First quarter may have 'conservative' job market

Monday, January 10, 2005

Some call it conservative. Some might call it a step back.

Fresh off the weekend news that employers hired workers in 2004 at the fastest pace in five years, the new Manpower Employment Outlook Survey suggests that at least the first part of 2005 won't be as sunny.

From January to March, only 13 percent of the companies interviewed plan to hire more employees, while 10 percent plan to reduce their payrolls.

That's a drop-off from the fourth quarter of 2004, when 33 percent of the companies who participate in the survey intended to increase headcount and only 7 percent planned to decrease payroll.

But Manpower spokeswoman Peggy Gates offers a bright side.

Southeast Missouri "employers are more optimistic about hiring than they were a year ago, when 10 percent of companies surveyed thought employment increases were likely and 13 percent intended to cut back," she said.

Even so, the 13 percent that planned to increase rolls this year was the smallest number of increase in the entire state. Central Missouri businesses planned to increase employment by 33 percent, Joplin by 17 percent, Kansas City by 27 percent, Springfield by 27 percent and St. Louis by 22 percent.

If Manpower's outlook is on the mark, so much for a banner start to 2005.

* House Doctors moving in new direction: After three years in business as a home repairs and remodeling company, Cape Girardeau House Doctors is moving in a new direction.

According to House Doctors owner Rick Hetzel, the real estate development company R. Hetzel Properties LLC was founded in 2003 to complement the House Doctors operations. Over the past two years, House Doctors and R. Hetzel Properties have remodeled several older properties in the Cape Girardeau area and maintained them as investment properties or sold them. One such property, known by many in the Cape Girardeau area as "Francine's Gardens," is at 28 N. Pacific St. and was upgraded in 2003.

"What we discovered is a significant demand for upgraded and remodeled local properties, which have been remodeled and made available for a reasonable price," Hetzel said. "We never anticipated this business would meet with such success."

As part of this change, Hetzel will be discontinuing the home repair component under the House Doctors trade name and will focus primarily on real estate development in the Cape Girardeau area. Despite the change, Hetzel will keep the House Doctors franchise available for potential business owners who might be interested in purchasing the home improvement business.

The House Doctors territory includes Cape Girardeau County and the Carbondale, Ill., area. Hetzel said he will personally continue to honor the warranties on all work performed by House Doctors. Hetzel will also be available as a consultant to customers seeking assistance in their home remodeling projects.

* Picture this: Retired insurance agent Bob Krone has started a new photography business in Cape Girardeau.

The new aptly named Bob Krone Photography offers digital or film photography for weddings, receptions, family portraits, custom photography as well as Web site design, wedding video, on-location video for broadcast, movie documentaries and instructional video production.

Krone has had an interesting and varied career. He was a licensed life and health insurance agent since 1966 until his retirement in 2002 and an investment securities broker from 1969 until 2002.

He also performed as a professional musician throughout the 1960s and 1970s in Harvey Mueller Dance Orchestra, various jazz combos and orchestras, a rock band, choirs and as a solo ragtime pianist at several festivals.

Krone gained experience in the photography business as a consultant with Marshall Photographic Arts, a church and school photography firm based in Cape Girardeau.

* Flori Heating sold: Michael and Brenda Seyer have owned Flori Heating and Cooling in Cape Girardeau for the past 8 1/2 years but recently have decided to sell.

"I guess we're ready for another adventure," Brenda Seyer said.

The new owners are Larry and Don Rice.

Scott Moyers is the business editor of the Southeast Missourian. Send your comments, business news, information or questions to "Biz Buzz," 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, extension 137.

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