WBEZ | Economy http://www.wbez.org/news/economy Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en States Not Waiting to Close Gender Wage Gap http://www.wbez.org/program/weekend-edition/2016-02-08/states-not-waiting-close-gender-wage-gap-114755 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/promo-map-seamus-5ff26edc77e279223fabd9c52ebce6cf20981954.png" alt="" /><p><div id="storytext"><p>Emily Martin created a&nbsp;<a href="http://nwlc.org/resources/wage-gap-state-state/">state-by-state map</a>&nbsp;of the gender wage gap in the United States. She calculated: Washington, D.C., has the smallest wage gap where women average nearly 90 cents to a man&#39;s dollar; Louisiana has the largest gap &mdash; women there earn just 65 percent of what men do.</p><div id="res465740798"><div id="responsive-embed-map-wage-gap-20160204"><iframe frameborder="0" height="650px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/map-wage-gap-20160204/child.html?initialWidth=774&amp;childId=responsive-embed-map-wage-gap-20160204" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="620px"></iframe></div></div><p>Nationally, women earn an average 79 cents for every dollar men do. The gender wage gap is even wider for black and Hispanic women.</p><p>Martin is the vice president and general counsel of the&nbsp;<a href="http://nwlc.org/">National Women&#39;s Law Center</a>. The gender wage gap that she reported is not a new issue. It was President Obama&#39;s priority from the start, and the first piece of legislation he signed into law was the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100027479">Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009</a>. On the seventh anniversary of the signing last month, he again made headlines by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/29/464856100/to-shine-a-light-on-salary-gaps-obama-wants-companies-to-disclose-pay-data">announcing new rules</a>&nbsp;that would require companies to disclose pay data.</p><p>But the issue has gone nowhere in Congress.</p><p>There are lots of reasons for the gender gap, but Martin says a stubborn, small part is still discrimination.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s really disturbing social science studies out there that show that supervisors, male and female alike, without realizing it, will recommend lower salaries for women with equivalent qualifications to men,&quot; she says.</p><p>Facing pressure from a growing number of activists &mdash; who point out that more women than ever are primary breadwinners for their families &mdash; states are forging ahead on their own efforts. They have passed a string of equal pay laws in recent years, and more proposals have been introduced in two dozen states so far this year.</p><p><strong>A Patchwork&nbsp;Of State Laws</strong></p><p>The measures take a variety of approaches. At least five states have banned companies from retaliating if workers talk about their pay and compare notes. Some have made it easier for workers to sue over pay, while others have made it harder for companies to justify paying men more because of a &quot;factor other than sex.&quot; Martin says some courts have interpreted that to mean just about anything. A few proposals would bar employers from asking job applicants up front or in an interview about their pay history.</p><p>&quot;Because often your pay is set with some reference to how much you made at your last job,&quot; Martin says, &quot;the impact of pay discrimination can follow people through their careers.&quot;</p><p>Another trend is moving beyond equal pay simply for the exact same job title. Nick Rathod heads the&nbsp;<a href="https://stateinnovation.org/">State Innovation Exchange</a>, a network of progressive lawmakers. He says a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/01/461674998/calif-employers-must-comply-with-new-fair-pay-law">law passed last year in California</a>&nbsp;requires companies to offer similar pay for &quot;substantially similar&quot; jobs, such as a housekeeper and a janitor.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;ll do worker-based evaluation on things like their skill, their effort, their experience, that type of thing,&quot; Rathod says.</p><p><strong>Opposition Remains Despite Bipartisan Support</strong></p><p>Although it is mostly Democrats proposing these measures, Rathod says an equal pay bill recently&nbsp;<a href="https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S2107">passed the Massachusetts Senate</a>&nbsp;unanimously with the support of the local Chamber of Commerce.</p><p>&quot;It is a bipartisan issue,&quot; he says. &quot;And I think it&#39;s hard to be on the side of arguing that mothers and daughters should be paid less than men.&quot;</p><p>But that doesn&#39;t mean there isn&#39;t opposition.</p><p>&quot;When we look at each one of these bills, I&#39;m not sure if they&#39;re accomplishing the end goal,&quot; says Loren Furman, chief lobbyist with the&nbsp;<a href="http://cochamber.com/">Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry</a>. She finds the newly proposed legislation redundant given all the other regulations that are already in place.</p><p>&quot;We have a state wage act,&quot; she says. &quot;We have an anti-discrimination act. We have the federal NLRB (National Labor Relations) Act.