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  • U.S. Unemployment Rates Under President Bush Continue to Climb

    U.S. unemployment rates under President Bush have reached a 14-year high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment climbed to 6.5 percent in October, as the country shed 240,000 jobs. U.S. unemployment rates under President Bush have certainly increased--for example, the unemployment rate for October 2007 was 4.7 percent. So far this year, the country has lost 1.2 million jobs, and over half of the decrease took place in just the last three months. Some suggest the situation could grow more bleak: Goldman Sachs projects the unemployment rate will reach 8.5 percent by the end of 2009. Another source I spoke with recently believes it could soar as high as 10 percent in the near future.

    With U.S. unemployment rates under President Bush rising, there's more talk of the nation being caught in a recession. In a New York Times story, Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, notes, “The economy is slipping deeper into a recessionary sinkhole that is getting broader. The layoffs are getting larger, and coming faster. We’re likely to see at least another six months of more jobs reports like this.” In a Wall Street Journal roundup of economists' reactions to the unemployment report, Joshua Shapiro of MFR Inc. says, "History tells that once the labor market weakens as much as it has in the past several months, job-shedding takes on a life of its own and tends to persist for a long while. We expect the employment data to be dreadful for many months to come and consequently for consumer spending to continue to decline."

    The job losses were far-reaching: manufacturing lost 90,000 jobs, construction shed 49,000, professional and business services saw a decline of 51,000, and retail trade employment lost 38,000. Health care, however, added 26,000 jobs.

    As the unemployment rate in America increases and President Bush's tenure draws to a close, all eyes are on President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress set to take the reins in Washington in January. Will the new leadership provide relief?

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  • Career Change at Middle Age

    Posted by Dr. Al Lee

    "Career change at middle age." Just the words seem daunting, but in our ever-changing job market and the current economic downturn, more and more people are switching careers, some by choice, and others out of economic necessity.

    One common route to a career change is further education. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, back in 2006 employees with a graduate or professional degree earned an average salary of $80K, while those with bachelor's degrees earned an average of $55K; that's a big difference in pay. If you're interested in heading back to school, check out online degree programs in the PayScale Education Center.

    How would a new degree affect your salary?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator.

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  • Joe the Plumber and the Middle-Class Squeeze

    Joe Wurzelbacher is getting his 15 minutes of fame--raising questions about what it means to be middle class. Better known as Joe the Plumber, he stepped into the limelight earlier this month when he asked Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic contender for the White House, about his tax plan. According to a New York Times story, Wurzelbacher asked Obama if he believed in the American dream, and voiced concern about having to pay higher taxes as a small-business owner. “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year,” he told Obama. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?" Obama gave a lengthy response, toward the end saying, “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

    In the time since, the episode has made the rounds on the Internet, TV, in print and perhaps most notably, during the final presidential debate at Hofstra University. Sen. John McCain raised the issue of Joe the Plumber, and both he and Obama went on to explain why their tax plans would be more beneficial for America. According to a New York Times breakdown of the candidates' tax plans, Obama would repeal the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000, extend middle-class cuts, like the $1,000 child tax credit and the marriage penalty relief, and triple the earned income tax credit for workers earning minimum wage. McCain would make permanent nearly all of Bush's tax cuts, increase $3,500 personal exemption for dependents by $500 a year, until it reaches $7,000 in 2016, and offer the option to pay taxes under a simplified code with only two tax rates.

    So what do the plans mean for middle-class workers like Wurzelbacher? Tax analysts in a NYT article said neither Wurzelbacher's personal taxes nor those of his business would be likely to rise under Obama's tax plan. However, a NYT graphic in the same story illustrates that the tax bill of a plumber in a situation similar to Wurzelbacher's would be slightly less under McCain's plan--$20,468--compared to $21,068 under the Obama plan, assuming no retirement contributions.

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  • Non-Profit Careers - Social Worker

    Name: Josh Cutler
    Job Title: Branch Director/Social Worker
    Where: Bellevue, Washington
    Employer: Alpha Supported Living Services (Non-profit Organization)
    Years of Experience: 4.5
    Other Relevant Experience: Direct Support Staff, Program Coordinator, Business Manager, etc.
    Education: B.A. in Human Services
    Annual Salary: Use PayScale’s Research Center to find Non-Profit Director Salaries and the Salary of an Assisted Living Director.

