Stressed much?

Ruben RamirezBy Ruben Ramirez
NBR National Assignment Editor

Job stress?

Last Friday, we got the February jobs report which showed that the U.S. economy continued to add jobs… but companies still aren’t adding to their payrolls at the level necessary to get us back to those pre-recession unemployment levels.  One sector that is seeing some activity: small businesses.  Erika Miller takes a look at how small business is shoring up the ailing economy. My, how we long for those days in 2007 when the unemployment rate hovered at 5%.  Still though, I guess adding jobs, even a small number, is better than the alternative.  Suzanne Pratt takes a look at where the jobs are now.  There is one stat that’s a bit troubling and we’ll be exploring it further in the coming weeks… the unemployment rate among 16-24 year-olds.  It now stands at 16.5%.

No stress?

Well, one person who’s clearly not worried about finding another job is Greg Smith.  Smith who worked at Goldman Sachs in London wrote a scathing op-ed in the New York Times slamming the firm as “toxic and destructive” and blaming Goldman’s CEO for a “decline in the firm’s moral fiber.”  Darren Gersh took a look at what the letter says about Goldman’s culture.  Just one observation…if the environment was so bad…why’d he stick around for 12 years???

Bank stress?

Those eagerly awaited bank stress tests were expected to be released Thursday after the market close… well, that was the expectation.  Suddenly, here we are on Tuesday afternoon and the Fed says the results will be out after the market closes.  Whoa! Hold on!  Apparently, Fed officials said parts of the results started trickling out and instead of waiting til Thursday, it’d be better to get all the information out there ASAP.

15 of the nation’s largest 19 financial institutions passed the stress test.  Among those who failed… Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Metlife (NYSE:MET).  Investors weren’t pleased with those results and pushed shares of both companies lower.   Susie Gharib spoke with former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair about the health of the banking sector.


It’s time for March Madness.  Our friends over at Challenger Gray & Christmas say companies around the country are getting ready for what is likely to be a week with noticeably diminished productivity.  Based on last year’s data, online March Madness coverage could attract more than 2.5 million unique visitors per day, each spending an average of 90 minutes watching games. With private-sector workers earning an average of $23.29 per hour, Challenger estimates that employers will end up paying distracted workers about $175 million over the first two full days of the tournament.  Happy surfing and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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