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October 2007
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December 2007

Minneapolis Staffing Firm Salo Named Fastest Growing Woman Led Business

Congratulations to Amy Langer of Salo, LLC. Founded in 2002 by Amy Langer and John Folkestad they had $55,000 in revenue their first year. In 2006 they did $32 million and are looking to do $40+ million in 2007.

OK, I am feeling a little inadequate at the moment.

Salo has specialized in staffing senior level finance and accounting professionals and has added on HR, junior level finance and accounting staffing, and more recently senior level professionals (CEO's, COO's, General Manager's).

The survey was done by Entrepreneur Magazine and Women Presidents' Organization.

Click Growing Strong to see the top 50 companies.


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Pink Slip Software, Picking Who To Fire Fantasy Football Style

This afternoon on CNBC Erin Burnett (yes the same Erin Burnett who has been nicknamed Street Sweetie) interviewed Max Chafkin a Inc. Magazine writer who is familiar with Vurv Technology (the former Recruitmax) and their software product Vurv Optimize.

The 3 minute interview can be seen by clicking Pink Slip Software.

Basically the software allows a company to pick the number of employees to be laid off. Managers get to rank or score their employees. And the software says who to fire.

That feels a lot like managing a Fantasy Football team to me. Throw some numbers together, do some rankings, compare people against each other, and hit a button.

In fact it is smoother than I thought after just finding the article that was written by Max Chafkin Why Outsource When You Can Automate?:

"The program assesses those ratings, taking into account factors such as an employee's age, race, and union status to see who among the low scorers might be a lawsuit risk. The software then spits out a list of people who can be smoothly "offboarded" (that's consultant-speak for canned). Meanwhile, it draws data from company HR records to calculate severance payments, to cut final paychecks, and to distribute termination letters to managers for delivery. At the appointed hour, the system automatically deactivates the keycards and e-mail accounts of the workers who are about to be fired. The application, which starts at $100,000, is being used by the likes of Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) and American Airlines."

Wow, I cannot imagine finding out that I was being laid off, fired, offboarded, or given the pink slip in such a way.

I assume the automation piece makes it easier emotionally on the decision makers, less subjective in general, and I would guess fewer law suits too.

At the end of the piece, Erin Burnett may have created a new term soon to sweep across the country, “Your Vurved”.

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Cool New LinkedIn Tools

OK, so maybe they are not all new but a few are to me and how I found them is a story of itself too. These are things job seekers, recruiters, and anyone using LinkedIn as a networking tool.

This morning I was doing my typical quick headline reading with one stop being Jason Davis and his While there I saw a post from Amitai Givertz (click that link to see his profile that lists sites he contributes to) Top 10 LinkedIn tools, scripts and plugins.

Ami links to Mashable and LINKEDIN TOOLBOX: Top 10 LinkedIn Tools where they have screen shots of the 10 tools. Some of them I have seen before and a couple I have no use for.

There are two that I am curious about.

LinkedInAbox, I get that it is “cool” because it basically puts a LinkedIn profile on a page without leaving that page to go to LinkedIn. Eh, that’s OK I guess. Here is what mine looks like:


LinkedIn Contacts Management is something I will play with in a few days as I know I can put that to work.

I am interested to see what come out of LinkedIn letting developers create some API’s like Facebook has allowed.

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October 2007 U.S. Jobs Report

A pleasant surprise with a more robust addition of jobs in the economy with 166,000 compared to the estimated 80,000.

The numbers from August was increased (minimally) for the second time while the September number was moved down by 14,000 for a net loss of 10,000.

There was a note regarding the wildfires in California:

The Southern California wildfires and resulting evacuations had no discernable impact on the October payroll and household survey estimates.

Just as the August number of -4,000 seemed off at the time so does this months +166,000. Can the financial service folks really be adding that many jobs? I dunno, I doubt it.

The economy while moving along slowly is still moving in the right direction. Slow and steady is good by me.

Average hourly earnings of production and non supervisory workers on private non farm payrolls increased by 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, in October to $17.58, seasonally adjusted.

