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Seneca casinos seek 300 at job fair Thursday

Seneca casinos are seeking 300 new hires in the region.

Seneca Gaming Corp. will hold a job fair Thursday from 9 a.m to 7 p.m. at Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, 310 4th Street in Niagara Falls, in the hotel mezzanine.

New and experienced table games dealers are especially sought for the Niagara Falls casino, but there are a variety of positions available there and at Allegany and Buffalo Creek casinos.

Interviews will be conducted at the job fair, and a blackjack table will be available to test candidates' card-dealing ability.


---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Highly skilled jobs get outsourced, too

Western New York business leaders met in Buffalo last week to discuss how to address a shortage of highly skilled manufacturing workers, such as engineers and machinists. There has also recently been a lot of talk about importing skilled workers with H1-B visas to make up for other worker shortages. And of course, we've been hearing about the effects of offshoring jobs for years.

Turns out, companies can save a lot of money by importing skilled workers and outsourcing skilled jobs. So how does that affect us as workers and college graduates?

Here is an excerpt from an interesting New York Times article from guest economist Nancy Folbre:

Since the 1990s, the global supply of skilled labor has greatly expanded and the technology for using this labor wherever it is has greatly improved. Why hire a more expensive employee when a cheaper one is available? Why pay taxes to educate and train highly skilled workers when other countries (and their families and taxpayers) will do that for you?

The disruptive impacts of globalization initially hammered workers without much education. Many workers holding college degrees remained optimistic about the benefits of international trade, celebrating improvements in their own purchasing power.

Now, my students can decide for themselves if lower prices will compensate them for reduced opportunities and lower wages. More than half of recent college graduates in the United States are either unemployed or are working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. Entry-level wages for employed college graduates were lower in 2011 than in 2000.

The current global recession isn’t the only cause. The economist Richard Freeman provides an extraordinarily clear account of what he calls “The Great Doubling” of labor supply resulting from structural changes that brought China and India more directly into the global marketplace.

Rather than relying merely on low-wage competition, China and India, like many developing countries, invested heavily in higher education and scientific training. While college graduates represent a small occupational elite within their large labor force, their absolute numbers are high compared with those homegrown in the United States.

College students in the United States who major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – often referred to as STEM fields – definitely face better prospects in the labor market than others do. But even they need to be aware of intensified competition down the road.

Many software engineers and others in the information technology field feel particularly aggrieved about the effects of the H1-B visa program. The computer scientist Norman Matloff, who maintains a Web site on the topic, asserts that it enables employers to hire younger and less expensive workers, leaving many highly skilled, older programmers in the lurch.

Does a minimum wage help or hurt workers?

AppleSome retail employees of the Apple Store will soon be getting raises, by as much as 25 percent. Workers there typically earn $9 to $15 per hour, while tech support makes as much as $30 per hour.

The company said it is instituting the performance-review-based raises after a survey found its workers were underpaid, but analysts speculated the company was also motivated to better compensate workers once it found they were being poached by Microsoft for its own retail stores.

Employee compensation is an interesting subject. Here is a neat little tutorial about wage determination in competitive markets. It's from the United Kingdom, but still works.

Here's a video lesson:


Subscribing to free market theory, many folks believe minimum wage and other regulations concerning wages and benefits should be done away with.

This Web site lists what it believes to be the pros of ending minimum wage. It says abolishing minimum wage would create more jobs, prevent outsourcing for cheaper labor and keep out illegal aliens.

Here is Ron Paul advisor Peter Schiff advocating the abolition of the minimum wage:


Other folks don't think so.

Here is a lengthy rebuttal:



Behind HSBC's money laundering scandal


HSBC Bank will further shrink its presence in Western New York by laying off 77 employees here and shifting its money-laundering prevention unit from Buffalo to New York City and Delaware.

Jonathan Epstein gives some background in Friday's Buffalo News:

HSBC has been bulking up its compliance division in response to federal investigations and accusations that the global bank -- which operates in 82 countries around the world -- has been violating U.S. money-laundering rules, particularly provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act, as well as bans on U.S. banks doing business with certain countries or certain foreign individuals.

The laws are designed to prevent the U.S. financial system from being used to support criminal activities, including but not exclusively terrorism. They're also aimed at punishing certain foreign leaders or governments that have been identified as threats or violators of international law.


But the full story is much juicier. It's almost surreal. 