&quot;</p><p>Furman says companies worry more laws could mean more lawsuits. She says they also worry about a Colorado measure that would ban them from asking job candidates up front about their pay history. Employers tell her they need that to know who is serious about a particular job, and who may be looking for anything they can get.</p><p>&quot;The worst thing for an employer is to hire somebody and then lose that person because they ultimately wanted (for example) $100,000,&quot; she says.</p><p>Whatever laws are enacted, states will be looking to see if they have any impact on a gender wage gap that has hardly budged for a decade.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/02/06/465587253/states-not-waiting-to-close-gender-wage-gap?ft=nprml&amp;f=465587253"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 11:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/program/weekend-edition/2016-02-08/states-not-waiting-close-gender-wage-gap-114755 Britain to Foreign Workers: If You Don't Make $50,000 a Year, Please Leave http://www.wbez.org/news/britain-foreign-workers-if-you-dont-make-50000-year-please-leave-114730 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ukjobs.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Britain&#39;s Prime Minister David Cameron promised back in 2010 to bring net migration down to 100,000 people a year. Six years later, it&#39;s more than three times that number.</p><p>That&#39;s one reason the government&#39;s Home Office decided that non-Europeans on skilled worker visas &mdash; known as Tier 2 visas &mdash; are not welcome to stay unless they are making at least 35,000 British pounds (about $50,000 a year).</p><p>The message is aimed at slashing migration to Britain and goes into effect in April. But critics call the new rule discriminatory and say it will strip Britain of lower-paid artists, health care workers and tradespeople.</p><p>&quot;The estimates put the GDP loss at 181 million [pounds, equivalent to $264 million] to 761 million [pounds, equivalent to $1.1 billion], so that&#39;s a massive blow in the first year alone, for starters,&quot; Joshua Harbord says.</p><p>Harbord, who rattles off facts and figures about why he thinks this move will hurt Britain, might sound like an expert on immigration. But he&#39;s not. Harbord performs at kids&#39; birthday parties as a pirate. And when he heard his friend Shannon Harmon might be forced to leave, he got angry.</p><div id="res465451252" previewtitle="Joshua Harbod started a petition opposing the new rules that would set a minimum income requirement for workers from outside the E.U."><div><div><p>&quot;It was scaring Shannon and everybody it was affecting, and it felt like a massively mean policy that was apparently convincing my friends that they were worthless and unwanted,&quot; Harbord says.</p></div></div></div><p>Since no one else was doing anything about it, Harbord started a petition,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.stop35k.org/">Stop 35K</a>, to try to change the government&#39;s mind. Harmon, who is from Chicago, has a work visa and has been in the U.K. more than seven years. But she makes less than the amount needed to stay under the new rules.</p><p><img alt="Joshua Harbod started a petition opposing the new rules that would set a minimum income requirement for workers from outside the E.U." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/02/03/british-1-5fa81121fdccc114834ac5d1a4d5c5071a02511a-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 232px; width: 310px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Joshua Harbod started a petition opposing the new rules that would set a minimum income requirement for workers from outside the E.U. (Leila Fadel / NPR)" /></p><p>&quot;It feels pretty horrible and unfair; that&#39;s why we&#39;re trying to fight it,&quot; she says. &quot;I don&#39;t think we should be valued on an arbitrary number that they&#39;ve made up. I mean, not that many people make that much money.&quot;</p><p>Harmon works for a nonprofit and says charity workers, who aren&#39;t paid well, contribute more than those in the finance industry. The changed rules will also affect health care workers, public transport workers and the many artists, musicians and actors who are drawn to London as a cultural hub.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s just going to make places like London less dynamic, less cultural; it&#39;s just going to change the whole atmosphere,&quot; Harmon says. Come April, she will very likely have to leave her British life partner, her career and the U.K.</p><p>&quot;I leave everything, my whole life,&quot; she says.</p><p>Harbord and Harmon spend their nights brainstorming, working on their website and checking on the electronic petition. Every few minutes, the signatures increase. They are approaching the 100,000 they need for Parliament to consider debating the issue.</p><p>At present, immigration is a hot-button issue in Britain. There is another petition calling on the government to completely close the U.K.&#39;s borders. And last weekend, rival protests supporting and opposing immigration turned violent.</p><p>David Metcalfe, chairman of a committee that advises the government on immigration, recommended the plan that is scheduled to take effect in April.</p><p>&quot;It seems to me absolutely right,&quot; he says. &quot;They&#39;ve been here five years. If they&#39;re going to settle, they should be making a proper contribution in terms of productivity, which will be reflected in their pay.