The US Dept of Labor states that if your company has been involved in a merger or acquisition, there is a 50% chance that you have been assigned the wrong rate and you may be overpaying taxes.

 How can that be, you may ask?

This is due to the Governments inability to properly record these transactions!

Hutchinson Business Solutions LLC (HBS) has great success working with clients who have been thru a merger, acquisition or restructuring. We have a 90% success rate, correcting these rates and providing credits and or refunds for our clients.

We offer a no cost evaluation of your current rate. We work on a contingency basis; there is no upfront cost associated with our services.

Contact us to see if you may qualify. Email george@hbsadvantage.com  or call 856-857-1230

 To learn more, visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

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By JASON DePARLE
Published: July 23, 2009

WASHINGTON — Years of state and federal neglect have hobbled the nation’s unemployment system just as a brutal recession has doubled the number of jobless Americans seeking aid.

In a program that values timeliness above all else, decisions involving more than a million applicants have been slowed, and hundreds of thousands of needy people have waited months for checks.

And with benefit funds at dangerous lows even before the recession began, states are taking on billions in debt, increasing the pressure to raise taxes or cut aid, just as either would inflict maximum pain.

Sixteen states, with exhausted funds, are now paying benefits with borrowed cash, and their number could double by the year’s end.

Call centers and Web sites have been overwhelmed, leaving frustrated workers sometimes fighting for days to file an application.

While the strained program still makes more than 80 percent of initial payments within three weeks — slightly below the standard set under federal law — cases that require individual review are especially prone to delay. Thirty-eight states are failing to make those decisions within the federal deadline.

For workers who survive a paycheck at a time, even a week’s delay can mean a missed rent payment or foregone meals.

Kenneth Kottwitz, a laid-off cabinet maker in Phoenix, waited three months for his benefits to arrive. He exhausted his savings, lost his apartment and moved to a homeless shelter.

Luis Coronel, a janitor at a San Francisco hotel, got $6,000 in back benefits after winning an appeal. But in the six months he spent waiting, there were times when he and his pregnant wife could not afford to eat.

“I was terrified my wife and daughter would have to live on the street,” Mr. Coronel said.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said: “Obviously, some of our states were in a pickle. The system wasn’t prepared to deal with the enormity of the calls coming in.”

The program’s problems, though well known, were brushed aside when unemployment was low.

“The unemployment insurance system before the recession was as vulnerable as New Orleans was before Katrina,” said Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, who is chairman of a House panel with authority over the program.

Now the number of unemployed Americans has doubled since 2007 to 15 million and the program is more than tripling in size. About 9.5 million people are collecting benefits, up from about 2.5 million two years ago. Spending is expected to reach nearly $100 billion this year, about triple what it was two years ago.

Given how suddenly the workload has increased, some analysts say the delays might have been even worse.

“Payments are later than they should be, and later than they used to be, but states have been overwhelmed,” said Rich Hobbie, director of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, which represents the program’s administrators. “Considering the significant problems in the program, unemployment is responding well.”

The recovery act passed in February provided states an additional $500 million for administration. It also suspended interest payments through 2011 for states paying benefits with federal loans.

Unemployment insurance began as a New Deal effort with dual goals: to sustain idled workers and stimulate weak economies. States finance benefits by taxing employers, typically building surpluses in good times to cover payments in bad.

In 2007, the average state paid about $290 a week and aided 37 percent of the unemployed.

As downturns over the last 20 years proved infrequent and mild, states cut taxes, and the federal government, which pays administrative costs, reduced its support by about 25 percent. The states’ performance sagged.

In a recent report to the Department of Labor, Ohio said its computer problems “kept the system performance at a snail’s pace.” Louisiana said its call center was staffed with “temporary workers, with little knowledge” of unemployment insurance.

North Carolina said a wave of retirements had left it “unable to maintain pace or volume of work.” Virginia wrote “performance continued to be very stagnant” and called the odds of improvement “bleak.”

By 2007, 11 states were paying benefits so slowly they violated multiple federal rules, up from just two at the start of the decade.

While most eligibility reviews can be done by computer, about a quarter require a caseworker — to ensure, say, the applicant was laid off, rather than quit.

In the last year, states processed just 61 percent of these cases within three weeks — well below the federal requirement of 80 percent. More than a half-million cases, 6 percent, took more than eight weeks, and 350,000 took more than 10 weeks.

The Safety Net

Work-Based RewardsWith millions of jobs lost and major industries on the ropes, America’s array of government aid — including unemployment insurance, food stamps and cash welfare — is being tested as never before. This series examines how the safety net is holding up under the worst economic crisis in decades.

