Archive for Business

Economic Crisis – March 2014 Update

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Economic Crisis – February 2014 Update

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International Tax Rates for 2014

We hear all the time about how United States taxes, especially for business, are onerous on companies. Before we engage in that conversation, let us look at tax tables complied by Deloitte. Corporate Tax Rates 2014, Corporate Tax Rates 2010-2014, and Withholding Tax Rates 2014 for interest, dividends and royalties can be perused. The data is presented by country with explanatory sidebars where warranted.

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Economic Crisis – January 2014 Update

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2014/15 Occupational Outlook Handbook is Now Online

Covering almost 600 profiles and reflecting 2012-2022 employment projections, the OOH also has incorporated numerous new job descriptions such as computer network architects, genetic counselors, information security analysts, web developers, and wind turbine technicians. To find out what information is given for each specialty, please go to Occupational Information Included in the OOH. Employment projections to 2022 can also be accessed online; articles discussing this process are available as well.

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Economic Crisis – December 2013 Update

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Text of Open Letter to President Obama From Eight Tech Companies Asking for Limitations on NSA Activities

Eight of the largest tech companies, normally adversaries in the business world, have banded together to present President Obama a set of reforms aimed at limiting the NSA incursions into private personal data. The letter states: “While the undersigned companies understand that governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety and security, we strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed.” It goes on to list five reform principles that should guide data gathering, including respecting the free flow of information(#4). These reforms mirror legislation introduced in Congress – USA Freedom Act (its actual title is the mind-numbing  “Uniting and  Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring Act”). More information is available at three sites providing extensive coverage of the entire NSA scandal: The Guardian; The Washington Post; and The New York Times. Also, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has an informative site along with a detailed and current timeline; the Electronic Privacy Information Center has a great deal of information as well.

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Economic Crisis – November 2013 Update

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Economic Crisis – October 2013 Update

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What is the Minimum Wage in EU Countries?

Minimum wage debates at both state and federal levels are nothing new here. But what about minimum wages in the European Union countries? Does the EU have a standard rate crossing all countries and sectors? The answer is no; each country sets its own minimum levels. Buried on pages 23-24 of this draft report – A coordinated EU minimum wage policy? - are the minimum monthly wage levels and median monthly wage levels for all the EU countries for 2009 and 2010. (The countries are listed by their EU abbreviations; a list is available .) The figures must be used with caution as the data come from various sources and legislation, but they do allow for some comparative analysis. (A lengthier explanation is contained in the previous pages of this report; see especially p.22 for a succinct overview.)

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Workplace Flexibility

One of the ways employers try to engage their employees is by offering some kind of flexibility in their work schedules. WorldatWork has just released its Survey on Workplace Flexibility 2013 that shows how prevalent this practice is. More than 80% of companies offer telework, or flex time, or part-time schedules (5) with larger companies offering a greater variety of arrangements. Compressed workweeks (the same amount of work in less than five days) are offered in 43% of companies (8). The executive summary on pages 5-10 offers a succinct distillation of the 46 informative tables that follow.

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Economic Crisis – September 2013 Update

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International Labor Statistics

The Databook on International Labour Statistics from the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training contains over 140 tables on a wide variety of socioeconomic topics. The figures focus mainly on industrialized economies; i.e., Sweden, Japan, United States, Brazil, India, etc. This can be supplemented by using Charting International Labor Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and Labordoc from the International Labour Organization.

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The Fastest and Slowest Internet in the United States

Gizmodo has just released A Map of Who’s Got the Best (and Worst) Internet Connections in America. This interactive map shows that speed is a function of income, the higher the income in a congressional district, the faster the speed; population density matters less because while rural areas have slower speeds (it is expensive for cable companies to put in the infrastructure in under-populated areas), urban areas suffer from heavy use which slows speeds. (For those interested, please read this June 2013 NITA report – Broadband Availability Beyond the Rural/Urban Divide.) The national average is 18.2 Mbps; the fastest connection is in Ephrata, Washington with a speed of 85.5Mbps, while the slowest is in Fort Defiance, Arizona at 1.5 Mbps. A list of 5690 ranked locations is here; Jersey City comes in at 1372 with 21.73 Mbps with eight New Jersey municipalities in the top 50. A digital divide still exists as is evident in the ranking of Vermont’s capital of Montpelier; it places 4816 with a speed of 8.99 Mbps. Even its commercial center of Burlington ranks only 2804 with a speed of 16.60 Mbps.

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What Contributes to Employee Wellbeing?

Disengaged workers are not as productive or positive as their engaged colleagues. There are many reasons for this condition, ranging from the boss-from-hell to the lack of clearly defined objectives/expectations. The Gallup 2013 State of the American Workplace survey concentrates on employee engagement, and what companies can do to foster it. As it points out: “Engaged employees have well-defined roles in the organization, make strong contributions, are actively connected to their larger team and organization, and are continuously progressing.”(27) This report is not just for the profit sectors, the education industry could easily follow some of the recommendations in this report. Survey questions, charts, and strategies are included.

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Economic Crisis – August 2013 Update

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Back to School Statistics

We have both retail and government reports on this topic. The National Retail Federation has released its report expecting  a decrease is back-to-school spending while the Census Bureau has published its Back to School: 2013-2014 feature with many links of interest.

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Economic Crisis – July 2013 Update

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Global Risks 2013

From income inequality to natural disasters like la Hurricane Sandy to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the world faces many threats according to Global Risks 2013 from the World Economic Forum. A thousand experts from various fields were asked to give their opinions on what constituted the greatest risks we now face. Figure 29 of this report has the five areas of concern: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological along with the associated risks, numbering ten for each group. We should point out that one of the societal risks is “water supply crises”. This risk is also considered a … ” ‘centre of gravity’ – the one risk that they[survey-takers] thought is the systemically most important one in that group. Due to their influence on other risks, these are the risks to which leaders and policy-makers should pay particularly close attention.”(figure 36) The report is somber reading but nonetheless needs to be consulted. And nowhere does the spectre of nuclear conflict arise as a threat.

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Economic Crisis – June 2013 Update

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