Today’s News & Commentary — June 20, 2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, youth in Illinois face an unemployment rate of 70% nearly 16 times the state-wide average. These job disparities widen when considering race, as 85% of African American youth and 81.5% of Latinx youth are unemployed as compared with 73.4% of Caucasian youth. Moreover, a recent analysis suggests this level of unemployment will cost the state over $9 billion in lost tax revenue.

 

After President Macron’s victory in France and his majority in the French parliament, unions have lost many of their allies in government. Unions are unsure whether they will still have a voice in government or whether President Macron will simply ignore their demands. One looming question is whether various unions can mend their differences and work together to achieve policy reform.

 

Google has revamped its search tool to include job posts from Monster and LinkedIn. Users can now search for “jobs near me” and filter through jobs based on various criteria. Google product developer Nick Zakrasek commented: “With this new experience, we aim to connect Americans to job opportunities across the U.S.” Importantly, Google will not allow companies to directly post jobs on its platform; instead, it will simply pull job posts from other websites.

Today’s News & Commentary — June 6, 2017

Fewer American teenagers are looking for summer jobs, despite more employers looking to hire seasonal workers.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects this summer’s teen workforce participation rate to be around 40% as compared with 70% in the late 1980s.  The BLS has identified several potential causes for this drop-off including: (1) increased summer school requirements for teenagers; (2) more older Americans are remaining in the workforce; and (3) more immigrants competing with teenagers for jobs.

While many workers face wage theft (i.e. employers not paying minimum wage, overtime, or not paying workers at all), under the Trump Administration many undocumented workers are afraid to report these violations.  Under President Obama, the Department of Labor and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agreed that ICE would not interfere with wage theft violations.  While President Trump has not formally changed this policy, undocumented workers are nevertheless concerned about ICE potentially launching immigration proceedings against them if they report wage theft.

Dockworkers in Spain began a three-day strike to protest layoffs resulting from reform of the sector.  After the Spanish Parliament passed a bill to end the monopoly that allows only certain workers to load and unload cargo, the national union launched a strike with approximately 6,000 workers.

 

 

Today’s News & Commentary — May 23, 2017

Companies in Utah are struggling to find workers to fill job openings thereby slowing economic growth. While companies are eager to hire more workers to meet increased demand, Utah’s unemployment rate of 3.1% means there are relatively few workers looking for jobs. Companies have begun raising wages to attract more workers; however, automation may also increase as a means to substitute for labor.

Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy is trying to balance the budget with budget cuts and public-sector layoffs; however, the Service Employees International Union Local 1199 is airing an ad opposing this. The Union’s ad argues that rather than cutting services to the disabled or laying-off middle class workers, the Governor should consider higher taxes on the wealthy.

The Economic Policy Institute released a report finding that annually 2.4 million U.S. workers lose $8 billion because of minimum wage violations. Women, people of color, and youth are the most likely to report being paid less than the minimum wage. Although the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigates such violations, the report’s authors note that it has limited staff and is thus unable to fully examine all minimum wage violations.

Michelle Russell with BCG and Lori Lepler with BRANDspeak have a piece in the Harvard Business Review explaining the importance of high-quality apprenticeship programs. They find that such programs led to a 22-percentage-point rise in promotions of female workers, a 5-percentage-point decline in attrition of female workers, and a 20-percentage point-rise in job satisfaction for female employees.