Multimedia

Of the 12.8 million eligibility reviews that have occurred during the recession, 4.6 million took more than three weeks. That is 2.1 million more than federal rules allow.

Appeals take even longer, with 28 states violating timeliness rules, many of them severely.

Perhaps no state is as troubled as California, which has not met timeliness standards for nine years. As in most other states, its 30-year-old computer runs on Cobol, a language so obsolete the state must summon retirees to make changes.

Yet a major overhaul in California has been delayed for five years, with $66 million in federal funds still waiting to be spent. In part, the shelved project was meant to upgrade the call centers, which were “completely swamped” last winter, a legislative analyst wrote, with “desperate unemployed Californians dialing and redialing for hours.”

Deborah Bronow, who runs the state’s unemployment insurance program, said, “The systems were antiquated to begin with,” and “we were unprepared.”

In April, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency, saying the failure to efficiently process checks posed “extreme peril to the safety of persons and property.”

California has not met federal standards for adequate reserves since 1990. Still, it cut taxes and raised benefits in the last decade. It is now paying benefits with federal loans, with its debt projected to reach nearly $18 billion next year.

Among those hurt by delays was Mr. Coronel, the San Francisco janitor who lost his hotel job in January. With the phone lines jammed, it took him two days to file an application and a month to learn it had been denied.

Then the waiting really began, as Mr. Coronel filed an appeal and heard nothing for three months. Luckless as he applied for new jobs, he borrowed to pay the rent, then moved in with his mother, and joined his pregnant wife in skipping meals.

“The worst day was when my daughter was born,” he said. “I had no clothes for her, and no car seat.”

While federal rules require states to decide 60 percent of appeals cases within a month, in recent years, California has met that deadline for just 5 percent. A report by the state auditor last year found the appeals board rife with nepotism and mismanagement.

Mr. Coronel won the appeal, but is soothing a marriage strained by a six-month wait. “It’s extremely stressful when you don’t know how you’re going to support your family,” he said.

Nationally, the program is the worst financial shape since the early 1980s, when back-to-back recessions left more than half the states borrowing from the federal government. Tax increases and benefit restraints gradually rebuilt the funds, then states changed course and pushed taxes well below historical levels.

From 1960 to 1990, the tax rate averaged about 1.1 percent of overall payroll. Over the last decade, it fell to 0.65 percent. That represents a tax cut of 40 percent.

Measured against a decade’s payroll, that saved employers $165 billion. But by 2007, when the recession began, the average state had just six months of recession-level benefits in reserve, half the recommended sum.

“The attitude became, ‘We don’t need a firehouse — we can buy hoses when the fire starts,’ ” said Wayne Vroman of the Urban Institute, a Washington research group.

Some analysts defend the tax cuts, saying they helped both employers and workers, by spurring the economy and creating jobs.

“Lower tax rates make it easier to attract business,” said Doug Holmes, president of UWC, a group that advocates on behalf of employers. “We don’t want to spend a whole lot of time beating ourselves up because we didn’t raise taxes enough. Nobody anticipated a recession this size.”

A big reason the reserves fell, Mr. Holmes said, is that the jobless now spend more time on the rolls — 15 weeks in recent years, up from 13 weeks several decades ago. Each extra week costs the program about $3 billion a year. The solution, he said, is stronger job placement provisions.

But others see an irresponsible past that now promises future pain.

“Workers who had nothing to do with the funds becoming insolvent are going to be asked to pay for that with benefit cuts,” said Andrew Stettner, an analyst at the National Employment Law Project, a workers’ rights group. “That’s the worst thing states can do — it takes money straight out of the economy.”

Among those who say timely benefits are essential is Mr. Kottwitz, the Arizona cabinet maker, who lost his job just before Christmas. He filed a claim and promptly received a debit card, with no money on it. It took him weeks to reach a program clerk, who told him to keep waiting.

“They said, ‘We’re behind — be patient,’ ” he said.

With little savings, no family nearby, and a ninth-grade education, Mr. Kottwitz, 42, had limited options. He got $100 a month in food stamps, collected cans and applied for jobs. When his landlord put him out, he moved to a shelter so overcrowded he spent his first few nights on the ground.

“I felt like I was the scum of the earth,” Mr. Kottwitz said.

In March, the shelter referred him to Ellen Katz, a lawyer at the William E. Morris Institute for Justice, an advocacy group, who secured his benefits. By the time the money arrived, Mr. Kottwitz had lost nearly 40 pounds. His first stop was an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Now back in an apartment, he said he was sharing his story in the hope that someone might read it and offer him a job.

