Monthly Archives: April 2011

An allegation that WorkSource is getting in the way of work

By Rachel Pritchett

A local employment-office owner says meetings that out-of-work people must attend to continue receiving unemployment compensation are actually keeping them off the job.
Wayne Sargent, owner of Express Employment Professionals of Bremerton and Poulsbo, said he lined up work for the day for three of his clients on Tuesday. But not one went out on the jobs because they had were under the impression they had to go to WorkSource of Kitsap County to attend mandatory meetings to retain their unemployment benefits.
“They wanted to go to the job, but were unable because ‘Unemployment’ would not change the time,” Sargent said, referring to WorkSource, the public-employment office on Sylvan Way in East Bremerton.
Rick Van Cise, spokesman the Washington Department of Employment Security, said appointments at its WorkSource offices can be rescheduled on the phone in an instant.
“We want people to go to work,” he said.
One of Sargent’s clients who traded a day of work for an appointment at WorkSource was David Wright of Bremerton.
Wright said he found out Monday that Express Employment had work for him Tuesday. But he’d received a letter last week from WorkSource telling him show up at 11 a.m. Tuesday for a review of his work log and to receive other help.
“I wasn’t clear,” Wright said when asked if he thought he could reschedule his appointment. But the WorkSource letter was clear his benefits could be jeopardized if he didn’t show, he said.
Sargent said the tug-and-pull his workers face between going to jobs or going to appointments to ensure continued benefits is just one more example of an unemployment-compensation system that discourages work.
When he posts a job on Craigslist, his inbox soon is filled with inquiries from people who have no interest in the job, but instead are trying to meet the unemployment-compensation requirement they make three inquiries a week.
Besides his contention that WorkSource classes get in the way of work, Sargent also said the duration that people can receive unemployment compensation — up to 99 weeks in some cases — actually helps to make them unemployable. After that time, their skills are outdated and they’ve gotten physically out of shape by sitting on the couch and watching TV.
“If you’re paying somebody to do nothing, they’ll do nothing,” he said.
Van Cise said WorkSource has a range of classes, workshops, counseling and online leads to keep the focus.
“We can’t make a broad statement about long term unemployed people,” Van Cise said.
Sargent, 24 years in the business, suggests retooling the employment-compensation system to require beneficiaries to do some type of work. It could be picking up trash on the highway, working in soup kitchens, painting over graffiti or keeping up parks.
“I realize I’m a crotchety old man, but there are some stupid abuses in the system,” he said.

Kitsap foreclosure data for March available here

Upshot: The foreclosure process is lengthening and the filings have dropped, thanks to government intervention programs. There are banks that are good in dealing with foreclosures and ones that aren’t says a local brokers. My story should be up Monday at


Wednesday stocks give up early gains

Dow now at 12,169, down 88 points at midday.

NEW YORK (AP) — Financial stocks fell Wednesday after the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase said the bank’s losses from mortgages will continue for a while.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., the first big bank to release first-quarter earnings, reported net income that beat expectations. JPMorgan’s investment banking and credit card businesses did well, but its mortgage business remained weak. Chief executive Jamie Dimon said JPMorgan and other banks will likely pay more fees and penalties after investigations into foreclosure proceedings in all 50 states are finished.
Broad market indicators fell slightly in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 2 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,312. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 12, or 0.1 percent, to 12,251. The Nasdaq composite gained 9, or 0.3 percent, to 2,754.
Financial companies fell 0.7 percent. JP Morgan lost 0.7 percent, while Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. each lost more than 1 percent.
Stocks had risen in early trading after the government reported that retail sales rose 0.4 percent overall in March, though much of the gain was due to higher gas prices. It was the ninth straight month of increases.

Kitsap gas at $3.92 Wednesday …

… per gallon of unleaded, says AAA. This is really starting to hurt me, considering I have a one-way commute of 26 miles between Bainbridge and Bremerton, even though I drive a small car and buy my gas on the Suquamish reservation. How is this affecting you? Are you changing your driving habits? As for myself, I can’t do much more than I’m doing. I gave up commuting in my minivan and permanently parked it in my garage when gas in Kitsap hit an all-time high of $4.37 on June. 19, 2008.

Rachel Pritchett

Oil gives up early gains, heads lower
NEW YORK (AP) — Oil gave up its early gains on Wednesday and headed down again, after the Energy Department reported America’s crude supplies grew again last week.
Benchmark crude for May delivery fell 18 cents to $106.07 per barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 6 percent on Monday and Tuesday.
The Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude supplies rose by 1.6 million barrels last week to 359.3 million barrels. That’s 1.5 percent above year-ago levels.
Gasoline supplies dropped by 7 million barrels — more than five times what analysts expected. Supplies of distillate fuels, which include diesel and jet fuel, also unexpectedly declined by 2.7 million barrels.
Shrinking supplies of gasoline, diesel and other refined fuels can boost demand for crude, but analyst and trader Stephen Schork pointed out that the drop is partially due to a temporary shutdown at Sunoco’s Marcus Hook refinery in Pennsylvania.

Tuesday stocks fall after Japan raises severity measure of nuke crisis

Dow at 12,263, down 117 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing lower after Japan raised the severity of its nuclear crisis and Alcoa Inc. reported disappointing sales. A drop in oil prices pulled down energy stocks.
Markets also fell in Asia and Europe after Japan said the crisis at its crippled nuclear plant was as serious as the 1986 Chernobyl accident.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 118 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 12,264. That the largest drop since March 16, when markets sank on fears of a nuclear meltdown in Japan.
The S&P 500 index fell 10, or 0.8 percent, to 1,314. The Nasdaq fell 27, or 1 percent, to 2,745.
Three shares fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was 4.3 billion shares.

Housing market’s like a spaceship …


Once a month the media gets updated home-sales figures from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. The NMLS throws in a news release that typically spins the numbers as positive as possible.

But this month the spin was so spun it caused quite a laugh among local real-estate sellers, and me, too. Mike Grady, president of Coldwell Banker Bain, likened the Seattle market to a spaceship re-entering the atmosphere and returning to Earth …

“While it might appear to be burning out of control, the heat is actually beneficial, providing the friction necessary to slow the descent and allow a safe landing. Perhaps our broader market appears to be smoldering now, but some neighborhoods also appear to be close to recovery. With ‘Spaceship Seattle’ currently offering fewer than two single family homes for sale for every buyer currently under contract, it would be an interesting summer around the real estate launch pad.”

Ha, ha ha.


Friday stocks edge up, defying looming government shutdown

Dow at 12,395.

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market edged higher in early trading Friday, a day after another big earthquake in Japan sent indexes lower.
Investors will be watching Washington, where Republicans and Democrats are in the final day of talks to reach a budget agreement that would prevent a government shutdown. A shutdown will close non-essential government services, including the publication of most economic reports.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 11 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,420 in morning trading. The S&P 500 rose 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,336. The Nasdaq composite added 3, or 0.2 percent, to 2,798.
Gains were spread across the market. Technology companies were the only member of the 10 company groups that make up the S&P index to fall.
Oil futures were nearly 1 percent to $111.14. Over the past two months, stocks have fallen following large jumps in oil prices as investors worried that higher transportation costs would cut into company margins and consumer spending.
Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer’s Investment Research, said that stocks tend to rise along with oil prices over the long term. “The recent breakdown in the pattern has largely been due to fears of supply shocks,” he said. “But the oil rally could also be attributed to a stronger world economy.”