This special report from Reuters  digs into what's behind the allegations, uncovering what is said to be flagrant flouting of the law and a willful cover-up for known money launderers in order to keep large accounts.

Here's an excerpt from the article by Carrick Mollenkamp, Brett Wolf and Brian Grow:

HSBC [violated the law on a massive scale] by not adequately reviewing hundreds of billions of dollars in transactions for any that might have links to drug trafficking, terrorist financing and other criminal activity.

In some of the documents, prosecutors allege that HSBC intentionally flouted the law. The bank created an operation that was a “systemically flawed sham paper-product designed solely to make it appear that the Bank has complied” with the Bank Secrecy Act and is able to detect money laundering, wrote William J. Ihlenfeld II, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, in a draft of a 2010 letter addressed to Justice Department officials.

In that letter, Ihlenfeld compared HSBC unfavorably to Riggs Bank. In 2004 and 2005, that scandal-plagued Washington bank was fined a total of $41 million after it was found to have violated anti-money laundering laws, and it was acquired by PNC Financial Services.

“HSBC is to Riggs, as a nuclear waste dump is to a municipal land fill,” Ihlenfeld wrote.

How much more will the eurozone crisis affect us?

Unemployment in the eurozone rose by 169,000 in March, bringing the unemployment rate to its highest ever since the euro was created n 1999.


Bad jobs reports coming out of Europe and the United States caused stock prices to drop Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell by 87 points before closing down 10.75, while the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 3.51 points to 1,402.31.

You can follow the history of the crisis in this archive  of related articles compiled by Bloomberg.

Catherine Rampell, writing for the New York Times, sums up the three dangers the eurozone's problems pose to the U.S.: trade, the stock market and credit. Europe's struggle leaves a smaller customer base for our exports, makes our dollar (and thus our goods) more expensive and sends stocks down. Worse, because European countries own so much of each other's debt, one country's troubles will have a domino effect on those tied up with it. That would make it harder for Americans to borrow money.

Reuters wades through several different scenarios, ranging from a mild eurozone recession to a financial meltdown. 


In the case of the latter, Stella Dawson writes that the risk of one or more countries leaving the eurozone "would cause political, economic and market upheaval."

This audio report from Marketplace in 2010 shows how European troubles don't affect all regions of the U.S. in the same way. Cities tied to the automobile and pharmaceutical industries could be hit harder, for example.

As usual, the Economic Collapse blog does not disappoint with its, "27 Statistics About the European Economic Crisis That Are Almost Too Crazy to Believe." It includes Spain's sky-high unemployment rate (now at 24.1 percent) and asks "Just how far can you stretch the rubberband before it snaps? Perhaps we are about to find out."


It continues:

"The European financial system is leveraged like crazy right now.  Even banking systems in countries that you think of as 'stable' are leveraged to extremes. For example, major German banks are leveraged 32 to 1, and those banks are holding a massive amount of European sovereign debt. When Lehman Brothers finally collapsed, it was only leveraged 30 to 1."


State hanging "open for business" sign


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's $50 million advertising campaign to attract businesses to New York State is set to launch next week. The money will pay for ads around the country letting business owners know that New York is "open for business."

There is debate over whether that is money well spent.

The Manhattan-based agency that landed the contract to handle the campaign, BBDO, is certainly happy about the launch, as are many economic development agencies and other groups.

But not everyone is singing the project's praises.

"If Governor Cuomo really wanted to make New York "open for business," he could do it without spending a dime," writes the Suffolk County Liberal Report. "Just focus on cutting the three New York State business killers--taxes, regulations and eco insanity."

Cuomo has also vowed to pump $1 billion directly into the Buffalo economy in the form of incentives offered to companies willing to build or expand here. In his keynote address at The Buffalo News' Prospectus launch, M&T Bank CEO John R. Koelmel said the money presents the opportunity of a lifetime.

"We as a region need to get behind and help--and be part of what will be and must be a real success. We finally have a road map for sustainable success, and we just need to get after it," he said.

 What do you think? Is this influx of money a good investment in Buffalo and New York State?

Getting back to work.

From Business Today:

JobSeekersThe job-growth rate in the Buffalo Niagara region accelerated in March. The region saw a one percent annual growth rate compared to the same month last year, adding 5,400 jobs. It's the strongest growth rate in six months. The labor department attributes the improvement to strong growth in construction work and a rebound in manufacturing.