“You think that someone would have seen this coming and been more prepared,” he said.

Written By Arthur Delaney   reported on Huffingtonpost.com

The U.S. economy lost 467,000 jobs in June as the national unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent, the government announced on Thursday morning. While that’s only one-tenth of a percentage point from May, the current rate is the highest rate in 26 years.

Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, said that the loss of 6.5 million jobs since the start of the recession combined with the growth of the workforce means that the gains of the previous business cycle have been completely blown away.

“This is the only recession since the Great Depression to wipe out all jobs growth from the previous business cycle, a devastating benchmark for the workers of this country and a testament to both the enormity of the current crisis and to the extreme weakness of jobs growth from 2000-2007,” said Shierholz in a statement.

The ranks of the long-term unemployed — people out of work for 27 weeks or more — grew by 433,000 in June to a total of 4.4 million. Three in 10 of the unemployed are now long-term unemployed. The collapse of the housing industry contributes to their plight.

“We know right now because of the housing crisis that people can’t move to find another job,” Shierholz said. “People that in previous recessions may have been able to relocate to find another job can’t now.”

The Huffington Post has been profiling people who’ve been out of work for long periods of time. Marvin Bohn of Ohio hasn’t worked for a year and has been paying for his meds out-of-pocket. Steve Dittmann of Kansas said of the unemployed life, “I feel like I’m on the other side of a Plexiglass wall looking in.”

A broader measure of labor underutilization that accounts for people who’ve stopped looking for work hit 16.5% in June, a 0.1 percentage point increase.

“In June, there were large decreases in manufacturing, construction, and professional and business services,” said Bureau of Labor Statistics Commissioner Keith Hall in a statement. “Together, these three sectors have accounted for nearly three-quarters of the jobs lost since the recession began.

Many economists have predicted that even when the recession is technically over with the economy beginning to expand, there will be a “jobless recovery” as unemployment hovers in the double-digits.

Unemployment hits 7.6%

February 6, 2009

Written by JEANNINE AVERSA | February 6, 2009 10:34 AM EST  AP

WASHINGTON — Recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the most since the end of 1974, and catapulted the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent. The grim figures were further proof that the nation’s job climate is deteriorating at an alarming clip with no end in sight.

The Labor Department’s report, released Friday, showed the terrible toll the drawn-out recession is having on workers and companies. It also puts even more pressure on Congress and President Barack Obama‘s administration to revive the economy through a stimulus package and a revamped financial bailout plan, both of which are nearing completion.

“These numbers, and the very real suffering of American workers they represent, reinforce the need for bold fiscal action,” said Christina Romer, chief of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers. “If we fail to act, we are likely to lose millions more jobs and the unemployment rate could reach double digits.”

The latest net total of job losses was far worse than the 524,000 that economists expected. Job reductions in November and December also were deeper than previously reported.

With cost-cutting employers in no mood to hire, the unemployment rate bolted to 7.6 percent in January, the highest since September 1992. The increase in the jobless rate from 7.2 percent in December also was worse than the 7.5 percent rate economists expected.

All told, the economy has lost a staggering 3.6 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. About half of this decline occurred in the past three months.

“Companies are in survival mode and are really cutting to the bone,” said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. “They are cutting and cutting hard now out of fear of an uncertain future.”

Factories slashed 207,000 jobs in January, the largest one-month drop since October 1982, partly reflecting heavy losses at plants making autos and related parts. Construction companies got rid of 111,000 jobs. Professional and business services chopped 121,000 positions. Retailers eliminated 45,000 jobs. Leisure and hospitality axed 28,000 slots.

Those reductions swamped employment gains in education and health services, as well as in the government.

Just in the 12 months ending January, an astonishing 3.5 million jobs have vanished, the most on record going back to 1939, although the total number of jobs has grown significantly since then.

On Wall Street, investors pushed up stock prices on hopes that the miserable jobs report would get Congress to move quickly on the economic revival package. The Dow Jones industrials gained about 120 points in morning trading and broader stock indicators also rose.

Employers are slashing payrolls and turning to other ways to cut costs _ including trimming workers’ hours, freezing wages or cutting pay _ to cope with shrinking appetites from customers in the U.S. and overseas, who are struggling with their own economic troubles.

The average work week in January stayed at 33.3 hours, matching the record low set in December.

With no place to go, the number of unemployed workers climbed to 11.6 million. In addition, 7.8 million people were working part time _ a category that includes those who would like to work full time but whose hours were cut back, or those who were unable to find full-time work.

