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37 posts from September 2010


But what if the Cowboys were any better? Fantasy football not a workplace distraction, study says

Fantasy football leagues aren't "sapping the nation's workplace productivity," the outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says in a report today.

Ranking the distraction on a 1-10 scale, with one being no noticeable impact, nearly said 70 percent of responding employers ranked fantasy football as being four or lower, Challenger said.

"Other surveys show that people are indeed managing their fantasy teams from work," John Challenger, CEO, said. "However, what we are hearing from the human resources community is that this is not at all affecting the level of output workers are expected to deliver."

"It is difficult for companies to take a hard-line stance against fantasy football," Challenger said. "The Internet technology that heped fuel the rapid growth of fantasy football participuation and makes it possible to manage teams from one's desk also makes it possible for employees to attend to work duties during their personal time."

"Companies that not only allow workers to indulge in fantasy football, but actally encourage it by organizing a company league are likely to see significant benefits in morale as well as productivity," Challenger said,. "In the long run, this may lead to increased employee retention."

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram


Grapevine entrepreneur makes Fortune's 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs

Linda Chaput, founder of the math and education services company Agile Mind of Grapevine, was named this week to Fortune's 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs for 2010.

The second-year program, co-sponsored with American Express Open, targets "entrepreneurial women who are game changers, ground breakers, and innovators in their fields," Fortune says.

Chaput will represent the DFW area at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, Oct. 4-6 in Washington, D.C. She'll join the nine other honorees and 400 influential women leaders in business, philanthropy, government, education and the arts.

The 2010 list:

Theresa Alfaro Daytner, president and CEO, Daytner Construction Group, Mount Airy, Md.

Leah Brown, president and CEO, A10 Solutions, Cary, N.C.

Linda Chaput, founder, Agile Mind, Grapevine

Wendi Goldsmith, CEO, Bioengineering Group, Salem, Mass.

Desiree Gruber, CEO and founder, Modelinia/Fuil Picture, N.Y.

Alexa Hirschfeld, co-founder, Paperless Post, N.Y., N.Y.

Dina Kaplan, co-founder and chief operating officer, Blip.tv., N.Y., N.Y.

Susan Koger, ModCloth, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Mariam Naficy, founder and CEO, Minted, San Francisco.

Elizabeth Perelstein, president, School Choice International, White Plains, N.Y.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram

American General Life hiring 4,000 sales agents, stopping jobs bus in Dallas Monday

American General Life and Accident Insurance Co. is hiring 4,000 sales agents nationally, and it’s using a 15-city bus tour to get the word out and take applications. The “AGLA Hiring Drive” tour pulls into the State Fair of Texas Monday in Dallas, where the bus will stop outside the Two Podners Bar B-Q, 1441 Robert B. Collum, and take applications from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday Oct. 3.

The tour started Sept. 26 in Baltimore and ends Oct. 8 in Los Angeles. More updates upcoming on the company and how many people it wants to bring on in Texas. American General sells life insurance, annuity, accident, and supplemental health insurance products. More info on the company: www.agla.com.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram

Goodwill Fort Worth launches medical office assistant program

Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth has opened registation for its new medical office assistant program. Classes begin in October and help prepare students for entry-level jobs as medical office assistant, medical secretary, and medical receptionist.

The program includes instruction on medical terminology, business math skills, health insurance claim procedures, HIPAA privacy rules, coding manuals, Medicare, Medicaid, VA Tricare, and Champus healthcare billing.

The program has a capacity of 10 students and will be held at the Goodwill Fort Worth campus, 4005 Campus Drive in southeast Fort Worth. Scholarships and financial aid are available to qualifying applicants. Info: Goodwill Fort Worth's site.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram


Toys 'R Us latest retailer to boost holiday hiring plan

Breaking into today's Census reporting to talk about toys. Specifically, Toys 'R Us, and more importantly to a lot of people, the company's holiday hiring plan for this year, released today.

Express The New Jersey retailer says it plans to hire 45,000 seasonal employees to staff its big box stores and Toys 'R Us Express pop-up stores in the United States this holiday season, "essentially doubling its domestic workforce," the company said in a release.

"This number is greater than the total workforce the company hired during each of the last three holiday shopping seasons due to the addition of 600 new Toys 'R Us Express stores," the company said. "In previous holiday seasons, the company has hired approximately 35,000 toy-trained employees to help gift-givers find the right toy for the children on their lists this Christmas."

Of the 45,000 people being hired, 35,000 will staff the 587 traditional Toys 'R Us stores, the company said. The remaining 10,000 will work at the Express stores at malls and other shopping centers. The company also will hire seasonal workers at its nine distribution centers across the country.

"As it does each year, Toys 'R Us will provide existing employees with the opportunity to take on additional hours throughout the holiday season at their current site or at an alternate Toys 'R Us location," the company said.

Holiday work allows for potential advancement in the company after the season, Toys 'R Us said.

"Each year, following the holiday season, the company strives to find extended roles for high-performing seasonal employees," Toys 'R Us said. "In the past, seasonal and part-time workers have gone on to full-time positions at the company.  Substantial long-term growth opportunities exist for hardworking seasonal employees at Toys 'R Us."

