Wednesday, November 6, 2019

[NJFAC] TIME CORRECTION Fwd: Job Guarantee Now Campaign Webinar Nov. 8 - TIME CORRECTION FOR EST


Please note the EST was not correct on the previous email.  It should be 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST (not 1:00 pm-2:00 pm)   In addition, the CST will be 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
 

Upcoming Webinar: 
A National Call to Action: The Job Guarantee Now! Campaign

Co-hosted by PolicyLink, the National Jobs for All Network, and the Modern Money Network

Friday, November 8, 2019
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. CST/ 
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 pm. EST

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National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org/


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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Monday, November 4, 2019

[NJFAC] Webinar - A National Call to Action: The Job Guarantee Now! Campaign



 

Upcoming Webinar: 
A National Call to Action: The Job Guarantee Now! Campaign

Co-hosted by PolicyLink, the National Jobs for All Network, and the Modern Money Network

Friday, November 8, 2019
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PT / 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET

 

Amid rising inequality and an uncertain future when it comes to good jobs, it is time for bold, transformative strategies to achieve economic security and dignity for all — including a Federal Job Guarantee. By ensuring that every person who wants to work can have a living-wage job, a job guarantee would eliminate involuntary unemployment, reduce racial inequities, decrease poverty, and raise the floor on low-wage work while building stronger and greener communities. Polling shows widespread public support for a job guarantee, and with the 2020 election at hand, now is a critical moment for racial and economic justice advocates to come together and make a loud and clear demand by signing the Jobs for All manifesto.

Please join this webinar to: 1) learn why a federal job guarantee is a cornerstone of an inclusive, thriving, and sustainable 21st century economy; 2) ask job guarantee experts your questions; and 3) find out how you can participate in the Job Guarantee Now! campaign.

Speakers include: 
  • Dr. Darrick Hamilton, Executive Director, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and Professor, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University
  • Dr. Philip Harvey, Professor of Law, Rutgers School of Law-Camden 
  • Dr. Pavlina Tcherneva, Associate Professor of Economics at Bard College and Research Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute, NY 
  • Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder-in-Residence, PolicyLink (Moderator)
 
Register Now

 
 
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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

[NJFAC] Bringing Back American Factory Jobs? What Do the Numbers Say? Frank Stricker

                                                                                                                                   
             During the Great Recession, manufacturing job totals began to recover in mid-2010. In the decade that followed, we added 1.3 million jobs to factory totals. Sounds good. All other things being equal, having more regular jobs is a plus.
            But not all factory jobs are good ones. Some are poorly paid and very dangerous, for example, in meatpacking. The average hourly wage of non-supervisory and production employees in manufacturing was only $22.24 last month. While $22.24 is way above the federal minimum wage, it is not so high. It is even below $23.65, the average hourly wage of non-supervisory and production workers in all private non-farm businesses. And of course a lot of factory workers earn less than the average.
            As to job totals, there has not been a very large increase in factory positions. It is true that during Donald Trump's presidency, job growth has been faster than during Obama's second term. But not hugely so. And the manufacturing sector is currently in a kind of recession. There's been essentially no job growth in 2019.
            In a longer perspective, we have not come far in the recovery from the Great Recession. Even after a decade of increases, the total number of all employees in manufacturing is about equal to where it was in December of 1941. As numbers and charts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show, there have been no substantial lasting surges since the 1960s. The World War II economy boosted job numbers to a new, jagged plateau. Then the war-assisted economy of the 1960s lifted job totals to another, higher, jagged plateau. But jobs fell off the plateau in the early 1980s, and another plunge began in the last years of the Clinton boom. That descent continued through the Bush presidency and the Great Recession. Almost none of it has been reversed.  Causes and policy effects are topics for another time, but in brief, automation is a factor in job loss as are trade treaties that make it easy for importers and profitable for U.S. companies to send production overseas. It's doubtful that President Trump's tariff policies have reversed long-term causes. Chaotic trade policy may actually have caused less job growth than there might have been. Jumpy, poorly conceived policies confuse and unsettle business planners, investors, and trading partners. And for the most part, tariffs on Chinese products send Chinese factory jobs from China not to the U.S., but to other Asian countries and even to Mexico. There's more on factory economics, policies and politics in a terrific article: Don Lee, "Industrial Sector Enters a Recession," Los Angeles Times, October 15, 2019, Business Section, C1, C3.
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Frank Stricker is a board member of NJFAC and emeritus professor of history at California State University, Dominguez Hills. His views are his own and not those of either organization.  His new book, American Unemployment: Past, Present, and Future, will be out in June.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

