Worker Confidence in the United States is Slipping.

A Right Management Consultants survey of 1,000 United States workers found that nearly one of four believe they could lose their job in the coming year – a jump from 19.3 percent who said the same six months ago.

In addition, a record 78.6 percent of American workers expect the unemployment rate to rise in the next year.

While 26% of Canadians believe their job is in jeopardy it’s improved slightly from the 295 who felt the same in April.


Flu Hits Business, Workers

Many workers who have the fl u try to get back to work much too early and risk infecting everyone else. Ten to twelve percent of all absences from work are because of the flu, according to Corporate Wellness Inc., a health-services company based in New York City. That translates to about 15 million lost workdays a year.

Meanwhile Johns Hopkins' University senior hospital epidemiologist and flu expert is calling for mandatory vaccination of all health care workers as the best means of protecting patients and hospital staff from widespread outbreaks of the viral illness.

Studies by other U. S. researchers show that voluntary vaccination programs don't do the job and that each year nearly 40,000 Americans die from influenza, many of them elderly or ill, with weakened immune systems that cannot readily fend off the disease.


Older Workers Bounce Back More Slowly

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that older workers require more days away from work to recover from a workplace injury or illness than do their younger counterparts.

The median number of days away from work for all workers was 8 days in 2003; for those aged 55-64, it was 12 days, and for those aged 65 and older, it was 18 days. 

Older workers have more disabling conditions like fractures and multiple injuries than do younger workers. And similar events lead to more severe injuries in older workers than in others.


Wal-Mart Stores Lower Area Employment, Payrolls

A new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research says that residents of local labor markets earn less following the opening of Wal-Mart stores.

In the South, where Wal-Mart stores are most prevalent and have been open the longest, the evidence indicates that Wal-Mart reduces retail employment, total employment, and total payrolls per person. In the retail sector, on average, Wal-Mart stores reduce employment by two to four percent.

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PBGC is in a $22 Billion Hole

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's insurance program for pension plans sponsored by a single employer showed a deficit of $22.8 billion as of September 30, 2005. As of September 30, the single employer program reported assets of $56.5 billion and liabilities of $79.2 billion, according to an annual report the agency submits to Congress.

"Unfortunately, the financial health of the PBGC is not improving," said Executive Director Bradley D. Belt. "The money available to pay benefits is eventually going to run out unless Congress enacts comprehensive pension reform to get plans better funded and provide the insurance program with additional resources."

The PBGC assumed responsibility for the pension benefits of an additional 235,000 workers and retirees in 2005, bringing the total number owed a benefit to 1.3 million. The amount of benefits paid increased from $3.0 billion in 2004 to $3.7 billion in 2005 and is projected to rise to $4.4 billion in 2006.

PBGC is a federal corporation created under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. It currently guarantees payment of basic pension benefits for more than 44 million American workers and retirees participating in more than 30,300 private-sector defined benefit pension plans. The agency receives no funds from general tax revenues. Operations are financed largely by insurance premiums paid by companies that sponsor pension plans and by PBGC's investment returns.

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