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Highlights—October 16, 2004
- Alliance@IBM: IBM Pension
Lawsuit Frequently Asked Questions. Editor's note: Extensive coverage of the Cooper
v. IBM lawsuit is available in the October 2, 2004 edition
of these highlights.
- San Francisco Chronicle: Cancer
claims ex-IBM plaintiff. Moore said lawsuit was chance to talk about chemicals. Excerpts:
Jim Moore, the former IBM worker who challenged the technology giant in a high-profile
trial over allegations that Big Blue negligently exposed him and other employees to cancer-causing
chemicals, has died. Moore died Friday after a nearly 10-year battle with non-Hodgkin's
lymphoma. He was 63. Moore and another former IBM worker, Alida Hernandez, sued the company,
accusing it of maintaining an unsafe workplace that caused them to develop cancer. Both
had worked at IBM's disk drive factory in San Jose. ... After a four-month trial, a jury
ruled in favor of IBM. Despite the defeat, Moore said the trial was an opportunity to
talk about the chemicals used by IBM, such as Freon and acetone, which environmental
advocates have long claimed are dangerous and carcinogenic. "One of the things Alida
and I made sure was that got out in the open, the use of the chemicals and what they
said after the trial. "We lost
the case, but at least people know." IBM later settled more than 40 cases in which
it was accused of making workers ill by negligently exposing them to hazardous chemicals
at a San Jose plant. Last week, Moore and Hernandez were honored by the Silicon Valley
Toxics Coalition for their roles in advocating for a safer workplace.
- IDG News Service: Hitachi,
IBM to lay off 400 at hard disk drive venture. Excerpt: Hitachi
Global Storage Technologies (HGST), the business created by the merger of the hard-disk
drive manufacturing units of Hitachi and IBM, is to lay off about 400 workers. The company
hopes to achieve some of the staff cuts through a voluntary redundancy program for which
450 employees are eligible. Those employees have until Nov. 29 to decide, the company
said. It expects around 40 percent or 50 percent of those eligible to accept redundancy
which will take the company about halfway to its reduction target. The remaining cuts
will be made through firing of staff in a program due to begin on Dec. 13, it said. Staff
at the receiving end of the involuntary layoff program will receive redundancy pay, medical
benefits for an unspecified period and support to find a new job, said the company.
- New York Times: A
Hard-to-Swallow Lesson on Pensions, by Mary Williams Walsh. Excerpts:
Hundreds of people here in western New York, all closing in on retirement, have learned
a bitter lesson about pensions and the law that guarantees them. Two years ago, their employer,
the oil services giant Halliburton, unexpectedly started urging them to take their pensions
early, warning that they would otherwise lose their right to take their benefits in a single
check. The workers signed up to receive their money right away, but the money was much
less than they had earlier been told they had coming. Confused and angry, some have sought
to win back the remainder of their pensions, or at least to get an explanation of how Halliburton
could legally reduce their benefits. Today, what the workers find most distressing is that
a law that is supposed to protect pensions has failed them. ... The case of the Olean workers
is an illustration of a gaping hole in the nation's safety net. Tens of thousands of Americans
are discovering, as they approach retirement, that money they were promised is not forthcoming.
Some of the most prominent cases involve companies, like airlines, that are in severe financial
distress and cannot keep their pension funds going. But others involve profitable companies,
like Halliburton, that reduce anticipated benefits by tens of thousands of dollars even
though their pension funds are healthy - and even though a 1974 federal law says pensions
are guaranteed. ...
But some companies have found a loophole in the law during mergers and spinoffs,
pension advocates say. "The company cannot amend a plan to eliminate an early retirement subsidy," said
Karen Ferguson, director of the Pension Rights Center, a consumer group in Washington.
But if the company sells a division, then an employee of that division is no longer protected
when he or she reaches early retirement. The company has, in effect, "amended the
work force," she said. "This is a glaring loophole in the law, and it is truly
undercutting the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of people across the country." Norman
Stein, a law professor at the University of Alabama who specializes in pension issues,
said "hundreds and hundreds of companies" have taken advantage of divestitures
to end their obligation to pay early retirement subsidies. ...
In August of that year, Mr. Cheney left Halliburton to join the Republican ticket.
