Monday, January 30, 2012

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Tacoma is ‘shifting’ now
Index shows continued yet slow job growth
National truck driving organization recertifies Bates program
Job relocation falls to near record low
Work/life balance, learning opportunities key for job satisfaction
ODA honors Snyder, Corso and ROXY
Around the Sound
Tacoma is ‘shifting’ now

Tacoma Shift Happens 2012 kicked off today at 1 p.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. The goal of the “Go Local” event is to celebrate local, independent business and shift attendees’ priorities to putting local living first.

“We tend to focus on one big company that has a thousand employees,” said Patricia Levy-Davis, president and co-founder of Go Local. “But what we are unaware of is there are over 6,000 independent businesses in Tacoma and that makes a huge impact on our tax base, our community involvement and jobs in general.”

This year’s event began with Sustainability Smart Labs on Entrepreneurship. Participants not only listened to speakers, but also were asked to participate in several exercises, including at one point throwing paper airplanes that had ideas on them.

“I’m hoping they can take some information from entities that they might view as inaccessible,” said Levy-Davis, who also owns Embellish Multispace Salon.

For example, she hoped small businesses could learn how to use the resources provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration and to learn from experts about what they can do to be successful entrepreneurs.

Speakers during the Smart Lab portion of the event included Calvin Goings and Jennifer Clark of the SBA, Robert Levin of Tacoma Community & Economic Development, Lynnette Claire of University of Puget Sound’s School of Business & Leadership, and Teresa Lemmons, executive director of Washington State Micro-Enterprise Association.

The Smart Labs portion of the event will wrap up at 4 p.m., but more activities are still on tap and open to the public this evening.

“We want to give exposure to these fabulous businesses to our community members,” Levy-Davis said, adding that there is some confusion about what it actually means to shop locally. “We want them to understand what a local independent business looks like.”

From 4 to 6 p.m. there is a “Local Food and Beverage Extravaganza.” The Shift Happens 2012 program begins at 6 p.m. and from 6:45 to 9 p.m., Tacoma Shift Happens is hosting a local vendor showcase that will include more than 80  businesses, nonprofits and artists.

“I’m hoping people leave inspired to have the mindset that they are voting with their dollars,”  Levy-Davis said.

Index shows continued yet slow job growth

U.S. small businesses created 50,000 new jobs during January but paid employees less and gave them fewer hours, according to the latest Intuit Inc. Small Business Employment Index.

The monthly report found that small business employment nationwide grew by 0.2 percent, equating to an annual growth rate of 2.9 percent. Hiring in†Washington grew by 0.7 percent.†Average monthly hours worked nationwide decreased by 0.05 percent, or six minutes, while average monthly compensation also decreased by 0.1 percent, or $3.

“Overall the small business labor market is not weak, but not strong either,” said Susan Woodward, the economist who worked with Intuit to create the Index. “Small business employment continues to rise but at a rate that will not get us back to full employment very quickly. Overall, non-salaried employees saw their hours and compensation decrease slightly, but so did the price level. When adjusted for inflation, compensation is about flat. The percentage of non-salaried people working full time is also down slightly, a trend that began in March 2011.”

Based on January’s numbers and revised national employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Intuit revised upward the previously reported December growth rate to 0.3 percent. This equates to 60,000 jobs added in December, up from a previously reported 55,000 jobs.

National truck driving organization recertifies Bates program
The Professional Truck Driver Institute has granted Bates Technical College’s Commercial Truck Driving-Entry Level program recertification.

PTDI certification, valid for five years, means the career education program meets or exceeds industry standards. The certification also helps ensure graduates are adequately qualified to safely handle the demands of the truck driving profession.

“Students who complete the truck driving course from Bates Technical College are well taught and prepared drivers,” said William Balcom, program manager for Washington State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Division. “The course sets the standard and exceeds state training requirements in order for a new truck driver to receive his/her commercial driver’s license.”

Initially certified in 1999, Bates’ two-quarter program remains the only one in the state that is PTDI certified. For more information, contact Jim Field at (253) 680-7410.

Job relocation falls to near record low
After rising to its highest level in nearly two years during the first half of 2011, the percentage of job seekers relocating for new positions dropped to a near record low to finish the year, according to global outplacement and executive coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

The latest data provides further evidence that one of the biggest obstacles to economic recovery could be the lack of mobility among the nation’s unemployed.

