Labor & Economic News Blog
Friday, December 05, 2008
Beyond 'You're Fired': How To Lay Off WorkersBeyond 'You're Fired': How To Lay Off Workers
The labor market just keeps getting worse. AT&T, DuPont, NBC Universal and Credit Suisse announced layoffs this week — and they weren't alone. Throughout the business world, managers have been calling people in, and giving them the bad news. There can be a right way — and a wrong way — to let workers go.
Unemployment Funds Running Dry in CaliforniaUnemployment Funds Running Dry in California
When people are laid off, one of the first things they often do, is apply for unemployment insurance. But in California, funds for unemployment support are nearly gone. We examine what people can do to still get an unemployment check.
Job losses accelerate at alarming rate in NovemberJob losses accelerate at alarming rate in November
Payrolls contracted by over half a million last month and unemployment rose to 6.7%, according to today's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The under-employment rate-the broadest measure of weakness in the job market-soared to 12.5%. For analysis of today's report, read EPI's Jobs Picture.
African Americans and the auto industryAfrican Americans and the auto industry
A meltdown in the automotive sector would be especially damaging for African Americans, in both the number and quality of jobs at stake. Click here for the numbers and quick analysis in this special Economic Snapshot.
Jobless numbers spell hard times for unemployedJobless numbers spell hard times for unemployed
Reuters - Rising U.S. jobless figures are making life harder for people who are already unemployed, heightening their insecurity and forcing them to compete for work in a dramatically shrinking market.
U.S. job losses worst since 1974 as downturn deepensU.S. job losses worst since 1974 as downturn deepens
Reuters - U.S. employers axed 533,000 jobs from payrolls in November, the most in 34 years, as the year-old recession hammered the economy and hardened calls for dramatic government action to restore growth.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
UAW Watches Congress CloselyUAW Watches Congress Closely
As the Big Three make their cases in Washington, United Auto Workers members in Lansing, Mich. are watching with trepidation. Retired GM worker Gary Watson discusses the proceedings on Capitol Hill and how UAW members are reacting.
Economy, Drug Wars Hurt Cross-Border BusinessEconomy, Drug Wars Hurt Cross-Border Business
El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez in Mexico are economically tightly intertwined. The economic downturn in the U.S. is hurting the hundreds of assembly plants just across the border as a raging drug war that's killed some 1,400 people in Juarez this year is squashing tourism.
UAW Workers Ponder Their FateUAW Workers Ponder Their Fate
The United Auto Workers union has taken a beating in Congress, with some lawmakers suggesting it is largely to blame for most of the U.S. auto industry's troubles. The UAW now says it is willing to put everything on the table in order to help automakers get government aid.
Is Big Labor Killing the Big Three Automakers?Is Big Labor Killing the Big Three Automakers?
How much of a cost advantage do overseas competitors have over U.S. automakers? Gary Burtless and Daniel J. Ikenson debate.
Jobless rolls at 26-year peak, factory orders dropJobless rolls at 26-year peak, factory orders drop
Reuters - The number of U.S. workers collecting jobless benefits hit a 26-year high last month, data showed on Thursday, and it may head higher as a deepening economic slump forces a broad spectrum of firms to cut jobs.
Factory orders drop more than expected in OctoberFactory orders drop more than expected in October
AP - Orders to U.S. factories plunged in October by the sharpest amount in over eight years as a deepening recession caused big cutbacks in demand for steel, autos, computers and heavy machinery. Analysts expect the weakness will continue for some time.
Layoffs spread, CEOs see more pain aheadLayoffs spread, CEOs see more pain ahead
Reuters - Fear of a deepening recession is spreading throughout corner offices across corporate America, prompting chief executives in all sectors to slash thousands of jobs as they scramble to find ways for their companies to survive the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Facebook delays plan on employee stock sale: reportFacebook delays plan on employee stock sale: report
Reuters - Social networking company Facebook is delaying a previously announced plan to let employees sell part of their stocks, due to difficult global economy, the Wall Street Journal said.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Slain At Work, Benefits DeniedSlain At Work, Benefits Denied
Dollar Tree clerk Taneka Talley was stabbed to death because she was black, prosecutors say. That's also why the state workers' comp insurer is refusing to pay her son $250,000 insurance.