    There are two factors that guide most career decisions: salary and personal satisfaction. At the end of the day, you have to bring home a paycheck big enough to pay the bills and put food on the table. But most people also want a work environment that satisfies them on a personal level. For some people, that kind of job satisfaction comes from collaborating with like-minded coworkers, or creating a quality product.

    For Josh Cutler, a non-profit director at Alpha Supported Living Services in Seattle, job satisfaction means going home knowing his work has helped improve someone else's quality of life. Starting out within an entry-level caregiver job and working his way up the non-profit career ladder, Josh also provides a perfect example of the non-profit career opportunities available to those with a strong work ethic and a passion for social work.

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  • Average Salary Increases: What's On the Horizon for 2009?

    Over the last several weeks, it seems the United States has come entirely unglued--at least financially. It's enough to make any worker uneasy about job security and compensation. With all the fiscal unrest, we wonder: what can we expect for an average salary increase in 2009, in light of the sorry state of the economy?

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  • 5 Salary Secrets Your Company Won't Tell You

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  • Telecommuting From Home Success Stories

    Csmonitor.com devoted an entire article to telecommuting from home success stories. In the age of Blackberry, Skype, e-mail and instant messaging, it is becoming more common for businesses to allow employees to telecommute from home, or even the local coffee shop. I touched on this in my previous post about legitimate work at home jobs. 

    Exactly how many people are working in their PJs? WorldatWork, a national organization of HR professionals, says that around 28 million Americans are working from home at least one day per month, and that number could reach 100 million by 2010. Which jobs were included in these telecommuting from home success stories?  Keep reading!

    How does your salary compare to telecommuting from home success stories?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator. You can also use the PayScale Cost of Living Calculator to see how much you would need to make to maintain your current standard of living in a different city. 

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  • Spanish Speaking Jobs: Hispanic Marketing Manager

    Name: Melissa Kopecko Meyer
    Job Title: Hispanic Advertising Manager; Hispanic Marketing Manager; Bilingual Marketing Manager; Bilingual Advertising Manager
    Where: Seattle, WA - USA
    Employer: WaMu (Washington Mutual) & JPMorgan Chase
    Years of Experience: 5
    Other Relevant Experience: Six Sigma Green Belt training and an internship at the Spanish Council for Demographic Research in Madrid, Spain
    Education: University of Phoenix MBA - Global Management, Summa Cum Laude; University of Wisconsin Madison - Bachelor of Science Spanish/Sociology/Business, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa; Universidad Complutense de Madrid - Various coursework completed all in Spanish, also worked at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Madrid
    Annual Salary: Median Marketing Manager Salaries range from $40,000 to $76,000. Use PayScale’s Research Center to compare Marketing Manager Salaries by City.

    Whether you’re planning to work abroad or keeping your career stateside, there are countless career opportunities for bilingual job candidates. With the rising development of a world economy, bilingual fluency opens the door to greater career possibilities within various industries. And, as the Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for employees who are bilingual.

    In this Salary Story, Melissa Kopecko Meyer describes her career path as a Hispanic marketing manager. When asked how she got started as a bilingual marketing manager, Melissa says she simply followed her strengths and interests. If you’ve ever asked, “What job can I get with a Spanish degree?” here’s just one example of the many Spanish-speaking jobs awaiting you, along with some sound advice from a career insider.

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  • Salaries for Human Resources Managers

    Job Title: Human Resources Manager
    Name: David Kennely
    Where: Tucson, Arizona
    Employer: Manufacturer
    Years of Experience: 7
    Other Relevant Experience: 2 years Customer Service Representative
    Education: B.A. in Psychology, Master's Degree in Human Resources Management
    Annual Salary: Median Salaries for Human Resources Managers range from $42,000 to $67,000 based on experience.

    Like many students, David Kennely entered college without a clear vision of his future career. He had an interest in Psychology Careers and knew he wanted to work with people. After exploring his options he eventually found a career that fit his preferences, allowing him to create balance within the workplace.

    Today, David Kennely is a human resources manager who loves his job. In this Salary Story, David explains how human resources management plays a role in maintaining healthy employer-employee relationships within his company. In David’s words, “good human resources is just good business.”

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  • Does Your Salary History Really Matter to a Future Employer?

    Your salary history tells an important story of how far you've come along a career path, so it's fitting that a prospective employer might be interested in learning more about your past earnings. Yet it's unfair to take a salary history at face value, because there are so often back-stories that need explaining.

    Career experts say you should be prepared to discuss your salary history with a prospective employer, along with any back-stories. For example, if you changed careers and took a pay cut in the process, you'll want to share that. Still you don't want to put yourself at a disadvantage, so it's important to tailor your approach to the circumstances.