Who's the company looking for?

"At Toys 'R Us, we love kids, so we are looking for enthusiastic and diligent employees who enjoy working in a fun and fast-paced atmosphere and assisting customers in selecting gifts that are sure to bring happiness to children on Christmas morning,” Toys ''R Us said.

Jobs available include managerial, sales associate, back-of-house stock, and distribution crews. Click here to visit the company's jobs site.

-  Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram

More Census: Who's working in Tarrant County, and how much they make

Here's more from the Census on the Tarrant County workforce in 2009:

* Civilian labor force: 947,417, up from 929,560 in 2008.

* Women, ages 16 and older in labor force: 427,480, up from 416,894 in 2008.

* Families with children 6 and under, and both parents in workforce: 112,480, up from 106,308 in 2008.

* Families with children 6-17, and both parents in workforce: 216,342, up from 210,424 in 2008.

* Median earnings for fulltime men in nonfamily households: $44,801, down from $45,436 in 2008.

* Median earnings for fulltime women in nonfamily households: $35,551, down from  $36,966 in 2008.

* Families in poverty: 11 percent, up from 9.4 percent in 2008.

* Married couple families in poverty: 6 percent, up from 4.7 percent in 2008.

* Families with femalehouseholder, and no husband present, in poverty: 27.2 percent, up from 26 percent.

* Families with femalehouseholder, no husband, and children under 18, in poverty: 34.2 percent, up from 33.1 percent.

* Household median income by race: Whites, $60,187; blacks, $36,146; American Indians, $46,375; Asians, $59,615; and Hispanics, $39,839. Total household median income: $53,720.

* Household median income by age: Age 45-64, $68,421; 25-44, $54,174; 65 years and older, $36,793; and 15-24, $26,126.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram



Tarrant County's uninsured rise in 2009, but so does number of insured, Census says

Tarrant County saw a rise in the number of people uninsured for health coverage last year, but it also saw a smaller increase in the number of insured people, as the population grew, today's Census data shows.

The number of people without health insurance rose to 409,205 from 375,886 in 2008. The number of insured people rose to 1,363,674 from 1,357,025, the Census data said.

In 2009, the number of people with private health coverage was 1.1 million. The number with public coverage, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP, was 378,902. The number of children younger than 18 years was 79,503.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram

Census: Who lives in Tarrant County

Ever wonder who's really living next door? Here's a snapshot of who lived in Tarrant County last year, according to the Census figures out today:

Households: 629,000, 2.8 people on average per household. 2008 comparison: 622,000 households, 2.8 people.

People Families: 70 percent of households, including married couple fams (51 percent). Most nonfamily households were people living alone, but some including roommate situations. 2008 comparison: 68 percent families, married couple fams, 51 percent.

Nativity: 16 percent foreign-born. 84 percent native U.S., including 55 percent born in Texas. 2008 comparison: 15 percent foreign-born, 85 percent native, including 55 percent from Lone Star State.

Language: Among people at least 5 years old, 28 percent spoke a language other than English at home. 78 percent of those spoke Spanish. 48 percent said they didn't speak English "very well." 2008 comparison: 27 percent spoke language other than English at home, including 77 percent Spanish, and 46 percent who didn't speak English well.

Mobility: 82 percent were living in the same residence as a year before, 13 percent had moved from elsewhere in Tarrant County, 3 percent moved from within Texas, 2 percent moved from another state, and 1 percent came here from abroad. 2008 comparison: 81 percent same residence. 12 percent moved from within Tarrant County, 3 percent from within Texas, 3 percent another state, and 1 percent abroad.

Education: 83 percent of people 25 years and older graduated from at least high school, and 28 percent had at least a bachelor's degree. 17 percent were "dropouts"; the either weren't enrolled in school, or hadn't graduated high school. Total school enrollment was 502,000. Nursery and kindergarten enrollment was 68,000, and elementary or high school enrollment was 322,000. College or graduate enrollment was 112,000. 2008 comparison: 82 percent at least high school, 28 percent at least a bachelor's degree, 18 percent dropout. 2008 total school enrollment was 487,000, nursery and kindergarten 61,000, elementary and high school 316,000, college and graduate 110,000.

Peeps Disability: Among people at least 5 years old, 10 percent reported a disability. The likelihood of having a disability varied by age: 4 percent of people 5-15 years old, 9 percent of people 16-64, and 39 percent of people 65 and older. 2008 comparison: 10 percent with disability, ages 5-15, 4 percent; 16-64, 10 percent; 65 and older, 38 percent.

Industries: For people 16 years and older, leading industries were education and health services, including social assistance, 18 percent; and retail trade, 12 percent. 2008 comparison: Education and health services, 17 percent; manufacturing, 12 percent.

Occupations: Most common were management, professional and related, 34 percent; sales and office, 28 percent; service, 16 percent; production, transportation, and material moving, 13 percent; and construction, extraction, maintenance, and repair, 9 percent. 83 percent of employed people were private wage and salary workers, 11 percent worked for government, and 6 percent were self-employed. 2008 comparison: management, etc., 34 percent; sales and office, 28 percent; service, 14 percent; production, 13 percent; construction, 10 percent. 82 percent private wage and salary, 11 percent government, 6 percent self-employed.

