Jobs Numbers You Need to Know

rThe National Conference of State Legislatures breaks down some recent job statistics and trends. A few of the numbers:

  • 5 million new workers in health care from 1997 to 2012
  • 77.5% — growth in the mining industry in that same time period
  • 157 million – number of people 16 and over in the nation’s labor force in June 2015
  • 15 million – number of female workers 16 and over in service occupations in 2013 male workers numbered 11.6 million
  • 86.1 – percentage of full-time, year-round workers ages 18 to 64 with health insurance during all or part of 2013
  • 76.4 – percentage of workers who drove alone to work in 2013
  • 25.8 – average time in minutes it took workers to commute to their jobs in 2013
  • 4.4 – percentage who worked from home in 2013

Where Americans are Headed on Vacation This Fall

9809397Travel Leaders Group provides frequent updates on current trends through comprehensive surveys of its travel agents.

A few findings from the most recent outreach:

  • New York City is the most popular domestic destination for the remainder of 2015
  • Caribbean cruises lead the way internationally
  • For clients age 30 and under, the top reasons/destinations for travel are honeymoons, Caribbean and Mexico

Additional details from the survey:

“Based on actual bookings, New York made a remarkable leap over perennial top destinations like Las Vegas and Orlando. It is an incredibly vibrant, world-class city for leisure and business travelers alike. From the fall right through the holidays, it’s nothing short of spectacular,” states Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. “In addition, the data we have collected indicates travel will continue to be strong for the remainder of the year, which is leading to incredible optimism among our travel agent specialists.”

Following New York, the top domestic destinations being booked were Orlando, Maui, Las Vegas, Alaska cruises (maybe some of these are for 2016 travel), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Internationally, following cruises are Cancun, London, European cruise, Rome, Paris, Mediterranean cruise, Dominican Republic, Florence and/or Tuscany (Italy) and Montego Bay (Jamaica).

Fewer Are Taking the Start-Up Route

Lower unemployment is just one of the factors a declining number of Americans are looking at starting their own businesses.

In the first half of 2015, an average of 5.1% of job seekers decided to begin a new business, according to global outplacement and coaching consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

CEO John A. Challenger notes, “While many Americans love the idea of being their own boss, we consistently find that 95% of those who are in-between jobs do not take that route. Most don’t even consider it to be a viable option and those who do contemplate entrepreneurship often conclude that the risks are too numerous and significant to pursue.”

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that nearly 5.2 million Americans were hired in June 2015. Furthermore, there were still more than 5.2 million unfilled job openings at the end of the month.

But it takes more than just industry knowledge to pursue entrepreneurship. Challenger offers some of the other necessities required for those considering a start-up venture.

A Plan
Having a plan can help the would-be entrepreneur map out his or her vision. It does not have to be the 50- to 70-page formal plan taught in MBA programs. It can just be a few pages. Though something more detailed and formal might be required when it comes time to seek funding from banks or investors. The key benefit of the plan is that helps to focus one’s efforts.

A survey of more than 800 people in the process of starting businesses by the University of Michigan found those who wrote a plan were two and a half times more likely to actually go into business.

It takes money to make money, as they say. Not only is there the initial investment associated with starting a business, whether it is buying computers or business cards, but the fact is that it could take several months before the new business makes any money.
Unless one is trying to get a business up and running while holding down another full-time or part-time job, which is an entirely different challenge altogether, substantial savings are absolutely necessary to make up for the loss of income that occurs during the initial phases of the start-up.

The reason it would be challenging to start a business while holding down a traditional job is that most new businesses require a substantial amount of time to get up and running. Entrepreneurs can expect to log 60 to 80 hours a week in the first two years.

The biggest challenge for entrepreneurs coming from a traditional workplace may be the lack of a manager giving you tasks and deadlines. Especially for those working from home, there are a lot of distractions that can pull your attention away from the task at hand. Some would say that telecommuters face the same challenge. However, they are still accountable to a supervisor, so there is more motivation to stay focused on work.
Until a new entrepreneur has that first customer, who then provides the motivation to set and meet deadlines, the only person an entrepreneur must answer to is himself. So, are you going to do the work necessary to find that first customer or fix that leaky faucet? If the faucet takes precedence, you may need to rethink entrepreneurship.

Strong Sales Skills
Regardless of the primary skills you are ultimately plan to provide through your new venture, whether it’s financial planning consulting or cupcakes, the first order of business is to get customers. In order to do that, you need to be a salesperson. As an entrepreneur, you should expect to spend 75% or more of your time on sales as the business is getting off the ground.

If you do not feel comfortable selling, your business is probably doomed before it even begins. No business can succeed without sales. A strong sales commitment is necessary, especially in the first 12 to 24 months.

Poll Results: Fair Inquiry Finds Food to be Favorite

23064608The recently-concluded Indiana State Fair once again attracted more than 900,000 visitors. Based on the results of our poll asking people to identify their favorite part of the traditional event, you might call it another deep-fried success.

Nearly half (46%) chose food as the top attraction. Yes, there are many delectable options, including a few healthy choices along the way.