National job gains, previous 13 months:

  • October ’07 166,000 (first reported) 80,000 (consensus)
  • September ’07 96,000 (revised) 110,000 (first reported) 113,000 (consensus)
  • August ’07 93,000 (revised again) 89,000 (revised) -4,000 (first reported) 110,000 (consensus)
  • July ’07 93,000 (revised again) 68,000 (revised) 92,000 (first reported) 125,000 (consensus)
  • June ’07 69,000 (revised again) 126,000 (revised) 132,000 (first reported) 130,000 (consensus)
  • May ’07 165,000 (revised again) 190,000 (revised) 157,000 (first reported) 150,000 (consensus)
  • April ’07 122,000 (revised again) 80,000 (revised) 88,000 (first reported) 100,000 (consensus)
  • March ’07 175,000 (revised again) 177,000 (revised) 180,000 (first reported) 168,000 (consensus)
  • February '07 113,000 (revised) 97,000 (first reported) 110,000 (consensus)
  • January '07, 162,000 (revised again) 146,000 (revised) 111,000 (first reported) 145,000 (consensus number)
  • December ’06, 206,000 (revised) 167,000 (first reported)
  • November '06, 196,000 (revised again) 154,000 (revised) 132,000 (first reported) 110,000 (consensus number)
  • October '06, 86,000 (revised again) 79,000 (revised) 92,000 (first reported) 160,000 (consensus number)

National unemployment rates, previous 13 months:

  • October ‘07, 4.7%
  • September ’07, 4.7%
  • August ’07, 4.6%
  • July ’07, 4.8%
  • June ’07, 4.5%
  • May ’07, 4.5%
  • April ’07, 4.5%
  • March ’07, 4.4%
  • February '07, 4.5%
  • January '07 4.6%
  • December '06, 4.5%
  • November '06, 4.5%
  • October '06, 4.4%

Click Employment & Economic Statistics for previous posts on the topic and MN Headhunter for the latest blog posts.

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Worker Confidence In Minnesota Drops Again And US IT Workers Moody

The October edition of the Hudson Employment Index is out. The national employment index is up after two down months and almost back to the level of a year ago. Although much lower than earlier in the year.

The Minneapolis and St. Paul Index took a dive for the third straight month. The Hudson Employment Index for Minneapolis-St. Paul showed:

  • There was a five-point drop to 24 percent in the number of employees who expected their company to hire in the coming months. This factor has been slipping since registering 34 percent in June.
  • Concern around job security rose in October, as the number of worker who indicated they were worried about losing their jobs increased two points to 21 percent.
  • Compared to September when 11 percent of the work force rated their finances as “excellent,” just 9 percent made that statement in October. That figure was 13 percent as recently as August.
  • The number of employees who said their financial situation was improving fell two points to 32 percent.
  • Fewer workers were happy with their jobs in October (74 percent) than in September (77 percent).

The IT Index continues its roller coaster ride of one up and then one down month yet my IT friends are still doing much better than their colleagues in other areas. The Hudson Employment Index for IT workers showed:

  • After skyrocketing to 80 percent in September, the number of workers saying they are satisfied with their job dropped in October to 74 percent.
  • More workers expected their company to add headcount in the coming months (36 percent in October compared to 34 percent in September).  Additionally, there was a three-point drop in the number of workers who expected their company to cut staff (14 percent).
  • Still, one in five workers were worried about losing their job, a three-point increase since September.

October 2007 Federal Reserve Beige Book

Wherever you read comments on the current economy you see slow, steady, moderate and mixed. I guess that means we are going forward at a snails pace. But I continue to believe slow and steady wins the race.

Federal Reserve Beige Book National Summary:

Anecdotal reports from the Federal Reserve Banks suggest economic activity continued to expand in all Districts in September and early October but the pace of growth decelerated since August. Growth was similar to that observed in the last Beige Book in seven Districts--Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis. The economy grew at a slower rate in five Districts--Cleveland, Dallas, Kansas City, Richmond and San Francisco. The expansion was variously characterized as "moderate," "modest" and "mixed."


