Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’
Friday, May 10th, 2013
A stunning 73.4 million young workers are estimated to be jobless in 2013, an increase of 3.5 million between 2007 and 2013, according to an International Labor Organization (ILO) report released Wednesday. Even worse, the number of unemployed young workers is likely to increase through 2018, with the long-term impact felt for decades, the report forecasts.
According to “Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013: A Generation at Risk.”
The youth employment crisis will not be overcome without stronger employment growth. But job growth will not happen on its own. The report urges nations to adopt aggressive policies for improving job growth, including strategies targeting employment of disadvantaged youth. Further, nations must invest in education and training and ensure labor rights are based on international labor standards “to ensure that young people receive equal treatment and are afforded rights at work.
The report also finds:
Increasing the participation of young people in employers’ and workers’ organizations and in social dialogue and improving their awareness about young workers’ rights—including through modules in school curricula—are key instruments for enabling young people to voice their concerns and for improving the quality of jobs available to them.
Among the report’s findings:
- Young workers are increasingly employed in non-standard jobs, including temporary employment and part-time work. Informal employment accounts for half of young workers in the Russian Federation.
- In 2012, youth unemployment was highest in the Middle East (28.3%) and North Africa (23.7%) and lowest in East Asia (9.5%) and South Asia (9.3%).
- Gender gaps in youth unemployment rates are exceptionally large in the Middle East and North Africa.
- In all developing countries surveyed, more young people receive below-average wages than average or above-average wages. This trend is strongest in Cambodia, Liberia, Malawi and Peru, where two-thirds of working young are classified as poorly paid.
- Young people continue to suffer disproportionately from decent work deficits and low-quality jobs, measured in terms of working poverty, low pay and/or employment status and exposure to occupational hazards and injury.
Underlying the inability of young workers to find jobs, the report finds, is the persistent unavailability of quality, full-time jobs; the proliferation of temporary jobs; a skills mismatch; and the growth of informal, subsistence jobs in developing countries.
Packed with charts and graphs, the 150-page report also includes case studies highlighting best practices for addressing youth unemployment, including Peru’s job action plan and the dual apprenticeship program offered in some European countries.
Report: 73.4 Million Young Workers Jobless in 2013 originally appeared on the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center’s website.
This article was posted on the AFL-CIO on May 9, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Tula Connell has a background in journalism—covering bull roping in Texas and school boards in Virginia—She started working in the labor movement in 1991. Beginning as a writer for SEIU (and OPEIU member), She now blogs under the title of AFL-CIO managing editor.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
A new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) shows the country needs to increase union membership significantly, create universal health care, a universal retirement system (beyond Social Security), expand college attainment and achieve gender pay equity to create more “good” jobs in the United States.
CEPR defines a good job as one that pays at least $19 per hour, has employer-provided health insurance and has some kind of retirement plan. In previous reports, they showed there has been a significant decline in the past 30 years in the share of good jobs in the United States. The decline comes despite increases in productivity and educational attainment of the workforce.
The report notes that one of the key reasons for the decline in good jobs in recent decades is the decline in union participation. Increasing the percentage of the workforce that belongs to unions translates to an increase of good jobs of just less than 7%.
In the report, CEPR has five primary conclusions:
- It will take big steps to increase the number of good jobs in the economy, and none of the policies they propose would be sufficient alone.
- Eliminating bad jobs is easier than creating good jobs.
- Pursuing more than one of these policies would raise the number of good jobs more than the sum of the two policies individually.
- Increasing the membership of unions creates more good jobs than a comparable expansion of college attainment would, and it would do it more quickly than expanding college attainment.
- Gender pay equity would erase most of the good jobs gap between men and women.
Read the full report.
This article was originally posted on the AFL-CIO on April 29, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Kenneth Quinnell is a long-time blogger, campaign staffer and political activist whose writings have appeared on AFL-CIO, Daily Kos, Alternet, the Guardian Online, Media Matters for America, Think Progress, Campaign for America’s Future and elsewhere.
Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s refusal to allow a paid sick leave bill to come to a vote—though it has the support of a strong majority of the city council—resurfaced in the news this week when feminist icon Gloria Steinem said she would withdraw her support from Quinn if Quinn continues to block the bill.
“Making life fairer for all women seems more important than breaking a barrier for one woman,” Ms. Steinem said, adding that the bill would ensure that working mothers could better take care of sick children without fear of losing their jobs.
While it’s unlikely that Gloria Steinem’s endorsement or lack thereof is going to move many votes, it underscores a potential weakness for Quinn: She’s getting more credit as a progressive candidate than her positions would merit, in part because, as Steinem points out, she would be the first woman elected mayor of New York City. And she’s a married lesbian to boot. Drawing attention to the disconnect between how her individual role is perceived and the policies she embraces may not be super helpful among voters, though since the policies are geared to get her business support, it may be a worthwhile tradeoff as far as she’s concerned.
Quinn continues to block the vote while claiming that paid sick leave is “a worthy and admirable goal, one I would like to make available for all.” Her reasoning, of course, is the standard line pushed by crappy employers that it would cost jobs. However, job creation did not suffer in San Francisco following the implementation of that city’s paid sick leave law in 2007. And paid sick leave continues to be a public health issue; as Katie J.M. Baker points out, “a recent CDC study identified infected food workers as a source of between 53 and 82% of norovirus outbreaks.”
The arguments against paid sick leave just don’t hold up. Quinn is blocking a bill that would benefit not just the more than 1.5 million New Yorkers who currently lack paid sick leave, but has widespread public support and would save tens of millions of dollars in health care costs each year, resulting from fewer emergency room visits. It’s costing her high-profile support in her mayoral run, and it should cost her more.
This post was originally posted on the Daily Kos on February 22, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Laura Clawson has been a Daily Kos contributing editor since December 2006. Labor editor since 2011.
Saturday, February 9th, 2013
If the United States implemented trade policies to end currency manipulation—especially by China—not only would that reduce the U.S. trade deficit by $190 billion to $400 billion over three years, it would be a major first step in reviving the nation’s manufacturing sector and creating up to 4.7 million jobs, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).
The report, Reducing U.S. Trade Deficits Will Generate a Manufacturing-Based Recovery for the United States and Ohio: Ending Currency Manipulation by China and Others Is the Place to Start, finds that:
Reviving U.S. manufacturing requires eliminating a jobs-destroying U.S. trade deficit in goods by ending currency manipulation and investing in a series of coordinated manufacturing policies.
Currency manipulation is the largest single cause of the U.S. trade deficit and the Chinese government is the world’s biggest currency manipulator. It deliberately keeps the value of its currency artificially low and that artificially raises the price of U.S. exports to China and suppresses the price of Chinese imports into the United States. This artificial price advantage is one of many pull factors that encourages U.S. businesses to shut down operations here and manufacture in China instead.
Manufacturing jobs have been the hardest hit as a result of the nation’s trade deficit, and the EPI report says that the reduction in the trade deficit engineered through new trade policies would over three years:
- Create between 2.2 million and 4.7 million U.S. jobs (equal to between 1.4% and 3% of total nonfarm employment).
- Reduce the national unemployment rate by between 1.0 and 2.1 percentage points.
- Create some 620,000 to 1.3 million manufacturing jobs (27.5% of all jobs created by eliminating currency manipulation).
- Increase U.S. GDP by between $225.0 billion and $473.7 billion (an increase of between 1.4% and 3.1%).3
- Shrink the federal budget deficit by between $78.8 billion and $165.8 billion (reductions that would continue as long as the trade balance remained stable), as growth in output expands tax receipts and reduces safety net payments.
