Politics & Policies

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Minimum Wage in US – Raising the federal minimum would save safety net programs billions

This issue brief examines the use of public assistance programs by low-wage workers and assesses how raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 over three years—as proposed by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2014, a bill introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.)—could affect utilization rates, benefit amounts, and government … Continue reading

Monetary Policy in US – Underutilization of labor worse than the official statistics suggest

Federal Reserve policy makers are missing a key element as they assess the health of the labor market: data that includes whether those who are employed are overqualified for their job or would like to work more hours. As a result, the “significant underutilization of labor resources” that Fed officials highlighted last month as they … Continue reading

Unemployment in US – The largest drop in the rate between a presidential and midterm elections on records

Midterm elections often end up serving as a referendum on the president’s performance. Given this, I’ve been surprised not to hear Democrats more aggressively trumpeting the improving economy. After all, the unemployment rate has fallen by two percentage points since the last election, and at 5.9 percentage points it is far lower than many had … Continue reading

Universities in Denmark – Cutting thousands of positions within faculties that don’t lead to work

Denmark is addressing youth unemployment by revolutionising the university system. It is cuttingthousands of positions within faculties that don’t lead to work, starting from humanities and social science courses, which will be first in line for the chop. There are currently 15,000 Danish students enrolled on courses with poor employment prospects. The government wants to … Continue reading

US – 62 percent of employers think minimum wage should be increased finds CareerBuilder

- 55 percent of employers think a fair minimum wage is at least $10 per hour or more; 1 in 10 don’t think a minimum wage should be set – 53 percent of employers say a higher wage would increase consumer spending – All major industries surveyed support a minimum wage hike, including retail and … Continue reading

Federal Minimum Wage in US – 62 months since the last increase and more facts

As the debate continues in Congress and in states, here are … numbers to help you understand what it means to be making the federal minimum wage, and why it’s long past time for an increase: 62 The number of months since the last minimum wage increase, in July 2009. 12 The number of months … Continue reading

Minimum Wages for Tipped Workers – Smaller wage gaps for women overall and lower poverty rates when equal

The federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers has been frozen at $2.13 per hour for 23 years, and now represents less than a third of the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour)—its lowest share on record.  The inadequate tipped minimum wage is particularly detrimental to women, who represent two-thirds of tipped workers nationally. Increasing … Continue reading

Canada – Migrant workers will now receive the EI Parental Benefits

More than 100 migrant agriculture workers will now receive the EI Parental Benefits they were wrongfully denied by an Employment Insurance tribunal, in the wake of a successful legal battle supported by UFCW Canada, the Agriculture Workers Alliance, and argued by Niagara North Community Legal Assistance and the Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC). “That migrant … Continue reading

Poverty declines in the US in 2013 – The Census Report and what the White House has to say

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that in 2013, the poverty rate declined from the previous year for the first time since 2006, while there was no statistically significant change in either the number of people living in poverty or real median household income. In addition, the poverty rate for children under 18 declined from … Continue reading

US – Workers are hostage to the weakest aspects of the business environment say Harvard Business School’s professors

For America to remain competitive, businesses need to develop a coordinated strategy to lift living standards for the average American worker. So concludes the newly issued annual report from the US Competitiveness Project at Harvard Business School, or HBS. The topic of this year’s survey: “An Economy Doing Half Its Job.” The project is chaired … Continue reading

Canada – A ‘Good Jobs Summit’ to come (video)

The Good Jobs Summit is a national dialogue between workers, students, governments, employers and community organizations, with the goal of finding solutions and new approaches to jobs and the economy. The Summit will feature a number of high profile speakers, workshops and panel discussions, exploring questions of: How can we turn low income, precarious jobs … Continue reading

Youth Unemployment in Uganda – Demands for government action

With Uganda’s unemployment rate at near 83 percent, the government is being challenged by a group of former students who have formed the National Association of the Unemployed. Their demands are for the government to sponsor and create jobs for Uganda’s large youth population. Uganda has one of the highest rates of unemployment on the … Continue reading

Poverty – Most explanations (left, right and center) are not mutually exclusive but mutually reinforcing

Let’s imagine for a moment that there are no political pressures distorting our discussion of poverty and that we can look at it as a technical problem, not a moral one. Maybe we would find that most explanations – left, right and center – are not mutually exclusive but mutually reinforcing. Before we take this … Continue reading

US Monetary policy – The labor market has yet to fully recover says Yellen

In the five years since the end of the Great Recession, the economy has made considerable progress in recovering from the largest and most sustained loss of employment in the United States since the Great Depression.1 More jobs have now been created in the recovery than were lost in the downturn, with payroll employment in … Continue reading

Canada – The Job Grant applications open in Manitoba, P.E.I, N.L.

Employers in three provinces can now apply for skills training funds under the Canada Job Grant, nearly 18 months after the Conservatives introduced it with much fanfare in the 2013 budget. The government of Manitoba was the first to accept applications last month, with P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador following suit on Tuesday. July 1 deadline missed for … Continue reading

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