In 2001, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act was signed into law, including
an obscure provision allowing an employer to consider workers legally severed from
service if it sold the division where they worked. In July 2001, David J. Lesar, the
new chief executive, executed an amendment to the pension plan, deleting four words: "or any successor
more than 150 pages. Until the deletion, the document barred workers from cashing out
of the pension fund until they stopped working for their division, or any successor
But when the workers called Halliburton to enroll for their payouts in the summer of 2002,
hundreds of them were told that the benefits available in their names were significantly
less than what they expected. Many of them can produce benefits statements from previous
years, when Dresser Industries still ran their pension fund, showing they were due much
larger amounts. They were also indignant to learn that they were being treated as if they
had resigned. Most of them were sitting at the same desks, performing the same tasks, as
they had before Halliburton bought and sold their company. Bill Chamberlin, a head draftsman
at the division in Olean, said he was previously told he would receive about $60,000 but
was offered just $28,000 by Halliburton.
... Mr. Chamberlin and others expressed particular anger that when Mr. Cheney departed from
Halliburton in 2000, he was too young to qualify for retirement benefits, but was granted
a package worth millions of dollars anyway, through a special vote of the board.
If link is broken, view Adobe Acrobat version [PDF--25 KB].
- Washington Post: No
Simple Solutions to Pension Problems. Excerpt: The grim news coming
out of the airline and steel industries about their pension plans and the government
agency that insures them is giving Congress, along with older workers across the nation,
a sudden case of the jitters. "We gotta do something" is the phrase du jour on
Capitol Hill, and senators and representatives are calling hearings and wringing their
hands over the problem. But as with so many issues today, there are no easy answers.
There are lots of proposals and recommendations, but while many would be effective in addressing
the part of the problem they are aimed at, they would have side effects -- collateral
damage, to use the recently popular term -- that might outweigh their benefits.
- Washington Post: Pension
Promise No Guarantee of Security. Bankruptcies Can Mean Sharply Reduced Payouts. Excerpts: With just eight years to go,
Steve Derebey had been eyeing his mandatory retirement age with something close to relief.
A commercial airline pilot, the 52-year-old would not be worrying "about guys behind
[him] with box cutters," he said. Just as important, his $66,000-a-year pension
would leave him and his wife, Jeane, free to travel from their home in Gig Harbor,
Wash., to visit the grandchild in Crystal Lake, Ill., who is due in January. But last
month, in a Chicago bankruptcy court, United Airlines almost certainly changed the
rest of the Derebeys' life, warning that it will likely dump its pension plan onto the
federal government. Under the rules of the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC),
Derebey would be left with $22,000 a year, a third of his expected benefit. Now, he and
his wife are hastily planning a second career, a long one, they say, maybe running their
own public relations shop in Seattle. "Instead of being able to retire, see our
kids, we're probably going to have to work until we die," Jeane Derebey said.
Such adjustments can be particularly wrenching, said Duane Woerth, president of the Air
Line Pilots Association, the pilots' union. They hit older workers, who have the most
difficulty retraining for a new career and who have the least time to build up savings.
Workers with defined benefit pensions may have structured their whole lives around that
expected payout. "Everything you've done in your life to date, what kind of home you
live in, what your wife does, where your kids went to college, it may all be built around
that pension," he
said. "This alteration is like an earthquake. It changes everything."
- Reuters: SEC
Eyes Possible Abuses in Pensions. Excerpts: The U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission is looking into possible accounting abuses involving companies' assumptions
about employee pension funds, the SEC's top enforcement official said on Thursday. "We're
looking at assumptions made in connection with pension accounting to determine whether
those assumptions were reached to drive earnings results," said SEC Enforcement
Division Director Stephen Cutler in an interview. Hundreds of companies last year
updated key assumptions in their accounting for post-retirement benefits, Business
Week magazine reported in its Oct. 25 edition. The SEC is looking into whether some
of these changes were overly aggressive and made with an eye to enhancing companies'
profits and balance sheet figures, Business Week said. Cutler declined to identify
any of the companies targeted.
- Socialist Worker Online: Attack
on pensions. Corporate America is trying to steal our future.
Excerpts: The corporate vultures who grabbed pension funds for profits in the 1990s
are out to slash those retirement funds today--or abandon their obligations altogether.