But even then the United States would still face a sizeable trade deficit and that’s why, according to the report, “Fully eliminating the goods trade deficit requires implementing policies that will help restore demand for U.S. goods.” The report’s co-author Robert Scott says:
These reforms, coupled with massive investments in infrastructure, clean technologies and renewable energy, would reduce or eliminate the U.S. trade deficit, while supporting millions of additional good jobs, adding hundreds of billions of dollars to U.S. GDP, and reducing unemployment and federal budget deficits.
In 2011, the Senate passed legislation giving the U.S. Treasury Department more tools to enforce rules against currency manipulation, but House Republicans blocked a vote on the bill. According to the EPI report:
Although many legal and regulatory tools are available or have been proposed to reduce or eliminate currency manipulation, currency manipulation could be ended by the U.S. president with a mere stroke of a pen. The president could simply declare that the United States will no longer sell Treasury bills and other government assets to China and other countries that refuse to allow the United States to purchase their government assets (currency manipulators generally refuse to sell their government assets to the United States, effectively closing their capital markets)….Refusing to sell assets to currency manipulators would eliminate the principal tool used by foreign central banks to manipulate their currencies: purchases of Treasury bills and other government securities (U.S. government securities constitute approximately 70% of all such foreign exchange reserves).
Read the full report.
This article was originally posted by AFL-CIO on February 8, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. He came to the AFL- CIO in 1989 and has written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
An interesting look at the unemployment rate. “What is currently a temporary long-term unemployment problem runs the risk of morphing into a permanent and costly increase in the unemployment rate” unless Congress takes action to create jobs.
Why the Unemployment Rate Is So High – New York Times
Unemployment claims have increased slightly. “The Labor Department says applications rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 371,000, the most in five weeks.”
Unemployment claims rise slightly in latest week – USA Today
“We need to avoid a lost generation of young people who will be playing economic catch-up their whole lives. We cannot stop pressing our leaders to help struggling poor and middle-class Americans.”
Crowdsourcing our economic recovery – CNN
Even though the economy is improving, we need to do more to ensure the long term unemployed get back on their feet. Long term unemployment makes it harder and harder to provide for one’s family, and causes dramatic increases in mental illness. It’s time Washington gets busy putting people back to work.
Long-Term Unemployed Winning Jobs Or Giving Up? – Huffington Post
This article was originally posted by ChangeToWin on January 11, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Change to Win is an organization created by over 5.5 million workers – if corporations can join together to hire an army of lobbyists, working and middle class Americans must also band together and restore balance by making sure we have a strong voice and a seat at the table again.
(Colleen Gartner is an intern at Workplace Fairness.)
Wednesday, December 26th, 2012
New data has shown that while a majority of jobs eliminated during the downturn were in what we describe as the middle range of wages, the great majority of jobs added as the economy improves were low paying jobs, reported Katherine Rampell in the business section of the New York Times on Friday, August 31, 2012. This was documented in a study done by the National Employment Law Project.
The study by Annette Bernhardt examined 366 occupations followed by the Labor Department. Bernhardt separated them into three equal groups by wages, with each representing a third of American employment in 2008.
The middle third consisted of jobs like construction, manufacturing, and information. These jobs paid median hourly wages of $13.84 to $21.13. Over 60% of these jobs were lost during the recession. When the middle third jobs returned, they represented only 22% of total employment growth.
In the category of higher wage occupations, those that had a median wage of $21.14 to $54.55 reflected only 19% of job losses. However, when growth in the economy began, only 20% of new jobs were the result of the upturn. This was only a 1% increase which doesn’t even cover new entrants into the labor force.
Low wage jobs with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83 accounted for 21% of job losses during the downturn. The startling fact is that low wage jobs now constitute 58% of all job growth. The jobs with the fastest growth were retail sales at a median wage of $10.97 per hour. At this salary, workers would be eligible for food stamps.
Each category has grown by more than 300,000 workers since June 2009. Many of these new paying jobs were taken by recent high school and college graduates who were previously unemployed. Others were taken by older workers who formerly had jobs that paid much more, who were desperate.