Job hunters also are facing longer searches for work.

The average time it took for an unemployed person to find any job _ full or part time _ rose to 19.8 weeks in January, compared with 17.5 weeks a year ago, underscoring the increasing difficulty the out-of-work are having in finding a new job.

Workers with jobs saw modest wage gains.

Average hourly earnings rose to $18.46 in January, up 0.3 percent from the previous month. Over the year, wages have risen 3.9 percent.

An avalanche of layoffs is slamming the nation from a wide swath of employers.

Caterpillar Inc., Pfizer Inc., Microsoft Corp., Estee Lauder Cos., Time Warner Cable Inc., and Sprint Nextel Corp. are among the companies slicing payrolls. Manufacturers _ especially car makers _ construction companies and retailers have been particularly hard hit by the recession. Talbots Inc., Liz Claiborne Inc., Macy’s Inc. and Home Depot Inc. are all cutting jobs. So are Detroit’s General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co.

Americans cut back sharply on spending at the end of last year, thrusting the economy into its worst backslide in a quarter-century. The tailspin could well accelerate in the current January-March quarter to a rate of 5 percent or more as the recession drags on into a second year, and consumers and businesses burrow deeper.

Vanishing jobs and evaporating wealth from tanking home values, 401(k)s and other investments have forced consumers to retrench, which has required companies to pull back. It’s a vicious cycle where the economy’s problems feed on each other, perpetuating a downward spiral.

Many economists predict the current quarter _ in terms of lost economic growth _ will be the worst of the recession.

With fallout from the housing, credit and financial crises _ the worst since the 1930s _ ripping through the economy, analysts predict 3 million or more jobs will vanish this year even if lawmakers quickly approve Obama’s stimulus plan, which has ballooned to more than $900 billion in the Senate.

Obama has repeatedly pressed Congress to swiftly enact a package of increased government spending, including big public works projects and tax cuts, to revive the economy and create jobs. He says his plan will save or create more than 3 million jobs in the next two years.

But the recession has proven stubborn. Despite record low interest rates ordered by the Federal Reserve and a raft of radical programs, including a $700 billion financial bailout, consumers and businesses face high hurdles to borrow money. Foreclosures are skyrocketing, home prices are sinking and Wall Street remains on edge.

Our Perspective:

The public has lost confidence in our economy. Companies are scrambling to cut cost and one of the first things you look at is jobs.

Where will all this lead? I see people shaking their head saying, “I have never seen anything like this before!”

Everyone is looking to Washington. Do they have the answer. Decisions they have made in the past have put us here. A delicate balance must be met. To stimulate the economy, they must only focus of items that will truly stimulate the economy. Cut the pork.

Money put towards rebuilding our schools, infrastructure and alternative energy are quality of life issues and are considered an investment in our own future. This will create jobs. All the other projects fall under special interest that should be looked at in more detail and not be part of a stimulus package.

Cut out the politics and realize that we should all be focused on helping one another. Extend your hand and and offer real help.

Let us know your thoughts? You may leave a comment or email george@hbsadvantage.com

Visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

Written by JEANNINE AVERSA | January 9, 2009 01:12 PM EST | AP

As reported in Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — The nation’s unemployment rate bolted to 7.2 percent in December, the highest level in 16 years, as nervous employers slashed 524,000 jobs, capping one of the worst years in modern history for American workers.

The Labor Department’s report, released Friday, underscored the grim toll the deepening recession is having on workers and companies. And it highlights the difficulty President-elect Barack Obama faces in resuscitating the flat-lined economy. This year has gotten off to a rough start with a flurry of big corporate layoffs, pointing to another year of hefty job reductions.

“There is no end in sight in terms of layoffs,” said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. “January could be worse because some companies put layoffs on hold because of holiday sensitivities.”

Not only are employers slashing jobs; they also are cutting workers’ hours and forcing some into part-time work. The average work week in December fell to 33.3 hours, the lowest level on records dating to 1964 _ and a sign of more job reductions in the months ahead, economists said.

Obama called the unemployment report “a stark reminder of how urgently action is needed” to revive the nation’s staggering economy. And Hilda Solis, his pick for labor secretary, called the job losses “a crisis situation” and said one of her initiatives would promote “green jobs” that could reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

For all of 2008, the economy lost a net total of 2.6 million jobs. It was the first time payrolls had fallen for a full year since 2002 and was the most since 1945, when nearly 2.8 million jobs were lost. Though the U.S. labor force has more than tripled since then, losses of this magnitude are still being painfully felt.

