Wednesday, November 23, 2016

[NJFAC] Unemployment increases violence against women

American Marriage in the Time of the Recession, Campbell, Atlantic 11/16

Women who lived in areas that suffered the brunt of the downturn, new research suggests, were more likely to be abused by their partners.
....
Now that the American economy has emerged from the Great Recession, there is new research that looks at its impact on the quality of the country's relationships. Its findings are not encouraging. Daniel Schneider, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley, found that among mothers in heterosexual relationships, those who lived in areas hit harder by drops in employment rates during the Great Recession experienced higher rates of domestic violence and controlling behavior.....
--   June Zaccone  National Jobs for All Coalition  http://www.njfac.org

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

[NJFAC] How Good and How Bad Are American Job Markets? Here’s a Checklist

How Good and How Bad are American Job Markets?
Here's a Checklist                                                          
            In short, job markets have improved in recent years, but we are nowhere near full employment and decent wages for all. Here are the basic numbers. There's not much about subgroups. More on them in another piece.         
Recent Good News: Median household income was up 5.2% in 2015. Percentage gains higher at the bottom than at the top. More people with jobs helped. Largest single-year increase since record-keeping began. But in real terms, the median was still below 2007 and still below the peak of the late 1990s. And, of course, pay, household incomes, and wealth shares are massively unequal, especially for minorities.
Poverty rates fell from 15% in 2010-2013 to 13.5% in 2015. The lowest ever was 11.1% in 1973. We've come close to that a couple of times, but we won't get there soon. It's worse for some people. Of African Americans 22.7% are below the line and of Hispanics 21.4%.  That's not all. American poverty lines are antiquated, almost an insult to our intelligence. A family of four with two kids needed just a dollar more than $24,036 to be non-poor in 2015. Really? Common sense and serious budget studies say that the lines should be doubled.  
Real Hourly Wages:  Of late, we have seen a rising trend for wages. That's positive, but will the trend last? We have a long way to go. Real wages often fell in the 1970s and 80s, stagnated for much of the 90s, and increased at times in the 2000s. But we have just gotten back  to the wage levels of 1972-1973. In terms of real pay, average workers are no better off than their counterparts of forty years ago.
Unemployment and Job Creation. Getting Better but a Long Way to Go: Unemployment is around 5%. That's better than 10% in the Great Recession. But not close to full employment as some experts, including some at the Federal Reserve, want you to believe. Here's why.  
a. In September of 2016, we still had 5.9 million people who worked part-time but wanted full-time work. These people cannot find full-time jobs but they are not counted as unemployed.
 b. In September of 2016, we had 6.1 million people who said they wanted a job but had not searched for one recently. More of these people would have jobs in a stronger economy, and many more people would be looking for work if they felt they could find a half-way decent position. None of these people are counted as unemployed. A relative handful--553,000-- are called "discouraged workers", but I think many more of the 6.1 million and others who aren't in any survey are truly discouraged about their prospects of landing a decent job.
 c.  Job totals in monthly reports from several hundred thousand businesses and governments show that we are about 5 million jobs short of where we would be if we had not had a big recession and a weak recovery. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, there was pretty strong demand for labor and we added between 2 and 3 million jobs a year. But we need much higher totals for many years if we are to clear up both official and hidden unemployment and get to Real Full Employment, something around a 2% unemployment rate.
 d. Here's a striking fact about job totals which indicates how they lag. In the last ten years job totals grew by 6%. That is the worst record of the last seventy years. Here are the increases in job totals between starting and ending years for ten-year periods.
                                                2006 to 2016      6%
                                                1996 to 2006:   15%
                                                1986 to 1996:   20%
                                                1976 to 1986:   26%
                                                1966 to 1976:   26%
                                                1956 to 1966:   20%
                                                1946 to 1956:   30%                        
Participating in the Labor Force (working or looking for a job): The participation rate of women tapered off in 1999-2000, fell in the recession and has not come back. Men's rate has been on a long decline that grew steeper in the Great Recession. Part of the decline comes because we have more people of retirement age. But much of it has to do with lousy job markets, low wages, and, perhaps, the expansion of disability benefits. For prime-age males (ages 25 to 54), the labor force participation rate has fallen from 97% in 1948 to 89% in 2016. 
Some non-participants have lost jobs due to plant closures and mine shutdowns. Some of them did not move to regions
with more jobs because they felt too old and too rooted to move; because they could not sell their homes except at a big loss; or because they weren't convinced there were decent jobs elsewhere. Some have become hooked on opioids and they are
killing themselves.
Too Many Numbers? Here's the Big Take-away: In most areas discussed above we are doing better, but reversing the impact of forty years of lousy wages, rampant inequality, dire poverty, and not enough jobs will require major federal action on job creation, big increases in the minimum wage, fair taxes, and more assistance to low income families and college students. 
Frank Stricker is Emeritus Professor of History, California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has written about poverty and has written American Unemployment: A New History, Explanations, Remedies. He is a member of the National Jobs for All Coalition.
 