... During the economic boom of the 1990s, for example, many companies found that their pensions
were “overfunded” as funds’ assets on financial markets increased in
value. Rather than use the extra money to increase retirement benefits, leading companies
simply transferred the proceeds into their earnings. According to the Wall Street Journal,
pensions boosted reported profits by 3 percent that year for the S&P 500 group of
large companies. Now, however, companies are using the red ink in their pension funds
to justify the reduction or elimination of retiree benefits. Earlier this year, legislation
sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) allowed many companies to reduce their premium
payments to the PBGC, which will only make the longer-term crisis worse. “A good
part of this has to do with corporations essentially walking away from their obligations,” Paul
Edwards, chair of the Coalition for Retirement Security, told Socialist Worker. “Since
many corporations have been part of writing the legislation that effects them, it’s
a cozy position to be in.”
The steel industry has followed the same strategy of ditching pensions and has eliminated
health care benefits--which aren’t insured--for some 260,000 retirees. Yet companies
that can easily afford to meet pension obligations are cutting back. For example, in
1999, IBM converted its defined-benefit pension to a “cash-balance” plan, which
creates virtual account for individual workers. Earlier this year, IBM employees won
a class-action lawsuit, arguing that the cash-balance plan discriminated against older
workers by dramatically cutting their expected level of benefits, which had been calculated
on a formula based on years of service and age. IBM has agreed to pay $300 million
to retiree funds now and another $1.4 billion later if it loses its appeal of the ruling.
In the meantime, companies are barred from creating new cash-balance plans--which today
cover some 7 million employees. ... All this ads up to a corporate abandonment of retirees,
said the Coalition for Retirement Security’s Edwards. “You have to understand
that this is a scheme and scam used to defraud Americans of their pensions,” he said. “We
have an outrageous system, and it's getting worse.”
- Wall Street Journal: More
retirees may see health cuts, by Ellen Schultz. Excerpts: Some large employers will
have greater flexibility in how they cut retiree health-care costs starting Jan. 1,
thanks to a provision in the new corporate-tax bill. And the change could affect health
benefits for more retirees. Lucent Technologies Inc., which has been cutting some retirees
for whom it pays health-care costs, lobbied forcefully for the change in the law --
though it will affect other companies as well. The sweeping tax bill cleared the Senate
this week and is expected to be signed into law by President Bush. The law applies to
large companies that withdraw surplus pension assets to cover medical costs for retirees.
That has been allowed since 1990. However, there have been some restrictions. Under
current rules, companies can't make significant reductions in retiree health benefits
for five years after a transfer. Employers must maintain the same "per-capita cost" for five years, meaning they
must spend the same amount per retiree. To provide flexibility, however, they are permitted
to cut the number of retirees they cover -- by 10% in any one year, or 20% over five
years. That has the effect of reducing costs by 10% to 20%. (Employers are allowed
to pass cost increases onto retirees). Under the new rules, employers will not necessarily
have to maintain the per-capita cost. Instead, they will be allowed to cut overall
benefit costs for all retirees -- by the same amount they would have saved by cutting
some covered retirees altogether. In other words, they now have the option to cut their
costs for all instead of cutting some people. ... Members of the Lucent Retirees Organization,
in an e-mail to lawmakers, said, "It is simply unfair to allow companies who have
already received the tax and other financial benefits of the pension asset transfers
to renege on their commitment to maintain retiree benefits -- a commitment which was a
condition of the initial transfer."
- New York Times: Bush
Health Savings Accounts Slow to Gain Acceptance, by Milt Freudenheim.
Excerpts: President Bush, who is expected to discuss the plans again tonight in the
domestic policy debate with Senator John Kerry, extolled them in last Friday's debate. "You
own your own account,'' he said. "You can save tax-free.'' But nonpartisan health
policy experts say the plans are apparently too new and untested to appeal to many
employers and may simply not be financially feasible for middle-income families. "It's
hard to imagine that a guy who makes $50,000 a year is going to have $2,000 for him
and his family to stick in this plan," said Ira S. Loss, a health policy
expert with Washington Analysis, a business consulting firm. Insurance brokers say
the accounts appeal primarily to lawyers, doctors and partners in small businesses
who may welcome tax-free savings accounts for themselves. Many small businesses may
like the plans as a way to reduce their own outlays for employee health insurance.