Labor markets remain tight across much of the country, and there continues to be moderate upward pressure on wages and benefits. Job growth eased in some regions, however, and wage pressures softened.

Most Districts report worker shortages in a variety of occupations, with sizable wage increases for workers in short supply. Positions mentioned as difficult to fill include scientific, technical, accounting, finance, engineering, marketing, health-care, truckers, welders, ironworkers, crane operators, office workers and energy-service workers. Low-skilled and entry-level workers are in short supply in some areas, including those in the retail and hospitality industries.

Federal Reserve Beige Book Minneapolis Summary:

The Ninth District economy grew modestly since the last report. Growth was noted in tourism, services, manufacturing, energy, mining and agriculture. Consumer spending and commercial real estate growth slowed, while commercial construction was steady. Residential construction and real estate continued to weaken. Employment growth was mixed, with tightening conditions in Montana and the Dakotas, but with unemployment rates higher than a year ago in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Overall wage increases were moderate, while prices increased for diesel fuel and decreased for gasoline and lumber.


Employment growth was mixed. Labor markets generally continued to tighten in Montana and the Dakotas, but unemployment rates were higher than a year ago in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition, August nonfarm employment growth was stronger in Montana and the Dakotas (above 2 percent) compared with Minnesota and Wisconsin (below 1 percent).


In Minnesota, a medical devices company recently announced plans to eliminate several jobs. August seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance in Minnesota were 7 percent higher than a year earlier. A temporary staffing agency survey of Minneapolis-St. Paul businesses showed that 44 percent of respondents expected to hire workers during the fourth quarter, while 24 percent expected to reduce staff. In last year's survey, 36 percent expected increased hiring and 11 percent anticipated decreases.

Overall wage increases were moderate. After a 13-day strike, clerical, health care and technical workers at the University of Minnesota agreed to annual raises of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent for two years.

Click Employment & Economic Statistics for more posts on the topic and MN Headhunter for the latest blog posts.

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September 2007 Minnesota Jobs Report

The Minnesota job scene is getting murkier by the month. The September report has the state losing 6,300 jobs. Year to date the state has created 9,000+ jobs and while a decent number earlier in the year that number was 35,000+. Over the year growth is down to .4% while US growth is 1.2%

Clearly a slow down is upon Minnesota and we are very much lagging behind the country as a whole.

While some are blaming the ongoing slow down of the housing market it is more wide spread than that. Declines in September were spread widely throughout the economy, with eight of 11 broad classifications losing jobs. Construction saw the sharpest decline (down 2,800 jobs) followed by Government (down 1,300) and Leisure and Hospitality (down 1,200).

Trade, Transportation and Utilities (up 600 jobs) and Financial Services (up 200 jobs) saw small monthly gains in September, while Professional and Business Services was flat.  

In total Minnesota lost 17,400 jobs during third quarter 2007.

Unemployment rate:

  • September ’07, 4.9%
  • August ’07, 4.6%
  • July ’07, 4.6%
  • June ’07, 4.5%
  • May ’07, 4.6%
  • April ’07, 4.5%
  • March ’07. 4.2%
  • February ’07, 4.5%
  • January ’07, 4.4%
  • December ’06, 4.1%
  • November ’06, 4.1%
  • October ’06, 4.0%
  • September ’06, 4.0%

Jobs Created/Lost:

  • September ’07, -6,300
  • August ’07, -2,000
  • July ’07, -7,300
  • June ’07, +4,200
  • May ’07, +7,200
  • April ’07, +500
  • March ’07, ???
  • February ’07, -1,200
  • January ’07, +13,100
  • December ’06, -1,600
  • November ’06, +12,300
  • October ’06, +3,300
  • September ’06, -12,700

Over The Year Job Growth:

  • September ’07, +9,800
  • August ’07, ???
  • July ’07, +19,165
  • June ’07, +35,133
  • May ’07, +41,515
  • April ’07, +36,711
  • March ’07, ???
  • February ’07, +20,787

All numbers above are seasonally adjusted.

Click Employment & Economic Statistics for more posts on the topic and MN Headhunter for the latest blog posts.