&quot;</p><p>Asked about critics who say it&#39;s an arbitrary measure that values money over other contributions to British society, he says: &quot;Pay, in my view, is the best measure of skill and contribution, but you are right, it&#39;s not a perfect measure.&quot;</p><p>Metcalfe says there will be temporary exceptions for people with skills such as nursing, because there is a shortage in the U.K.</p><p>Susan Cueva, however, has been trying to stop the new rules. She works with UNISON, a trade union that represents the public sector &mdash; people who work in education, health care and transport.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a policy that is not really based on sound judgment,&quot; Cueva says. &quot;I think from our point of view as a union, we always look at migrant workers as an asset and a resource in the country.&quot;</p><p>She says migrant workers make up at least 15 percent of the public sector workforce. And without them, she says, services will decline.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/02/03/465407797/britain-to-foreign-workers-if-you-dont-make-50-000-a-year-please-leave?ft=nprml&amp;f=465407797"><em>&mdash; via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/britain-foreign-workers-if-you-dont-make-50000-year-please-leave-114730 Chinese-Led Investors Plan to Buy Chicago Stock Exchange http://www.wbez.org/news/chinese-led-investors-plan-buy-chicago-stock-exchange-114727 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/flickr_GeorgeTziralis.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Stock Exchange, founded more than a century ago, said it has agreed to be acquired by a Chinese-led investor group.</p><p>The buyers are considering opening a stock exchange in southwest China and also hope to list Chinese stocks in the U.S.,&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Stock Exchange CEO John Kerin said in an interview Friday. The exchange needs the cash from the buyout to launch its new trading products and platforms, Kerin said.</p><p>Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Kerin will continue as CEO after the deal closes.</p><p>Leading the investor group is Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group, a holding company based in Chongqing, China. Efforts to reach Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group were unsuccessful.</p><p>Kerin said the other investors are mostly based in China but their names are not being made public.</p><p>The&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Stock Exchange was founded in 1882, about 90 years after the New York Stock Exchange. It trades 8,300 stocks and exchange-traded funds that are also traded on other exchanges, such as the NYSE.</p><p>Companies don&#39;t exclusively list stocks on the&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Stock Exchange as they do on the NYSE, Kerin said. But after the buyout is complete, the&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Stock Exchange has plans to allow small companies that don&#39;t meet NYSE requirements to list stocks on the exchange.</p><p>The exchange has been also working on an on-demand auction product that is expected to be released in the spring.</p><p>The buyers said they plan to keep the&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Stock Exchange&#39;s business operations and trading platform in place. The exchange said the deal is expected to close in the second half of the year and needs to be approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.</p><p>If the deal is approved, it may be the first time a U.S. stock exchange is owned by Chinese companies. The World Federation of Exchanges said none of its U.S. members, which include the owners of the NYSE,&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Mercantile Exchange and others, have ever been owned by Chinese interests.</p><p>The&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Stock Exchange is not a member of the World Federation of Exchanges.</p><p><em>Follow Joseph Pisani at&nbsp;</em><a href="http://twitter.com/josephpisani"><em>http://twitter.com/josephpisani</em></a><em>&nbsp;.</em><em> His work can be found </em><em>at</em><em><a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/author/joseph-pisani">http://bigstory.ap.org/author/joseph-pisani</a></em><em>&nbsp;.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chinese-led-investors-plan-buy-chicago-stock-exchange-114727 Obama Celebrates 'Durable Economy' as Unemployment Drops Below 5 Percent http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-celebrates-durable-economy-unemployment-drops-below-5-percent-114726 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/jobs2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The U.S. economy added just 151,000 jobs in January while unemployment dropped slightly, to 4.9 percent, according to the latest figures from the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>.</p><p>Economists had expected to see about 190,000 new jobs.</p><p>The unemployment rate, which has held steady at 5 percent the past few months, dropped slightly to 4.9 percent. It&#39;s the first time unemployment has fallen below 5 percent since the recession.