Some employers are offsetting their lower insurance premiums by contributing some money
into workers' savings plans. ... Tom Beauregard, a health policy analyst at the benefits
consulting firm Hewitt Associates, said that studies showed that the savings plans
attract healthier enrollees, leaving behind sicker people in the old plans. To average
out the risks, he said, an employer might ask people who move to health savings plans
to pay an additional premium. Uwe E. Reinhardt, a Princeton University economist and
health policy expert, said the new plans were "a bum deal" for people with
chronic illnesses. But "for
chronically healthy people,'' he said, "it's another 401(k) savings account, and
Wall Street is licking its chops at the prospect of managing the money."
- New York Times: Partisan
Arguing and Fine Print Seen as Hindering Medicare Law. Excerpt:
When he signed it into law, President Bush hailed the Medicare Modernization Act of
2003 as "the greatest advance in health care coverage for America's seniors since
the founding of Medicare.'' The overhaul of the program, including the addition of
prescription drug benefits, was seen as his biggest accomplishment in domestic policy
and a major asset to his re-election campaign. But over the last 10 months, the Bush administration's
efforts to carry out the first phase of that law, providing drug discount cards to
the elderly, have been plagued with difficulties. Many health policy experts say that
even greater problems loom as the government turns to the more ambitious task of providing
a full-fledged drug benefit to 41 million elderly and disabled people in 2006.
- Workday Minnesota: Health
care for all is possible – and would cost less, report
says. Excerpts: Even though the United States has the highest per capita spending
on health care in the world, 45 million Americans lacked health insurance for all of
2003, the report notes. Nearly twice as many –an estimated 81 million – were
without health insurance for at least part of the year. That includes more than 1 million
Minnesota residents. “The United States is already spending far more money than
is necessary to provide adequate health insurance for all its people,” states the
report, issued nationally by Jobs with Justice. “It is only necessary to redirect
some of the money from powerful corporate interests – like the insurance and pharmaceutical
industries – to
provide the high-quality, secure health care that everyone should have.” ... Joel
Albers, a Minneapolis pharmacist, says administrative costs are only 2 percent of spending
in the government-administered Medicare system for seniors. In most HMOs and other
private insurance companies, however, administrative costs eat up 15 percent of revenue.
The savings on administrative costs alone could insure 55 million Americans, the report
says. ... Finally, the report says, the new Medicare prescription drug bill spends
$83.6 billion by subsidizing private insurance companies who are unable to compete
in the marketplace with Medicare. That includes an estimated $150 million in subsidies
in Minnesota. “Rather than subsidize HMOs, we could provide health insurance for
68,000 more people in Minnesota,” Schwarz says. Beyond that, the prescription drug
plan hands pharmaceutical companies an estimated $139 billion more in profits over
the next eight years, the report says, because it forbids the federal government from
negotiating lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.
- National Public Radio: The
Big Business of Health Care. Fresh Air, October 6, 2004. Investigative
reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele's new book is Critical Condition: How Health
Care in America Became Big Business, and Bad Medicine. Bartlett and Steel have worked
together for 30 years, winning two Pulitzer Prizes. They are currently editors-at-large
at Time magazine. (Editor's note: Highly recommended. Requires RealPlayer or compatible
- Minneapolis Star-Tribune: 'Consumer-driven'
health plans bad for working poor, chronically ill, by Gail Shearer and Susanna Montezemolo. Excerpts:
Last year Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, legislation expanding
high-deductible health insurance. This law also includes tax-advantaged "health
savings accounts" (HSAs),
designed to provide consumers with funds to use before they spend enough to meet
the deductible. The IRS recently released guidance that is likely to make these accounts
even more appealing to employers. Supporters of this approach would like you to believe
that these so-called "consumer-driven" health
plans are consumer-friendly. Unfortunately, the term is merely a euphemism for a
policy that favors the healthy and wealthy and leaves the working poor and chronically
ill to carry a greater financial burden. In fact, a more apt term for this type of
medical plan is a "defined contribution
health plan." Like defined contribution retirement plans such as 401(k)s, these
plans replace comprehensive benefits with more limited benefits and shift costs and
responsibilities to employees.
