Quick Hits - September 7, 2022 - American Society of Employers - ASE Staff

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Quick Hits - September 7, 2022

And you wonder why you cannot find employees:  Detroit unemployment rate dropped 1.1% to 3.5%. Grand Rapids is 3.6%.  Maybe you need to look at other areas in the state-unemployment rates range from 4-6%.  Flint is at 6.7%, Muskegon at 6.2%.  Even Ann Arbor is at 4%.  Source BLS 8/31/22

Is hiring going into a more “normal” situation: Private sector employment increased by 132,000 jobs in August, and annual pay was up 7.6% according to the August ADP® National Employment ReportTM produced by the ADP Research Institute® in collaboration with the Stanford Digital Economy Lab (“Stanford Lab”). Private employers created 132,000 jobs in August, a step down from the month before, when the economy created nearly 270,000 jobs. Payroll growth also slowed in July when compared to June of this year. “Our data suggests a shift toward a more conservative pace of hiring, possibly as companies try to decipher the economy's conflicting signals,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. “We could be at an inflection point, from super-charged job gains to something more normal.”  This also supports a PwC study that found that found that 83% of the 98 CHRO respondents — part of a larger group of 722 U.S. executives surveyed by PwC — said their companies had reduced overall headcount or were considering doing so. Further, hiring incentives took a hit with 60% reporting that their companies had dropped or reduced signing bonuses. In all, 61% said they were rescinding offers entirely. Source:  ADP 8/31/22, HR Dive 8/29/22

Employee anxiety and fear of recession grows:  Accelerating layoffs and fears of an upcoming recession are causing employee anxiety about job security, new data finds. According to Lemon.io, a marketplace of vetted software developers, searches for “Will I lose my job in a recession?” are up a staggering 9,900% in the past 12 months. For the data, Lemon.io analyzed Google search trends to see how people were coping. It’s undoubtedly been an employee-driven market in recent months, with scores of workers leaving their jobs in a phenomenon dubbed the Great Resignation. But as the economic climate shifts—inflation has been at a 40-year high, for instance—employee confidence is starting to shift too. A staggering number of employees are afraid of losing their jobs if a recession occurs, new data finds.  That’s causing increased amounts of employee anxiety, says Aleksandr Volodarsky, CEO at Lemon.io, as well as causing some to go above and beyond in their duties, which only may result in burnout and dissatisfaction. It also may lead to diminished productivity and disengaged workers.  Source: Human Resource Executive 8/16.22

Layoffs appear to be coming but are a positive, leading to better opportunities: Companies in a broadening array of industries are announcing layoffs as they struggle with declining business activity, rising interest rates, high inflation, and shifting consumer-spending habits. Ford Motor Co. confirmed it is laying off roughly 3,000 white-collar and contract employees, and furniture company Wayfair Inc. recently said it was laying off 5% of its global workforce.  But one characteristic of today’s economy is that job cuts at small startups and large companies have yet to dent the overall labor market. Labor demand is still historically strong, offering only faint signs of cooling. There are nearly two job openings for every unemployed person seeking work. That means many workers who are losing their jobs are quickly landing jobs. Some are even weighing multiple offers and accepting positions that pay more and better align with their skills. The typical unemployed worker had been off the job for 8.5 weeks in July, down from 14.4 weeks a year earlier, according to the Labor Department.  “With unemployment so low, job openings so high and the quits rate so high, we’re finding that the balance of power is still with the job seeker,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at staffing firm Robert Half.  Source:  Wall Street Journal 8/24/22

Union furtherance pushed by NLRB in nonunion settings: Tesla, a nonunion employer, violated federal labor law when it enforced a policy requiring employees to wear shirts with printed Tesla logos on the job while prohibiting them from wearing shirts with union insignia, the National Labor Relations Board held in a 3-2 decision. Workers at the automaker’s Fremont, California, general assembly facility said that, during a 2017 union organizing campaign, they wore black cotton shirts displaying the union’s campaign slogan as well as its logo. The employees alleged they received warnings that they would be sent home either for refusing to change their shirts or for wearing them to work again. Meanwhile, Tesla continued to allow workers to wear union stickers on required team wear. NLRB found that Tesla’s restrictions violated its precedent in Republic Aviation, in which it found that employer limitations on the display of union insignia are invalid unless an employer can demonstrate special circumstances that justify its action. The Board agreed with an administrative law judge’s finding that Tesla failed to do so. 

New employer RX reporting due December 31: With open enrollment approaching, and other July health plan obligations just barely in the rearview mirror, it’s time for employers to focus on the next major health plan transparency deadline. A new prescription drug reporting mandate, adopted as part of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, requires group health plans and health insurers to report detailed data about prescription drug pricing and healthcare spending to the federal government. The first reports are due by December 27, 2022.  Also, the reporting obligation also applies directly to insurers, and employers with fully insured plans may shift all liability for reporting failures to the insurer if the employer and insurer execute a written agreement requiring the insurer to report the information.   Many vendors have already reached out to employers, asking for an accelerated decision about whether the employer intends to report its own data directly to CMS or rely on the vendor’s reporting. Most plan sponsors want to rely on their vendors’ reporting, but many face obstacles under the current guidance (or, in some cases, due to vendor limitations). For example, in some cases, employers with multiple vendors may be required to self-report their data due to apparent limits on file submissions by the government.   If not, talk to your vendor.  Source:  Mercer 8/25/22


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