Economists were predicting gains of 152,000 jobs, and unemployment falling from 6.6 percent to 6.5 percent. This morning's jobs report, on the other hand, showed 175,000 added jobs, and a slightly higher unemployment rate of 6.7 percent. Add that to an ADP report on Wednesday that was worse than expected and you have a fairly confusing picture of the economy. So what the heck is going on here?
Yesterday, hundreds of minimum-wage earning workers packed an assembly at Seattle Town Hall to encourage Mayor Ed Murray's Income Inequality Advisory Committee to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Washington's current minimum wage of $9.32 an hour is the highest in the country, but that doesn't mean it's enough to support a family, workers contend.
The private sector added 139,000 jobs last month, a number that's "well below average," according to Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP, which compiles the report using its payroll data.
The real value of the minimum wage is going down. Ten different charts on two different websites paint the same picture of how the relative value of the minimum wage has declined over time. In short, when you take inflation and cost of living data into account, minimum-wage workers can buy less for their earnings than they could a few years ago.
The Congressional Budget Office released a report this week examining the effects of raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the number proposed by President Obama and the current minimum rate for federal workers. Called The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income, the report found that although a hike would lift 900,000 families out of poverty, it would also reduce total employment by 500,000 workers.
While many of us consider unemployment numbers and whether jobs will be available, hope long-term unemployment benefits are extended, or root for an increase in the minimum wage, there is, of course, at least one person in most companies who seems to be doing OK -- the CEO. In fact, you may be surprised how OK they really are.
Officially, only 4.9 percent of working Americans toil at more than one job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's down from 5.2 percent in 2008, at the height of the Recession. So why are some commentators concerned that workers are being forced to work harder than ever to make ends meet? Three words: the underground economy.
The economy added a net 1.9 million jobs over the course of 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, which was released Friday. Over the course of last year, 51.4 million people lost or voluntarily quit their jobs, while 53.3 million people were hired. Those are the lowest job lost numbers for any year in the 21st century -- but don't celebrate just yet.
Six weeks after the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expired, Congress appears to be no closer to an agreement that would restore benefits to more than 1 million Americans whose regular unemployment has lapsed. A recent Washington Post article looks at some of the creative solutions some workers have cobbled together, to keep themselves afloat.
This morning, the Labor Department released the Employment Situation Summary for January, and the numbers are lower than economists had predicted: 113,000 jobs added last month, as opposed to the expected 185,000 jobs. This comes on the heels of Wednesday's ADP report, which saw 175,000 jobs added in January, and a lackluster December 2013, in which the BLS said the economy added only 75,000 jobs (revised upward from 74,000).
Recently, the Congressional Budget Office released an updated report, which included data on the Affordable Care Act. Yesterday, several conservative commentators and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fired off tweets, Cantor claiming that "millions of hardworking Americans will lose their jobs" because of the Affordable Care Act." So will this come to pass?
The unemployment rate for the youngest members of the workforce is significantly higher than the general population -- 14.8 percent, in fact, as of November, 2013, according to the Center for American Progress, compared to the 7 percent or so we've been seeing for the general population. All indications are that Millennial workers are not recovering from the Great Recession at the same rate as other age groups. But why?
The U.S. economy added 175,000 non-farm, private sector jobs between December and January, according to the ADP National Employment Report. This is about the same as the monthly average for 2013, but lower than economists' predictions of 185,000 jobs.
If the minimum wage kept place with inflation over the past 40 years, it would $10.74 an hour -- over $3 more than today's federal minimum wage of $7.25. President Obama advocates raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but some fast food workers and union activists are pushing even higher, for an even $15 an hour.
One-third of Americans who identified as middle class in 2008 now say they're lower or lower-middle class, according to a Mother Jones analysis of recent Pew research. A national survey found that, post-recession, fewer Americans feel that they're middle class than ever before -- 44 percent, or just slightly more than the 40 percent who feel they're lower or lower-middle class.
Kshama Sawant is the only socialist member of Seattle's City Council, and she's putting her money where her mouth is. After accepting office earlier this month, she announced that she will only keep $40,000 of her $117,000 annual salary -- less than half, and about the salary of the average worker in Seattle.
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