Mid-wage and middle class jobs have been disappearing at a rapid rate. Some of this is due to automation, but the bulk of the job loss is the result of employers taking millions of jobs overseas to low wage paying countries.
At the same time, corporations and their Republican robots are passing so called “Right to Work” legislation which further erodes the wage structure. The labor movement, the trade unions, and their progressive allies are the only institutions that can bring back middle class livable wages.
This post was originally posted on Union Review on December 19, 2012. Reprinted with Permission.
About the Author: Seymour Slavin is an Independent Nonprofit Organization Management Professional at Union Review.
Wednesday, October 24th, 2012
According to Good Jobs First, an organization that promotes accountability in economic development, several states allow corporations to literally pocket their employees’ tax payments. Rather than having those taxes go towards public services, the companies withhold money from their workers’ paychecks and just keep it, never remitting it to the state, under the guise of a job creation program.
Good Jobs First found that “nearly $700 million is getting diverted each year. And it is very unlikely that the affected workers are aware, given that no state requires that the diversion be disclosed on pay stubs.” Now, Pennsylvania is considering becoming the latest state to participate, as the Philadelphia City Paper reported:
Republican Governor Tom Corbett is deciding whether or not to sign legislation that would require some workers to pay taxes to their bosses. Yes, you read that right. The bill, which would allow companies that hire at least 250 new workers in the state to keep 95-percent of the workers’ withheld income tax, is an effort to to recruit Oracle to the state.
Your taxes would get withheld by your boss like normal, but they would then keep them and spend it on private jets or monogrammed bathroom fixtures or whatever instead of turning them over to the state–turning your tax dollars over to the state being the whole reason they were ostensibly “withheld” in the first place.
“These deals typify corporate socialism, in which business gains are privatized and costs socialized,” wrote Reuters David Cay Johnson. “Leaders in both parties embrace these giveaways because they draw campaign donations from corporate interests and votes from people who do not understand that they are subsidizing huge companies.” The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center listed a host of reasons that Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) should reject the law, including its effect on state revenue and its loopholes that will allow companies to collect their workers’ tax payments even if they create no new jobs.
This post originally appeared in ThinkProgress’s Wonk Room on October 24, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Pat Garofalo is an Economic Policy Editor for ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Pat’s work has also appeared in The Nation, U.S. News & World Report, The Guardian, the Washington Examiner, and In These Times. He has been a guest on MSNBC and Al-Jazeera television, as well as many radio shows. Pat graduated from Brandeis University, where he was the editor-in-chief of The Brandeis Hoot, Brandeis’ community newspaper, and worked for the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life.
Monday, September 24th, 2012
The title of this post sounds great, doesn’t it? “JOBS!”
That is what I thought when I saw the headline on a Tea Partier’s facebook status; however, my initial excitement faded when I read the attached story (which appears to be a press release from Kohl’s that has not been modified by the AP):
MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (AP) — Kohl’s Department Stores says it plans to hire more than 52,000 holiday employees nationwide this season, up more than 10 percent from last year.
Kohl’s expects hiring an average of 41 employees per store. The Menomonee Falls department store chain has 1,146 stores in 49 states. Kohl’s will also hire about 5,700 seasonal employees for its distribution centers and credit operations unit.
The company says the 52,700 seasonal employees will work anywhere from a few hours to more than 20 hours per week. It plans to fill the jobs by mid-November. Typical jobs include cash register sales, stocking, freight processing and unloading trucks.
Seasonal temp jobs—that most likely do not pay anywhere close to a living wage. If you are hired as a cashier you would likely earn a little over $16k a year working at Kohl’s. As a seasonal temp employee you would not even earn that. You would earn around $8.00 an hour and maybe some commissions. Hardly what one would consider a “good job.”