With employers throttling back hiring, the nation’s jobless rate averaged 5.8 percent last year. That was up sharply from 4.6 percent in 2007 and was the highest since 2003.

All told, 11.1 million people were unemployed in December. In addition, 8 million people were working part time _ a category that includes those who would like to work full time but whose hours were cut back or those who were unable to find full-time work. That was up sharply from 7.3 million in November.

While economists were forecasting even more payroll reductions in December _ around 550,000 _ job losses in both October and November turned out to be deeper than previously estimated. Revised figures showed employers slashed 584,000 positions in November and 423,000 in October.

The unemployment rate, meanwhile, rose from 6.8 percent in November, to 7.2 percent last month, the highest since January 1993. Economists were expecting the jobless rate to rise to 7 percent.

During President George W. Bush’s nearly eight years in office, 3 million jobs were created. In President Clinton’s two terms, nearly 21 million jobs were generated.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported Friday that wholesale inventories dropped 0.6 percent in November, the third straight month of business cutbacks, while sales were down a record 7.1 percent. On Wall Street, stocks slid. The Dow Jones industrials lost more than 110 points in afternoon trading.

Job losses were widespread in December. Construction companies slashed 101,000, and manufacturers axed a a whopping 149,000 jobs. Professional and business services got rid of 113,000 jobs. Retailers eliminated nearly 67,000 jobs, and leisure and hospitality reduced employment by 22,000. That more than swamped gains in education and health care, and the government.

Employers are chopping costs as they try to cope with dwindling appetite from customers in the U.S. as well as in other countries, which are struggling with their own economic problems.

Workers with jobs saw modest wage gains. Average hourly earnings rose to $18.36 in December, up 0.3 percent from the previous month. Economists were expecting a 0.2 percent increase.

Over the year, wages have risen 3.7 percent, though high prices for energy and food earlier this year made people feel that their paychecks weren’t stretching that far.

The U.S. recession, which just entered its second year, is already the longest in a quarter-century and is likely to stretch well into this year. The fact that the country is battling a housing collapse, a lockup in lending and the worst financial crisis since the 1930s make the current downturn especially dangerous.

Corporate layoffs continue to pile up. G&K Services Inc., which provides uniforms and facility services, on Friday said it is eliminating 460 jobs as it aims to trim costs amid weak demand. And late Thursday, Intermec Inc., which makes electronic devices for tracking inventory, said it plans to cut 150 jobs, or 7 percent of its work force.

Earlier this week, drugstore operator Walgreen Co., managed care provider Cigna Corp., aluminum producer Alcoa Inc., data-storage company EMC Corp. and computer products maker Logitech International all announced major layoffs to cope with the recession.

All the problems have forced consumers and companies alike to retrench, feeding into a vicious cycle that Washington policymakers are finding difficult to break.

Obama says a bold approach is needed to bust through this cycle and revive economy.

“I don’t believe it’s too late to change course, but it will be if we don’t take dramatic action as soon as possible,” he said Thursday.

“If nothing is done, this recession could linger,” Obama warned. “The unemployment rate could reach double digits.”

Obama, who takes over Jan. 20, is promoting a huge package of tax cuts and government spending that could total $775 billion over two years. With add-ons by lawmakers, the package could swell to $850 billion, his advisers say.

Even with a new government stimulus and the Federal Reserve’s decision to ratchet down a key interest rate to an all-time low, the unemployment rate is expected to keep rising. Some economists think it could hit 9 or 10 percent at the end of this year.

Our Perspective:

Where will all this end? 

This is the result of always putting bandaids on everything.

Politicians are always running for re-election so they can’t focus on long term solutions, their results have to be measurable, for they will be held accountable for them. 

Maybe it is time to bring in a new type of focus. It seems President Obama is banging the drum. Is anybody listening?

Let us know your thoughts? You may leave a comment or email george@hbsadvantage.com

Reported excerpts from Huffington Post

 

WASHINGTON — The nation’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.5 percent in May _ the biggest monthly rise since 1986 _ as nervous employers cut 49,000 jobs.

 

The latest snapshot of business conditions showed a deeply troubled economy, with dwindling job opportunities in a time of continuing hardship in the housing, credit and financial sectors.

 

“It was ugly,” said Richard Yamarone, economist at Argus Research.

 

With employers worried about a sharp slowdown and their own prospects, they clamped down on hiring in May, said Friday’s report from the Labor Department. The unemployment rate soared from 5 percent in April to 5.5 percent in May. That was the biggest one-month jump in the rate since February 1986. The increase left the jobless rate at its highest since October 2004.

