Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Report: worker confidence at record low

Worker confidence in New York fell to a record low in March, a Harris Interactive Inc. report for Spherion Corp. shows.
The Employee Confidence Index in the New York Employment Report fell to 39.4 last month from 50.2 in February and 55.6 a year ago.
A mere 2 percent of workers statewide said the economy was strengthening in March, down from 7 percent in February. Sixteen percent reported no change in the economy, compared with 27 percent in February. Some 81 percent of workers reported a weakening economy, up from 67 percent in February.
Job availability fell in March, with 6 percent of workers reporting more jobs, compared with 9 percent in February. Some 27 percent reported no change in job availability, down from 44 percent in February. Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported fewer jobs last month, up from 47 percent in February.
Some 59 percent of workers statewide expressed confidence in the future of their current employer, down from 68 percent in February. Nineteen percent said they were not confident in the future of their employer, compared with 11 percent in February.
One-tenth of New York workers said it was likely they would lose their job last month, down from 16 percent in February. Some 82 percent said it was unlikely they would lose their job, up from 76 percent the previous month.
“The instability of the nation’s economy appears to be greatly impacting New York workers’ overall confidence levels,” said Linda Perneau, vice president of Spherion staffing services, in a statement.
Perneau added that while March’s employee confidence index was the lowest the organization has ever reported, there are pockets of the labor market which are seeing job creation, particularly in the insurance, technology, finance and administrative sectors.
Spherion’s monthly employment report is based on data collected online from nearly 300 workers in New York. The report measures job security, job transition and employee confidence.

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.

Harris Corp. revenue up 24%; net income drops on charge

Harris Corp. reported a double-digit increase in third-quarter revenue, despite a drop in net income, due to charges for cost overruns on a commercial program.
The Florida-based company reported revenue of $1.33 billion Monday, a 24 percent increase over sales of $1.07 billion in the prior year’s quarter. Net income was $108 million, or 78 cents a diluted share, versus net income of $215 million, or $1.52 a diluted share last year. Last year’s quarter included gains associated with the acquisition of Harris Stratex Networks.
This year’s quarterly earnings were affected by a previously announced charge of $47 million for the cost overruns on a commercial satellite reflective program. The earnings also benefited from a low tax rate, the company said.
The company’s Defense, Communications and Electronics segment — which includes Rochester-based RF Communications — logged revenues of $507 million, a 22 percent increase over last year’s quarter. Operating income of $156 million increased 24 percent over last year. The company does not disclose financials for RF Communications.
Harris also increased its annual earnings guidance for fiscal 2009 from $4.00 to $4.10 per diluted share to $4.05 to $4.15 per diluted share.
Shares of Harris (NYSE:HRS) were trading midday at $54.77, up nearly 4 percent from Tuesday’s close of $52.70.

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.

Economy grows by less than 1 percent

The bruised economy limped through the first quarter, growing at just a 0.6 percent pace as housing and credit problems forced people and businesses alike to hunker down, AP reported. The country’s economic growth during January through March was the same as in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

Time Warner to shed cable TV business

Time Warner Inc. said Wednesday it plans to spin off the rest of its cable TV business, answering investor pleas to further simplify the media conglomerate’s sprawling corporate structure, AP reported. The news came as Time Warner, which also owns Warner Bros., CNN, AOL and Time magazine, reported a 36 percent decline in first-quarter earnings from a year ago.

Business conditions improve slightly

General business conditions in the Rochester area improved slightly in April, primarily in the manufacturing sector, a monthly survey by the National Association of Purchasing Management–Rochester Inc. shows.
One-quarter of area businesses and individuals reported improved business conditions in April, up from 20 percent in March. Some 67 percent reported no change in business conditions, down from 73 percent last month. Eight percent reported worse conditions, compared with 7 percent last month.
One-quarter of respondents reported more new orders or services this month, down from one-third in March. Some 67 percent of businesses reported no change in new orders, compared with 54 percent last month. Eight percent reported fewer new orders or services in April, down from 13 percent in March.
Commodity prices went up in April. For the sixth consecutive month, no area businesses reported lower prices, while 92 percent reported higher prices, up from 80 percent in March. Eight percent reported no change, down from 20 percent in March.
Employment was down slightly in April. Some 8 percent of area businesses reported more jobs this month, down from 20 percent in March. Three-quarters of respondents reported no change in employment in April, up from 67 percent last month. Another 17 percent reported fewer jobs, up from 13 percent last month.
The three-month forecast was down in April. One-quarter of area business and individuals expect an improvement in business conditions in the coming three months, down from one-third in March. Some 67 percent forecast stable conditions, up from 54 percent last month. Eight percent of businesses expect conditions to decline, down from 13 percent in March, NAPM-Rochester reported.