</p><div id="res465704391"><div id="responsive-embed-unemployment-20160205"><iframe frameborder="0" height="562px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/unemployment-20160205/child.html?initialWidth=556&amp;childId=responsive-embed-unemployment-20160205&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2Fsections%2Fthetwo-way%2F2016%2F02%2F05%2F465686010%2Fu-s-added-151-000-jobs-in-january-unemployment-dropped-to-4-9-percent%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D465686010" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="620px"></iframe></div></div><p>President Obama celebrated that benchmark by making a statement on the economy, noting that not only had unemployment returned to its lowest level in 8 years, but that the private sector had also seen 71 straight months of private-sector job growth. The growth of the economy is also &quot;finally starting to translate into bigger paychecks,&quot; the president said.</p><p>&quot;The United States of America right now has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,&quot; Obama said. But when asked by reporters, he acknowledge that many Americans are still feeling the effects of the recession &mdash; and that the labor force participation rate, 62,7 percent, is still comparatively low, indicating many Americans aren&#39;t actively looking for work.</p><p>Obama explained his position on the economy by way of a workout analogy:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;We should feel good about the progress we&#39;ve made, understanding that we&#39;ve still got more work to do.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s sort of like, you know, I&#39;m 54 now so I&#39;ve got to work out harder to stay in shape. And you know, if I&#39;m feeling good in the gym I want to acknowledge that what I&#39;m doing is working. Because otherwise I&#39;ll just go off and have a big double bacon cheeseburger or something, because I&#39;ll think, well, this isn&#39;t working.</p><p>&quot;No &mdash; if it&#39;s working then we should be staying on that same path. That doesn&#39;t mean that I&#39;m where I&#39;m where I necessarily want to be, it doesn&#39;t mean that I stop doing some hard work to get where we need to go.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>The January jobs report also revised the more-robust job growth during the end of 2015, shifting the overall total downward: November&#39;s job gains were changed from 252,000 to 280,000, the BLS says, and in December, the economy added 262,000 new jobs, rather than 292,000.</p><p>One bright spot on the report: Wages. Average hourly earnings rose by 12 cents in January, to $25.39. The report says that over the year, wages have risen 2.5 percent overall.</p><p>Retail, restaurants, healthcare and manufacturing all gained jobs, the BLS says. But jobs were lost in transportation, warehousing, private education services and mining.</p><p>Meanwhile, NPR&#39;s Yuki Noguchi reports for our Newscast unit that other reports suggest layoff activity has increased:</p><p>&quot;The Labor Department said claims for new jobless benefits increased last week. And outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas said planned layoffs spiked last month because of cutbacks in retail and energy,&quot; Yuki says. &quot;Last month, Walmart and Macy&#39;s both announced plans to pare down their workforces.&quot;</p><p>And last month, the Commerce department reported that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-29/economic-growth-cools-as-american-consumers-temper-spendinghttp://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm">GDP growth had slowed to 0.7 percent</a>.</p><p><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/02/05/465686010/u-s-added-151-000-jobs-in-january-unemployment-dropped-to-4-9-percent?ft=nprml&amp;f=465686010"><em>&mdash;via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-celebrates-durable-economy-unemployment-drops-below-5-percent-114726 U.S. Economy Added a Robust 292,000 Jobs in December http://www.wbez.org/news/us-economy-added-robust-292000-jobs-december-114720 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/getajob.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="storytext"><div id="res462364817" previewtitle="A job seeker views a business card during a Giant Job Fair last month in Detroit. During 2015, employers created 2.65 million new jobs."><div data-crop-type="">The U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs in December while unemployment held steady at 5 percent, according to the latest figures from the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>.</div></div><p>The number of new jobs was higher than many economists had anticipated; NPR&#39;s John Ydstie says experts had expected about 200,000 new jobs.</p><p>In November, the BLS initially said the economy added 211,000 jobs &mdash; a &quot;healthy pace,&quot; as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/05/458511046/more-jobs-cheaper-gas-and-rising-stocks-help-the-economy-look-up">NPR&#39;s Marilyn Geewax put it</a>.</p><p>That number has now been revised upward, to 252,000. The job gains for October have also been revised up, from 298,000 to 307,000.</p><p>With the revised numbers, the past three months have seen an average of 284,000 new jobs each month. The unemployment rate has held at 5 percent all three months.