[NJFAC] Poverty Rates are Pretty Low, but So Are Poverty Lines

by Frank Stricker

Some highlights from Income and Poverty in the United States: 2018, at https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2019/demo/p60-266.html.
 
1. The 2018 poverty rate--the percentage of the population under federal poverty lines--was 11.8%. Since 1959, the rate has been under 12 eleven times: seven times in the 1970s; three at the end of the Clinton-Greenspan boom (1999-2001); and then only once more, in 2018.
 
2. Of course, poverty rates are much higher for some social groups. The black rate in 2018 was 20.7%, the Hispanic rate 17.6%. Even after a decade-long economic recovery, one in five black Americans and almost the same fraction of Hispanics were poor.
 
3. Since they became official policy in the 1960s, poverty thresholds have not been changed much except for inflation adjustments. National wealth and average real incomes have advanced substantially, but poverty lines have not. Today, if you are officially poor, you are farther below average incomes than was true in the 60s. You are relatively poorer.
 
4. Looking at the dollar amounts of poverty lines is instructive. If you were a single person under 65 in 2018, you were not considered poor if you had an annual income over $13,064 a year. If you were a family of four with two children under 18 and income over $25,466, you were not counted as poor. Really? Many families with $30,000 or even $40,000 are quite poor.
 
5. The current lines tell us how far we have come using constant-dollar thresholds. But as a measure of deprivation in our time, they are grossly deficient. Why not have poverty thresholds A, continuing the current numbers, and B, for realistic thresholds. We could try B-lines that are 25% or 50% higher. We have the information in Table B-3 of the poverty report. At lines that are 50% higher, the threshold for a family of four with two children is $38,198 and the poverty rate for the U.S. population is 20.1%. (And $38,198 is still not very high.)
 
6. The poverty report has tons of useful information. For example, on household incomes, Asians lead the pack, with $87,194, and African Americans trail everyone with $41,361. And we are not even talking about wealth and assets, where African Americans are even farther behind.
 
7. Are female earners catching up? The ratio of female to male median earnings for full-time, year-round workers has increased from 60% in 1959-1960 to 81.6% in 2018. Women's real annual earnings have about doubled since 1959; men's have increased by less than 50%.
*****************************************************************************
Frank Stricker is emeritus history professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a member of NJFAC. The  views in this article are those of the author and not of his organizations.
 

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Friday, September 6, 2019

[NJFAC] Tighter labor markets, looser rules

To expand the pool of workers, companies are recruiting stay-at-home parents, retirees and people with disabilities. Will they keep it up if the economy sours?

....With the national unemployment rate now flirting with a 50-year low, companies are increasingly looking outside the traditional labor force for workers. They are offering flexible hours and work-from-home options to attract stay-at-home parents, full-time students and recent retirees. They are making new accommodations to open up jobs to people with disabilities. They are dropping educational requirements, waiving criminal background checks and offering training to prospective workers who lack necessary skills.

Those policies are having an effect. In recent months, nearly three-quarters of people who have become newly employed have come from outside the labor force — meaning they hadn't even been looking for jobs.....

"We increasingly hear reports that employers are training workers who lack required skills, adapting jobs to the needs of employees with family responsibilities, and offering second chances to people who need one," Mr. [Jerome] Powell said.

....Data from ZipRecruiter shows that more companies across industries are offering on-the-job training or tuition reimbursement to help open up jobs to candidates who might not have the necessary skills. A rising share of companies are advertising that their jobs are open to people with no experience.....

