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Before You Apply:
Check Out THE LAYOFF REPORT                       
By Jim Stroud  

 In terms of the economy, how are we doing?  My initial thought, not so good. Then I thought, "Why not do a little research to verify the obvious?".  So I pop over to Google News and do a search on how many news stories there were online describing layoffs and job cuts.  I did a search using the following search strings:

  • job cuts layoffs location:usa
  • intitle:jobs (downsizing OR reduction-in-force OR layoffs) location:usa
  • intitle:jobs hiring.freeze location:usa

Between those searches, I found a combined number of 1,650 stories. These are some of the stories I thought were especially interesting.

  • Banking - Analysts see 200,000 banking industry layoffs.
  • Google DoubleClick cuts 300 jobs, nearly a quarter of the advertising company’s workforce, and plans to sell Performics, a marketing unit, later in the year.
  • Dell Inc. said it plans further layoffs as part of its plan to cut costs by $3 billion over the next 3 years.
  • NASA says even more jobs may be cut in the near future, and the announcement has state politicians up in arms.
  • CBS News cuts 1% of staff in a round of layoffs.

So then I thought, finding all of these news stories is not the most scientific route as many of them will be reporting on the same companies. It would be better if I leveraged a search engine that kept tabs on this kind of thing and measure the results over time. I did not know of any layoff search engines that were out there off the top of my head, so I did a scan of the web and discovered a gem - HR LIVE.  HR Live is a really easy to use search engine that lets you find companies laying off based on size, industry, keywords and more. So what I ended up thinking "the economy was not that great based on all of the layoffs that have happened and the layoffs that are pending".  And then, the ADP Employment Report was published with a (somewhat) contrary view.  I guess I can’t really say contrary, just a bit more even handed in its outlook citing both the good and bad of how things are.  So before you apply, check out the lay off reports.  Here are two sources to get you started.





Independent Contractors                       
By Stephanie C. Harper, PHR 

Congratulations!  You've started a business and things are going pretty well. So well that you need some help!  You look over your profits and decide you can pay at least $10.00 per hour.  You decide you need someone to help answer phones, assist with scheduling, make a few sales calls, work with your clients and yes, run a few errands.  Employers who find themselves needing additional help frequently retain the services of what they call an independent contractor.   There is only one problem; these are truly employees.  While, there is no true definition of an independent contractor, administrative agencies and courts generally look at the nature of the relationship between the parties. 

Here are 5 true-tale indicators that an employer-employee relationships exists:

1.  Set Work Hours, permission for time off
2.  Instructions on when, where, and how to do a job
3.  Providing facilities, equipment, tools or supplies
4.  Salary, Rate of Pay, Draw against Commission
5.  Reimbursements/allowances for business or travel

Simply providing an individual with a business card or other means of identification as a representative of your organization can place them in the "employee" classification.  Keep in mind, "paying" a person, as a 1099 does not automatically equal 1099 status.  In fact, you may be setting yourself up for investigations.  If during the investigation, employers who are found to have misclassified an employee as an independent contractor, can be held liable for pack bay of benefits (normally due to an employee), liable to pay employer required state and federal taxes, fines and penalties.  And if that was not enough, once an investigation occurs, many state agencies will notify the IRS, which triggers an additional audit.  YIKES!!!!!   Regardless to the size of your business, employers must understand how to properly classify any one hired.  To make it simple, if you have a significant amount of say over what someone else does for you… uh, that might be an employee!

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