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.

Chesonis to ring Nasdaq bell Thursday

Paetec Holding Corp. chairman and CEO Arunas Chesonis will ring the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange at 9:30 a.m. Thursday to celebrate the company’s 10-year business anniversary.

Online job listings in area decline

Rochester’s total online help-wanted advertising fell from March to April, mirroring both regional and nationwide trends, the Conference Board Inc. reported.
Some 11,500 online job ads were posted here in April, compared with 12,300 in March and 11,200 a year ago. New ads rose to 8,400 this month from 8,200 in March and 6,800 in April 2007.
The Rochester area includes Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans and Wayne counties.
Among the largest metropolitan areas surveyed nationally, Rochester continues to lead just Honolulu in terms of new and total ads posted online in April. Total ads posted in the Rochester area this month represent 2.18 ads per 100 people in the work force, compared with 2.33 in March and 2.13 a year ago.
Online job ads in the Buffalo area increased to 16,600 this month from 16,100 in March, but were unchanged from a year ago. Some 12,400 new, unduplicated ads were posted in the Buffalo area this month, compared with 10,800 in March and 10,400 in April 2007. Total ads in the Buffalo area represent 2.88 ads per 100 people in the work force, up from 2.78 ads per 100 in March, but down from 2.92 a year ago.
The Syracuse area is not surveyed.
Total online job ads in the Middle Atlantic region—which includes Rochester and Buffalo—fell to 581,600 this month from 595,500 in March and 658,700 a year ago. Some 401,700 new online ads were posted in the region this month, compared with 392,000 in March and 410,600 a year ago. Total ads in the Middle Atlantic region represent 2.87 ads per 100 people in the work force, down from 2.94 in March and 3.28 in April 2007.
Nationally, the total number of online job ads fell to 3.65 million from 3.73 million in March and 4.37 million a year ago. New, unduplicated job ads increased to 2.59 million this month from 2.54 million in March but were down from 2.9 million a year ago. Nationally, total online job ads represent some 2.38 ads per 100 people in the labor force, compared with 2.44 in March and 2.87 a year ago.
The help-wanted online data series measures the number of first-time online job ads, as well as the total unduplicated online ads, in nine census regions and 52 metropolitan Internet job boards and job boards serving smaller geographic areas.

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.

Kodak loss shrinks; sales edge up

Eastman Kodak Co. on Thursday reported a sharply lower loss for the first quarter and slightly higher revenues. Kodak posted a loss from continuing operations of $114 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with a loss of $175 million, or 61 cents a share a year ago. Revenues climbed 1 percent from $2.08 billion a year ago to $2.09 billion. Revenue from digital businesses totaled $1.37 billion, up 10 percent; traditional revenue totaled $724 million, a 13 percent decline.
This article will be updated later on Thursday.

Women’s network to honor leaders

The Rochester Women’s Network will honor the 2008 Up & Coming Businesswoman award recipients and host a conference on economic development Friday.
The conference, “Economic Development is Everyone’s Business,” begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. Highlights include keynote Diane Creel, CEO of Ecovation Inc.; luncheon speaker Maggie Brooks, Monroe County executive; and closing session speaker Patricia Malgieri, deputy mayor of the city of Rochester.
Fifteen area women have been selected for the 2008 Up & Coming Businesswoman award.
RWN represents 400 local employers and more than 150 women-owned businesses. The organization works to foster the growth and advancement of women in the workplace, giving members the opportunity to support each other personally and professionally.
For information on the event, visit

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.