 

The big jump in the unemployment rate surprised economists who were forecasting a tick-up to 5.1 percent. Payroll losses, however, weren’t as deep as the 60,000 that analysts were bracing for. Still, job losses in both March and April turned out to be larger than the government previously reported. Employers now have cut payrolls for five straight months.

 

The White House expressed disappointment, too.

 

“Certainly this isn’t a report that we wanted to see today,” White House deputy press secretary Scott Stanzel said. He acknowledged that the increase was higher than experts expected. “It is a number that is too high in our view but it is lower than the average of the last three decades.”

 

The government said the number of unemployed people grew by 861,000 in May _ rising to 8.5 million. The over-the-month jump in unemployment reflected more workers losing their jobs as well as an increase in those coming into the job market _ especially younger people _ to look for work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

 

A year ago, the number of unemployed stood at 6.9 million and the jobless rate was 4.5 percent.

 

A trio of crises _ housing, credit and financial _ have rocked the economy. That’s caused economic growth to slow to a crawl as businesses and consumers have tightened their belts. Spiraling energy costs are another negative force.

 

“For the average American there is not debate that the economy is in a recession,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “That’s because their net worth is lower, their purchasing power is lower and it is tough to find a job. If you lose a job, it is tough to get back in,” he said.

 

So far this year, the government said, job losses have totaled 324,000.

 

Our Perspective:

 

This certainly is not good news. School is just getting out and the market will be flooded with new graduates, plus those still in school seeking summer employment.

 

I would note that people we speak to are nervous, there is still too much uncertainty. They are trying to keep a stiff upper lip, thinking we will work our way thru it. But what will be the casualties we will inflict on the American public?

 

Energy prices may drop down a bit but they will not return to previous levels. The bar keeps getting pushed higher and we are told to jump.

 

Let us know your thoughts?

 

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

 

During the last few weeks I have noticed there is a lot of attention being paid to unemployment. Many people have logged onto our blog to find out information regarding unemployment.

 

Below you will find information about:

  • What is unemployment?
  • How do you become eligible?
  • How do they calculate the amount paid?
  • How does it effect employers account?

 

 

 

Per NJSSI

 

The unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for jobs as a share of those considered to be in the labor market. Unemployment affects individual well-being, and the rate of unemployment tells us about the health of the state’s economy. High unemployment means financial hardship for individuals and families. They, in turn, are less able to buy goods and services, which detracts from the strength of the economy.

 

New Jersey Eligibility

 

To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must have worked at least 20 base weeks in covered employment or you must have earned $7,200. For weeks worked in 2006, the amount needed to establish a base week is $123; for weeks worked in 2007, the amount is $143; and for weeks worked in 2008, the amount is $143.  These wages must have been earned during a 52 week period that is called a base year.

Base Year Period

Your regular base year period consists of 52 weeks that is determined by the date of your claim. The chart below shows what your regular base year period would be if you filed your claim any day between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008.

If your claim is dated in:

Your claim is based on
employment from:

January 2008
February 2008
March 2008

October 1, 2006
to
September 30, 2007

April 2008
May 2008
June 2008

January 1, 2007
to
December 31, 2007

July 2008
August 2008
September 2008

April 1, 2007
to
March 31, 2008

October 2008
November 2008
December 2008

July 1, 2007
to
June 30, 2008

Example: Mary Jones filed her unemployment claim as of May 11, 2008.  Her month and year appear in the second box on the left of the chart. This means that her Base Period is from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007.

If you do not meet the above requirements but you worked at least 770 hours in employment involving the production and harvesting of agricultural crops during your base year, you may still be eligible for benefits.
Alternate Base Year Period

If your earnings during your regular base year period do not meet the qualifications for a claim, earnings in other base year periods will be reviewed. You may qualify for benefits if you worked at least 20 base weeks (a base week in 2006 is minimum weekly earnings of $123; a base week in 2007 is minimum weekly earnings of $143; and a base week in 2008 is minimum weekly earnings of $143), or a total of $7,200 in any one-year period in the last 1 1/2 years for a claim dated in calendar year 2008. Generally, if you have established 20 base weeks or earned at least $7,200 in any one-year period in the last 18 months, you may qualify for a claim.

Figuring Out Your Benefit Amount
How Much Can You Collect?

Weekly Benefit Rate

The amount of unemployment benefits you may receive each week is your Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR). The amount will be 60% of the average weekly earnings during your base year period, up to a maximum of $560 (in 2008). The maximum amount may change each year.