But 52,000 new jobs … that sounds like a lot doesn’t it? Forty-one jobs per store. In Madison, Wisconsin, where I live, that amounts to 123 part-time jobs. Madison, over the last 20 years, has typically had an unemployment rate of between 2 and 3 percent and the rate is currently at 5.4 percent. Adding 123 part-time temp jobs is not going to impact the unemployment rate in Madison all that much.
The bottom line, not all jobs are created equal. We cannot get excited about seasonal temp jobs with low pay. We need good jobs that pay a living wage to get out of the economic morass brought on by trickle-down economics.
This blog originally appeared in Daily Kos Labor on September 20, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Mark Anderson, a Daily Kos Labor contributor, describes himself as a 44 year-old veteran, lifelong Progressive Democrat, Rabid Packer fan, Single Dad, Part-time Grad Student, and Full-time IS worker. You can learn more about him on his Facebook, “Kodiak54 (Mark Andersen)”
Friday, August 31st, 2012
Credit: Joe Kekeris
What’s your biggest worry about your job?
Some 40 percent of America’s workers say they fear their benefits will be reduced in the near future, according to Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll released today. That compares with 28 percent who are afraid their wages will be cut back and 28 percent who fear they will be laid off, a percentage that’s still high compared with pre-recession levels. (Click on chart to enlarge.) In addition, 26 percent fear their hours will be cut back.
The polls found U.S. workers with less formal education are more likely than those with greater educational attainment to worry about losing their job or having their pay or benefits reduced. Some 34 percent of college non-graduates say they are worried about being laid off, compared with 18 percent of college graduates.
So what do these new data mean?
American workers feel secure about their employment situation, even during one of the slower economic times in U.S. history—perhaps
helping to maintain consumer spending enough to prevent a second recession.
U.S. workers feel their benefits are most at risk, which may be the first place employers seek to cut back during difficult economic times. And workers may be willing to accept such cuts over more severe measures like pay cuts or layoffs.
When you depend upon your employer to provide essentials like health care, losing a job means a lot more than lost wages. Unions are the best defense against the billionaire-backed Romney/Ryan politicos who seek to do what America’s workers fear most: cut benefits, slash jobs and squeeze wages.
This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO on August 22, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Tula Connell got her first union card while she worked her way through college as a banquet bartender for the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee they were represented by a hotel and restaurant local union (the names of the national unions were different then than they are now). With a background in journalism (covering bull roping in Texas and school boards in Virginia) she started working in the labor movement in 1991. Beginning as a writer for SEIU (and OPEIU member), she now blogs under the title of AFL-CIO managing editor.
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
The slashing of public-sector jobs—concentrated in states Republicans took control in 2010—is accounting for a major slowing of the nation’s economic recovery. In a recent report issued by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), economist Josh Bivens calculated that the U.S. has lost 584,000 government jobs during the recovery, an “unprecedented drag.”
Bivens argues that if America had emulated the strategy used to strengthen previous recoveries, it would have added 1.2 million public-sector jobs since the recovery’s start in June 2009. And the expanded buying power of these workers would have led to an additional 500,000 jobs in the private sector.
“If we had been following normal path, we’d have 1.7 million more jobs,” Bivens told In These Times last week. “Given that we have a shortfall of 10 million jobs in this country, we would have created nearly one fifth of the jobs we need.”
The drop in public employment further reduces consumer demand at a time when American households and small businesses are only reluctantly spending. Families are devoting more of their income to getting out of debt caused by credit cards, underwater mortgages and skyrocketing college tuition.
Of, course the nearly three-year “recovery” is still far from solid, as David Moberg has shown on the website:
The official unemployment rate in March  fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent—the only good political news for President Obama. But that gain largely reflected the numbers of people who dropped out of the labor market. The 120,000 increase in jobs [are] about half the recent rate and a third of what’s needed to return to relatively full employment in three years…
While most of the cutbacks have occurred at the state and local levels thus far, federal jobs and federal programs that stimulate the economy will be increasingly under the gun. President Obama appears to be acceding to vast cutbacks in the U.S. Postal Service demanded by Republicans, which will be “a further drag on the recovery,” Bivens says.