Other answers included: exhibits (17%), animal competitions (13%) and musical entertainment (8%). In the “other” category, comments ranged from people watching and rides to “I don’t like the fair.”

We turn back to traditional business with the current question (top right), asking about your leading business concern as we enter the final four months of 2015.

Yoder: From Software to Students

yoder picMax Yoder and are rightfully getting a lot of attention (see our BizVoice magazine story). But the budding entrepreneurial star has a second organization he is leading.

Here’s his explanation of The First Fund and what it means:

“We have a ton of work to do with The First Fund, and it is very much an experiment. The experiment revolves around the fact that there are these awesome first-grade teachers out there who have direct relationships with their kids and also direct relationships with the parents. Often those parents don’t come from the financial wherewithal they would like.

“We work with those teachers to identify those kids and parents. We set up a 529 (education savings account) plan for their children and then help the parents add money to those accounts.”

Yoder outlines the principles of mentorship, financial planning and scholarship that are so critical. Then, in a matter of 30 seconds, the 27-year-old showcases both his sense of humor and his passion for others.

“I met a bunch of first-grade kids during a failed relationship to a first-grade teacher. Now I’m madly in love with a second-grade teacher; I’ve upgraded. It’s the kids — the hope on their faces.”

Yoder goes on to talk about the recent serious heart attack and challenging recovery of his friend John (who helped start The First Fund).

“The First Fund has never been more important to me, to make that work. John’s going to pull through, and we’re going to make sure that The First Fund is in the best shape it can be.”

Yoder concludes by describing the difference between his growing software training firm and his non-profit.

“ is this big, high-growth engine. Bigger is better in our world. In The First Fund world, I have to put on a very different hat. It’s not let’s see how fast we can give scholarships to as many kids as possible. It’s let’s see how we can maximize the scholars we already have — making sure we can really, really drive value for the people who are here.”

Good luck, Max. And kudos for the work you are doing.

Sen. Donnelly: “Roads Aren’t Republican or Democrat”


In a visit with the Indiana Chamber’s Congressional Affairs Policy Committee today, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) said he believes a new long-term highway infrastructure bill should be enacted yet this year.

Citing “desperate, crying” infrastructure needs, the senator said two imperatives are to “make sure we (Indiana) get our share” and “make sure we get it funded. We’re talking about  a six-year deal. I’ll take a five-year deal (if need be).”

Indiana is currently receiving 95 cents back on each tax dollar that it sends to Washington. In recent discussions, Donnelly voted no on a proposal that would have included Indiana’s share dropping to between 90 cents and 92 cents on the dollar. The goal, he says, is for no state to be funded at a lower percentage level than in the last long-term deal.

Transportation funding has been dependent on a series of short-term extensions that have not provided the resources needed for states to act with any certainty. Donnelly cited several instances of the damaging impact in Indiana, including the current closure of Interstate 65 near Lafayette due to bridge instability.

“Roads aren’t Republican or Democrat; they’re roads,” he explains. “There’s no way to do this without investment. I’m for seven different ways to fund this thing. Just pick one (or more). I just want to build roads.”

Donnelly also discussed potential changes to the Affordable Care Act (including his support for elimination of the medical device tax), the consequences of Washington legislating through Executive Orders, the debt limit, immigration, Iran, global environmental concerns and more.

Congress is scheduled to resume its work in Washington after Labor Day. Indiana Chamber members will be traveling to Washington on September 16-17 for the annual D.C. Fly-in. You can still register to participate.

Plastic Paving in Our Future?

9809397We’ve got an infrastructure funding problem in our state and country. This likely isn’t one of the solutions currently being considered. But then think of all the technological advances we enjoy today that were once just a dream. has the story:

If you drive a car, then you’ve invariably experienced the insanity and frustration that potholes can cause. Roads made of asphalt aren’t perfect. They crack and crumble. The longer they go without repairs the more damage they inflict on our cars (and insurance policies).

One construction company in the Netherlands thinks it has the solution: roads made of recycled plastic from the ocean. Scientists at construction firm VolkerWessels are collaborating with the city of Rotterdam in Holland to build prototypes of these pre-frabricated strips of road called PlasticRoad.

The benefits of pre-fab roads made of recycled plastic, as VolkerWessels sees them:

  • Built in a fraction of the construction time (weeks, not months)
  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Can withstand greater extremes in temperature (-40 degrees F to nearly 180 degree F)
  • They have three times the expected lifespan of traditional asphalt
  • Have a lightweight design, meaning roadways could more easily be moved or adjusted

PlasticRoad would also have a hollow space that can be used for cables, pipes and rainwater, VolkerWessels says. Check it out

The next step in the prototype phase is to test it in a laboratory to make sure it’s safe in wet and slippery conditions, VolkerWessels says. If all goes well, the company hopes to lay the first fully recycled roadway sometime within three years, Rolf Mars, the director of VolkerWessels’ roads subdivision, KWS Infra, said in a recent interview.

One can only imagine how much more quiet rubber tires on plastic roads would be than on asphalt. And, sayonara potholes. Good riddance.

Changing the Way We Work

7768406The Dolly Parton song and film “9 to 5” are 35 years old. If recreated today, there would undoubtedly need to be a new title.

