Profit, sales and hiring last year by companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index exceeded data for 2007, before U.S. businesses were hit with the financial crisis and the most serious recession since World War II, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. However, such strong financial performance hasn't significantly affected the unemployment rate because many of the 1.1 million jobs the companies created since 2007 are outside the U.S.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke has cautioned that hiring may slow, and some say the latest jobs report reaffirms his stance that the Fed will remain responsive to economic needs. Employers added 120,000 jobs in March, the fewest in five months. "It must give the Fed some comfort that they continue to have this accommodative stance," said Phillip Swagel, a University of Maryland economist.
Job centers across the U.S. are running out of money to provide training to unemployed workers. With 12.7 million Americans unable to find work, training programs are receiving 18% less federal money than in times of prosperity. Money to teach basic job-searching skills, such as preparing for interviews and writing resumes, has fallen 13%.
M&T Bank CEO Robert Wilmers said in a letter to shareholders that the financial crisis "implicated a wide range of institutions -- not only bankers but their regulators, not only investors but those paid to advise them, not only private finance but its government-sponsored kin." He said that as trust of banks has eroded among the public and lawmakers, it has prompted "fear-driven rulemaking" that will burden the financial system and economy.
Americans are bringing home more in their paychecks, as wage growth increased 1.4% in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, according to a PayScale report. That's the highest since the last quarter of 2008. "Things are looking good," said Katie Bardaro, PayScale's lead economist. "For the first time in a while, people can start to feel confident about where the economy is heading."
Complaints have surfaced from Amazon workers who say they're forced to work at a relentless pace while enduring poor working conditions. In a lawsuit settled last year, a warehouse employee said he was pressured to lie about a hip injury by saying it wasn't job-related. In response to criticism, Amazon points to its safety rating.
Two years after its Citizens United ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has accepted a petition relating to a Montana election law. In the case, the Montana Supreme Court upheld state election laws that petitioners say violate the Citizens United decision. "[U]nlike Citizens United, this case concerns Montana law, Montana elections and it arises from Montana history," the Montana Supreme Court found.
Corporate clients are continuing to push for alternative-billing arrangements, which became more common during the recession. Large law firms are expected to derive more than 13% of their revenue from such arrangements this year, almost twice as much as they did in 2008.
Young workers who want to innovate but aren't ready to become entrepreneurs can become "intrapreneurs," experts say. Intrapreneurs generate creative ideas within their companies and don't become mired in corporate culture, they say.
Once you reach the second round of interviews for a job, delve deeper into whom you'll be meeting and use LinkedIn to find common interests or connections, writes Jennifer Merritt, author of "The Wall Street Journal Guide to Building Your Career." Questions are more likely to focus on your technical expertise, critical-thinking skills and personality, she writes.
The Rules of Procedure (RoP) of the North American Energy Reliability Corporation (NERC) govern its activities as well as the activities of the eight regional entities charged with ensuring compliance with and enforcement of reliability standards and requirements applicable to electric utilities in the U.S. The April 11 audio briefing Proposed Changes to the NERC Rules of Procedure: Implications for Counsel in Enforcement Cases will cover the implications of the proposed RoP changes for counsel representing clients in regional enforcement cases.
Licensing Transactions Are Becoming More Complex Than Ever
For whatever reason used, managing complex licensing transactions requires a broad and varied tool kit. Advanced Licensing Agreements 2012, in Chicago on April 26 and 27, will feature updates on current legal developments, present case studies highlighting best practices, provide tactics for negotiating frequently contested issues and provide guidance on identifying and avoiding common pitfalls, keeping the relationship on track, litigation planning and avoidance, and addressing ethics concerns.