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Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’
Project America - Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Jobs’

Vacations Days Have Decreased for US Workers
Published Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

Recent reports show that women take nearly 50% more sick leave than men.  In a study conducted by the the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1999, job absence rates are higher for women than for men, about 5.1% of women (including 5.6% of women aged 20-24) were absent in the average week, compared with 2.7% of men.  This means women worked less than 35 hours during the week because of injury, illness, or some various reasons.  Among those absent, women were more likely to be absent due to reasons other than injury and illness.  Absence rates do not vary much by age: 55 or older had the highest absence rate at 4.2%, 16-19 years old at 4.0%, 20-24 year olds at 3.9% and the lowest is the 25-54 year olds at 3.7%.  The global participation of women in the labor force grew consistently during this period of time.

Absence for various reasons has, for the most part, decreased slowly between 500 to 100 days per year from that of 1970. By far the greatest decrease has occurred in vacation days, from a height 3,500 in 1990 to 2,900 in 2005.

Enrollment Surge Creates Pressures on Community Colleges
Published Monday, August 3rd, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

Contrary to a system that is based on open admission to higher education all, community colleges now have to contemplate turning away students. The reasons for such a reversal of principle are fueled by the current recession, an enrollment surge greater than the past 2 decades, and tight state budgets. Normally, an economic downturn would boost community college enrollment.  Yet, the current recession poses a three sided crush of students who are out of work and looking for a career boost, limited to lower tuition choices by a tighter credit market, and threat of home foreclosure requiring extra income. The tuition for a four year university and a two year community college is drastically different in that private 4-year is $25,143 and public 4-year is $6,585.  Community college is less than $2000 on average.

The Obama Administration has planned to add $12 billion to the community college budget over the next decade, yet there is no immediate relief in sight. The most up-to-date information on college enrollment suggests that the growing enrollment is coming from the Hispanic college age population, which increased nearly 4 percentage points to 57.9% between 2005 and 2006. The enrollment by the white population decreased by 4.7 percentage points to 68.5%, and blacks had a -0.2 point change during the same time period to 55.5%.

Report Predicts Child Well-Being Index to Worsen
Published Thursday, May 28th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

According to the Child and Youth Well-Being Index Project at Duke University, gains made since 1975 in family economic well-being could be endangered over the next few years. The measure of family economic well-being is measured by a combination of poverty rate, median annual income, parental employment and health insurance coverage for children. The report describes a connectivity between the different measures and predicts that more than one out of five American children will live in poverty in 2010, with African-American and Hispanic children experiencing twice the level of poverty.

The United States has remained near the bottom of the industrialized countries in regards to child poverty rates, exceeded only by that of Mexico. The rate of child poverty in the US has in recent years flattened at the rate of 16.9% as of 2007. As for the other measures of the index, the average hourly real earnings for US workers has shrunk to $8.23 an hour (1982 dollars) in 2008. Except for the Asian population, the characteristics of families living in poverty suggest that children are more likely to live with their mother and be impoverished. Plus, since 2000, the number of children enrolled to the SCHIP (State Child Health Insurance Program) has more than doubled from 2000 to 7.145 million in 2007.

President Requests Funding for Transit Construction Projects
Published Monday, May 18th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

According to the Department of Transportation, last week President Obama sent to Congress a request for $1.83 billion in funding for major transit projects, which promises to create jobs and increase both bus and light transit rail options for commuters and travelers. More than $600 million of the funds are for new projects in places such as New Jersey and Colorado, adding up to 39 projects. The announcement detailed 29 projects of which have received federal commitments for funding in previous years; the last 10 are split between new major transit capital construction and the expansion of smaller transit projects.

The emergence of new construction projects for mass transit has come from the presidential initiative to increase the construction and use of alternative transportation to cut emissions and create jobs. Currently, emissions from cars contribute 88.4% of the US share of carbon dioxide, 56% of all carbon monoxide, and 55% of our share of oxides of nitrogen. Currently, the total highway system mileage (distance measured in miles) has increased steadily since 1975 to 4.016 million miles of roads, which handle a steady increase in national miles driven year after year.  However, transit rail miles, which includes commuter rail, has surged and ebbed to settle at 6,972 miles of track in 2006.

