Rural Job Creation Outpaces Big Cities
Of all the jobs created in the United States between 2001 and 2004, one-third were created in the nation’s 397 agurbs – rural areas outside major metropolitan areas – according to Boomtown USA, The 7 ½ Keys to Big Success in Small Towns, published by the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). These small towns witnessed a net gain of more than 279,000 jobs during a period when only 743,000 jobs were created nationwide and many major metropolitan areas lost a significant number of jobs. The book’s author, Jack Schultz, attributes the shift to a fundamental demographic change taking place in the American economy. Entrepreneurs and business professionals are relocating to rural areas for improved quality of life, lower labor costs and other factors, and are taking advantage of technology and more readily available access to national transportation hubs to launch new businesses and reinvent others. “Thanks to technology, companies based in small towns have the same ability to communicate and transact business as if they were in the downtown business district of any city in the country,” Schultz writes. Carson City was included in Schultz’s list of Top 100 Agurbs – small communities that are attractive to businesses and also offer a good quality of life.
Stand By Your Man?
Mike Mitchell of Fisher & Phillips, a law firm representing employers in labor issues, presents the following example of union job security taken a little too far. The city of Moncton, in Canada, fired a man who had been working as a tree cutter. He later turned up drunk at City Hall, carrying a shotgun and a handgun, looking for two senior managers who were fortunately out of the building. After a brief standoff, he was disarmed by a co-worker and arrested by the Canadian Mounties. One week later, Local 51 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees filed a grievance calling his termination unjust – although his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit for driving a vehicle, and although many of the two dozen union workers forced to flee the building during the ordeal had to undergo treatment for stress. City spokesman Steve MacKinnon said, “In some cases there is a pretty high threshold for dismissal, but coming in drunk with a gun and saying, ‘Where’s the boss?’ – I would submit we are way beyond that.” The gunman, now serving two years in the penitentiary, is looking forward to being released, according to Mitchell, since the union is doing its best to help him get his old job back.
You’ve Come a Long Way, Ladies
The Center for Women’s Business Research estimates that as of 2004, 48 percent of all privately-held businesses in the U.S. will be owned 50 percent or more by women, for a total of 10.6 million enterprises. Since 1997, the Center estimates women-owned firms have grown at nearly twice the rate of all firms (17 percent versus 9 percent). Growth in employment has been even more dramatic – 24 percent for women-owned firms versus 12 percent for all firms. Women-owned firms currently employ over 19 million people nationwide, and one in seven persons in the U.S. is employed by a women-owned business. In Nevada, more than 53 percent of all privately held firms are owned 50 percent or more by women, for a total of 89,501 companies in 2004. These businesses generate more than $29 billion in sales and employ 177,803 people. Between 1997 and 2004, the Center estimates the number of women-owned firms in Nevada increased by 48.2 percent, bringing the Silver State to a third-place ranking in overall growth among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Further details of the report, funded by Wells Fargo & Company, may be found at womensbusinessresearch.org.
What I Didn’t Do on My Summer Vacation
Employees planning personal travel this summer may want to tack on a few extra days, a new survey suggests. Forty-three percent of workers polled said the biggest mistake they made with their last vacation was taking insufficient time off. The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in administrative professionals. Survey respondents were asked, “Which one of the following was the biggest mistake you made when you took your last vacation from work?“ Their responses:
|Didn’t take enough time off||
|Couldn’t relax or get my mind off work||
|Checked in with the office too much||
|Didn’t prepare or organize work well prior to leaving||
|Something else/none of the above||
|Don’t know/no answer||
“Employees fearful of falling behind on projects or not seeming like team players often put off vacations or limit breaks to long weekends,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Lean staffing levels in recent years have left many professionals with increased pressure at work, but this makes the need to recharge more vital than ever.”
Domeyer offered these tips for getting the most benefit from a vacation:
Use history as your guide. Consider your last vacation, including what you did, how much time you took and whether or not you felt reinvigorated on your return. This experience should serve as a basis for planning your next break.
Resist the urge to check in. Change your voicemail and e-mail to let colleagues know you’re away. Don’t contact the office unless it is necessary. The more connected to work you are, the less time you have to unwind.
Avoid scheduling too many meetings for the day you return. You’ll need time to address immediate issues, catch up on e-mail and get updates from coworkers on the status of projects.
Seize the day. Don’t wait until you’re in dire need of a vacation to take one. Regular breaks can keep you motivated all year long.