Commute: 82 percent of Tarrant County workers drove to work alone, 11 percent carpooled, 1 percent took public transit, and 3 percent used other means. The remaining 3 percent worked at home. Average commute: 25.2 minutes. 2008 comparison: 81 percent drove alone, 11 percent carpooled, 1 percent took public transit, 3 percent other means. Four percent worked at home. Average commute: 26.3 minutes.

Income: Median household income was $53,726. 87 percent of households received earnings, and 13 percent had retirement income other than Social Security. 19 percent received Social Security, with an average $15,780. 2008 comparison: $56,251. 87 percent of households received earnings, 13 percent retirement income other than Social security. 19 percent received Social Security. Average SS income was $15,003.

Poverty:  15 percent of people were in poverty. 22 percent of related children under 18 were below the poverty level, compared with 8 percent of people 65 years old and over. Eleven percent of all families and 27 percent of families with a female householder and no husband present had incomes below the poverty level. 2008 comparison: 12 percent in poverty, 17 percent of kids below 18 were in poverty, 9 percent of people age 65 and older were in poverty. Nine percent of families and 26 percent of families with a female householder and no husband were in poverty.

Population: 1.8 million - 896,000 (50 percent) females and 894,000 (50 percent) males. Median age was 32.8 years. 28 percent was under 18 years and 9 percent was 65 years and older. 2008 comparison: 1.8 million population, including 876,000 females and 874,000 male. Median age 33.2 years. 28 percent of population under 18 years, 9 percent 65 or older.

Race: for people reporting one race alone, 69 percent was white; 14 percent was Black or African American; 1 percent was American Indian and Alaska Native; 4 percent was Asian; less than 0.5 percent was Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, and 10 percent was "some other race". Two percent reported two or more races. Twenty-seven percent of people in Tarrant County was Hispanic. Fifty-three percent of the people in Tarrant County was White non-Hispanic. People of Hispanic origin may be of any race. "People of Hispanic origin may be of any race," the Census noted. 2008 comparison: 70 percent white, 14 percent black, less than 0.5 percent American Indian/Alaska native, less than 0.5 percent Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 9 percent some other race. Twenty six percent Hispanic. 54 percent white non-Hispanic.

Housing: 692,000 housing units, 9 percent vacant. Of the total housing units, 70 percent was in single-unit structures, 28 percent was multi-unit, and 2 percent was mobile homes. Thirty-six percent of the housing units were built since 1990. 2008 comparison: 685,000 housing units, 9 percent vacant. 71 percent single unit, 27 percent multi unit, 2 percent mobile homes. 36 percent of unit built since 1990.

Occupied housing: 629,000 occupied housing units - 393,000 owner-occupied and 236,000 renter-occupied. Two percent of the households did not have telephone service and 5 percent of the households did not have access to a car, truck, or van for private use. Forty-two percent of households had two vehicles and another 19 percent had three or more. 2008 comparison: 622,000 occupied units, including 396,000 owner-occupied and 225,000 renter-occupied. One percent had no phone, and 4 percent had no access to a vehicle. 42 percent of households had two vehicles, and 19 percent had three or more.

Housing costs: Median monthly housing costs for mortgaged owners was $1,465, nonmortgaged owners $513, and renters $829. "Twenty-nine percent of owners with mortgages, 14 percent of owners without mortgages, and 49 percent of renters in Tarrant County spent 30 percent or more of household income on housing." 2008 comparison: $1,485 median monthly housing costs for mortgaged owners, $535 for non-mortgagees, $810 for renters. 30 percent of owners with mortgages, 14 percent without mortgages, and 46 percent of renters spent 30 percent or more of income on housing.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workpalce reporter, Star-Telegram

DFW-Arlington, 11 other big Metro areas, had double-digit rental vacancy rates in 2009, Census says

Twelve of the nation's 50 most populous areas, including Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, has double-digit rental vacancy rents in 2009, the Census said in its American Community Survey Tuesday.

Others included: Jacksonville, Fla., Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., Memphis, Tenn., Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla., Houston-Sugarland-Baytown, Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., San Antonio, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla., and Detroit-Warren-Livonia.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram

More Tarrant County residents slip into poverty in 2009, Census says

More Tarrant County residents slipped into poverty in 2009, with an estimated 14.7 percent in poverty compared to 12.2 percent the prior year, the Census said Tuesday in its major American Community Survey.

Hispanics were more likely than blacks to be in poverty.

An estimated 25.2 percent of Hispanics were in poverty, compared to 19.5 percent in 2008.

An estimated 24.5 percent of blacks were in poverty, compared to 18 percent in 2008.

As for Texas, 17.2 percent were in poverty, compared to 16 percent the prior year.

Texans fared worse than the nation as a whole, with 14.3 percent of Americans in poverty, compared to 13.3 percent the prior year.

Check back in this space for more updates shortly.

- Scott Nishimura and Steve Campbell


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