Tag: jobs

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America embark on the second half of their six-episode saga known as the 2018 Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, Jim and Greg offer up their selections for the best political idea, worst political idea, and boldest political tactics for 2018.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Veneration and Vulnerability: Suicide in the Midst of Prosperity


Man does not live by bread alone. As bread was being earned at a record clip, and more people got off the dole, more people in their prime years cut their own lives short. Reflecting back on the U.S. military’s Herculean effort to end suicide in the service, an unwon battle, I am painfully aware there is no clear solution, no magic pill or words. And. I wonder if our changing societal habits and beliefs make vulnerable people more vulnerable.

2017 brought unbroken good economic news, and not just for stockholders. President Trump repeated at every occasion the good news for everyone, including demographic groups who had been lagging in employment. Wages started to rise. And in the midst of all this, the suicide rate increased to a 50-year peak.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Don’t Like the Left’s ‘Jobs Guarantee’ Idea? Well, the Right Is Cooking Up One of Its Own


In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, researcher Max Gulker offers a harsh critique of a “federal jobs guarantee.” Example: “Temporarily unemployed workers, along with millions of low-paid workers, would be diverted into a complex bureaucracy with no mechanism or incentive to put the workers’ skills and time to their best use.”

Oh, the idea has problems, such as the possibility of these permanent government gigs possibly crowding out existing jobs. (That and many other problematic issues are discussed in an excellent blog post by economist Timothy Taylor.) Still, some folks on the right are cooking up their own idea of a jobs guarantee. In the new book “The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America,” former Mitt Romney policy adviser Oren Cass argues for what he calls the “worker hypothesis.” This is the idea, Cass writes, that an American labor market “in which workers can support strong families and communities is the central determinant of long-term prosperity and should be the central focus of public policy.”

Nicole Gelinas joins Howard Husock to discuss the resolution of Amazon’s year-long “HQ2” competition. This week, the Internet giant announced that it would open new offices in Crystal City, Virginia—near Washington, D.C.—and New York’s own Long Island City, Queens.

Located just across the East River from midtown Manhattan, Long Island City had struggled for years as a post-industrial neighborhood until the early 2000s, when rezoning allowed the construction of dozens of luxury residential buildings and modern office towers. The neighborhood still faces challenges, however: it’s home to some of the city’s largest public housing projects, and its schools are poorly run.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer a robust October jobs report, which shows 250,000 new jobs last month, rising wages, and job growth in every sector. They also wince as Ainsley Earhardt of “Fox and Friends” says all President Trump wants from the press is to “be accurate and report the story the way that I want it reported.” They also chronicle the pathetic flailing of North Dakota Democrats, who are now telling hunters they could lose their hunting licenses in other states if they vote in North Dakota. And they take a moment to discuss the Green Party U.S. Senate candidate dropping out in Arizona, and Jim says the party is losing it’s greatest marketing ploy of all time.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Last Time Unemployment Got This Low, the Economy Got Weird


The US unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September, the lowest rate since December 1969. That’s even lower than the jobless rate during the 1990s internet and productivity boom. Other bits of good news in the report include decent monthly job growth of 134,000 — probably a depressed number because of Hurricane Florence. With upward revisions to the previous two reports, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month over the past three months. Such gains are consistent with “steady declines in the unemployment rate and solid increases in aggregate household income,” according to Barclays. There was also a 0.3 percent gain in average hourly earnings, a tick higher employment rate, and a 420,000 rise in the household measure of employment easily outpaces a 150,000 rise in the labor force.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America celebrate the booming economy that hit second quarter growth of 4.1 percent. They also notice the Democrats want to institute five years of jail time for spreading false information about elections dates and locations. And they see that Michael Avenatti was invited to speak to Iowa Democrats and they hope the party won’t take him seriously simply because he hates President Donald Trump.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America give credit to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for countering Democratic demands for a million pages of documents on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by suggesting the Senate vote on him may come just days before the election. They also mourn the impending loss of many entry-level jobs at places like McDonald’s due to minimum wage hikes and technological advancements. And they roll their eyes at the NFL’s inability to enforce a policy on kneeling during the anthem just days after the Miami Dolphins threatened to suspend players for not standing.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America appreciate the June jobs report that shows more people entering the work force, a slight uptick in wages, and 213,000 new jobs. They also bid a bitter farewell to EPA Director Scott Pruitt’s excellent conservative policies but happily watch his self-aggrandizing attitude exit the agency. And they believe President Trump has a legitimate concern about China’s trade policies, but they are unsure that the solution lies in tariffs and a trade war.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. It’s Great Disability Rolls Are Finally Shrinking, But the System Still Needs Pro-Work Reform


Have Americans gotten way healthier over the past several years? Seems dubious. But the US economy sure has strengthened. And America’s hot job market seems to be finally draining a reservoir of hidden slack: disability rolls. The New York Times notes the number of Americans receiving Social Security disability benefits has declined to 8.63 million from a September 2014 peak of 8.96 million.

