Last updateTue, 18 Dec 2018 4pm


Companies Cutting Back on Health Benefits

Battling ongoing health care cost pressures, many employers are reconsidering their roles as health care benefits providers. Nearly 20 percent are moving away from providing health care sponsorship in 2009.

Employers are beginning to pull back on their role in employee health care in 2009, according to a newly released survey on health care from Hewitt Associates, but 65 percent of respondents still said they would continue to make significant investments in improving the health and productivity of their workforce. This is a 17 percent decrease from last year's results.

Source: ThomasNet

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NAM: New Skills Certification System Will Help New And Transitioning Workers Prepare For Good Jobs

NAM and The Manufacturing Institute launched a new NAM-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System that "will revolutionize education and training for the 21st century manufacturing workforce," according to NAM President and CEO John Engler.

"At a time when millions of Americans face unemployment, manufacturing jobs with excellent salaries -- and across all skill levels and sectors -- are unfilled because of the lack of qualified applicants," Engler said at a news conference today.

Source: NAM

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Tough Battles for Next US Trade Chief

Ron Kirk, the choice for US trade representative whose nomination was examined by the Senate finance committee on Monday night, has faced one of the quieter run-ins to his confirmation.

Although facing questions over past tax payments, his missteps were small compared with those of Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, or Tom Daschle, abortive nominee for health secretary.

Source: Financial Times

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Sickly U.S. Economy Set for 2nd Half Rebound: Survey

The recession-hit U.S. economy is proving weaker than economists expected just a month ago, but forecasters still think a recovery is in the cards for later this year, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

"Consumer spending and residential investment are expected to turn positive and begin boosting GDP growth in the third quarter of this year," the newsletter Blue Chip Economic Indicators said, summarizing its survey of private economists.

Source: Reuters

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Labor Bill Faces Threat in Senate

Key Senate Democrats are wavering in their support of legislation that would give more power to labor unions, dealing a setback to labor's top priority as businesses warn of the damage the bill would cause.

The battle over the "Employee Free Choice Act" -- expected to be introduced Tuesday -- is seen as a power struggle among labor unions and businesses, as well as a test of whether moderate Democrats and Republicans will push back on Democratic congressional leaders and the Obama administration.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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