A new CareerBuilder survey indicates that, much like flip phones and fax machines, the traditional eight-hour work day may be on its way out. More than 1,000 full-time workers in information technology, financial services, sales, and professional and business services – industries that historically have more traditional work hours – participated in the nationwide study, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, to discuss their habits and attitudes toward the traditional nine-to-five work day.

According to the survey, 63 percent of workers in these industries believe “working nine to five” is an outdated concept, and a significant number have a hard time leaving the office mentally. Nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) check work emails during activities with family and friends.

Today, many workers in these industries find themselves working outside of the traditional eight-hour time frame: 50 percent of these workers say they check or respond to work emails outside of work, and nearly 2 in 5 (38 percent) say they continue to work outside of office hours.

Though staying connected to the office outside of required office hours may seem like a burden, most of these workers (62 percent) perceive it as a choice rather than an obligation.

“Workers want more flexibility in their schedules, and with improvements in technology that enable employees to check in at any time, from anywhere, it makes sense to allow employees to work outside the traditional nine-to-five schedule,” says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder. “Moving away from a nine-to-five work week may not be possible for some companies (yet), but if done right, allowing employees more freedom and flexibility with their schedules can improve morale, boost productivity and increase retention rates.”

But just because the office – or the blackberry – is out of sight, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s out of mind: 20 percent of these workers say work is the last thing they think about before they go to bed, and more than twice as many (42 percent) say it’s the first thing they think about when they wake up. Nearly 1 in 5 of these workers (17 percent) say they have a tough time enjoying leisure activities because they are thinking about work.

Male workers in these fields are more likely than female workers to work outside of office hours (44 percent versus 32 percent); check or respond to work emails outside of work (59 percent versus 42 percent); and check on work activities while they are out with friends and family (30 percent versus 18 percent).

Female workers, however, are more likely than male workers to go to bed thinking about work (23 percent versus 16 percent).

When it comes to working outside of traditional office hours, 31 percent of 18- to 24-year-old workers in these fields will work outside of office hours, compared to 50 percent of 45- to 54-year-old workers and 38 percent of workers ages 55 and above. Meanwhile, 52 percent of workers ages 18-24 check or respond to work emails outside of work, versus 46 percent of workers ages 55 and above.


If Image is Everything, U.S. in Trouble

19218071The Reputation Institute does studies on, guess what, reputations. In this case, its all about countries.

In many ways, countries are like companies; They have “brands” to protect, budgets to adhere to, and many “competitors” vying for their export business, international diplomacy status and tourism dollars — and, as in business, a country’s global reputation can be the pivotal touch point around which those other metrics revolve.

According to new research from the Reputation Institute, Canada has moved back into the leading slot for reputation, having passed Switzerland to regain the top spot in this year’s Country RepTrak, the world’s largest annual survey of country reputations, showing regional trends for North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Canada, the United States and Mexico all improved their reputations, according to the survey.

Since the survey began in 2010, Canada has ranked first all but two of those years and never lower than second place. At the top of the list are all of Scandinavia, with Norway in second place, immediately followed by Sweden and Switzerland.

Historically, the reputation of the United States has been poor, even though the country’s image has improved 20% compared to an average reputation. Elsewhere around the world, Latin America is improving its reputation overall, but Brazil is experiencing a decline in reputation. Northern European countries are in the top 10, and Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland have improved their reputations due to improvements in certain economic indicators. Japan has the best reputation in Asia and while Asian countries are improving their reputations, theirs are still weak overall. Russia’s reputation is declining due to the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea’s annexation.

The top 10 countries in the 2015 Country RepTrak are:

New Zealand

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Potrait of a young multi-racial Business Group

The operative word in the headline above this post is ALL. With that being a factor, the answer is probably a resounding No. It’s just human nature.

A recent Ragan Communications’ article (based on a survey by Viking) identified lateness, whining and eating smelly food as office workers’ most annoying habits. Ragan reports:

More than 40 percent of respondents said the annoyances made them consider leaving their jobs — with a striking 5 percent having actually quit.

The top 20 most annoying habits by rank:

1. Being regularly late
2. Whining all the time
3. Eating stinking food
4. Taking lots of cigarette breaks
5. Deliberately taking a long time to do something/constant procrastination
6. Not replacing things that run out (e.g., printer paper, coffee)
7. Talking on the phone too loudly
8. Having bad hygiene (coffee breath, BO, visibly dirty clothes)
9. Gossiping
10. Spraying deodorants, aftershaves and perfumes at desk
11. Coming to work when very ill
12. Texting/using mobile phone all day
13. Having an untidy desk
14. Talking too much about private life
15. Invading personal space
16. Not making a tea round
17. Humming/whistling/singing
18.Constantly tapping/clicking pens/typing too loud
19. Stealing other people’s food/lunch
20. Using jargon

Only a third of respondents were prepared to try and solve a given problem, with a further 30 percent saying they avoided approaching the problem in order to avoid conflict.

Women are more likely to be riled by an empty toilet paper holder, whereas men ranked office gossip as a top bad habit. When it comes to confrontation, women are more likely to keep quiet to keep the peace.