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Small Step for Temps

November 05, 2000|LISA GIRION

OK, so it's not rocket science. But a two-year assignment writing software code for a NASA space shuttle contractor earned a Florida man the title of National Temporary Employee of the Year by the American Staffing Assn.

Keith Palmer's performance in his temporary assignment at the Kennedy Space Center, providing technical support to more than 5,000 NASA workers, was so stellar he won the agency's Space Flight Awareness Award--an honor usually reserved for permanent employees.

Palmer, a graduate of Florida's Astronaut High School, said he took the assignment with NASA contractor United Space Alliance with the goal of winning a permanent gig, which he did. "I knew I had to make myself an invaluable employee," he said.

Stealing Christmas?

The nearly 50,000 job cuts announced in September boosted the third-quarter total to 168,875--the largest quarter in a year. Fourth-quarter cuts may be larger, according to John A. Challenger, chief executive at Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Challenger notes that in four of the last five years, fourth-quarter job cuts outpaced those in the third quarter by 40% on average. "If we see a drop in holiday spending, we could see more downsizing in the retail sector, which already leads all other categories in job cuts," Challenger said.

Retailers have announced 47,891 job cuts this year, followed by financial services at 41,930, and automotive at 41,160. California ranks third among states hosting the headquarters of employers who have announced the greatest job reductions through September.

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