Sprint Nextel Corp. has been purposely dodging taxes since 2005, according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The cell phone company failed to collect $100 million in state sales tax from customers, ducking out of its obligation to pay New York State $200,000 per week. Schneiderman called the failure to pay a "deliberate" plan to keep the cell phone company's prices more competitive.  Dupont

  The blast that killed a welder and injured an Angola man two years ago was partly caused by procedures followed at the DuPont plant on River Road in the Town of Tonawanda. According to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, technicians should have tested the tank the welders were working on to be sure they weren't flammable.  

 The Clarence Industrial Development Agency will consider tax breaks for a new office park on Sheridan Drive near the Eastern Hills Mall. The IDA will hold a public hearing next month in consideration of granting tax breaks to the $2.1 million project. The Rockledge Professional Office Park is being proposed for vacant land at 8175 Sheridan Drive, on the south side of the street, just east of Transit Road.


Profits soared at First Niagara Financial Group during the first quarter. First-quarter profits were up 22 percent from a year ago, thanks to higher loan and fee revenues offsetting higher expenses from an acquisition in Connecticut. The company reported net income available to common shareholders of $54.8 million, up from $44.9 million.

 Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

I'll bet Grant Cardone is glad it's Friday. The motivational speaker who appeared in Buffalo this week was on the Delta flight that had to make an emergency landing after striking birds. Here is a video from Cardone after it happened:


Deputies called in.

From Business Today:


Seven sheriff's deputies stood sentinel at the Erie County Industrial Development Agency's board meeting Monday. The board had requested security to discourage outbursts from members of the Occupy Buffalo movement, who have attended and disrupted two previous meetings. Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said the show of force was "overkill." But the sheriff's office said it received an anonymous call saying Occupy Buffalo had planned to create a disturbance, so it sent more deputies in response to the call.


Developer Carl P. Paladino will receive tax breaks on a $5.3 million project to convert the Graystone Building into 42 apartments. The Erie County Industrial Development Agency agreed Monday to approve nearly $213,000 in sales and mortgage tax breaks for the project. Paladino has received a host of financial incentives to restore the vacant building, including including $1.2 million in historic tax credits from the state.


Compared to a year ago, profits were flat for the first quarter at M & T Bank Corp, the Buffalo-based parent of M&T Bank. Per-share earnings fell. Despite higher loan and fee revenues and lower credit costs, the purchase of Wilmington Trust Corp. resulted in higher operating expenses. The company had net income of $206 million. Per-share profits fell by 5.7 percent, to $1.50, from $1.59 a year ago.


 Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul, D-Amherst is proposing the Workforce-Ready Educate America Act, which would give employers a $1,000 tax credit for each student placed in qualified training program. The legislation is intended to bridge the gap between unemployed graduates and companies with unfilled positions.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

 Esperanza Spalding will perform at UB tomorrow night:



Scams and consumer help.

From Business Today:


Attorney General Eric T.Schneiderman has warned consumers of two scams that are making the rounds and victimizing people via the Internet and telephone. One scam has criminals impersonating bank or government officials claiming to offer mortgage settlement assistance as a way to gain access to personal or financial information. The other scam involves consumers lured into making deposits on fake rental properties advertised on Craigslist.


Want to see the reasons your property and casualty insurer gave for increasing your premium? You'll be able to find out online, thanks to the actions of the state Department of Financial Services.  The state insurance regulators are posting documents online submitted by insurance companies to support rate increases, introduce new products or change existing offerings. You can find them here. The Department of Financial Services did the same thing last fall with health insurance.


In observation of Financial Literacy Month, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo is hosting four free financial seminars at its office in West Seneca, 40 Gardenville Parkway, suite 300. They are: "Money in Motion," at 5:30 p.m. today; "Dollars and Sense," at 10 a.m. Saturday; "Credit Counts," at 6 p.m. April 19 and "Credit Reports Review Express," at 9 a.m. April 28. For more information, call 712-2060.


A career fair will be held today from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, 65 Court Street. Job listings are posted here. For more information, call (888) 4-NYSDOL or visit the Department of Labor's Web site.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Here's more on that common Craigslist scam:


Helping to find work.

From Business Today:


Two established local companies have formed a new social enterprise together in the hopes of creating jobs for people with disabilities. The Olmsted Center for Sight and the Center for Transportation Excellence have formed Creating New Taxpayers LLC. The company will recruit, train and hire individuals with disabilities, and match them with other local companies looking to outsource customer service work.

Who is getting hired, promoted and honored?

Happy Friday!


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