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/unemployment-20160108/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/unemployment-20160108/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Professional and business services, the restaurant industry, health care and construction showed some of the strongest job growth in December, the Bureau says, while mining jobs declined and manufacturing jobs stayed stagnant.</p><div id="res462371741"><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">The economy added 292,000 jobs in December&mdash;a record-breaking 70 consecutive months of private-sector job growth.</p>&mdash; Barack Obama (@BarackObama) <a href="https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/685471723915837440">January 8, 2016</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p>The labor participation rate was little changed in December, and average wages fell by a penny.</p><p>Over the year as a whole, average wages rose 2.5 percent, the BLS says &mdash; the fastest rise since 2008. But a healthy growth rate for wages would be &quot;in the 3-4 percent range,&quot; writes&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2016/01/08/december-jobs-report-everything-you-need-to-know-2/">The Wall Street Journal</a>.</p><p>All told, employers created 2.65 million new jobs last year &mdash; not as strong as 2014&#39;s 3.2 million total jobs, but enough to make 2015 the second-best year for U.S. job growth since 1999, The Associated Press reports.</p><p>The news comes during a week of turmoil in the international stock markets. Chinese stocks plunged this week, while the S&amp;P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial average had their worst-ever start to a year.</p><p>Last month, the Federal Reserve&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/16/459989461/federal-reserve-announces-hike-in-short-term-interest-rates">raised interest rates</a>&nbsp;in the U.S. by 0.25 percentage point, signaling confidence in the American economy. It was the first change in the interest rate since 2008, and the first&nbsp;increase since 2006.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/08/462362534/u-s-economy-added-a-robust-292-000-jobs-in-december?ft=nprml&amp;f=462362534"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 11:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-economy-added-robust-292000-jobs-december-114720 Why Some Still Can't Find Jobs as the Economy Nears 'Full Employment' http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-02-01/why-some-still-cant-find-jobs-economy-nears-full <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-185743197_wide-ca2aa052aea1cad8bc4df14edd823add15e92ad5-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res464870357" previewtitle="Economists use the phrase &quot;full employment&quot; to mean the number of people seeking jobs is roughly in balance with the number of openings."><div data-crop-type="">&quot;Full employment&quot; is a phrase economists use to explain how the job market recovers from a recession. We&#39;ll be hearing this phrase a lot as the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">Labor Department</a>&nbsp;releases the latest jobs data on Friday. It&#39;s expected to show that employers added even more workers in January.</div></div><p>But the phrase doesn&#39;t tell the full story for millions of Americans either still out of work or who are looking for something better than part-time work.</p><div id="res464898219"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><strong>What is full employment and what does it mean?</strong></p><p>To economists, it&#39;s when the number of people seeking jobs is roughly in balance with the number of openings. It doesn&#39;t mean the unemployment rate is zero because that&#39;s not realistic. There will always be some unemployment. Companies have to close down obsolete operations, individuals have to quit their jobs to move with a spouse, or they might move to look for something better with higher pay.</p><p><strong>If the economists don&#39;t mean zero unemployment when they use the phrase &quot;full employment,&quot; what do they mean?</strong></p><p>Economists say a healthy job market has an unemployment rate somewhere between 4.6 percent and 5 percent. Some people are quitting, some people are getting hired &mdash; there&#39;s churn but no despair.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/08/462362534/u-s-economy-added-a-robust-292-000-jobs-in-december">In December</a>, the national rate was 5 percent and now many predictions have the rate gliding down to 4.6 percent by July. So bingo, we&#39;re basically there at full employment. If all goes as expected in 2016, people who want jobs will be able to find them, and employers who need workers will be able to attract them.</p><div id="res464897368"><div id="responsive-embed-unemployment-20160108"><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/unemployment-20160108/child.html">&nbsp;</p><script src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/unemployment-20160108/js/lib/pym.js" type="text/javascript"></script></div></div><p><strong>Is it really fair to use the term &quot;full employment&quot; when that doesn&#39;t seem to match the reality that a lot of people are experiencing?</strong></p><p>Those words can hit hard and they can hurt because it sounds like you must be doing something wrong. But really, unemployment is very regional. In West Virginia, there are counties today with unemployment rates of 12 percent or even 13 percent. But in California&#39;s Silicon Valley, the rate is virtually zero, with companies battling each other for workers. So geography matters!