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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
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Thursday, September 5, 2019

[NJFAC] Why Pushing on a String Has Never Worked--Servas Storm

Summers and the Road to Damascus Servaas Storm 

In what constitutes a volte-face, Lawrence Summers openly admits that monetary policy is ineffective in the current environment of secular stagnation and argues that what is needed instead are "efforts by governments to promote demand through fiscal policies and other means." Summers and co-author Anna Stansbury write that they have come to agree with "the point long stressed by writers in the post-Keynesian (or, perhaps more accurately, original Keynesian) tradition: the role of particular frictions and rigidities in underpinning economic fluctuations should be de-emphasized relative to a more fundamental lack of aggregate demand."

Pushing on a string

Summers and Stansbury are right in pointing out that the U.S. is suffering from a fundamental lack of demand. But they are wrong in believing that this is somehow only now showing up in a decline in the power of monetary policy to stimulate the economy. Monetary policy has never been robustly effective in promoting economic recovery or growth. While restrictive monetary policy, when credible, may be effective in slowing down economic growth and reducing inflation, this does not mean that monetary stimulus has the capacity to promote growth and raise inflation — if anything, post-2008 monetary policy experience provides an acid test of this asymmetry in policy effectiveness.....

Summers' U-turn appears to be motivated by a fear of the negative and destabilizing macroeconomic consequences of further interest rate reductions by central banks, and especially by the European Central Bank (ECB), which is currently charging commercial banks a penalty interest rate of 0.4% if they park surplus liquidity in Frankfurt; the ECB's refinancing rate is zero.....

But wait a minute: isn't the U.S. economy at full employment right now?....

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June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Coalition
http://www.njfac.org

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Friday, July 26, 2019

[NJFAC] Skills, Scams, and Student Debt


            There is corruption and exploitation among local business classes, and although money totals do not come close to what large national companies grab, it's still disgusting. Here is the link to a well-researched investigation by Meredith Kolodner and Sarah Butrymowicz that shows how the owners of Iowa's cosmetology schools rip off their students. The Iowa School of Beauty and others like it provide relatively little instruction, and certainly much less than students pay for.
            The state of Iowa, acting as loyal servants of the beauty schools, requires that students pay for 2,100 hours of school time. Only a third of those hours are classroom hours and those don't seem to provide much quality instruction. For the other 1,385 hours, students are required to work in the schools' salons. They receive no pay when they do work, and they spend a lot of time doing nothing. They could be out learning and earning. But in Iowa they must pay tuition and accumulate the hours. Some states have reduced requirements but 1500 hours is still common.
            When students enter the real labor force, they are likely to earn more than Iowa's minimum wage, which is still the federal insult--$7.25. They may start at $9 or $10 dollars an hour. Eventually they can earn more. The median hourly wage across the country last year was $11.89. That number does not seem to include tips, but even with tips, you'd get only about  $14.00. Let's say you get a pretty full year of 2000 hours of work. You'll gross $28,000.
            Sound good? Well, if your household consists of you and a child, you are not poor if your annual income is anything over $16,910. That's according to another American insult: official poverty lines. In reality, while you may not be officially poor, you won't have what you and your child need and you will have trouble paying down your student loan debt. You may need food stamps and you may have to work a couple of nights a week at Pizza Hut. Not fun. And all you wanted was to make a decent living doing something you like.
            There are solutions. First, reduce required hours. That's tough in Iowa where the schools are very influential. Other states have reduced the requirements. Second, start raising the minimum wage so that it actually lifts the pay of some workers. Third, let public community colleges offer cosmetology certificates. Students will end up with less debt and they can also get a general education. Finally, continue state and federal efforts against the predatory behavior of for-profit schools. Predictably, the Secretary of Education is moving in the opposite direction. She is undoing the gains of the Obama years and encouraging bad behavior by for-profit schools. And here I thought the administration was a big supporter of the working class.
 
Frank Stricker is a board member of NJFAC/NJFAN.  His book, American Unemployment, Past, Present and Future, will be published next year.

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