During the last two quarters of 2011, an average of just 7.5 percent of job seekers finding employment relocated for their new positions.†That is down nearly two points from an average relocation rate of 9.4 percent in the first two quarters of the year. †It was slightly lower than the same period in 2010, when 7.7 percent of job seekers relocated for new positions.

“It appeared that relocation was beginning to bounce back after plunging in the wake of the housing market collapse and the deep recession that followed,” said John A Challenger, CEO of CG&C. “However, the latest numbers indicate that picking up stakes remains a last resort for the majority of job seekers, many of whom are unwilling to take a loss on the sale of a home for a position that may or may not last.”

The percentage of job seekers relocating plunged in the wake of the housing collapse.†Since the fourth quarter of 2009, the quarterly relocation rate has averaged just 7.9 percent.†In contrast, an average of 15.7 percent of job seekers relocated for new positions each quarter in the pre-recession period from 2005 through 2007. Even during the onset and throughout most of the recession, from 2008 through the third quarter of 2009, the relocation rate averaged 13.2 percent.

“The largest factor behind the low relocation figures is, of course, the still-struggling housing market, which has shown no signs of improvement outside of a handful of markets,” Challenger said. “Home prices are still falling and millions of homes are approaching foreclosure, which will saturate the market with even more low-priced inventory.†Unfortunately, once home values begin to rebound, it could take years before homeowners are back above water.”

Work/life balance, learning opportunities key for job satisfaction
Want to know the way to an employee’s heart? Professionals interviewed by OfficeTeam identified work/life balance (28 percent) and opportunities to learn and grow (27 percent) as the top contributors to their job satisfaction. The results are in line with those from a similar survey in which managers were asked about the factors most tied to employee morale.

The survey of workers also revealed differences by age: Respondents between the ages of 35 and 44 were most concerned with work/life balance (46 percent), and those between the ages of 18 and 34 indicated the greatest interest in opportunities to learn and grow (37 percent).

“Professional priorities change over time,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Because there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for encouraging job satisfaction, supervisors should get to know their team members individually to better understand what motivates and inspires each of them.”

OfficeTeam offers five tips managers can use to help their teams achieve work/life balance:

1. Be flexible. If it’s practical for your business, offer alternative work arrangements such as modified schedules or job sharing.

2. Reduce their commute. Give personnel whose jobs can be done remotely the option of working from home one or more days a week.

3. Watch the clock. Avoid contacting staff outside of office hours unless the matter is urgent and cannot wait until the next business day.

4. Take a breather. Remind workers to take breaks and vacations. Set a good example by doing so yourself.

5. Bring in reinforcements. Encourage employees to seek help when they are overwhelmed with projects. Use temporary professionals, when necessary, to alleviate workloads.

ODA honors Snyder, Corso and ROXY
Olympia Downtown Association honored the following individuals and businesses during its annual meeting.

Ruth Snyder, a downtown code enforcement officer for the City of Olympia, was named ODA Person of the Year.

Volunteer of the Year recognition went to Mary Corso, owner of Courtyard Antiques and 945 ROXY Radio was named Business of the Year.

Around the Sound
Fife Milton Edgewood Chamber is hosting a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino, 5700 Pacific Highway East. The cost is $20 for members in advance and $30 at the door for everyone. E-mail aaron@fifechamber.org for more information.

Kent Chamber of Commerce is hosting a membership luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 1 at ShoWare Center, 625 W. James St. The speaker is Joni Earl, chief executive officer of Sound Transit. The cost is $20 for members and $30 for non-members. Click here or call (253) 854-1770 for more information.

An information session for the Saint Martin’s University School Administration Certification Program is scheduled for 4 p.m.  Feb. 1 at the Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey. The program is designed for individuals who have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university and typically have three years of professionally oriented work experience in an educational setting. For more information, contact Mark Haddock at (360) 486-8831.

Thurston County Chamber is hosting Morning MIXXer from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Feb. 7 at Columbian Hall, 6794 Martin Way East, Lacey. The cost is $5 for members and $10 for general admission. Click here for more information.

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is hosting Small Business Roundtable from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Feb. 8 at 5000 Bridgeport Way West, University Place. Call Savannah Kimball at (253) 683-4881 for more information.

Thurston County Chamber is hosting a lunch forum from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 8 at Saint Martin’s University, 5000 Abbey Way SE, Lacey. The cost is $20 for members in advance and $25 at the door. General admission is $30. Click here or call (360) 357-3362 for more information.

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