Plus: Manufacturers Partner with Schools, Businesses Urge Action on Fiscal Cliff, Fed Reveals New Stimulus Effort, Sustainability’s Impact on Productivity and Post-Work Career Development.
- Industry Groups Partner for Skills Training | Most manufacturers know there is a widening mismatch between the skills required for entry-level positions and those possessed by recent graduates. Now, more small and medium-sized United States industrial companies are forming partnerships with educational institutions to train workers with the skills they need. However, these relationships need to be strengthened and expanded — while 93 percent of manufacturers cite a skills shortage, so far only 14 percent are working with technical and community colleges to fill the gap.
- Businesses Push for Fiscal Cliff Resolution | With the looming “fiscal cliff” of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts approaching, business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have come together to urge President Obama and Congress to resolve the issue before it impacts the economy. The letter, signed by nearly 300 groups including the National Association of Manufacturers, calls for the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, the alternative-minimum tax relief and an alternative to automatic spending cuts known as “sequestration.”
- Fed Introduces New Round of Stimulus | The U.S. Federal Reserve recently declared it will increase its holdings of long-term securities by purchasing $40 billion of mortgage debt per month in a third round of quantitative easing. This additional stimulus effort is intended to boost economic growth and reduce unemployment. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said open-ended purchases of securities should bolster consumer confidence and business confidence, and the program would continue until the labor market improves significantly.
- Sustainable Companies Have Better Productivity | Businesses searching for ways to improve worker productivity may want to look at their sustainability initiatives. New research has found that companywide green standards affect employee efficiency, and businesses that follow international environmental standards have workers who are 16 percent more productive than those of less sustainable firms. The researchers relied on certifications to determine sustainability and on “the logarithm of the firm’s value added by the number of employees” to measure productivity.
- Helping Your Career after Work Hours | Professional development doesn’t have to be confined to the time you spend at work. In fact, there are several leisure activities that can contribute to the success of your career, including: participating in a hobby that you share with a colleague, attending happy hour or other social events with coworkers to build better unity and even taking an eye-opening trip that can provide a fresh perspective and inspire new approaches to problem-solving at work.
- China by the Numbers | As the world’s second-largest economy, China has a huge influence on the world, but just how big is the country and exactly how fast has it grown? The following infographic provides some useful statistics showing the precise figures underlying China’s current expansion. Among the telling figures: Of China’s 1.34 billion residents, 300 million are farmers; the country makes $39.6 billion annually on mobile phone exports; and in 2009 the country produced 13.8 million motor vehicles.