SAG faction urges caution in strike voteSAG faction urges caution in strike vote
Some supporters say an e-mail from the Unite for Strength group is a signal to oppose strike authorization
Timing tricky for SAG contract demandTiming tricky for SAG contract demand
In expectation of a future online bonanza, the Screen Actors Guild stands firm on pay for Internet shows even as hard times prompt the studios that produce them cut back.
The Debt TrapThe Debt Trap: NY Times Interactive Feature
A series about the surge in consumer debt and the lenders who made it possible.
German Automakers Brace for a SlowdownGerman Automakers Brace for a Slowdown
As carmakers take steps to reduce inventories, an auto official has even raised the sensitive issue of potential layoffs.
As Clients Cut Back, So Do Indian OutsourcersAs Clients Cut Back, So Do Indian Outsourcers
After years of being blamed for job losses in America and elsewhere, India’s high-tech companies and outsourcing firms are going through a downturn of their own.
Michigan Governor Reacts To Changing EconomyMichigan Governor Reacts To Changing Economy
What do you do when your state's lifeblood — the auto industry — is in trouble? Gov. Jennifer Granholm discusses how the state is coping with this, along with high unemployment and rampant foreclosures.
Companies Say 'Bah, Humbug!' To Holiday PartiesCompanies Say 'Bah, Humbug!' To Holiday Parties
Scores of U.S. businesses plan to forgo their annual bash as a response to the slumping economy. One business consultant says the decline in parties doesn't bode well for the futures of the companies cutting back.
United Auto Workers Open To Contract ChangesUnited Auto Workers Open To Contract Changes
The head of the United Auto Workers has said the union is willing to change its contract and will delay billions of dollars in payments to a union-run health care trust. The concession is a bid to help Detroit's ailing Big Three automakers.
Private jobs, services slump show recession tollPrivate jobs, services slump show recession toll
Private employers cut 250,000 jobs in November, an unexpectedly large number and the biggest in seven years, while the service sector, which powers most of the economy, posted its worst slump on record.
Job Placement Agencies and the Low-Skill Labor Market : Brief No. 3Job Placement Agencies and the Low-Skill Labor Market : Brief No. 3
This brief uses data from the 2007 Survey of Employers in the Low-Skill Labor Market to describe the role job placement agencies play in helping employers fill noncollege jobs.
Low-Skill Jobs, Work Hours, and Paid Time Off : Brief No. 2Low-Skill Jobs, Work Hours, and Paid Time Off : Brief No. 2
By email@example.com ( Gregory Acs, Pamela J. Loprest)
This brief uses data from the 2007 Survey of Employers in the Low-Skill Labor Market to examine the scheduling demands employers place on workers recently hired to fill noncollege jobs and to assess the availability of paid time off, sick leave and other benefits that help workers balance their work and family lives.
Mexican Americans' upward mobility declines after third generationMexican Americans' upward mobility declines after third generation
Immigrants coming to America expect that each generation will do better than the first. In this week's Snapshot, EPI's Algernon Austin illustrates that Mexican Americans experience that upward mobility, but only until the third generation, when upward mobility stalls and reverses in subsequent generations.
Over 3 million jobs would disappear if U.S automakers go bankruptOver 3 million jobs would disappear if U.S automakers go bankrupt
If bankruptcy shuttered one or more U.S. automakers, the effect would be the loss of up to 3.3 million jobs in the U.S. within the next year, according to a study released today by EPI. Michigan alone could lose over 400,000 jobs, and stands to be the hardest hit state both in the number of jobs lost and the share of total state employment (8.9 percent) lost. If the Big Three fall, they would take down more than auto worker jobs: when the wages from those auto sector jobs dry up, an additional 576,700 to 2.1 million "re-spending" jobs would be lost. The report, When Giants Fall, lists possible job losses in each state and the District of Columbia.
UAW to renegotiate labor terms, suspend jobs bankUAW to renegotiate labor terms, suspend jobs bank
The United Auto Workers said Wednesday it is willing to change its contracts with U.S. automakers and accept delayed payments of billions of dollars to a union-run health care trust to do its part to help the struggling companies secure $34 billion in government loans.
Ireland battles deficit as jobless rate surgesIreland battles deficit as jobless rate surges
AP - Ireland's unemployment rate surged to a decade-high of 7.8 percent in November, surprising economists and deepening the government's struggle to contain its budget deficit.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
US soldiers re-enlisting because of poor economyUS soldiers re-enlisting because of poor economy
Sgt. Ryan Nyhus spent 14 months patrolling the deadly streets of Baghdad, where five members of his platoon were shot and one died. As bad as that was, he would rather go back there than take his chances in this brutal job market.