If you are not entitled to the maximum amount of weekly benefits, you may be able to increase your entitlement with Dependency Benefits.

Total Amount

The total amount of benefits you may collect is called your Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA). The MBA is equal to the WBR times the total number of weeks worked in the base year period. Generally, for every week you worked during your base year period, you may be entitled to a week of benefits, up to a maximum of 26 times your Weekly Benefit Rate.

Example 1: An individual worked 20 weeks during the base year period. His Weekly Benefit Rate is $200. His Maximum Benefit Amount will be $200 times 20 weeks ($4,000).

Example 2: An individual who is entitled to a maximum 26-week claim (because he worked at least 26 or more weeks during the base year period) at a Weekly Benefit Rate of $300 will have a Maximum Benefit Amount of $7,800. (This is because $300 times 26 weeks = $7,800.)

Your unemployment claim will be in effect for approximately one year from the date of your claim. If you return to work before you collect all the benefits in your claim, and then become unemployed again before the one-year period ends, you should immediately reopen your claim (see the section entitled “Apply for Benefits”). If your one-year benefit year expires before you collect all the benefits in your claim, the remainder cannot be paid to you. You would then have to file a new claim for benefits.

 

 

 

Employers:

 

State unemployment laws were set up to help both employees and employers. However, Employers must beware to not take everything the state does as gospel.

 

The State of New Jersey has a 12 % error rate in the payment of claims.

 

Although an employee may be eligible to collect unemployment, the state may be paying either too much money or not properly allocating the cost of the benefit.

 

Your unemployment account is very much like having a checking account with the state.

 

The State annually determines and assigns the rate to your company. The rate is based on the relationship between the current reserve balances to the average taxable wages paid by the employer.

 

This rate determines how much an employer will be paying into their account for the next year.

 

The State also notifies you as to how much they have paid out of your account in claims.

 

The balance left in the account is called a reserve. (This is your checking account balance).

 

Employers should be looking at their current rates and asking, are they correct?

 

If your company has been thru a merger or an acquisition in the last 3 years there is a 50% chance that you have been assigned the incorrect rate and that you are overpaying unemployment taxes.

 

We are finding many companies (our clients) are overpaying unemployment taxes and have received refunds.

 

Are your unemployment rates correct?

 

Are you overpaying unemployment taxes?

 

Do you qualify for a refund?

 

All you have to do is contact us and ask.

 

We offer a no cost review of your current rates.

 

Do you have a question?

 

Let us know your thoughts?

 

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Hutchinson Business Solutions ……Your CFO on the Go.

 

Creating Opportunities Today,…Defining Savings for Tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company.

 

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As reported in Bloomberg:

April 9 (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard W. Fisher said the housing market hasn’t hit bottom, and acknowledged that recent interest-rate cuts haven’t lowered borrowing costs for households and companies.

“The housing crisis may not yet have run its course, and further danger could lie ahead,” Fisher said in the text of a speech today in San Antonio, Texas. “The U.S. economy will continue to suffer from a bout of anemia while the housing and financial markets settle down.”

The comments echo the assessment of Fed policy makers at their meeting last month, when they concluded that signs of stabilization in the housing slump had yet to emerge. Central bankers anticipate the economy may contract in the first half, with a recovery in growth later this year.

Our Perspective:

 

Uncertainty reins in financial markets.

 

Crude oil jumped to $112 a barrel. Again, I heard that $4.00 gas could be in our near future.

 

The Fed has taken the steps to reduce rates for the banks, however the banks are still holding back and are not lending money.

 

You can get whiplash watching the stock market.

 

The Iraq hearings are being held in Washington and Gen Petraeus has offered no hope of an early exit. Meanwhile the bills keep mounting.

 

What steps can we take?

 

What are you doing to insure your company’s viability in these turbulent time?

 

Are you being proactive or is it business as usual?

 

Our clients are looking at their cost of operations.

 

Clients are savings from 15% to 40% looking at their telecom and data cost.

 

Clients are receiving refunds for overpayments of payroll taxes and sales taxes.

Several have been in the 6-figure range.

 

Would that help your bottom line?

 

Clients with larger fleets are looking at our GPS fleet management solution.

They are finding their ROI is less than 6 months.

 

Do you have a question?

 

Let us know your thoughts?

 

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 

Hutchinson Business Solutions ……Your CFO on the Go.

 

Creating Opportunities Today,…Defining Savings for Tomorrow.Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company.

 

 

Spread the good news….. share this information with a friend.

