Jobless claims are lowest since early 2008, Labor Department says
New jobless claims have fallen to their lowest rate in almost 5½ years, according to Labor Department figures. Employers are relying on existing staff to meet increases in demand, analysts say, so future gains will likely be contingent on an increase in hiring. "There is only so much companies can cut ... before they have to start thinking about adding to headcounts," said Guy Berger, an economist at RBS Securities. Reuters
Smart bosses stay hungry
It's important for leaders to keep striving to improve themselves and to hire people who have a similar approach, says Brooke Denihan Barrett, co-CEO of Denihan Hospitality Group. "We're all works in progress," she says. "We have to improve each and every day. Because once you've become satisfied, you lose that urgency and that hunger to be better." The New York Times (tiered subscription model)
Are you getting the most out of your employee handbook?
Beyond establishing rules, employee handbooks can communicate company history and strategic objectives and can serve as a leadership tool for management, Erin Dillon writes. Handbooks can also serve to familiarize managers with state and local labor laws. She recommends having an employment lawyer review the handbook to make sure it complies with applicable laws and doesn't open the company to litigation. SCORE Small Business Success Blog
The science of knowing what to charge customers
Too many companies rely on intuition or simple guesswork to set the prices of products and services, writes Alejandro Requejo. There's a better way: Use rigorous real-world testing to explore what consumers are actually willing to pay. "When the stakes are high and room for error is low, pricing research grounded in actual purchase decisions is an invaluable tool in the marketing arsenal," Requejo writes. FTI Journal
Relax and enjoy the perks
There are many perks of BSCAI membership, including the dozens of Affinity Partners and their member-only discounts. In this economy, cutting costs wherever you can is more important than ever. That's why BSCAI Affinity Partner Avis Rent A Car System and its subsidiaries are offering BSCAI members fixed, discounted pricing when booking rental reservations. Avis is one of the world's largest leading car rental brands, providing business and leisure customers with a wide range of services at approximately 2,200 locations all over the world. Go online to learn more about Avis and other Affinity Partners available to you with your membership.
What contractors need to know about global harmonization systems
Join us on Wednesday, May 22, from 1 to 2 p.m. CST for a BSCAI webinar, "Safety -- What Contractors Need to Know about GHS," presented by Bruce Donato of K&A First Aid & Safety. In 2012, OSHA released the new Hazard Communication Standard based on the European Global Harmonization System. Two key changes include changing material safety data sheets over to safety data sheets and a new labeling requirement. There are several key dates in the new HAZCOM 2012. The first is just around the corner: Dec. 1. This one-hour overview will tell you how to prepare for these changes. BSCAI members may register for only $29 and non-BSCAI members for $99. Register for this and other upcoming webinars online.
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