Weekly Bulletin: Data Breaches Could Create Jobs, Polar Vortex, Retailers Cut Back

Data Breaches Could Create Jobs
Recent large-scale data breaches at retailers such as Target, Neiman Marcus, and Michaels have made waves recently as thousands of consumers scramble to recover or track their credit. The events may have an unexpected outcome, however, as more companies begin to hire experts to ensure data protection, according to workplace authority John Challenger. “IT-professionals, consultants, or lawyers versed in data privacy and protection may see an influx of opportunities as companies protect against this kind of theft. Regulations such as HIPPA have standards in place for some industries, but wide-scale, comprehensive data protection laws do not exist yet. Despite this, data theft at Target and other retailers in recent months have shown companies that they must be prepared for this sort of attack,” said Challenger. Technology is listed by many to be the top industry in 2014 with expected growth of 23 percent. Information security analysts will most likely see increased growth, according to US News & World’s rankings. “While data theft is a terrible threat, the silver-lining may be more job opportunities for our nation’s unemployed.” What other jobs might be created in the coming years? What industries will see increased job growth?

Polar Vortex Saps Warmth, Productivity
The cold snap that has engulfed most of the Midwest and Eastern United States may sap more than just warm temperatures - It may also hit productivity. The cold has closed schools and local businesses across the country, grounded flights, and made some roads impassable, and could cost as much as $5 Billion according to Berwyn, PA-based Planalytics Inc. Dangerous temperatures and sub-zero wind chills, which have struck major cities such as Chicago, Boston, and New York, increase commute times or keep workers from coming to the office altogether, according to John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. “Companies that can, should allow workers flexible scheduling and telecommuting options during extreme weather so that workers do not need to spend extra time or energy commuting in arctic temperatures. These policies will keep morale high and employees working,” advised Challenger. What might companies do to keep productivity high during extreme weather?

Retailers Cut Back
As companies assess holiday earnings, many big box retailers have announced layoffs and store closings. Macy’s announced they were cutting 2,500 jobs, JC Penney will cut 2,000 workers and close 33 stores, Sears will cut 1,600 jobs in Canada, and Wal-Mart’s Sams Club will cut 2,300 workers. Post-holiday employment reductions in the retail sector are not uncommon. According to non-seasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail employment fell by nearly 772,000 positions in January and February of last year. That was about 3.0 percent more than the 752,000 jobs added over the final three months of 2012, as retailers boosted hiring for the holiday sales surge.