Economy

Education & Careers

Parents mull best gifts for grads in a down economy

In the days following the U.S. Department of Labor's announcement that the unemployment rate had hit its highest point since September 1983, parents of graduating college students are probably wishing they could give their children the gift of a job.But since that's not possible most of the time, family and friends are left with a common dilemma as commencement day approaches: What to give in times of recession and slim job prospects?The picture isn't pretty. Graduates are entering a job market where 539,0000 jobs were cut in April alone, and the jobless rate is at 8.9 percent.

Some highlights of President Obama's proposed budget

The budget President Obama presented to Congress last Thursday, May 8th ended up at a little over $3.4 trillion, after the White House cut $17 billion in planned spending, (less than one percent of the total). Now the budget is in the hands of Congress, which will attempt to make its own cuts and additions. The White House says that the $3.4 trillion budget will reduce this year's anticipated $1.7 trillion deficit to $620 billion by fiscal 2012.Obama's cuts came mainly from the termination of 121 programs labeled as unnecessary.

Economoms: Latest wave to hit the workforce

By Marci GrossmanEverywhere you look there are visible signs of the current poor economy. It might be a lack of "help wanted" signs, or coupons from stores and restaurants that never issued them before, or just hearing friends mention their belt tightening.

AICPA poll uncovers major concerns of Americans

Job security emerged as a top financial concern for Americans amid a 16-month U.S. economic recession, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Nearly five in 10 employed Americans – 47 percent – said they are "concerned" about losing their jobs soon. Fifteen percent said they were "somewhat concerned" and 10 percent said they were "very concerned." Nationwide the U.S.

Not all pink slips come from Victoria's Secret

If it's all over but the crying, may as well have a party, right? Especially if the party might lead to a job. A pink slip party is what they're calling it... and no, it has nothing to do with Victoria's Secret. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and no curfew for these party goers, because none of them have jobs to go to tomorrow. Droves of them have lost their jobs in the financial sector, and rather than cry alone, they are getting together for pink slip parties. These get-togethers are not limited to Wall Street refugees. They're happening also in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago...
Tax

Anti-tax tea parties protest taxes and spending

Anti-tax tea parties scheduled for Tax Day took their inspiration from the nation's original tax revolt, the Boston Tea Party. Protesters at tea parties and rallies throughout the country want to send Washington a clear message that many Americans are outraged about increases in government spending, taxation, and the deficit. TEA is the acronym for Taxed Enough Already. Thousands rallied around the country. The National Tax Day Tea Party brought 5,000 to the state capitol in Olympia, Washington.

AIG's long reach: The ripple effect on the travel industry

If the AIG debacle seems to have calmed down while Congress is in a long spring recess, think again. The ripples are being felt everywhere. The Los Angeles Times reported this week that U.S. companies have canceled about $1 billion worth of conferences already this year, further battering the hospitality industry which was already suffering the effects of the weakened economy. Are CEOs trying to avoid the images of corporate pirates frolicking in bathtubs full of champagne and caviar while the "little people" are forced out of their homes?
Practice Management

Don't let trade secrets leave with employees

Desperate times can sometimes result in desperate measures. During an economic downturn, the pressure to generate revenue can be great. Economic espionage can result when employees are forced to come up with the next big idea or they have financial difficulties. Economic espionage is defined as the theft or misappropriation of trade secrets.

CFOs exploring layoff alternatives, salary freezes most popular

While confidence in the U.S. economy and leadership remain low among CFOs of American companies, many are speaking out and taking action to protect their own businesses and workforce, according to the most recent quarterly survey conducted by Financial Executives International (FEI) and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business. CFOs responding to the 2009 first quarter "CFO Outlook Survey” overwhelmingly declared that they need more from their boards of directors, with four out of five expressing discontent with the current relationship.

What are accountants and economists saying about the AIG controversy?