- San Francisco Chronicle: In
Critical Condition: Health Care In America. How the health care system is failing
-- and why it's hard to fix. Excerpts: Some 40 years after the enactment of Medicare
and Medicaid and more than a decade after the Clinton administration failed in its
bid to extend coverage to all Americans, the nation's system of funding health care
is on the verge of breaking down. Employers, consumers and governments at every level
are straining under the burden of a health care bill that is growing at a pace five
or six times the rate of inflation. Businesses, squeezed by soaring health insurance
costs, are passing an increasing share of the price tag to their workers. That's
forcing employees to dig ever deeper into their pockets, prompting millions to forgo
coverage altogether and gamble that their families will stay healthy. The public
health care system is overwhelmed by the country's 45 million uninsured who turn
to hospital emergency rooms for even routine care. ... A big part of U.S. health
care expenditures have little to do with patient care. Harvard Medical School researchers
reported earlier this year that the United States spends $399 billion per year on
health care bureaucracy, essentially the administrative costs of insurers, hospitals,
doctors, nursing homes and other institutions. In California, $45 billion of the
$163 billion spent on health care, or 28 percent, went to administration. ... The
United States has a health care system unique in the developed world. Costs are high,
employers pay most of the bills and tens of millions have no coverage. Polls show
that most Americans believe the system doesn't work and want universal coverage.
Some advocates argue that the only way to achieve universal coverage would be to replace
the American health care system with a system in which the government pays the bills,
a so-called single-payer system. Other experts argue that universal coverage could
be achieved without a government takeover.
- Vault's IBM
Business Consulting Services message board is a popular hangout for IBM BCS
employees, including many employees acquired from PwC.
- "Depends" by "CONsulting_2_long".
Excerpt: In terms of travel, be prepared for 100%. As a young person, or any
person, the glamour can wear off quickly. It really depends on your lifestyle.
If you are someone who see themselves in a suburban lifestyle someday, than consulting
is hard at any age. Where do you date? Where you work 5 days/wk? or at 'home'
where you visit 2 days per week? It is still hard on singles. How do you tend
to mail, pets, etc. If you are a sobi type, then you may enjoy the travel. Why even
have an apartment? Just rent a room from your parents or sibling. And jet around the
country every weekend. NYC, SOBI, San Fran. If you are with out roots or ever wanting
roots, then the travel is a blessing. Unless you staffed in some lame town for 36
months straight. It happens.
|Coverage on H1-B and L1 Visa and Off-Shoring
- Agence France-Presse: India's
top IT body says outsourcing, research sectors faces skills crunch. Excerpt: India's top information technology (IT) body said India's
booming outsourcing and IT research sectors face a looming skills shortage and
the nation's universities must train students better to fill the gap. Kiran Karnik,
president of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM),
said the body had begun talks with IT firms, universities and governments about
improving study courses to equip students for outsourcing and IT research jobs.
... NASSCOM said in a recent report that India's outsourcing industry was expected
to face a shortage of 262,000 professionals by 2012. "One has to trigger the government
to do more. It can help by introducing foreign languages in schools and also
teach communication skills to students which will help them gain jobs in the
outsourcing sector," Karnik said. Karnik's statements followed comments by Gartner,
a top global IT consultancy, last month. Gartner said emerging nations in Southeast
Asia and central Europe could eat up nearly half of India's 80 percent current
share of the booming outsourcing market if the sector failed to draft a longterm
strategy to stay ahead. US and other firms have made a beeline for India, drawn
by its vast educated English-speaking workforce and labour costs much lower than in
- Agence France-Presse: US
to lose more than 400,000 jobs this year. Excerpt: The United States will lose
more than 400,000 jobs this year to Mexico, China, India and other Asian nations
as multinational corporations restructure operations and shift production overseas,
a study showed. The number of jobs lost will be around double those three years ago,
according to the study by Cornell University and the University of Massachusetts
for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The study came amid heated
debate ahead of the November 2 presidential elections on outsourcing of jobs to China,
India and other developing economies and its adverse impacts on employment at home.
- Christian Science Monitor: Endangered
species: US programmers. Excerpts: Say goodbye
to the American software programmer. Once the symbols of hope as the nation shifted
from manufacturing to service jobs, programmers today are an endangered species.
They face a challenge similar to that which shrank the ranks of steelworkers
and autoworkers a quarter century ago: competition from foreigners. Some experts
think they'll become extinct within the next few years, forced into unemployment
or new careers by a combination of offshoring of their work to India and other
low-wage countries and the arrival of skilled immigrants taking their jobs. ...