</p><p>And there are big differences based on age. For black teenagers nationwide, the unemployment rate is 21 percent. For women of any color, if you&#39;re 50, studies show you have a tough time getting back to the workforce. You become long-term unemployed. Besides age and location, more than anything, education determines your unemployment rate. For college graduates, it&#39;s 2.3 percent unemployment; for high school dropouts, 7 percent.</p><p><strong>Is &quot;full employment&quot; something that a lot of Americans are still going to experience as something very unsatisfying?</strong></p><p>If you&#39;re a 30-year-old with a college degree and a U-Haul, you&#39;re all set, you can find jobs. If you want to go to night school and you want to move, you can be part of that full employment economy. But the reality for a lot of people is that it is very hard. About 7.9 million people remain unemployed because they may not fit that demographic description. Like women in their 50s who may actually be at the center of a whole financial and emotional ecosystem, taking care of aging parents, as well as children and grandchildren, it can be very hard to move.</p><p><strong>Is this sort of a new normal in that what we call &quot;full employment&quot; is really not at all &quot;full&quot; but very uneven?</strong></p><p>Yes, we can say now that for younger, tech-savvy, well-educated people, jobs abound. The recession truly is over. And&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/08/462410820/the-employment-outlook-for-2016-is-looking-much-brighter">2016 should be a great year</a>&nbsp;for job hunting. But for people in their 50s with rusty skills or teenagers with relatively little education, the phrase &quot;full employment&quot; is a painful taunt.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2016/01/31/464856256/why-some-still-cant-find-jobs-as-the-economy-nears-full-employment?ft=nprml&amp;f=464856256"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 01 Feb 2016 15:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-02-01/why-some-still-cant-find-jobs-economy-nears-full Where Will the Sharing Economy Go Next? http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-27/where-will-sharing-economy-go-next-114631 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/0127_phone-pixabay-624x416.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&rsquo;s been 20 years since the founding of eBay kicked off the online peer-to-peer marketplace&nbsp;that has become known as the sharing economy. In the years since, we&rsquo;ve seen the rise of Zipcar, Lyft, Uber and Airbnb, not to mention hundreds of smaller services that will board your pets, deliver your meals, find you a handyman or lend you a bicycle.</p><p>But it hasn&rsquo;t all been rosy. The car-for-hire service Lyft announced today it was paying $12 million to settle a class action suit. It will also extend some benefits for drivers and reimburse them for expenses. Uber and Airbnb have also faced lawsuits over employee benefits and customer safety.</p><p>Meanwhile, Airbnb recently released a&nbsp;<a href="http://publicpolicy.airbnb.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Airbnb-Community-Compact.pdf" target="_blank">community compact</a>&nbsp;vowing to work within all government and community regulations. It came after cities like San Francisco started placing restrictions on the short-term rental market.</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/nakedculturebh">Billee Howard&nbsp;</a>is founder and chief engagement officer of <a href="http://brandthropologie.com/">Brandthropologie</a>, a New York-based communications consulting firm. She&rsquo;s written extensively about the sharing economy, including the book &ldquo;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/We-Commerce-Collaborate-Succeed-Sharing-Economy/dp/0399173625?tag=wburorg-20" target="_blank">We-Commerce: How to Create, Collaborate, and Succeed in the Sharing Economy</a>.&rdquo;</p><p>She joins&nbsp;<em>Here &amp; Now&rsquo;s</em> Robin Young to share her insights about new trends and the future of the sharing economy, as we head into 2016.</p></p> Wed, 27 Jan 2016 14:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-27/where-will-sharing-economy-go-next-114631 Are You Middle Class? http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-25/are-you-middle-class-114608 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Middle Class-Flickr-Anita Hart.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hard working Americans, the middle class, taxes. President Obama and the presidential candidates return to these phrases and themes over and over. And that&rsquo;s because top-of-mind for many voters is the economy, or perhaps we should say &ldquo;economic insecurity.</p><p>As we gear up for the Iowa Caucuses next week, we&rsquo;re partnering with NPR to take a closer look at what&rsquo;s making voters anxious.</p><p>A new study from the Pew Research Center confirms what many of us already know: More low-income jobs, a concentration of wealth at the top, and a shrinking middle class.