 
 

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Monday, October 31, 2016

[NJFAC] Inequality As Policy: Selective Trade Protectionism Favors Higher Earners

Inequality As Policy: Selective Trade Protectionism Favors Higher Earners

Globalization and technology are routinely cited as drivers of   inequality over the last four decades. While the relative importance of   these causes is disputed, both are often viewed as natural and   inevitable products of the working of the economy, rather than as the   outcomes of deliberate policy. In fact, both the course of globalization   and the distribution of rewards from technological innovation are very   much the result of policy. Insofar as they have led to greater   inequality, this has been the result of conscious policy choices.  ....  Instead of only putting manufacturing workers into competition with   lower-paid workers in other countries, our trade deals could have been   crafted to subject doctors, dentists, lawyers and other highly-paid   professionals to international competition. As it stands, almost nothing   has been done to remove the protectionist barriers that allow   highly-educated professionals in the United States to earn far more than   their counterparts in other wealthy countries.    This is clearest in the case of doctors. For the most part, it is impossible for   foreign-trained physicians to practice in the United States unless they   have completed a residency program in the United States. The number of   residency slots, in turn, is strictly limited, as is the number of slots   open for foreign medical students. While this is a quite blatantly   protectionist restriction, it has persisted largely unquestioned through   a long process of trade liberalization that has radically reduced or   eliminated most of the barriers on trade in goods. The result is that   doctors in the United States earn an average of more than $250,000 a   year, more than twice as much as their counterparts in other wealthy   countries. This costs the country roughly $100 billion a year in higher   medical bills compared to a situation in which U.S. doctors received the   same pay as doctors elsewhere. Economists, including trade economists,   have largely chosen to ignore the barriers that sustain high   professional pay at enormous economic cost.    ....  The pattern of gains from technology has been even more directly   determined by policy than is the case with gains from trade. There has   been a considerable strengthening and lengthening of patent and   copyright and related protections over the last four decades. The laws   have been changed to extend patents to new areas such as life forms,   business methods, and software. Copyright duration has been extended   from 55 years to 95 years. Perhaps even more important, the laws have   become much more friendly to holders of these property claims to tilt   legal proceedings in their favor, with courts becoming more   patent-friendly and penalties for violations becoming harsher. And, the   United States has placed stronger intellectual property (IP) rules at   center of every trade agreement negotiated in the last quarter century.    In this context, it would hardly be surprising if the development of   "technology" was causing an upward redistribution of income. The people   in a position to profit from stronger IP rules are almost exclusively   the highly educated and those at the top end of the income distribution.   It is almost definitional that stronger IP rules will result in an   upward redistribution of income.  ....  --   June Zaccone  National Jobs for All Coalition  http://www.njfac.org

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

[NJFAC] A $15 Minimum Wage is the Minimum We Should Push For

David R. Howell et al, "Reframing the Minimum-Wage Debate," is a terrific response to people who claim that a $15 minimum wage will lead to job losses. Howell and his colleagues have plenty of evidence that this is not true. But he also argues that we should not frame the minimum wage issue in terms of job losses, but in terms of the benefits a substantial increase brings to millions of workers. He also makes the simple point that political and business leaders don't care about job loss when they support new technologies or so-called free trade treaties. Howell also includes information about budget studies that, to me,show how inadequate even $15 is. But you may not need careful budget studies. All you have to do is think about this: a full year of work at $15 brings just over $30,000 a year. That's all. That's poverty by any meaningful standard--a phrase, by the way, that cannot be applied to official American poverty lines.
   
 
Submitted by Frank Stricker of NJFAC and Emeritus Professor of History, Cal State University, Dominguez Hills.
 
 
 
 

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

[NJFAC] The Global Super Court

"Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, it is written into a vast network of treaties that govern international trade and investment, including NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Congress must soon decide whether to ratify."

A series:  Hamby, Secrets of a Global Super Court https://www.buzzfeed.com/globalsupercourt
  --   June Zaccone  National Jobs for All Coalition  http://www.njfac.org

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

[NJFAC] If We Get Tough with China and Mexico, can We Bring Back a Lot of Factory Jobs?

 
 
 
 
 

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