Moreover, there are several stimulative federal programs that will be ending in January 2013, Bivens stated. “The payroll tax cut will be ended, the unemployment compensation extensions will be halted, and all of the Bush tax cuts, including those for moderate income families, will be stopped. This will all be contractionary for overall employment,” Bivens said.
In part, cutbacks in government employment during the current recovery are the result of the extraordinarily devastating impact of the economic meltdown and its connection to the deflated housing bubble.
“The budget gaps have been deeper for the states, and have required more fiscal contraction,” Bivens noted. “The impact on housing values has created a laser targeting of states that are so dependent on property taxes, as property values have declined so steeply. At the same time, “There has been a conscious decision this time to target public workers.”
Public workers targeted
Over the last several years, the Right and Republican-allied politicians like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have tried to focus public anger against supposedly privileged public employees, much like earlier Republican-led crusades against “welfare recipients” receiving benefits from the public, as Adam Bessie has pointed out.
Along with stigmatizing public employees including teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers, GOP lawmakers have promoted a number of remarkably hollow slogans that assert the need for draconian cuts in public spending and public employment. To wit:
- “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy” (title of Republican commentary by Republican members of Joint Economic Committee.
- “Deficit reduction is part of job creation.” (Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas)
- “Taxes cost jobs,” (Republican billboards in Wisconsin in 2010)
Cutbacks in public employment have been heavily concentrated in Republican-controlled states, as Mike Konczal and Bryce Covert document:
Of the eleven states in which Republicans came into power in 2010 – Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – five were among the seven states that lost more than 2.5 percent of their workforce from December 2010 to December 2011. The remaining 42 states lost an average 0.5 percent (there is no data for Mississippi).
The cutbacks in public employment have not produced economic miracles for any of these states. Particularly noticeable is the failure of Gov. Walker, who faces a recall election in June, to make any progress on his pledge of producing 250,000 jobs. In fact, Wisconsin, after cutting its public employment by about 2.8% has had the worst overall performance in job creation of any of the 50 states.
Nonetheless, Republicans can find important gains for their corporate constiutents.
In a paper called “Spend Less, Owe Less, Grow the Economy,” Republican members of the Joint Economic Committee hailed the benefits of “decreasing the number and compensation of government workers”:
The effects of this will ripple into the private sector in the form of lower wages: A smaller government workforce increases the available supply of educated, skilled workers for private firms, thus lowering labor costs.
In Wisconsin, this stance is especially stunning, as Walker campaigned on the notion that public employees should absorb the same kind of pay and benefit cuts inflicted by corporations upon private-sector workers. But in this report, Republicans argue that reductions in public-sector jobs and compensation will pave the way for yet more pay slashing among private-sector workers.
Funding for corporate tax cuts
In states ruled by the new crop of hard-line Republican governors, the GOP has claimed to be enacting massive cuts—especially reductions in allocations to education, cuts in public employment and reductions in public employees’ pay and benefits—to close budgetary deficits.
But Wisconsin’s Walker, leading the wave of anti-worker attacks, essentially transformed pay cuts for public workers into corporate tax breaks, as Bessie insightfully argued before the enactment of Walker’s program:
Walker’s tax cuts for private business appear to be underwritten by cuts in public sector benefits. If he succeeds, the money will literally be handed from the pockets of public servants to private business owners.
While Democrats may be enjoying Walker’s mounting problems, the weakness of the recovery will also be a problem for President Obama. His failure to defend the USPS is emblematic of his larger failure to consistently make the case for a strong public-sector that serves the 99%.
This blog originally appeared in Working in These Times on April 16, 2012. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Roger Bybee is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and progressive publicity consultant whose work has appeared in numerous national publications, including Z magazine, Dollars & Sense, Yes!, The Progressive, Multinational Monitor, The American Prospect and Foreign Policy in Focus. His e-mail address is email@example.com.