Labor Market remains strong, jobless claims at 4 year low

The Labor Market continues to churn quite nicely, with initial jobless claims hovering at a four decade low.  The labor market strength is reaching full employment status.

Applications submitted to state agencies for unemployment benefits decreased by 5,000 to 271,000 in the week ended Nov. 14 from 276,000 in the previous period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday. The number of claims dipped to 255,000 in mid-July, the fewest since the 1970s.

Steady demand has encouraged employers to hold the line on firings as a tighter labor market makes it difficult to attract skilled workers. Employment has shown enough signs of strength to allow Federal Reserve policy makers to consider raising rates for the first time in almost a decade.

procter & gamble, Shippensburg

Shippensburg Proctor & Gamble warehouse

We are seeing that locally as well.  With the continual development of warehousing and distribution centers along the Interstate 81 corridor in Franklin and Cumberland counties, you are also seeing more and more temporary agency signs along roadways, posts on Facebook, and other avenues of advertising for labor.  Procter & Gamble and Georgia-Pacific in Shippensburg added a significant amount of employees to the labor market, causing shortage at other distributions center in Chambersburg, Shippensburg, and Carlisle areas.

Here is a new article published in the Carlisle Sentinel regarding Aerotek and their attempt to fill 900 jobs in this area.

One Hanover, Maryland-based staffing agency is looking to fill more than 900 job openings in fields such as logistics, health care, manufacturing, warehousing and call-centers throughout Carlisle, Harrisburg, Lewisberry and Shippensburg.  Aerotek is looking for candidates with a high school diploma or GED, with many positions offering hands-on and verbal training, the company said. Some positions offer an approximately 90-day contract-to-hire transition, with the opportunity to move up within the company.

“Central Pennsylvania’s job market is beginning to flourish as more companies turn to this area to handle their unprecedented growth and customer demand,” said Greg Long, director of operations at Aerotek’s Harrisburg base. “Companies are becoming more dynamic with how they adhere to their customer’s needs, and one of those major indicators is how quickly they are able to get their product to the customer.

 

Pennsylvania Workers Compensation and Holiday Parties

EventPhotoFull_holiday-partyWith the Holiday season rapidly approaching, it also means numerous Holiday parties, and that includes, Holiday parties through our place of employment.  Ultimately, you may hear of an employee getting injured while at a company Holiday party.  If an employee is injured at a company Holiday party, are they entitled to workers compensation benefits in Pennsylvania?

The answer to that question is — it depends.  These cases are often very fact sensitive and case law has identified factors to be considered in whether a work injury at a company party is compensable under the Act.

Under Pinn v. W.C.A.B., the Commonwealth Court identified three factors that could make a holiday party injury compensable.  Those factors are:

  1. Whether the Employer encouraged or made attendance mandatory;
  2. Whether the event further a special interest of the Employer, such as good will, morale, good relations, etc…;
  3. Whether the event helped maintain or improve skills of the employee

Likely, the first two factors would be those that would be at issue in a Holiday party injury.  They are very fact sensitive.

Essentially, the first factor involves attendance at the event and whether the employer requires attendance.  However, it is important to note, just because attendance wasn’t mandatory, that does not mean this factor can’t bet met.  There are also facts that could lead to a determination of whether the employer ‘encouraged’ attendance.  Again, these can be very fact sensitive cases, and just because one employee received workers compensation benefits when injured at a holiday event, doesn’t mean you will.  All cases are different and facts, no matter how slight, can change the outcome.

The second element may revolve around whether the employer meant the party to be a morale boost, foster good relationships with employees, etc . . . Again, this is very fact sensitive and the burden is on the employee to demonstrate that fact.

There are also other factors that can be complicated factors, such as alcohol.  These cases are rare, but they do occur.  One thing is clear, if you, a relative, or a friend were injured while at company sponsored Holiday party, call Mooney & Associates right away to evaluate whether entitlement to workers compensation benefits exists.  The consultations are always FREE and we can meet with you in anyone of our twelve convenient south central Pennsylvania offices.   Call us today at 1-877-632-4656 to speak with an Attorney or arrange for a FREE consultation.

 

Democrats sweep PA Supreme Court and other State Judicial Races

CommCtIt was a good night for Pennsylvania Democrats.  It was also a good night for Plaintiffs and Claimants.

After a record setting $16 million was spent on state judicial races, the Democrats swept three Pennsylvania Supreme Court seats, taking a 5-2 majority control, and likely ensuring control of the state’s high Court for the next decade.   Previously, the Republicans had control of the Supreme Court since 2010.  The record high spending on State Supreme Court seats set a national record.  Hard to believe?  No.  Why?  It has not been since the 1700’s, no that is not a misprint, the 1700’s, since three seats at a time, with no incumbent up for retention, but three completely open seats, was on the ballot at one time.  That is historic.

Pennsylvania’s highest Court has been plagued with scandal over the past five years.  These three seats were open due to corruption and the porn email scandal that is gripping Harrisburg.   The Supreme Court in Pennsylvania is a powerful body, affecting public policy from top to bottom.  Not only is it powerful in terms of policy, but it has a unique position to affect the electoral map, not just in the state, but nationally.  When it come to redistricting legislative districts, both state and congressional, if the GOP and the DEMS do not agree on a plan, then the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appoints a five-person reapportionment commission to determine the map.  The Court is now controlled by the DEMS with a 5-2 majority.  The significance of that can’t be understated.  Winning seats on the PA Supreme Court were Philadelphia Judge Kevin Dougherty and PA Superior Court judges David Wecht and Christine Donohue.

The change in majority of the Court will likely also benefit Claimants and Plaintiffs, those aggrieved injured parties.  That’s a big deal from our perspective.

There was also one vacancy each on the Commonwealth Court and the Superior Court.  The Superior Court hears cases involving criminal and some civil appeals.  The Commonwealth Court hears only cases brought by or against the Commonwealth.  DEM Alice Dubow won the open seat on the Superior Court and DEM Michael Wojcik won the open seat on the Commonwealth Court.