</p><p>To help kick off this conversation, we&rsquo;re joined by Luciana Lopez of Reuters, a reporter covering economic policy this 2016 campaign season. And, sociologist Daniel Kay Hertz explains his research that shows the vanishing middle class in Chicago. Hertz is a Senior Fellow at City Observatory.&nbsp;<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-01-25/are-you-middle-class-114608 After Chipotle Outbreaks, Will 'Food With Integrity' Still Resonate? http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/after-chipotle-outbreaks-will-food-integrity-still <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/chipotle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chipotle Mexican Grill is struggling to convince its customers it&#39;s a safe place to eat, after several outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have sickened hundreds of its customers. But no one thinks the task is going to be easy.</p><p>&quot;This is a fairly significant problem for Chipotle,&quot;<a href="http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/directory/calkins_timothy.aspx">&nbsp;Timothy Calkins</a>, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University&#39;s Kellogg School of Management, tells us. While customers are often quick to forgive companies for transgressions, that may not be the case this time, he says.</p><p>&quot;The difficult thing for Chipotle is that, it&#39;s not that there was one incident. There have been a number of different incidents,&quot; he says. &quot;And the problem with that is that it creates an overall perception, and it raises questions about safety.&quot;</p><p>The once-high-flying restaurant chain has been hit with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2015/O26-11-15/index.html">two separate outbreaks of E. coli</a>&nbsp;over the past three months. The larger one sickened 52 people in October, mostly in Washington and Oregon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A separate outbreak in November sickened five people in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma, the agency said.</p><p>In December, scores of students at Boston College&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbur.org/2015/12/10/chipotle-sickness-practices">fell ill</a>&nbsp;after eating at a nearby Chipotle, an outbreak the company said was due to a norovirus, which causes vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.</p><p>And in August, a salmonella outbreak in Minnesota sickened 64 people who had eaten at Chipotle. The state&#39;s Department of Health later linked the illness to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.health.state.mn.us/news/pressrel/2015/salmonella091615.html">tomatoes served at the chain</a>.</p><p>Founded in Colorado more than two decades ago, Chipotle has enjoyed rapid growth by positioning itself as a healthy, fresh alternative to traditional fast-food chains, a company that serves &quot;food with integrity.&quot;</p><p>&quot;To eat at Chipotle was sort of the ethically and ecologically right thing to do, which resonated with a great deal of customers,&quot; says Andrew Alvarez, an analyst at<a href="http://www.ibisworld.com/">IBISWorld,</a>&nbsp;a market research firm.</p><p>The multiple outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have struck at the very heart of that image, says John Stanton, professor of food marketing at St. Joseph&#39;s University in Philadelphia.</p><div id="res461929381" previewtitle="Chipotle Mexican Grill founder and CEO Steve Ells, shown here in an interview with The Associated Press last month, says the company intends to become a leader in food safety."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Chipotle Mexican Grill founder and CEO Steve Ells, shown here in an interview with The Associated Press last month, says the company intends to become a leader in food safety." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2016/01/04/ap_976775719604-298979658dcf222b2ac6a8bbe749a4fde0a7bd1f-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 232px; width: 310px; float: right;" title="Chipotle Mexican Grill founder and CEO Steve Ells, shown here in an interview with The Associated Press last month, says the company intends to become a leader in food safety. (Stephen Brashear/AP)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;They&#39;ve kind of positioned themselves as a special company that caters to the fresh and delicious product, etc., and they&#39;ve let people down. And when you let people down, they take that pretty seriously,&quot; Stanton tells us.</p></div></div></div><p>The bad publicity has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/13387648/1/chipotle-mexican-grill-cmg-stock-plunges-as-e-coli-outbreak-weighs-on-q4-sales.html">taken a toll on the bottom line</a>&nbsp;at the company, which has warned that its sales fell in the last quarter of 2015. Once a darling of Wall Street, Chipotle&#39;s stock fell 30 percent last year, and the company says its sales have fallen by as much as 11 percent.</p><p>Chipotle has responded by promising to become an<a href="http://ir.chipotle.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=194775&amp;p=irol-newsArticle&amp;ID=2120228">&quot;industry leader in food safety.&quot;</a>&nbsp;A press release promised more stringent testing of produce, better training of employees and &quot;continuous improvements throughout its supply chain, using data from test results to enhance the ability to measure the performance of its vendors and suppliers.