The latest local job news is good news, with unemployment rates falling in both Kansas and Missouri. And Kansas' rate has fallen even further below the national average, which labor experts still describe as "totally in the shitter." (They're full of technical terms, those labor experts.)
But don't start surfing porn at work just yet. The jobs still aren't easy to come by.
Everybody knows it's a tough job market out there, and people are being let go in corporate austerity moves in every industry. But, as a recently canned Power & Light District valet claims, good old-fashioned "I don't like what you did" firings might still alive and well in the workplace.
The valet, Patrick Lee, thinks he was axed after an argument with Power & Light brass -- during which he yelled at his boss -- about Lee's untucked uniform shirt. He's not sure, but he's ready to sue.
H&R Block calls it "strategic realignment." But it's really just good old fashioned layoffs. The Kansas City-based tax prep company is slashing 400 jobs -- 165 of which are in Kansas City, according to the Star.
"Changes like these are never easy and we appreciate the hard work and
loyalty of the affected associates," Russ Smyth, president and chief
executive officer of H&R Block, said in a statement. "However, these
steps are necessary to improve our business performance and better
serve our clients."
The nation's largest tax preparer is also shuttering 400 "under-performing" tax offices.
H&R Block expects to save about $150 million per year by the end of the 2012 fiscal year, assuming the Mayans aren't right.
Week reported Friday, citing an internal staff memo circulated by national editor Rick Berke and deputy national editor Adam Bryant.
The memo also announced a forthcoming Phoenix bureau.
The Independence Examiner notes that this would be the NYT's second spin in Kansas City -- they closed their former KC bureau in 1992.
Investing in news gathering ... what a concept.
Image via the National Press Club
Dear Dan Hesse,
I read your complaints about the negativity of the local media in yesterday's Kansas City Business Journal. You're all snippy because in addition to going bonkers over each new gadget Sprint unveils, local media also write about the stuff that affects people who live here -- hello, layoffs?
You think that's unfair? It's your own damn fault.
Two years ago, when you came on as the company's new CEO, it seemed as though Sprint deserved a second look. I e-mailed you at firstname.lastname@example.org because that's what you suggested in those TV ads you starred in, looking all friendly and casual. I inquired as to whether you were really the one answering all those e-mails, and I asked for an interview. (Current ads, like the one where you're in the Nelson's Bloch building, no longer display an invite for e-mails.)
Here's the text of the reply I got on April 2, 2008, from Scott Sloat, with Sprint Corporate Communications, in Bethesda, Maryland:
Nadia -- Greetings. Dan got your email (yes the address is real) and asked me to follow-up with you on your request for an interview. Can you give me more specifics on your request (e.g. focus of your article, types of questions you anticipate asking, timing etc.)? As you can imagine Dan has received numerous requests for interviews and we are doing our best to accommodate as many as we can given his fairly busy schedule, so I can't make any promises. But if you get back to me I can see what I can do. Thanks ScottSounds reasonable, I thought.
Being poor doesn't mean you have to look for a pay phone when emergency strikes.
Since the 1980s, the federal government has helped low-income people get access to telephone service. The program has adapted to advances in technology.
TracFone Wireless, a prepaid specialist based in Florida, says 712,000 low-income households in Missouri qualify for a free cellphone and 68 minutes of monthly talk time for one year. The eligibility is based on requirements similar to the ones used by Medicaid.
TracFone does not offer its SafeLink service in all states. Kansas residents can access federally assisted discounts through Sprint Nextel.
Kansas-City based DST Systems is cutting about 760 jobs due to the recession, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.
How many jobs will be lost in Kansas City? It's unclear.
The layoffs came as DST reported $2.22 billion in 2009 revenue, a 3-percent drop from the previous year, and earnings of $241.6 million, down from $242.9 million in 2008.
When joblessness visits a household, a newspaper subscription can seem frivolous. In recognition of this, the Lawrence Journal-World is offering the unemployed an opportunity to take the paper for 13 weeks for just $1.
The deal is available to the those who live within the Journal-World's delivery area. To qualify, interested subscribers need to present a current unemployment statement from the state.
"We want to ensure that residents experiencing difficult times are able to stay connected to the news and be aware of job opportunities and advertising specials published in the paper each day," Chris Bell, the Journal-World's circulation director, told the paper he distributes professionally.
There's something hopeful about the offer. In extending the $1 subscriptions, the Journal-World seems to be saying, "We know you'll find that next job. In the meantime, don't lose the newsprint habit."
Tuesday saw yet another round of layoffs at The Kansas City Star. Former business reporter Dan Margolies wasn't around to write the story (he'd left the paper in October to join Reuters' Washington bureau), an unfortunate part of his former job.
The unbylined story announced that the daily had laid off "about a dozen employees" and "eliminated a similar number of unfilled positions." The names are out there, but they weren't the "big names" some were ghoulishly anticipating. The story also quotes an e-mail from publisher Mark Zieman, who told the Star's employees that "it seems clear that the worst days of this economic downturn are behind us."
Yet, Zieman hinted that more layoffs are always a possibility. "Nevertheless, we must and will continue to adjust expenses downward until we are safely through this historic recession."
The Star underwent several rounds of layoffs in 2009.
The survivors have one thing to look forward to. In December, the Star's parent company, McClatchy, announced an end to the company-wide wage freeze.
Sprint Nextel could cut as many as 2,500 jobs.
Just saw the "breaking news" from KMBC Channel 9, which says the cuts are company wide and should be done by December 31.
There's no good time for layoffs, but these reek of especially shitty timing.
This also comes on the heels of last week's announcement of "dozens" of job cuts in the wholesale division.
In January, Sprint announced that it would cut 8,000 jobs
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