Now there might be other things going on as well, such as the big expansion of Medicaid and the Social Security Administration tightening the approval process for benefits. But as interesting as all these numbers are, more compelling is the story of Christian Borrero, told at the end of the Times piece. Born with cerebral palsy, Borrero until 2015 received disability benefits as he worked at a part-time job answering phones. The salary was low enough that he still qualified for benefits.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. $10,000 Is Not Nearly Enough to Compensate for Living in Vermont


(I’m posting this from the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy’s weekly email newsletter, which you can get for free each Friday by signing up here: https://www.jbartlett.org/about-us/email-sign-up)

Moonlighting in Vermont

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. For First Time Ever, US Has More Job Openings Than Unemployed Workers


While the DC press corps worries whether Trump was booed at a White House event and curates elaborate conspiracy theories about Melania, a slightly more important story isn’t getting enough pixels. The economy is doing so well that, for the first time ever, there are now more job openings in the US than unemployed Americans:

With employers struggling to fill openings, the number of available jobs in April rose 1 percent to 6.7 million from 6.6 million in March, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s the most since records began in December 2000.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Jobs Are Booming, and Democrats Are Puzzled


Is it overstating things to say the US economy is, well, booming? After all, the May jobs report was pretty impressive, including a) 223,000 new jobs, b) an uptick in average hourly earnings growth to 2.7% from a year ago, c) a downtick in the jobless rate to 3.8% — at 3.755% unrounded, the lowest since 1969 — and d) a two-tenths decline in the U6 underemployment to 7.6% — its lowest level since 2001. JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli titled his Jobs Friday report this way (while alluding to President Trump’s controversial pre-report tweet): “The secret’s out: job growth is booming.” And some economists think a jobless rate with a two-handle is hardly out of the question.

True, overall economic growth is still stuck in Two Percentland. That’s the other, less-encouraging two-handle. But maybe not for much longer. GDP estimates for the second quarter are rising across Wall Street, and this report may boost that momentum. “Nearly all aspects of this report were positive and consistent with solid growth of wage-and-salary income in the second quarter,” notes the IHS Markit econ team. “The details in this report added one-tenth to our forecast of Q2 GDP growth, which now stands at 4.1%.”

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America toast better-than-expected unemployment numbers, the best in 18 years. They also lambaste Virginia Republicans for rolling over and approving the Obamacare Medicaid expansion they claimed to oppose for years. And they dig through more eye-opening posts from Joy Reid’s supposedly hacked blog, including her likening of John McCain to the Virginia Tech shooter, endorsing the removal of the Israeli government to Europe, and likening illegal immigration to slave labor for multinationals.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The New Battle in Seattle: Don’t Blame Amazon for the City’s Housing Woes


Seattle has decided to be a last-minute entrant into the competition for Amazon’s HQ2. But while most cities — such as Boston and Washington — are trying to land the retailing giant’s second headquarters, Seattle is doing its best to make Amazon reconsider the importance of its current home base. The company “will continue to evaluate its long-term plans for Seattle after the City Council passed a bill to tax large businesses to fund homelessness services,” according to the Seattle Times. Recall that when a larger tax was being considered, Amazon had halted planning one new office building and was considering subleasing the office space on another that’s under construction.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Just How Tight Is the US Job Market?


If I were funnier, I would do a classic Johnny Carson call-and-response, “How hot is it” joke on the job market. “How tight is it? It’s so tight….” So tight that it’s at full employment? Well, that’s the debate. Goldman Sachs, for one, points to a host of factors suggesting the job market is beyond full employment. From GS:

This assessment rests less on the sub-4% unemployment rate—there’s nothing special about round numbers—than on the whole range of indicators that now signal a historically tight labor market, which also includes the underemployment rate U6, job openings, quits, skill shortages, and household job market perceptions. These signals refute the still-widespread belief in large amounts of labor market slack hidden in a depressed participation rate. Just to pick one example, it is all but impossible to reconcile that belief with the fact that the net share of US households—including both labor force participants and nonparticipants—who say that jobs are “plentiful” as opposed to “hard to get” now stands at +23pp, a full 10pp above the peak of the prior cycle in 2007.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Thinking About (Much) Better Pro-Work Ideas Than a Cartoonish Federal Jobs Guarantee


The idea of a federal jobs guarantee, perhaps last seen in the enjoyable 1993 film Dave, is the hot-take economic policy on the left at the moment. (Sorry, universal basic income, your 15 minutes appear to be up.)

Now there are many, many problems with a federal jobs guarantee. In a recent blog post, economist Timothy Taylor highlights lots of them, at least regarding the undercooked Bernie Sanders version. There’s a government managerial problem, a jobs-skills mismatch problem, a geographical mismatch problem, a worker displacement problem, a worker discipline and incentive problem, a “what happens to existing anti-poverty programs” problem, and, of course, a budgetary problem. Lots of problems. You really can’t hand-wave these away.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How Technology Affects Jobs and Wages, in Two Graphics


The Asian Development Bank has issued a lengthy report on technology and jobs. And it’s a pretty upbeat one, as described by the Financial Times:

The ADB’s analysis of 12 developing Asian economies between 2005 and 2015 found that rising demand had more than compensated for jobs lost to automation. The adoption of new technologies, such as modern machine tools and computer systems in factories and offices, had stimulated higher productivity and economic growth. That transformation, it estimated, had created 134m new jobs, compared with the 101m jobs lost to technology.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Make America Safe Again: A Steel of a Deal


President Trump knows more about structural steel than any president since the great civil engineer Herbert Hoover. Media of every flavor took the President’s comments, about requiring the use of US steel in petroleum pipeline construction, at face value, as only a jobs program. While “free” trade advocates got the vapors about protectionism and warned of harm to the US economy from artificially high prices, no one bothered digging into the critical assumption.

A year later, President Trump threatened to impose steel tariffs. There was much back-slapping and hand-wringing, all having to do with the price of steel and supposed resulting gains and losses in jobs. In the midst of this noise, Mark Davis, a Texas radio talk show host, took a call from a welder. (Starts at 23:50.)