Although computer-related jobs in the United States increased by 27,000 between
2001 and 2003, about 180,000 new foreign H-1B workers in the computer area entered
the nation, calculates John Miano, an expert with the Programmers Guild, a professional
suggests any gain of jobs have been taken by H-1B workers," he says. ... The H-1B
visa has been highly controversial for years. This fiscal year, Congress set
a quota of 65,000 visas, which was snapped up immediately after they became available
Oct.1. Now, US business is pleading for Congress to let in more such workers.
The US Chamber of Commerce, for instance, wants Congress to revisit the cap "to
ensure American business has access to the talent it needs to help keep our
economy strong." That rationale makes no sense to the Programmers Guild and other
groups that have sprung up to resist the tech visas. Since more than 100,000 American
programmers are unemployed - and many more are underemployed - the existing 65,000
quota is inexcusably high, they argue. H-1B and L-1 visas are "American worker
replacement programs," says
the National Hire American Citizens Society.
Guyer comments. Full excerpt: There are actually tax incentives for companies
to offshore jobs.
The least the federal government could do is eliminate these
incentives. Taxpayers (you and I) should not be subsidizing the loss
of good jobs. At the state level, as well, governments could at
least require that work paid for by state taxpayers should be
performed in the U.S. The feds could also tax the importation of services,
similar to the
tariffs we have on imported agricultural products. I doubt this will
ever be done, however, because programmers don't have a powerful
lobby in Washington like agribusiness does. For all you believers in "capitalism
and globalisation are
inevitable" - the agricultural and cotton and other industries in the
US have been protected by the government from foreign competition for
years. I don't see anyone complaining about that?
- Computerworld: H-1B
visa cap for FY '05 already reached.
Never before has the cap been hit on the same day it went into effect. Excerpt:
Vic Goel, an immigration attorney in Greenbelt, Md., said the quick closing of
the cap means employers can't hire highly educated foreign professionals for
nearly a year. "If
we are making that educational investment, we need to reap the return of that
said. But Russ Harrison, legislative representative for the IEEE-USA, said the
visa program "creates
a strong incentive to push down wages and discourages employment of American
workers." The H-1B visa, which is heavily used by high-tech employers, allows
skilled foreign workers to get jobs in the U.S. for up to six years. The number
of H-1B visas was set at 195,000 for fiscal years 2001, 2002 and 2003 before
dropping to 65,000 in fiscal 2004.
- Computerworld: India
outsourcing firms report surge in hiring.
Growth in IT employment overseas could lead to rate increases for U.S. customers.
Excerpts: In a quarterly report released today, Wipro Ltd. said its workforce
rose by nearly 18%, adding 5,546 employees in the three-month quarter that ended
Sept. 30, to bring its total to 37,063. For the same period one year earlier,
the company reported 24,500 employees. For the same period, Infosys Technologies
Ltd. said this week that its workforce grew from 27,939 employees to 32,949 employees,
also an 18% increase. One year ago, Infosys had 18,580 employees. For the same
quarter, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. said its head count had climbed nearly
12%, from 36,636 to 40,948. In June 2003, Tata reported 24,000 employees. "Bangalore
today is like Silicon Valley was five years ago," said
Lance Travis, an analyst at AMR Research Inc. in Boston. The growth in overseas
IT employment is coming from demand from U.S. companies. Stamford, Conn.-based
Meta Group Inc. said the use of offshore services by U.S. companies will grow at about
20% a year through 2008.
- UC Berkeley News: New
look at U.S. employment outlook. Excerpts: The economy may
be on the mend, but the strongest job growth is in positions paying the least,
and long-stagnant wages are slipping, says a report released today (Thursday,
Oct. 14) by a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. Arindrajit
Dube, an economist with the Institute of Industrial Relations, pored through
recent U.S. household survey data to examine changes in job numbers and wage
distribution in 440 employment categories in 2001, during the 2002- 2003 recovery
period, and in the first eight months of 2004. In "Are Jobs Getting Worse?" Dube
analyzes changes in the average wage, the distribution of wages, and the types
of jobs that are increasing or decreasing. "What's growing versus shrinking in
terms of jobs is important," said
Dube. "Combined with a weak labor market, wages have been fairly stagnant during
this recovery, and this year, they've actually fallen."He found that the
growth of jobs paying at the bottom third of the market outpaced those paying
at the middle by nearly 2 to 1, while there was a reduction in the number of
jobs paying at the top third.