Education Makes a Difference in Number of Self-Employed
Published Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

A recent report by the Small Business Administration surveyed self-employed women and how they used their time between work and home life. Over the past decade, the number of self-employed women has shown a proportional increase over the past 35 years. The self-employment rate for women was 42% of the rate for men in 1979; it remained near 55% from 1994-2003. In 2003, 6.8% of women in the labor force were self-employed, compared with 12.4% of men. Data suggest that women choose self-employment because of family factors, and self-employed women are not as motivated by earnings. The administration suggest that programs that enhance work-life balance or facilitate secondary child care opportunities and increase paths to education would serve to encourage greater numbers of women to seek self-employment.

The number of women firms has reached the 6.5 million mark and grossing nearly a billion dollars a year. This has been fueled by an exponential growth in small business loans to minorities. The percentage distribution for the labor force by gender shows a steady parallel for the last 30 years. Of those who are mothers and wives, those who have children under 18 are leaving the work force in greater numbers since 2003. As for the second policy recommendation on education, college graduates in the workforce have overtaken the high school graduates since 2002.

Unemployment Benefits of the ARRA 2009
Published Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

Within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), there are provisions for those who have become unemployed. Here are some of the major benefits now available. According to the ARRA, a new temporary Federal Additional Compensation program that suggests states up the unemployment benefit $25 per week for the period beginning February 22, 2009. States may also extend the number of weeks benefits available from 13 to 20. The average length of unemployment is 22-weeks. The Act also creates a tax break which exempts the first $2,400 of workers’ 2009 unemployment benefits from taxation. As for COBRA health benefits, there are 2 changes. Eligible individuals are now only required to pay 35% of the COBRA premium instead of the full amount. Another change allows beneficiaries to elect coverage under a second special election period, which skirts HIPAA’s pre-existing condition exclusion rules. Older workers will also benefit, as an additional $120 million is earmarked for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which trains older workers for new jobs. Further, states that modernize their unemployment compensation systems to include those workers who are looking for part-time work will receive federal dollars to compensate.

These are welcome changes as the unemployment rate for the nation has reached, as of March, 7.9% of the eligible workforce. That is a 3.4 percentage point increase from March 2008. Nationally, those who are searching for less than full-time for economic reasons have reached 8.6 million workers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also, the recession has had an adverse affect on those who are of the age to retire as the rate of those exiting the work force has decreased from 1.6 million to 1.3 million between 2000 and 2008.

Supreme Court Hears Case on Affirmative Action
Published Thursday, April 9th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

The Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will for the first time hear a case that raises the issue of race in the workplace. The outcome could redefine the hiring and promotion policies for both the public and private sectors. Roberts has stated that he believes it is time to forbid the use of race as a factor in the government’s decisions. At issue is whether an employer can weigh the racial effects of a hiring or promotions standard. Lawyers for the firefighters say the city violated the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it threw out the test scores for the 15 open positions.  Of the top 15 scorers, 14 were White and one was Latino. However, the NAACP says the claim ignored the history of discrimination that excluded blacks from fire and police departments.

Over the last year, minorities share of the work force have actually gained in most categories by tenths of a point to whole percentage points nationally. Asians and Hispanics gained in Management, Professional Services, Sales, Construction and Production; African Americans only gained in the production industry. Females have obtained parity or better with males in Management, Service and Sales yet have barely made any gain in construction and production.

Only Health Care Survives the Rise in Job Cuts
Published Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin

Layoff announcements from last month continued across the industrial spectrum, according to the US Department of Labor, including Macy’s, Time Warner Cable, Estee Lauder, Goodyear, and General Motors. Of the sectors, the service-sector fell the most at 375,000.  This includes the businesses and professional services 180,000), financial sector (44,000), retail (40,000), leisure and hospitality (33,000).  Temporary employment fell 80,000, and government shed 9,000. Of the goods-producing industries, jobs fell by 276,000.  Manufacturing firms cut 168,000 jobs, and construction lost 104,000 jobs. The only bright spot that continues to add jobs is the health care sector, which rose 26,900.

During February, the US economy shed 651,000 jobs, which bring the cumulative job loss to over 4.4 million from December 2007 according to the U.S. Labor Department. Also in this report, December and January’s declines were revised to show much steeper declines. The unemployment rate jumped a 0.5 percentage point to 8.1%, the highest since December 1983. Including the part-time workers, the rate jumps to 14.8% last month, which is 6 percentage points higher than last year. A bit of good news, the average hourly earnings increased $0.03, or 0.2%, to $18.47.