Mike Rowe on Jobs, Minimum Wages

31 May 2017

Mike Rowe, formerly of “Dirty Jobs,” talks jobs and minimum wages. This is good, solid, common sense.


Unemployment Benefit Claims Decrease by 2,000

16 Mar 2017

US claims for unemployment benefits slip by 2,000Associated Press

Applications for jobless benefits slipped by 2,000 to 241,000 after claims had risen by 20,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Two weeks ago claims had fallen to a 44-year low of 223,000. The four-week average, which is less volatile, rose by 750 last week to 237,250.

UC San Francisco: IT Workers Train Foreign Replacements

2 Mar 2017

Public university lays off 79 IT workers after they train outsourced replacementsArs Technica

At the University of California’s San Francisco campus, 79 IT employees lost their jobs this week, some of them after explaining to their replacements at Indian outsourcing firm HCL how to do their jobs.

In its statement on the matter, UCSF says that it was pushed to hire outside contractors due to “increased demand for information technology and escalating costs for these services.” The university says it will save more than $30 million by hiring HCL, after seeing IT costs nearly triple between 2011 and 2016, “driven by the introduction of the electronic medical record and increased digital connectivity.”

Trump has a couple of bills regarding this going through Congress.

H-1B Visa Program May Be On Trump’s Chopping Block

9 Jan 2017

Trump and Sessions plan to restrict highly skilled foreign workers. Hyderabad says to bring it on.

The visas bring nearly 100,000 “highly skilled” contract workers, mostly in tech and mostly from India, to the United States every year. Most stay for multiple years, and some eventually get green cards. According to federal guidelines, H-1Bs are intended to fill positions for which American workers with the requisite skills can’t be found. Whether the program always does that is intensely debated by industry lobbyists and politicians, and companies are not legally required to ensure that result.

Trump has described H-1Bs as a “cheap labor program” subject to “widespread, rampant” abuse. Sessions co-sponsored legislation last year with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) to effectively gut the program; Issa, a congressman with Trump’s ear, released a statement Wednesday saying he was reintroducing similar legislation called the Protect and Grow American Jobs Act.

Hopefully, there will be an opportunity for the people who possess visas and expedited offer of citizenship.

India says it’s an opportunity to keep their good people home. Understandable.

Jobs Returning to the U.S… Now What?

16 Dec 2016

Manufacturing’s big challenge: Finding skilled and interested workers

Despite the national hand-wringing about manufacturing jobs lost to automation and cheaper foreign labor, and President-elect Donald Trump’s threats of penalties against companies that offshore, some manufacturers say the industry’s health relies more on training people for the jobs that will keep their companies competitive in the future.

Convincing kids — and most of all, their parents — to consider factory careers was difficult at first because of the blue-collar associations, said Tom Steinbach, a technology engineering instructor at Wheeling. The classes are labeled “manufacturing engineering” to make them sound more highbrow, just as the terms STEM and maker movement have lent sex appeal to the industry.

“Now we’ve seen a total 180, where parents are excited,” Steinbach said, in part because huge college bills aren’t always translating to students being prepared for good-paying jobs.

Given higher unemployment rates among people without college degrees, it would seem like there should be an eager manufacturing talent supply.

This is the one thing I am concerned about as well. Young people have been told college is the way to go. These skill jobs are not marketable right now, but they are just as important as desk jobs. Not only do the young people need to understand this, but the owners and employers as well.

Report On Cabinet Over-Regulation

9 May 2016

Report: Ten Thousand Commandments

Noting the highlights….

•The federal regulatory cost reached $1.885 trillion in 2015.

•Federal regulation is a hidden tax that amounts to nearly $15,000 per U.S. household each year.

•In 2015, 114 laws were enacted by Congress during the calendar year, while 3,410 rules were issued by agencies. Thus, 30 rules were issued for every law enacted last year.

•Many Americans complain about taxes, but regulatory compliance costs exceed the $1.82 trillion that the IRS is expected to collect in both individual and corporate income taxes from 2015.

•Some 60 federal departments, agencies, and commissions have 3,297 regulations in development at various stages in the pipeline.

•The top five federal rulemaking agencies account for 41 percent of all federal regulations. These are the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Transportation.

•The 2015 Federal Register contains 80,260 pages, the third highest page count in its history. Of the seven all-time-highest Federal Register total page counts, six occurred under President Obama.

•The George W. Bush administration averaged 62 major regulations annually over eight years, while the Obama administration has averaged 81 major regulations annually over seven years.

Agencies do not answer to voters. Yet in a sense, regulators and the administration, rather than Congress, do the bulk of U.S. lawmaking. Years of unbudgeted growth of the federal regulatory enterprise are worrisome when no one can claim with certainty that regulatory benefits exceed costs. But agencies are not the only culprits. For too long, Congress has shirked its constitutional duty to make the tough calls. Instead, it delegates substantial lawmaking power to agencies and then fails to ensure that the regulations deliver benefits that exceed costs.110 Thus, agencies can hardly be the only ones faulted for suboptimal or damaging regulation or for not ensuring that only good rules get through.

The last paragraph appears in the last section, and is accurate in that the multitude of regulations are not routed through Congress as it should be. This is a good extensive report.

Amazon Taking a Bite Out of Local Retailers

9 May 2016

How Amazon’s growth causes retailers to close stores

The giant internet retailer said on April 27 that it will create 2,000 full-time jobs by opening two more fulfillment centers in New Jersey.

Together, the two facilities will bring Amazon’s total physical footprint in the Garden State to 2.5 million square feet of space, if you count three existing centers.

The irony is that Amazon made the announcement the day after a news report that retailers were prepping to lay off 37,000 workers this year, due largely to the shuttering of brick-and-mortar stores.

The 37,000 is the most in one year since the 2008 recession – and more than double the number of layoffs in 2015.

In July 2015, it surpassed Walmart in market capitalization to become the nation’s most valuable retailer.

It is an interesting dynamic… the internet retailer versus the local brick and mortar stores.

The internet retailer is a more efficient operation, which means less people are needed to run it.  It helps the bottom line because it is cheaper, and there is less effort made by the consumer to get the product.

The brick and mortar stores, while not being super efficient, offer face to face communication to get our needs met – and it puts more people to work – which is also important.