Rastafarian can sue over Jiffy Lube hair policyRastafarian can sue over Jiffy Lube hair policy
A Rastafarian man who refused to shave off his beard or cut his hair to comply with a Jiffy Lube employee grooming policy can take his religious discrimination case to trial, Massachusetts' highest court ruled Tuesday.
Jobless claims jump to almost 3 million in SpainJobless claims jump to almost 3 million in Spain
AP - The number of people filing jobless claims in Spain soared to almost 3 million following a 6 percent rise in unemployment registrations in November, further evidence of the country's economic troubles.
Monday, December 01, 2008
Van Jones Forecasts Green Job RevolutionVan Jones Forecasts Green Job Revolution
White and blue collar jobs need to make room: Green jobs are showing promise. But are they practical? Where will these jobs be located, and who will get them? NPR's Tony Cox speaks with eco-activist Van Jones, author of The Green Collar Economy.
Desperate For Work, Looking AbroadDesperate For Work, Looking Abroad
James Smith is an unemployed military veteran living in Southern California, who is struggling to find work after being laid off from a manufacturing plant. He shares his story with Farai Chideya.
What Happens To Retired Auto Workers Now?What Happens To Retired Auto Workers Now?
The grim situation in the auto industry has current and former workers concerned. Retired auto workers and those who took a recent buyout are wondering whether their pensions and health benefits are in jeopardy.
No sympathy for Detroit at a Kia plant in GeorgiaNo sympathy for Detroit at a Kia plant in Georgia
The residents of this town are learning to enjoy Korean barbecue, and are wary of bailing out American automakers. 'The foreign cars took the lead, and they deserve it,' says one. This attractive old mill town along the Chattahoochee River, with its brick downtown and streets of cozy, unpretentious homes, could be the backdrop for a patriotic American car commercial -- lacking only the plaintive croak of a Bob Seger or John Mellencamp.
Generation Y and the workplaceGeneration Y and the workplace
'Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work' is geared toward those born between 1980 and the mid-1990s. But will they read the book? Sullen, self-centered and uncooperative? Or dynamic, fresh and creative? Your view of Generation Y -- those born between 1980 and the mid-1990s -- will depend on your own experience of dealing with its members, whether in the workplace or at home.
With economy tight, even lawyers get outsourcedWith economy tight, even lawyers get outsourced
As the economic crisis deepens in the U.S., some lawyers are making out well -- in India.
Job-search sites expand features to meet demandJob-search sites expand features to meet demand
Greater numbers of laid-off workers flocking to the Web in search of opportunities
For this family, good things sprang from GMFor this family, good things sprang from GM
I married into a General Motors family, and when I did, I took a special kind of vow: "What is good for General Motors is good for my family."
More call center work being done at homeMore call center work being done at home
Companies that supply customer service agents to businesses around the world say they are saving money and attracting better employees by letting them work from their own houses. Using Internet telephone technology, the operators are able to answer questions and hear out complaints as if they were working in a sprawling call center in an office park.
Knowledge of Social Security falls shortKnowledge of Social Security falls short
Many aging Americans don't know enough about important benefits I t's one of the biggest, if not the biggest asset, for millions of Americans in or near retirement. Despite a global financial crisis, it has kept all its value.
EVENT: California's Future Workforce: Will There Be Enough College Graduates?EVENT: California's Future Workforce: Will There Be Enough College Graduates?
Date: December 8, 2008
Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Location: CSAC Conference Center
1020 11th Street, 2nd Floor
ABOUT THE PROGRAM: The workforce skills gap is already a reality in California. While the demand for college-educated workers in the state will continue to rise, the supply of them will not keep up. At the same time, the supply of workers with a high school diploma or less is projected to exceed the need for them. This presentation examines California's current and future workforce gap and its likely effects on the state's economic growth and on workers themselves. This study was conducted with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This event is co-sponsored with the California Research Bureau. Lunch will be provided.
SPEAKER: Deborah Reed is an expert in poverty, income inequality, education, and labor markets in California.