&quot;</p><p>The company&#39;s founder and CEO, Steve Ells, also apologized for the outbreaks in a Dec. 10 interview on NBC&#39;s&nbsp;Today&nbsp;show:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;It was a very unfortunate incident, and I&#39;m deeply sorry this has happened, but the procedures we&#39;re putting in place today are so above industry norms that we are going to be the safest place to eat.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>But a message of contrition could be hard to sell to customers, Stanton says.</p><p>&quot;I mean, my first question, as soon as they said that, was why didn&#39;t they do that originally? I mean, they obviously weren&#39;t doing all they could to make their products safe, and they&#39;re now paying a price for it,&quot; he says.</p><p>Northwestern&#39;s Calkins says companies can eventually recover from public relations disasters such as this one. Chipotle first has to discover the source of the recent outbreaks, he says.</p><p>Once it does, Calkins says, &quot;they need to get out there and get people feeling good. They&#39;ve got to invest a lot in advertising, so that when people think about Chipotle, they&#39;re not thinking about food safety. They&#39;re thinking about that great brand, and the food they love so much.&quot;</p><p>Calkins says other companies, such as Toyota, have come back from big public relations disasters, so it is possible. But he says it will take time for Chipotle to crawl out of the hole it has stumbled into.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/05/461925691/after-chipotle-outbreaks-will-food-with-integrity-still-resonate?ft=nprml&amp;f=461925691" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 12:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016-01-25/after-chipotle-outbreaks-will-food-integrity-still Breakfast Bump: McDonald's U.S. Sales Jump 5.7 Percent http://www.wbez.org/news/breakfast-bump-mcdonalds-us-sales-jump-57-percent-114594 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_880525879168.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NEW YORK (AP) &mdash; McDonald&#39;s says offering breakfast around the clock helped jolt its sales.</p><p>Sales at the world&#39;s biggest hamburger chain rose 5.7 percent in the U.S. for the final three months of 2015, boosted by unseasonably warm weather and the launch of an all-day breakfast menu in October.</p><p>That marked the second straight quarter of domestic growth as McDonald&#39;s fights to win back customers, and the best showing since early 2012. Globally, sales rose 5 percent at established locations.</p><p>McDonald&#39;s, which has more than 36,000 locations around the world, is working to turnaround its business under CEO Steve Easterbrook, who will mark one year on the job in March. The Oak Brook,&nbsp;Illinois, company has conceded that it failed to keep up with changing tastes, and that order speed and accuracy suffered as its menu grew more expansive.</p><p>Despite the encouraging finish to the year, McDonald&#39;s has a long way to go. For all of 2015, U.S. customer visits fell 3 percent at established McDonald&#39;s locations. That followed a 4.1 percent drop the previous year. Guest counts declined globally as well during the period.</p><p>In a call with analysts, Easterbrook cautioned that the company wanted to see another quarter or two of positive results before shifting gears from turnaround mode to a focus on growth.</p><p>The launch of all-day breakfast has been one of the company&#39;s most high-profile maneuvers under Easterbrook. The decision to make select items like the Egg McMuffin available around the clock generated a surge of national media coverage. Fans of McDonald&#39;s breakfast had long complained of being unable satisfy their cravings later in the day.</p><p>As the initial fanfare settles down, Easterbrook said McDonald&#39;s would keep momentum going by focusing on areas like improving order accuracy and a recently launched mobile app. In early January, McDonald&#39;s also introduced a &quot;McPick 2 for $2&quot; menu intended to draw bargain hunters.</p><p>The quarterly performance may also have gotten a boost from a culling of underperforming stores. McDonald&#39;s finished the year with 14,259 stores in the U.S., a decline of 91 stores from the previous year.</p><p>It was the first time McDonald&#39;s ended the year with fewer U.S. restaurants since at least 1970, according to an Associated Press review of regulatory filings.</p><p>Sales for the &quot;International Lead&quot; unit, which includes the United Kingdom and Canada, rose 4.2 percent during the fourth quarter. In the high-growth markets unit, which includes Russia and China, sales climbed 3 percent.</p><p>For the three months ended Dec. 31, McDonald&#39;s Corp. earned $1.21 billion, or $1.31 per share. That beat Wall Street expectations for $1.23 per share, according to FactSet.</p><p>Total revenue was $6.34 billion, also topping the $6.24 billion analysts expected.</p><p>For the year, total revenue fell 7 percent to $25.4 billion, hit by unfavorable currency exchange translations. Profit fell 5 percent to $4.53 billion.</p><p>Shares of McDonald&#39;s were up 1 percent at $119.45.</p></p> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 12:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/breakfast-bump-mcdonalds-us-sales-jump-57-percent-114594