M&A Bankers Suffer 35% Drop in Fees as Deals Dry Up From Record  

As reported in Bloomberg

 

March 31 (Bloomberg) — Mergers and acquisitions bankers suffered a 35 percent drop in fees during the first quarter, just weeks after cashing bonuses from a record year.

Advisory fees fell to about $8.7 billion from $13.4 billion in the first three months of 2007, data compiled by analysts at New York-based Freeman & Co. show. Executives at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and Bank of America Corp. predicted in December that takeovers would decline about 20 percent this year.

“As recently as three months ago, we thought we had seen the worst and it was going to begin to get slowly better,” said Eduardo Mestre, 59, the former head of Citigroup Inc.’s investment banking unit and now vice chairman of New York-based advisory firm Evercore Partners Inc. “It only got worse.”

The collapse of the U.S. sub prime mortgage market threatens to stifle economic growth and further curb corporate purchases. New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the world’s leading M&A adviser, reported a 47 percent decline in revenue from providing takeover advice in the first quarter from the fourth.

Our Perspective 

Is bigger always better?

Companies are looking to expand their footprint, increase their brand awareness.

Once a merger or acquistion is proposed, all the due dilligence is done upfront. Attorneys and accounts pour over documents and make recommendations as to the feasibility of the proposal.

Once all the i’s have been dotted and the t’s are crossed, signatures are placed on the contract. The next step is that all these papers must be sent to the state(s) to be registered.

The wheels come off the cart 

Once the contracts have been signed, all the focus goes into reviewing the existing operations and implementing efficiencies. What most companies fail to realize is that the states have a very difficult time recording these transactions.

 50% error rate 

The Department of Labor statistics show that 50% of the companies who have been involved with a merger or an acquisition have been assigned the wrong rates and as a result are overpaying payroll taxes.

How can this be? Isn’t this 2008! 

Again, let me make this clear. These errors have nothing to do with all the due diligence that was done prior to the acquisition or merger. Companies fail to take the next step and determine if these transactions were properly recorded.

Our clients are taking the next step.

We have a 90% success rate.

Our clients’ rates are corrected. 

They are getting refunds. 

Has your company been involved in a merger or acquisition within the last 3 years?

What rates were assigned to your company?

These errors can effect as many as 5 different tax rates.

Are you overpaying payroll taxes? 

Our services are done on a contingency fee.

There are no upfront costs.

Let us know your thoughts?

Do you have a question?

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

Hutchinson Business Solutions ……Your CFO on the Go.  

Creating Opportunities Today,…Defining Savings for Tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company. 

Spread the good news….. share this information with a friend. 

U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Rose 22,000 to 378,000  

As reported in Bloomberg .com

March 20 (Bloomberg) — The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose last week and the total number on benefit rolls reached the highest since August 2004, signs that firings are increasing.

Initial claims for benefits increased 22,000 to 378,000 in the week ended March 15, more than economists forecast and the highest since the week of Jan. 26, from 356,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said in Washington. The number of people staying on benefits rose to 2.865 million from 2.833 million.

U.S. companies are cutting staff as the biggest housing slump in a quarter century, tighter credit and mounting financial losses push the economy toward a recession. The Federal Reserve, noting labor markets had “softened” as it cut interest rates earlier this week, said it would act “as needed” to promote growth.

“This is pretty much what it looks like heading into recession,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New York, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “It’s a bad number for the Fed. This is something that might keep them cutting rates.”

Treasuries were little changed after the report, with the benchmark 10-year note yielding 3.33 percent.

Weekly claims were forecast to rise to 360,000 from 353,000 initially reported in the prior week, according to the median projection of 39 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from 345,000 to 380,000.

From a company’s perspective

Many companies look to firing or laying off employees to address a downfall in the economy. This may address an immediate need but many fail to realize that this decision lives with them for 4 years.

First, if an employee collects, the payments will be paid out of the State mandated company’s account. The state unemployment programs are set up to mirror that each company has their own checking account.

The state assigns a rate that tells you how much will be put into the account and then notifies you how much has been paid out in claims.

The amount paid out directly affects the balance or reserves held in the account and have a direct relationship in determining what your rate will be over the next 4 years. The state makes a calculation based on the dollar amount of claims paid out, the reserves needed to support future claims as they relate to the taxable wage base.

 Confused yet?

That is the way the states want you to view it.

Should you have any questions about the unemployment or claim process, feel free to contact us. We deal with these issues on a daily basis.

george@hbsadvantage.com

We find many clients have been assigned the wrong rate and our overpaying unemployment taxes.

To learn more visit our website.

www.hbsadvantage.com

We look forward to discussing this with you.