Wednesday, May 15, 2013
As the release date of the BLS’ “The Employment Situation – April 2013” neared, most economists remained encouraged, in spite of March’s initally disappointing employment figures, as only 88,000 new jobs were generated.
Prior to the release of the BLS’ latest jobs report, some financial experts predicted 140,000 jobs would be created in April, while others were even more positive, anticipating a rise in employment of 150,000.
Despite their optimism, economists’ projections were actually lower than the BLS’ published results, as 165,000 jobs were added to the national economy last month. Long-term unemployment decreased to 4.4 million, a decline of 258,000, when compared to March’s data. Since April 2012, the total number of long-term unemployed has decelerated by 687,000.
Even though the national underemployment rate rose to 13.9 percent and the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased to 34.4 hours, April’s jobs report was quite positive for the most part. With total employment increasing by 293,000, and total unemployment declining by 83,000, the national jobless rate dropped to 7.5 percent, the lowest rate recorded since December 2008.
Recent jobs revisions were also very encouraging, as February’s total job creation rose from 268,000 to 332,000, the highest monthly total since May 2010. And March’s previously disappointing figures improved, rising to 138,000. As a result of these revisions, 208,000 new jobs have been generated per month, on average, since November 2012.
In fact, new jobs have now been added to the national economy every month since March 2010. A majority of these positions have been generated by the private sector.
“The economy has now added private sector jobs every month for 38 straight months, and a total of 6.8 million jobs have been added over that period,” said Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. “Over 800,000 private sector jobs have been added over the last four months.”
Although we are still working toward full recovery, most of the results of April’s jobs report indicate that steady economic progress is occurring. Since January, unemployment has decreased by 673,000, while nonfarm payroll employment has risen by 169,000 per month, on average, since April 2012. In addition, average hourly earnings continued to progress in April, rising to $23.87, the sixth consecutive month of increases.
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013
With a limited number of hours in each day, most of us are looking for ways to be more productive. Often, poorly organized and executed meetings are a key reason why it can suddenly be 3:00 in the afternoon before we really have time to dig in to the projects we hoped to accomplish that day. And, while you can’t control how others run their meetings, there are simple, practical things you can do to ensure that the next meeting you hold is efficient and productive — for all involved.
Know why you’re meeting, with whom, and how
Let’s face it, most meetings really are necessary, but occasionally there are times when a meeting really isn’t required. So, the first step is determining if a meeting is truly needed and what you plan to accomplish as a result. Once you have clear goals, identify the key individuals who must be invited and decide if what you need to accomplish needs to be done face to face or can be accomplished via conference call. Allowing attendees to call in from remote locations — even from their office down the hall — makes it more convenient for everyone.
Set an agenda. And stick to it.
Every meeting has a purpose — and if it doesn’t, there’s no point in meeting — so make sure that all of the attendees are on the same page before the meeting begins. Create an agenda in advance and circulate it amongst key players to generate feedback and ensure that everyone knows why you’re meeting and what you hope to accomplish. Send updated agendas prior to the meeting if there have been any changes, and provide additional copies at the meeting in case people arrive without theirs.
Remember, you want the meeting to be as productive as possible, so use the agenda as your guide — stay on the topics you’ve identified and insist that everyone else does, too. If issues arise that require further discussion but are not directly related to the topic you’re meeting about, suggest having a conversation at a later time.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Tip 1: Assess Event Goals
What’s the goal of your event? Whether it’s to review company top line items with your managing directors or reward your sales team with an incentive trip, you’ll want to assess what you wish to accomplishment by creating appropriate messaging.
Tip 2: Know Your Budget
Once you have your goals outlined, consider how much it will cost. Create a budget outlining all potential items that you need to make the event a success. This includes promotional giveaways, video production, hotel accommodations, food & beverage, audiovisual, photographers, decor, entertainment, signage, etc. Use pricing from the local area (not the year before) if this is an annual meeting or event.
Tip 3: Location and Timing
Your target audience will determine where and when you want to hold your event. Whether they are international or domestic attendees, you want to hold your event in a city that has easy in/out airport access. You also want to think about timing. Avoid holding an event during holidays (unless it’s a holiday party) or in cities that are hosting a city-wide event during your potential dates.
Tip 4: Invitation and Registration
The invitation and registration process is one of the most important aspects of the entire planning process. You want to provide your attendees enough time to respond and secure personal arrangements, if time away from home is required. If travel is involved, five weeks prior to a conference is a good rule of thumb to ensure you are able to secure optimal pricing on flights. Otherwise, local events only require three weeks advance notice. Make sure your registration site is easy to understand and captures any information you require to make your event a success. For example, if you are giving out t-shirts, capture attendee sizes or remember to capture special dietary requests.
Tip 5: Site Inspection
Visit your event location prior so that you can envision what your guests will experience. Walk a mile in your attendees shoes—where should you place signage to avoid confusion, do your food function spaces provide the ambiance you want, or do you need to consider additional decor to dress up a function?
For more insight into the marketing, creative and communications industry, contact your local Paladin team!
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Monday, March 4, 2013
“Take to Twitter” is the new “Take a ticket”
Social media now acts as any company’s complaint department – but with the ability to reach beyond the four walls of the building and end up on national news. When a United Airlines flight attendant makes you gate check your prized guitar, and breaks it, you can take to YouTube and make a music video of your brokenhearted rage and watch as the United stock falls by ten percent because of it, amounting to a loss of $180 million. When Pretzel Crisps offends you with their “You can never be too thin” campaign, you can blog your thoughts on the irresponsibility of their motto and bring the ad to a halt. When Ann Taylor LOFT posts to their Facebook pictures of a 5’10” model in a pair of cargo pants, and you demand to see them on a “real” body, sit back and enjoy the fashion show of women who work in varying departments of LOFT’s corporate office… All of which are wearing the pants you weren’t sure would look as good on your 5’2” frame, but that you now know will. Social media has power because it demands transparency - and more and more companies are taking note of that, and running with it (or drowning from it).
Get your head out of the sand
According to Forbes, companies can be their own worst enemies: an earlier RightNow study found that of those surveyed, 82% had stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer experience. Social media, and how companies respond to complaints, matters.
New avenues for positive PR
Ignoring negative feedback can severely harm your brand image, but social media can also have the opposite effect, if inspired by a good experience. Reacting in a positive way can create your best brand Evangelists. MINI Cooper, for example, accidently spammed some of their customers with over a hundred emails in one week. Before any complaints had a chance to surface, MINI sent a care package including: chocolate roses, Duck tape, and, of course, Spam. With a clever note and a sincere apology, MINI boosted their positive image without spending millions of dollars on an advertisement.
Go the extra mile
In Jacksonville, Florida, a deployed soldier wanted to have a pizza delivered to his wife from her favorite restaurant on her birthday. They don’t deliver. But this time, they definitely delivered. Mellow Mushroom went the extra mile – they baked the soldier’s wife a heart-shaped pizza and, on their way to deliver the pie, they also picked up flowers and a few balloons. And they didn’t charge the soldier a dime. Facebook helped spread the word of this sweet deed and before long Good Morning America picked up the story. Not bad publicity for a local pizza shop, eh?
With social media acting as the megaphone of the disgruntled customer, or the loudspeaker of the happy patron, it’s more important than ever to make sure someone is monitoring and engaging this medium.
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