The U.S. economy added just 148,000 jobs in September, suggesting that employers held back on hiring before a 16-day partial government shutdown began Oct. 1. Still, hiring last month was enough to lower the unemployment rate. The Labor Department reports this morning that the rate fell to 7.2% from 7.3% in August. Unemployment remains historically high but is near a five-year low and is down from 7.9% at the start of 2013.This morning's release of the September jobs report had been delayed two and a half weeks by the shutdown, which likely further slowed economic growth and hiring. Temporary layoffs of federal workers and government contractors will probably depress October's job gain. Many economists say they won't have a clear reading on hiring and unemployment until the November jobs report is issued in early December. The economy has added an average of 143,000 jobs a month from July through September, weaker than the 182,000 average gain from April through June. The department...