Toshiba Business Solutions, Michigan office merge

Toshiba Business Solutions—New York, part of Toshiba America Inc., has merged with Toshiba’s Michigan office, a move that adds 70 employees and $13 million in annual revenue. Steven Sauer, president of Toshiba Business Solutions-New York, will also serve as president of the Michigan site.
Sauer will continue to be based in Rochester, but will travel regularly to the new office in Wixom, just outside of Detroit.
“Since being purchased by Toshiba in 2004, our company has continued to grow, and we now rank as one of the top Toshiba subsidiaries in the country,” Sauer said in a statement. “This merger demonstrates Toshiba’s belief in our local employees.”
According to the most recent Rochester Business Journal list of Computer Resellers, Toshiba Business Solutions—New York employs 115 people here.
The company also said in April, it was named the top subsidiary in the country for a second consecutive time by Toshiba America Business Solutions. The performance-based honor takes into account 11 criteria, such as sales volume, revenue growth and profit gains. The award was announced at a national meeting in California.

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.

Schumer asks PSC to back off Iberdrola

Sen. Charles Schumer Wednesday called for the New York State Public Service Commission to ease demands it has placed on the energy company as a condition for approving the proposed $4.58 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp. by Spanish power producer Iberdrola S.A.

U.S. Report: Al-Qaida gaining strength

Al-Qaida has rebuilt some of its pre-Sept. 11 capabilities from remote hiding places in Pakistan, leading to a jump in attacks last year in that country and neighboring Afghanistan, the Bush administration said Wednesday. Attacks in Pakistan doubled between 2006 and 2007 and the number of fatalities quadrupled, the State Department said in its annual terrorism report. In Afghanistan, the number of attacks rose 16 percent, to 1,127 incidents last year, AP reported.

FDA warns Merck to fix vaccine plant problems

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered drugmaker Merck & Co. to correct manufacturing deficiencies at its main vaccine plant, AP reported. The agency on Wednesday released a warning letter sent to Merck CEO Richard Clark that states FDA inspectors determined manufacturing rules are not being followed at the plant in West Point, Pa., which makes a number of children’s vaccines.

Schumer asks PSC to back off Iberdrola

Sen. Charles Schumer Wednesday called for the New York State Public Service Commission to ease demands it has placed on the energy company as a condition for approving the proposed $4.58 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp. by Spanish power producer Iberdrola S.A.
Energy East is the parent company of Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. and Binghamton-based New York State Electric & Gas Corp.
The PSC has said Iberdrola must give up all its wind power assets across the state, Schumer officials said.
Schumer, D-NY, said in a press conference this runs counter to the state’s goals of developing a robust renewable energy portfolio and could sacrifice economic development opportunities around the State. He urged the PSC to concentrate its negotiations with the utility on issues surrounding customer rates, system reliability and the overall health of the company.
“It’s high time that the Public Service Commission abandon their ideological and unproven demands that Iberdrola abandon all wind power assets in New York State,” Schumer said.
He added: “It makes no sense that the world’s leading wind producer who can bring experience, expertise and a willingness to invest is shut out of the marketplace. In every utility merger there can be major-league risks and rewards for residential and business ratepayers.”
Schumer said the PSC “needs to concentrate on ensuring that the risk of spiking rates is eliminated and the rewards of clean, job-creating power come to fruition.”
Iberdrola has said that if state regulators continue to require the sale of wind farm assets in New York, they will walk away from the deal. The PSC has argued that if the utility is allowed to retain their wind generation, they will engage in anticompetitive practices to dissuade their competitors.

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.

Eastman House board to meet in LA

George Eastman House International Museum of Photography & Film this week is holding its board of trustees meeting in Los Angeles for the first time in its 61-year history.
For several years the Eastman House has hosted its quarterly spring board meeting in New York City. Instead, it has opted to invite trustees to Los Angeles to provide the experience of touring film studios and film labs; viewing West Coast library and photography collections; and a presentation at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, officials said.
The non-profit group’s board meeting is Thursday at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, one of Eastman House’s partners in film preservation.
The majority of the Rochester-based trustees, which make up half of the 50-member board, will be in attendance. The current chairwoman is Susan Robfogel, a partner with Nixon Peabody LLP.

(c) 2008 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to
reprint this article.