From Prison to Work: Overcoming Barriers to ReentryFrom Prison to Work: Overcoming Barriers to Reentry
On December 5, The Hamilton Project will host a policy discussion on the challenges of prisoner reentry featuring remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and a keynote address by U.S. Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.). The event will also feature a policy roundtable with a diverse group of experts on the need for a national prisoner reentry strategy.
Another extension to unemployment benefits neededAnother extension to unemployment benefits needed
This week's Snapshot shows how the trend in new claims for unemployment benefits since June makes it abundantly clear how important it is to extend unemployment benefits again.
What economics teaches about globalizationWhat economics teaches about globalization
The story of international trade for the American economy is not win-win, but rather good news, bad news. The good news is that some Americans will reap large rewards, and these rewards will actually be so large as to raise the average income of the entire American economy. The bad news is that many more Americans will lose ground. EPI's new book, Everybody Wins, Except for Most of Us, explains the simple economic theory easily found in almost any textbook that predicts how trade will have an upside and a downside. The book makes amply clear that it is time for the United States to begin its first serious political discussion about how to cut the majority in on the gains from international trade.
The offshoring of innovationThe offshoring of innovation
The U.S. innovation system appears to be undergoing a significant transformation, and the U.S. policy discussion needs to catch up. Most signs point to a rapid increase in the offshoring of research and development and innovation, yet we have poor information on the nature of the work that is moving overseas. EPI's latest Briefing Paper, The Offshoring of Innovation, tries to untangle some of the recent trends in an attempt to help clarify the questions that need to be asked by policy makers going forward.
A Generation of Local TV Anchors Is Signing OffA Generation of Local TV Anchors Is Signing Off
Cost-cutting at many local stations includes the big salaries commanded by news anchors.
Autoworkers Worry More Givebacks Are in StoreAutoworkers Worry More Givebacks Are in Store
If Detroit is to win a bailout this week, the United Automobile Workers may have to agree to big cost cuts.
China manufacturing slows as downturn deepensChina manufacturing slows as downturn deepens
AP - China's manufacturing activity contracted sharply in November as a downturn in the world's fourth-largest economy worsened, raising the threat of politically volatile job losses, according to data reported Monday.
Shipping Ports Feel Economic Downturn FirsthandShipping Ports Feel Economic Downturn Firsthand
The twin Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest in the nation. But as the economy has declined, so have imports. The repercussions are being felt throughout Southern California, and the people who work the docks and warehouses are being affected.
Manufacturing index drops to 26-year lowManufacturing index drops to 26-year low
AP - A measure of U.S. manufacturing activity fell to a 26-year low in November as new orders dropped for the twelfth consecutive month, a trade group said Monday.
Entry-Level and Next-Step Jobs in the Low-Skill Job Market : Brief No. 1Entry-Level and Next-Step Jobs in the Low-Skill Job Market : Brief No. 1
This brief uses data from the 2007 Survey of Employers in the Low-Skill Labor Market to explore differences between noncollege jobs that have few if any requirements and those for which either a high school degree, prior experience, or previous skills training is extremely important.
Stable Job Hoppers | California Job JournalStable Job Hoppers California Job Journal
... even those at the top, are at much greater risk of economic reversals than they used to be," wrote Jacob Hacker, professor of political science at Yale. ...
The Policies That Ruined the Auto IndustryThe Policies That Ruined the Auto Industry
A lot of people are angry at the Detroit Three automakers, including many members of Congress. And why not? GM, Ford and Chrysler seem still too bloated and old-fashioned, their workers too pampered. For too long the carmakers have failed to design and bring to market the smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles we now want to buy. Yet it is important to put the blame where it really belongs, not on management or labor, but on Congress.
South Africa: ANC Warns of Need to Revise Job TargetsSouth Africa: ANC Warns of Need to Revise Job Targets
The global financial crisis will result in the African National Congress (ANC) tempering its election promises. Party leaders are warning that job-creation targets will probably have to be revised.
Zimbabwe: Thousands Jobless As Mining CollapsesZimbabwe: Thousands Jobless As Mining Collapses
Chikomo Mills and Venus East Shaft that comprise Arcturus Mine have always been the lifeblood of Zimbabwe's once thriving gold sector.
Nigeria: Unions Threaten to Shut Down Oil IndustryNigeria: Unions Threaten to Shut Down Oil Industry
Leaders of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and their Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), have threatened to shut the nation's oil industry within the next one week over a number of industrial disputes especially a lingering face off between the management of Chevron Nigeria Limited on right of workers to freedom of association.