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  • How to Get U.S. Government Jobs

    Have you ever wondered how to get U.S. government jobs, only to retreat in fear of a dreaded civil service exam?
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  • Best Future Career Choices By Industry: What's Your Next Move?

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  • How to Handle Salary Requirements When Applying for a Job

    Job interviewing is like art: it requires skill, dexterity, and the right tools and environment. Make one wrong move and the result can be disastrous. This is especially true when it comes to discussing salary requirements. As a job-seeker, approaching a conversation with a prospective employer about salary requirements can be tricky.

    How soon can you expect an employer to ask you about your salary requirements? Should you ever include salary requirements in a cover letter? How can you pick a salary that doesn't aim too high or too low?

    To find sage answers to these and other basic questions about salary requirements, I tapped several career experts for their wisdom.

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  • Salary Negotiation in Tough Times: What Not to Do

    The U.S. fiscal climate is going from bad to worse, with Wall Street firms crumbling and unemployment edging ever higher. All this makes for an uneven landscape for salary negotiations, which aren't easy even during a robust economy. To succeed with salary negotiations in tough times, experts say workers should definitely avoid certain tactics.

    Holly Weeks, author of “Failure To Communicate: How Conversations Go Wrong And What You Can Do To Right Them," says it's important not to cop a combative stance during salary negotiations. She explains: " ... the typical approach is to think of this as warfare, there will be a winner and loser, someone is one up, usually the boss is one up, and the worker is one down." But turning a salary negotiation into a battlefield isn't an effective strategy, so you shouldn't be combative, or assume your manager will be.

    "At the same time, it’s possible your counterpart will shift into a combat mentality. So you will have to think about ways of handling the conversation unilaterally instead of assuming [your boss] will meet you half-way," Weeks says.

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  • What is the Average Salary for Marketing Careers?

    Name: Ann Burgess
    Job Title: Web Marketing Manager/Web Content Manager (Editorial, Promotions & Co-Branding)
    Where: Calgary, Alberta – Canada
    Employer: Shoptoit.ca
    Years of Experience: 1.5 years in this position, and 6 Years of marketing in the oil and gas industry
    Other Relevant Experience: Recreational shopping and fashion design
    Education: International Academy of Design and Merchandising, Toronto, Ontario
    Annual Salary: What is the average salary for marketing managers? Use PayScale’s Research Center to find Marketing Manager Salaries, Marketing Director Salaries, and Web Content Manager Salaries.

    Over the past ten years, the Internet has noticeably altered traditional methods of shopping, thus launching a boom of companies setting up business through online store fronts. And with the rising cost of fuel, many shoppers are inclined to look online for their purchases rather than driving to the mall. But just like any successful retail store, online stores require teams of qualified professionals to keep them operating at their full potential.

    For this Salary Story, we hear from Ann Burgess, an essential part of the team at Shoptoit.ca, a Canada based e-commerce website. Starting her journey in a fashion design career, Burgess eventually moved on to a brief stint as a receptionist before finding her way into her current position in online web marketing and content management. Read on to find some helpful pointers for launching your own online marketing career.

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  • Where Happy People Work: Job Satisfaction and the Most Enjoyable Jobs

    Career and salary aren't the only things you need to be happy at work or life. Even the world's most rewarding jobs won't guarantee happiness. But as part of a balanced life, your career can certainly play a major role in your overall happiness. So, what are the most enjoyable jobs in the U.S. and what is it about the most enjoyable jobs that contribute to ones overall happiness in life? A University of Chicago study, "Job Satisfaction in the United States," offered some insight.
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  • Working Girl: A History of Women in the Workplace

    Sandra Day O'Connor-the first woman named to the U.S. Supreme Court-graduated third in her class from Stanford Law School in 1952. According to the Supreme Court Historical Society, when Sandra Day O'Connor pursued a job as a lawyer, she faced intense discrimination against women in the workplace and was repeatedly rebuffed by firms that wouldn't hire women.

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  • 5 Legitimate Work at Home Jobs

    With outrageously high gas prices, working at home is sounding more enticing to Americans each and every day. But while many online work at home scams offer promises of quick dollars and few hours, legitimate work at home jobs aren't a walk in the park. It's definitely possible to get money to work at home, but the most successful and legitimate work at home jobs demand time and effort.
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  • The Dirtiest Jobs That Pay

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  • Workplace Etiquette: Profanity on the Job

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