We took a sampling of several accounting blogs to bring our readers this commentary on the AIG bailout/bonus controversy. See also Will the AIG case result in using the tax code to punish certain individuals? for the latest news update. Follow the links below to read the complete blog entries.

Job discrimination complaints reach record levels

Job-discrimination complaints across the United States hit record levels in fiscal 2008, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports.About 95,400 workplace-discrimination claims were filed for the year ended September 30, the most recent data available. That's up from 82,800 the previous year.Complaints based on race, gender, age, and religion all saw year-over-year gains.Workers can file discrimination complaints with the commission, which can seek to remedy the situation.

Power suits and McDonald's... an unlikely combination that makes sense

This is a time of conflicting messages. Power suits and McDonald's are two images you normally don't visualize together, though more and more, they may both be found in the corporate boardroom. Remember "Dress For Success?" The power suit that was essential to looking professional? Though looking professional never went out of style, there came a day when consultants started telling employers they could motivate their workforce with no-cost perks like Casual Fridays, or even a permanent policy of business casual dress.

Identity theft cases increased 50 percent in past year

Last week the Federal Trade Commission documented the most cases of identity theft ever in one year in the 2008 Fraud and Identity Theft Complaint Data.In 2008, the FTC reported that it had received approximately 1,200,000 complaints related to fraud, identity theft and other consumer complaints, an approximately 50 percent increase over the previous year. Those consumers reported fraud related losses of more than $1.8 billion.

Companies are taking steps to boost employee morale

To offset the effects of a sagging economy, companies are taking steps to boost employee morale, a new survey finds. Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed said they are implementing strategies to buoy the mood of their teams. However, not all employers have jumped on the bandwagon - more than one in four (26 percent) executives said their firms aren't doing anything to improve morale.The most common way businesses are attempting to raise workplace morale is through increased and improved communication, cited by 37 percent of respondents.

Company layoffs expected to decline

As the recession continues, companies are looking ahead and expecting to experience a long period of economic hardship. A new update to an ongoing series of surveys conducted by global consulting firm Watson Wyatt shows that most companies have already made most of their intended sweeping changes.

Recession prompts financial executives to rethink retirement,

Executives may be spending more of their golden years on the job than on the golf course, a new study suggests. In fact, more than half (52 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed recently stated that they are delaying or reconsidering their retirement plans. The majority (62 percent) who intend to extend their working years attribute the change in plans to the economy.The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources.

AICPA announces launch of Economic Crisis Resource Center

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has announced that it is launching a new online Economic Crisis Resource Center to provide AICPA members with the information they need to assist their clients during the current very difficult economic times."Because of the global economic turmoil, individuals and businesses need highly reliable information that takes all of the latest data and trends into account," said Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the AICPA.
Tax

What's in the bailout bill? A laundry list called tax relief

The bailout bill, officially titled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a moving target which includes a long list of tax implications including nearly $275 billion in tax relief. A few days ago, the total was $825 billion and is now $819 billion. One key element is a proposed tax credit of $500 per taxpayer or $1,000 per couple, with phase-outs for couples earning $200,000 per year.While a recent Rasmussen poll says that 42 percent of Americans oppose the bailout, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B.

Guest article: The United States will be just fine

By Brian Hamilton, CEO, Sageworks, Inc.There is probably something in humans and in every generation that makes us think that the problems we face are uniquely difficult. Much has been written about the economy and, if you accept certain assumptions from what you read, you might think that we are in the midst of a global depression. Yet, it is important to put the current economy in perspective.

Employment outlook grim in 2009, but not for accountants

While the employment picture is the bleakest it's been in decades, accounting professionals should have a glimmer of hope in 2009.According to staffing firm Robert Half International, which produces an annual salary guide, researchers are predicting a 3.4 percent salary increase for finance and accounting staff. Not surprisingly, most in demand are professionals who can help companies reduce inefficiencies and increase profits.Robert Half also suggests that this year may be a good time to consider temporary project work.

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