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Employee displacement due to mass layoffs and the Federal Reserve

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Mass layoffs of workers cripple a worker’s chance of re-employment at other companies within the same industry causing the employee to seek work in enterprises foreign to their level of skill and expertise. This displacement may require a new career involving a new set of skills, training or credentialing.

Regionally, the jobless rate in California fell to 8.1 percent in January 2014 from 8.3 percent in December 2013 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics despite continued mass layoffs this past January from companies in technology such as IBM, banks (Chase), health care, all within the non-agricultural private wage and salary industry sector.

The worker adjustment and retraining notification act (WARN) imposes federal warning guidelines to employers with 100 or more full-time employees working within six months of the 12 months preceding the layoff date of plant closings involving a minimum of 50 to 499 full-time employees or at least 33 percent of the workforce within a single site of employment.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the non-agricultural private wage and salary workers (16 years and older) industry currently holds the highest unemployment rate despite a decline to 7.0 percent in Feb 2014 from 8.1 percent in Feb 2013 nationally not seasonally adjusted. This industry sector accounts for any type of non-farm employee that works for wages, salaries and commission tips (as well as the self-employed) in construction, mining, retail, financial, education, banking, health care, film, technology and much more.

Two to three job careers within the same industry have become a necessity to survive mass layoffs and the volatility of the current labor market caused by market bubbles, GDP, and upcoming federal reserve policies on interest rates and bond tapering. How can one enter a second or third career job for survival after a mass layoff? The Work Force Investment Act (WIA) of California offers job training and work force development activities local and state wide that includes skills assessment and job counseling for workers unlikely to return to their previous industry or occupation. Changing careers means starting at the bottom which may involve a pay cut. A pay cut is better than no pay. Unemployment extension benefits will begin in late June for those unemployed 26 weeks or longer in California unless changes occur during an upcoming congressional vote to extend unemployment benefits in mid-March.

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